Some of you folks have noticed that I’ve got a “best of 2012” list on my blog, but not a “worst of 2012” list, and have asked when will I do a list of all the shitty stuff from that year. So due to popular demand as well as a desire to be a completist and scratch my OCD-itch here’s a massively-belated list of what I believe to be 2012’s biggest k-pop stinkers.
The reason for the omission of a “worst of 2012” list until now is because when I first started blogging it was around the end of 2012, and I hadn’t figured out back then that people would actually prefer me to take a gigantic dump on their faves than praise them. I only ever wanted to write nice things and be happy and say how great everything was… but these awful songs probably helped pushed me over the edge until I became the blogger that I am today.
Warning – this list has 30 YouTube videos and might get laggy on slow computers. Give it a few seconds to load before you start scrolling down and crashing your browser, you impatient cunt.
A few rules for this list:
- Must be a feature track (either has an MV or is a lead single that is performed live – no album filler)
- No Xmas songs, songs for sporting events etc (because otherwise this list would be nothing but Xmas songs and songs for sporting events which belong in their own special category of anus)
- Songs by Korean artists for the Japanese market do count, because k-pop is defined by the industry that drives it, not the language it’s sung in. Nobody calls American pop music “English pop” just because it’s sung in English. I’ve mentioned this before but just repeating this super-obvious point for the numbskulls.
- Do I really need to insert something here about how I like k-pop really, how I don’t really hate your fave, how I’ve also got a best-of list, etc? No – you’re smarter than that. Or maybe you’re not… but if you’re a dumb bitch that’s really not my problem.
Let’s do this.
30. G-Dragon – One Of A Kind
I liked Big Bang’s songs in 2012, and I also liked GD&TOP’s album; I thought “Knock Out” and “High High” were both pretty decent. So when I heard about a new G-Dragon solo coming out and that it would be kind of a rap thing, I thought “well, how bad can it be?”. In retrospect I should have been smarter than this, in light of the below quote which I was actually well aware of before this song came out.
Right now, to know that lots of fans around the world are listening to music from our tiny country, it’s got to have a huge effect on the Korean music scene. But, as the situation changes very rapidly, the scene’s got to develop just as fast. – G Dragon, during GD&TOP promotions, 2011
Translation: “at YG we’re noticing a lot of nugu groups emerging with a modern sound so we’re going to have to step up our game and latch onto as many rubbish nu-school trends as possible to set us apart from the emerging pack, be prepared for our music to start turning into trendy bullshit clones of Drake and Soulja Boy soon”. Vision in hindsight is 20/20, and what a shitball this song is. Does anyone honestly sing that irritating electronic “hellloooooooooooooooo” line in the chorus ever, except ironically to laugh at how bad it is? Excellent sonic production can’t save the total lack of a decent song here and “One Of A Kind” is as good a place as any to mark the point at which YG Entertainment decided to give good tunes a rest for a while and really start embracing the suck.
29. Spica – I’ll Be There
The problem with k-pop’s constant habit of concept changing is that when a group hits on a really fucking good thing, they almost never stick with it – simple probabilities alone virtually ensure that your fave is going to release a fuck-up song like this eventually. This video demonstrates the problem of concept dice-rolling aptly and sure is one hell of a nasty bait-and-switch. “I’ll Be There” starts off with a grim, rainy dark setting deliberately evoking Spica’s excellent previous songs “Painkiller” and “Russian Roulette“, making you the listener think you’re going to hear another song of similar quality. “Oh goody I can’t wait for the music to start, this is gonna be kick-ass” you start thinking to yourself… and then the camera pans off to the sky to do some cheap CGI bullshit and before you know it, you’re in a stupid pastel room listening to a Z-grade clone of Spice Girls’ “Wannabe”. Fucking cunts. The video doesn’t even get the clothes right – not only do those white shirts with the letters look terrible, but they’re obviously supposed to spell out the word “Spica” and nowhere during the entire choreography routine do the girls actually line up in the correct formation for that to happen. I guess the choreographer and the costume designer over at B2M (Butthole 2 Mouth?) Entertainment weren’t on speaking terms on the day that they shot this video, or perhaps neither of them gave a fuck and just rushed everything out as quickly as they could so they didn’t have to hear the song too many times during the course of the day’s video shoot. Who can blame them, I wouldn’t want to be trapped all day in a room listening to this shit either.
