QRIMOLE – June 2020

It’s time for QRIMOLE!  Read on as Kpopalypse tackles more questions and queries from readers!

1) Do you care about the behavior about politics ideas or other arguments of a singer if he/she makes good songs? Every week a singer is “cancelled” (like Twitter users want to say) for him/her ideas about racism ecc. What do you think about this?

2) Was Baby One More Time really change pop music? Was it really different at the time?

1. No I don’t care.  Simply because this – I’ve always felt that a lot of my own opinions are not reflected by people in the public eye, and if my standard for listening to their music was that I basically agreed with their lifestyles and points of view, I would have literally no music left to listen to at all.  It’s too high a bar and frankly unrealistic.  I don’t know why people expect their favourite musicians to be good people who think sensible thoughts, they’re generally going to disappoint you the vast majority of the time, so just let go.  They’re musicians, they’re not your parents, friends or life coaches.  Who cares what some singer from another country thinks about some random issue?  They have one job, and it’s not agreeing with your stupid opinions.  Why not be like Burzum fans where less than 1% of his fanbase agree with him about anything whatsoever but they still listen to him.  The biggest Burzum fan I ever met, and the guy who actually introduced me to the group, was a black man.

2. Not overly.  It was a slight ABBA throwback, maybe that set it apart from everything else at the time somehow, but in many other ways it was a fairly typical girl-pop song.  People just liked it because it was catchy, well-written, and delivered by someone who looked good and was engaging in front of the camera, not that different to the appeal of early Madonna.

kpopalypse oppar, there are no words that can express how disappointed i am in my biases who chose to remain silent and not use their platform to talk about any social problems.
because, BLACK METAL MATTERS! yes or yes?

I agree.  There’s a disturbing lack of stanning of Darkthrone’s “A Blaze In The Northern Sky” and the first six Bathory albums among k-pop idols.

You often complain of kpop music following trends and being terrible at it. What are in your opinion the best examples of using ‘popular music trends’ in kpop? For example, the best uses of trap, dubstep, tropical house, shouty vocals, saxo hook, etc in mainstream k-pop songs (if the you can give examples for girl groups, that would be great). Thanks!

Off the top of my head, and not all girl groups but certainly excluding anything male-only:

Best trap:

Best sax riff and also best dubstep if you count the very hidden wub-wub sounds right at the back of the mix:

Best trop house (but if you want a “pure girl group” one then I’d pick Blackpink’s “Playing With Fire“):

Best (and also most) shouty song:

Best jazz:

Best R&B, also best ballad:

Best song completely crowded with vocals, no instrumental sections whatsoever:

Best obvious copy of j-pop:

Best song with massive amounts of vocal showing off:

Best (and most subtle, quite hard to hear through most of the song) use of Fender Rhodes keyboard:

Best obviously disco-inspired piece (of course):

What the hell is “girl crush”?

Answered here.

What does QRIMOLE mean? How about “Caonima”?

Answered here.

Do you think how many of these kpop idols saying “we produced that song” “we wrote the lyrics” etc really did that? And how many of them lie and only say such things to make their fans feel better about themselves that they’re stanning talented (!) dudes and not just some mega-rich company’s puppets?

Answered here.

Hi Kpopalypse, hope you’re doing well! Any advice/suggestions for someone (me) who is about to spend the entire summer at home before college starts back up in the fall? The quarantine has put a hole in my internship/job-search and I’ve been trying to line up some kind of self-learning schedule—gonna work on my HTML/CSS skills, set up my own website, maybe try to pick up music production and go back to learning piano—but I’ve been having a hard time staying motivated and resisting the temptation to just 1) lie in bed all day on Twitter and 2) slouch in front of my laptop playing League. Also—apropos of nothing—thank you for all the time you spend maintaining this blog/your socials/answering questions; it’s been a great comfort!

The problem here is you’ve set yourself four goals, all of which are quite large and involved individually.  So you lie in bed and think about these and they seem big and overwhelming and it’s difficult to know where to start, so before you know it half the day is gone and you’re like “fuck it might as well play League and tweet”.  So my advice is, set yourself smaller goals.  Maybe give yourself one smaller task related to each of these four things to do per day – something that won’t take long.  Then each day do another small task or two, and so on.  By breaking up something large into smaller parts you can tackle it at a comfortable pace, still fit in lots of leisure time, and also get the feeling that you’re “doing something”.  See how you go.

Here’s the demo track for Momoland’s Bboom Bboom. Although there is a changelog in the video description, what do you think are the most noticeable changes as compared to the final track? Do you think the instrumental in the demo track is better or the final instrumental they ended up going with? What would you change in the instrumental to make the track more impactful?

The main thing that I notice is the really different equalisation.  The final version sure sounds a lot punchier.  Also some vocals were chopped out of the final version and that was clearly the correct decision.

Can you please recommend some good girl group/female solo songs from this year? Idk if all the good stuff is just nugu and I’m missing it, but I’ve only downloaded 3 songs so far and honestly I’m kind of depressed about it. I miss 2018 when stuff like What is Love and Time for the Moon Night were coming out every month. Also I’m allergic to anything tropical. Pls help oppa ❤

I do a roundup each week and there’s lots of songs in that, I make them specifically so people don’t need to ask me questions like this and can just go and find things on their own.  Seek and you shall find!

Is this satire?

I honestly have no idea.  Maybe it’s supposed to be funny in some way.  I have a really hard time clicking with the Korean sense of humour.  I’m so happy that I don’t live there and never will.

Hi again Mr. Kpopalypse,

I’m the one who sent in the issue with her parents and working at their office and wanted to give you a follow up. After talking a bit with my mom, who said she didn’t want to force me to go if it left me uncomfortable, I feel a bit better. I still think I need a professional to discuss my problems with however, but I’ll try to hang in there for now until then. I just needed to vent and needed some advice. Thanks again.

No problem!  Qrimole is here for you if you need it!

thoughts on Red Velvet’s Love Is The Way: ? Compared to Lion Heart or Sugar Sugar?

Oh wow it’s a boring “what do you think of this non-feature track” question, but I guess it has some relevance because I did like both “Lion Heart” and “Sugar Sugar“, and they’re very similar songs to this, so it gets included here whereas a ton of other questions like this I simply ignored this time around.  However I don’t like “Love Is The Way”, it’s relatively bland, the melody writing is relatively poor.  No great surprise that I didn’t like another non-feature track, these things are not the feature for a reason.

(I hope this question is not too late to be selected for June’s qrimole!!)

Hi Oppar, how are you? I’ve been reading your blog for years now but this is my first time dropping a question. I just want to say that I really enjoy your style of writing and your witty sense of humour. These days, I’ve been thinking a lot about life. I think that one of the most important endeavors in our lives, no matter who or where we come from, is pondering upon the questions of self, identity, and the society that we live. In order to fully understand someone, I think there is a need to first understand their specific biography – what is their personal story, and what is their biological birthplace. I’d like to know how you feel about the concepts of culture, identity, society, modernity, globalization, and its numerous challenges that affect – on a macro level, humanity and on a micro-level, individual self. What do you think about these concepts and their interconnection and relationship?

Hey you made it, congratulations! 

Well that’s one ass-fuckingly broad question, but I’ll do my best.  I don’t really care that much about understanding other people generally speaking, because I’ve always been an outsider of peer and cultural groups, so approval/acceptance doesn’t mean anything to me, so there’s no real motivation to figure out other people a whole lot to try and fit in.  Everyone’s got their own motivations for doing shit, and due to cultural distance I may not always understand what they do or how they think, but as long as they’re happy to do that shit and not bother me with it then that’s fine.  I’m too busy worrying about what I’m doing to concern myself with understanding others on some deep level, I only want to understand them in the sense that their behaviour might affect my own life or the lives of those I care about.  If I can get my head around that much, I’m happy and that will do.  That doesn’t mean that I care about no people ever (look at the amount of time I devote to helping people in this series, for instance), but rather that I have a “circle of concern” and anything outside it I’m happy to not understand or just admit my ignorance about.  I can certainly admit that I don’t understand a lot of things, and I think trying to achieve some sort of global-centric equilibrium of cultural acceptance is impossible for anybody because there’s simply too much information to parse that is filtered through too many lenses.  Ignorance is underrated, it’s okay to say “that thing over there, I don’t understand it” as long as you’re not picking a fight.  Basically what I’m saying is that if everyone just minded their own fucking business a bit more, but were also a little bit more open-minded and didn’t give people they didn’t understand such a hard time, there’d be less dickfucked cuntfaces in the world generally and we’d probably all get along a little better as a result, and that’s probably a better pathway forward than the impossible task of trying to understand and reconcile everything ever into some kind of sliding universal virtue scale.  I hope that sort of answers your exceptionally broad question at least a little.

