QRIMOLE – October 2019

It’s time for another episode of QRIMOLE, as Kpopalypse tackles long, tricky or just plain curious questions from readers!

Hi Oppar!

This is less of a question, but more of a big thank you!! Ever since I followed your advice early this year and started learning songwriting and production, I’ve had so much fun!

So, I joined reddit/gameofbands, where there are bi-monthly contests for songwriting and shit, the first time I joined, our musician ghosted on us huhu but just today, we were able to finish the song! Here’s the link to it.

The theme by the way for this round was “In The Afterlife” so the song ended up like that. I didn’t make the song on my own, was really just in charge of writing stuff on top of the track. But even so, just the feeling of finally being able to finish a song is so awesome! Basically, I achieved two big things today:

1. Actually finish a damn song! (Harder than I thought it was)
2. Successfully collaborate with other people (A loooooooot harder than I thought it was)

If anyone had told me at the start of the year that by now, I would be able to learn a lot about music and make my own songs, I would have laughed at them, but you’ve really been a big help oppar, from your tips and you technical posts, I’ve learned and applied a lot! I mean to go from making empty tracks and beats to finishing songs is possible thanks in no small part to you oppar!

To summarize, I’m really writing this because:

1. I wanted to thank you!
2. I wanted to let your readers know that despite being a cunt, you’re actually very helpful ahahaha
3. Hopefully through this, your readers would be more encouraged to ask you for advice
4. Sneaky, shameless plug ahaha there may be caonimas who’d be interested to collaborate

But of course this is Qrimole, so I still have a question oppar ahahaha – when’s your next music theory post??? This poor caonima wants to learn ahahaha

On a more serious note, when writing songs oppar, I struggle at writing happy stuff, like maybe I’d be able to write happy lyrics, but the melodies are always maudlin, even if I write at major keys ahaha can you provide me any tips on how to write happy songs? Or maybe that’s fine oppar even if it sounds sad? I mean Fanatics-Flavor’s Milkshake, If I remember correctly, is a “sad” song but it’s hidden in a cheerful track

I included your links so any potential collaborators can get in touch.

I think Fanatics-Flavor’s “Milkshake” is a perfect example of why you don’t need to worry about this.  I actually experience the same issue when songwriting myself and I find that it doesn’t really matter in the end because melody is only one element.  “Milkshake” doesn’t sound at all like a “sad song” to me even with the maudlin melodies, because of the entire package and the way all of it is put together, it’s an example that this sort of sound can exist within the “pop sphere” quite easily.

New music theory posts – soon!  I try to do them at about the same rate at Nugu Alert, which we’re also a little overdue for.  This month you should get both.

Would you please explain to us what is a Australian men’s shed?

A hut with a concrete floor and corrugated iron walls and ceiling, attached to or within close vicinity to a dwelling, where the more outdoor-centric or practical-minded (and usually older – but not always) Australian male often resides for work and recreational purposes, but usually the latter.  Also known colloquially as the “man-cave”, the shed usually has running electricity but usually not running water.  It is mainly a place for tools and construction, item storage, as well as watching TV, outdoor barbecue preparation, general privacy from the other aspects of home life and of course fapping.  Kpopalypse does not own a men’s shed, although my partner does refer to the room that I livestream from as the “man cave”.  I do actually own a shed but it’s just for storage only and is so small that I could barely move my arm enough to fap in there, any lady seeking refuge from Yoochun would certainly find that they would be safe from him in there due to its tiny dimensions.

Note that there are also organisations who do run sheds that are more like a community organisation, you can read more about this here.  Note however that this isn’t the traditional definition of a “men’s shed”.

What do you think about [insert your favourite artist here] album b-sides?

The answer in 99/100 cases is “I haven’t listened to them yet”.  I listen to a LOT of different music, all the time, plus I’m always really busy with various work because my mortgage isn’t paying itself without my help, so I just don’t have much time to sit and really listen to stuff the way it deserves, and the limited time I do have for that is generally taken up with doing the roundup.  Sometimes something will prick my ear up if I play it on the radio and like it, so probably the best strategy for people to get an opinion from me about a B-side track is to request it for the Kpopalypse radio show – at least then I can guarantee I’ll hear it at least once.  Request process detailed here.


Actually I don’t like it at all.  I think that one of the huge strengths of the original track is its simplicity.

The orchestral version with all its fussing around definitely strips a large part of the appeal away from the original.

Which one is better: this girl or a famous dj

I didn’t include your link because answering the question didn’t require it.  Any girl is better than any famous DJ.  Unless the famous DJ is a girl in which case the two forces cancel each other out.

Hello, have you watched the mv for the song ‘Wake Me Up’ by BlueFox?

No.  Gosh that question was easy.

in one of your posts you mentioned the similarity with the American boybands and kpop and in some tweets it was mentioned how nsync had a similar marketing like how kpop was a so called fatherly figure who would look after everything (but really he is just embezzling and not paying them enough) and wouldn’t even hold back the tours when one of the members insisted he needed a heart surgery
my question is how long do you think will kpop move out from the company labels similar to Hollywood of golden era and the boybands era and be more independent artists? also are American artists truly independent because I was confused a lot about the issue with Taylor and Scooter braun

The first question – I don’t think k-pop is really going to change much.  The culture in Korea is just completely different and more corporate-friendly when it comes to things like this, I don’t ever see a big shift to “independent k-pop” happening.  I’d like it if I were wrong of course, but unfortunately I’m probably right.

Taylor and Scooter – the “master” is the original final studio recording of the song from which copies are made for distribution and retail.  Artists signed to a major label generally don’t own their own master recordings, the label owns them and has the ‘rights’ to them (i.e they can do what they want with them) as part of the deal with the artist.  What happened in Taylor’s case is that her old label was bought out by Scooter and therefore that ownership and rights transferred to him.  Since Taylor doesn’t like Scooter very much, this is a shitty situation for Taylor to be in, because Scooter if he wanted could do anything with her songs – let’s say hypothetically he allows them to be used in a political campaign, then Taylor looks like she supports such a campaign even though she may not.  Or, he might agree for the songs to be used to advertise certain products that Taylor doesn’t support, or so on.  There’s a lot of possibilities.  Another thing he could do is actually stop the music from being distributed further.  The control is his.  It’s a bad situation to be in as an artist.  Even if Braun decided to do none of those things he’s still going to be profiting from her musical work.