28. The Seeya ft. Haeri (Davichi) – Poison
You might expect a quick potted history here of how CCM fucked off their old group Seeya and then remade the idea into this group with new members by lazily tacking a “The” onto the front of the group name (an achievement in group-naming laziness only matched by CCM themselves later when they transformed “5Dolls” into “F-ve Dolls”) but actually I don’t give a shit about any of that stuff. I only care that this song sucks, and suck it does. CCM usually get ballads right so I bought The Seeya’s mini album expecting the usual great standard of CCM ballads, and… no. The only good song on it is “Be With You“, everything else on it is a crappy worthless turgid excursion into mundanity that sounds like it was piped directly from a Chinese restaurant foyer sound system to your ears. “Poison” doesn’t even accumulate any fap points by including the wrong member from Davichi, who is actually filmed in this video sitting in a studio control booth with a disdainful expression (that’s her in the header image at the top of this post), clearly as devastated as I am by what’s coming out of the speakers. I just want to reach into the frame, hit the “off” button on the control desk, give her a hug and say “there, there… it’s okay, the bad man who wrote this is gone, you don’t have to sing anymore… also, do you have Minkyung’s phone number?”.
27. Stellar – UFO
There’s a reason why you probably didn’t know anything about Stellar until “Study” and “Marionette” appeared and it’s got nothing to do with fetish-friendly school uniforms or milk carefully dribbling over exposed cleavage – well, okay, maybe it does have something to do with those things, but it’s also because everything they did before then was fucking garbage. The backings of this song remind me of the times that I’ve wandered into my local music store and checked out the digital gear section on a day when it also happened to be a school holiday. There’s always some schoolkid in the store who has found the most bad-ass expensive digital workstation keyboard in the whole place and has dialed up a cheesy slightly off-kilter dance rhythm track. Then some other kid on some weird Kaoss pad style contraption hears it and grooves along, fucking around making noise and random chords over the top while the other guy hits the “fill” button periodically and changing up the rhythm. I strongly suspect that this song was written using a similar process, as the backing track harmonies and the vocal melodies sound like they were written by two different people in two separate soundproof rooms who were told about the structure and tempo of the song but were also told they could make up the rest of it however they wanted. There’s random chords and noises sticking out all over the place on this arrangement, it’s probably one of the weirdest listens in k-pop and weird is fine sometimes but I don’t think the producers were quite aiming for this level of strange. At least the girls look great, so this video still has some value with the sound down.
26. Girls’ Generation – Dancing Queen
Apparently “Dancing Queen”, an unfortunately-titled (because it invokes ABBA’s far superior song of the same name) remake of Duffy’s “Mercy“, was recorded about five years before SM actually released it, back in 2008. The release date was then held back until 2012 for unknown reasons, and while the music business expert in me suspects that maybe that’s how long it took to get a copyright clearance because Duffy’s label didn’t want a near-identical Korean version stealing their shine while Duffy was still hot in the marketplace, the music appreciator in me believes instead that maybe SM just had this song, “Oh!” and “Gee” all in the same “consideration pile” and were like “should we release this Dancing Queen shit over these other two songs, are you fucking kidding me? Dancing Queen can fucking wait”. If you click over to YouTube’s comments for “Dancing Queen” you’ll see a whole bunch of idiots arguing over the relative merits of SM’s version vs Duffy’s version, which came first, which is better and so on, but it’s a pointless argument because both are virtually identical and suck roughly equal amounts of ass. The clearer crisper production and expertly-layered sonics of the SNSD version arguably makes it a slightly superior listen but it’s a double-edged sword as it only means that the terminal suckitude of the song’s melody and harmony becomes even more obvious and irritating. I get the feeling when listening to this nondescript waffling blues-based trash that SM waited until they used up all their really good material for SNSD and then just chucked this song out there as a simple throwaway “warm up” release before hitting fans in the beginning of 2013 with SNSD’s far superior main feature material… oh wait.
25. She’z – UU
Many years ago I went out for a short while with a girl who was pretty careful about contraception and insisted on both condoms and a diaphragm during sex. Fair enough I guess, after all you can’t be too careful – no woman in her right mind wants to pick up after baby Kpopalypses running around crying, yelling and smearing their shit and vomit everywhere, and it doesn’t sound like a very appealing prospect to me either. She was weird about it though – for some strange reason that I’ve never been able to figure out, she was really keen on having me insert the diaphragm into her instead of just putting it in there herself, maybe she had a fetish for it or something. I tried to explain that it’s probably better that she do it instead because it’s her vagina and only she can feel what’s really going on so she’ll be in a better position to know whether it’s sitting in there correctly or not, after all there’s no point being all serious about contraception if you’re going to be careless about these things. She’d then be like “what, are you afraid of my vagina?” or some other pseudo-feminist bullcrap about evil patriarchal guys being secretly afraid of the cunt that I can’t quite remember and I’d be like “I’ve been dicking it for the last few months, trust me I’m not afraid of it, it’s just that my x-ray vision doesn’t work so I’ve got no idea about the plumbing really, I’d rather leave it to the expert who knows her own body better than me”. I’d still give it a try anyway sometimes if she was insistent so as not to kill the bedroom mood and also to try to set her mind at ease that I wasn’t a horrid evil woman-oppressing vaginaphobe but inevitably I’d fuck it up somehow by inserting it the wrong way or whatever and then she’d get all pissy about it and there went the bedroom mood anyway and suddenly she didn’t want to fuck any more. Anyway the name of this song and the U shape on the shirts reminds me of the confusing U-shaped diagrams on the back of the diaphragm box that told you how to correctly apply the thing to your lady parts and brings me back to the days when I was going out with this stupid bitch and her illogical bullshit emotionally-blackmailing deluded gender politics from fuckheadville and that’s enough reason for it to get on this list. The song being shit is just a bonus.
