Wednesday, May 10, 2023

K-Pop ... I know, right? (The #Clueless Blog Hop)

I am so happy to be "touring" with my posse again. Of course, because we all have such a good such sense of humor, we decided we could poke a little fun at ourselves and explore that which we do NOT know. (Thanks to Jami for being the brave blogger who kicked this tour off.) I can't speak for the rest of the crew, but for me it was hard picking something -- there's just so many things to choose from...

There are of course many things I don't get. I like to fob it off on my superior perspective -- I take the long view, I'm more worried about the well-being of everyone, I'm just a better person than everyone else -- but sometimes I simply don't have any familiarity with something and I'm too intimidated to know where to start. Like guns and other weapons, not to mention when they should be used (though I do know where and when they shouldn't be...), and why they're a good choice in that context. I can, oddly, follow military history (in more weirdness, I still think Max Boot's books on military history are great), but if you made me tell you which weapons were being used at which historical pivot points, I'd probably shout something like "tanks in World War I!" and then run away. As someone whom people actually think knows something about history, this gaping hole is a little bit of an embarrassment.

Speaking of embarrassing...If you've read this blog more than once, you may have noticed that I watch more than my share of Korean entertainment. I watch more than my Korean relatives; my thirty-something cousin (once removed) had watched The Squid Game because he didn't live under a rock, but he hadn't seen Mouse, which I thought was an infinitely better told story. I didn't even bother asking about all of the other titles, which now include The Devil Judge. I know -- what even is that title? -- but it's really good. As I've said before, South Korean entertainment is obsessed with South Korean corruption, but this brings the critique to a new level. I'm only half-joking when I say that I can trade Gaslit Nation for K-dramas and get the same content.

So, I *know* about South Korean entertainment. Hell, I know enough gossip about it that I can get the in jokes on shows like Behind Every Star (the South Korean version of Call My Agent!). And I've developed enough of an eye that I can tell when an actor is a model or a K-pop star (among other things, the K-pop stars are thinner and tend to be more "non-threatening"). But you know what? I cannot tell you ANYTHING about K-pop itself. I'm very proud of how well K-pop is doing and the effect it has on South Korea's soft power, but I wouldn't recognize a K-pop song if I fell over it, and I wouldn't recognize the members of BTS if I bumped into them. (Am I the one living under a rock?) 

Who are these people?!

It's weird that it's this way, in part because lately K-dramas have really cool soundtracks, and some of the songs are iconic. Cue Hush from Guardian: The Lonely and Great God (I know, again, these titles)...except the recording artist is Swedish. Okay, fine, but even among the Korean artists, the songs aren't what's considered K-pop (e.g., the theme song from Inspector Koo).

I think I tried listening to BTS -- it had to have been Butter -- but it just didn't grab me and I didn't make it all the way through. And then while stumbling through Spotify's suggestions, I came upon brb., this really cool boy band from Singapore. Like, damn, where have they been all my life? (I mean, nonexistent for most of it, but you know what I mean.) Their music hits that dancy, edgy, jazzy, loungey spot that I'm always looking for. (Listen to Move if that description doesn't work for you.) Okay, I digress...

The closest I've come to K-Pop is stumbling upon DPR IAN, which led me to DPR LIVE, who sometimes performs with GRAY and CL (I have no idea what these names mean either). These DPRs (okay, this I can tell you stands for Dream Perfect Regime, which is the name of their music label) technically include some rap, but what stands out for me is more the storytelling style, and the music is pretty good too. (And of course, my sample is based on the eight songs that have made it to my playlist, so I'm obviously an expert.) However, I don't feel this brings me any closer to an understanding of K-pop as a grouping of musical styles. But I can still recognize a K-pop singer on sight so...maybe I have at least one clue?

What are you clueless or even clue-free about? Please let me or the rest of the crew know. Tomorrow we are over to Kerrie, and then Caroline finishes it off on Friday.

Thanks for reading!

Deb in the City

PS Thank you in advance for the K-pop suggestions some kind soul will inevitably give me. Unfortunately, since my primary computer has gone into an unconscious state for no apparent reason, might be a little while before I can get to them.

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