QRIMOLE – February 2020

It’s time for this month’s QRIMOLE!  Let’s take a look at some more questions from readers!

Do you listen to music when you write/work? If so what?

No, neither.  The work I do requires that I either not listen to music at all, or that I listen to very specific music that I don’t get to choose, so I don’t have time for my ‘faves’ in that context.  When I write I only listen to music when the writing calls for it (i.e roundup, song reviews).  I like to listen to music when I can give it my full attention, and I also don’t mind listening while driving, because driving is boring.

So, many idols have been in musical theater nowadays…I’m legit curious: can any idol become a musical actor or does it really need some true skill and talent for it?

Well it obviously requires some coaching for the stage.  Stage acting is a pretty different beast to TV and movie acting, because the audience is further away from you, they don’t have that ability to get in close with the assistance of a screen, so everything has to be more exaggerated so it carries across.  The “stage presence” that really isn’t required at all for k-pop becomes a much more important factor here.  Of course idols are used to receiving coaching because that’s pretty much all they ever do for large chunks of time at once, so there’s no reason why idols can’t be coached for stage work.

Hi oppar! I’d like to introduce you to Ken Ashcorp

These (1, 2) are the only 2 songs by him I like but I thought they might be up your alley

No, they’re really not.  They’re not bad I guess but take away the unusual lyrics and I really just think it sounds like any other rock music out there now.

As far as people exploring these type of themes in music I really like “nerdcore” rapper Zealous1, I wonder what happened to him, he doesn’t seem to be active lately.  He definitely never got enough credit.

Hi, Oppa!

I saw that you mentioned professional interview training in your last QRIMOLE question box. I’d really like to learn how to interview people. What does professional interview training consist of, what sparked your interest in doing interviews, and what’s the most important thing to keep in mind when doing them?

So when I became a radio DJ in the mid 1990s I was trained by people working for the Australian national broadcaster (ABC) in broadcasting and interview techniques.  This was optional training that I was referred to via my radio station and was very helpful, I was keen to take it up because I liked the idea of being able to talk to some of my favourite artists one day and ask them real questions and not the bullshit that they’d usually get asked.  The training was extensive and covered a lot, it is a huge area and probably worthy of an entire post, so if there’s enough interest I’ll make a note to post about these matters in detail one day.  Basically what it’s about is learning how to do “a good interview”, this involves how to keep the subject engaged and talking, how to prepare for an interview properly, how to ask questions, how not to ask questions, when to change plans, how to not provoke a subject, interview ethics and legal aspects, and so on.  A few years later I also received training from another government agency (I can’t tell you who they are due to an NDA, but if you’re Australian you’ll know of them) about defusing hostile situations verbally and how to safely handle threatening subjects.  This was helpful as I was occasionally dealing with people both through radio interviews as well as through the music business (who I won’t name-drop) who had a reputation for violence and/or being associated with unsavoury political groups.  Often on investigation these reputations weren’t truly deserved, however sometimes they were!  It’s helpful to know how to handle a situation safely when someone starts talking extremist nonsense in public, or decides to ring you up in the middle of the night with a death threat, both of which have happened to me.  If you’ve ever wondered why online haters and threats don’t bother me much and I just keep on keeping on, this is why – not much online compares to being told by someone that they are in no uncertain terms going to kill you, and you know that this person knows where you work every day and that you’re actually going to be in the same room as that person within the next 24 hours because they’re booked in for a schedule where you have no choice but to talk to them.  I can’t imagine what some fandom-fueled idiot would do in that situation, all the wrong things probably, but I was able to sort that situation out verbally and we ended our interaction with a handshake.  So now you know why I wasn’t the least bit concerned about provoking or encouraging that German guy, I’ve dealt with situations where provoking or encouraging someone would mean that my own life would potentially be on the line, I know how to talk to potentially dangerous people without increasing their potential danger.  ONCEs should be thanking me that I was the person talking to him and was actually able to get inside his head and reveal his thought processes in a genuine way while doing so safely, and not someone from some major media site who might not have my training and would have probably just stirred the pot for engagement and ad revenue.

To answer your other question, the best thing to keep in mind about interviews if you just want to make a start on them and you’re not doing things at a high level like interviewing controversial figures, is that an open question is almost always better than a question that is “closed” (i.e yes/no response).  That’s not to say closed questions don’t also have their place, because they can help drill down a fact, but an interview that is going nowhere (usually because the subject doesn’t feel comfortable talking) often is this way because too many questions are begging straightforward one-word answers.