So-called “independent” artists still have to deal with the big bad world of record labels for the most part if they want exposure.  Anybody can put out a record these days via the Internet, but without the marketing savvy of a label, who is going to find out about it?  As a result, quite a few supposedly “indie” artists are also signed up to deals where they don’t own their own masters.  Not in all cases however, smarter people (and those with more leverage) will cut deals where they retain ownership.

Hey Kpopalypse,
I just started my first year at university, and I’ve been doing okay for the most part. One of my biggest concerns is about my social life–don’t worry, I have good friends and whatnot but the thing is that I suck at making NEW friends.
My main problem is that (I noticed this especially when I was talking to my roommates) I do not react very well. What I mean by that is whenever they say something, it’s either so uninteresting and unamusing that I kinda give it one of those fake laughs, but I have absolutely no idea how to elaborate from there–I do not know how to hold a conversation with new people. I’m not a totally socially awkward person, like I know how to talk my way through important things, but I’ve been noticing I simply don’t react well and/or enough. I think this might be part of the reason why I hate (and suck, compared to other people who are great conversationalists, i.e. literally every other college student I know) at making new friends, and why some people probably think I’m sort of a bitch. It’s not that I want to be bored and rendered speechless out of my lack of amusement but it’s happening more and more.
I never gave this problem much thought, and I’m sure this happens to the best of everyone, but it’s gotten to the point where I think it’s ruining my social life. So basically, can you teach me how to talk and make friends and not be such a bored loser all the time?
Many thanks, oppar

Actually I don’t think it’s you.  If someone is talking to me and I just give a fake-ass laugh but can’t really follow up with anything, it generally means that whatever that person was saying to me wasn’t actually all that interesting.  I don’t think you should feel obliged to be friends with everyone.  Note that being friends is a different thing from being friendly, I mean there’s no reason to deliberately be a cunt or anything – but trying to force an actual friendship with someone who you don’t quite click with (as opposed to just “being nice”) just because they are there, probably isn’t worth your time.  Who knows, maybe you will be friends eventually, or maybe you just won’t and you end up meeting other people instead.  I don’t really think that’s a problem.  I’m friendly to pretty much everyone I meet but my actual amount of friends is not that large.

Hi Oppar,

The only three Kpop related-website that I visit (AJ, TheBiasList, and you) all in favor of Wjsn’s Boogie Up and I have listening to it for like five times but still don’t find it catchy.

And the problem is, rather than forget it and accept that person’s favorite is different, I feel confused and guilty because I can’t find where is the catchy part, other than the chorus is being to repeated for me.

Please educate me if maybe this song is objectively good lol

Thank you!

Honestly there is no such thing as a song that is “objectively good”.  If you don’t like it, that’s fine.  Honestly I don’t think it’s that great, it’s just that we’re having a pretty shit year in k-pop once again and it sticks out because it’s reasonably upbeat and hook-reliant and that’s something that’s welcome in the current musical environment.  So because of this, it comes out as “better than average”.  The bar is pretty low sometimes.

Hey oppar, I was wondering if you would be willing to decode this dream I had. It involved Loona so that’s why I thought it was relevant for you.
So it started with me trying to save my friend from something that I don’t really remember but it had something to do with the military and fences. I very elegantly managed to save her with only rising some suspicion from the military, but as the genius I am I fooled the military into thinking it was an insider job. Not really sure how that developed into the second part of the dream which includes Loona but that was a thing. The second part is set on christmas where I’m celebrating christmas with a bunch of people I don’t know, including Loona and NCT. There was a stage in the middle of the room and around the stage there were foodstalls and a big thing where there were seats, like in a football stadium but a lot smaller. On the stage they held a bunch of competitions and if you were tired you could get something to eat or sit down or leave, I guess. The competitions were mainly about acrobatics or dancing, and I was so amazing I kept winning every competition! But then I got tired and decided to sit down. I looked around at the seats and saw NCT’s WinWin sitting in the middle, really lonely. I felt bad for him because he looked so sad so I decided to sit down next to him, but then I remembered that he is more famous than I am and I don’t know him and that would be weird. I saw even more idols when I looked around that made me angry because there were so many idols and I couldn’t sit anywhere. But then I saw Jinsoul, and I felt so relieved because apparently I knew Jinsoul. I ran towards her and she ran to me and then we hugged and laughed. But instead of sitting down like I was supposed to do, we instead went and got Lee Sung Kyung and then we three went out on a balcony where it was all of a sudden summer even though I’m from the northern hemisphere. Out there on the balcony Lee Sung Kyung told me and Jinsoul about her problems and then Jinsoul started getting deep and then we walked back inside. There they were having a singing contest and my friend and Dan Howell were singing a super ultra emo song that I was really angry that they were singing so I destroyed their equipment, but then they started trying to repair everything and then I felt bad and apologised and they said it was fine. Then I had to leave so my family joined me and we left. Before we went home my mom was going to give me my christmas present and she gave me a fat magazine in japanese. I was sad about that because I can’t speak japanese so I couldn’t even read it but then she said I should just learn japanese then. I was not happy with this gift so she gave me another one which was a roll I’ve already had for over 10 years. I told her that I already have this doll and she said that now I have a new, fresh one. I said that it doesn’t even work and I proved that by trying to turn it on and it lit on fire. Then I somehow died but respawned at the start of the day and that made me mad because then I had to re-do everything I had already done, so I won some competitions until I was tired. I went to say goodbye to Jinsoul because I wanted to leave immidiarlwy, but she was talking to Kim Lip so I sat down behind her and waited until they were done talking, then I hugged Jinsoul’s shoulders and said that I was going to leave and she said bye, then I also hugged and said bye to ViVi even though dream-me didn’t know her and thought it was weird. Then I woke up.
Sorry for the lack of paragraphs, I wrote this on my phone and it was kind of difficult to see what was really going on. Also, sorry if my english was bad, I think I tried to spell some word at some point but gave up because I can’t spell. English isn’t my first language. Have a happy life oppar.

Yes folks you can add “dream analyst” to my list of qualifications hahaha.  I think this dream is telling you to watch Loona doing NCT’s Cherry Bomb more.  That’s my professional opinion.