Do you know a lot about jazz? Do you agree to my grandpa’s statement: “Coltrane ruined Jazz”? His reasoning being Coltrane pioneered the bebop/free jazz movement, and while he did it for two very meaningful reasons, 1. To prove that jazz isn’t just “noise” but actual music, and 2. Counter racism in his own way, it spawned generations of jazz masturbators and egoistic musicians.

Coltrane sucked, total drug-inspired art-wank, you had to be high as shit to both play that music and also to like it.  I don’t think he helped with either 1. or 2. in any meaningful way, might have been a noble effort but it was all for nothing.  Listen to your grandpa, he knows best.

Hello Mr. Kpopalypse oppar sir,

How are you? Seriously, hope you are doing well during these “uncertain times.” But really, same to not only you but to everyone else as 2020 in general is turning out to be a clusterfuck of emotional and life altering events and situations. I hope everyone is hanging in there but I know that’s easier said than done.

I was hoping that next time I dump my shit into Qrimole that I would be sending you a happy update, but here I am about to vent to you my problems again. But I will preface this by saying that there is somewhat good news mixed in. I think?

Anyways, I just wanted your advice on something since I need a neutral third party and since I’m still looking for a therapist, I can’t really talk to anyone right now. I love my parents, I do, and they mean well. They definitely have helped me in situations and give great advice most of the time (I understand despite their age that they are just as flawed as you and me) but they really get under my skin sometimes. I write this after avoiding them for the whole day (didn’t even see ‘em) after a situation last night that got me wondering if I’m in the wrong or are they are is it neither? See, my mom owns her own business and I do work there once in a blue moon but last week, I had to go consecutively for a few days and not sure why, but that took a toll on my mental health. I came back feeling drained and staying secluded in my room. First two days, I had a bit of a crying spell.

Now, my mental health has really recently been in the pits lately with a very bad anxiety break back in January, but it’s steadily gone on the incline only to decline here and there again and again since then. So when my mom came last night to tell me that she wants me in the office again the very next day, my heart dropped and on retrospect, I kind of panicked. I felt some dread and honestly didn’t want to go. The office work isn’t even THAT bad. But I still told her I didn’t want to go and after some flailing with my words, she gave in and said I didn’t have to go but said that it wasn’t fair that she had to essentially chase me down to help her with occasional work (like proofreading/editing docs) outside of the office which I plead guilty too but I don’t mind doing it but I never really ask her if she needs help. At the same time, I feel almost as if I am obligated to go to her office and help (the at-home work I admit I should take more initiative).

But I ended up talking to my dad about what had just happened and my mental crash last week because I thought venting and getting that off of my chest would help, but I just ended up feeling worse. He basically chalked it down to me just not wanting to go to the office cause…idk I didn’t want to work or something since he gave off the feeling that I should suck it up when I don’t want to do something and do it. But I feel like it’s more than just “oh, I want to be a lazy bum and stay home all day and do nothing.” Then my emotions got the better of me and I ended up crying in front of him which I feel like he just dismissed as me crying over a petty problem which hurt, not gonna lie. I know I’m not the strongest person, and I didn’t mean to cry but his sentiment came across as pretty dismissive. Still, both of them may not have totally understood where I’m coming from because I don’t have a way with words. Nor do I think they understand how much my mental health may be affecting me (to be fair, I’m not sure to what extent it’s affecting me either…)

I feel like there is an underlying issue but I’m not sure what. I could say I felt restrictive being at the office and that I felt like I could be doing anything else but I’m not sure cause I don’t have a job currently though I’m looking and I’m doing other things to stay preoccupied in the mean time.

For instance, the blog I’ve talked about before, I’m still writing for. It’s still small, and I wish I could post more weekly even daily but my health as said before isn’t the best. I even want to turn some of my posts into videos for YouTube, but I have another mental hurdle to get over as they for sure would be commentary style vids and I HATE my voice. But I was thinking of doing a “let’s play” style of some of you games if that is allowed? I was thinking the Idol Dungeon one to start. But at least with the blog, I’m slowly finding my voice, so that’s a start? I also share my posts on Twitter, but lately the Twitter crowd is leaving me disillusioned too even some mutual, so I’ve been on hiatus for now (especially since my timeline is filled the recent murder of George Floyd and I can’t mentally handle all that rn).

I don’t want to use my mental health as an excuse but I really don’t understand it. I feel happy and ready to take on the world one day but the next day, I feel like a worthless piece of trash in a world where even a guy like Trump has more worth than me. And with my parents’ words, I can’t help but wonder: am I the problem and just being a bad daughter or is something inside of me the problem? I definitely need some kind of therapy and I apologize but for right now, you’re the closest therapy I can afford right now and you may be seeing something I’m not seeing.

You’ve helped me a lot and I started my blog mainly cause of you and have given me sound advice before so I trust you for this.

Cheers. (And again sorry, for the long post, but I didn’t have no one else to go to really)

Do your parents know that your mental health is so ratshit?  I think that if your parents (especially your mother) were aware that the mental health aspect is key in all this, they might be a bit more understanding.  Or maybe not – mental health isn’t widely understood by everyone – but I think that would be better than them thinking you’re just being lazy or whatever.  Even if they don’t agree or underestimate the seriousness of it, just introducing that conversation into the picture is probably going to ultimately help rather than hurt.

I totally recommend doing stuff with recording your voice, whether it be “let’s play” videos or something completely different.  Don’t worry everybody hates their own voice, but if you force yourself to listen to your own you will get used to it after a while.  If you’re worried about getting hate upload YouTubes under an alias.  I went from being so shy that I had a phobic reaction to my own voice, to being a radio DJ broadcasting to thousands of people weekly, within a fairly short timespan.  Adjusting to the natural cringe of hearing yourself outside your own body is icky at first but a great confidence-builder, and that’s something you could use more of.  It might even help with some of the mental health stuff, in time.

I feel like Berrygood’s ‘don’t believe’ would be a way better song if the tropical shithouse wasn’t there, but at the same time I can’t come up in my head what would make for a better backing track, acoustic guitars? I wished there was another version of it available without the trop. sh because the melody sounds like a classic pop song 100%! What other types of backings would you figure that are suited for this song?

Distorted electric guitars usually make everything better, maybe replacing the toot-toots with those would have helped it creep up a few more places on the Kpopalypse list.

Hi Kpopalypse. I read an article on medium from some guy on “quantity over quality” in music. I don’t expect you to read all that shit, so there’s an excerpt I’d like to take out of it:

“As Ira Glass so famously put it, the best way to refine your craft is to create a huge volume of work. Not to create the most perfect piece you can, but to create many pieces of work.”

Do you agree with this sentiment? I’ve been making music for a few months now and since I’m not doing anything important this summer I’ve been thinking of trying to finish at least one song a week. Does this sound like a good way to improve? Or do you think there are better alternatives to my method?

Doing something a lot is a surefire way to get better at it.  People who spend forever trying to perfect one thing and not moving on are the types who get “writer’s block”.  I generally never run out of ideas and I’m always writing something, or a bunch of things.  I definitely feel like my writing has improved by doing it more and more!  You’ve got to learn to let go and say “yep there’s the thing, that’s done, now time for the next thing”.  If you want to get good at X pump out as much X as you can.  Yeah sure it’ll probably mostly be crap but it’s the only way to improve.

Hi kpopalypse.

Do you think the lim kim “transition” from indie jazzy coffe shop singer to an actually experimental and really weird sounding artist can have any effect in the korean music ecosystem? As far as i understand she isnt that big of a deal there but do you think that can encourage “mid tier” talented young korean artists to try to do something actually new or weird, a few examples come to my mind like Minseo, Lee Hi or maybe a rapper. Also what do you think about lim kim old stuff? I actually enjoyed it, do you think she or her writers were a little experimental before her new crazy sound

I liked “All Right” but hated the rest of her old stuff and I also don’t like any of her new stuff (although I respect the effort to at least try to be different even if I think the results are a complete failure, good on her for at least trying).  I don’t think Lim Kim is going to have much of an effect on anything, she’s too unconventional for mass appeal or mass influence.  If she’s lucky she’ll be able to carve out a nice niche for herself to operate in, but that’ll be about it.  Mind you I don’t think that’s such a bad place to be.

so, as someone who has stated his stance on gun rights many times here, what do you think about this argument?

Plenty of black people have been carrying guns for decades, it seemingly hasn’t stopped the police from picking on them.  I totally get why black people would be hesitant to give up their guns, especially in the current climate, but “defence against the tyrannical government” doesn’t really stack up when the US government is happy to kill civilians with unmanned vehicles.  Don’t bring a gun to a drone fight.

what do you think this video got right aand wrong? are we Wrong About Kpop being a shitty ultramanufactured industry? is it not any more corporate than western pop?

