Yes, it’s the return of….
Once again I’m back to make you watch music videos of Korean groups that nobody outside of Korea (and maybe inside of Korea too) really gives a fuck about. Yay! You already know the rules, so without further ado let’s get started.
If there’s something that is almost guaranteed to provoke a “meh” reaction out of the average k-pop fan, it’s some new female-fronted instrument-holding group (actual or mimed). Example: people only started giving a shit about AOA once they dumped their “we can play instruments, no really” concept. This episode is therefore all about highlighting some recent instrument-wielding nugus for your entertainment, because there’s a good chance you glazed over them completely when they first appeared, if you even saw them at all.
Stay Foolish – Kiss Kiss
It was initially difficult for me to work out why “Kiss Kiss” was rated 19+ as visually it’s actually pretty tame – I thought maybe in Korea you had to be 19 years old to legally pillow-fight while listening to limp disco-funk with instrumentation so cheap and ordinary that even Daft Punk wouldn’t sample it. Then I got to about 2:49 in the video and worked out that she’s not singing about being kissed on the lips…. or not the lips on her face, anyway.
It might be the best cunnilingus anthem from Korea since Gain’s “Bloom” but that’s probably because it’s the only cunnilingus anthem from Korea since “Bloom”. This song only just came out, and raking in less than 5000 hits in a few days with a 19+ rated k-pop video that has scenes like this in it is quite an achievement in nugudom.
The most interesting thing about this video for me though was not the 19+ feather pillow stuffing flying everywhere (maybe the MOGEF person who assessed this MV had really bad eyesight and thought he was watching a bukkake video), but the camera work and editing. If you’re any sort of musician you can instantly tell when watching a music video whether the people who worked on the video behind the scenes had any clue about music or not. In this case, it’s obvious that the editors didn’t know anything about playing instruments at all. If you look carefully you’ll see that the musicians’ hand actions don’t synchronise with the parts that they’re actually playing on the recording, unless the vocalist is also in the same frame to guide the editor as to what piece of footage goes in what time frame. A vocalist singing the wrong section is obvious to absolutely anyone because the lips don’t match up to the words, but a musician playing the wrong part… not so much, so for the sections where they zoom up on a solitary instrumentalist, they’ve just spliced in footage that kind of looks sorta-ish like they’re playing the same thing to the untrained eye, instead of bothering to find the exact footage where they’re playing the right part. Also the zooming up on the guitarist during the guitar solo highlights the mundane-looking picking/strumming hand, not the fingering hand where all the action actually happens – a really common habit with camera operators who aren’t interested in music and have cut their teeth on more straightforward camerawork like following a bouncing ball at a sports game. Overall it’s rare to see editing this bad in the Korean music scene where everyone is so obsessed with perfection, to the point where it’s actually almost kind of refreshing.
YouTube hits at time of writing: 4364
Notable attribute: editing so atrocious you have to be over 18 years old to legally be allowed to watch it
Nugu Alert rating: very high
Amor Fati – Say The Word
After a promisingly moody intro, Amor Fati swiftly throw musical risk-taking to the wind and kick in with the kind of ultra-conservative Nickelbackesque stadium rock that only a nuclear family with 2.5 children, a white picket fence and an SUV parked in the driveway could love. The band themselves look at least mildly passionate about the proceedings, as far as I can tell through the hazy filtered mush molesting the footage. They’re certainly more enthusiastic than whoever was controlling those camera shots, who seemed more interested in shooting the sepia-toned walls:
You can almost hear the director say “just move back a little further dear, you’re photobombing the shadow underneath the stairwell”.
If you look really carefully at these shots, you can actually see band members in them.
I guess they were so damn impressed with the location that they found to shoot this in, that the group themselves became kind of an afterthought; most camera pans and shots throughout the whole video are at least 50% walls and light fittings. It’s a shame because that singer looks pretty with a cute chubby face like Bom pre-10th round of surgery and it’d be nice to get some clearer shots of her, plus the Eunjung-lookalike drummer. Also at 1:08 I can’t get over how she sounds like she’s singing “you treat me like a lobster”. Maybe she had a pet lobster once and she accidentally forgot to feed it and left to be ignored and die inside an architecturally-imposing sepia-toned water tank while her mobile phone filmed the wall next to it.
YouTube hits at time of writing: 2677
Notable attribute: wall decorations get more camera time than band members
Nugu Alert rating: extreme
Funny Collection – Little Witch
Although the frontwoman’s cheese-grater-across-the-ears voice is definitely an acquired taste that takes some getting used to, the song itself certainly is reasonable. In fact this video warms the heart for one simple reason – all the band members here are not exactly good looking or photogenic, which just goes to show that looking incredibly ordinary is certainly no barrier to fame and fortune in the supposedly fickle superficial world of the Korean music business, hell, if they can do it maybe even you and me can be k-pop stars, how inspiring, right… oh wait, nobody watched this video? Er, okay… well, back to the drawing board on that front I guess.
(Hey, maybe if all you social-concern bloggers whining about the politics of the latest sexy comebacks in k-pop got all that time you devoted to discussing Hyuna’s tits for web traffic and used it to highlight something like this video instead, the Korean industry would be different and less superficial, but you obviously couldn’t be bothered and that’s part of why things are the way they are. In the meantime, who’s highlighting it? ME, that’s who, the big bad supposedly ignorant and sexist Kpopalypse, while all you so-called “feminists” can’t stop yourselves from feeding hits straight to Stella’s “Marionette” and other such things. Tsk tsk, cao ni mas.)
Anyway since looks obviously drives the industry whether you like it or not the video director has sensibly decided to not let the group carry too much visual weight, substituting a cutesy cartoon in place of traditional band footage for the majority of the video. Notice how they cop out with the kiss at the end, cutting the footage just before the lips meet in true Korean MV “gosh we’d better not offend anybody” wimp-out style. It seems that you can’t even show a screen kiss in a Korean music video even if it’s between two crappily-drawn heterosexual cartoon characters. So much for all this “progress” we’re supposedly making.
YouTube hits at time of writing: 3589
Notable attribute: none, because you’re a hypocrite
Nugu Alert rating: off the chart
That concludes Episode 2 of Kpopalypse Nugu Alert! If you’ve got more fresh (or stale) nugu videos feel free to submit them publicly or privately, and who knows, they may be part of an upcoming feature! Or maybe they won’t be! But there’s only one way to find out… in the meantime keep listening to nugus!