QRIMOLE – September 2020

It’s time for QRIMOLE, the series where Kpopalypse tackles reader questions!  Let’s look at some questions that readers asked Kpopalypse this month!

Why LOONA´s game after debut is so weak? Pre-debut LOONA was the most interesting girl group of this ‘generation’ (for me). I understand that they can’t keep the pre-debut pace because its too expensive, but even with 1 comeback per year the quality of the songs and concepts is very disappointing. With Butterfly the lore dissapeared but I did’t mind because it was a great song. But the last comeback is terrible, So What is a bad song, other groups are doing the same and better, and most of the girls can’t sell the girl crush concept. Do they really expect the fanbase will accept this drop in quality while still believing LOONA is special? Can you see any hope? Over the last years I lost interest in Gfriend, Mamamoo, etc. losing LOONA too would be really a bummer.

I believe there was a change in songwriting teams.  I agree that “So What” is incredibly disappointing.  Here’s hoping they get it right in future – if there’s one thing that my lists have proven to me year after year, it’s that a great song can come from literally anywhere – and so can a bad one.

Inspired by the hiphop related questions I saw in your curiouscat – who would you put in the top 10 best/most influential hiphop acts ever? Could be rappers or could be producers

Well, given how hip-hop has been so easily influenced by complete dogshit musical trends, I’d say that “best” and “most influential” would have to be two completely different lists.  Obviously “best” is also quite subjective as it’s just what I personally like to listen to, whereas “most influential” isn’t really so much.

These are in no specific order and very much off the top of my head, I’m sure I’m forgetting people.

Most influential:

Public Enemy/The Bomb Squad (music, lyrics, cultural factors – but mainly music)
Eric B & Rakim (for Rakim’s lyrics only)
Dr Dre (as a producer only)
Three 6 Mafia (for production style only, honestly I hate them but can’t deny the influence)
RZA (as a producer only)
DJ Muggs (as a producer)
DJ Premier (as a producer)
Ice-T (lyrics and cultural factors)
Notorious B.I.G (lyrics only)

Best:

Public Enemy/The Bomb Squad – at their peak, best music hands down, their 80s music still sounds futuristic today
Eric B & Rakim – great tracks and Rakim’s lyrical style hasn’t dated at all
RA The Rugged Man – technically the best lyricist in hip-hop, period – gets better with age
Necro – lyrically skilled and culturally in tune with matters that concern Kpopalypse, also a highly underrated producer
Mobb Deep – mainly for production style, “Hell On Earth” the most musically conceptually consistent hip-hop album ever made
Nas – not always on form but amazing lyrics when he is, similar to Rakim
The Roots – clever production that straddles the gap between “live” and “sampled”, Black Thought also a very underrated MC
DJ Muggs – almost singlehandedly kept hard beats in hip-hop when everyone else was going soft in the 90s
Ice-T – his articulate style is an excellent gateway to hip-hop, very relateable
KRS-ONE – resolutely old-school and still as intense as he was in the 80s, doesn’t have a bad record

Remember when April Fools came last year and you transformed your blog into Jpopalypse for one day? Man, I was SO disappointed to find out your roundup episode still featured K-Pop. It would have been fantastic if you had actually featured J-Pop songs from that week and written “it’s fucking shit like every other J-Pop song ever” under all of them. Such a missed opportunity.

I suppose I could have but the problem is even finding a week’s worth of j-pop is just about impossible unless you actually follow it closely.  I did the cost-benefit analysis and it just wasn’t worth for what would have been admittedly cool but also forgotten quite quickly.

I know this isn’t kpop, but what’s the difference between a riff and a breakdown? I don’t play any instruments or have any theoretical music knowledge, so everything I find on Google confuses me. Also, Metallica or Iron Maiden?

A riff is basically a phrase of music on an instrument.  Typically the word is used to refer to a repeating phrase on the electric guitar, but it can be used for any instrument, even not-specifically-tonal instruments like rock drums sometimes talk about “drum riffs”.

At 0:11 we essentially have a “keyboard riff” that drives the song:

A breakdown doesn’t refer to one specific instrument’s playing but is a reference to song structure, the part in the song that sometimes happens where the beat slows down or stops altogether and the rhythm changes, so named because the song feels like it’s “breaking down” at that point.  Typically this occurs after the second chorus in most pop songs, but in fact it can happen anywhere after a time in the song where a main groove is established. 

Breakdown at 2:11 here:

Given the choice of a random album of either I’d say Iron Maiden is a safer bet, they don’t have many truly bad albums whereas Metallica is pretty much a waste of time after the 80s material if you ask me.

Why do you keep expecting kpop to meet alternative/rock/metal standards of music? You’re just setting yourself up for disappointment holding that standard for a style that strives to be generic enough to sell to a wide target audience. Can’t you just judge it on the basis of ‘this is a good example of a pop song I would enjoy’? You mark the ballads with this in mind, as several of your picks were described as ‘how you should make a ballad’ eg: Yoona’s.

I don’t expect it, I just would like it – difference.  Yeah sure, I know that most pop music is generic and bland, but sometimes it’s great too, and it’s all the more reason for me to sift through it and find the good stuff!  However I don’t know if standards from other genres come into it all that much, to my ear I am judging things precisely on the basis of “this is a good example of a pop song I would enjoy”.  Everybody judges everything by measuring it against the things that they already know of.

Looking at this video, Side Effects is said to be psytrance. Since you say that Badster has the same feeling as Side Effects, is Badster psytrance, or is it a similar genre?

I don’t consider either to be “psytrance”, I think that “psytrance” is a relabeling of the 1980s EBM (Electronic Body Music) style industrial dance.  I guess it’s less syllables, but absolutely zero groups in this style when it was originated and developed in the 1980s and 1990s called themselves “psytrance”.  However whatever you want to call it, they do belong in the same box together.

I also think the makers of this video don’t quite know what trap is.  CLC’s “Me” is not trap by any stretch.

A lot of the songs in this video are in your best of list through the years, but the question is, did they match the genre the Youtuber that was associated to them?

I totally don’t have time to watch a video of this length, but just skimming through it quickly over about ten seconds I spotted about ten things I disagreed with.  At least the video in the question above this one got the genres mostly correct.

I don’t know if you’ve asked this question before, but why do so many people in places like the United States act like they’re better than someone who enjoys k-pop? Why do they always try to tear down people who genuinely enjoy some of the music? Yeah, the k-pop industry ain’t shit, but many industries globally ain’t shit as well. Why single out the k-pop industry?

I don’t think this is something that only people in the USA do specifically, I think you would find it all around the world, it’s just that there are more English-speaking Americans and they’re more online and more noticeable, so the more toxic elements of their behaviour are more noticeable.  It’s the same thing with fandoms.  ARMYs aren’t the worst fandom in the world in terms of behaviour, it just seems like it because there’s so many more of them so their stupidity is higher-profile and more noticeable.

oppa will you ever make a whole post about good albums/b-sides to listen to

No.

I don’t want kids. I’m still a young, single 20 year old but I’m wondering if my mind will change when I’m older? My mom says I’ll change my mind. She said she was like me when she was young, didn’t want any at first but did want later in life. My boss talks about his 30 y.o. sons sometimes, saying they don’t want to get married or have kids. He and his old patients agree that it’s more beneficial to have kids. I can see how that could be, kids can make you feel more accomplished in life, your bloodline will continue, and you’ll have someone to care for who will hopefully care for you in the future. But I don’t care about bloodline, I can feel accomplishment in other ways, and I’ll just have nurses take care of me when I’m old. I know you and your girlfriend don’t plan on getting married or have kids. Have you two ever thought that you might change your mind? Can lifelong happiness be found without children?

I just don’t really like children in general, I honestly find them kind of disgusting and gross.  Babies and toddlers are especially revolting.  As children get older they gradually become more tolerable, reaching peak tolerability by the time they become teenaqers who you can have an intelligent conversation with.  When I say this people always tell me “but YOU were a kid once” and yes I was and I’m completely sure that I was just as disgusting and gross as all the others.  Having said that, if I were to have children on purpose or by accident I have no doubt I’d be a good father – but I’d be a good father out of obligation and a sense of duty, not out of any feeling of joy or desire.  I don’t care what happens to my bloodline – why would I?  I’ll be dead anyway.  Also thinking that your children will care for you when you get old is… optimistic.

If what I just wrote sounds extreme, that’s mild compared to the hatred that my current girlfriend has for the idea of raising children.  One of the reasons that we’ve ended up together is that my previous girlfriends mostly wanted to have children with me and that’s what kept breaking the relationships up.  Lifelong happiness, not sure if that really exists with kids or not, but in the absence of it I’ll settle for lifelong not having to deal with screaming infants puking everywhere and taking up all my free time.

hi oppar, i’m looking for some career advice. i’m a recent bs grad in chem eng, and i’m torn between looking for a bio/chemist-ish (QC or R&D) or process engineer role or a masters/phD. i like lab and research work a lot more than what process engineers do, but from what i understand, entry chemist roles pay lower than process engineer roles and also pay lower than what i’m looking for. also, salary growth for the chemistry positions i’ve seen look kind of shit, and it’s also apparently much easier to transition from an engineering role back to a scientist role than vice versa. my mom is also recommending that i start looking at schools for a masters so i don’t have a job gap. i know what field i want to study in but i really wanted to go to industry first so i know what topics are actually useful to me and don’t end up with some dead end niche topic. i don’t really know what to prioritize first or expect career/educ wise, any advice?

Holy shit I’m gonna be honest and tell you that I don’t even know what half of that fucking shit even means.  I scraped through high school with barely-passing grades, went straight into the workforce and self-employment and then did music education as an adult, your problems are way above my pay grade.  What I would suggest though is follow the stuff that you have the most interest in simply because it’s a hell of a lot easier to ace a subject you enjoy.  You might be thinking “what about option Y that has better career prospects”, but here’s the thing – you don’t know what’s going to happen.  At the start of 2020 who predicted this pandemic, for instance.  Something could happen that could change the desirability of different qualifications.  To think about it another way, if you put all your League Of Legends time into Zed because he’s powerful and represents the best option to climb the League ladder and then he gets a nerf, then you really need a backup plan to be viable.  Flavour-of-the-month career paths are just like this – if everybody goes down that path because it’s “the thing to do”, then that means a lot of competition for the opportunities that do exist, and that changes the markeplace, now there’s not so much demand for the labour and Zed isn’t as OP.  I followed my passions and I’m no doubt poorer as a result but I don’t regret it, because I’ve been able to do insane stuff that most people only get to dream about like play 2000-seat venues.  You only get one shot at life, so do stuff that’s cool.

In July QRIMOLE you’ve said that you liked a song even though you hated the vocal tone so that made me wonder how much does vocal tone weigh on your song preferences. I’ve always thought that you saw vocals mostly as an instrument that carries the melody so they don’t really matter as long as the overall sound is good, but with that answer I realized that you do care about vocals, not in the vocalfaggotry way but in terms of tone, but it’s not clear to which degree.