24. GPBasic – Edge
This is the sort of video that you’d probably be expecting to find in my Nugu Alert series, except that somehow this particular track has gathered over 100,000 hits, thereby disqualifying it from the “less than 20,000 hits” entry requirement for Nugu Alert. I guess that’s the benefit of being put out on CJ&EM instead of on some nugu label, but you certainly wouldn’t know that GPBasic had major label backing just from looking at the video itself. The terrible styling, eyesore white shirts (with no Ice Bucket Challenge in sight) and budget video effects that look like they’re straight out of Windows Media Player’s “visualisations” function all make a bad impression but the real crime here is obviously the music, a disturbing 2NE1-esque clanger that’s as terrifying as the close-ups on these girls’ ill-fitting eye makeup. Still, it’s hard to hate them – any group able to conjure up a like-dislike ratio even more polarised than T-ara’s “Sexy Love” (the #1 certified trendy-to-hate-even-though-the-song-kicked-ass video of 2012), probably deserves some kind of Kpopalypse merit award for underdog status – it’s just a shame that the song is too shit for me to really get behind because I’d love to stan this one just to shit people.
23. B.A.P – Crash
CEO of TS Entertainment, August 2012: “How’s our new boy group, B.A.P doing since we debuted them?”
A&R person: “Their excellently cheesy metal/rap/pop hybrid songs such as “Warrior“, “Power” and “No Mercy” have been well-received worldwide by k-pop fans and have allowed the group to gain momentum in the marketplace. B.A.P are well on their way to gaining a reputation as k-pop’s heavy metal kings. They could become really popular if we keep taking them down this path.”
CEO: “Well, that won’t do. Groups on our label getting too big is against company policy. Quick, rush out a shitty lightweight pop song that sounds a bit like One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful”, but with more vocal layering and a bit more fairy-floss sounding for the tween market.”
A&R person: “I’m on it sir.”
22. Rainbow Pixie – Hoi Hoi
Rainbow’s Jisook recently did a great interview (relevant part at 14 minutes in) wherein she dismantled all the acres of hypocritical bullshit from netizens and the equally moronic k-pop media about “sexy concepts” in only a few short sentences:
Jisook: “What I’d like to ask foremost is: we released a cute unit album as Rainbow Pixie, then we have the Rainbow Blaxx sexy concept. Do you even remember the Pixie unit?”
Some guy: “No, not for me.”
Jisook: “Right. Why would that be?”
Some other guy: “…isn’t that a brand?”
Jisook: “It’s because it wasn’t provocative. With the cute concept people want the innocent look and say they want us to focus on our music, but all you remember is the sexiness of Blaxx rather than the cuteness of Pixie. That (double-standard) is the problem with girl groups.”
She’s right of course, and her strident “give no shits” manner in the interview really impresses me, but she forgot to add one little detail – Rainbow Pixie’s “Hoi Hoi” was a fucking shitty attempt to do a subunit like Orange Caramel and it failed miserably because their feature song was an annoying mess that sounded like “Magic Girl” played at half speed by the female equivalent of The Hooley Dooleys. There’s a fine line between “appealingly cutesy and bright but with good music and can still fap to” and “entertainment for drooling 4 year olds who can’t speak or hold a fork”, and Rainbow Pixie definitely got in on the wrong side of that line. True, the lack of overt sexiness probably didn’t help matters at least commercially, but even the sexiest video in the world probably wouldn’t have saved Rainbow Pixie from the confines of the nugu dungeon, where they justifiably reside to this day, simply because nobody in their right mind wants to listen to this ass.