I want you to do a follow up interview with nayeon’s stalker after the plane incident where he directly tried to interact with her and got held back by managers. I want to know what is going on in this guy’s brain. Do you think he will be more aggressive now the he had someone physically getting in his way of talking to Nayeon? Should we be worried? Would Nayeon telling him to his face “you freaked me the fuck out on the plan leave me alone” get him to stop? The guy freaks me out and I’m not even the person he’s stalking.

Even the result of the plane situation didn’t really change anything inside his mind as he has now engaged in further actions after this.  However what seems to have worked (at least temporarily) is JYP’s statements about legal action, because those statements have a dollar value attached and legal action could influence the stalker’s rich jewelry-business-owning family and estate, my guess is that he’s had family pressure to cool off his stalker activities.  Note that it was the stalker’s acquiring of Chaeyeon’s phone number (no doubt through infiltrating the Twice fandom network) and NOT the actions of ONCEs continually reporting him to JYP, which led to JYP’s actions.  JYP has thousands of people messaging him every day “reporting” people, and you can bet he’s ignoring all if it.   “Reporting accounts” love to take the moral high-ground on absolutely everything but actually do far more harm than good by encouraging people to flood agencies with reports about anyone and everyone who they think has made the slightest negative thing against idols, and normalising engaging with agencies to make complaints as something you should do in the most trivial of circumstances.  It becomes like the boy who cried wolf – if you constantly bitch and whine about every little thing that doesn’t matter, when a real threat appears nobody will listen.  This is one way in which Twice reporting sites have made the stalker so incredibly dangerous as they essentially disabled JYP’s ability to see the threat coming and thus allowed the stalker to take the initiative.

I need help. I got better at writing music. I can lay down my chord progression, program my drums beats, get a decent bass line down, but I cannot write a melody worth shit. How do people write melodies? More specifically pop melodies?

Coming in a future music theory post.  I’ll try to tackle this soon-ish (i.e this year).

A quick thank you for all you do on your blog! Always an entertaining read and I look forward to your “best of” list at years end. I really disliked a lot of your selections this year but after repeat listens I ended up adding quite a few. Without your lists and weekly posts id probably be listening to the same twice songs 100x over and nothing else so thank you!

My question is – Whats up with the lack of kpop merch? Why is it so fucking hard to buy a hoodie with a god damn logo on it from an official sorce? Even the official tour merch seems to suck dick. I dont want a light stick ill never use just slap a logo on a somewhat nice tshirt please thanks. In the US band merch is abundant even for more obscure groups. Is that just something that kpop labels dont participate in for the most part?

I guess they’re just not into it.  I don’t know, it’s always felt weird to me too.  There must be huge bank in official t-shirts that nobody is making.  When I went to the Blackpink concerts all the t-shirts there were white with really crappy designs.  K-pop could learn a lot from heavy metal in this regard, where band t-shirts are usually very well done with great designs and actually considered to be an important part of the culture (with bands deliberately wearing each other’s shirts to support each other and the scene).  This is something that Happyface really should be latching onto with Dreamcatcher but so far haven’t, or at least not to the extent that they should have, add that to the massive list of so-far-missed-opportunities with Dreamcatcher.

It feels like online harassment is a lot worse for celebrities in Korea than in the West. Any idea why? Have you read/ watched anything that explains or debunks this?

I think it’s just because South Korea is a much more online society in general than most western countries, they had high speed Internet faster and sooner than everyone else, and I think because of this we see the impacts of a connected society in Korea sooner than elsewhere.  Anything that happens in Korea online, you’ll probably see it echoed in the west a few years later.

Would this get you physical (MRS)?

Yoyomi is great of course but I don’t think that look suits her very well (although it’s obviously appropriate for the song material).  If I were to pick a favourite Yoyomi video just for her appearance it would probably be this:

Why does this song sound so similar to this one to me when they’re arguably not that similar?

You’re right that mostly the songs are quite different, but the one things that’s fairly similar between them is the vocal meter (the timing of the vocal phrases).  A future post will discuss vocal meter in more detail and why it’s important, in fact it’ll probably be in the same post that discusses writing a good vocal melody, as these two aspects of songwriting are very closely related.

My question: Hello there. I have been following your blog for some months now (I think) and find it generally entertaining, so compliments on that. I’m writing to thank you for listing the apparently really good TXT’s Run Away on your 2019-favourites, as I didn’t notice it when it was released. In the second part of the chorus (1:59) it has a buzzing guitar(?) sound that sounds black metal-y (though the picking(?) is a bit slow). I like the ‘black metal guitar sound’ and have been wondering if it could work in music with very high, polished production opposed to the usual ‘bad production is kvlt’ of a lot of black metal (don’t get me wrong, I like me some low production metal), and even though I don’t usually like pop music that try to sound metal (e.g. Dreamcatcher), I think this song says ‘yes’. Perhaps the key is to keep it a bit back or whatever (no, I did not read your posts on music theory). Do you know of other instances of kpop with that ‘black metal guitar’ sound?