I’ve been thinking about this because when Sunmi’s pporappippam was out I did enjoy the song and I did think it was a blessing that the song had a proper bridge and not that horrendous trap breakdown like Siren, but I didn’t find it as amusing as Siren. I think it was mostly because Sunmi’s vocal tone sounds so… light and flat? in pporappippam, while the darker, deeper tone of her voice in Siren adds way more depth to the song and that alone is enough for me to prefer Siren over Pporappippam.

I don’t know if her tone sounds lighter in pporappippam because the melody is higher pitched in general, which makes the vocal tone naturally lighter, or if it’s because she (or the producers/engineers) actively aimed a lighter tone for it. As someone who has way more knowledge about this than me, what do you think about this?

Also, how much of this thing called “vocal tone” is more of a result of vocal production rather than the singer’s “technique”? It’s hard for me to think that 2NE1 or Rosé sound the way they sound just because they have distinctive natural voices and not because whoever’s producing the song is turning some knobs or whatever to make them sound like this. Another example would be Dami’s rap in Scream (I think production kind of exaggerated on making her voice sound deeper than it actually is) or maybe the new black pink song that sounds way more American vocally speaking. This sounds like I’m answering my own question but I wanted to know what exactly makes them sound different or not, why does 2NE1 sound like 2NE1 and Dami’s voice sound deeper and black pink can at times sound like 2NE1 and at other times sound like generic American singers, I mean which “knobs“ are they turning?

I care about the way vocals sound, not in terms of the “technical accuracy” but the “appropriateness to the end result”.  For instance Eminem is very obviously one of the most gifted rappers ever, but he’s also got an annoying voice that’s hard to listen to.  He always sounds like he’s emphasising his rhyming words more than necessary as if to say “listen, I can rhyme really well, listen to my amazing flow” and that really gets in the way of my enjoyment of the song.  Whereas I think the very best rappers come up with similar flows but without that emphasis, which makes the bars feel more naturalistic, plus they mostly don’t have that rusty-gate voice Eminem has.

The differences you’re noticing in the Sunmi songs are 100% production, she is not singing them any different.  Siren has more layered vocals (multiple tracks of vocal takes combined), and also sounds more “aurally excited” (selective EQ applied to vocals to enhance sibilance and other high-end sounds).  Pporappippam on the other hand has more single-tracked vocals, with more obvious reverb, they’ve backed off on the layering significantly, it’s closer to what Sunmi actually would sound like if you were in a (very big) room with her.  Dreamcatcher’s “Scream” has double-tracked low vocals in Dami’s rap, which may be a split of Dami’s original vocal electronically pitched down an octave or two, or it could be someone else’s voice completely, either way it’s a trick to get that “foreboding” deep sound.  YG productions probably need a whole entire post just for that – maybe one day. 

Hi oppar! I hope you’re doing great!

These days I’m worried about dating. I’m a girl who’s turning 20 next month, and I have zero relationship experience. I try not to feel too bad about it but I can’t help thinking that if it keeps going, it will just get more and more embarrassing. Like what if at 30 I finally meet someone and they find out they’re my first? At that age? This sounds stupid now but I feel like the embarrassment of it all will kill me. But I don’t wanna hook up with people (that’s also sorta terrifying) just for the sake of it and I’m a romantic at heart, so I kinda wanna wait for the “right person”, but what if they never come?

It’s not like I don’t like people. I’ve had feelings for people but these people never like me back, or at least I don’t think so. I’m starting to think it takes special powers to get the person you like to like you back. Like does it actually work to just go for it and tell them you like them? Or to sorta court them so that they gradually start to like you and then ask them out? I don’t wanna seem insincere and make them think I only want to get into their pants (I probably don’t, like I said hooking up is terrifying to me.) And I don’t want to make it awkward when I inevitably see them around after that.

I don’t know oppar, do you think it would indeed help to go out there and date around so that I stack up on relationship experience? If so, what are your tips?

I hope you have a great day oppar!

I was nearly 23 before I had my first relationship experience.  I also felt much like you do – I didn’t want to date just anyone for the sake of doing it, but wanted it to be the right person.  Guess what?  The first one totally didn’t end up being the right person.  Nor was the second, or the third, or the fourth, or the tenth… relationships are hard to get right, and that doesn’t mean you won’t find that perfect somebody straight off the bat, but statistically, if it does happen that way, you’re very lucky.  So the first thing I think that helps is to come at this with a “come what may” kind of attitude.  “Come what may” doesn’t mean “accept low standards”, what it means is “I won’t find out what the water is like until I at least put a leg in the pool”. 

As for actually initiating dating, the worst way you can go about it is the whole “I really like you” speech.  Not necessary.  The thing about dating is that it’s a “date”, right?  It’s going somewhere at a certain time with a person and doing a thing together, and the less of a “thing” you build it up to be in your head, the better it will work.  Hell, that doesn’t even have to be sexual on any level, when I think about it I’ve been on social trips with guys, in situations where if I was with a girl, people would consider it a “date”.  So, chat to someone you like who has common interests, and then you can ask them to do some cool stuff that you’re both into.  If you’re both into anime ask them to the anime convention, that sort of thing.  It doesn’t have to be a big deal, or some “will you go out with meeeee” speech, just “hey I’m doing x this weekend and was just gonna do it on my own, but I know you like x so do you wanna come?”  If you start it on that kind of level, it won’t seem so intimidating and mortifying, and as you get to know each other while out doing x you’ll start to get a good idea of how much you really like the other person – or not, and things will sort of evolve from there, or not.  Also it’s a lot easier for them to say “nah, I’m busy” than “I’m just not into you”.  Keeping things light gives them an easy “out”.  The lower you raise the stakes in the first instance, the gentler the let-down if it doesn’t happen.  Don’t worry – if they’re really into you, they’ll say yes.

Hi, Kpopalypse oppar! I hope you’re doing great! Here is me finally asking a serious question here. I read every QRIMOLE and always look forward to it, but I usually look at how you help other people with their problems, and that somehow helps me as well so I don’t feel the need to share my worries, too. But here we are.

I guess my problem is that I don’t care enough? I feel like I have lost interest in other people, and making friendships. Especially with this whole quarantine, I just got back to school but I don’t even know how to socialise anymore? I’m an introvert so I understand that but, in the past I would at least feel bad for not turning small talk into a conversation, but now I don’t even really care to do so anymore? And I feel bad for not caring?

When I talked to one of my best friends about this, I told her I figured it’s because I already made the best of friendships back in high school (such as her), and now that I’m in college, the bar is set so high I don’t feel like trying. Or rather than that, because I already feel like I achieved the best in terms of friends, I’m satisfied with that and don’t feel like going for more. But that’s a problem, because since finishing high school, we’ve all gone our separate ways and now in college, I’m all by myself and almost friendless. I do have some people I like hanging out with and would call friends, but it’s nothing like with my high school friends. And with the high school friends, we only get to talk once in a while, so that’s nothing like having friends around to hang out with like it was before.

When you combine the above with my being an introvert, and the fact that it is somewhat harder to make friends in college because you don’t just run into your friends every day, you have to actively seek them, I just don’t know what to do. Previously, I tried to convince myself I don’t really need anyone else, but no that’s not true. I’m lonely. And I don’t like that. And I’m worried this attitude towards making new friends (that whole lack of effort in making conversation and perceived lack of need of new friends), will hurt me in the long-run. I mean, it’s already hurting me now because I feel lonely. I don’t wanna be friendless forever either, but I just don’t have the motivation to make new friends or deepen my pre-existing almost-friendships. Actually, I’m not sure how to even do that. My aforementioned friend told me to put myself out there and be vulnerable, but when I think of getting hurt only to possibly get nothing in return, the idea kinda scares me.

So I guess my question is: how can I motivate myself to make friends? How to even socialise anyway? How to further my already existing connections?

Sorry to dump my existential problems on you, oppar. I hope you have an amazing day!

This is why universities have clubs.  I’m not talking about those crazy American cultist fraternity things, I mean like sports clubs, or interest clubs, etc.  People don’t go to those specifically to make friends, they go there because they really have a certain passionate interest or thing that they want to explore, and then the friendships sort of evolve naturally out of that.  Making friends in a vacuum can be hard and that’s what you’re trying to do right now, it’s like if your teacher at school gives you a blank piece of paper and says “write a story – about anything”.  How do you even start with that?  What bringing a certain hobby or interest into the equation will do is give the friendship some focus – suddenly you’re not hanging out to self-consciously “be friends” but instead because you’re working together on this thing, this project or whatever it is.  Now you have a real motivation to be friends with (at least some of) those people.  It’s like if the teacher told you “write a story, but it has to have a bank robbery, and there must be three characters, and only one is allowed to have the money at the end”, now it’s so much easier to get started.  Having some parameters makes all the difference.

(Just avoid k-pop clubs – really)

By know you’ve probably heard of blackpink’s anticipated collaboration with selena gomez. The response was mostly negative and I really wonder why they would waste an opportunity this big on cow turd like ice cream. Anyone with a pair of functioning ear drums could tell that it was generic and monotonous, it didn’t even have a quickly identifiable hook. Why do companies push through with releasing disappointing tracks despite massive hype? I’m pretty sure in YG’s years of being in the industry their people could easily differentiate a hit from a flop. I don’t understand why they did it.

Well nobody is out there trying to suck.  It’s actually a really difficult thing to write a pop song well.  All those YouTubers out there with their gimmicky “how to create Blackpink in 8 minutes” videos, well if they’re so expert why isn’t their version riding the charts?  Sure, the Blackpink song is a pretty awful musical failure as far as I’m concerned, but I’m sure somebody out there likes it.  Maybe people are playing hopscotch to it or something, that certainly sounds like what it was made for.

I hope you and your loved ones are happy and healthy! I also hope it’s not a dick move to ask a long QRIMOLE question on the very last day of the month.

So, I’ve recently realized that I spend too much time consuming k-pop content. To be clear, I’m a grown woman with a partner and, until recently, a job (no, I wasn’t laid off for watching too much k-pop; I had a one-year contract). I stan a lot of girl groups; my top five are CLC, Twice, Oh My Girl, Weki Meki, and Dreamcatcher, but there are at least ten others that I follow at least sporadically. The problem is, each of these groups puts out SO MUCH CONTENT before and during each comeback, and I feel weirdly compelled to watch and listen to it all (minus the variety shows and interviews, which usually suck, lol). I have to check out not just the MVs and B-side tracks, but also the teaser photos and videos, music show stages, dance practices (I was a dancer for many years, so I’m always interested in the choreo), individual fancams, hanbok performance videos…you know how it is. And then, of course, I have to read comments on Reddit and Asian Junkie, watch YouTube analyses of choreos and stage outfits, etc. I’d say I spend at most two hours on k-pop per day, but that’s no small amount of time!

I know very well that I’m using k-pop as an escape from my problems: I need to switch careers and find a new job in the middle of a pandemic, I’m anxious about COVID and the upcoming US election, and I’m stuck in a conservative town in the rural Midwest for the next eleven months. Still, I’m struggling to understand why this compulsion is so strong and how it can be broken. I’m not a delusional stan (I’m not even on Twitter), and I don’t feel particularly emotionally invested in these groups or in any of the members. I have plenty of non-k-pop-related interests and hobbies. But I can’t bring myself to cut the cord and, say, miss a week of music shows. Do you have any tips for cutting down on k-pop time and focusing on my actual life?

