QRIMOLE – May 2018

It’s QRIMOLE time again, which means it’s time for Kpopalypse to answer more questions from readers!

Hey, kpopalypse, are you ok? There’s one thing happening to me and I want to know if this happened to you to some degree, I grew up in a “ordinary” family musically speaking, no one is musically trained and their taste range to top 40 pop to classic rock, and I feel I wasn’t picky at all about music and I was open to almost everything. I’ve started digging more underground/out of the radar music when I was 19, I’m 23 now and I know a LOT more than I used to know and I feel i’m becoming really picky and kind of an asshole, people show me their favorite songs and I can’t help but tell them I don’t like it, most of the time I can think of a similar artist who did something better than the “new” one. I probably don’t know 1/10 of the music you know, but did this happen to you when you became a DJ and was exposed to a huge amount of music?

I did have a musical upbringing but my actual music taste didn’t start diverging until I discovered heavy metal when I was about 13 and started learning guitar.  I learned quickly and it forced me to look at different types of music to expand my playing.  It’s okay for you not to like something, just like it’s okay for someone else to like something that you do not.  People don’t tend to show me the music that they like anymore, and I generally return the favour!  That is, unless they seek me out via my blog or radio show.

Are nugu groups allowed to take a job outside of their contracts (like retail or smth) and make some money while they wait to have a comeback or are they doomed in a 7 year contract where they’re wasting their life away and making no money?

They could probably take jobs if time allows, music industry contracts as far as I’m aware don’t forbid income generating activities outside of music-making and related promotional activity.  The question is more will the person have enough time to actually do a job at all, and that depends on their training schedule, movement restrictions etc. so I think it’s probably not an option open to very many.  Maybe a “dungeoned” nugu group gets to do this but a group in training pre-debut probably wouldn’t.

Hi oppar, I need your tips to be a smarter Kpop fan.

Back in 2016, I was into Jpop too much until I acknowledge Gfriend existence and start to dig Kpop deeper until now. I kinda favored them for their musical and performance style, and their discography has become my favorite among other Kpop groups until now.

Their last comeback, Time for the moon night, just make me realize that I become those fans that start to “judge” their favoritism by their bias group achievement in all fields possible. I experienced these kinds before in Jpop and manage to broke my wallet and all. I tried to train myself to not overthinking this stuff.

However, their newest MV filled by comments that concerned in MV views so much and it makes me think about MV views too. It happens before with Momoland before Bboom Bboom boom, I liked them and their MV now filled by MV goals. This kind of comment is that makes me not really want to watch big groups’ MV, because the comments aren’t about how are they excited about the song and fair criticism and all. It’s only about views and views.

With that being said, what can I do to in order to neglect unnecessary concern in Kpop?

Thank you!

I’ll fix your problem in one easy step.

  1. Stop reading other people’s comments about songs.

There, easy.  Just don’t scroll down to them.  Who cares what people write?  (Yes, this includes me.)

Hello Oppar, how are you?

I am struggling my image still, although it’s been improving quite a bit. Long story short, I think I’m ugly as hell.

As a gay person, it’s even worse when you try look at someone I am attracted to. I get this constant reminder that I am nowhere as hot as he is and it’s really excruciating.

I’ll be blatantly honest, when people say ‘you are unique’ it’s just an excuse to not agree that I’m ugly. I also have heard you say “no matter how you look, someone’s gonna be attracted to you” yes but it will be a lot fewer, and often it’s someone I don’t find attractive either. We can see what’s attractive and what’s not, and I feel like all those sayings are just a temporary sugarcoat to make me happy, it’s working less for me.

I have been working out and I guess you can say it’s been working out quite a bit. Maybe go get some braces for my teeth too, but for now i feel like a baby faced bitch boi 😦

Gay guys are generally fairly image conscious because as guys, they know what other guys are like, and they know that guys in general tend to be very visual-centric in their sexual tastes.  But seriously don’t worry about it.  Being ugly is kinda hot.  (Remember Mick Jagger got to sleep with David Bowie!)  While it’s definitely true that “no matter what you look like someone will dig it”, and that’s still a comment that I stand by, there are also certain people who generally get considered “universally attractive” and others who are less so.  I know for myself that I’m someone with minority appeal, visually.  However even though most people don’t like me, the people who do like me really do like me a lot.  And the girls I like, some of them are those “universally attractive” types of girls, and some of them really are not, they’re the type of girls where other guys look at me and are like “you’re into THAT?” and I’m like “yeah, you bet I am”.  You can’t change how you look radically anyway, even surgery is just scratching the surface really.  Learn to accept yourself, and others will find them drawn to your self-confidence, because how you carry yourself is as much a facet of physical attractiveness as your visual appearance in a photo or whatever.

Hi Kpopalypse!

I hope you are doing good. Thank you for reading my question and answering it with such seriousness. I had asked about what to do since I don’t think I’m good enough for anything or anyone in my life. I really appreciate it. You’ve also given me an outside 3rd person perspective that I haven’t been able to accept although I’ve come to realize before you posted last month’s Qrimole. Thank you so much.

I have two follow up questions. I hope this is ok. You mentioned that I’m seeking social validation and that I need to work on my self esteem. Both are true. I’ve hated myself for the longest time and never wanted to live. I was suicidal but eventually, a few of my friends (and especially my best friend) helped me out even though I pushed them away. Since a large part of that connection and anchor has been cut (as I spoke about in my previous question) I’m struggling to find reasons to like me enough to want to live and in general, a reason to live. I’m very nihilistic in my point of view in life. And I don’t want to go back to being suicidal because I know it’s very easy for me to give up on living and I can’t afford to put my family through more stress and pain…if nothing else. How do I get a better sense of self? How do I like who I am? I’ve tried reading on the internet but my mind can’t understand it. It’s like they’re written by robots for people who can get back on their feet on their own. I’ve tried therapy too but all the counselors and psychiatrists I went to were so judgmental and really shitty.

My next question is, in what kind of a relationship can I ever let go? Where I feel like I don’t have to maintain a distance because when I get close to people (which is natural for me over time, once I’ve spent a long enough time with them), I get emotionally invested in them and I probably expect the same indirectly (I don’t spell it out but perhaps they might feel obligated because of the fact that I’m concerned about their life maybe? I guess this isn’t important to mull over. Anyway…) Or the other person just feels overwhelmed. My question is, will I always have to be this way in the future then? It seems lonely to me but I want to prepare for it from now if it’s the case. And I want to stop being a burden to those who have helped me get this far. Thank you once again.

Your second problem only exists because of your first problem.  If you didn’t feel so worthless, you wouldn’t be investing so much in others, because you’d have more of that energy invested in yourself, and they wouldn’t then feel so overwhelmed (which of course makes them want to increase distance from you).  So the first problem is the big one.

I think self-esteem comes from self-discovery.  Think about what defines you, what you enjoy, and what you want to get out of life.  What do you really value?  When you are having fun, what are you doing?  Then think of a way to get deeper into that in a way that satisfies you.  For me, that “thing” was music, so I went into serious music study and discovered all facets of music and made it a life pursuit.  Maybe for you it’s that, or maybe it’s something else.  Your life is your own, to live for yourself, not for others, so don’t worry about “the big picture” or “what the world thinks”, worry about building up “your picture”.  As you pursue this, through it you’ll find self-esteem because you’ll be able to connect more parts of yourself to something that you actually give a crap about.  Then what other people think will concern you less.


Yes, I’m a sup main.  Well picked!  On my livestreams I stream computer games sometimes between k-pop streams so if you want to see me play sup you can do it there.

After seeing Amber’s new video for Get Over It, I’m thinking she would be a good candidate for a Kpopalypse interview. It might be worth sending a few feelers her way.

Also, what are some of your favorite sneaky or not-so-sneaky songs critical of the k-pop industry?