Do you think TS Entertainment is a money laundering front? With how they refuse to pay artists and staff, but continue to go after their former artists in court just for the sake of doing so (which has to be expensive), is there any other explanation?

No I think they’re just a crappy company.  Honestly TS Entertainment aren’t that unusual, they’re just getting away with less.  That’s not to say that money laundering isn’t involved along with whatever else they’re up to this week, because I know that this happens for a fact in quite a few companies ahem, but I wouldn’t say that’s the default explanation.

1. What groups/solo artists keep you interested in kpop? Could be in terms of music, looks, entertainment, etc.
2. What are your favorite genres of music? What songs/artists do you recommend outside of kpop?

First question – not any specific person or group, but just finding certain songs keeps me interested.  I enjoy listening to the songs on my favourites list and it’s always fun to find new songs that are cool.  Sure, it’s a drag to have to go through 1000 shitty songs to get to the 30 good ones but in a way it makes finding that needle in a haystack even more rewarding.

Second question – is answered here.

Hi Oppar,

I found your comment on Lovelyz’s “Close to You”, I quote it here: “It has a decent chorus but overall it’s just a bit conventional, plus is has that weird “major turnaround” thing where it should be going to a minor chord at the end of the phrase but it goes to a major one instead because this is pop music so we can’t have too many minor chords or whatever. Annoying.”

I recognize the chorus structure is somewhat prevalent in Jpop and in many Kpop songs have the similar structure, many listeners call it has “Anime vibe”. Could you elaborate more on your comment regarding that “major turnaround”? My country’s pop songs also have many songs with similar chorus structure. Is it a big thing in pop music?

Hopefully you understand my question since I don’t have music background to make it more elaborate. Thank you!

Well since you don’t have a musical background and this isn’t the music theory series, I won’t get too deep into it for this post.  However to keep it simple but still point out the issue: you can hear the “major turnaround” at 0:06 and again at 0:14.  The chord underneath is F major and the vocals are doing A-G-F or 3-2-1 in the major scale.  However everything else about the song is actually in the key of F minor and it only really goes to the F major at those weird points at the end of the phrase.  It just sounds “off” to me, even though it’s clearly very deliberate.  There’s plenty of other examples of this, a future Kpopalypse post may be devoted to collecting and cringing at some of them.

this was initially going to your curiouscat but its incredibly long so here:

Thank you for not being judgmental about the cupcakke situation. im not the most empathetic person but even i had to hold back my tears this morning and finally let them out tonight. so many people are rightfully calling her out for her racism, but the move to “cancel” and harass a suicidal, bipolar woman who was a victim of child sexual abuse absolutely makes me sick. people love to preach “SK needs better mental health education!” and “please please let twice rest for their mental health!!” but turn their backs when they find out that mental illness can get UGLY. people seem to only extend their empathy to people who are sad. thats it. they even shat on Ga-In for going on instagram claiming “shes doing it for attention” and didnt believe she actually had anxiety/a panic disorder because she didnt behave like your usual “i hope yall dont mind me not talking to people” ‘anxiety-ridden person’

to be fucking honest, i WISH i had clinical depression and social anxiety. no, instead i was born with a whole ass mental disability coupled with all sorts of trauma and incurable illnesses. im seeing people getting likes on twitter for saying “she deserves it for bringing it on herself” and “she shouldnt have done this or that if she couldnt take the heat”

but what people really dont understand is that certain illnesses can literally incapacitate someone so much that they arent in control of their own actions. im prone to dissociative episodes when im extremely stressed. when i dissociate, i am literally NOT in control of my actions. i have ‘woken up’ with scars and broken appliances everywhere and that is literally out of my control.

i DO realize that i have an extreme form of mental illness, definitely not common at all, but because of this. this cupcakke shit hit hard. it hurts seeing people literally blame a mentally ill person for behaving mentally ill, and then turn around and spew “we need destigmatize mental health!!” shit knowing how ingenuine it is.

it should be said: i dont condone what cupcakke has said AT ALL! i believe we SHOULDNT let mental illness excuse toxic or harmful behaviors. but we CAN disapprove a person’s actions WITHOUT denying that person the right to be treated humanely and empathetically.

but yeah, thats my very emotionally-driven rant! i was honestly scared you’d shit on cupcakke or something but you didnt!! faith in humanity restored!

Cupcakke ranted about a whole ton of things that she knew would blow up, deliberately to get attention, so people would then listen to her when she effectively ended her career by announcing her retirement.  There’s a good chance that she doesn’t even agree with a ton of the stuff that she said.  However I’m not going to hate on her for getting attention – after all attention is the currency of fame and if you’re not getting attention as a famous person you’re simply not doing your job.  Sure, one can certainly question the wisdom of going on such rants, as well as the wisdom of making such a snap career change, but she undeniably knew how to get the result that she wanted, and got it.  Since she’s no longer wanting to be in the public eye, the fact that she’s now been “cancelled” by a lot of people doesn’t mean anything to her at this point. She’s out of the game and that’s where she wants to be – at least for now.

People who have mental illness don’t always make the best decisions or say the most appropriate things, in today’s minefield of cancel culture even mentally health people have a lot of trouble working out what words to use to not offend the hive mind – the endless and ever-moving goalposts of Internet correct-speak are enough to give anybody at least a mild case of anxiety, as if there isn’t already enough stress in the modern world to contend with.  Nobody is going to be perfect in everything they say and do, and I don’t even think there’s anything wrong with “letting it all hang out”, I mean that’s one of the main functions of this blog, my own self-expression free of any rules except my own.  Most people complaining about Cupcakke don’t give a shit about racism OR mental health, they just want to look like “the better person” to their friends and colleagues online, and that’s what the vast majority of “pointing out problematic behaviour” is really all about.

You have several posts on how the industry works for us ugly peasant mortals, but have you considered writing a post for idols in the industry who stumble upon your blog?

We all know enough horror stories to make even the most delulu stans give up the dream of debuting, but still, imagine being idk, Myoui Mina, and working so hard to debut and make it big and once you do it you find out the industry is a lurid place, nothing like what you were promised and no way out since you’re trapped in a legally binding contract for the next two decades and even your fucking fans who supposedly love you and care so much are desperate to see you come back to the spotlight and the backbreaking schedules, even in the throes of a lifelong anxiety disorder. What would you say to someone in that situation?