“Long question at the end of the month” don’t worry everybody does it!

I’ve always restricted myself to caring about the music only.  I’ll watch music videos, but I generally won’t watch live stages or appearances on other TV shows, and I certainly won’t go a million miles near teasers for anything, and I really can’t bring myself to give one solitary fuck about other people’s comments.  All of this probably stems from my experience within the music marketing machine in my own country.  Once you see it from the inside you realise that  the companies who make this stuff are pretty much insulting you with everything except the actual music.  Teasers are just advertisements and I don’t need an advertisement for something that I’m going to check out regardless of whether it’s advertised or not.  Live stages sometimes look good but they’re not really “live” in the true sense of the word and it’s the same music anyway so there’s no real motivation to look at them closely.  All the other content really isn’t about the music so I really don’t care – if there’s a pretty girl in the group that’s nice and probably the closest I get to giving a shit about anything non-musical but I’ve had the same girlfriend since 2010 and she is far more attractive to me than any k-pop.  Someone’s comments or analysis is probably the stuff I care about last of all.  Everyone says the same shit anyway, because they’re often afraid of getting ostracised for not saying the same stuff that everyone else is saying.  Aside from a good song occasionally I don’t follow k-pop much as there’s simply not a lot else that it actually offers of genuine interest.  A lot of my blogging actually comes from juxtaposing my liking (some of) the music with my awareness of the shittiness of some of the behind-the-scenes stuff, and my complete indifference to almost everything else.  Also I don’t have a lot of time anyway, COVID has made me very busy.

I think you’re on the money about the reason why you feel the way you do, and I think what you’ll find is that as you sort out the other aspects of your life more to your satisfaction, the need to never miss a music show or whatever else will gradually fade.  Escapism isn’t as necessary when your actual life is panning out more in your favour.  So I wouldn’t worry about this too much if I were you – do what you need to do to sort your life out and the k-pop stuff will take care of itself – in time.

Hi, hope you’re doing well. I have a question about my sexuality because I’m very confused about it and would love an outside opinion if possible! Just to note, I’m pretty level headed and I’m not hear to make you give me a label, nor am I gonna take what you say as the word of God or anything (so feel free to say what you think), but I’d just like your impression from what I can tell you. Background info: I’m a 17 year old girl and I’m British-Indian and have never been in a relationship before.

I’ve never had some sort of “all my life I felt different scenario”, but I’ve not really always been able to connect to being into guys. I always felt that girls were so much more attractive and that this was a common opinion. When I was old enough to really have crushes in primary school ( a co-ed with boys and girls), I definitely had a few boy crushes that I would definitely define as a crush (wanting to kiss and hold hands type thing). However, thinking back, I definitely fantasised about some of my best (girl) friends, thinking about how pretty they were and things of that sort. Fast forward to secondary school (I’m now 11/12) and I’m at a girls school. When I was about 13, I had my last boy crush (some dude I met at a family friend’s party, lasted about two days). I remember having a pretty big Emma Watson obsession (but I didn’t want to BE her, I was just staring at how pretty she was in her interviews) and I also had this crush (which I didn’t recognise at the time) on this actress where I would literally stare at her face every day after school on google images.

I’ve been questioning my sexuality from about the age of 13-14. Several things brought this into play. Firstly, I read a normal teenage book (girl falls in love with douchebag boy and realises that he’s not the one) except that the girl realises she’s gay. And it shook me entirely; I didn’t even realise that you could fully think you’re straight, be in a relationship with a guy and then realise you’re actually a lesbian and my first thought was “what if this is me”. At the time, I also had an obsession with Ted Talks, and I remember being really really interested in the ones about sexuality, more so than just “people shouldn’t be homophobic”, and spent a long time researching into sexuality for no real reason. I also ended up reading most of the LGBT section of our school library when it was new, even though it wasn’t amazing. Slowly, I began to fit in other pieces; I remember being obsessed with one of the older dance students in my dance class and staring at her face every lesson, being infatuated with one of my fellow classmates and dreaming about holding hands and kissing her on the cheek (I was pretty young then).

This year, I have really thought about my sexuality and my gut feeling is that I’m not straight. I’ve never really been able to relate to the idea of dating men as much, and don’t see the hype around abs or dick. Real important question though: although making out seems appealing to me, the idea of sex has always really repulsed me. I can’t really tell to what extent this is my lack of experience/having a crush/being young, or an actual preference of mine, as I am still pretty young. While I definitely do get turned on my the idea of making out, the idea of a dick GROSSES me out a lot (I don’t watch porn and haven’t really seen one, but I always skip it in movies and skip sex scenes in books too). Blowjobs, dicks in vaginas/assholes all really repulses me and I feel a lot more comfortable about vaginas although I’m not sure how much of this is just my lack of experience. I’ve never really been attracted to male celebrities at all until kpop (and even then, it’s a lot fewer guys than it is women), but I still am not sure whether I like boys at all. Like there are a few (kpop boys) that do completely seem attractive to me but I’m very much still female centric in my preference (and I’m a girl group stan lmao). Until recently, I sort of had this revelation that not everyone is attracted to women???? How??? And this sort of solidified my view of “I probably like women”. I’ve started to take part in a lot more gay culture when it comes to following LGBT youtubers and musicians and honestly feel pretty comfortable in it. I’ve also been drunk a couple of times recently in quarantine with my friends (since my gay awakening) and basically keep talking about how I like girls lmao.

However, I have a huge part of me that is pretty confused and doubting, and I wanted to spell these out for you. Firstly, I don’t even know any guys. Like actually. I’m averagely popular, have good friends at my girls school and don’t really hang out with other people outside of school. The fact that I’ve not hung out with boys in years may be a large part of my lack of attraction? (Although I did attend a summer camp last summer and didn’t find a single guy attractive, but several girls so I’m not sure). Also the idea of dating a guy (or even making out with a guy?) doesn’t seem repulsive at all, just less appealing, and until this year, I’ve always imagined heterosexual fantasies for myself (since this year, I’ve started to automatically imagine myself with girls more, but it sometimes takes more effort to imagine because I’ve not really read/watched as many lesbian stories to imagine cheesy things for myself). However, I’ve recently noticed that when in my hetero fantasies, I’m always imagining what’s happening TO the girl. Like I don’t know what I would do if a boy kissed me? But I’ve always focussed on the girl (then again, it could be what I want to happen TO me rather than doing to another girl??). Honestly, I find myself really really wanting to kiss a girl so badly (but maybe I’m just horny and don’t know any boys?) and I’m desperately attracted to women (my thought the entire night of prom was “I like girls” on repeat).

I guess I’m just worried that I’ve sort of made this up in my head for attention? Or just because my school is really LGBT friendly so I’ve hung out with a lot of not-straight people? But again I’m pretty sure it’s not true. And I really can’t figure out my attraction to boys. It’s kind of there? Hanging by a thread of like 2 kpop boys but still there I guess. I think what confuses me is that I could have attraction to more than one gender, which means I can’t do a process of elimination (I like women so I can’t like men type of things). But then again, the idea of being lesbian is also kinda of scary to me (yay internalised homophobia) so I know a part of me finds it easier to say bisexual than lesbian. But then boys don’t feel awful to me?? Just way less attractive and I’m grossed out by their genitals lol. I’m also thinking about coming out to my family soon (they’re not homophobic thank god, but still culturally a bit distanced from the community and might be disappointed) but I’m really indecisive and I’m scared that this is just me making things up. Honestly, I’m scared to come out before I’m 100% sure but I don’t know when I’ll know for sure (it’s literally been 4 years of questioning!!). I do find myself thinking “or wife” every time they talk about future husbands/boyfriends even jokingly, and it’s on the tip of my tongue to say something.

The thing that’s really frustrating to me is given my social life, I’m unlikely to date or even crush on or kiss someone before I head off to university (next year), and therefore I’m gonna be stuck in the same place of questioning myself (because there’s only so far you can get through thinking). I don’t want to be in a relationship, but even one kiss at a party would be welcome if it would help me figure this out a bit better and relieve some of my doubts. If you ask me honestly, I would say I know I like girls and not sure about anything else. I think they’re so pretty and I really really want to kiss one. But I’m all over the place and confused so would really really love to know your thoughts from reading this! As I said, I’m not gonna take your word as the gospel truth, but I really wanted someone’s honest and impartial opinion out there. I really do want to come out to my parents as well (it probably won’t be with a label but more of a “Mum and Dad, I like girls”) because it’s getting harder to hide this gay part of me lmao. I feel very comfortable with the idea of being not straight and into women, but I’m also not sure enough (and don’t have enough experience) to know whether my feelings are real and valid or just made up (and for the life of me can’t figure out whether I like guys).

This was really long and ramble but would greatly appreciate any thoughts!

I’m not really quite sure what you’re asking.  If the question is “are you straight, bi or gay”, well, I’m not remotely qualified to answer that, and I don’t even know if a direct answer would be helpful, as there may not even be one.  They way I’ve always felt about these things is that sexual preference is more of a sliding scale rather than a hard-and-fast rule.  Certainly some people are waaaaaay on one end of the scale or the other, but there’s a lot of people floating around the middle somewhere in ways that are hard to categorise.  Sure, people try with all those pronouns and sexualities and rules etc but I think that’s missing the point – we don’t need more categories, we need less.  Ideally one would do – you’re a person and you like people.  What type of people varies from one to the next, and really isn’t anyone’s business but yours and (potentially) theirs.  I went out with a girl once, and I was her first male partner in a while, before then her previous partners were women.  She didn’t really consider herself bisexual though, her rationale was “I fall in love with the person, not their gender”.  I imagine you’re probably floating around in the middle of the sliding scale somewhere too, but how you want to rationalise it, or even if you want to, is up to you.  I wouldn’t feel any huge pressure to sort this stuff out quickly or anything.  It’s okay to go into a store and take a long time choosing what you want, and browsing all the options – that can be better than buying the first thing you see that you might regret later.

While I wouldn’t advocate porn to anybody who is straight-up uncomfortable with it, and a lot of it is highly unrealistic anyway by design, it does have one highly underrated and rarely discussed use, which is that it can help bring some certainty to people who are having trouble determining their sexualities.  Many non-straight people have their first big “ah-hah” moment when they see hardcore porn for the first time and start looking in different places to where they expected themselves to look.  Keep in mind however that most people are more turned on by secondary sexual characteristics than primary ones.  Very few women, including very few straight women, actually find penises attractive, and as a straight guy I can tell you that when I first saw a female vagina I definitely didn’t feel turned on, I was more like “what the fuck is that thing“, so if you’re grossed out by genitalia, well believe it or not that’s actually pretty universal.  People like dicks and cunts more for their functionality than their appearance, it’s all the other parts of the human body that are there to be alluring and sell you on the genitalia-touching.  Just putting that out there because I feel that it’s an important point that can be lost amid all the genitalia-obsession of both porn and sex theory in general.  Most Japanese porn actually censors the genitals (including all of the ones in my Honey Popcorn video roundups) and honestly when I watch it I don’t miss seeing them at all.

Not really a question, but I can’t seem to enjoy things anymore. The things I used to enjoy, like drawing and reading, seem so dull now.