I didn’t watch all of this, because it’s just too goddamn long, but just skimming through it and trying to pick up on the general points, I’d say that they’re absolutely correct that Korean pop isn’t any “less corporate” or “less manufactured” than company-driven pop from anywhere else and things like company debt, the amount of creative control exhibited over the songs, and the relentless focus on the physical image are very much the same.  However what makes Korean pop stand out is the sheer extremity of the image-crafting and the lengths that companies will go to, which are often way above and beyond what we see elsewhere.  Extreme underweight being the “standard”, having limited or no access to social media, having so many no-go zones in interviews strictly dictated by the company, and the commitment to showing only the sunny positive side of everything, are aspects that are much more common in k-pop.  For instance he points out that Lizzo was fat-shamed because of her image, and this is true, but in the US Lizzo was still allowed to be a bona-fide hit artist signed to a major label despite all that, the company didn’t have a panic attack and drop her or anything, or even pressure her to lose weight, which is what any Korean agency probably would have done.  In the Korean system, not only would Lizzo not have been a hit (for a direct comparison look at the fate of Piggy Dolls), she probably wouldn’t have even made it to trainee level at a large agency.

The signature sound of Lovelyz is my favourite in K-pop, and as such I would love to hear what particular (presumably Western) songs and artists you think inspired OnePiece’s songwriting, since you never got around to discussing it in full as you considered in the passage for “Hi~” on your best of 2015 ranking.

I don’t even know if it’s relevant to write about it anymore seeing as how OnePiece have simply stopped writing songs like that for Lovelyz over the last few years, that’s why I never bothered following this up, but I think that a large part of Lovelyz’ songwriting style actually comes from New Order.  It’s like a heavily orchestrated, harmony-dense and significantly brightened up version of their songwriting sensibility.  Early Lovelyz songs even mimic New Order’s surrealist imagery in their music videos – not exactly, but enough to make the inspiration clear.

Hi, how are you? What are your thoughts on artists like Death in June or Boyd Rice and the whole fascist/nazi imagery? Do you think they are actual fascists? I won’t lie, I really like some DIJ stuff, I mean, I don’t think he is nazi or whatever, but I know we live in a world that grows more and more polarized and manichaean, so I kind of feel insecure about it lol. Do you think using such imagery is problematic, even if the artists are not fascists themselves?

Boyd Rice was an Internet troll before both the Internet and its trolls even existed.  I’d be hesitant to take any public statement of his on face value or as a representation of his true thoughts.  People who believe that he’s Nazi tend to point to his interview on the cable TV show “Race And Reason” where he’s interviewed by KKK members and basically says more or less as such, but they’re also making the massive assumption that he’s not on there playing along just for shits and giggles.  He certainly has precisely zero “political” aspirations, most actual neo-Nazi musicians tend to be very earnest about it and actually get involved in political activism of some kind, no sign of that from Boyd.  I think he just likes shocking people and I don’t think he really gives much of a fuck about anyone else’s view on anything.  Douglas P. (aka Death In June) is even less convincing as a neo-Nazi to me.  For a start, he’s openly gay, so he’d be the first one up against the wall in an actual fascist regime, a fact which I’m sure is not lost on him.  He’s one of the only western artists in any genre to do world tours that encompass Israel, so he fails on the Nazi count there too.  Also his highly esoteric lyrics are vastly at odds with how literally every single actual Nazi musician operates – I’ve listened to plenty of actual neo-Nazi music and it’s all 100% blatant with no guesswork required.  I think Douglas just likes the uniforms (let’s be real – who doesn’t) and the aesthetics, plus Nazism is a fascinating part of human history which has influenced so many things, which is why it keeps cropping up in popular culture all the time, so it’s fair game for creative exploration.  I see Death In June as embracing the aesthetic aspects of Nazism while leaving behind the twisted ideology and racial hatred, I see that as a good thing.  Maybe these guys have a few conservative views or whatever, I don’t know – I don’t really care either, they’re not politicans so what does it matter.  If all Nazis ever did was made records with skulls on them and kept away from actual political action, the world would be a better place.

Hi Kpopalypse! I’ve been recently on a movie kick during quarantine and I was rewatching one of my all-time favourites, Amélie, and really took notice about how great the soundtrack to that movie is (in my opinion, obviously), and it got me thinking, so here’s my question: In your opinion, how does a soundtrack enhance a movie and in which ways can it be utilised to do so? I know you’re not the biggest film buff since this is a blog about K-pop, but I was curious to hear your take on it.

There’s a common school of thought with movie soundtrack making that the best movie soundtracks are the ones that you don’t even notice because they blend so seamlessly with the action of the film, i.e the music is there purely to serve the film.  However I’ve always disagreed with that, I like also noticing the music in particular, and I think the best soundtracks are the ones that can add an extra depth to the meaning of the scenes in the film, and also stand up as good compositions outside of that context as well.  Although I don’t generally like him at all outside of this, I think one of the best film soundtracks ever is Neil Young’s score to “Dead Man“.  Worth a look, both within and without the film.

I know you probably hate Disney songs with all your guts, but I’ve been watching/reading a lot of Disney behind the scenes and they kinda confirmed your statement that vocal techniques in singing is just a mean to convey a message or feeling. Like how Lea Salonga was trying to sound happy and amazed while recording A Whole New World (Alladin), Jodi Benson was trying to convey longing feeling in Part of Your World (Little Mermaid), and how the writer of You’re Welcome (Moana) knew that only Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson could sing it because he’s the only one who could sound that cocky. So yeah, not a question, just something that I found fascinating. Keep fighting the good fight, oppar!

Agreed, and thanks!

Why tf are the backup dancers wearing black under shorts here? 

Why can’t they (the company or the costume person or whoever) make them wear pink shorts that reach the black region (since I’m guessing too much as cheek would be out otherwise)? I know it’s not the decision of the dancers but it seems so lame in the company’s part to do it for a video (I know it’s a different context for live performances broadcasted on TV in Korea). I’ve seen this in quite a few MVs although I don’t remember which. Whyyyy? It makes me so annoyed aesthetically.

Probably so they don’t “visually upstage” the actual performers who you’re supposed to be looking at instead.

Hi Kpopalypse,

Back to Kaachi. I just read your guide to westerners wanting to be k-pop stars, and bloody hell, that’s both hilarious and informative XD Though I have a feeling that if Kaachi ever read your guide, the girls would just quit. 🤣

To be fair, k-pop idols bullshit k-pop fans largely because that’s exactly what the fans wants – supply and demand, you know. Even as a once, I do have the feeling that most of what the girls said on “Twice: Seize the Light” documentary are scripted (and Mina would probably leave JYP if she had a choice), though I don’t have any conclusive evidence. Come to think of it, one of the reasons why K-pop is so successful is because it’s actually more engineering than art……

On a side note, there are several things I want to ask for your professional opinion. I recently found a twice fanfic on AO3: To sum it up, the whole story about Mina and Momo – two solo artist who are each other’s rival – fell in love with each other during a one-year temporary duo group arranged by their respective company.

I want to ask: is that possible that you can arrange two artists (who hates each other with a passion) into a temporary duo group, without causing any PR disaster? Also, when it comes to such inter-company collaboration projects, how would the profit be split, and who would exercise artistic control?

Finally, I have another game for you: How would you roast Twice (whether the whole group or the members individually, it’s up to you) in 10 sentences? Since I don’t want to wait for another month, I’ll give you mine, as an ONCE:

1. Whenever I look at Nayeon’s teeth, I really want to recommend her the dentist I’m currently seeing (who happens to be my dad’s high school classmate), had she been a Canadian.
2. During the days of my coop work term (CS student here), my team’s hackathon topic is to experiment with facial recognition technologies, and I did some experiments on Amazon Rekognition (a computer vision platform)’s Celebrity recognition feature by feeding it a lot of Twice images. But for some reasons, it always said Jeongyeon is a guy. Damn those algorithms.
3. To whoever wants to marry Momo, make sure you have a bank note printing machine at home – otherwise there’s no way in hell you can feed her without declaring bankruptcy several times.
4. It’s lucky that Sana is a girl – because with such behavior, she’s definitely going to be Japan’s own Harvey Weinstein if she’s a guy.
5. If you’re flying on a plane with Jihyo and there’s some mysterious delays, it’s most likely because the plane is suddenly heavier than expected, and the pilots have to recalculate how much fuel is needed + how much cargo they have to offload.
6. Mina is often being the designated English speaker of Twice (solely by virtue of having Texas as her birthplace), even though she spent most of her life in Japan and her first language is still Japanese. Then again, in the land of blind……
7. Whenever I heard Dahyun’s “rap”, it reminds me a lot of the Chinese christian songs I sung when I was still a middle school student at Hong Kong*.
8. Try to picture the following: when Chaeyoung still had a short hairstyle, someone would tap on her shoulders and reminded her “sir, you joined the wrong line” whenever she was lining up to the female washroom……
9. I watched several episodes of “Time to TWICE”, and Tzuyu looked a hell lot different – to the point I actually thought that was an imposter. It reminded me of what Dayo Wong once said in one of his stand-up comedy: if I can recognize you after you removed your cosmetics, then it’s still make-up; if I can’t recognize you after you removed your cosmetics, then it’s disguise.
10. (Sana again) The more I think about Sana’s interactions with other girls in Twice, the more I want to recommend the Child and adolescent psychiatrist I used to attend – if she’s a Hongkonger.