Surely you’ve gotten a lot of “anonymous” feedback from some of them, and there’s quite a lot of english fluent, internet savvy idols who no doubt will come/have already came all over your collection of irreverent industry semi-exposés. I know there’s translations of your articles, but are there korean translations? someone should commission them and put them on naver or similar hotspots.

What would I say to them?  “Good luck”, I guess.  They don’t need me to tell them what they’re in for – if they’re already post-debut they already know first-hand how shitty the business is and there’s not a lot they can do about it at that point except ride it out.  Where I’m focused on more is “prevention”, which is, giving people who are considering the k-pop road the tools they need to make the right choices.  Now that right choice might not always be “don’t do it”, but it takes a particularly driven individual to put up with all the years of training, dieting, lack of freedom, isolation, lack of self-expression and constant work to come out the other end with their sanity intact, so if you’re not that person then it’s not the right path for you.  Sure k-pop does have its success stories, but for every freedom that Korean pop idols have that the ordinary person does not, there’s something else that they had to deny themselves or sacrifice on the route to fame.  Really, by then it’s a little too late for anyone on the outside to help significantly, but I guess I could write a post about it anyway so I’ll see what I can come up with.

I’d love for someone who was very fluent in Korean to do accurate translations of some of my articles and place them online in Korean portals.  Link back and credit the source and it’s all good with me.

You know Malinda Kathleen Reese, that girl who takes lyrics of popular songs and translates the shit out of them with Google until she gets something completely different? I tried to do the same with your latest roundup, and here are the results:

“Gosh, Hash Swan sure looks good these days.” -> “Oh God, hashish swan is definitely better today.”

“You know what it’s like when you’re stuck in a boring subway tunnel and you don’t know where you’re going, and you go around the corner hoping that you’ll find a way out or at least something interesting, but instead it’s just another fucking boring bit of tunnel that looks exactly like where you just came from, and then you start questioning where you’re going and what you’re doing in the tunnels, and then the very nature of life itself, and wonder if maybe the world would be better off without yourself, all these tunnels, and society in general. Well now we have both a music video and a musical soundtrack which captures the boredom and hopelessness of that moment perfectly.” -> “You have a subway tunnel of fantasy in the refined when it is, you know, where you are going, you don’t know, the more a way or the interesting a search, but instead it is a dive, and a bridge might look like a bridge, it came, from the moment, therefore, wherever you celkirira Usually, we now have music videos and music videos that attract the right sadness and hope. ,”

“No Rain or Soyou in the video, what the fuck Korea. You do realise that people don’t click on this for the music, right?” -> “There is no water or soy in the video, just what happened in Korea. See people don’t give up on this to listen to music, do they?”

“I hope the letter read “stop singing in that stupid fucking voice”.” -> “I hope the letter is written “Stop singing with the stupid flower”.”

“Dialogue x DJ Tiz ft. HAKI – Daily Routine – If you can actually afford a Mac laptop you’re in the 1% and you don’t need to be rapping about anything.” -> “Compose Diz ft Compose. No – daily training – If you can get your Mac working on a laptop, it’s 1% and you don’t want to bomb anything.”

“Love x Stereo ft. I Made Subandi – Imagining You – It sounds like they’re singing “measuring you” in the chorus, which would have actually been cool. Maybe they re singing about measuring Chris from Korean Indie’s band tattoos.” -> “Love x stereo feet. I made Subanti – Mind You If they sang “Put Your Weight” on the choir, it must have been nice. They could have sung by measuring Chris from an independent Korean band.”

“It’s time for Kpopalypse roundup! Let’s check out some new releases!” -> “It’s time for Kpopalypse to fall! Check out some new moves!”

“Wait, where the fuck are half of them? I remember back in T-ara days group line-up changes were a big deal, now they’ve all got crazy Nine Muses style attrition rates. I guess it’s the shitty sax-driven pop and trap breakdowns making the smarter girls leave.” -> “Wait, what part of them? I remember that t-ara was a big problem in the mixing system, and now they end up publishing nine different versions of the songs. I think this is a pop-up trap and a saxophone of a smart girl.”

“I.Q – A Letter With The Wind – I hope the letter read “stop singing in that stupid fucking voice”.” -> “I.Q – Human capital – I think the letter will be written “This is a song with a pig”.”

“Love x Stereo” -> “Welcome to stereo legs.”

“Remember when you could get a new k-pop girl group song that was over 80 BPM?” -> “Are you planning to get a new K-pop band of more than 80 pages per minute?”

Hope this meet required standards! If other caonimas appreciate this, I will gladly do more of this in the future!

I didn’t know the girl but I like the concept of this.  I hope caonimas enjoy reading these!

Hello kpopalypse, so i’ve been watching some adam neely videos [i love to learn more about music, thanks for the music theory series its nice to see examples that i care about] and he mentioned intonalism and microtonalism [not sure whats the difference] but my question is, does this song counts as microtonal? Sounds a little off key to me but it may be just a weird effect. Thanks.

No definitely not.  They have some pretty unusual sounds in there, but I wouldn’t say that it’s either lacking in tonality (intonalism) or playing in tonal divisions smaller than a semitone (microtonal).  If you want to hear microtonality used in k-pop you could try miss A’s “Touch”, the noise at 0:39.

The keyboard note ascends from A to C, which is a distance of three semitones over a series of six consecutive steps (the seventh brings it back the other way a little), probably with the use of a keyboard workstation’s pitch-bend arm.  There’s certainly graduations smaller than a semitone in there.

Microtonality will probably get into the music theory series at some point.

Hello. Have you seen this?

Some things that she says seem so woke, but some things still seem to be delulu. I can’t quite make up my mind about her. Thoughts? Thanks.

I think it’s quite fine and possible to be a really big fan of a group and enjoying whatever that group means to you, while also having a rational mindset about what being in that group, and what the industry as a whole, really means.  That’s part of the reason why I have the AustralianSana content on this blog, because I feel like she really fits that category of “fan” and I like to demonstrate that yes it’s possible to be a fan and also not be an idiot who just goes along with the herd of whatever the fandom group thought is.  Just like it’s possible for me as an older male fan to say “I think girl x in group y is attractive because of reasons a b and c” without getting all r/kpopfap about it all, and still maintaining a real sense of what attractiveness actually means in a k-pop context as well as maintaining a real-world relationship that I wouldn’t quit for any k-pop girl.  Appreciation doesn’t have to mean saturation.