I’ve been in full-time psychological care for almost a year now because of something stupid I did, and now I just want to get out of here. The problem is that I have to wait for a place to live to become available and that could take months.

I think I don’t enjoy things anymore because I’ve been here for so long. I miss my parents and freedom horribly and cry a lot because of that. There are no other women here either, so I’m really bored too.

I want to enjoy things again and make sure I can leave this place. I want someone to come and save me.

Sorry to hear you’re suffering.  My advice for what it’s worth, which may be nothing at all – if I was in some kind of lockdown like that where I had a ton of time and nothing to do with it, and everything seemed boring, I would work on physical fitness, especially weight training.  You can weight train with your own body, you don’t need equipment.  It kills time, you get lots of endorphins which will make you feel somewhat better, and the positive effects will flow over into other aspects of your life, you’ll become more driven and determined mentally, and you’ll have a goal to work on that being locked down won’t be able to impede.  This is how a lot of people get through situations like yours.

dude i know you get a lot of truly amazing one of a kind top shelf research videos from the caonimas so please share it with us readers

Just keep reading the roundups.

SuperM’s latest song sounds like a mashup of the member’s respective groups. How come I get that feeling while I listen to that song? Is it too generic? Anyway, “Tiger Inside” is way better than “100”. Just putting it out there.

Noted.

Hi, have you ever or would you ever refuse to interview a kpop artist? What would the reasons be/was?

Another question;
You talk a lot about whats wrong with kpop, but would you be able to produce a good song for a kpop group if hired for?

P.s. keep up the boobs posts, even though i’m a gay guy, i enjoy them very much

I would say no to an interview if the interviewee wasn’t able to speak English well enough (or use a translator) and the communication barrier made the interview unworkable.  I’d also refuse it these days if they wanted to do it completely by email because that’s a fucking pain in the ass and it takes like six months to get a Kpopalypse-length interview out of people when they do that.  Apart from logistical reasons like this, I wouldn’t refuse a reasonable interview request from anybody in k-pop who really wanted to do one with me.

I feel like I could produce a decent pop song, but of course what I consider decent and what the market considers decent might be two different things.  I’d probably produce a song that I really loved and it would be a flop that everyone else hated and nobody would buy it, but I’d still be happy.  However honestly I wouldn’t want to work in k-pop on that level at all.  If I had any desire to enter k-pop as a songwriter I would have done it already.

What are your thoughts on AOA’s Oh Boy? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qsMpfTxblvE I don’t think you’ve covered it before on this blog and it sounds a whole lot like early T-ara material so I was wondering about your opinion. Thanks!

I guess it does sound somewhat like T-ara’s “I Go Crazy Because Of You” but only in the rhythm.  I don’t think it’s that great a song really, which is why I’ve never written about it (it predated the first ever Kpopalypse roundup by a couple weeks).

I’m aware you’re not fond of jpop and this song is…

Corrrect!  Next!

someone linked to your article about dog whistles in kpop on unpopular kpop opinions subreddit, the whole thread is a mess tho.

why kpop fans are so dedicated to always finding pRoBLemAtiC ThINgs and LoLitA bAiT? i’m just tired of it. maybe these blackpink photos are a little too “50s american housewife style”, but to me blackpink still looks like young women here (i’m the same age as jennie btw), not like “children” as reddit claims. they are 20something, not 60something, lol. also, i don’t understand this mentality most of kpop fans have that cute can’t be mixed with sexy. life of woke redditor must be sad.

As usual with a bunch of my writing, people miss the point of the dog-whistle post.  A lot of very puritan people have latched on it and used it so they can point the fingers and go “look, the problematic thing!” when they see something that’s just a little too bright or colourful or that disturbs their fragile connection with their own sexualities.  That was never the point of that post.  I don’t see anything at all even slightly dog-whistly about the Blackpink/Selena Gomez song, it’s just a bright colourful video with attractive adult people in it wearing attractive adult things and being attractive adults.  Not many people talking about “lolita” in k-pop have even the slightest clue what the fuck they’re even on about, it’s mostly just a bunch of idiots repeating stuff they heard elsewhere and twisting the context.  There’s so much confusion about what constitutes “lolita” and what that even means, that I even wrote a quiz about it to help people determine if they were actually seeing “lolita” concepts or not.  Have fun with that.

Regarding the roundup for 24/8/2020… I know its part of your brand to be edgy and that you meant no harm by it, but its probably not a good look to describe a song as “pure cancer” when its being sung by an actual survivor of uterine cancer. I’m not sure if you were aware or not, but I thought I should let you know. I didn’t post this as a comment because I didn’t want to start any unnecessary drama (you have enough of that already), so no need to post this anywhere. Just ignore it if you want.

I didn’t know that, so thanks for making me aware.  I guess I was right in more ways than one.

Seriously I don’t give a fucking shit about what’s a “good look”, clearly.  Those who read my writing and have a brain and some understanding know that my intentions aren’t to mock cancer patients and laugh at them for having cancer.  Before she was reincarnated as T-ara’s Boram, my mother died of cancer, so I’m as aware of the pain cancer can cause as anybody else reading this.  I literally sat by the side of her bed and held her hand as I watched cancer take her life away.  Dark humour is a common Australian coping mechanism to help handle the darkness of life, which can get pretty dark, this article here might help if you’re interested.  “Not a good look” – I think that people in general should worry less about how things look, and worry more about how things actually are.  If they can’t bring themselves to do that for whatever reasons – okay, fine – but not my problem, and maybe this blog isn’t for them.  I respect people’s choice to not read my writing if it bothers them – it’s not for everybody, that’s for sure.

How do you feel about people who pirate plugins/DAWs?

I don’t care if she uses cracked software, I just wish (G)I-dle’s Soyeon would write better songs with it.

hello oppar,
since i’m always seeing people submitting songs in qrimoles and asking your opinion about them,

That should really be a cue for you to NOT ask questions like the one you’re just about to, but go on…

what do you think of these two?

they basically have nothing in common but what do you think makes them so nostalgic/bittersweet/whatever the fuck it is the vibe that they give off?
(also there’s this thing i’ve never understood about radio stations so i thought you might know why: basically the second song is a “foreign” song -i think the artist is german?- that has pretty much only become popular in my country; if you check out the comment section you’ll see the viewers are almost all italian. this has happened before so i was wondering why some songs get played on the radios of like, one single country that isn’t even their country of origin and people don’t give a shit about them anywhere else).

Honestly I think the song sucks and I don’t see the appeal.  Whatever vibe you’re getting from it isn’t translating to me at all.

Some songs work really well in certain countries for unknown reasons.  I know there are a few international artists who do really well in Australia but that other countries basically don’t give a shit about, examples escape me right now though…

I’ve been getting into 80s style synth/electropop music lately. Like La Roux and UZA type of sound. What artists/bands would you recommend under that genre?

T-ara.

Also Aseul.

Also:

Is it risky to post stuff about malpractices by kpop companies, especially the big ones, online even if anonymously?

Yes, that’s why it’s almost impossible for me to get an interview with anybody involved… and even when I do, things happen.

Hi Oppar, thought?

It doesn’t matter much.  These people are fighting over pennies.  This type of thing is not where the money is in k-pop.

Hi, I’m the person who asked you on your Curious Cat about which albums from The Roots were good, thank you for your reply. I’ve been listen to their tracks from said albums like What They Do and You Got Me. While I enjoyed them, I was quite surprised that you liked stuff like this because they seem quite “chill” and “laid back” (christ apologies for my very limited music vocabulary here). My initial surprise probably stemmed from the contrast between the more “mellow” stuff like this and the harsher/faster Korean rap you seem to like (Gottasadae, Swervy’s/Iron’s/Drunken Tiger’s faster, seemingly louder stuff) Then I remembered that you also really like Mobb Deep’s Hell On Earth album which is similarly quite “chill” and not as harsh (as like PE for e.g.)

I figured that the thing they all have in common is a good beat but then got me thinking – what exactly constitutes a good rap beat? I mean I find myself moving my head to the beat for sure but I can’t identify why or what is causing said head bopping. I initially thought that a “hard hitting” simply referred to speed but that clearly isn’t correct. Right now I’m thinking that maybe a beat that is more forward in the mix is harder hitting? Afterall, the beat in stuff like this sounds more muffled. But that doesn’t seem quite right either.

Would you be willing to explain what makes a rap beat good and hard hitting (Or a music theory post about it if you are willing)? And what makes the rap beats of Kendrick/Drake/(any modern rapper) soft and shit?

[PS Sorry for the terribly written question, English is my first language but I’m not very eloquent and I don’t know any music terminology and thus have difficulty putting my thoughts into words]

Don’t worry, there’s many music writers who have just your problem and it doesn’t stop them writing shit!

To be clear, “What They Do” and “You Got Me” are by far my two least favourite songs on those particular Roots albums!  Not every song on even their best albums is good, but the good tracks really are very good and worth putting up with the somewhat average other stuff and the odd bit of R&B nonsense.

If you want a rap album that I like all the way through: Mobb Deep’s “Hell On Earth”.  What makes that album so good is the following elements:

  • General foreboding ambience throughout all tracks created by the use of some very well chosen samples that are creepy but still often very musical
  • Highly present and crisp drums combined with a very good sense of when to use drums to enhance the rap (a sense that is totally missing in the Kendrick Lamar track you linked)
  • No lead vocal R&B singing, anywhere, not even for a chorus hook, not even once, the only singing on it at all is background ambient texture

The raps on the album by contrast are honestly lazy, the two members don’t even bother to rhyme their words with other words half the time, but the music is so compelling that their weird lyrical approach ends up exuding a vibe of “totally beyond giving a fuck” nihilism which fits the music perfectly.  It’s a very conceptually matched album, to me “Hell On Earth” is to rap what Slayer’s “Reign In Blood” is to metal, an album where the bleak thematic vision and unrelentingly dark musical delivery is completely consistent from start to finish, and only really makes perfect sense in a full playthrough.  It all works really well, and Havoc proved himself here as one of rap’s best (and definitely most underrated) producers.  

The broader “good rap beat” discussion I might save for later, as it is honestly pretty technical and there’s so much hidden science to it.  I’ll try to integrate it into the music theory series but it might even require several posts of that.  It’s a hard topic to address as traditional music theory is inadequate to explain it, there is really no worthwhile academic writing on this

I am sending questions to you again Kpopalypse, here you go:
1. Recently, JYP and Sunmi were invited to Radio Star, a Korean variety talk show. The hosts questioned JYP’s decision to send Wonder Girls to United States when they were so successful in South Korea. My jaw immediately dropped when I heared JYP’s answer. It’s exactly what you have written in your article about Korean companies decision making. He said that the KPop profit is too small if they depend solely on the South Korean market. He also mentioned that the South Korean public will praise him to heavens if Wonder Girls started a trend in the United States. But because the Wonder Girls’ advancement failed so badly, his attempt became criticized. Oh, he also said that he wanted to produce a group that consists solely of Western people in the future and NiziU is some sort of pet project for him. If NiziU becomes successful in Japan, he believes that he could produce a JYP Western group in the future. Whoa! I felt so happy to have first received the knowledge about JYP’s mindset from reading your blog. So when I heard JYP’s explanation and plan, the first thing that popped in my mind is that “Wow! JYP’s explanation is totally right up Kpopalypse’s alley.”