* Chinese christian songs are notorious for being more like reading things out than actually singing.

I actually hope Kaachi continue, at least long enough to do an interview with me!

Duo groups – guess it depends how temporary it is.  If it’s just a one-off I’m sure the two could grin and bear it, I know of a few famous projects between western people who despised each other (can’t say who though as it’s not public info).  However if it was an ongoing thing I’m sure it would become an issue.

Believe it or not I really don’t get into roasting people, I find ‘roasting’ to be utterly weird.  “Roasts” are like a really sanitised, awkward, stilted version of the kind of shit-talking Australians do with their friends, it just doesn’t sit right with me culturally.

Hello Oppa, do you have an explanation why are most K-Pop Fans are so “obsessed” with full albums? I know you don’t listen to album tracks and neither do I, so I don’t care if groups or solo artists release only singles and mini albums, but I see a lot of fans complaining about groups or solo artists not release full albums, especially Blinks are very pissed that Blackpink has no full album released until now. It seems for a lot of fans releasing a full album means the group or the artist is treated “good” by their company and only singles and mini albums are “disrespectful” towards a group/an artist. I personally think that is nonsense, but I’m not in the K-Pop industry, so I don’t know.

“My bias is the best” therefore “the more my bias does the better” therefore “more songs with my bias is better than less songs with my bias”.  I don’t think it’s any more complicated than that.

Tell me a joke!!!!

A bear walks into a bar and says, “Give me a whiskey and … cola.”

“Why the big pause?” asks the bartender.

The bear shrugged. “I’m not sure; I was born with them.”

I stumbled into your non-Kpop playlist the other day, and it has “Love Story” by Taylor Swift and it just struck me that you never really write anything about her. Do you like her music, or it’s just that one song? What about the whole country vs pop songs of hers? I’ve always thought her music continually to be innovative. Thanks Oppar!

It’s really just that one song of hers that is good, that’s why I don’t generally write about her.

Hi Kpopalypse, I hope you are well and virus-free.
This 2019 Monsta X clip recently came up on my YouTube recommendations:

The clip is just under 4 minutes long but in that time they manage to demonstrate every possible form of poor communication. It features everything from passive aggression, indirect communication, bystanders throwing fuel on the fire, and my own pet peeve: people talking about you in the third person when you are next to them. I have a couple of questions:
1- Why do companies release footage that makes group members look like immature dicks with zero conflict resolution skills? This clip is a cut from a 30+ minutes video and it could easily have been replaced with something else.
2- Having an argument with a colleague and then having to go home with that person and even possibly share a bedroom with them sounds like my idea of hell. How do you think idols manage to spend this much time with their group members without killing each other?

1. I think you’re overestimating the determination of individual employees in a company to sift through all this crap with a fine-toothed comb, especially given the sheer volume of it that comes out.  They didn’t shit on the agency?  They didn’t tell their fans to fuck off?  It’s good enough, the fans will lap it up anyway, out it goes.

2. With great difficulty!  Fights happen a lot, way more than people think.

Hi oppar, I have a problem. I want to be a mathematician, but I’m kind of scared my insecurity will sabotage me in the long run. Sorry if this comes off as immature, but I’m a 19-year-old with an inferiority complex, pls give me a break. Let me explain. I’ve always been “good at math”, so majoring in it at uni was sort of a no-brainer. In high school, I figured that I loved math but hated numbers, because I always found that the more abstract the problem was, the easier I found it to conceptualize. Like, I thought integrals were extraordinarily fun, but I also couldn’t function a calculator. I was like “ok, I’ll study pure math; it’s not as useful as applied math or engineering but I’ll probably like it”. Last autumn I started uni. The place I’m at happens to be one of the better places to study math as an undergraduate in the US, and the general approach is proof-based vs. computation-based. I came to this realization that the math that mathematicians do is definitely not what I learned in high school – all of the sudden the answers to my homework problems were paragraphs of writing instead of numbers or expressions. It sounds weird, but I don’t think I understood what studying math would really be; I just assumed I’d like it. Luckily I was right – everything I disliked about math in high school has evaporated – I loaned my calculator to a friend for the whole year because I didn’t need it! I haven’t had to count above three! Now I just talk about arbitrary vector v in an arbitrary space V over an arbitrary field F – it’s amazing! And all my friends hate numbers too! Even better, there’s so much to learn – an entire world of elegant, beautiful concepts that is literally infinitely complex, dozens of fields of study that I didn’t even know existed but which are all (mostly) equally fascinating. I’ve figured I want to get a PhD and go into math research, because I can’t think of anything else I’d want to do. Here’s my problem, I’m fucking DUMB. Graduate level math is TERRIFYING. To get a PhD you have to make an advance in the field, and solving a problem that no one has ever solved before, proving some sort of result – that shit is SCARY. Don’t get me wrong, I’m thriving and doing well now – but what if I’m not creative enough to prove an actual thing? What if I advance well into grad school and then eventually realize that I’ll never have the chops to do anything but be an underpaid, struggling adjunct prof teaching first year calc to finance bro undergrads? A lot of my classmates are some of the best young mathematicians in America, and I refuse to accept that I am one of them – because as stated before, I’m a fucking smooth-brain moron compared to the fucking USAMO kids that are taking second or third year undergrad math in their junior year of high school. I get the concept that “there’s always someone better than you”, but it’s not like mathematics as a whole is a huge expansive field with oodles of active participants. There aren’t *that many* math PhDs out there. I don’t purport to want to be notable or exemplary in any way, I’m really just scared that I’ll dedicate years of passion to the field, hit a wall, and never even have a career to begin with. Now, I find that I’m struggling to find the motivation to even solve my homework problems – even when I deeply enjoy doing them – because even a glimmer of confusion makes me go “oh! that’s it! you’re too stupid” – how do I remind myself that the struggle is 90% of the fun? I’m actually doing worse now because I’m solving fewer problems on the side for fun, meaning that I understand it less. I feel like I’m sabotaging myself before I even start because I’m so scared of failure, and of letting myself down.

So even though I hate sport, this year I’ve been going to the gym, doing cardio and weight training.  You see, there’s two things I always hated about sport – having to do what some other cunt tells me to do, and the competition aspect.  Going to a gym doesn’t have either of those aspects, so it’s a good way for me to enjoy physical activity.  Now the gym I go to is inner city urban and frequented by pro footballers, pro Muay Thai kickboxers, pro weightlifters, bodybuilders, firefighters and a whole bunch of other really athletic people, all of whom are far more ripped than I am.  There are guys (and girls) there who are just walls of solid muscle with not a millimeter of fat anywhere on their bodies, who can lift and stretch and run far more than I can.  However I don’t compare myself to them.  They’re on their journey, I’m on mine.  I might be the unfittest one there most days, but I just focus on my own goals, and getting to the next goal down the road, I don’t think about the big picture, where I’ll be in three years or five, I ground my thoughts in the present and the immediate future.  What will I do today, what will I do over the next few days.  I don’t look backward and I don’t look too far forward either.  My gym time is my time to enjoy, it’s not anybody else’s time, and it’s my progress to make.  Achieve the possible and move slowly toward the impossible!

Is kpop actually becoming more “westernised”? I see lots of kpop fans complaining about kpop sounding exactly like american pop these days and saying that it used to be so much better. However hasn’t kpop always been pretty similar to western pop music minus the marketing model? How could you make kpop even more westernised than it is right now? I mean it’s obvious how some groups try to make it in America but does that also mean the music is changing in a different way than what you would expect from any evolving genre?

K-pop has always followed western music, it has every since the days of Seo Taiji & The Boys, and probably before that too, and probably always will.  The only change I think is that I think rather than sounding 15 years behind the times, the more modern k-pop these days (say from about 2009 onward) only sounds about two or three years behind the times.  K-pop is a copyist form.  Nothing wrong with that – it is what it is.

Heyo, hope you’re still doing okay! Canada is still doing fine-ish pandemic-wise, hope it’s the same for you. My question is related to something you said in Roundup about Day6’s “Zombie” (that it could have been sped up in order to be a better song). I’m curious why you would think that is, mostly because the song is about depression/melancholy and I feel that the slow pace works a lot better with the mood of the song. It might have been technically better if it was faster, but then the pace wouldn’t work with the mood at all. This got me thinking about your general taste in music, and then to the reason why you hate most ballads as a whole: are you just an emotionless blob of a human when it comes to music? (not in life in general, just music-wise) Personally, I agree with you that most ballads are trash (especially when there’s about 50 of them coming out every week) but I do enjoy feeling emotion through my music sometimes, like the melancholy of SOME ballads, or the happy vibes given by some summer songs (i.e. in Bol4’s Travel). What do you think? Hopefully this doesn’t come across as hateful, I’m legit just curious.