A rare case of a B-side that is better than the feature track ????

Well actually the feature track on that album, while good, is particularly weak compared to the rest of it.

By the way I get TONS of questions about album tracks and I generally ignore all of them because I just don’t have time to listen to albums most of the time, it’s hard enough finding time just to listen to enough feature tracks for just one roundup.  If I was making full-time money from blogging I probably could afford to quit my other work and just listen to k-pop all day every day, but that ain’t gonna happen and honestly most of it is shitty anyway and I wouldn’t enjoy slugging through endless album filler junk to find that 1 in 1000 album with a good non-feature song on it.  The only reason why I paid attention to this one is because Dreamcatcher cancelled their gig that I flew out to see so they owed me a decent fucking song.

Hi oppar I noticed you haven’t posted Qrimole yet for September and was wondering if maybe you could maybe answer this now for me hehehehe

So basically, any artistic endeavor I try, I always end up losing interest in after some time. How to fix this?

Like six years ago or so, I started getting int theater acting, up to the point that I did workshops, lessons, participated in plays, etc. But after a year, I just suddenly lost interest. Then a few years later I got into screen acting, and did the same thing. Invest in it to improve myself etc and then I lost interest like a year later again. Then just 2 years ago, I got into filmmaking, and the same thing happened again.

Now I’m getting into making music, I’m in the investments to improve myself phase now, paying for lessons, purchasing equipment, etc and it’s honestly a lot more expensive than the other pursuits lol How can I stay motivated oppar? Help huhu

I’m not sure of the answer, but I’m not even sure that what you’re experiencing is even a problem anyway?  You don’t have to do the same thing all your life, you’re gonna get bored eventually.  It’s okay to branch out and do different things.  It’s kind of expected that people just do one thing all their lives and succeed in only that but honestly, how fucking boring.  Good on you for mixing it up a little and trying new shit.  Maybe you’ll persist with music and maybe you won’t, but there’s no harm in following your passion even if it takes you on some curves you didn’t expect.  I wouldn’t have guessed 10 years ago that I’d be a k-pop writer.

Why does this song sound sad and happy at the same time? And why does it sound mostly happy until the chorus comes? It just feels weird that the chorus gives so much melancholy out of nowhere…

Not sure.  I don’t really like any of it whatsoever and got pretty much the same mood out of all of it, I guess you’re hearing something that I’m not hearing.


No.  I don’t like the original song, and I don’t like this either.  Getting rid of the dull generic tropical shithouse sound and replacing it with equally generic nu-metal doesn’t do anything for me.

Could you please explain what the heck is vocal agility? Does it impact pop-music somewhat in your opinion?

Vocal agility is basically the ability to move from one note to the next accurately, without fucking up either the pitches (hitting the wrong note) or the breathing (i.e running out of puff in the wrong spot).  In these Autotuned days it’s barely relevant, only your Ailees and Mamamoos really even exercise this type of skill unfiltered – and even then, they do so usually to the severe denigration of whatever they’re singing over, as for those singers who do show off this aspect it often takes precedence over other aspects of the song that make the listening experience more worthwhile.

Do you have the same routines that your mom and grandma have to maintain your young face?

My main skincare routine is to not drink alcohol or do a shitload of drugs, and stay out of the sun where possible.  Working out well so far.

I’ve tried a bunch of tutorials on youtube and read online directions, but I still can’t produce a clean pinch harmonic sound. How do you play a pinch harmonic? Any pointers?

The trick is to strike the string with the side of your thumb just after it leaves the pick – but to do this in one clean motion, not two.  Whether you succeed or fail depends a lot on the exact angle of your pick in your picking hand as well as how you hold the pick, and where you’re trying to get the harmonic to sound out (horizontally).  Generally it’s easier to get the result when you have only a very small amount of the pick exposed to the string (less than 2mm).  The best example that I’ve seen of the mechanics of doing it is in this video at 3:38 where the video-maker smartly uses a wire not attached to an instrument so you can see exactly what’s going on:

Do you agree with these trufax?

Not going to take 18 minutes out of my life to listen to some dickhead fucking around with power tools talk shit about whatever.  Questions like these aren’t good, better to try and summarise his thoughts yourself and present them in a nice quick-to-read question if you want answers.

Here’s a video explaining chordioids through video game music. Do you know of any examples of chordiods in K-pop?

Not off the top of my head, I’m sure it’s out there though.  He’s right in some sense, and he’s definitely right that the standard voicings don’t apply, but to me the entire concept of “chordoids” is actually overthinking the fundamental concept of the chord, which is an artificial abstraction that was actually initially used to rationalise multiple-voiced counterpoint melody.  By throwing out out-of-context “chordioid examples” at the end of the video, that just proves to me that he doesn’t quite grasp why the pieces were written this way, although once again I do agree with him that they might be a useful tool for experimentation.  This gets pretty deep into some way, way out there music theory stuff that I won’t cover here because it will be alienating to the majority but I am probably going to cover in like episode 57 of the music theory series, but it’s one of the fundamental disagreements that I have with jazz-educated and classical-educated composers and the way that they conceptualise and break down multi-part harmony.  Right now my music theory series is very “conventional” as it is just teaching the rudiments but eventually it will get into space cadet land where you will learn stuff that will upset cunts.

Oppar, will you ever stop misspelling “sasaeng” as “saesang”? If only you’d worked harder on your Korean language skills… tsk tsk.


Please articulate the difference between a song’s “mix” and “arrangement.” I often read comments on other blogs (which I should stop doing, what a colossal waste of time) that spend a lot of effort bashing a song’s mix, and when I listen I can’t really hear the problem because there is so much/too much going on. Everyone else must have studio headphones and the master audio to be able to differentiate! How can I tell what’s a crappy mix and not just a crappy arrangement?

Very simply:

Mix – how loud each instrument is, in relation to each other instrument, and the sonic character of these instruments.