2. For the sake of accomodating my OCD tendencies, please give me the number 101 of the Kpopalypse 2010’s Favorite Songs. I have to move the Park Bom’s song (I just remember it was released in 2009 when you mentioned it in the previous QRIMOLE) to another playlist and I wanted to put one more 2010s song to replace her song.

To me JYPs actions just seemed like basic common sense, he would have been crazy not to try.  That’s because I’ve run a business before and I can think with a business mind, something fans generally can’t do because their emotional attachment is so high.

The missing song would probably be Lovelyz’ “Destiny” simply because I turfed it out of its designated spot to put “Candy Jelly Love” in its place.

Oftentimes I see you refer to songs of (for example) BTS, TXT and Seventeen as very safe and mediocre choises, yet their songs dominate the charts. This immense popularity seems pretty paradoxal to me, my first instinct is to think that divisive songs equal more media attention and more interest, whereas songs which don’t bring anything new to the table theoretically should be forgotten quickly cause they don’t stand out at all in an already incredibly oversaturated market. I’m well aware that music taste is entirely subjective, but despite that I wonder why songs that aren’t unique from a musical point of view (like composition and melody and all that shit) are still incredibly successful and well perceived by the general public. Is it because they follow some kind of formula with fixed elements that guarantees succes? If so, what kind of elements can make an safely written/mediocre song well perceived? Catchiness would be an obvious answer except no matter how many times I listen to (some of) these songs, I can barely remember what they sound like. Or is it just lazy production and do the producers assume that the songs of their artists will be smash hits even if the song is the equivalent of off brand cereal, just because they’re released by their group?

Disclaimer: Not shitting on any of the groups mentioned above, they are mere examples to illustrate the question to get the most suiting answer. I’m also not judging people who like songs that I am personally indifferent towards.

I think it has a lot to do with brand power.  The people behind these groups know how to build a brand and a following.  There’s no reason why any of those groups couldn’t have a good song (and let’s not forget TXT managed to get one on a favourites list last year) but as we’ve long established, the actual music itself often isn’t the priority for the people who are pushing it.  As a result, it might be seen as safer to put something out there that’s more generic and less likely to cause upset.  I don’t really know though, I mean I’m sure all the people behind these songs thought they were great.  There’s no guaranteed success for music, but there are known formulas for building brand recognition, as it’s a safer bet, that’s what companies rely on more.

I like Dreamcatcher but can you explain in technical detail why they’re somehow (usually) musically superior to the emo/nu-metal/pop bands that came out in the early 2000s e.g. Paramore, Linkin Park, Evanescence?

More intricate harmony and melody is the answer, I think.  Dreamcatcher songs tend to have a lot more melodic and harmonic movement, whereas the other groups you’ve mentioned tend to just rotate through a block of chords in one tonality in the typical pop song way even though they’re all “metal” to greater or lesser degrees.


I honestly find it weird to see idols who have debuted recently talking (relatively) open about their experiences. I felt liking tearing up specifically hearing Chaeryeong talk about her experiences being bullied for her looks. I don’t understand it. To go the objectification route I guess, she’s not ugly by any means! she’s very cute. and to go with the moral route she’s very young. It worries me that knetz were bullying someone who was a child up until recently about their facial features. And if she had gotten PS they would gotten angry too. It frustrates me, really. Actually as I type this it reminds me of what Umji went through before she had some procedures done. Now I’m wondering if entertainment companies purposefully debut idols who are “ugly” for attention. Man this might be even more fucked than I thought….
But onto my second point, in the back of my head the entire video I was thinking “Isn’t this just perfect promotional material?” I’ve seen a lot of people online complain about itzy’s concept being “fake”, whatever that means, like every other concept in kpop isn’t, but after this video I think people will perceive them in a more positive–or at least sympathetic–light, because they’re being open and honest and “real”. Whenever I see videos like this I feel torn between understanding the girls’ struggles, which in this case are particularly awful, and being irritated at JYPE for marketing it, basically.

This is an official video on JYP’s channel, and it’s an official video for a reason.  Videos like this are all about increasing your emotional connection with the performers.  This is how k-pop is sold.

I assure you nobody is deliberately debuting “ugly” idols.  Obviously with multiple people per group some are always going to seem prettier than others, so one person per group is always going to get that “ugly person” tag simply because mathematically someone has to be the least popular one, but compared to the average person on the street even the very ugliest k-pop idol is at least an 8/10.  The truly ugly ones don’t get past the audition process.

Regarding Apink Bomi latest video: 

[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2SIp9fBOhC4&feature=youtu.be&t=425]

(actually only last several seconds matters).
How often do k-pop girls feel like “oh, what a pathetic life do I live…”? Tons of variety shows that forces these young women do stupid/silly things like “show your aeygo”, “do some pathetic trick all had seen it 1000 times before” etc. The point is: idols most of the time can’t choose what to do in front of camera, yet some non-creative producers behind are in blame for forcing beginners to do all this stuff (sometimes, possible) against their will.
Is it possible to create content that will be both entertaining and not-so-embarrassing for actor to do in near future?

This relates to the question before it.  It’s all about selling themselves to the public, so the idols are molded into what the public wants to see.  Koreans who work 16 hour days 7 days a week at the office don’t want to come home and relax to an idol talking about real shit.

Why do music companies have such a hard time treating their artists/employees like human beings? Artists and employees seem to be in a position lacking any kind of power, they get tossed away at the whims of whoever is in charge, exploited physically, mentally and their creative works aswell, and just straight up abused. I don’t understand why it’s so hard for the companies to just not do that. On that why aren’t there any laws protecting artists/employees? I also don’t get why artists don’t raise hell more often after being treated like shit, certainly if it’s such a rampant problem.

This type of question is really asked in different ways through every interview I’ve ever done with an ex-idol.  A lot of it comes down to labour supply vs demand.  If you’ve got 5000 kids who all want to be the next idol, you can make rules and benchmarks that are so harsh that 99% of them think twice or just can’t cut it, then you only have to choose from the 50 kids who are that determined to make it that they will tolerate endless amounts of bullshit in the path to promised success.  It’s a buyer’s market.

There’s been (again) a heated discussion about the use of blackface in Korea, and looking into the topic I found a couple of interesting articles about the history behind it:

I agree for the most part on your opinion that non-koreans often overreact to controversies like these, because these netizens usually have little consideration about other cultures. But I also thought this person made a fairly good point about how blackface in Korea does not come from an innocent racial attitude. Although like the author, I don’t think all impersonations of African culture are really offensive, such as the korean students who imitated the coffin dance meme (the current blackface controversy going on).

There’s obviously degrees to it.  Just because one type of blackface exists doesn’t mean that another type doesn’t also exist.  I would say that not all blackfaces are equal in intent.  Also, if you’re growing up in an environment where blackface is a thing, even if not innocent in its original context, then of course you may still mimic it innocently.  People accept the reality with which they are presented.  When I was growing up I remember playing “cowboys and indians” and watching American westerns starring John Wayne.  I thought all that stuff was cool at the time, when I was 8 years old or whatever.  I didn’t have the slightest idea about native American culture, there were zero depictions of them that I ever saw that were anything other than “savages” who go around killing cowboys with arrows for fun or whatever.  They were the “generic bad guys” just like the Germans in war films.  It was only in my late teens and early 20s when I saw media that questioned both John Wayne (Frank Zappa called him out as a bigot in his autobiography, also Public Enemy) and the treatment of native Americans (e.g “anti-westerns” like Dead Man) then I started to question it.  These days there’s a lot more consciousness and that’s definitely a good thing, but there’s a lot of that old stuff hanging around too, and not everybody has an “enlightened upbringing”.  Also, some people really do mean it as a tribute, like that guy who dressed up as Snoop Dogg and posed with him.  Snoop Dogg understood that he meant well, he wasn’t offended – so why should we be?  Just because something meant one thing 100 years ago doesn’t mean it always has to mean that same thing by default nowadays.  The swastika pre-dates the Nazis by thousands of years, it only has the meaning that it has now because of how the Nazis twisted it.  Maybe that meaning will change again in the future, and why couldn’t it?  Why let the Nazis have all the power?  In fact in some cases the meanings of many Nazi symbols has already changed.  Culture isn’t static, it continually moves and shifts, and the things people are doing now that are “woke” may be seen as “problematic” (or vice versa) in 50 or 100 years… or maybe even next week.

Hi Oppar,

Hope you’re gold already by the time I get a response to this.

Anyways, how do you feel about the whole gender equality crap in STEM fields that Australia had been pushing towards?

It’s been very difficult for me to find work in STEM fields as an asian dude. I’ve heard from many of my mining friends (anecdotal, sure) that they are specifically looking for women, and are willing to lower their standards just to fill the quota. This feels and just sounds stupid beyond belief, no one complained about lack of men in (insert women dominant workforce), yet they have to look specifically at STEM fields.

It feels like common sense that there are more guys in engineering field because that’s where they tend to gravitate towards, like you could go to 100 random university engineering lectures and I can guarantee you 100 of them will have mostly guys, why are these people unable to see it and have to paint it as ‘gender discrimination’ bullshit?

I’ve been listening to Jordan Peterson and I feel like he’s very level headed and sensible, everything he says seem to be common sense, but why is everyone so easily swayed and fooled by the easy cover up and generalization of “we need equality”? It’s so annoying. Maybe I need to put in my resume that I’m gay too so that I’ll get some equality points, it’s fucking stupid.

There’s been a lot of research done on STEM and gender quotas, because try as universities might it’s nearly impossible for them to get large quantities of women to do STEM topics and get those “gender equal” virtue points that they crave.  One of the most interesting things that has come out of that research is that in countries with more gender discrimination, women are much more likely to choose STEM topics, even if that means great risk to themselves.  However in freer societies with more gender equality in society, STEM is less popular among women, and the more free and equal the society, the less popular STEM is with women, there’s a direct correlation.  As it happens, the reason for this is that in poor countries with crap rights for women, women pick STEM because in the face of the massive discrimination they encounter, STEM represents a pathway to financial freedom and gaining some way to fight back against the sexist expectations in their society.  Whereas in countries where women are less burdened by discrimination and are freer to follow their passions, they actually… do just that, follow their passions, which generally isn’t STEM.  Source.

Silver 3 at the moment.  I’ll keep trying.  Using university “women in STEM” logic, because I’m an old fuck I should get extra rank points so I can be gold easier.

Hi Kpopalypse,

I also watched some lesbian porn before (because I was bored by the typical heterosexual porn), and the quality is just… terrible. I think it’s because the market is too small, thus the industry doesn’t have too much motivation to improve their product’s quality. I also agree lesbians deserves good porn just like everyone else, but they would have to be more vocal about this, so the industry would be more motivated to offer a better product.