If only I could interview anybody I wanted to, at any time!  I think it’s rational that a lot of k-pop idols don’t want to talk to me, precisely because they know that the interview will be excellent and explosive (as with ChoColat’s Melanie) because I will give them an open and respectful forum to reveal whatever they wish – for anyone working in an industry with so much secrecy, that’s a dangerous thing.  On the flip side, even once they’re done with being an idol, many ex-idols are so fucking over k-pop in general by the time they’re done with all that bullshit that they’d rather just move on with the next phase of their life and not look backward and have to rehash that shit.  I’d love to bust open some doors and really show you how it all is, because while I know a lot, nobody will believe it if I say it, that’s why I can’t do it without help – but I can’t force people to talk to me either, nor would I want to.  I can only interview those who choose to be interviewed, and only on their terms.  Anyone keen to talk to Kpopalypse about this should get in touch!

For a song critical of the idol industry, that’s also musically good, try this:

The idol biz portrayed as a torture device strapping people down.  Don’t they know it.

I’ll soon be starting my first internship (ergo, my first full-time job). I’m pretty nervous and feel like puking and I don’t even know *why*. I don’t want to mess anything up but I don’t know how to deal with adults that have been in this industry (finance) for 30-40 years now.

This specific role isn’t necessarily something I want to do for the rest of my life (tbh, it’s so specialized that I honestly don’t know what it really is, so I’m probably speaking too soon), but it’s role with a lot of exit opportunities that can kick off my career in so many directions.

Overall, I feel like all of this is mental and in my head, but I don’t know how to make myself feel better about it. How can I become more confident and relaxed when I’m terrified of this experience?

You’ll just have to “fake it until you make it”.  Speaking from a managerial perspective, the main attribute that I want out of people besides turning up and doing the job right is just basically giving a shit, so if you’ve got that part down (and obviously you do, or you wouldn’t be asking me this question) then I think you’re well on your way.  Decent empoyers actually notice when their employees give a fuck about doing a good job because it’s actually really rare!

This is something I started to think about after learning of Katie Kim leaving YG to work for the person who was in charge of producing her debut. Apparently multiple MVs have been produced for her, but she was under YG for 3 years. And then I thought of how CL has filmed multiple MVs for her umpteenth American debut, but none have been fully made public. How can a company afford to produce multiple MVs yet not promote them? Considering how much kpop MVs cost, wouldn’t it be better for the company to have to idol promote the song to a certain degree instead of sitting on it? Going back to what sparked this question, Katie will be releasing an MV soon, but there was still so much money spent on other MVs for that it seems like there is already a money sink going in. Part of me thinks that this is something only the Big 3 can afford to do.

Well yeah.  Sometimes they might look at a finished product and think that it’s not good enough, or it doesn’t fit with what they want, or whatever.  The company always has control at the end of the day and it’s about what they want to portray, not anyone else.  But you shouldn’t worry about what these companies want and what’s better for them because who cares.  Just enjoy the songs that come out (or not), and be thankful that it’s not you in the YG dungeon.

why did iron turn out to be an actual abusive shit, why couldn’t he just be a dumbass but mostly harmless bigot like every other rapper. he was the only k-rapper i could stand and now listening to him makes me sick, why can’t we have nice things

I must have missed the memo that went out that said that rappers had to be good people for other people to be able to listen to them.  Almost all rappers are a bunch of absolute cunts, that’s why they like to rap in the first place, to get their cuntiness out of their system in front of an audience.  I’ve met very few of them who are actual reasonable people.

When will a culture like this stop?

This is fucking bullshit. I know fan culture (or market demand) is also to be blamed and it isn’t just the agency’s fault. This is insane. I can’t imagine the extent of body dysmorphia idols must be facing.

It’s probably not going to stop.  Pop culture just reflects what people want to see, and in Korea what they want to see is this crazy stupid beauty standard of rake skinniness.  You don’t see this type of thing as much in countries where the beauty standards are different.  Most idols in Korea are underweight to a point that is just not healthy, it’s not just the agencies’ fault but at the same time the agencies certainly are pouring gasoline on a burning fire.  Welcome to the meat grinder.

Hello !

I’m curious if you have to choose a korean entertainment company to release music which one would you choose ? And why ?

None.  Why the fuck would I even want any Korean agency to touch anything that I would produce?  They can all get fucked.  Even if I was hypothetically in Korea I wouldn’t bother with any of them.  They’d just want to take a stupidly large cut of profits and butcher whatever I had into some bullshit, I’d rather control my own shit even if it means less audience.  Suggest anyone else into music do the same, while being independent is hard there’s never been a better time to do it, or more tools at your disposal to give it a go, if that’s what you really want to do and you really love music.  It’s certainly a lot easier to do it now than back when I was more involved in it, the technology has improved a lot in every aspect.

Lmfao this is wild so I trashed Kim Hyun Joong publicly and this girl DMs me and goes on a tirade trying to prove his innocence. She even tried to excuse his SNS – Quote “Really you’re such a pregnant freak doesn’t have anything wrong with that especially since she claims that she has been pregnant so many times and she lied about it”. She also told me that “If you cannot and refuse to look at the issue realistically and ignorantly ignore what has been going on, I cannot help you” like I was the delusional one. It was fucking hilarious. Sorry if this wasn’t a question, I just thought you might get a kick out of it! She sent the weirdest messages like “if I say you raped me in this chat, does it make it real? I could say you raped me”. It reminded me of one of your creepy ass fanfics.

Now for a real question:

Do you think boy groups make more money than girl groups, or do they make money in different ways? Everyone says that it’s a shame that boy groups are more lucrative, but I’m not sure that’s the truth. It seems to me that even if the high level boy groups sell more albums due to the crazy fangirls, albums sales don’t even provide that much earnings for anyone but EXO-level sales?

I don’t really know.  Boy groups probably have more performing opportunities, because they don’t have to maintain all that fake “cute” shit so they can go play in clubs or whatever without tarnishing their reputation.  Other than that I’d say boy groups probably make more because the fanbase for k-pop is predominantly female.  That said, there seems to be a lot of girl groups and people wouldn’t release them if they didn’t make money so I dunno.  It’s not really something worth worrying about unless you’re planning to do it yourself.  K-pop fans are way too concerned about “success” and nowhere near concerned enough about music or about how oppar probably only ate two spoonfuls of rice every day for the last week, then they go on forums and try to act all “woke” and shit about societal issues while ignoring the elephant in the room.

Comparing to the others Loona’s solos, there’s something different in the vocal mixing of KimLip’s Eclipse? I generally have got a taste for all of their songs but this one seems to actually hurt my ears everytime I try to listen and appreciate it.

No, the vocal mixing really isn’t that different, the song is just fairly monotone vocally generally, that’s probably what’s getting to you.  It’s a song where the vocal stays fairly static and the “movement” is provided by everything that happens around the vocal line.  This is pretty common in almost all pop music, but a little less so in more recent k-pop where they really try and “sell” you the vocal lines (for some dumb reason), go back to golden age era and you’ll hear more songs like this.

I’m always interested in how much idols get paid for various activities and I hope you will write more articles on this topic. Earlier this year iKON got a gig on a shopping channel where the goal was to sell 50,000 sets of meat. The 50,000 target was met so their payment was doubled as a reward. The total payment was the equivalent to USD 2100, so if they hadn’t reached the goal they would have received only USD 1050. When you take into account that iKON has 7 members and considering all the associated costs (hair & makeup, transportation, stylist, manager, etc…) it seems very little money to me. Would that amount be considered normal for that kind of work or is it low because iKON are not a top tier group? Would a popular group like Twice get offered significantly more?

I don’t really know what a shopping channel normally pays because that’s actually a pretty foreign concept where I live so I have nobody I know with any experience around it and therefore no precedent to compare it to.  But that payment seems awfully crap for any kind of TV work especially given how many units the group shifted.  I guess they really are lower tier, I’m sure a bigger group would get more money… but then the agency would probably keep it all anyway.

My (Australian) math teacher claims that ‘mate’ is pronounced differently depending on situation, ranging from m8 to mite. Is she just fucking with us or is this legit?