21. 2BIC – Made Yet Another Woman Cry
Disgusting worthless vocal-wank ballad songs that are built purely for showing off singing ability but have zero musical value in their own right are essentially nothing more than vocal warm-up exercises foisted cruelly on the public as poor substitutes for actual songs. Most music fans who are not trained singers have never heard a vocalist doing pre-performance warm-ups, and that’s because vocalists doing warm-ups don’t sound any fucking good, and neither does 2BIC here. However there is still some value to be had – songs like this often have great drama music videos with surprisingly dark themes and “Made Yet Another Woman Cry (for her poor eardrums)” is no exception. There’s good reasons for the high quality of ballad drama MVs – entertainment agencies that house k-pop idols often also employ actors and if you’ve got a bunch of actors lying around that you can use on the cheap it’d be silly not to make a drama video occasionally. Also, if the song is such complete boring predictable piece of trash like this that’s so middle-of-the-road that you visualise a double-yellow line almost as soon as you hear it, at least the song plus the MV combined still represent some kind of audio-visual entity from which some small “entertainment object” value can be extracted. I think it would have been even more entertaining still if when the soldiers crashed the building in this video they just shot the fucking guy mid-money note and then the song would just stop there and then, now that would have been a cool twist worthy of Janet Leigh’s turn in Psycho.
20. CHAOS – She’s Coming
The most notable feature of this song is that it uses exactly the same wolf howl sampled intro as EXO’s horrid 2013 disasterpiece “Wolf“, but it actually predates “Wolf” by over a year, proving that not only was EXO’s song completely awful, it wasn’t even particularly original. I’m guessing that “Wolf” was cobbled together in a pretty lazy fashion if the songwriters couldn’t even be bothered to go out and find a real wolf to record but had to swipe a wolf noise from some other less successful group’s song, which is a good a demonstration as any about how much care and attention songwriters across the k-pop genre actually pay to generic boy-group productions such as this. CHAOS show much more determination however, not only using an original wolf noise, but they even shot part of the video in the logging yard where they found the wolf, which is pretty fucking impressive if you ask me. The tracksuit pants that are worn by one of the group members also bring much entertainment value because they’ve got these two yellow things on each thigh and if you squint while watching, it makes it look like he’s got balls infected with elephantitis, which is hilarious. Pity the song itself isn’t much better than “Wolf” itself but I guess you can’t have it all.
19. Girls’ Generation – Flower Power
Never mind Jessica leaving the group, Taeyeon getting smothered in jizz from all 12… oops, 11 members of EXO (who can keep track of all these SM line-up changes damn) or Yoona… not leaving the group, the release of “Flower Power” for me marks the true descent of Girls’ Generation from “wow this is a cool group and their MVs are amazing” to “hmmm… actually this is some kinda tossed-off bullshit”. Not much about this song makes sense. What’s with the completely creepy soundless intro that looks like there were supposed to be sound effects dubbed over it later but either the video editors ran out of time or just nobody could be fucked? Why does the chorus say “butterfly root the spider” and conjure up visions of inter-species sex acts due to the double-life of the word “root” as Australian slang for fucking? Why is most of the dancing shot in a dimly lit room where I can’t even see what’s going on, except the parts that are shot in a room so bright that I also can’t see what’s going on? Why does Sunny’s rap sound so awkward that I can’t even get a boner despite it being Sunny and Sunny having the second nicest boobs in k-pop (hi Martina if you’re reading)? Most importantly, why couldn’t SM find a better song than this for their flagship girl group? Maybe these questions have to go without an answer for now, but in the meantime let’s not listen to this song because it sucks.
18. M.I.B – Celebrate
I didn’t even know that gas-mask fetishes were a thing until I met someone who was really into it. Apparently it’s something to do with not being able to see the person’s eyes and facial expressions that gets people off, thus reducing them to a sexy object for fun objectification purposes (and yes the person who I met who digs this shit is female). Personally although I understand the appeal theoretically, in practice I’m not into it – I’d much rather see someone’s eyes while I’m jizzing on their face because eyes are the “window to the soul” and that’s important. Nevertheless, if that gas-mask sort of shit does in fact turn you on, consider yourself well catered to in this song by M.I.B, a nugu group so consistently crud that they’re determined to get onto these lists of mine each year. You may also appreciate the song and video if you like people getting orange chalk dust thrown on them, shit music, guys with sticky shiny fake tans, paint fights, shit music, singlets, greasy wavy 80s-inspired hair, and shit music.
17. Goddess – Farewell Party
You know that even the record label thinks a song is complete and utter garbage when they spend over half the MV trying to drown the thing out with loudly overdubbed motorcycle noises. Of course these girls look way too young to even be in the same room as a motorcycle unsupervised let alone ride one so creative editing, stunt riders, pedestal fans and CGI are used to convey all the blistering fast-paced motorbike action. This group had such a short career that they didn’t even make it to a second MV release (it was teased but it never came out) and it’s shame because I would have liked to see them in something better than this incredibly annoying, unlistenable trash. I bet they’re all working in bars or convenience stores now, having wasted years of their life pursuing dreams of k-pop stardom instead of university. It’s enough to make you scream for no apparent reason like the motorcycle guy does in what has to be the most amusingly bizarre drama interlude in a k-pop video ever. The aforementioned very weird drama interlude also fades down the actual music to almost nothing, no doubt deliberately. The video editors didn’t want to hear this 2NE1-meets-Europop crap any more than you do.