Speed isn’t about technicality for me, it’s about excitement and engagement.  Maybe more speed wouldn’t fit with the lyrical theme, but a song about boredom and depression shouldn’t actually be boring and depressing to listen to!  I like music that commands attention and grabs me in some direction or another.  That’s why I hate most ballads but NOT all ballads – sometimes they do get it right and find that way to pull the heartstrings.  I don’t hate every “summer song” either (whatever the fuck that even means, honestly the constant obsession with “seasons” in k-pop is sickeningly cheesy).  There’s many ways to create a piece of music that engages the listener, and there’s many ways not to. 

Till 2 hours ago I thought only bts fans are into illusion of bts isn’t kpop. But 2 hours ago I encountered got7 fans thinking got7 isn’t kpop.

I’m yet to encounter that, but nothing would surprise me.  Honestly the way BTS fans carry on is symptomatic of the behaviour of ALL k-pop fans, we just notice it more with ARMYs because there’s so many of them so their stupidity tends to drown out the stupidity of others – but every k-pop fandom has the same general toxic, mentally harmful thought patterns.

I live in a shitty country with no future, all the sanctions, corrupt authorities, etc fucked my country up. Also life pretty much sucks here. I have no motivation to even do the things I like to do. I just wanna stop the time and take a break. Any advice on how can I get myself out of this shitty unmotivated phase? I’m seriously tired of doing nothing. I’m tired.

Most people who feel like you do end up joining punk bands, or getting into some kind of tangenital area (radical art for instance).  Try it, highly recommended.  Don’t worry, talent is specifically not a requirement, just the ability to have something to say in a creative way.  More information here.  Also, stop watching TV news immediately and forever, if you do.

I DO agree almost all of kpop ballads are boring and suck fr. Especially since everyone sounds the same in kpop scene.
But doesn’t the fact that we don’t understand Korean play a role in us finding these ballads boring? Like what’s the opinion of non-eng speakers of eng ballads? Maybe they find eng ballads as boring as we find k-ballads.
My question is: what do you consider a good ballad? Can you give me some examples (preferably korean. Since I haven’t found any good korean ballads so far.)?

Trust me, the lyrics have no bearing on my opinion of the music.  I hate most western ballads too, for the same reasons.

More on ballads, including some examples of good ballads, here.

Hey! I need your help on finding some new songs.
I like Adele’s someone like you, Adele’s rolling in the deep, Lady gaga’s shallow, lady gaga’s I’ll never love again, Ben Cocks’ so cold, Evanescence’s my immortal.
What do all these songs have in common? What genre of music should I look into to find new songs to listen to? BTW do you have any recommendations based on the songs I listed? Thank you!

Vocals front and center with a very “big” sound, over fairly simple chord progressions.  Just listen to more western pop and rock.  K-pop probably not for you as pretty much nobody in k-pop really pulls off those kind of sounds, they don’t actually prioritise vocals so much in the same way.

Hey! Hope you’re having a good time right now when reading this.
Today I wask thinking about how you’ve affected and changed me. I always wanted to be myself and not to hide my emotions and thoughts because of my fear of offending others. after getting to know you, I’ve changed a lil bit and at least in twitter I’ve became braver and now express my thoughts without giving a fuck. Tho I still avoid arguments because a) I suck at arguments b) I just don’t feel like talking and typing whatever I wanna say. Anyways, I’m glad I got to know you. If anyone asks me about what is the best thing that happened to me after getting into kpop, my one and only answer would be finding your blog, besides your blog kpop has always been a cause of trouble and discomfort than anything else to me.

Glad I could help!

I have a theory as to the quality of kpop releases so far. As you know, kpop quality this year is approaching 2013 levels and usual favorites like TWICE, April, Loona, and OMG have been less than stellar so far, but best kpop group Dreamcatcher went back to form screaming this year with what could possibly be Album of The Year. I believe they sacrificed the blood of 10, 000 Insomnias in order to siphon the quality off of the strong girl groups and kpop in general to strengthen the quality of their songs. Do you also subscribe to this theory? If so, come join me in the Church of Dreamcatcher, my Saint is Gahyeon btw.

Well that would certainly explain why they have a fairly small fandom.

My question: Hello senpai. I saw this video of a former kpop idol talking about performing on stage. She talks about wearing in-ears and a heavy microphone in her skirt. Can you please explain what she is talking about? What are the gadgets that we see idols wear in the performance? Also, can you comment on her observation that what she hears from the in-ear and the stage speakers are not in sync. Is this common? Thank you!

PS. I think she will also be a great person to feature in your interviews. Stay Safe!

Many in-ear monitors and wireless microphones come with beltpacks that provide power and transmit the wireless signal.  Check here and here for simple examples.  In performances you will usually see these shoved into idols’ pockets in the dresses, pants, skirts, or strapped to legs etc. The out-of-sync thing probably isn’t an equipment failure, it comes from the fact that the speaker system at the venue isn’t pointing towards the performers but towards the audience.  So when the performer hears the speaker system they’re often not hearing the direct sound of it, but the reflection of the sound when it bounces off the back wall of the venue some milliseconds later.  This of course won’t line up with the sound that they’re hearing in their in-ear monitors which is timed with the actual sound of the speaker system, not the reflection, because it has to be (otherwise the singers won’t sing in time).

I think I am an awful person who does more harm than good. I am so consumed by guilt and depression I can’t get out of bed some days. I dropped out of uni and now live back with my parents, who support me financially and emotionally as they always did, and it makes me feel more guilt, I am a bother to them even if they don’t realize it. I was described as being “very promising” since I was a kid, but I was always sad and liked to keep to myself. Later I’ve been told children can have depression too and it’s clinical and chemical, since I lived comfortably (not rich, but my parents could handle rent and a kid and they love me). So their bright child got sadder and sadder until she burned out and tried to kill herself and now she’s in her late 20s with no degree, no work experience and barely functioning. I don’t know how in the world I still got friends but I feel so humiliated all the time because they have careers and families and I have no income or any future for that matter. I went to therapy and all that jazz and discovered that I have this underlying thought process that I am naturally bad and will harm people around me. This is why I didn’t try to get a job or go back into education when I started to get better. I consider myself a horrible person and people around me just fail to realize. I mean, look at me. Good family, good schools, good opportunities, but have spent 5 years on a couch after a major breakdown. It’s hard to explain, really. But I feel that I am bad and many bad things happen because of me, and only if I didn’t exist, then things would go better. That if I go out, bad things will happen. That if I become a writer, as I’ve always wanted to be (I promise I can write better than this wall of word vomit) I would just waste people’s time. Me being alive makes other people’s lives worse. And at the same time I know it’s something my mind made up but I don’t know how to deconstruct it. Therapy helped, but where I live even therapists suggest it’s because I don’t go to church or have a husband. It might be that I internalized some things they say around here about gays. Maybe it’s because of that *male in a position of power* I had that tried to sexual assault me but because I got away what happened “wasn’t that bad” and also almost no one believed me and he’s doing just fine despite me not being his only victim. But are these legit reasons for why I am like this? I feel like I am just a spoiled brat who couldn’t handle the real world. I see no escape whatsoever. I don’t even know why I wanted to send this to you. I’ve been considering it or 2 months, but I didn’t want to seem like I am doing it for attention. I am just really sad and reading the Monday round-up makes me less sad. Speaking o the round-up. Why did you move it? I used to read it when having Monday coffee but now it’s either money evening or Tuesday. I could easily wait one week for the reviews. You should put ads on this blog, I know I would. Did you see Asian Junkie? The pages barely load from all those ads.
 
I moved the roundup because it used to coincide with the radio show that I stopped doing, and I find that a lot of the A-list releases come out Monday night and readers were always disappointed that I’d miss those and they’d have to wait a week, so it was a good opportunity to push the time back a few hours to catch those.
 
I’m not putting ads on my blog.  I have reasons.
 
I’m not a psychologist and I don’t really have an answer to your larger question, or any idea of what to do about it.  However I think like a lot of other readers this month, you should stop yourself from thinking you have to do a whole bunch of shit to be worthwhile or whatever.  Fuck that.  You’re intrinsically worthwhile.  It’s easy to look at the big picture and get really unmotivated – so don’t.  Look at the smaller picture instead.  Ground yourself in the present.  What’s one thing that you can do, today, right now, that would be cool and could help you a bit, even if it’s something super-small?  Focus on doing that.  Then stop, and go back to being on the couch or whatever.  Then tomorrow, again, do one small cool thing.  And so on.  One thing per day obviously won’t have a major impact right now, but imagine doing one tiny fragment of cool shit each day for a year, that’s a year of cool shit, it builds up.  Who knows eventually you might start to feel more motivated and might do more than one thing per day – but if not, that’s fine too.  Also fine to skip days.  But don’t fall off the wagon completely, always get back on and do stuff.  Some days I don’t play guitar, or write, or go to the gym, or whatever, but I always come back to it.  Don’t think of the big picture.  Don’t plan, just do.
My question: Do you have any recommendations for metal songs with female singers? Besides Dreamcatcher or Babymetal, that is. I’ve been checking out a lot of metal songs due to lockdown and the bands/songs people recommend me tend to be only male singers.
Here’s an entire playlist – enjoy! 
 