Well think about the word “fuck”, it has many different uses.  You can say “fuck” to sound angry, surprised, excited, sad etc… it’s all in the tone of voice.  “Mate” is similar, although people who say “mite” are usually just exaggerating a “fake” Australian accent for comic effect because no Australian actually says it that way “naturally”, only Americans when they’re trying to do Australian accents and failing.

Hi kpopalypse oppar, how are you?
I have a question regarding how I consume music and if what I experience is so common that it is used as a marketing strategy.
I know nothing about music and don’t intend to educate myself further except for your technical posts that bring me entertainment value in the form of “sure seems nice on paper but I can’t hear any damn thing you’re talking about, well, fuck it”.

To most songs (not restricted to kpop) that I hear for the first time I have a “don’t care” reaction, I can’t describe their sound and I neither think good or bad of them. This goes for the majority of stuff that I have heard (only excruciatingly slow music sounds shit to me regardless). I can’t sit through entire albums, because everything mashes together into one boring giant pulp.
So what makes me like certain songs and others not? I think it’s things that I associate with the songs, that make them stand out and suddenly they sound “good”. This could be an intriguing MV, a person I care about telling me that they like a certain song, memories of an event, overexposure, you shitting on it in a funny way etc.

Assuming that it’s not only me who perceives music in that way is this the reason for (a) crazy MVs that try hard to leave an impression (b) song review sites to be so successful and people parroting their opinion? Your roundups are supposed to work against that but they help me associate stuff with the songs and then they become “listenable”.

that’s all, thanks for sitting through this, I bow down to your determination.

The reason why people have different music taste is because people have different brain chemistry.  Music marketing, when it comes right down to it, is about trying to focus in on “chemistry points” that allow people to connect with the music.  For some that might be the sound of the music but for a lot of people it’s a lot of other things too.  It could be a cute guy or girl in a video, an association between that song and a time in their lives (like what they were doing when they first heard it or were listening to it a lot), a certain event, etc.  By using clever marketing k-pop attempts to make that type of “context association” an easier thing.  Humans generally don’t absorb sound in a vaccuum, we’re social creatures and we like context to our noise.  With k-pop churning out so many songs, there’s only so many “association points” that are relevant, so the songs fight for mental space inside your head.  With me that might be a good mental space, or a bad one and then it gets on a worst-of list, but drawing entertainment out of something “bad” isn’t “bad” in itself, and my negative lists probably actually help people discover new music just as much as the positive ones, because it creates a reason to care about what you’re hearing.

I’ve been obsessed with this song and video for a month now (and I don’t even like Bollywood it just showed up in my recommendation list). What do you think about it? (I suggest listening to it really loud with headphones on).

MIA always has amazing video concepts (although this fanmade video isn’t one of them) but is musically tedious to me.  This type of music probably sounds great at peak volume in a club at 3am if you’re on serious drugs but that’s not how I prefer to listen to music so I think the effect is kind of lost on me.

If kpop idols can get plastic surgery and autotune, why do companies need auditions at all? Wouldn’t it be easier to grab random people off the street willing to sign your slave contract, send them to the Gangnam fairy and edit any mistakes away?

You still need some kind of clue and drive to be able to do it, and most auditions are mainly about the dancing anyway.  The people who you see in k-pop train like fuck to get to that point, just to get how to move and act looking right.  Just watch any amateur group of teens try to do the same thing and you can see there’s a pretty wide skill gulf.

What would be your advice for writing a good, memorable melody?

Don’t try to do too much.  Look at other melodies that people have written that are good, what you will find is that there’s not as much to them as what first appears.  Nobody cares about technique and “money note” showing off, what catches people is a good hook that they can still sing along to while drunk and/or high.

Why did you boycott Netizenbully only now? Oppar have high tolerance to stupid bullshit sites, maybe?

Actually I do – I have to, otherwise k-pop would be impossible to follow given that almost every single site out there is varying shades of absolute crap.  It’s not entirely their fault, the source media is utter rubbish too of course.  But this is why I haven’t become a “news” site, there IS no news, there’s only two things – music, and bullshit.  The fact that Shampoobuzz got to such popularity levels by ignoring the actual articles and translating the retarded imbecile comments instead just goes to show how absolutely bereft of worth the original content is.  Also, the site did have some redeeming features once – the editorial content used to be pretty decent and thoughtful (when the site owner wasn’t cuntragging about being a T-ara anti or Block B stan), but these days there’s pretty much none of that and it’s just lame gossip for clicks.  She can do without my traffic just fine I think, I’ll reassess in 6 years.

Kpopalypse Hyung,

is there ever going to be a part 6 of your “best boobs in kpop” series? I need new fap material 😦
Thanks, an internet hobo

This list comes out at about the same time every year, and remains probably the most popular and most consistently misunderstood content on this site to this day, which is hilarious.

honestly this should be on ask.fm but i forgot my password… lovelyz covered jang nara’s “sweet dream” on the _sugar man_ music variety show yesterday:

i know it’s not eligible for roundup but thought it was worth noting. i’ve enjoyed some of the _sugar man_ covers because they often do good arrangements of those “dark age” songs with, of course, drastically-improved production

I don’t like this as much as the original.  I like the addition of guitar and a rock beat in the Lovelyz cover but what I don’t like is that they’ve made some of the harmony more complicated unnecessarily and it weakens the song.  This is the same problem that a lot of k-pop remixes have – if the original song was a hit, change the instruments and production if you must but don’t fuck with the harmony that made it work!  The original has a beautiful simplicity that is partly lost here.

Any thoughts on this video essay?

A lot of people asked me about this, so I finally got around to listening to it all.  I generally don’t disagree with any of it and don’t have much to add!

hello cao ni ma! can you please explain what exactly makes a ballad a ballad? also is jiyeon’s “never ever” a ballad?

Explain ballads – yes.

Jiyeon’s “Never Ever” I’d probably call a “mid-paced” ballad.  Although the line is a bit hazy there.

Kpopalypse oppar!
How are you? How is Stiglitz?
I have two questions for you.
1) Did you watch Eurovision this year? If you didn’t, just remember that cyprus was robbed 😦

2) How do I get my hardcore ARMY friends to listen to other groups? Is it too late? Will I have to let them go? WILL THEY FOREVER INSIST ON DNA BEING THE BEST SONG THEY EVER DID????? It doesn’t help that they had a comeback this month.

Stay healthy,
A faithful cao ni ma

  1. No.
  2. I wouldn’t worry about it.  You’ve got better shit to do, surely.

I am good and so is Stiglitz who is running around the house like crazy and annoying my girlfriend by preventing her from sleeping.

I’ve noticed that during some live stages, some group members use handheld mics whilst others use headsets. Sometimes there is a “”reason””, e.g. rappers use handheld mics to give them street cred. However, sometimes the allocation of mics seems to be quite random (e.g. this dreamcatcher performance). Why does this happen?

I’ve answered this before but I can’t remember where.  Rappers don’t use handheld mics for street cred, they use handheld mics because rap has such an emphasis on being “on the microphone” that it seems silly for them not to hold one (even if half of them don’t know how to actually use one).  As for groups generally better singers get handheld mics for reasons outlined here.  However in some cases it might be a purely visual decision (whoever has the more demanding dance routines will get the headset) or a purely practical one (not enough of one type to go around, or maybe equipment failure behind the scenes).

Hi Kpopalypse! Long time reader and big time fan of your fanfics here. Recently for fun, I’ve been blending my newswriting technique and creative writing to write satirical Kpop news, but I always feel low on inspiration or ideas on how to improve my work. I really admire the creative ways you convey your messages, and I was wondering if you had any advice for a rookie satire writer.

(P.S. Star Date #Irene may be your most succinct punch-in-the-face story yet, one of my favorites next to Art of Thought and Any Armys Here. I can’t wait for your next piece!)

All I can say is that if you’re basing it on k-pop news, most k-pop news isn’t actual news.  Even the stuff that is news usually isn’t news.  I think the only reason why a k-pop version of “The Onion” hasn’t emerged is that given the stupidity of real k-pop news sites it would be legitimately too difficult to tell apart a satirical article from a real one in a lot of cases.