16. G-Dragon – Crayon
The title is a contraction of “get your crazy on” which is surely a clue that G-Dragon was just taking the piss with this horrid and surreal excuse for a pop song that wouldn’t even pass quality control at Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em HQ. I can understand rabid one-eyed G Dragon fans being fooled into thinking that “One Of A Kind” constitutes semi-acceptable music, but can even the most nutty BigBang fan really get behind “Crayon” in any seriousness? I think G Dragon is testing his fanbase – when he’s got as many fangirls as he does, he probably feels that maybe if he could lose a few it might make navigating airports a bit easier, so fuck it let’s just wind up the stupid analog synth riffs and lame trap beats as far as they go and see what happens. Of course, the fangirls probably just accepted it as more proof of his “musical genius” and listened to it 83 times until they started liking it, because when you’re 11 years old and your diet is 100% idol pop your mind is pretty easily blown by small details like someone who you’ve got a crush on getting a synthesiser and twiddling a knob a bit and going “widdly-widdly-wee”, which is musically about all that’s going on here of any interest.
15. Secret – Poison
CEO of TS Entertainment, September 2012: “How’s our girl group Secret doing these days?”
A&R person: “Their excellently cheesy doo-wop/60s pop hybrid songs such as “Shy Boy” and “Starlight Moonlight” have been well-received worldwide by k-pop fans and have allowed the group to gain momentum in the marketplace. Secret are well on their way to gaining a reputation as k-pop’s retro-pop queens. They could become really popular if we keep taking them down this path.”
CEO: “Well, that won’t do. Groups on our label getting too big is against company policy. Quick, rush out a shitty lightweight pop song that sounds a bit like Beyonce’s “Crazy In Love”, but with more vocal layering and a bit more fairy-floss sounding for the tween market.”
A&R person: “But didn’t we do this with B.A.P last month to the disappointment of music fans everywhere?”
CEO: “I’m CEO because I know what makes money around here, I got this company to where it is today. Don’t question my logic unless you want to go back to refilling coffee machines – just do it.”
A&R person: “I’m sorry. I’m on it sir.”
14. Xia Junsu – Uncommitted
It’s sad to see the members of JYJ constantly getting ignored, pushed out of TV appearances, neglected in k-pop publications etc as SM Entertainment does their very best to try and write JYJ and the infamous TVXQ split out of history. I don’t think SM are busy making phone calls to fuck them over though – companies are probably just afraid of featuring JYJ because of the possibility of what they think SM might do in retaliation, rather than anything that SM are actually doing. Not so Kpopalypse, who has no fear, is free of such machiavellian influences and is more than happy to include Xia Junsu here on a worst-of list just to show that I care about being all-inclusive in spite of what the big corporations of k-pop might think. Take that, SM! “Uncommitted” is typical mushy ballad garbage and not noteworthy in any aspect apart from just generally sucking and being fucking worthless tossed-off junk, but the video is notable for the unusual distinction of having more black bar above and below the image than actual video. I guess the video director felt that it looked more “cinematic” or something and perhaps implicitly raises Xia’s suggested importance as someone on “the big screen” but I think there’s a point where the black bar business actually becomes legally actionable because it’s cutting into promised content. I think that there has to be some kind of required minimum standard by law for how much of a music video is actually a video with moving images as opposed to a black border before it can actually be legally called a video, and I don’t think this one meets required standards (this is also why a lot of fancams annoy me with their vertical letterboxing – so much wasted space). The way I see it, if you clicked on the Xia video and an advert played, that advertiser now owes you money… but then at least the ad probably sounded better than this song so maybe you should be grateful.
13. Noel – Things That I Couldn’t Say
Here’s a quick list of some of the “things that I couldn’t say” about this song:
- I love it when a k-pop ballad has a nice soft piano intro, it’s so relaxing
- There really aren’t enough male k-pop ballad groups out there doing material like this
- This song doesn’t sound like anything I’ve ever heard piped through a food court sound system before
- Gee I really didn’t expect that build-up part at 3:43, how enjoyable and refreshing it was
- It’s just as well this video is mainly in slow motion or I might get too excited by it
- The sound of this song doesn’t particularly make me want to bash my head against a wall
- I hope a bunch more songs get released that sound just like this soon
12. Six Bomb – Chiki Chiki Bomb
For anyone curious about what I’m talking about when I say boy groups tend to have boring and uninteresting melodies, then go straight to the chorus of this song which is exactly the kind of limp blues-based crap that the boy groups usually get. Bravo for gender equality I suppose… or something. At least there’s plenty of entertainment to be had here observing the girl with the hilarious rooster-style mohawk, I guess Dara’s stylist does a bit of freelancing in the slow periods between 2NE1 comebacks. As for them being called Six Bomb when there’s actually only five of them, I can deal with that. Even though I think it’s always a mistake to name a group after the amount of members it contains because there’s always going to be awkward times if anybody drops out, if I can deal with F-ve Dolls being six members, it’d be unfair for me to criticise Six Bomb for being five members. The hideous song on the other hand is another matter, I guess at least the company got the “bomb” part of the group’s title correct, now that was some foresight.