Back to my conjecture on k-pop lesbian fanservices. I doubt if I can ever prove or disprove it, unless I managed get my hands on any of the following:

– Meeting minutes or recordings of an executive meeting regarding this matter
– A sworn declaration or affidavit from the members/staffs themselves

Without them, it can never be proved or disproved, and the companies can always maintain plausible deniability. 🤷🏻‍♂️

Come to think of it, assuming my conjecture is correct, what would happen if the girls are not comfortable with such physical intimacy? As someone who never appreciates any non-consensual physical touch (I have a lengthy record of quickly raising my elbow* whenever someone touched me without my consent, especially on my back), I can understand how painful it feels like. If the receiving end is not comfortable with physical touch, isn’t that a form of long-term sexual harassment and psychological abuse? To illustrate my point, consider the following video:

Every time I re-watched it, I can’t help but to think: what if Shuhua is really uncomfortable with this kind of stuff? What if her reactions are actually real, not scripted?

I also have a question about Jessica’s novel (which, as we all know, is just a thinly-disguised autobiography): do you think SM is going sue her for libel/false light, in an attempt to stop her from exposing their dirty laundry? (Yes, you can sue a fictional work for libel)

Finally there’s another question I want to ask for your professional opinion: is it possible for an artist to be friends with another artist, who is working for a different company, which may or may not be a business rival? I always found those supposed friendship between two k-pop idols from different companies to be implausible, since the potential conflict of interest is so high……🤔

* Which, of course, scares the hell out of them. So yeah, when I said I would punch Sana right in the face if she ever does any of her gay stuff to me, I mean every word of it.

Lesbian porn bores me to shit, honestly.  I do wish for better porn across the board for everyone’s sake.

Shuhua is uncomfortable as fuck, it’s very obvious.  She’s pretending, but in the other direction – she’s not pretending to be uncomfortable to be cute, she’s doing her best to pretend to go along with a whole bunch of stuff she’s not that cool with, because she can’t kick up a stink without looking like a tramp, and is only half-managing it.  I know that uncomfortable reflex flinching anywhere because I do it myself, I’m really not cool with being touched in certain ways due to various trauma.

Jessica would have had conversations with laywers before publishing her book I’m sure.

Yeah sure artists on different labels can be friends.  It happens a lot because these people meet each other for work all the time.  The real competition that bites hard when you’re in a k-pop group isn’t competition with some other company’s idols, it’s competition with other idols within your own damn group.

In your March Qrimole you mentioned how T-ara, Dreamcatcher, and Loona have the best overall discography. As a girl group fan I wholeheartedly agree. But I’m also curious to know which discography you think is the best among boy groups? Veteran and current. Could just be based on title tracks if you haven’t listened to most b-sides.

Off the top of my head: 100%, Infinite, SPEED, BigBang, more recently Stray Kids.  All of these groups have their crap songs too however.

I wanted to draw your attention to this interview with Cacophony.

I personally really enjoy it and would like to see more interviews like these. On the other hand: Would it even be possible to do this type of interview with an idol group? After watching the video a second time, the interesting aspects of this are not the questions, but Cacophony’s answers. This got me wondering: Are idol interviews usually boring because of the shit questions, or because the idol system with manufactured personae and little to no involment in the actual music don’t allow for more in-depth answers?

Both.  Firstly, questions are vetted by a third party, almost always.  Asian Junkie writers have experienced it firsthand, they’ll submit a bunch of questions to an idol group and only the most generic questions will make the cut, anything remotely deep or interesting will be thrown out and not even asked.  But also, if the idols themselves aren’t the creative aspect of their group (which is common) then they can’t really answer questions about creativity properly.  They can only really answer questions about things like their lifestyle and most agencies sure as hell will not let you go there.

I hope you’re doing well and so is your cute little catto. I have two very random questions and I was wondering what your thoughts are.

1. So according to Einstein’s theory of relativity “it’s perfectly possible for two events to happen simultaneously from the perspective of one observer, yet happen at different times from the perspective of the other. And both observers would be right.” (from this article)

One of the points I gather from this theory is that the perception of time is subjective and in some sense depends on change (at least the way humans understand it). I know what the “present” is because there is a “past”. From my understanding, this comes from change as not just the abstract concept of time but moreover, change in objects around us. So I was wondering, if everything in the universe was static (and for the sake of this, let’s assume there was no beginning or starting point along the lines of a big bang), would there be no such thing as time? I’m also assuming there is no living matter. Idk this thought has been in my brain and I’ve been thinking a lot. I’m an arts major so I’m not really like well equipped to understand this via math and physics.

2. I keep hearing comments and people talking about how popular people like actors, socialites, musicians etc make way more money than they should. In the context of a business (say a factory), I understand that: the owner makes way more since he owns the means of production unlike the factory workers and in case of fair labour laws, the workers should be compensated more (as opposed to conditions where they are exploited). In the case of famous people though (and I guess specifically in context of entertainment), I feel like this analogy gets a bit confusing. When people say this, they are often comparing the pay wage to a nurse, a carpenter and so forth. But I also kind of get it…? Like 20M dollars is a shit ton of money to get per year as royalties from the TV show Friends. My question I guess then is, where does this importance we place on famous people come from? Why are people paid indiscriminately big amounts of money for being famous (especially in the cases of socialites)? I guess it’s a kind of cultural value but why does it warrant SO much money?

Thanks!

  1. I’m a music major, think I know fuck about this shit?  I like Eunjung’s ass.  Maybe if I’m fapping to it while also looking at it, the movement of the photons means that I’m not actually fapping to her ass in reality as it is, but an ass as it was a certain amount of nanoseconds in the past, perhaps this is time travel.  Sorry that’s all I got, I barely scraped through high school science.
  2. Okay so I know more about this one.  Michael Jordan gets paid a lot, I assume, from Nike (or whoever), for being Michael Jordan and wearing Nike shoes.  Let’s say he gets paid $5m per year for that.  Why would they give him that much, isn’t that outrageous?  It isn’t if his brand power sells $500m of shoes per year, he’s only taking 1% off the top.  Likewise I remember IU being criticised for earning $120k just for doing a voiceover in an animated film or something, which seems crazy but if that film grosses $12m just because IU’s voice is on it and her star power is attached to it, then it’s not so crazy and once again her fee is only 1% of total sales – a bargain!

Hello Oppa. Whenever I read about other people’s personal struggles and your advices here in Qrimole, I usually turn to music so I don’t get too affected. Can you please recommend uplifting songs or healing music to help us cope with our shitty life? (They don’t have to be KPOP) I personally like to listen to AKMU’s Artificial Grass whenever I am feeling down. Thank you very much and may your writing continue to help more people deal with their struggles.

Here.

I recently found your blog and have spent the past few days just reading a lot of your posts. Admittedly, I shouldn’t have spent my time knowing Kpop staying only on Youtube and social media where idiots galore abound, but it astonishes me how much you actually know about the music industry and music theory. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t a major reason for vocal pedagogy to protect people’s bodies when singing? If so, why isn’t it important? I know that the biggest problem is that Kpop companies run their idols to the ground and push their throats farther than they could reasonably work. No amount of training could protect these idols, but prophylactic moves should be encouraged, no? To be clear, I’m not asking in the belief that vocal “talent” is of utmost importance to Kpop idols, as any study of pop music trends would show otherwise. Sorry for my incoherent ramblings. Thanks for the help. I now have a(nother) place to point to the next time I see a bloody MR removed video in my feed.

The reason why vocal pedagogy doesn’t matter is because most k-pop idols aren’t really singing that much.  Okay, sure, some absolute basics are needed so you don’t fuck your voice in 30 seconds flat, but beyond that a lot of it is just training so you can sound acceptable if you’re called out on a variety show or something.  You don’t need super stamina when you’re in a seven-member group and your part is 20 seconds long in total and you do it three times per day maximum.  Also when you are singing it’s either “live” over a pre-record of your own voice that you’re just doubling, so if you fuck it up you can let the recording do the work, or it’s in the studio where they’ll tweak it later and fix any fuckups.  The Spice Girls had two girls with strictly average voices and three who basically completely sucked and could barely even carry a tune, and they got by fine.  It’s the same in any idol group, with the only exceptions being the few that are vocally themed from conception.

Yo Kpopalypse

You’re basically everyone’s Relationshit Advisor™ around here, but I bet your ass you ain’t no match for the real OG Propecia

I don’t ask for these questions, caonimas just got problems so I try to help.  She’s great though, she’s got answer game.  Please refer any future relationship questions to her.  I’ll pick up the ones she doesn’t answer.

why do i hate bts’s blood sweat and tears so much? it’s one of my least favorite kpop songs of all time, everytime i hear it i want to rip out my cochleae, because the song is such bloody rubbish that needs to get yeeted into a dumpster fire, then shoved off a cliff, into a volcano with 100 virgins, then have a nuclear weapon get detonated into that volcano, with the song being flung into space for aliens to listen to and destroy. i have literally no clue why i hate this song so much musically, because anything else bts is tolerable at the worst and pretty good at it’s best. like i do not give a shit about bts or their company or any of their somewhat not sane fanbase, i just hate how everytime i say i hate blood sweat and tears people are like “but whyyyy it’s their greatest song” when i’m sitting here wanting this song to be burned in hell along with that bullshit “skit” from that one album that’s literally just their award show speech, with logan paul in it!! like why do i hate this song and its doot doots so much? what about it is musically sucky??? like i somehow hate it more than cl’s lifted. and i hated cl’s lifted 😡

Probably because of that “money money money” hook, which really does sound like absolute crap.  When it came out I didn’t hate it but it’s aged very poorly thanks to tropical shithouse fucking up the sound of k-pop these last few years.  Nobody needs to hear some k-pop douche going “money money money” in some terrible fake-something accent over some toot toot crap, just shut up kid.

Let’s say you’ve started getting into K-Pop, but you feel a bit lost; you’re struggling to remember who’s who, you never understand how all your friends have already seen new singles, and you’re unsure which blogs to follow (apart from Kpopalypse) What would you recommend, to find new music, and stay on top of K-Pop news?

In addition, would you mind writing more technical music posts? They’re terrific, and really unique in the world of K-Pop blogging.

Thank you for your efforts with the blog.

Fuck k-pop news, it’s all stupid.  Disregard all of it.  Your friends will tell you anything important.  You could go to a k-pop forum if you really gave a crap, there are a few to choose from and they’re all basically exactly the same (despite them all hyping themselves as different).

There are more technical music posts planned!  However they take time to do and because of everyone spreading their COVIDs I’ve been very busy and it’s getting in the way of some of those long-form posts.

Which would you find worse; a song where the verses are good and the chorus is bad? Or a song with bad lyrics and a good chorus?

Several songs on my favourites lists have great choruses and shitty verses, but you won’t find many that are vice versa.  You could have answered this question yourself by reading through these lists!

In the 3/8/2020 round up, you said about Purple’s Youth “textures alone don’t make a good song.” My question is, what is texture? I tried to listen to the song to catch the textures, but I don’t think I really understand. I’m blind about music, after all. Is it the layers of the musical instruments’ sounds?

“Texture” = “timbre”.  More here.