I’m not really sure if I’d associate that particular sound with black metal myself, that type of single-picking distorted (and often clean as well) harmonisation is something that I’ve always associated with “post-rock” groups like Mono, Godspeed You Black Emperor and others, although the black metal guys probably did it first I don’t think they’re the ones who directly injected it into the pop sphere.  An example of where I’m more used to hearing it, where in the span of one minute you can hear both clean and distorted versions:

I think that’s where most people heard this kind of sound and then had the idea to integrate it into more commercial rock music.  For instance if you want a Korean example you can hear it in the chorus of this song by Nell:

I don’t recall hearing it in too many pure pop songs in k-pop but you’re right that it’s in “Run Away” and no doubt it’s in other songs and you could go looking for more if you wanted.

Hi oppa, I’ve been struggling with what I guess I’ll call ‘terminal dickheadedness’ which basically means that I’m a condescending bitch to anyone who I even subconsciously feel like they did something stupid or that they are inferior. What this translates to is me making them feel like shit by saying shitty things to them, or even just having a bad tone/attitude which screws up friendships and professional relationship. It wouldn’t be a problem if I was always doing it intentionally but sometimes I don’t even know when I’m doing it and I feel like I’m masquerading as a person with emotions who pretends to care about people and it sort of works until I get too comfortable and inevitably piss someone off. Then I sort of retreat, take myself out of the equation because I don’t know how else to fix it which isolates me even more. Some people let it slide as like a one-off rudeness, but I’ve been called out with both direct and indirect accusations (ie they don’t know how what I said made them feel like shit, just that I did). I’ve been trying to get better for a while. I’m going to see a councilor soon but do you have any pointers on how to a) not be a dickhead b) get better at caring about other people?

“Emotional labour” is a term that is worth getting familiar with, and it basically amounts to “being nice to dickheads for cash and/or personal benefit”.  It’s what any airline hostess does – of course they have to remain super-polite and professional at all times even when you’re being a complete dicksack on the plane.  It’s also what Korean pop idols do, constantly having to treat every single fan interaction like they really care a lot about you and are super-happy to see you, so later you say nice things about how wonderful they were, even if they’d really rather be backstage washing the fangirl stink out of their hair.  It’s impossible to genuinely give a fuck about everybody (and you shouldn’t anyway, because some people totally aren’t worth it) but mastering the art of faking it is helpful, because people are nicer to you if you’re nicer to them, it’s just good common sense not to be a dick to people around you if you can help it.  It will be easier for you to maintain this if you have some form of emotional outlet for your real feelings, it’s a lot easier to suppress your real emotions in a public setting if you have a way that you can let loose privately where it harms nobody.

MRS?

This is actually really boring.

Hi oppar, how is it going?
So I’ll get right into it.I’m a 21 year old thats studying compuer science major as of this moment.But I got a problem I have come to realization that I basically hate my major and I dont want to study it anymore.During this time i fell in love with music, bought a guitar, started learning music theory and started writing my own music.Recently I finally gathered enough courage tell my parents about this.I explained them that I stopped liking my major and I wanted to pursue music and even though they were against it at first they said they would let me try my chace at it.So i guess my question is do you have any advice for me regarding whether I should do what I actually want or I should just grow a pair and finish my major first.I would love know your opinion.Thanks alot and I hope my english understandable as least.

I think before you make any grand changes, ask yourself – what exactly is it about computer science that you don’t like?  What you want to avoid is a situation where you go and study music and then a couple years down the track you start hating music as well for similar reasons that you now hate computer science.  What first got you into computer science?  Why doesn’t it appeal anymore?  A computer science degree is, honestly, a lot more fucking useful than a music degree in the real world, and there’s nothing stopping you from continuing to do music privately, so why not study both and have the best of both worlds?  The income that a job gained from a computer science degree could generate will give you the cashflow to do all the music you desire, whereas an actual music degree itself doesn’t actually qualify you for much at all.