11. Girls’ Generation – All My Love Is For You
Aside from being a rubbish ballad equal in worthlessness to any trash from syrupy annoying western R&B artists over the last few decades, “All My Love Is For You” also takes top honours as quite possibly the most awkward-looking k-pop video ever created. The vacant, glazed-over stares into nowhere in particular, the pointless mannequin-style standing around, the hilariously-staged walking across the room as if they’re really going somewhere terribly important, the occasional cringeworthy forced interactions between members to make it look like they’re “having a deep, meaningful moment together” and most of all the cheesy vacuous overdone smiling… it all adds up to a one-way ticket to awkward-town. Best/worst of all is that Taeyeon seems to be engaged on behalf of the group in some kind of “fashion design” activity – oh the sweet irony. She’d better drop that sketchpad fast and get back to singing and dancing before her manager walks into the room if she knows what’s good for her, SM will have absolutely none of that kind of caper. Even Sunny’s amazingly well-presented boobs can’t make me watch this trash any more than the required number of times needed to write a review of it – if that doesn’t speak volumes about the awfulness of this, nothing does.
10. T-ara – Round And Round
“Round And Round” isn’t a song originally written for T-ara but it doesn’t stop it from being a complete pile of crap anyway, nor does it stop me from including the song in this list. My likey-likey-dis and likey-likey-dat of T-ara is well documented so this inclusion should appropriately confuse all you morons who think I’m just on a cruel bash-fest and hate every group I list in my “worst of” lists with some kind of burning passion. Released early in the year during Hwayoung’s “Amber 2.0” period, the group’s resident manicurist-in-chief certainly looks like the odd one out and removing her from the group just seems like a logical common-sense reaction to having to watch her in this awkward performance, not that her exit would have helped the song any. The real problem here is just that the source material is just no damn good, and this is a song that should have never been remade but instead rightfully consigned to the dustbin of history. There’s more than one good reason why the Hallyu Wave is happening now and didn’t happen in the 1980s. Mind you T-ara’s version is miraculously even worse than the awful original, dumbing down the harmony and squaring off the rhythm to the point where the whole song sounds like a Dance Dance Revolution machine taking a shit. Only a truly hardcore fan could stomach this crap, and if you ever want to separate the normal mentally well-adjusted T-ara fans from the crazies who will lap up a puddle of dirty water if you told them it was Boram’s piss, just ask them what they think of “Round And Round”.
9. Bikiny – Dance Party
When you add up the costs of feeding, housing, training, recording and dealing with the personal issues of an idol group in training over multiple years plus hiring composers, choreographers, costume designers, secretaries, PR staff, hair stylists, set designers, caterers, accountants, drivers, road managers, studio engineers, teachers, gym coaches, janitors and coffee-machine changers, it typically costs the equivalent of millions of dollars to debut a group into k-pop. So when that group finally does debut, don’t be a little bitch about their first MV and complain that they just threw a handicam into the gym and did a choreography video on the cheap, just be thankful instead that it’s not your money on the line for this shit. So what if it’s hard-Autotuned to fuck – maybe these girls can sing or maybe they can’t, but each one of them represents a seven-digit investment so nobody’s taking any fucking chances with any notes out of place here, that’s for damn sure. Just complain about how the song is yet another “we’re going to try to do 2NE1’s ‘Fire‘ but our agency couldn’t find someone with the songwriting skills to pull it off and who is also willing to work with us for what little amount of money we had left” disaster and move on.
8. A-Prince – Hello
Christ, this is horrible. Melody lines straight from children’s TV shows, bits that don’t fit together, a chorus so excruciating that it will make you want to saw into your own fingers with a rusty blade just to take your mind off it – what a nightmare. Not a Nightmare on Elm Street though, more like Friday the 13th because one of the guys is actually wearing a shirt with a picture of Jason Vorhees’ hockey mask on it, completely undercutting any and all attempts at aegyo from this group. Thanks to that particular fashion choice I can now only picture that guy singing the impossibly annoying “Hello hello baby / hello hello girl” chorus while chasing fangirls with a butcher’s knife – no doubt while also maintaining the same insipid forced grin he’s displaying in the video. Mind you any die-hard fans of this group are probably already mentally dead on the inside, so perhaps he’s just putting them out of their misery. When I listen to this I sure sometimes wish someone would put me out of mine (that’s a rhetorical statement, not a legitimate suggestion, just noting this for any crazy fangirls offended by my G Dragon comments above).