Arrangement – where do certain instruments do certain things (or not) at various points in the song.

To give you some examples:

M.O.A’s “Run For Your Dream” is a good example of a great arrangement, but really crappy mixing.  The vocal volume is kind of all over the place, certain instruments are definitely too loud or soft at certain times, some instruments are even out-of-time (the acoustic guitar at the end) or missing certain parts (the “run” in “run for your dream” is sometimes barely audible), and there’s a definite dryness and lack of smoothness/compression to almost everything.  In summary it sounds as cheap as it undoubtedly is, like it was recorded on a shoestring budget with very little refinement because there just wasn’t the money to spend time getting things more polished.  However arrangement-wise, the song is great, starting slowly and picking up speed at the halfway mark and presenting a really cool and unusual (for k-pop) structure that reinforces the message of the song.

Blackpink’s “Kill This Love” is a good example of excellent mixing, and a poor arrangement.  Sonically, it’s fantastic, like YG productions always are these days.  Everything is perfectly balanced, all vocals are clear as day, every instrument has room in the mix to be heard without getting in the way of anything else, and it all fits together well, even the brass – a risky decision that would have failed under lesser hands but pays off here.  The people who put this together are simply the best producers in k-pop in 2019, at least on a sonic level.  However there’s no denying that despite its many positive qualities, the song suffers enormously by having the only actual hooks worth a damn squeezed into the last 40 seconds.  Sure, it leaves you wanting more which is a good way to make you play the song again, I’m sure that’s good for racking up YouTube views but it’s not a very satisfying listen as a result of that decision.  As good as it is, it’s impossible not to listen to this and think about the lost opportunity and how much better it could have been had they fleshed out that last section a bit more, or perhaps made it the chorus.

I hope this bright Loona meme meets required standards!

Not really, no.

Are there any K-Pop songs that immediately jump to the outro after the bridge ends or have no bridge at all and just bring the final chorus right After the post-chorus or whatever is there?

I’m sure there are, but I couldn’t even bring myself to listen to these incredibly awful examples, so I’m going to throw this one open to my readers.  Leave comments below to assist this asker, please!

I’d pay you to see you do one of thse things ????

One of these videos didn’t work and the other two were so lame that I’m not even going to link them.  Stop insulting yourself by watching and sharing cheap viral content on YouTube.  You can do better.

I noticed there are two songs I liked from my personal taste that may have similar chord progressions, but I wondered how similar these songs are.

I’m not saying it’s plagiarism; I am just curious since my ears are hearing something similar between the two tracks.

It’s the textural similarities that you’re noticing rather than anything else.  They’re both in that new power ballad type of style that’s really big at the moment, that many commercial pop stars have at least one of now.

This lesbian feminist who’s diagnosed with glioblastoma has a more logically consistent and realistic worldview when it comes to sexuality/gender roles than the trans/pro-trans vloggers you tend to agree with (maybe they’re articulate and rational about certain concepts but overall they’re quite deluded next to this one feminist). It’s a shame that people with their heads screwed on straight are becoming increasingly rare and it’s possible that Magdalen Berns will be leaving us soon now that she’s reported to be in intensive care–not many feminists make this much sense and so adroitly call out extremely liberal ideologies for the unwarranted and dogmatic mental gymnastics that they are. Transactivists/SJWs are slowly bastardizing the English language in order to have their (made-up ‘non-binary’) identities constantly validated by everyone that it’s almost embarrassing we Filipinos are beginning to adopt this same insidiously intolerant mindset. Why is the West so hung up on identity politics that you get labelled a bigot when you’re stating facts (i.e. male or female or intersex = sex, masculine or feminine = gender, therefore gender =/= sex)? I’m slowly realizing that being trans only reinforces the notion that you have to strictly conform to gender stereotypes in order to be accepted as a man or a woman. Isn’t that horribly sexist? For instance, are straight men now forced to consider transwomen a dating option because you’re an intolerant ass if you prefer not to?? Lesbians are being physically attacked–by transwomen, no less–for speaking up against the inclusion of transwomen in their group (because ‘homosexual female’ is a factual/scientific term and certain self-identified women who were born men want to exercise their male aggression by literally strong-arming their way into that female-only terminology?). Gays and lesbians already have it hard all over the world being terminally oppressed and ritually executed(!) by existing national laws and then these folks arrive and are more concerned with political correctness than the very real physical threats (human trafficking, prostitution, sexual assault, murder) to people who have ‘gender dysphoria’. When are we going to stop pretending that we’re not really being progressive?

It’s a bit of a strawman you’re putting forward here, because Magdalen Burns is specifically responding to people like Riley Dennis and Marina Shutup both of who I actually have never supported and do completely disagree with on the topics you’ve raised.  That’s not to say that I agree with Magdalen on everything she’s ever said either but I do think she’s pretty well on the money here.

Hey oppar! I don’t know much about music theory but I do have ears. There’s a pattern that I noticed a long time ago where a line repeating in a song gets sung a bit differently, usually one note is sung higher than the time before. Two examples off the top of my head but there are more, I just can’t remember:

Bom’s “alright” at 0.52 is then repeated by Minzy at 1.53 and it’s higher (can’t tell the interval)

“Baby” at 1.06 is repeated at 2.08 higher
“Hey-EY-ey” at 1.22 is repeated again without changes, but then sung higher at 2.57

Is there a name for such a pattern? Thanks oppar!

In classical music such short snatches of similarity are called a “motif”.  When they’re longer, they’re called a “theme”.  I’m not sure if pop music really bothers with the same term, because pop music is built so much on general repetition anyway, so such similarities are a little less relevant to point out.

Consider this as an example:

In this soundtrack song, you have the same melodic phrase repeated multiple times, in different registers, with different instruments, and sometimes slightly changed.  Essentially that theme or motif is the glue that ties everything else together.  Once again in a pop song such ideas are less relevant because you’ve almost always got a very repetitious chorus that performs the same function more blatantly.

Thoughts on sugar parents

I don’t even know what this is really, but I wish my parents were rich.  Unfortunately, they weren’t (Boram hadn’t debuted at that time).