Of course if you seriously can’t fucking stand your current degree then maybe a music degree is a better option, and any degree is certainly better than no degree, but just be wary.  The way that music is approached by academia might not really line up with the reasons why you enjoy music, so do some research about what the music degree entails, maybe talk to some other people who are studying it if you can.  If it all looks good and you feel certain about it, by all means go for it… but just consider it carefully.  Personally if there’s not much time left on your current major you might be best sticking with it.  It’s good to have a qualification in a useful field to fall back on if music doesn’t work out, and getting employed in the music business is exceptionally difficult, so just weigh your options and also the time-money involved.

I remember seeing you write, but forgot the reasoning you gave in the answer, that is more likely that smaller entertainment agencies are a front for sex trafficking in comparison to bigger ones.
Why was this?
Shouldn’t it be the same independently of the scale of the agency? (With the difference being that the people involved are more powerful than the ones in former cases).

The reason why is that bigger agencies are bigger because they actually produce product that someone might realistically be interested in.  Sure they may (and probably do) live an arm’s length away from sex work, but they don’t solely exist for that purpose and that purpose alone.  The small agencies that are sex work fronts are basically just a brothel with “k-pop agency” written on the front door, they don’t usually produce a musical product at all (although sometimes there is one just to give an air of legitimacy) but just lure in trainees and then pimp them out.  This isn’t even the most common scam though, most scams like this just involve very large “training fees” that the agency charges the performer’s parents.  The song and video, if one is even made, are made as cheaply as humanly possible, the agency survives just by constantly taking in new recruits, charging them crazy training fees, working them until they quit, rinse and repeat.  It’s similar in operation to the scam label that Rebecca Black used to be signed to, the one that released “Friday“.  That song was never intended to be a hit, the promise that it might be a hit is what lures young people’s naive parents to pay the $6000 sign-up fee, which is the label’s real source of income, not sales from the actual final songs, which are rushed out as quickly and shabbily as possible.  Scams like this are everywhere and go back in the music industry as far as the 1950s, where “record labels” would charge you a chunk of money to turn lyrics you wrote into a hit song using session musicians who cranked out the product as quickly and cheaply as they could, then they’d send you a few 45s for you to distribute to your friends as proof, of course not telling you that the recordings they gave you were the only ones that would ever be made of your song.

Hi. Happy New Year. I found this youtube video trying to identify what makes kpop sound distinctly kpop.

My takeaway from the video is that kpop just tries to be a more complex, sophisticated and unpredictable version of “pop” (popular) music while still being “pop.” Which means there is nothing unique about the sound of kpop. I don’t know if I make sense… It does reinforces your previous assertions that it is better to understand “kpop” as just a label to make it easier to classify music being sold in music stores. This makes more sense to me. Your thoughts and comments? (BTW, the girl in this video, Nahre Sol is the pianist in the 16 levels of complexity video.) Thanks.

Basically, yes.  There’s no reason why elements such as suspended chords and secondary dominant progressions can’t exist in western pop and in fact they often do, however it’s just more “in fashion” for k-pop to have more complex melody and harmony, whereas in the west this sort of sound really isn’t trending.  K-pop composers who are western will deliberately write more complex sounds for the k-pop market for this reason.  However there’s nothing “intrinsically k-pop” about those sounds, and there are also k-pop songs that are harmonically very simple, it’s just songwriters catering to a different market with slightly different tastes.

Hello Kpopalypse oppar!

I don’t know if you remember me, but I submitted a question a few months back complaining about my very unfair bosses at work – I’m a copywriter whose ideas for a campaign were ripped off by my seniors.

This isn’t exactly a question but I just wanted to let you know that I have since quit! Yesterday was my last day and it was so freeing to be RID of tight deadlines, toxic office politics and gossipy bullshit. This is probably the first time in my life ever that I’ve made a decision that was completely my own and it feels great; and your advice really kept me going until I had put aside enough money for managing my expenses before I could submit my resignation.

Thank you so much! I might be unemployed now but I’ve honestly never felt happier!

Good work!  Here’s hoping that you find something new that isn’t managed by a pile of dicks!

Why the fuck does gospel music sound so awfully bad? Lack of drug dealing laundry money, perhaps?

Don’t bet on it.  Christian musicians are some of the most wasted, drug-fucked people I’ve ever met.  I think Christianity actually makes people more prone to doing that shit, because they can always pray to their god for forgiveness later instead of actually taking some fucking responsibility and cleaning up their lives properly.

Gospel is basically just R&B with all the cool instruments removed and replaced by vocals, and I’ve covered why R&B sucks before here.