This may sound weird, but I really enjoy kpop songs where there’s way too much going on — too many layers of music, production attempting to do too much at once, etc. to the point where the human ear can barely keep up with it. Would you recommend me some?

Er, most of it?  But if you want a good song as well (gosh, don’t some folks want it all) I’d recommend almost everything by April which fits this description pretty well.

From your experience, what do singers think about lip syncing? The opinions I hear on the topic are from listeners and audience members. I am curious what people who sing (and/or lip sync) in front of audiences think about this.

Depends which singers we’re talking about, in what field.  Many singers feel that it’s cheating… until they’re put in a position where they might be doing it, and then they change their tune pretty quickly from “I would never do that” to “you should never lipsync unless you have a reason”.  It’s incredible how people’s ideology has a way of shifting to the position that is the most convenient for them at any given moment!

Hey Kpopalypse!
A band I like, called Movning, recently released their second EP and it’s alright overall. The first song on it is called Little Fighters. While I like the song, I prefer the version they released last year on their first EP. Why would a group, especially an pretty unknown group, re-release a song? The two versions aren’t even drastically different and it hasn’t even been that long since the release of the first version. The only reason I can imagine is that the group thinks a slightly altered version (although worse imo) will be more popular.

I love questions that answer themselves – you are right, of course.  Crayon Pop did this too, Bing Bing was actually given three versions (one as the early “Hurricane Pop” line up) and Dancing Queen got two.  Nugu groups do this often when they feel that the song logically should have been a hit but just wasn’t marketed right, so they spruce it up a bit, ad a bit of sparkle and try again.

Hey there. When it comes to title tracks in K-Pop, which five/ten (maybe more) groups/artists have the highest hit/miss ratio when it comes to good K-pop songs? If you can, maybe a list of groups/artists with the lowest hit/miss ratio is appreciated but it’s okay if you don’t want to.

Here’s my prediction to both of these lists:

1. T-ara
2. Rania
3. After School
4. Nine Muses/Shannon

1. CSJH The Grace
2. Little PSY
3. Keith Ape
4. Urban Zakapa
5. Pungdeng-E (?)

Those are just my predictions, tell me if I got it right, or if not, tell me who would place in where.

I actually cover some of this in my ask.fm common questions FAQ but I didn’t cover “lowest”.  I try not to think about that.  You list seems reasonably accurate but I’d have to “check” and I really don’t want to.

Why do u dislike brave Bros but like jyp? They both make such monotonous songs

I don’t dislike Brave Brothers.  They have both good songs and bad, and lately have definitely been veering more towards good.  Brave Brothers are actually visible on my favourites lists often.  However there was a time (about 2011-2013) where Brave Brothers were churning out a lot of really dull samey stuff in a row so I called that out at the time.  I’m honest about whether I feel a composer is doing well or badly, but for reasons previously stated in Qrimole many times I don’t actually bother to keep track of who composes what most of the time.  I’m not a “composer fan”.  It’s just the Brave Brothers make it so obvious all the time that they are composing with their hype and their distinctive intros, so they tend to get discussed more.  Also see JYP, Groovyroom.

Are your weekly round-ups ranked?

The FAQ for Kpopalypse Roundup has been updated with some clarity around this!

Hi, Oppar! Thank you for all your enlightening posts about kpop and life.
My question is that why do people somehow think that BigHit’s CEO is a cute, cuddly man who doesn’t primarily think about profit? They go on and on about how he gives so much freedom to BTS and is only concerned with bringing out “authentic” music. I, for one, think that’s Grade A BS and BTS are controlled within an inch of their lives, now more than ever.
What do you think?
P.S.Hope you and your cat are doing well.

I think some people are just really good at marketing and manipulating public perception.  Just because your favourite idol gets caught on TV saying “don’t black people sound funny when they talk” and BTS don’t, doesn’t mean that BTS are smarter or better, it just means that the screws are really fucking tight on those guys.  Imagine what a serious BTS controversy would do to them at this point.  Their CEO is probably shitting bricks every fucking day, trying to get those young adults to reign in their natural young adult tendencies.

Stiglitz is doing well, make sure to check out the Kpopalypse livestreams for semi-regular cat updates!

In Sweden there is a childrens show called Mamma mu (mother moo) and its about a cow who acts like a human and has a crow sidekick. Whenever I hear about the group Mamamoo I think of that show. What do you think of that? Do you think anyone has ever informed Mamamoo about this show?

I had to check that this was real, and it is.  I think all Mamamoo fans should be informed immediately.  Since they all follow my writing very closely, I’m sure that this blog post will be sufficient.

hi there! i hope you’re doing well, and if not, pull through!

recently i’ve been thinking about how morally correct it is to actually write fanfiction about real people, for example not of black widow but of scarlett johansson. not that the moral nuances of writing fanfiction in the long run matters that much in the grand scheme of things, but overthinking is a hobby of mine. i’m a fanfiction writer myself because i don’t know how else to release my emotional frustration towards kpop idols. anyway.

so i feel like when people write fanfiction about real people it dehumanises them in the sense that you are essentially creating a fictional character out of a real person that you actually don’t know at all, kind of like if i tried to write about you in a fanfic. while this isn’t necessarily an area of concern, there are certain tropes that exist and get recycled heavily within certain fandoms and especially within the more immature cluster of fans who are either quite new to the fandom or just weren’t blessed with a decent amount of brain cells to begin with. for example it’s quite easy to find hundreds and hundreds of fanfics detailing how bts’s jimin is a daddy-loving lingerie-wearing submissive baby boy simply because he’s the cute one in the group and gets put in chokers all the time. am i judging the writer’s obvious daddy kink? no, because at this point in the human timeline having a daddy kink is as normal as saying you love bubble tea, and neither am i trying to say that bts’s jimin definitely isn’t a daddy-loving lingerie-wearing submissive baby boy because i wouldn’t know any better, but when you have so many fanfics that characterise a real person so specifically, doesn’t this idea somehow become normalised and accepted within the community? and wouldn’t that affect the group mentality towards the real person? kind of like the self-fulfilling prophecy except with other people.

in my english literature course i’m studying a book in which the main male character uses his wife as a means of artistic expression in order to show off his poeticism and creativity, and doesn’t actually know a lot about who she really is, and doesn’t seem to genuinely appreciate or love her either. she’s basically just a tool for him to use to express his art. this is kind of what fanfiction about real people feels like on occasion, especially if it’s written terribly.

do you read enough kpop fanfiction to realise what i’m talking about? i could probably write pages and pages of what i’m referring to but there really is no point. just wanted to know if you have an opinion on this, or have anything to add to or disagree with. thanks!

I don’t really read other people’s fanfiction much, no.  I try and avoid it so as not to have it influence my own writing style. However there are some fanfictions out there with me in them (aside from the ones I wrote myself) and I think they are hilarious.  Any reader definitely has permission to put me in any fictional story of theirs that they want.  I don’t care how negative/derogatory/crazy you get with it as long as it’s clearly marked as fiction.  Just do it!  As for my own writing I think most people “get” what I’m trying to do with the characterisation, none of it is designed to reflect on the idols negatively (even when the characterisations are negative), it’s more about cutting through fan perceptions about what being an “idol” really means, as well as making certain plot points and underlying concepts work.

1) Are you into any bands right now that aren’t kpop? And are there any bands you like that you would recommend that aren’t kpop?

2) I took two theory classes this year and my brain hurts and I haven’t made music since. Why did I think it was a good idea.

3) Do you think there are idols out there that would’ve tried to be involved in music in someway, like being a DIY musician or something, if they hadn’t become an idol? I know a lot of kids are attracted to the idol lifestyle and somehow are willing to go through years of training to become one, but I just kind of wonder if they are the same people that would still be passionate enough about music to try to make music on their own as a part time job or as a hobby.

  1. Yes, covered here.
  2. Not sure, see Kpopalypse for all your music theory needs.  I have music theory posts planned.
  3. I’m sure there are, but it’s the “opportunity cost” of being an idol that probably prevents them in a lot of cases.  By the time they’re done with the idol bullshit they’ll be lucky if the desire to be involved in music in any way whatsoever hasn’t been 100% leached from their bones.