1. Not a question, but my thoughts on “Not Korean K-Pop” with a case you might not have heard before:
In my country there is a group called SB19. They were trained by a Korean company, their songs sound like K-Pop but I can actually understand them, they do the variety insider show thing, they shot a video in Seoul, they do mall tours, etc etc. I don’t have an opinion on their music, but I do see that they have a reaaally strong fanbase composed almost entirely of local Filipinos. They’re clearly K-Pop inspired, with the fandom name and sound stuff, but I think the difference lies in that they were never promoted as K-Pop, but as “P-Pop”. Contrast this with KAACHI, who _dared_ to call themselves K-Pop along with the international fans’ beloved oppars! How dare they! Of course, there’s the weird and wrong that K-Pop is somehow a good place for Asian representation and therefore white K-Pop = bad, but I think the gall to call themselves K-Pop when they’re not even in Korea is a reason for the hate. Maybe if they called themselves B-Pop or E-Pop, they would get less hate? Of course that doesn’t apply to Lana, who _does_ promote in Korea, so everything’s still pretty stupid imo.

2. My mom got into watching K-Dramas on Netflix, and she started watching a really old one about kids wanting to be idols called Dream High, with Suzy, Taecyeon, IU, Eunjung, JYP, etc. Even though she’s painted as the bitch betrayer “antagonist” I actually liked Eunjung’s character more and I get pissed when my mom cheers for Suzy’s annoying character HAHA. It shocked me that JYP apparently wrote some of it, because it addressed issues like sasaengs dieting and all that, but his company’s idols still have that issue. JYP’s just a massive hypocrite, isn’t he? What do you think about shows like this that show the “real” idol lifestyle?

3. Regarding Irene and Seulgi’s Monster, a lot of people were calling it queerbait, which I think it was, but there’s also tweets about how “damn you just see two girls sleeping on each other’s shoulders and u call it sexual??” “stop calling actual people’s actions queerbait!” and “the director of the MV is a girl!!”. What do you think were SM/the director’s real intentions

4. I finally understand your reasons for listing Vivi in your bias list. She really seems like she doesn’t give a fuck about whatever antics her group is up to, and that’s honestly a mood. That’s why it sort of weirds me out when people demand that she post something on SNS or make a video. Of course, I don’t know what’s happening behind BBC doors, but it seems weird that people will automatically take an idol’s non-enthusiasm for something as omg they’re limiting their freedom!!!! Why do you think fans place so much of a premium on an idol’s miscellaneous activities when their real, main job is to sing, dance, and smile for the cameras? Is the aegyo shit not enough personality for them?

  1. Not an answer, but you’re probably onto something here.
  2. Remember that Seungri played the “playboy” openly as “fiction” before he was discovered being a pimp.  Sometimes things hide in plain sight.  Fuck TV shows though.
  3. Not sure if it was “queerbait” as much as “bait for people who fap to lesbian porn” which is pretty much mostly straight dudes.  Mind you I’m sure queers did like it too, and that’s all good.  Either way the video was certainly a lot better than the song.
  4. It’s a side-effect of the marketing where the idol’s personality is being sold, so people want to see as much of it as they can, and if they don’t get it they feel shortchanged.

1. In this youtube video this guy talks about what it’s like to become relevant on the internet and how he tries to maintain himself. Do idols struggle from the same issues? Have you ever as well?

2. There’s a specific sample or code or something at the beginning of these SM songs: Naughty
Sassy Me
and Turn Back Time
Is this something the producer/composer (i don’t know the difference) put in? If so, why?

3. I listened to KARA and I’m actually quite angry now, because I realize how great kpop can be when well written. So thanks for ruining my listening experience even further. I understand even more now why you seem constantly fed up with like 90% of the weekly round up.
This is sort of a related question, but I realized that both Kara and Nine Muses had some of their music written/composed/whatever by Sweetune, and they have a very specific style. I don’t know how to describe it but it’s sort of a “shiny” or “glossy ” feel to their music? You mentioned at some point that the writers of Kara songs used a “vocal soup”, does that have anything to do with it? Like it feels very saccharine. It doesn’t sound bad at all but I’m curious as to why it sounds that way. The songs specifically I’m thinking of are Figaro by Nine Muses
and Step by Kara.

4. While I was going through my Kara binge I noticed that Kpop idols used to look a bit more normal before ~2012, ie not whitewashed to the same skin tone as paper and they had weird/fun outfits and hairstyles. Why on earth is everyone in kpop whitewashed now and bland looking? Is this a side effect of industry saturation? I thought Koreans were obsessed with pale skin since forever but a lot of older music show videos don’t wash out idols like they do now and the idols themselves were dressed more “normally”? I’m sort of confused on how an entire industry regressed creatively.

5. Do you ever think Korean music will catch up or stick right behind Western trends? You said before that in 1st gen Kpop was super dated, and now it’s like a few years behind.

  1. Some do, some don’t.  Most probably do to some extent.  I certainly don’t but then I’m an asshole who doesn’t care if I’m hated really.
  2. Well yeah they put it in there.  Could be audio watermarking.
  3. What you’re referring to here is basically harmony vocals, which is actually a very different thing to “vocal soup” in the sense that I mean it.  Harmony vocals is singing different notes with one vocal line by multi-tracking a performer, or getting multiple performs to hit different notes together.  The “vocal soup” is combining several different vocal parts into just one audible part by blending different aspects of each one, you’re not actually hitting different notes in this instance.
  4. Video productions have become brighter and sharper which is partly changes in image fashion and partly the fact that everything is at least 1080p now so there’s more scrutiny and thus more reason for producers of videos to want to “white-out” things like skin blemishes etc.
  5. Already there.  Occasionally even in front, but that’s rarer.

Kpopalypse oppa! I just finished playing Escape From The Idol Dungeon. Thank you for making it, I had so much fun! It was pretty awesome.

Thanks!

Is this person’s long music theory analysis of Saturday’s DBDBDIB making valid points about why the song should be considered cool or unique, or is it all just bloviating?

Unique, yes.  Cool… that’s more subjective.  This person isn’t wrong about the actual analysis part, but where I disagree is that I don’t think “more modal mixture” means “more quality”.  I would argue that the modal mixture doesn’t really work that well, and that they should have picked one tonality and stuck with it.  If they wanted to make it sound more interesting a few more chord changes in some of the bland mono-harmonic bits would have been enough, rather than fucking around with phrygian with raised 3rds and shit like that which muddies a lot of the potential catchiness because there’s too much other conflicting tonal information going on in other instrumental parts.

Hello kpopalypse sir dude. Lately, I’ve been having some problems, I guess, with my family. Basically, I’ve known that I’m trans since I was 12 (I’m 17 now) but I only came out this year because I was in heavy denial because I genuinely didn’t want to be trans, I just wanted to be a boy and for people to see me as a boy and I would do literally anything if it meant that I would turn into a cis-male. Once I actually came to terms with the fact that I am trans, I first came out to my closest friends and then eventually to my family. I wasn’t expecting them to disown me but I wasn’t sure on how supporting they would be. Anyways, I have never really trusted my parents very much and I just don’t really know how to talk to them. So for my coming out, I wrote a letter and left it on the kitchen table. I also baked a cake because I thought it would be a bit festive, I guess. My mom read it first and she seemed really supportive and happy and then my dad read it and had the same reaction. I was actually pretty happy. They used masculine pronouns when referring to me and called me by the name I want to change to and it just, it went pretty well.

But this only really lasted for a few days. My mom kept calling me my birthname after that and always referred to me as she or her. I thought she would correct herself because my dad always did when accidentally calling misgendering or deadnaming me. But she never did. As I said, I don’t know how to talk to my parents. When I told the nurse at my school about that, she just said that my parents love me and that they always want the best for me so I should just open up to them, but she hasn’t met them. And she doesn’t know that I have arachnophobia and get literal panic attacks at the mere sight of a spider in video games, and that despite my extreme fear of spiders, my mom has chased me around the house with a spider in her hand because she thought it was funny (note: I wasn’t laughing. In fact, I was screaming out of fear every time. I fucking hate spiders). And she also doesn’t know that when I told my parents I wanted to move because I don’t feel safe living where we live because of the rampant anti-lgbt views, they just brushed it off. And also, when I told them that waking up at 6 am whilst not being able to fall asleep before 2 am is the reason why I’m always sleeping in class, my dad just told me to grow up and that it’s my fault that I can’t sleep at night. Oh, and also, another spider related thing, every time that I’ve asked my parents if they can kill a spider for me or get it out of my room because I literally can’t be in the same room as a spider without panicking, they always mock me for it and tell me that spiders can’t hurt me anyways so why am I so scared? Well, mom and dad, I can’t fucking control. If I could choose not to be scared of spiders, I would, but I can’t. If you really cared so much about me getting over my spider phobia, then maybe you’d take me to a therapist instead of just telling me to get over it. I literally told my mom that I can’t just go pick up the spider and put it outside because I get panic attacks by being too close to spiders, and she just told me that panic attacks aren’t that big of a problem. Yeah, ok, thanks mom. You totally cured my phobia with that one.
There’s a bunch of other shit but I obviously can’t get into all of it because that would be a long ass list. Anyways, these are just examples of times that I’ve tried opening up to them with them just, not getting it. And when I try to explain, they understand even less. In fact, they often start mocking me or laughing at me which just feels really shitty.

So, back to the trans thing. I know that it’s difficult to get used to using different names and pronouns when you’ve referred to someone a certain way for a long time, but it doesn’t feel like they are trying. Especially not when every time that they talk about me with each other and I overhear it, they always use feminine pronouns and my birthname. And that my dad said that he’ll always call me by my birtname because he’s old. And also when my mom gave me a magazine about some guy who thought he was trans but then turned out to just have a bunch of undiagnosed mental disorders because she thought I needed information from different places. That thing just kind of pissed me off because I’ve denied being trans for so long and it wasn’t just something that I came up with in a day, but she’s treating it like it is and like I need to think over my feelings for five more years. Ever since coming out, I’ve had multiple crying sessions from how frustrating it is to be constantly misgendered by my parents without them correcting themselves. It feels like they’re not taking me seriously and like this is only a phase that if they ignore for long enough will disappear. And I know, I should also correct them whenever they say wrong, but I’m honestly too much of a pussy to do that. I’m working on it though. Anyways, another thing that is making me annoyed about all of this is that they are just treating me like they always did, which sounds good in some ways but it’s not in others. What I mean is that they are acting as if I never told them I’m trans, basically. They just ignored it other than name and pronoun stuff. And now they are also ignoring the name and pronoun stuff.

I know that I’m in a pretty good situation compared to so many other trans kids and I’m really grateful for that, but I just want to know how the fuck I’m supposed talk to them. Seriously, I really don’t want to. I want to die, honestly. It feels like if I do confront them about basically ignoring that I’m trans, they’re just going to say that I’m overreacting like they always do whenever I even in the slightest open up to them about anything. It’s so frustrating how the people that supposedly love and care about me could seemingly not give less fucks about my feelings. Like, every time that I’ve told them to quit doing something because it hurts me, they just said that I’m overreacting and that I should just grow up. Every. Single. Time. Well, maybe I am overreacting. Maybe my feelings just don’t fucking matter and everyone should just treat me however the fuck they like whether I like it or not.
Kpopalypse, please tell me how I can start trusting my parents and open up to them, because I’m really stupid and can’t figure it out.

Also, English is not my first language and it would be really cool if you could point out any like, grammatical errors or things I could have formulated differently and shit like that. Ok thanks bye.

Your English is fine, really.