7. C-Real – Joma Joma
The creepy YouTube description from the company “The full love wish list of pure girls aged 17 on average!” smacks of pimping for creeps with virgin-fetishes and gives you a little insight into how k-pop companies view their product but amazingly this isn’t even the worst thing about “Joma Joma”. No, the real sin here is that the song incorporates elements of tap-dancing and line-dancing. After School did tap-dancing too, but After School’s attempt was actually reasonably fluid and impressive, and didn’t sound like something that you’d hear on the radio at an old-folks home. Even line-dancing style country jigs got a (slightly) better k-pop adaptation later in 2Yoon’s “24/7“, when C-Real do it the result just sounds like some shit your grandmother listens to. People love to try to troll me about how I’m a k-pop fan at my age but even I’m still a generation or two too young for this shit. To legally hear this song in it’s entirety you should be over 70 years old and have ID.
6. JYJ – In Heaven
The CEO of SM Entertainment must have been thrilled when JYJ’s “In Heaven” came out. Not only is the song total generic ballad crap from Yawn City, ensuring that JYJ will continue to remain not-a-threat-what-are-you-kidding-don’t make-me-laugh to TVXQ’s market domination, but Xia Junsu gets killed in the MV! Talk about Christmas coming early for Lee Soo Man. The SM staff probably have popcorn and DVD nights every month and play this as the intro. While the song is playing maybe they have a drinking game going where you have to skull a drink for the duration of when Xia does his big heroic leap to save the girl, and if anyone cheats by not completing their drink in time they have to do karaoke to this song while the rest of the room laughs as punishment. I’m sure that they don’t actually bother to listen to the song itself though – they’re probably too busy munching snack food and drinking soju and laughing and cheering to recklessly engage their ears with something this horrid.
5. P.O.P. Con – Nol Ja Go
There were actually quite a few girl groups out there in 2012 all doing the Crayon Pop style concepts, but the reason why you haven’t heard of many of them is because they all had terrible songs like this one here, and then promptly vanished into thin air soon afterward. This song is nightmarishly bad and does the “bounce bounce” refrain even more annoyingly than JJ Project managed to do (their horrid mess of a song “Bounce” only narrowly escaped inclusion on this list and JYP can thank P.O.P. Con for that). This screechy unlistenable salvo of noise masquerading as a pop song must have sounded even worse in the shopping mall type place (or whatever it is) that the video was shot in – I can only imagine how this trash sounds bouncing and resonating around that bizarre curved stage wall. Anyway this song worked out so poorly for them that the group later changed their name to Queen B’z, probably to avoid any guilt by association with this shithouse song, and also so they could start again with a fresher, much sexier concept, instead of whatever “Nol Ja Go” qualifies as. With the 240p resolution on this video muddying up the issue I’m not even all that sure what the concept of “Nol Ja Go” even is, but something tells me that I might have dodged a bullet here.
4. EXO – What Is Love
Usually when I announce blog posts in advance, I get lots of feedback and assistance from the online community keen to make sure that I haven’t missed anything – hell, I’m still getting k-pop ass gifs posted to me many months after nominations closed for the “ass article“. So it seemed odd to me that when I announced that I was going to do a “worst of 2012” list a few months ago, EXO’s “What Is Love” was the only song suggested by anybody for inclusion on the list. A few days ago I mentioned this list again and that it was nearing completion, and still, EXO’s “What Is Love” was the only song anyone mentioned. I wondered why that was… then I heard this song and it all made sense. Guys, I totally get it now – the hilariously overdone vocal parts alone would get this song high enough to chart onto this list, but add to that the hideous multi-layered wall of sound which destroys any attempt at subtlety and the maddeningly repetitive guitar riff which never changes and what we have here is a ballad so bad that it barely even meets the musical criteria to be a ballad in the first place… basically, this is “Growl” at half speed. The song really is shockingly awful and I honestly thought I was going to have to put this straight to the #1 spot with a bullet until I remembered the existence of the following three songs…
3. Super Junior – Spy
Super Junior often gets criticised for milking their megahit “Sorry Sorry” to death, and I’m as sick of them doing that song over and over with a different name as the next person, but honestly if this is the alternative maybe they should go straight back to ripping it off. The musical thieves who created “Spy” left “Sorry Sorry” alone for a change and instead nicked horn parts from the “Peter Gunn” theme (not James Bond as suspected by many, although they certainly got the visual concept from there) and also the chorus melody from some other Mariachi-esque bullshit song the name of which escapes me at the moment, influences that the majority of k-pop fans probably wouldn’t know or give a rat’s ass about. I certainly don’t give a fuck about what songs they stole especially when they’re mashed together this awkwardly – who cares who steals what as long as the end result sounds alright and this particular result definitely does not sound alright. Anyway, the low quality of this song was so notorious that it greatly upset Super Junior fans who infamously staged a boycott of all SM Entertainment products until the label promised to stop adding one extra shit song like this to releases a month after they come out to compel the completist deludu fans to buy hastily repackaged albums again with all the same songs on them… oh wait, no, that didn’t happen at all. Sorry, I must have still been thinking about that parallel universe that I wrote about in my last fanfic where all k-pop fans are discerning and act rationally.