Hello Kpopalypse oppa!!

What are your opinions on the kpop generational system? (you know, the one where 1st generation is like S.E.S and Seo Taiji and 4th Generation is like Blackpink and NCT) If you give a shit, when do you think 4th generation will end?

What generational system, really.  There’s no official source for it or consensus on when generations begin and end, I’m not convinced that it’s anything other than what a bunch of fans with too much time on their hands made up so they could have “MY generation is the best” fanwars.

If you don’t mind me asking, why don’t you ever make any “Best Of…” lists for individual music artists? Personally, I’ve been eager to see a list of your favourite T-ara or f(x) songs. They haven’t officially disbanded, but we both know that these groups are finished.

Actually I do a mini one of these for each plagiarism post that I do.  However the reason why I don’t bother to do this generally for individual music artists is because I’m trying to drill into people’s thick skulls the idea that following a specific group is not really a musical concern in k-pop, due to the way the product is produced.

Why is the kpop fandom obsessed with “crazy fangirls” but completely forget about the 30-40 year old creeps who follow and stalk girl groups (most of them with underaged members)? for example, there was an “anti kpop fangirl” blog, but I have never seen an “anti kpop fanboy” countrpart. People think it only happens to “innocent” concept groups like Gfriend but I can confirm all types of girlgroups have creeps following them. Even a member of 9muses had to call out a “fan” for taking upskirt photos of her. I’m not saying that men should only like musicians of their exact same age, but in the case of idols, we’re all here only for their looks and fake personalities, let’s be honest, deep down no one gives a shit about “talent”. The music is only a plus, and I’m getting so creeped out whenever I see Twice perform and you can only hear grown ass dude chanting for them. Or the nugu girlgroups who perform in front of the military… I can’t watch those kind of performances without gagging.

Maybe I’m biased here because I only follow girlgroups, so I’m not too acquainted with the truly extreme boyband stans, but I would honestly take screaming fangirls over dudes like, the Apink stan who was literally sending bomb threats because Apink went on a fake dating show. Or the fragile boys who were burning Red Velvet’s Irene’s photos because she mentioned reading a book about feminism. Or the japanese idol fans who also burn pictures and merchandise whenever one of their precious idols is found having a boyfriend, like what in the actual fuck? (at least in kpopland no one gets kicked out of their groups just for dating)

I think young fangirls get the most attention because there are more of them, and they are more visible (i.e louder), and that’s where so much of the marketing energy of k-pop is focused.  Crazy “uncle” fans do get some attention too (if they didn’t, you wouldn’t even be able to cite the instances that you did in the second paragraph you wrote), but what doesn’t get that much attention as far as I can tell is very mature age women who follow very young boy groups, that’s a thing too.

As for “we’re all here only for their looks and fake personalities” – speak for yourself only!  If I wasn’t in it primarily for the music I certainly wouldn’t have a fucking radio show where you can’t even see anything, I’d be a v-logger instead.  Yes I certainly don’t mind it if there are attractive women in groups, and I will call it if I see it because I’m also a pervert and if it’s fine for girls to perv on a hot guy’s abs it’s fine for me to look too, but I don’t really give that much of a fuck.  That’s why I have the “MRS” acronym for “meets required standards”.  I think it’s so fucking funny how people lose their shit so crazily over a pretty girl (like those military guys), so rather than losing my own shit when someone else mentions some girl in a group, I just flick out “MRS”, it’s a way to say “yeah she’s attractive – so fucking what?  Lots of women are attractive.”  I’m an old motherfucking dude in a long-term relationship (8 years) with the hottest woman ever in existence (to me), these skinny k-pop girls don’t blow me away, not even the most attractive ones.  And that “fake personalities” shit can go and fucking die in a fire, I’d rather see their real personalities.  I know it would never happen and I wouldn’t expect it to, but that’s what I’d personally prefer rather than some fake bullshit that some dickhead CEO in a company thinks I want.  Seriously.

You say you hate jazz, and for the most part I can relate, but there’s some funky jazz out there I really like. Example: Is this something you like or hate? (just curious)

Hate it.  All that “wicka wacka” turntable shit can’t cover up the lack of a song.

Hi oppar!

Firstly, how are you? I hope you’re doing fine and are looking forward to the summer vacation (which I hope you have some of).

I have been wanting to ask you a question before, but haven’t really had anything to ask about. However, I have come across this female artist, REOL, which I would like to hear your opinion about. I know you usually just do kpop and think jpop is boring shit, which I usually agree with, however I think this girl makes some solid music.

I really like her Sigma album, especially the songs YoiYoi Kokon, Detarame Kidding and VIP Kid. I was wondering what you think about her music? And don’t worry, I have been a reader for so long that your opinion doesn’t bother me. I have just been curious about what you’d think about her music for some time and thought I should ask.

Have a good day

Not everybody lives in the northern hemisphere.  Stop waving your northern hemispherian privilege and mild weather at me, it’s cold down here!

I’ve only heard bits of REOL and I don’t like it at all.  Maybe this is something Jpopalypse would like.  I’ve said it before so many times and I’ll say it again: Japanese are rubbish at making pop music.  They’re good at other styles (generally the weirder the style, the better they are at it), but pop music, no.  Keep Japanese people as far the fuck away from making commercial pop as possible.

hi oppar? how are you?
ok this can be pretty long and previously I just wanted to write some stuff about kpop (pretty long, too) but recently happened something that pissed me off (as it always does). this is not a question, just a plaint (and obviously you can’t help with that).
my mom’s husband has gone off me for at least 30 minutes. he was drunk and calling me bitch cunt etc etc was telling me that I’m nothing (and don’t deserve even kiss his feets) and that maybe should I kill myself (yikes he told me this) and he was continuing with his rant for a long (it has felt like it was for hours) and then he ended up with “you’re like my own daughter I’ll always love you and shit” which was completely opposite for his previous screamo. aand I forget to say while I was trying to say him (while he was screaming) he was twisting my words in his own way and basically just ignoring what I said. then he continued with my mom (this was way worse and he threatened to beat her and I feel shame because I was too scared to protect her) he was easily offended by every she said to him (she never swears btw and she didn’t say anything degrading/insulting to him like he did with us) and again twisted her words and called her bitch cunt etc etc
more importantly, he doesn’t even feel like he said something wrong and probably next day will forget half of this shit he has said when both of us (me and mom) will remember this for weeks or even months and these words have meant nothing to him, he just was a drunk mess and need to go off on someone.
he has never beaten me (mom’s [grandmother, aunt too] done this to me, actually, when I was a kid or teen and this probably will hurt me forever but she’s never, NEVER degraded or insulted me like that).
maybe I’m taking offense too seriously but shit like this happens EVERY SINGLE TIME omfg since I was a child. he always has some reasons like when I was younger he’s saying that I hate him/my family/etc and i’m lazy bitchcunt who doesn’t want to do anything, now that because I’m grown adult and should earn money and help my family and why do I even live there (i used to work for 10 months last year and it kinda fucked up my health and I was stressed out so I quitted the job and came to college).
he has a huuuge victim complex (and probably ego) and trying to play like we hate him. he always does stuff like this only when he’s drunk and I’m pretty sure partly mom agreed with him and thinks he’s just drunk and not abusive asshole at all because, OF COURSE! he acts this way only because he’s drunk.
I already hate myself and after this, I hate myself even more and I can’t stop to blame myself for whatever reason and at this point, nobody will say I’m not guilty (because, again, sure, partly mom probably blames me for ruining their perfect marriage). mother will never divorce him (today even he threatened her to divorce) and i.. just can’t help this.
sorry this was pretty long (way longer than expected before I wrote) and messy and repetitive and I can sound illiterate or dumb because I’m not fluent in english XXX

You’re a grown adult so maybe you should investigate moving out of this situation like, ASAP.  He’s right on one count only – you should earn yourself some money so you can get the fuck out of there and go rent a place!  Just because your dickhead mom’s husband is suggesting it doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea.  Trust me your life will improve exponentially in every way possible as soon as you move out of home (except financially hahaha – but that’s what the job is for).