Recently, I read an old post of yours that explained why you liked kpop. You mentioned that T-ara has the best consistency of music quality. And reading this now, in 2019, what group would you say has a more consistent quality in kpop? And I’d say it’s Dreamcatcher, but if it isn’t, then would you mind explaining why Dreamcatcher can’t beat the group you chose? Thanks and have a nice day!

Looks like the Dreamcatcher fans from Asian Junkie have drifted over to QRIMOLE.  If you’d asked me this question 18 months ago I might’ve said Dreamcatcher.  I’m not really sure now though, they seem to be “de-metalising” somewhat which is a shame, but I don’t know who would replace them either.  Ultimately it doesn’t matter anyway.  As far as my personal enjoyment of the music goes, I care about the songs, not who sings them.

Someone has accused Ariana Grande of using mixing and/or autotune in this particular excerpt from one of her shows. She gave a bitchy (in my opinion) response saying that she has the capability to sing without any help is she wants, which I actually agree. But personally, even when I believe that’s something not relevant I kinda get curious to know if in the criticized video she was actually using it or not. Would you be able to tell with your expertise in the area, even with the poor video quality in the link?

Not really, no.  Not saying she’s lying, but just because the pros can do it without cheating doesn’t mean that they always do.  Like, Mariah Carey is a great singer, but damn she cheats all the fucking time.  If you want to know for sure if Ariana really did it live, try and find multiple live performances of exactly that part of the song and compare them.

Would you please react to this brazilian k-pop inspired song?

Oh dear.  I think I’ll pass.  However I know who will react.

I saw an article recently (unfortunately from the site you consider the great Satan) about a Korean streamer beating up another Korean streamer like Lamb of God band member Mark beating the shit out of fellow member Randy. Obviously, I would like to avoid ever being in a fight but my question is, if you have never fought before, but someone attacks you first, what would the best way to win that fight (ideally in a decisive manner) be? What techniques or things could I do to defend myself from someone who attacks and how to ensure that the person who attacks me never tried to attack me again?

I say this as someone who has trained in karate and ninjutsu at various points, and while I was never all that good at either I had VERY good common-sense instructors – don’t underestimate running away.  Seriously, remove yourself from the fight if you can, there’s no shame in it and it’s honestly always the best solution.  I’ve seen the video in question although not from the same source (why people send me this shit I have no idea, I don’t like watching fight footage) and the individuals involved were clearly looking for a fight.  You can avoid a great majority of potential fights just by not seeking people like that out stupidly, and not being where those people are.  Who wants to be in fights anyway, fuck that shit.

If faced with a situation where you have absolutely no choice, techniques vary but the main point is to be as aggressive as possible.  Someone looking for a fight is looking for an easy situation for them, so don’t make it easy and a lot of the time they’ll think twice.  Also, do not fight fair.  Sure, you don’t want to go to jail, but people can and do die from simple fistfights – all the time, so what would you prefer.  Most of the time if you stand up for yourself and make it clear that you’re serious about fucking them up in a big way, the aggressor will back right off.

Also, never read anything on The Great Satan, and certainly never share their content.  No doubt that outlet shared the entire video because they’re so disgusting and will do anything for clickbait.  If they found a live video of that guy from Drug Restaurant raping k-pop girls in the back of a van they’d probably share that too.  They have no morals and anyone who is or ever was a fan of anything k-pop related should not visit that site for any reason.

Hi 哥哥! (gēgē, Chinese for older bro and therefore my substitute for oppar). There’re two things I’m hoping I can ask you about: Basically I’m going to be super super busy for the next two years because of school, but I really really want to learn to play bass guitar (have been for a year now). Today I impulse rented a bass guitar (yamaha bb434, with my own money) for a month, and bought an amp and cable. Do you have any advice for learning to play as time efficiently as possible? (btw, I can read music, and have good rhythm) And do you have any recommendations for an instrument if I end up wanting to buy one after this month? My budget is up to 500, if I find a bass I really like.

Also, I mentioned before about how I’m super busy. My parents aren’t at all helping with the pressure, as they keep telling me that these two years are the most important in my life and will affect the university I go to, and therefore my potential to “ascend” on a societal scale (btw, i’m in high school). Basically, good university= easier future. And anything outside of a STEM career is completely out of question. Honestly I’m just bending to what they want me to do, because it makes things easier and I don’t really know what I want to do in the first place (Though I also just do things that I really want to regardless of parental permission, hence the clandestine renting of the electric bass).

It just pisses me off to no extent how there’s so much pressure to achieve success at infantile ages, especially among the asian-american community. What’s so wrong with taking a few years off to earn money for school, or to follow a nontraditional path? Why do we have to pander to fucking Collegeboard, an institution that touts themselves as a nonprofit while holding a monopoly over the entire American college application system?? I’m just afraid of being left monetarily struggling in the future, but also don’t want to conform to ideas I disagree with (that you’re a failure if not competitive enough for a T20 university). Sorry, honestly I don’t even know if I have a point to say, it’s just that I’ve gone from being 100% about studying medicine because it’s a secure future! and I can work hard and earn money and that’s all you need for a fulfilling life! to feeling increasingly that I’m just a background character in a panopticon-esque community. (But then I also worry that this is just because I’m growing up in a relatively comfortable household, and that in reality I’m unaware of how difficult living without parental assistant is, which is the reason for the push for a lucrative career).

Would you recommend me just doing my own shit in the way I want to do it (explore career options, including med, but don’t reach for it in a way where I’m one of those people whose entire lives revolve around their future career (i.e. majority of the students in my area)), which would probably result in a 3.7 GPA minimum, and less “achievements” i guess, but I can branch out in music and arts and things that i’m already decent at and want to improve at right now. Academically decent, but definitely not the cream of the crop or quite as spectacular on paper.

Or to follow the standard idea of what colleges want (good gpa above everything, volunteering, “””leadership”””) which would honestly probably make me more likely to get in a higher ranked university and make my future academic endeavors easier.