Hello Mr. Kpopalypse Oppar sir,

It’s your favorite “I wish I wasn’t living” cunt who can’t make up her damned mind about what she wants to do in life. I’ll try to keep it short this time but I first I just want to say that I have reflected and understood—I will do my best to accept that my biology is somehow attracted to that basic bitch of an idol. He isn’t that bad, I guess. I mean, he isn’t like Seungri and co. though he could be and is secretly touching little kids behind the scenes or sharing hidden camera videos of women so who knows? As for the journalism thing, I’ll give it a shot. After your advice, I realized how it would be cool to do something like cultural journalism. Of course, I want to focus on K-pop/Korea and East Asia in general (I was learning Japanese too), but at the moment I don’t mind writing other things. I’m working on a blog centered around K-pop…as a portfolio so we’ll see.

Oh well, I’ll figure it out. But I actually had a question I wanted to ask you since last Qrimole but I didn’t want to bombard you with questions. It was on cultural appropriation. Even though I’m black, I’ve struggled to wrap my head around what cultural appropriation actually is. I finally thought I had an idea when BTS’s J-hope came out with that Chicken Noodle Soup song. I wrote about it on my blog and what I said at the time was: But watching this music video made me realize that this is really dressing up as a different culture only to throw it away after the cameras stop rolling and the director says “That’s a wrap.” Take out those gel twists, wear proper, non-hip-hoppy clothes or whatever and go back to living your life as a famous Korean superstar. Dude, I’ve struggled with my identity for a while and there were plenty of times that I wished I could just get rid of this dark skin and stupid natural hair of mine, I can’t, unless I take chemicals that’ll just make me even more unhealthier than I already am. That’s why I honestly can’t be mad at this video or J-hope like some of the others because it’s just the same old shit that we’ve seen in K-pop dozens, hundreds of times only being hyped up and being more accepted because it’s a member of BTS doing it.

Sorry if that was long, but I just wanted your explanation as I feel stupid after realizing cultural appropriation seems to just be a concept blinded Westerners (specifically Americans) came up with out of ignorance cause all cultures appropriate right? Should I just revise or exclude that paragraph of mine? Honestly, hate being American at times…

P.S. I lied. This was pretty long. Habit of mine. Apologies.

The high school I went to really sucked ass, it was a hotbed of violence, bullying and housed a unit for “problem kids”.  My school was actually the only public school in my city without a compulsory uniform, which I thought was cool because I hated uniforms, but the reason for this was because we were such a bunch of hooligans that the teachers knew it was impossible to make us actually wear it.  I didn’t know any of this at the time, I just went there because like Blackpink it was in my area.  Anyway, because we were such a bunch of dropouts, and there was some kind of government funded initative to improve the cultural understanding of us poverty-stricken kids so our career prospects post-school would amount to more than “there’s a thing go and clean it”, the school would every now and again organise “outreach programs” where responsible adults engaged in a unique occupation of some description would come along to our school and give us “inspiring presentations”.  We were visited by everyone from marching bands to Christian biker gangs and honestly these type of activities were genuinely pretty cool and inspiring just because it showed us that there was a whole universe of difference outside of our very culturally sheltered outer-suburbs immigrant upbringing.

One day, the “inspiring presentation” was from a duo of Jamaican artists.  I can’t remember who they were, or even what it was exactly that they did, but they were very big on sharing the Jamaican culture with us, and explained things like the clothes they wore, the significance of the Jamaican colours and why they had their hair in dreadlocks.  They politely answered a ton of our ignorant questions about their hair (“Aren’t dreadlocks dirty?” “Do they smell?”), and strongly encouraged us mainly-white-with-a-sprinkling-of-asian kids to try growing dreadlocks for ourselves, just to see what it was like.  They also recommended that we listen to more reggae music and try to find out and experience as much about Jamaican culture as possible (although Rastafarianism was neatly side-stepped, probably to please the school authorities, and we probably smoked more marijuana than they did anyway – in fact, maybe that was the real reason why they came to our specific school…).