Hi, I know I shouldn’t interact with dumbass kpop fans but this certain situation just pisses me off. It’s about “plagiarism”, and I’ve read your plagiarism posts before so you don’t have to reexplain everything, I just need to rant to someone who understands.
The situation is that the (G)i-dle fandom is demanding a chinese survival show called “Youth with you”, to give credits to gidle for copying their song “Lion”. Here’s the link to the chinese song and performance.
I found out through a fanacct, so I commented, and they blocked me of course. The fanacct even reached out to gidle’s Lion producer and he explained that the Chinese show bought the song from them and changed the lyrics and choreography to make it their own.
But the dumbass fan is still mad because they copied the fucking concept. NOBODY OWNS CONCEPTS AND THEY CANT BE COPYRIGHTED FFS!!!
I’m trying to clear out my explore page from anymore kpop posts so I can avoid seeing this type of shit again, but I swear the fans are multiplying and getting dumber every year. It’s a whole wasp’s nest.
Thanks for putting up with my rant, hopefully this’ll blow-over next month when you read my submission. Have a good day and say hi to your cat for me 🙏
 
What people who get annoyed about fandoms should keep in mind is that you’re literally getting annoyed about really young people, or older people stuck in a very young mindset.  It’s like you’re in your senior year of high school looking at all the juniors going “what dumb cunts” and getting super-annoyed, which is very understandable, but also a waste of your time.  It’s important to remember:
 
1. Not to give a fuck, don’t let it ruin your day
2. We were all dumb once
3. Don’t give their activities undue importance
 
K-pop media is really bad at number 3 on that list, but that doesn’t mean you also have to be.  It’s just noise.  Filter it out.  I hope your rant made you feel better though!
What’s the point of Judas Priest’s tape (at 0:08) in new Taeyeon’s MV “Happy”?
 
I’m pretty sure she’s a closet metalhead.
 
 
My question: In NCT 127’s Kick it there this guitar riff sound going on, is it an actual guitar though? All I hear is a white redneck trying to do his most badass impression of what a guitar would sound like. Like I’m just asking if it’s possible that they sampled the sound of a human and tried to pass it off as a guitar?
 
 
It’s not guitar, it’s a human voice which has been put through the same kind of effects processing that electric guitar usually goes through in metal songs (very compressed and saturated distortion).  You suspicions are actually correct although statistically the vocalist is unlikely to be a white redneck.
 
Hi oppar. I’ve been feeling mentally shitty recently and I wanted to ask for advice. My dad got diagnosed with coronavirus a month ago (I’m a high school student quarantining with my family) and since we couldn’t get him to a hospital, we had to isolate him in our master bedroom. A couple days after his initial diagnosis, he drove himself to the hospital because he was having trouble breathing. He apparently had severe pneumonia and was in critical condition for half a week. It was incredibly challenging for me emotionally for several reasons, but my entire family is very emotionally reserved and I didn’t want to mentally prepare myself for my father’s death. We’ve always had a very strained relationship compared to the ones that he has with my mom and sister, and I was terrified that if he died he would think that I didn’t love him. Thankfully, he got discharged soon and is now negative for coronavirus, but I can’t seem to get myself out of the survival mindset that I was in before. Everybody in my online classes complain about how tough quarantining is and how much they miss going to restaurants and seeing their friends, but all I can think about is how narrowly my dad escaped death and how much he suffered while he was sick. It makes me so angry and lonely because they don’t understand. For the first time in my life, I feel truly alone in my feelings. At the same time, I feel so ashamed for reacting so deeply because I’m not even the one who got sick and almost died. My mom and my sister haven’t acted like this, why am I? Anyway, I’m sorry about this wall of text. I just don’t know how to rationalize my feelings and stop getting mad whenever my classmates complain. I hope you’re doing safe and well! Thank you~
I think you’re just being forced by circumstance to grow up a bit faster than they are.  Everyone has that rite of passage at some point where heavy shit happens in their lives and they learn to prioritise what’s really important, at that point people who you previously got along with better can suddenly seem a bit less familiar and harder to relate to.  Nothing necessarily to do with age either – I’ve met very immature people who are a lot older than I am!  Also remember what’s happened is still fairly recent, time will also give you a different perspective and you’ll feel differently about it.  In the meantime while your existing peers may be harder to relate to, perhaps there’s other people in your life who will now be easier to relate to, that felt more distant before…
 
Hi kpopalypse oppar hope you’re doing well, I have a few questions for you!!
1) How do producers mix/produce vocals in those mnet produce group songs? In iz*ones version there is suppose to be like more than 50 of them singing at the same time however you can only hear one voice and just some layers of the same voice under it. Did they make all the girls sing and just mashed it together or did the producer just use his on-hand singer to record everything and just sent it like that to mnet who used it without making the produce girls ever having to record it at all? https://youtu.be/UOmolLOQ7Rs
2) Why is it that out of all groups mainly f(x), clc and maybe a select few of others always have the best bsides? I doubt whoever decides their album content gives a lot of fuck about the quality of it, so is it that their album producer has a certain standard for their bsides that just so happens to be a standard for good songs or is it just luck or something else I’m not considering?
3) Lastly, I don’t really care about line distribution or center distribution or whatever, but since Im active on twitter I always see stans saying their fave has the least amount of lines/screen time and that happens with almost every group, so do you think that companies have a role for those members? You have the “cool one”, “the charismatic one”, “the cute one” ect. so do they have a role for “the mistreated one” that the fandom is suppose to feel sorry for and stan them out of pity?
 
1. This technique is called the “vocal soup” and it’s a really common thing with a lot of girl groups, T-ara were notorious for it.  Basically they record everyone and then blend the voices together, picking just the best-sounding parts, machine-dusting them off, and maybe adding a little bit of the other voices in the background just to boost it a bit.  You’re usually only hearing a small fraction of the people that you’re actually seeing, and often not the same ones!
 
2. In f(x) case I think it’s because they were SM’s designated “weird” project so the B-material that didn’t make the grade for feature status but was still on the weirder side got on their albums, whereas the more straight ahead stuff was used for Girls’ Generation.  You like weird music basically.  Not a bad thing.
 
3. Year 7 Class 1 actually had a girl in the group who was the designated “bread shuttle” (look it up).  However I’d say that’s the exception.  The real reason why some members don’t get lines is because that’s not what they’re there for.  Qri in T-ara, Jaehyo in Block B, classic examples.  These people are there to make up the numbers and look pretty.  Wanting even line distribution is missing the point of why k-pop members have different roles in the first place.
 
 I can’t find your post which explains why girl groups statistically would get better songs than the boy groups. Have you not written extensively about this?
 
Various ideas about this are scattered through various posts of mine.  I should probably collate it all into a bigger post sometime.
 
Hiya! I try to catch up on the latest QRIMOLE when I can. My question is regarding making music. I want try my hand at it but I don’t know where to start? I know you have some music theory posts up here but if there’s any other advice you can give me would be helpful. (e.g equipment sources etc.) Thank you and take care
 
I actually intend to cover exactly this sort of stuff in the music theory post series! 
 
Do you consider your music judging skill still good despite the obligation to listen to around 50 bullshit songs every single week recently?
This origins from my thought that being exposed to something may make you one of them. e.g. If you’re exposed to TWICE/”once” long enough, you’ll eventually become an “once”.
Though, it’s okay if you don’t want to make any statement that dumb kpop fans can use to “counter” your opinionated comments on a particular song.
 
I wouldn’t say it’s a “skill”, listening to a song and just blabbing my opinion definitely doesn’t require any sort of “talent”, just a ear that hears and a brain that thinks.  I don’t know if having an opinion about subjective content is really something you can “be good at”, although I think the expression of that opinion can be delivered in many different ways and I do at least attempt to express my opinion in an entertaining way if possible (at least entertaining to myself, perhaps not anyone else heh).  I don’t really care if people “counter” my opinions though because they’re just opinions after all, everyone hears music differently and people are entitled to have a different take on it.  If you like every ballad and trap song ever… err, good for you, I guess?
 

I think kpop is actually way more honest than whatever is considered tRuE rEaL g00d mUsiC. It just screams “idols are there for you to fap and give tham money” instead of licking asses to those pretentious delusional cunts who desperately want to be seen as smart with their “tru art” bullshit. Every genre of music today is made with money and sex in mind, some are just more obvious than the others.