Hi, I’m just a casual reader here for some years now and I kinda need to understand something.

I got into kpop around 2012 and from that year to maybe 2015 I was what the kids call now multifandom. I enjoyed lots of groups and almost every single release sounded good.
But in 2016 I completely left kpop for no good reason b u t, in 2017 decided to go back I got completely hooked on BTS album Wings and since that time I can only enjoy their songs I think this is some brainwash bs bighit is doing, I’m scared.

BTS’s songs aren’t radically different to any other songs in k-pop.  They just have really good marketing and so their fandom and profile has really gathered steam.  The fact that you liked more or less everything from 2012 to 2015 suggests to me that maybe you have been swept up in the “image” side of k-pop (which is understandable – it’s such a strong image after all, and that’s what it’s designed to do) and now you’re swept up into BTS’s image – as an antidote you could probably start thinking about music differently.  When you like a song (whether from BTS or whoever) try to think about why you like it, musically.  Then go looking for that, elsewhere.

1.Are you doing well?

2. So, just to be clear, you think that a pansori vocalist would most likely not have problems trying to sing western music than a singer trained with the supposedly adequate western singing technique?
I’m not sure if I understand your argument. To me, in the aforementioned case above, it seems that for someone aiming to sing western music, training any largely distinct technique (like pansori) are most LIKELY to induce impairment than western music techniques.
I might be wrong, but it seems to me that, crazy people you have already highlighted aside, some people here don’t actually agree with you not because they don’t think any technique can damage vocal chords, but because you seem to ignore the difference between the impairment’s probability according to the ways one can sing.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but in analogies, the discussion seems to me like that:
Caonimas: Oppa smokes are smoking too much cigars. He should drink alcohol only.
Kpopalypse: Both cause cancer, you know.
Caonimas: Cancer is more possible with cigars. Alcohol can fuck it up too, but at least is less likely than cigars.

3. When I was in my high school choir, the vocal coach always yelled at us to raise the projection, since we’re already in tune with the song’s proposed melodies. The problem started when we tried to raise the projection, each one of the members started to “slip” in the notes sooner or later in the piece, destroying the group’s equalization.
We can rarely see this in k-pop nowadays, since most live presentations have less natural projection imbued, but it is not so rare in pop singers famous for their “big” voices (even in solo parts)
You think that there’s a possibility to some of that singers, conscious of that limitation, resort to vocal wanking to actually hide the lack of control they have in the trickiest parts of their songs?

4. You probably are not aware, but Yves from Loona are probably some type of deity or wannabe-deity in the loonaverse theory. Wouldn’t she would make a fine new receptacle to your faith? Accept the Apple while you can, oppar.

Hugs from a Southern Hemisphere Brazilian caonima

  1. Yes.
  2. What you’re ignoring is the way the pansori point relates to the central point.  There’s a whole lot of information in the original point about why a k-pop career as one member of a group isn’t going to damage your voice.  K-pop signing really is the most tiny, piddling amount of “vocal activity”, the idea that someone like Rose is damaging her voice from singing is laughable (especially given how much rest Blackpink get these days hahaha).  Pansori is just there to demonstrate scale and highlight this.
  3. No.  They have microphones right on front of their faces.  They don’t need projection.  It’s different for a choir, that actually does have to project if they’re relying on room ambience only.
  4. I’d rather not adopt someone else’s religion, I’m quite capable of forming my own!  That way, I get to keep all the money.  All religions are dirty trash designed to keep people in line and fleece them of their money, time, free will and aptitude for critical thought, it’s always better to be the boss in that type of scenario!

it’s so sad that bts is going downhill with their music comeback after comeback, I used to really like them, but my appreciation for them diminutes every single comeback. interestingly enough, the song you like from them (war of hormone) is produced by the same guy who did and still does all their other crap, pdogg. by this point, their company already realized that any crap they do will be hyped by fans, so, other than promoting that the members are getting more “involved in production” (whatever they really do there, maybe it’s just changing a word in their songs, really), they ain’t really making any effort even to do good music since they know anything they put out will sell. I don’t know whether your input in j-hope’s daydream was positive or just “it was not great, but it was better than their other crap since 2014”, but that song was produced by the same previously mentioned dude: pdogg. hence, shows he’s actually able of doing better than he normally does for the group’s album releases, but doesn’t. what’s sadder is that this song was for a parallel project worked in the spare time, because it’s not their priority. even j-hope’s “mixtape” sounds more cohesive than their latest album and it makes me question even more what their company’s thoughts are other than “their fans are stupid, just give them some trash music and they’ll still hype it”. some of the members show genuine want to keep doing music, and I really feel bad for them because I don’t know if the company is castrating them, if they can’t really do anything other than write some of the lyrics or if they’re… just really bad at it and in addition are learning from people who don’t really care about making good music. thanks for having this space, oppar, I can’t really talk about it openly without having my liver eaten by armeries, so it’s good to let it out sometimes 🙂

Why are you even worrying yourself about this.  Seriously, there are better uses of your mental energy.

BTS are right now big enough to suffer from what I call “Rebecca Black syndrome”.  They’re gaining extra market traction simply because all the people who don’t like them that much just can’t fucking stop talking about them, and all that talk is what’s gaining them a bunch of new fans wondering what the fuss is about.  Really, they’re one of the least interesting k-pop groups, they have one good song, no bad songs and a ton of seriously average songs.  If you like BTS, please continue to enjoy and discuss them, and if you don’t, probably the best thing you can do for your own mental health is to discuss something else and not send big rants into my Qrimole about how they’ve lost their way or whatever.

I’ve heard something called “meme songs”, well-known songs only because of a specific thing or event that became of part of a meme. There are tons of those, especially in these videos (1 2 3). If you can, you could check that out. Now here’s the question: without knowing yet what the videos may have, do you know any of them? If yes, do you somehow like them, and are you okay with them being used for cheap jokes and slapstick humor?

(By the way, there are lots more in YT, you could check them if you can)

Actually the large majority of the songs you’ve linked were extremely well known before the “meme” or whatever bullshit boring Internet humour they were paired with.  Most of the songs you’ve linked were popular hit songs when they were released. They probably wouldn’t have even become “meme songs” in the first place if they weren’t popular before the meme was created, because whoever was creating it probably wouldn’t have had it occur to them to use those songs.

Am I okay with it?  I don’t really care what people do.  Sometimes I use a bit of “meme stuff” in my posts but generally speaking I’d rather create humour under my own terms than someone else’s.  A meme is basically retelling someone else’s joke, which is useful if you’re someone with a small amount of wit, but if you’re clever you should be able to tell your own jokes, even if they’re dumb jokes like mine.

Check this video first, then answer the following questions:

1. Can you agree with this whole “saturation” stuff?
2. In your opinion, which groups need to change their material soon, and which are you comfortable with?
3. Does that apply to other groups that are not mentioned?
4. Would that affect the whole industry if not done at a certain time, imo?
5. Would there be consequences in changing concepts?

  1. No.
  2. Anyone still doing tropical shithouse would be wise to quit that shit for the good of humanity.  Anything else I can handle.
  3. No.
  4. No.
  5. Yes.

The video is just dumb speculation by someone who is obviously just a fan that has no real clue about anything, but “would just like some change”.  The groups mentioned do the same concepts over and over because they fucking work, it’s what most people want.  If you’ve developed a fanbase doing thing A, changing to thing B is always a risk.  K-pop is very “risk averse”, they don’t like taking chances, and why fix what isn’t broken.  Twice got to be the #1 girl group by constantly doing pretty much the same shit over and over.  Why change now?  It makes much more sense for a nugu group to change.  Minx changing to Dreamcatcher was smart because it gave them a fresh concept that set them apart from everything else in k-pop, now they’re slowly building an audience that as Minx they might not have been able to.  It’s smart to change things if they don’t work, but don’t change things if they do work!