Now that’s a pretty fucking different attitude to today’s onlineosphere where everybody wants to lock everything off, and I think it’s a far preferable attitude too.  People learn to appreciate things by experiencing them and reinterpreting it in their own way.  Rock guitar started as completely black music with John Lee Hooker being probably the first, before white people like Elvis Presley reinvented what guitar-based rock music meant and gave it mass-popular appeal, then another black guy Jimi Hendrix reinvented it all again by pushing the guitar to places it had never been, and it’s been reinvented another bunch of times since.  However if the “cultural appropriation Internet task force” had their way, white people would only do white things, black people would only do black things, asian people would only do asian things, every time a white guy tried to play “Purple Haze” on the guitar he’d get “cancelled” and we’d all still be in the fucking caves aiming spears at each other.  Experiencing cross-cultural exchange is a way to increase communication, break down barriers and erode racial frictions, and the “how dare you dress like something from another culture” people are not helping, they’re actually taking us backward.  Sure, if someone’s deliberately dressing as another culture specifically to mock it then I agree that’s basically just them being a fuckwit, but that’s light years away in attitude from some white guy wearing dreads because he empathises with Jamaican culture, or even if he doesn’t know shit about that culture and just thinks dreads look cool.  Better that than somebody thinks dreads look like shit, right?  They’re not dressing J-Hope like that to be hated or because they hate black people – they’re doing it because black culture is something that people all over the world genuinely love and want to absorb and emulate.  When things get popular, and they enter the sphere of popular culture, it’s impossible for them to be reclaimed, and it doesn’t matter how much people try – it simply won’t happen, the genie doesn’t go back in the bottle.  Black cultures are massively popular all around the world, and for good reason, so it makes sense that people in all other corners of the world will enjoy and try to emulate these things and create their own versions.  This is what it is to be a huge globally dominant cultural force, you become influential.  The entire world has plenty of people who look up fondly to black America and hip-hop just like they look up to black American dominance in sport, literally every single country with running water and electricity has a local hip-hop scene and a basketball team now.  This is actually “soft colonialism”, like the “soft power” that the Korean government has been attempting with the Hallyu wave, except in the case of black America, it actually happened organically without any government intervention.  Rather than complaining about the rest of the world ripping off your music, hair and style, why not enjoy being on top?

My question: I used to not mind BTS, just their fans but I even managed to ignore them but now the very existence of BTS is starting to bother me. I didn’t mind them when they were just another kpop group making shitty music in 2013 because that’s what boy groups do you know. But now they STILL make shitty pop music and are so ingenuine about. They act like they’re so artistic and deep and manipulate their fans into thinking they are different but they always use trendy bullshit in their songs when it’s trending like tropical house and the stupid sax riff trend and bare bone hip hop. They’re music is nowhere near different from typical pop music coming out the last 4 years but their fans act like they are so different and above pop when they’re literally making pop. They also tried to use politics in their favor for a while but they’re such a joke because none of their songs have anything revolutionary and as soon as it bit them in the ass (Saudi Arabia) they’re like oh we’re not about that because just like any other kpop group they’re industry controlled puppets. What I hate is their fans think they’re so above it all because these fans are disillusioned and I feel bad for them! They’re so unhealthily emotionally invested that it’s ruined their ability to critically think. They attack everyone, other groups, stans, JOURNALISTS whenever the idea that bts isn’t different is challenged. Every other day they bring up something about a group being culturally insensitive when bts entire shtick is ripping off hip hop and they have a longer streak of culture appropriaton and racial slurs than almost any other group and they didn’t even apologize like their fans like to lie about! And even the vague apology their fans brought up didn’t do anything because they continued being culturally insensitive after that. I know you, kpopalypse don’t care about that stuff but I just hate how hyporitically brainwashed they are. I believe the rise of BTS has started to make kpop more dull than it was already becoming. Fans were always crazy and fighting about charts and “talent” but recently I just saw that armys created a fake tweet of zico (a shithead) being racist because his song was charting above BTS. Tl dr to sum up my rant I’ve been more annoyed than usual because not only have BTS/BH manipulated a millions but journalists also manipulate them for clicks and put other groups down and the few times they actually challenge the idea that BTS is not this high mighty god sent kpop group they get threatened by these delusional fans which in fact are the majority. Lack of genuinity in music has always been an issue but it’s rapidly increasing. My rant is over you dont have to respond but I wanted to ask if you think I’m also being too much of a delusional stan by being this annoyed of the existence of a group or if you at least agree with how much they are plauging the industry right now

I think you’re letting it all bother you way too much.  Fakeness in music isn’t increasing, it’s always been there and always will as long as music remains a product that people make money from, a recent example being how Seasick Steve fooled everyone into thinking that he was far more down-and-out than he really was because everybody loves a good rags-to-riches story.  As long as people prioritise other things over the music, there’ll always be clever people willing to exploit those weaknesses for a few extra dollars and a crack at fame.  If you like the music of BTS, hey that’s great, enjoy it.  If you don’t, that’s great too – so don’t listen to it.  However there’s no need to be upset over any of it.  I think Australian Rules football (the dominant strain of sportball in my region of the world) is fucking stupid but I don’t write huge long rants about it because there’s just better ways to spend my energy, and I’m not going to change anyone’s opinion about it anyway, nor do I even want to.  Different people like different things and that’s okay.