I’ve always been an advocate of doing what makes me happiest.  However I do mean that in the long-term.  The traditional academic route is a “known quantity” decision, if you do well at your studies, you pretty much know how your life is going to go, so you can probably make a fairly realistic assessment of how you’re going to feel about that particular path.  Doing “something else” (whatever it is) is more of an unknown quantity, you might succeed or fail, and you might not even know exactly what it is at this stage.  Your parents obviously want you to be financially secure over the long term and study in a STEM field will most likely get you there, however there are also other ways to achieve financial security.  I went straight from high school to office work and then starting a business with the proceeds, then I went to university AFTER I had done that for a while.  Things to consider:

  • You can do things in any order and there are certain benefits from studying mature-age, namely you don’t get as absorbed into the politics of study
  • A degree is just for getting a job, and employers don’t care as much about what’s on your bit of paper as what you can actually do for them in reality
  • Even if you pick the super boring STEM path your parents want there’s no law saying you have to give up music to do that, there’s ALWAYS time to rock
  • Only your final year of high school is important, every year up to that is just about moving to the next year successfully

Learning time efficiently – play every day.  15 minutes once a day will teach you more than 3 hours once per week.  Leave your bass out, always, somewhere you can easily get to it and can casually pick up and play it.  If you are bored, play bass.  Ads on TV?  Play bass.  Waiting for something to load on your computer?  Play bass.  You’ll get good fast.  Also join a band as soon as possible, even one that sucks will teach you a lot about playing.

I always liked Squier basses for the budget conscious.  Precision bass if you want to primarily play rock, Jazz bass if you want to primarily play pop or funk.  Nothing wrong with Yamaha basses though, and plenty of other good basses out there too.  My main bass is this and I like it because it only really has one setting which is “Lemmy” and that’s all I need really, plus it’s a lot fucking cheaper than a Rickenbacker.

Hey Oppar!
I am curious about one thing.Even before YG was revealed to be the a wanabe gangster, you mentioned that mafia were pretty involved in kpop.Apart from LSM’s acquaintance with the interpol and the shitty scam and sex scandal laden tiny companies (many of whom only pretend to be kpop), how did you know?Did your contacts related to kpop tell you or you learbt through some other means?What about the music industries in other places? Are they involved with the mafia too?
Also after trying hard to see dog whistle with my own eyes I realized that I just can’t see it a lot of times like with Choerry and that YG kid model with the ice cream ad.Guess I’m not a part of the target audience.
Did you like college,Oppar?I’ve been a lil more than one month and I hate it.My classmates are mostly idiotic/arrogant assholes(for no goddamn reason),I have 1 professor who is actually is actually good at her job and helpful. And tomake things worse my hostel floor people are rude and not understanding (there are some nice seniors on other floors, just not on mine) and all my friends are in other colleges (of the same university) but in different far off areas of the town.And a lot of books my teacher assigned me aren’t in the college library.And the hostel food is so-so and pure vegetarian and there are no restaurants around, only fast food.
Sorry for the rant and
Have a nice day/night!❤❤❤

I knew because I heard it from people.  They didn’t have actual evidence but I had no reason to doubt them.  I can’t name names but you’d be amazed who talks to Kpopalypse.  There’s a hell of a lot that I keep under my hat because if I start talking about it people would just call me a hater and say I was making shit up for clout.  Burning Sun was not a surprise, the only surprise to me was how it blew up and they got caught.  I didn’t know about that specific situation to be clear, but I definitely knew that things like that happen, and some of the players involved

Be happy that you’re not attuned to the dog-whistle.  Advice for anyone in your shoes – you’re probably not that streetwise yet, so keep out of the k-pop business until you learn to detect it.  Not an insult, just reality – you need to be able to twig to when something is “a little off” to survive and prosper.  You can ask Sistar and AOA about that one.

I liked university a lot, but then I attended as a mature-age person so people there were younger than me, so their immaturity didn’t affect me, it was like ants running around my feet.  What can they do to me, really?  Nothing.  I was there to study and fuck what everyone else thinks.  I have very high determination levels, as readers may have noticed by my ability to keep an active blog going for seven years and counting.  When I’m on a mission, that’s what I focus on, and I don’t let petty people get in my way.  Right now my mission is bringing fun, education and caonima action to you readers.  Hopefully you’re enjoying this content and getting something out of it, because it will definitely continue!

That’s all for QRIMOLE!  This series will return in a month, in the meantime don’t forget to stan Chuu+!

Oh, and 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!

4 thoughts on “QRIMOLE – October 2019

  1. “A rare case of a B-side that is better than the feature track ????”

    This year, I’ve found a lot of b-sides to be better than the feature tracks.

    GFriend: “Our Secret” > “Sunrise”
    Red Velvet: pretty much every song on The ReVe Festival: Day 1 > “Zimzalabim”
    Red Velvet: “Swimming Pool” > “Sappy”
    Dreamcatcher: “The Curse of the Spider” > “Deja Vu”
    CLC: “I Need U” > “No”
    Nature: “Shut Up” > “I’m So Pretty”
    Twice: “Get Loud” and “Trick It” > “Feel Special”
    Loona: “Curiosity” and “Colors” > “Butterfly”

  2. “Transactivists/SJWs are slowly bastardizing the English language in order to have their (made-up ‘non-binary’) identities constantly validated by everyone that it’s almost embarrassing we Filipinos are beginning to adopt this same insidiously intolerant mindset.”

    holy hell
    singular they/them pronouns were already used in other contexts before. language is just a bunch of fucking sounds we make to convey a message, no one is FORCING you to use anything. how is being polite and nice to someone, therefore adressing them how they’d like to be adressed, “insidiously intolerant”? you deadass sound like those old people that thought gay marriage was BASTARDIZING THE INSTITUTION OF MARRIAGE and that GAY PEOPLE WERE JUST INTOLERANT WITH PEOPLE WHO DIDN’T THINK THEY WERE NORMAL and the GAY AGENDA like seriously, stop overreacting, seems like YOU are the actual snowflake here. grow a spine.

  3. To the high school kid worrying about their academics, don’t worry too much about your undergrad university. For the most part, it really isn’t that important if the university you went to for undergrad isn’t anything prestigious. I’d say worry more about the GPA you’re getting, especially if you’re planning in going through with med. Also, if you’re doing a STEM undergrad, you should also think of doing research early on. Get that experience to see if you want to pursue research or not. It also looks good on a resume that you’ve done research stuff, which ties in with oppar’s point about employers looking for “what you can actually do for them in reality”.

    On a more general note, your first few years of undergrad is a good way to gauge if you’ll enjoy working on a particular field. Maybe then you can have a better understanding of what you want in life.

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