The exception here is that groups will sometimes change to a more “mature” image as they get older, with the expectation that their fans have also grown up with the group and are ready for the change.  Sometimes this transition works well but sometimes it doesn’t, it’s usually not worth the risk unless necessary.  Several well known western pop artists have completely shat on once-successful careers by attempting this type of transition at the wrong time, or in a way that just didn’t work.  So you usually won’t see these type of changes in k-pop groups unless the group’s company is really in serious trouble keeping the group afloat and feels the need to play an “all or nothing” card (think Stellar’s “Marionette“).

All in all, why give a shit though.  Who gives a fuck about industry marketing strategies.  People need to stop caring about this stuff.

Hello oppar,

Not a question; just wanted to say thanks for the help figuring out the chords in the bridge for WJSN’s song. 😀

P.S. In the 3rd part of the first line where you said it was “Am7 Cm,” I tried it and “Adim7b5 D” seems to fit in better, based on the bass note.

You could be right, I haven’t checked.  Do what works for your ear!

Hey yo, how you doing? I don’t know if this is a question worth answering but here it goes;

Okay so I’ve been wondering about how kpop groups get paid compared to western artists.
I know that kpop companies invest a lot of money into their artists and most groups don’t get paid for years because they haven’t broke even yet. But what if groups never break even and they work their asses off and never see the benefits? They would go their whole contract without seeing a cent. Surely that can’t be right.

I know most western artists are solo performers but does this also happen in the western music industry?

If they never break even then they never break even.  They exit the contract with no money (and maybe a bill, depending on the contract).  It happens all the time.  Remember Melanie from ChoColat who only earned $12.

I’m sure many of you have by now seen this chart:

This chart is deceptive and doesn’t really reflect how bleak things are because it doesn’t break down that key “average” and “lower 90%” section.  It’s not like the top of the 90% earns $16k and the very bottom earns $4k (neither of which are a liveable wage), it’s vastly more skewed than that.  If they were to break it all down into fragments with an accurate bell curve, what you would see is that the average return for the majority of lower tier “k-pop idols” is under $100 over an entire career.  Out of all the nugus probably the ones that do make a bit of money are the ones who are on the “adult” end of the spectrum and go dance in strip clubs – that stuff pays better than being “cute”.  Who knows how much of that money they’re allowed to keep, though.

Why do people who have no idea how to run a company or manage an idol group or have any musical knowledge whatsoever go into the music industry business? They probably see these young aspiring kids as a way to make a quick buck but they don’t even care about the idols themselves.

So many talented groups are forgotten or underrated because of mismanagement ( TS ) and keeping idols in the dungeon forever ( * ahem* YG ).

Why do kpop CEO’s have no idea how to properly run a company or promote their groups? Is it like this in other music industries? I’m baffled, honestly.

You don’t need musical knowledge to be a manager in the music business.  You need management knowledge.  The average k-pop fan is in no way qualified to discuss k-pop CEOs and whether they possess adequate managerial skills, they wouldn’t even know 1% of what is actually involved.  All fans see is songs coming out with a certain image and a certain timeframe, and news/gossip nobody cares about being doled out and then responded to in a certain timeframe and in a certain way.  That’s not enough to judge.  Having said that, a lot of k-pop managers are arch fuckheads who don’t give two shits about the people they’re promoting but that’s a separate issue from making business decisions.  We don’t know if holding back Blackpink for a while is the right business decision or not, maybe if they came out six months ago there may have been a reason why they would have flopped.  Maybe they had no good songs.  Maybe one of the members had a personal issue.  Who knows.  It’s easy to look back after it’s all over and say “yeah they fucked it up” but while it’s happening labels have to judge a whole lot of factors that aren’t obvious.  Also keep in mind that there may be all sorts of internal pressures that you can’t see.  Fans should stay the fuck out of the “I know what’s best for companies” game, the knowledge they have to judge anything accurately is non-existent.  Even the people in these companies tasked with the job of making these decisions often have a really hard time making them, because in the music business everything is such a gamble.  This ties into the answer to a previous question above – this is why when companies do get onto a winning formula, they tend to stick with it rather than change it, because they know how rare such a formula is.  Do you think the guy who made the “saturation” video above should be in charge of a k-pop company, does he know more than JYP?  I bet he thinks he does, but let me tell you, he’d probably put a lot of people out of work over there very quickly.  Also see “Suzy’s Cuts“.

Hello Oppar,

Firstly, I love your V-Files. As someone who was ‘vocally trained’ for 7+ years as a choir student, I have to agree with a lot of what you say; I think if I tried to become a pop singer using my ‘technically correct’ vocals I would sound super boring! I wonder if those vocalfag’s realize that if they somehow forced their favorite k-pop (or any pop) idol to sing ‘technically correct’ that their voice would likely become so much less unique (assuming that the vocals are their own voice to begin with ahem) since you’d forcing them into a singing technique that wasn’t meant for pop music at all! I think this is the point you try to make, anyway. Besides, all techniques are different for a reason. Choir technique is gonna be different from stage technique because they require different results, so trying to fit whatever technique vocalfag’s use (classical, maybe?) over fucking pop is really stupid because the result for pop vocals shouldn’t be classical sounding, y’know? Sorry, I got kinda ranty there.

Also wanted to agree that resonance sounds like a bastardized term. It was never used in my choir class, at least not in relation to anything we had to do while singing. Maybe resonate with each other? Can you resonate with other vocals? Isn’t that blending? My best assumption of this fabled ‘resonance’ is ‘a singer is hitting every note perfectly to produce the best sounding note at perfect volume for that singer’s voice’ but that sure as hell isn’t resonance, and it’s also subjective as all hell. Sorry. Very ranty today.

I do have a question, though! My friend and I were discussing this the other day. Do you think it’s common practice to teach idols to read sheet music? On one hand, I could see how it wouldn’t be needed (just give them a guide to sing over, or have them practice their vocal pitches in a certain song over and over, or have them sing it then cut/blend/autotune/replace their voice in post-production, etc.) but on the other hand, sheet music is really the only way to actually read music and show a physical representation of how notes relate to each other, and if idols receive even a small amount of singing lessons, I don’t see why it wouldn’t include that. Your thoughts?

Thanks for reading all of this! I hope you’re doing well!

Good question, I don’t know the answer.  I imagine that in some cases they would already know how (i.e IU who was a multi-instrumentalist before she was an idol) but I also know that when I work with singers myself and train them vocally (yes you read that right, unlike all you vocalfaggots I just don’t make a big fucking deal about it) I don’t use sheet music because it’s too time-consuming.  It’s often far quicker to just play them a recording of whatever it is you want them to do, then listen to them do it and coach them around that, pick up their weak spots or where they’re not hitting the right notes etc.  A good coach can help a singer get the right performance without sheet music, because the brain is where the action really happens.  If I need to write out something for them I’ll just write it out in a similar way to the tabs posts, if I want an E I’ll just write “E” etc.  Also singers in a multi-vocalist group tend to be pretty good at helping each other, they don’t tend to learn in isolation but will collaborate to get it right.  So it wouldn’t be necessary for everyone to read sheet music.  But then Koreans seem to love learning and being in school so who knows.

Can you explain what it is about the melodies and harmonies used in J-Pop that make it sound so uniquely like J-pop? I feel like I often hear notes and harmonies that I just never hear anywhere else. At times it can even be a bit startling or jarring, although over the years I have gotten used to it and come to enjoy it.

Why all these questions for Jpopalypse, seriously.

Partly it’s actually texture, j-pop tends to prefer all this really twee instrumentation and vocal texturing (even in their heavy metal lol).  Also j-pop tends to favour more complex harmonic changes.  I’m unsure why this is.  You hear it in k-pop too actually, although to a lesser extent.  It’s certainly not there all the time, but it’s more common than western pop where really weird harmonic shifts is just never heard at all, ever.  Not that anybody cares because nobody listens to j-pop because it’s all garbage and the three people who do like it can’t even fucking find the songs they like anyway because Japanese labels are such cunts and are determined for their own artists to not be popular in any way.  Fuck j-pop.