2. SM TOWN – Dear My Family
Dear My Family,
Today, I had to cut vocals for some horrid trash song, it was so bad, honestly. It’s a good thing that I got the parts right on the first few takes because I didn’t want to listen to that garbage any longer than I absolutely had to. I think the label are trying to make it sound like some big collaboration “all the stars in one room” thing like “We Are The World” (even though we all recorded it separately anyway) but the difference is that we’re not trying to feed the poor or anything, we’re just trying to make SM some fucking money and also make it look like we’re one big happy family for this lame “I AM” CEO-cock-stroking documentary. Can you believe that the fangirls willingly swallow this marketing bullshit that SM puts out about us being all “SM Town” and buddy-buddy and shit? They must live some pretty sheltered lives if they think that we’re all chums, I know I especially can’t fucking stand Jessicunt, what a drag to be in the same group as that fucking stupid bitch and have to pretend that we’re all best friends for life all the time, ugh. f(x) are mostly moles too and don’t get me started on Shindong, he’s always trying to grope my ass whenever he sees me. I’d take the sexual harrassment up with the CEO but his wandering hands are even worse. Still, some of those EXO kids are pretty cute, so there’s a silver lining. Anyway, if you see that film “I AM” advertised, don’t go to see it, it’s fucking crap and you’ll just have to sit through two hours of me pretending to be nice to bitches like BoA and Luna while dying inside.
I hope they never make us sing this song live. Standing on the same stage as all of these fuckheads at once and performing a whole song would truly be the limit. God I can’t wait to get out of this insipid idol gig for emotional cripples and do something else for a more mature audience who have a collective mental age above 10 years old. Pray for me.
Your dearest, Taeyeon.
1. Busker Busker – Cherry Blossom Ending
You knew it had to be this one. Don’t get me wrong – I like Busker Busker – as people. I especially like Brad Moore, both for his kick-ass interview with Vice (compulsory reading for any k-pop fan, honestly) and also for favouriting my shady Tweets about how I think his group’s music is fucking shit. He’s obviously a good sport and that’s great, my respect for the guy is huge, and good on him also for playing hardball with the Korean music business, they probably got signed to some of the only decent record deals in the entire country thanks to Brad not taking their shit. However, the fact remains that for me Busker Busker represents everything that is musically bad about not just k-pop but in fact all music that is bad anywhere. This song was a massive, massive hit and trust a still-grappling-with-the-remnants-of-the-previous-generation’s-ultra-conservatism country like South Korea to go nuts for something so incredibly fucking bland and nondescript… but then maybe I’m not giving Koreans enough credit. Think about it: every spring since it’s been released this song has charted in Korea, now imagine a bunch of people standing around watching some plants grow in the spring after a cold winter:
Gardener 1: “Wow, watching this fucking grass grow is like, so boring, dude.”
Gardener 2: “Yeah I know, fuck this shit bro. Why are we even watching these plants.”
Gardener 1: “We’ll get in trouble with our employer if we don’t supervise the weed, man. Yang Hyun-Suk said these plants were important.”
Gardener 2: “I guess… hey dude, you know what? Watching these weeds grow reminds me of that shit Busker Busker song, that ‘Cherry Ending’ or whatever, man.”
Gardener 1: “Yeah, no kidding. That song was just as boring as doing this shit… hey man FUCK YOU now I’ve got that song stuck in my head! Fuck you, dude, what’d you do that for?”
Gardener 2: “Sorry dude. Hey, now it’s in my head too! Fuck! I’d better go and download it again because I deleted the shit song before, because it was that shit, like I didn’t want it taking up space on my phone. But if I don’t listen to it for real I’m scared it’ll be stuck in my head forever. Imagine that! Negative vibes, man.”
Gardener 1: “Whoa dude – scary. You’re freaking me out right now. Let’s just go download and listen to this crap song one more time so we can then get our brains back to normal. I wish we didn’t have such boring jobs that reminded us of this sucky music, hey. What a drag.”
That’s my theory on why Busker Busker charts every spring. They’ve literally made the soundtrack to live-action horticulture.
That’s it for the 2012 worst-of list! More pointless lists like this for you to get mad at and shake your Internet-fists in indignation over will be coming your way at the end of 2014!