What is your opinion on this topic?

Yeah one thing that always appealed to me about k-pop is the honesty about how artificial it is.  The fact that this honesty completely misses the diehard fans of it is truly amazing to me.  I mean they even have a designated person in groups called “the visual”, if that doesn’t make it obvious that this shit is just about stealing money from teenagers by straining their hormonal juices through a sieve to extract the gold particles then I don’t know what does.

Why do some people think it’s cool to hate kpop? I’ve seen many of them posting stuff like “kpop is trash lol” without any logical explanation. Is this just general stupidity?
I recently joined the “wehatekpop” subreddit hoping to find something similar to Anti Kpop-Fangirl in its genesis but instead behind the sometimes funny memes all I got was a lot of “k-pop is gay hur hur”.  I mean yeah commercial pop IS trashy and I guess someone who might have just discovered some other non-pop music might feel that shitting on pop is very righteous – I know I certainly did when I was a teenage metalhead.  However I don’t think there’s anything wrong with enjoying something that’s basic.  You can enjoy a French restaurant and also enjoy cheap fast food, both have their place.
Have you ever heard of turbofolk music? Many people consider it the worst (bad lyrics, too much autotune, generic instrumentals etc.) – what do you think?
Never heard of.  Even looking it up and listening to playlists didn’t really enlighten me.  Just sounds like normal folk music being played with (sometimes) modern instruments?  Not the worst thing I’ve ever heard, but I doubt if I’d ever bother to listen to it again.
 
Is it bad if I like shitty songs?
 
If you like shitty songs, they’re not shitty.
 

Hi oppar!

Do you find bad campy (not sure if that’s the right word) Kpop releases like A-Force’s “Wonder Woman” amusing due to how atrocious they are, or are you just bored and annoyed by them?

If you like them, any videos in particular you recommend? People love Orange Caramel for campiness, but those releases are deliberately planned.

Was wondering because you didn’t seem to find Episode’s “Open My Door” amusing, but I was laughing my ass off due to the song and its MV being such trainwrecks. As someone who’s done art and film work, I find that kind of shit funny.

Thanks!

I think “Wonder Woman” is pretty funny.  It’s certainly not a good song to my ear but it’s possible to be entertained by the incredible collision of horrible musical, visual and choreography choices.  Whereas “Open My Door” is relatively competently realised and definitely doesn’t have that same fascinating-like-a-car-crash quality, it’s just a standard not-that-great song that didn’t quite come together.

The other day I read a thread on Twitter about SNSD Genie being a stolen song from an Uzbek singer. Because the Uzbek singer (her name is Dineyra) released her song before SNSD Genie. But people (SNSD fans) say the Dineyra is the one who stole the song. What do you think about it? Is it true or not?

안물안궁.

What has happened to pop industry in general? They don’t make good songs anymore. Every new song seems crap nowadays. There are all just idols (not just kpop idols, I think singers like Arianna Grande, Billie Eilish, etc are also more like idols than just “singers”) that use making music as platform to show themselves to public and then make a brand out of their names.

So what happened to all those great music producers and composers? Why don’t they make good musivs anymore?

When do you think we’d get good pop music again?

The age of decent western pop ended decades ago.  Why do you think I follow Korean pop instead.

At the time I’m writing this BLACKPINK hasn’t announced any comeback date. But fans are all complaining about how YG is trash for not giving blackpink a comback after a year.

My question is why do you think YG doesn’t give them a comeback? Is it because what blackpink members are currently doing is pretty much profitable, or does it have another reason?

Why should they?  Seriously what is the motivation for them to push Blackpink into a comeback more than once per year.  They seem to be doing okay as “influencers” or whatever, they’re shifting lots of product, I’m sure they’ll continue to release just enough music to keep them in the public eye… and probably not much more than that.  YG has done this kind of thing with every group ever, you should all be aware of what he’s up to by now.

Do companies profit much from selling albums?
Like they can send their idols to pose for a CF with practically spending nothing (other than petrol fees) and make lots of money. Or many other activities, like that. They can make huge bucks just by getting CFs and drama appearances, etc. Why bother with spending time and money on making an album?

Because it leads to the other stuff.  It’s a means to an end.

A few days ago one thai BL drama got to 1st worldwide trend on Twitter. In the last few years there has been a significant rise in interest in BL. Tho this genre has always been relatively popular, but I think popularity of kpop is affecting this sudden popularity of BL genre as well. You know one of the most popular aspects of a kpop group for fans are its “ships”, and as I have seen BL fandom and kpop fandoms overlaps a lot. What do you think? Do you think are kpop and BL related and affecting each other?

I had to read this about five times before I worked out what “BL” meant and even now I’m still not sure if I completely understand this question.  But if you’re asking “do k-pop companies and people making homosexual-themed drama/fiction understand that there’s a symbiotic relationship between each others’ fandoms and content” then I think the answer is “probably”.

I just wanted to say I’m glad you’re out there to talk about kpop from a different perspective than what everyone in kpop community has. Your posts are truly like a cup of fresh water in a desert. Thank you.

BTW When you announced you’ve left your radio broadcast, I was worried about how you’re gonna make money. Because nobody seemed interested in you teaching them guitar online, and you also don’t have ads on your site, so I thought maybe life gets rough for you. Idk I just hope you’re fine and don’t face any troubles because of not having enough money ever.

Thanks!

No need to worry about me however.  Since coronavirus hit I’ve had no money problems at all.  I swapped my music industry work out for a bunch of other different “essential services” work which was picking up in pace, and what I’ve had instead is time problems.  That’s why the pace of writing here has slowed a bit, I’ve been run off my feet most of the time.  However fear not because I still have high determination levels to bring you content, it might just happen a bit slower now.

Hi Oppa,

I don’t know how I’ll be when you post your next Qrimole but for now I feel really lost and I don’t know what to do. Sorry for the incoming wall of text.

Since the past year, I’ve been on a break from everything (left my job etc). I’ve been struggling with mental health issues since I was a child (anxiety since 10) and depressive symptoms since I was around 16. I was diagnosed with depression and GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder) last year after I finally decided to take it seriously and found a good doctor and therapist. My depression has become significantly better to the extent that I haven’t had any depressive phases for at least 4 months (your suggestion to get blood tests to check vitamin levels was so helpful thank you so much for that!) and my anxiety seems to have reduced considerably since lockdown has come into effect in my country.

The thing is I’m struggling with finding something that I want to do. I’m 24 and I feel like an incredibly unproductive lump of waste. It’s worse because I can’t find myself pushed to do anything. I love playing with my cat. Other than that I mostly sleep. To make it worse, I’m a night owl. I struggle to stay awake during the day and I’m wide awake till the sun rises (like right now).

I’ve been learning to play the piano since the past two weeks. I’ve been absolutely enjoying it. I can’t do more than half an hour… My mind can’t concentrate more than that… I try pushing myself more sometimes but my dad (who is my teacher) tells me to take it easy so I practice when I want to. Practicing the piano makes me forget other things and I enjoy it even though it’s really basic exercises. But it’s not what I can do for a living. I always have this question looming over my head. I’ve been feeling so terrified today that I’ll always be this delicate vase that can’t take stress and won’t be able to work in any work environment.

I love reading, art, critical theory and I’ve wanted to be a designer (user experience designer) for a long time now. I even worked as a product designer before I quit but I can’t seem to get myself to enjoy designing even basic things like a poster like I enjoy playing the piano. My therapist says I need to approach “work” unconventionally and that I need to find things I enjoy doing first so that I can feel motivated. I was scared to play the piano today because I couldn’t stop thinking about how I can’t bring myself to get back to design… how I haven’t worked on my laptop in months now… how I’m 24 now and I still haven’t settled or made any semblance of a career or have money…. more than the past I feel so scared of the future because in the present it feels like I can’t bring myself to do anything.

This is perhaps way above your pay grade an an internet kpop blog but thanks for reading this nonetheless. I just feel so lost I wanted to say this somewhere. It feels like my friends are tired of hearing this or rather I feel tired telling them about the same thing.

Having done several jobs over my life I have to say that “doing what you love” is overrated.  No matter what kind of employment you have, it’s always going to feel like a chore sometimes, and if it’s in a field that you enjoy that means that the things you enjoy start feeling like a chore.  So if you don’t ever get a job which is your passion consider it a good thing, you’re not dirtying up your passions by associating them with work drudgery or the pressure to constantly have to be profitable with them.  It’s fine to have a job that you can just tolerate and do well, that pays the bills and allows you to live, so you can do all your other cool shit on the side.  So exploring your passions and divorcing it from questions about career and lifestyle is actually very healthy and can be very mentally balancing.

Practice tip – play every day, even if it’s only for a little while.  Half an hour per day is honestly enough to get good over time, it adds up.