Not really a question but Leez, one of the guys who co-wrote basically every dreamcatcher song except “Fly High,” has a YouTube channel with him singing some demos, all in English for some reason.

From his insta he seems to be Korean and never posts in English, but I was thinking if he knows enough English to write those demos, maybe he also knows enough to do an interview with you?

(I asked him some annoying questions about it in a YT comment but I lack the determination to do an interview lol. Also if you do post this, feel free to edit it down if you want to).

I’d be happy to interview him if he wanted to.  However I don’t want to drag people into my interviews.  People should do it if THEY want to do it.

oppar… i just want to let you know… jaehyo isn’t really a victim. everyone in block b except the guy with the gravelly voice is older than zico and have been giving him shit for years. now that zico has more creative control and is probably telling the camera man not to point at jaehyo, he’s just getting back at jaehyo for years of jaehyo calling him ugly and saying he has no game and generally using ‘hyung’ status to take the piss out of him on camera. zico’s just getting even. (at least i think, i watched their variety shows years ago)

also, what are the top three things raina could do to redeem herself in your bias list? aside from the obvious, release a fucking decent song.

Actually releasing a decent song wouldn’t help Raina on my list, because the bias list has nothing to do with music quality.  I think she’d have to revert some of that plastic surgery, but then you can’t really “revert” that type of surgery, because that actually just involves even more surgery.  (One of the things everyone ignored when scrutinising Bom is that once you have a fuckton of surgery sometimes you have to keep going back for touch-ups not to enhance your appearance further but just to keep things the way they are.)  If I’m lucky Raina’s face will “settle in” and then she’ll stop fucking with it more, but I’m not hopeful.

Oppar, I have some kind of existential crisis. I will try to kept it short: In my school liking something as kpop was bullying material, so for a lot of years I kept it in secret. I felt alone because it was my main liking and couldn’t share it and even my hobbies got related to it. This year was different, I forced myself to go to events or concerts, and make some friends. It was a terrible idea, It felt like the thing you always wanted was given to you but only to dissapoint you. I don’t want to bore you with typical stories of how “fans” ruin everything but just to know how bad it was I still think I was the only sane there. Somehow I still like kpop, but I felt like it got ruined for me, one of the things I always wanted was share it and have friends to talk about it, but I ended in terrible situations and even traumatic ones :(. I always liked to though I was a fan but now I don’t even want to be related to that.

Your post is a little vague and without knowing exactly what happened I can only guess that you met some k-pop fans and they turned out to be the kind of fuckheads who hang out on k-pop social media with barely a brain cell to rub together and they basically ostracised you as soon as you said something fairly normal like “I like song X but I don’t like song Y” or “maybe we shouldn’t be making such a big deal about what some shitrag gossip website writes about a group”.  Don’t worry that’s a fairly normal experience with k-pop dipshits and it’s a large part of the reason that I don’t associate with many k-pop fans either, I’d rather educate them from afar via radio and blogging, streaming etc than actually have them in my personal life.  Over time I find that I can weed out the idiots and I’m still on good terms with a few cool people but overall “getting involved” in a “kpop community” is a waste of time and energy I could spend elsewhere.  Kpop in my personal life has become a thing that I’m interested in only for my own self, for music discovery and having fun writing and connecting to readers and helping them with posts like this.  When I went to KCON last year I didn’t feel any kinship with anybody there (although I did meet one “k-pop mum” who was pretty cool actually) but I did definitely feel like the odd one out.  That’s fine because it’s really my comfort zone to be ignored while I do my own thing.  Most people there actually seemed to think I was event staff.  The average k-pop fan just wants to stan their bias and have the wool very firmly pulled over their eyes when it comes to all the ugliness just under the surface.  People will make all sorts of excuses about “tone” and “content” but the fact that I don’t encourage people to follow the fairy-floss shit machine that is physically and mentally abusing countless people while lying about it and getting away with it is the real reason why I get so much hate.

That’s all for this edition of QRIMOLE!

Do you have a question that you’d like to see answered in the next episode of QRIMOLE?  If so, use the question box below, or if no box appears, click the Qri on the sidebar to open the box as a separate webpage!  Kpopalypse will return!

5 thoughts on “QRIMOLE – May 2018

  1. A new month, a new round of BTSMOLE questions.

    What made me stop thinking BTS are above K-pop is when they released a song I didn’t like. You can’t force a glass shattering moment onto a fangirl. Only oppa(s) can make the fans chill with the stanning. At this rate, that seems unlikely to do any damage. While anything they make does get successful these days, Big Hit is still smart enough not to give them an It G Ma. That would be a high risk. A scandal would mostly hurt their reputation while still retaining the craziest of the fans.

    Big Hit (and Source Music) used to manage GLAM, a group infamous for the career-ending blackmail scandal. So of course they’re trying not to relive that again. (They even got rid of their female trainees, including Eunha and SinB who were transferred Source Music to become Gfriend members.) And with all of the attention BTS gets, BH is no doubt making sure their image stays clean.

    Eventually, time will happen and BTS won’t be the high-demand group anymore. The fans will grow up, some of their insanity levels with decrease, and newer generations of fangirls will prefer boy groups somewhat closer to their ages than BTS would be. And there will be kpop fans being butthurt about how annoying fans of the future groups are. It’s a never ending cycle. Just live a life that doesn’t make you worry about pointless things involving the trending group or their fans if that’s only going to torture yourself. Time will go by fast enough to see CUMRAG as the new Billboard-charting and Grammy-winning K-pop group.

    Thanks for coming to my TED Talk.

    • depends on what you mean by “high-demand” group, but from my perspective BTS & their fanbase now is kinda like what EXO & their fanbase were in 2013/14: obnoxious as hell and everywhere. the fights with directioners were glorious as well as the scandals. with this amount of popularity they’ve gathered, they’re set for life tbh. unless they actually disband.

      but yeah, the “it” and most talked about group changes every few years, but I’d say the seniors with core fanbase will still continue to make good money in touring. like suju have strong fanbase in latin america and still continue to make bank even though their days of glory seem to be long gone.

  2. For the sheet music question, I think I might actually have the answer to that! I was into Kpop star for a bit and I remember this girl who used to play guitar but knew nothing of sheet music and everybody was so amazed because Koreans don’t do this whole “inspirational crap” and they generally follow technique over technique (maybe it was all fake acting though.) My point is, Korean singers are generally obsessed over technique (hence the overall lack of original voices) so I feel they’d force most idols to learn it just ’cause “that’s how things are done.”

    I guess it probably depends on what the producers intend to do with the idol, like if they have to write songs like they’re basically forced to in JYP, or if they’re “the main vocal” they probably learn it, but if the idol is going to get mashed in some vocal soup at all times anyways then it probably doesn’t matter.

  3. I think the disparaging use of the term “fangirl” is applied to both teen/tween girls and adult women, so, for example, adult women ringleading BTS streetcrew-style promotions in the US are disparaged with that term. Occasionally I’ll see “Noona fan”, but it isn’t as common as uncle fan, it seems. Women get lumped together as the same crazy, regardless of age. Teen and young adult boys (though almost certainly bullied for it in some areas) don’t have a particular disparaging term applied to them when they are an obsessive kpop fan, as far as I can tell.

    If I had to guess why, I have two theories. Either there are few enough male fans in this age group that they go unnoticed, or it is socially acceptable for teen men to be obsessed with someone when they see them as sexually attractive, whereas it is seen as a negative trait in women and older men.

  4. Jin.O from very nugu boy group A.cian used to work at a café when his group didn’t have any schedules for almost a year. I saw a video of a former idol saying something that very very very unknown groups are allowed to have jobs (I think it was ex-Jackie Jackie Chan Chan member Prince Mak, but I might be wrong) and Edward Avila made a video about audtitioning and stuff and he said many trainees work at places like McDonald’s to make money. So yes, idols and trainees are sometimes allowed have other jobs,

    The person who made the hit-miss ratios forgot to add 2am and Busker Busker to the lowest one.

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