Dude what’s yo problem with Beyoncé? Is just music taste or something else?
Had a dream about GOT7’s Bambam whipping black people on a show. You faggot bitch where is Kpopalypse Dreams bring it back

Her music is shit, that’s all.  That’s enough.  I don’t even know enough about her to dislike her for any other reason.

When I have enough dreams for a new episode of Kpopalypse Dreams, it will appear – not before!

Hi Oppa ^w^
I’m in a good mood because i finally got with a dude that i’ve always wanted to be with and I just wanted to say that your blog is one of my favorites and one of the only ones i consistently read and return to.
I do have one little question: do you get paid for running this blog? I’m asking because you don’t put up any ads on this site and you also don’t really promote anything, however it seems like you devote a lot of time to this blog and you also consistenly keep to your post schedule.
If you don’t get paid for this then !!RESPECT!!
If you do get paid for this then !!RESPECT!! (still)
Anyways, thanks for reading this as always and keep up the trolling, that’s one of the best things you do.
❤ ❤ ❤

Thanks!  I do not get paid for this blog and also I don’t engage in any paid promotion of anything ever.  In fact it actually costs money for me to blog (web hosting fees to remove the default WordPress ads and add some other enhancements, plus Australia’s outrageous electricity costs).  However several readers do donate to Kpopalypse via the Kpopalypse Patreon, these donations don’t quite pay the electric bill but they do pay the hosting costs to keep the site alive and also pay for a few other trinkets of joy, like the Chuu+ bot which has its own dedicated server in Singapore.

Hi oppar! What are your thoughts on these two songs?

I’ve been really enjoying the “vibe” of Wesley’s Theory (I probably have shit taste though) but I’m not sure what exactly to describe it as? Other than it being a rap song it sounds a bit like jazz but I’m not sure if thats entirely accurate (I’m musically illiterate) What kind of sound would you describe this as and could you recommend similar sounding songs (both Kpop and non)? Thanks and sorry for the lengthy request

I don’t like Bewhy’s song, I didn’t cover it when it came out because I assumed nobody would care… but I guess they do, so my roundup review would have probably been ‘eh’ or similar.  It’s cool that the beat changes up but it doesn’t ever change up to anything good, it actually starts sort of okay and then just crashes more and more downhill as it goes along.

The Kendrick Lamar song is more funk-influenced than anything else, definitely a funk beat so if you want a genre category there you go.  Horrid musical choices on top of it though.  I really dislike Kendrick Lamar a lot, I’ve tried with him several times because people keep recommending him to me and he keeps getting critical acclaim so I figure there’s something I’m maybe missing, but I just can’t get into anything that he touches.  The constant praise for that album of his being “the rap equivalent of Pink Floyd’s The Wall” yeah I don’t think so.  Maybe there’s some parallels in the lyrics but certainly musically there’s no comparison.

How you dare to sleep on DIA’s Woowa? You dick!

I said it was a good song when it came out, and it is, but there were lots of good songs in 2019.  They gotta do more than that descending sampled chord-stab riff for a chorus if they want to get on any list of mine.

I recently learned that Red Velvet – Psycho has two different versions. One is used in the music video and the other is used for official audio releases everywhere else. This short video points out the differences between the two:


Apparently one of the song’s producers addressed the issue, saying that the music video version would be “too musical” for the radio:

What kind of reasoning is that? Is this an actual concern that comes up often in the music industry (songs sounding too complex or “musical” or whatever for the radio), or is this some kind of weird artistic choice? Why would they only release the shittier, stripped-down version of the song?

Not an artistic choice, more of a practical one.  It’s more to do with the fact that radio and streaming is generally lower sound quality and/or more commonly listened to in low-quality environments, so a more complex mix might not cut through and compete with other songs that have less detail in the mix.  I don’t agree with them removing the strings and wish they didn’t but I can see why they did it even if it’s obviously the wrong decision.  A shame that this person didn’t name the producer because Kpopalypse would like a word.

In my country, a lot of people, listening to a song, consider the lyrics of a song the only important part. Of course, I don’t believe at this bullshit and I consider all the other parts like melody, rhythm and so on.. I hate when people say to me that songs have to be a deep meaning to even consider a song.
What would be a reason or more reasons for you to not consider at all the lyrics of a song?

Well, I’m a musician, so I listen to music first.  It’s pretty much that simple.  Most people however aren’t musicians, and don’t really understand how music works, so they listen first to what they can relate to the most, which is usually the human voice.