Hello Kpopapylse sunbaenim

English is not my first language and I was watching a cartoon in English called “Harley Queen” (yes, the one from the Batman universe) and in one episode a villain calls Wonder Woman “a cunt” and everyone was shocked and offended. I know that situation was for comedic purposes but latter on they refer to it as “the c word” so Cunt is a really offensive swear word like faggot and nigga? I thought it was at the same level as hoe or asshole because you use it so much and I think I read here the faggot one once but I can’t remember you ever said nigga maybe because you are white?.

Anyways, Happy Quarantine Days!

I use the word “cunt” quite a lot because it’s a common word where I live and although it’s considered even here to be really offensive in polite company i.e worse than “fuck” it’s also a word that is said quite often in casual contexts and can even have a positive or endearing meaning depending on how its used.  For instance “he’s a funny cunt” is a compliment of someone’s sense of humour here, it’s an unambiguously positive context.  I also use the word “faggot” a fair bit because that was a very popular word when growing up and I think I got called “faggot” every single day of my schooling existence, so the word has kind of stuck with me.  My high school was rough and I was the “weird skinny kid who hated sport”, I’ve been the victim of more anti-gay violence than any actually gay person I’ve ever met, you’d probably be saying “faggot” every second word too if you’d heard it as much as I have.  Whereas I don’t use the word “nigger” really ever (except when answering questions like this one, or when otherwise in context, such as quoting NWA or Mel Gibson or whatever), because that’s not a word that really even exists in my part of the world.  The only reason why people here even know about that word is because of American TV, movies and music.  It’s just not really part of the dialect here, I’d heard it a lot on rap records growing up but I didn’t know it was supposedly “the most offensive word you could ever say” or whatever the fuck until I saw other k-pop fans talking about it and “cancelling” people over it about three or four years ago.  If I saw a friend of mine who grew up in my neighbourhood say “nigger”, I’d cringe – regardless of the colour of their skin, or mine – not necessarily because of any perceived racism (although I might cringe about that too, potentially), but because I’d wonder why they were pretending to be American.

About Han Seo Hee, surely you realize the reason people hate her is because of her “pointless gossip” that got your #1 hentai VN reviewer booted out. Of course there was a debt issue with her abusive ex-gf but the main reason Wonho left was the marijuana thing. It’s like saying Hwayoung was a queen for using T-ARA as a stepping stone to idoldom and her only mistake was not faking the bullying thing better.

Her gossip wasn’t pointless though.  There was plenty of point.  Remember that she’s still the #1 reason why YG is in hot water and had to step down as CEO of YG.  She deserves a medal for that shit.  If agencies can’t handle the truth and boot their stars because of the things she said, well that sucks but that’s the failure of those agencies for having no fucking balls and being weak spineless sacks of shit, not the failure of Han Seo Hee for dropping truth bombs. 

If you had the power to erase either bland coffee shop ballads/music in general or the god awful turd rap songs without a decent beat?

Coffee shop sound.  No contest.  Trap is generally terrible but it can be interesting and even when it’s bad it’s usually unintentionally funny.  Coffee shop stuff is just dull through and through, no entertainment value can be extracted from it, on any level.

Hi Kpopalypse… This isn’t really a question, more like a rant (won’t mind if you skip it). I’m going through a K-pop burn-out at the moment. I am just so tired. To be honest, I am kind of jealous of the way you engage with K-pop. Enjoying the songs and hot talented dancers. I’ve been listening to K-pop for a while… And I used to be « casual » or whatever people would call it. Before YouTube recommended me a « *** crying compilation ». I had been reading the MVs comments and wanted to learn more about the boys whose names I was seeing… So I clicked, even though those videos used to make me feel icky! I won’t say I regret bc what is done is done but. Disgusting K-pop companies really got me caring about those men and women and over what? I started loving people who hadn’t shown any reason for me to do it. I don’t know those people. They haven’t done anything for me personally. Also I’m an international fan, so I’m probably among those they snicker about the most lmao. I’ve been holding those idols to lower standards than people I know in real life. What the fuck is this shit? I don’t drop on my knees for handsome men IRL just because they aren’t untalented and have said an inoffensive sentence once. What the shit. The thing is that, even before this burn-out, if my ults suddenly were exposed for doing (even more) fucked up shit than they’ve in the past, I wouldn’t have been surprised. Like what?? “I love those dudes!! Wouldn’t surprise me if they were racist, misogynist, homophobic, rapists or friend-with-rapist molka-sharing pieces of shit though! ✨⭐” What the fuck. And to think I could say I was one of the better stans because I’ve never threatened someone’s life over K-pop!! Stanning itself is a problem. What’s my problem? I got attached to some fuckers and started thinking about what I could do for them, and pushed aside all they aren’t doing for me, all the times they’ve neglected or spat on us. I won’t drop K-pop because the songs are bangers but I am officially resigning from being a fan/fandom member with this message. K-pop is there for MY consumption and that’s what I must remember. Celebrity worship needs to end. I must never again pour love into someone I don’t know and whose morals have a high possibily of being miles from mine. IRL I’d check those bitches, in K-pop I’m gaggling all over them?? Nonsense. I’m directing the anger toward the idols right now, but the stans are even worse. Or rather, they’re what made me snap out of it. We praise those mediocre people for nothing… Moving like cults for their unwashed asses… All the faults the idols could have are in fandom too. Disgusting people are showing their true colors by standing up for idols probably as shit-colored… All the in-fighting… It won’t stop. The whole thing needs to be dismantled. SM and all those damn companies will have to live on their side hustles/savings… It cannot go on. I’m out.
I feel a little better already. I’m on my way to delete/archive my K-pop pictures. I’ll catch myself before I ever again make a judgement on a K-idol’s character. I don’t know those hoes! Fuck’s sake. Thank you for giving me a way to vent my frustration. Have a blessed day Kpopalypse, your roundups are a savior. Peace!

I don’t think it’s ever going anywhere, and I have no illusions that the things I write about are going to “destroy the k-pop system” or whatever the fuck people think I’m supposedly trying to do.  I just like to have fun and be entertained by k-pop in my own way, by enjoying the music and images, writing about it and being honest about how I perceive what I see.  If you just look at it as face-value entertainment, that doesn’t have any real meaning besides being a sometimes-well-crafted entertainment product made by generally attractive and clueless people living in a weird infantilising fame-bubble, then you won’t get upset when the lie of pristine slightly-adorkable perfection unravels because you never had anything much invested in it in the first place.  People listen to all sorts of music all the time without being “true fans” or whatever, most people who go to see classical music concerts just like the sound of that style of music and like watching the performers do something hard very well, they’re not part of a club uncritically stanning Andre Rieu oppar (although those people exist too).  Celebrity worship is definitely toxic, but celebrity hatred isn’t the cure.  Celebrities are neither gods nor villains, they’re just normal people in a very abnormal situation, ordinary folks trying to survive in a very unordinary circumstance and trying to do what makes them happy and fulfilled in their lives just like the rest of us.  Why do you think people like Michael Jackson, Britney Spears, Madonna etc get so mentally messed up at times – it’s because an environment of constant abnormality is very weird and twists your perception of everything and everyone around you, when it’s at that top-tier level unless you’re super mentally strong it can’t help but fuck you up.  I hope that the writing I do helps ground people and return their perception to normal a bit, and hopefully more people can realise that all the cultural bullshit around k-pop is just bullshit that can be cast aside, and it’s okay to like nice songs and attractive people, and leave all the other stuff aside.  But if it doesn’t, at least I was entertained while trying!  Good luck dealing with the assholes out there, and don’t let simple people ruin the simple things in life for you.


That’s all for QRIMOLE!  This series will return in a month, in the meantime don’t forget to tune in to law enforcement radio!

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!

One thought on “QRIMOLE – June 2020

  1. To the undergraduate thinking about a PhD: kpopalypse’s advice is solid. As a person with a PhD let me give you a bit more advice:
    a) there is no reason to rush. There is this sense that somehow students need to focus on one thing and push themselves to do more and do it earlier than other people. This sense only hurts people. Take your time to smell the roses. It not only will make you a happier person, it can make you a better scholar.
    b) Related: make sure to experience life outside the academy. There is a big world out there with lots of cool things and also it is really really scary to enter and not so scary once you do. If you stay in the academy forever leaving it will just look scarier and scarier.
    c) Finally, only get a PhD if it is the only thing you can imagine yourself doing. If it is, if you’ve taken the time to explore the world a bit and you are there because you know that you just really love what you are studying more than basically every other thing, you’ll be… well you’ll have a greater likelihood of being OK than other people in your program.

    Remember: right now you are an undergraduate whose been given an amazing opportunity to study with some very brilliant people. You’ve been given the privilege of not needing to make any big life choices about graduate school or jobs or whatever at the age of 19. Learn the things that are fun to learn. Try new things. All of the worries and reflections about more school can be pushed off until you’ve graduated and taken a non-academic job. By then you’ll know a lot more about yourself and the world.

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