There has been often a debate amongst kpop fans that korean netizens are the worst and the root cause of idols depression to an extent I used to agree with this sentiment and used to feel bad about the excessive hate comments however recently I realised that idols should also not bother with online gossip as well and not allowing the online commenter the power in my country the female actress had huge ransom to have her beheaded and riots to cancel her film that they burned buses and later completely silent when the controversial part of the movie werr false and went on to be a blockbuster hit under those circumstances I don’t think +4450 tsk tsk attention seeker is even worthy to get sad the online culture in my country is far worse and often are dragged by politicians who have no clue in handling the country as lomg as the actor us standing up for the right thing then damn the keyboard warriors

I agree.  Korea gives online comments way too much importance.  The recent changes to news websites across the world where a lot of them are completely banning comments now, I see this as a very good thing and I hope this catches on in Korea and all comments on all websites are simply removed.  In fact I’m even considering if I should keep comments active on my own site, I mean it’s not like there isn’t a dozen different ways readers can get in touch with me directly if they want, and if they want their feelings known on an article nothing is stopping them from linking it and adding their comment there, or reposting it to a discussion forum or a Reddit or wherever else they want to and then they can add their rant to that.  However I don’t get that many comments anyway so maybe it’s not an issue, but if the site ever became very large (like, bigger than Asian Junkie large, which isn’t likely) I’d almost definitely remove them completely.  I think comments sections tend to homogenise thought because whatever the dominant opinion is that you see in the discussion tends to push out everything else (comments sections with upvoting/downvoting adds fuel to the fire here), and those with minority opinions then feel like they can’t even open their mouths, this then just increases the homogenisation effect overall with everyone just either saying exactly the same thing, or feeling like they can’t say anything without being bullied into submission.  Seems far better to do away with the whole mess.  It might cost me a few clicks, but fuck it, like I ever cared about that.  Feel free to discuss this issue in the comments below!

Do you think anything will change in the korean entertainment industry the more celebrities are open about having anxiety, panic disorders, etc.? After last year with Sulli, and Goo Hara, I’m kind of concerned about another preventable celebrity suicide happening. I didn’t have any emotional investment in either of them, but it was still sad that it happened. I don’t really want to wake up to news that celebrity xyz committed suicide this year. I wish the entertainment industry didn’t destroy people so bad.

I think things are gradually changing – the recent changes to laws about trainee periods is definitely a welcome step in the right direction, even if it may have potential loopholes.  Also many members of groups are taking hiatuses for anxiety issues now, I see that as a good thing and definite progress.  At least agencies are talking openly about it and the members are allowed to go on these breaks to assist with their mental health, ten years ago “anxiety” wasn’t even a conversation in k-pop and these boys and girls would no doubt just be told to shut up and suck it up.  The Korean entertainment industry’s awareness of the negative press it’s generating (partly from yours truly) and desire to be perceived positively is definitely a driving factor for reform, even if that process is gradual and many changes are superficial.  The increase in ex-idols doing expose videos and so forth is definitely something that I welcome, just like I’ve welcome ex-idols to talk to me personally for interviews, because it’s content like this that changes public perception and puts pressure on the industry to change.

Having said that, being an entertainer is never going to be as easy as it should be for creative, talented people, just because of the imbalance between supply and demand in all aspects of the business means that companies are always going to be in the position of power when hiring new people.  Mind you that’s not something specific to Korea, and the list of western artists who have succumbed to substance abuse, mental health issues and suicide is at least as long as the Korean one.  Part of the reason why I write the way I do is because I have experience in seeing just such casualties happen first hand in the western business and I see the same patterns being repeated in Korea but not many people talking about it openly.  I’ve attended too many funerals of extremely talented people who died too soon, so that’s why I’m always here to talk to and support idols and musicians going through hard times, and that includes you readers too, which is why I’ll happily answer very personal questions for this series as well as the k-pop stuff.  It’s all inter-related and it all helps shine a light on the bigger picture.


That’s all for QRIMOLE!  This series will return in a month, in the meantime don’t forget to STREAM BLACK SWAN!

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 soon with more postings!

3 thoughts on “QRIMOLE – February 2020

  1. Yes yes, there is enough interest, please write a post about how to do a good interview and how to handle threatening subjects.

  2. Thank you for enlightening me on more probable inspirations for that guitar sound than black metal. I was thinking of something like Darkthrone’s Transylvanian Hunger (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SBwu83RR6ZU). Anyway, your answer made me do a quick search for the origin of ‘tremolo picking’ in black metal, and apparently the metal people has it from ‘post-punk-rock’-stuff – source is questionable (some forum citing statements from musicians), but it makes sense.

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