How can you start trusting your parents and opening up to them… er, I think they’ve already demonstrated that you can’t!  I don’t just mean with the trans thing either.  Your parents are who they are and honestly, they’re not going to change drastically.  The good news is you’re 17, which means that you’ll be moving out of home soon, or I certainly fucking hope so.  Seriously, getting out of home and being self-sufficient is the #1 thing you should prioritise, do it any way you can.  There’s all sorts of ways to do it cheaply.  You’ll find that your relationship with your parents will improve drastically when you do this, because the real issue here is one of proximity.  You know that your parents love you and care about you (even if they fuck up all the pronoun stuff – which I guarantee you they will continue to do whether you call them out on it or not), what’s straining things is just being around them all the time at a stage in your life where you’re making big life decisions, finding out who you really are, etc.  It’s a lot easier to have differing views when you don’t have to share a roof, and also it’ll help you move some of that emotional energy away from your parents into other areas.  You’ll feel a lot less like you want to die when you’re not stuck in their world and your universe doesn’t hinge on parental approval.  Parents are simply not always going to support you 100% with everything, they wouldn’t be human if they did – but you’ll have the last laugh because no matter what happens, if you stick with being trans eventually they’ll have to accept it regardless of how they feel about it or what they say to you.  They can’t change you any more than you can change them – so I’d suggest let them be them, and do what you need to do to create the space you need so you can be you.

This video might be of interest to some of your readers in the random video bin:  “KPOP MVs and Songs with BDSM Themes/Elements”

They might as well have just done a video that says “all the good ones”.  Not enough Gain though.  Every single Gain song and video is BDSM on some level.

Why is it takes so long for mass media/culture to accept a new reality?

It even took several years for TV show producers/scriptwriters to calmly accept, that young people are using cellphones for chatting 24/7.
Now we’re facing another challenge. I mean, we are living in COVID-19 era for almost half a year, yet most of music, shows, television keeps exploiting “previous life” tropes with mass gatherings, international tourism etc. Funny part is, when show hosts doesn’t wear masks yet whole technical staff (like operators, writers etc) have to wear them no matter what. I’ve really chuckled when I saw latest OhMyGirl’s Binnie web-drama and there was a shot with all of people behind wearing facemasks and the only person who didn’t was the main heroine. Isn’t it silly, that she had to do the same as others?
One the other hand, SNSD Sooyoung introduced her own concept of “online talk show”.



I understand, that Sooyoung may or may not be the one who came up with idea. Both idea and implementation seems awkward and unfinished. However, it’s a step towards accepting new reality and really refreshing to watch.

What do you think, will we see something unique in near future, based on COVID/post-COVID era in k-pop media?

I guess everyone is still grappling with it in many ways.  I think that things won’t ever go completely back to the way they were, COVID has hastened a lot of societal changes that were probably going to happen sooner or later anyway, but have now had to happen a hell of a lot faster.  The reason why people find it hard to accept is because people naturally abhor too much change.  We’ve already seen events like the Twice concert and we’ll probably see more ambitious versions of these ideas in the future, but remember that everyone is still feeling their way through this thing and there are and will continue to be be many mis-steps, because nobody really has a roadmap for how to handle a pandemic for 8 billion people.

Dear Oppar, my boyfriend has no interest into coming into where I work. I work in a grocery store. His car recently broke down and he’s working over 40 hours a week. We live in the same city. My friends at work think he is treating me badly. Is he, or does he have good reason not to come in? I rarely see him since the pandemic started.

Girl, you’re at fucking work – focus on your job, go see your boyfriend after.  He’s probably leaving you alone on purpose so you can not get distracted and just do the groceries selling thing.  If you don’t see him, organise something – but not at work.  Yes he should be spending more time with you and you should definitely serve him an ultimatum if you’re not happy, but don’t shit where you eat.

Oppar thanks for everything, qrimole is really a cheaper therapy for me, although i don’t send questions i enjoys reading it especially other people’s stories.
although the key to good life is more complicated than that, do you think not overreacting to both the goods and the bads in our life is a good way to start finding happiness? all the happiness that i thought i had in my life was me overreacting to things and now i see how that affects my life, do you think living objectively that be possible?

I have no idea.  I just fap to Eunjung’s ass.

Ok, so this isn’t gonna be a popular thing to defend or probably one you’ll agree with either, but Edward Avila is right. I dislike the guy for other reasons, but he’s right on the money with the Kyla weight issue and here’s why.

Not only is ‘the camera adds 10 pounds’ well known, korea and other asian countries are heavily fat shaming. Is that right? Some people would say it’s hurtful but I honestly believe it’s better for people to not feel ok with being overweight and causing themselves long term health problems. The western world tells thin people to eat burgers, and the eastern world tells them to put them down.

With this context in mind, the idol system is one of the least respected ways to become a celebrity, the general public in korea barely listens to kpop (they’re more about trot, coffee shop music and ballads). The general view of idols is a pretty face/body who can dance, with the idea that singers will be singers in their own right in other genres.

Kyla fails to be any of these things, she’s not (by k-standards) seen as a visual, she doesn’t meet the aesthetic for bodyweight on camera, even if she does in person, and she’s not a main singer/dancer for her (ex)group. What the avila guy said is true, it was her job to be an idol, and she wasn’t doing it at that point in time. From the content we’ve seen from her following the issues, she still isn’t, although now she’s not employed to maintain it.

Just like actors having to gain or lose weight for roles, she went through the trainee process knowing that her success would be based on attractiveness of her body and face, and unlike being an actress, her talent wouldn’t really play into that success. Failing to maintain the bare minimum to keep your job is absolutely deserving of critique. When your job is to be pretty and thin, gaining weight to the point that you start to get negative comments on it, regardless of how correct they are, brings that negative attention to not only you but your whole group.

This observation would hold up if Kyla actually was overweight, but… she wasn’t.  In fact, while she was in Pristin and “fat” she was actually medically underweight.  When your job is to be pretty and thin beyond a thinness that is actually healthy, to the point where idols are routinely bullied into bulimia/anorexia (well documented in my interviews), and where gaining weight so you are actually somewhat starting to approach a medically healthy BMI gets you hate, then that’s not a problem with you, that’s a problem with fuckwits.  There might be some paper-thin, ultra-slim (pun not intended) justification for a medically underweight standard if she was, I don’t know, a gymnast or something, but being a k-pop idol doesn’t demand anything physical to that extent, and so her copping hate is just people being dicks.  Kyla wasn’t failing as an idol, she was getting love from the public as well and Pristin were a popular group for the short time they were active.  If Kyla’s weight was too much for Korean society, then Korean society can get fucked, because she was medically underweight, so that’s a problem with Korean society, not with Kyla.  If Kyla received negative attention, then those people can also get fucked, because she was medically underweight.  Korean society and also some k-pop fans need to harden the fuck up and stop being a bunch of fucking snowflake crybabies just because someone has a little bit of chub.  There’s 1000 stick skinny idols out there, and one with a little bit of fat around the face and that’s a fucking problem for some cunts?

It’s been now a whole month since Yuta’s “scandal”, and I forgot to ask you then but it’ll have to be now. In the roundup headline you said that you’d be terrified of your friends acting like a dumb shit just to get you in trouble, and it made me think about idols and their responsability to sanitize their friendship circle. So I’d like to hear more of your thoughts about people crucifying him for being friends/acquintances with a guy who’s an asshole (and if this dude being an “ironically retarded” type should affect said inquisition) and if idols really should be expected to preemptively dox anyone who might be a friend. Somewhat related, but we know that Mina suffered a lot under Jimin’s shitty behavior, and people (you) have talked about FNC’s role in allowing this to happen, but what about the other AOAs? Do we also hold them responsible for not helping Mina back then, and not standing up to Jimin? What about Big Bang’s G-Dragon, TOP, Daesung and Taeyang? There’s a video compilation with a bunch of cuts showing Seungri and how “he showed his evil side all along!!11!”, but one interesting thing is that during a variety show, I think it’s TOP or GD who mentions Seungri having two phones and being friends with shady ass people. In this show, all BB members seem to show their clear disapproval while Seungri laughs it off. So one can take this for evidence that they knew something was happening, right? Even if they couldn’t possibly know what was going down at Burning Sun, one has to wonder about omission and not wanting to know what the people who you work with are up to.

Sanitising your circle is basically impossible if you work in the music industry.  Yeah you can choose your close friends, but you really can’t choose “acquaintances” a lot of the time.  Idols certainly get no choice at all because they’re stuck in these groups under contract.  If someone in your group is doing something shady, and you know it but you can’t prove it, and the power structure is totally tilted in that person’s favour because he’s got very rich clients also involved, what are you gonna do?  Dob him into the police, so they investigate, find “nothing”, close the case, meanwhile you have no evidence so can’t prove shit plus you get sacked from your group and fuck the idol career you’ve spent the last decade working on plus everyone suddenly hates you for causing all the drama and being the troublemaker?  That’s why Burning Sun needed some guy with nothing much to lose getting randomly punched one time to blow it all wide open.  That’s just one example, there are plenty of others.

Hi, how are you doing? I just had a question about kpop groups in American award shows. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t care for any award shows (and I’m sure you don’t either), but I saw a lot of fans complaining on twitter so I looked into it a little. For the award shows that aren’t trying to be elitist and “critically acclaimed” (although critical acclamation is pretty varied in pop music) and instead focus more on popularity and commercial success, why don’t they nominate kpop groups in pop categories? Is it really xenophobia, just lack of general public interest, or that the streaming/sales/numbers/voting by groups like BTS and Blackpink may outnumber those of the average Western star (even though this isn’t always the case)?

For example, I looked into some of the pop categories in some of these award shows and saw a bunch of generic pop music that isn’t any different from your average generic BTS/Blackpink song. I totally get that kpop isn’t all that popular in America so obviously they shouldn’t to nominate Nature or Pink Fantasy or an unknown group. However (although I’m not American), I’m pretty certain groups like NCT and BTS are pretty popular and commercially successful in the West enough to be nominated somewhere? I’m not really bothered by any awards, but more interested in whether there is a specific reason to not nominating them. I’m also surprised at the lack of kpop in categories like “best music video”, “best tours” or even “album packaging” because surely that’s what kpop is basically made for.

I was also interested to see changes in categories, like introducing “best kpop” somewhere, increase in “social artist” awards, “best fandom” etc while some shows apparently even removing categories like “best international group”. Would this be a reaction to the virality/commercial success of kpop (every show needs 5 miliseconds of BTS to gain some traction/views from the fans) while kpop is still not significant enough to be given more well known/prestigious awards? Or is it coincidental?

Lastly (and somewhat related), what do you think of people who claim Western pop music is superior? I see this attitude very much ingrained in most journalists, music critics etc (again, not that I think it matters in my enjoyment of kpop). Obviously there are actual music genres that are completely different to kpop or value musicality over all the fan stuff kpop tries to do, but kpop ultimately isn’t a music genre in itself and it just a reinterpretation of Western pop. So why do people have such an elitist view in the Western pop vs kpop debate when they’re pretty much the same from an objective standpoint? And honestly, a lot of kpop releases are probably also of better quality than Western pop too. It’s interesting to see how many journalists/critics will draw attention to the inauthenticity and often formulaic nature of kpop as if kpop doesn’t make it clear that it’s not trying to do anything more personal than a cringey “we love our fans” song (and pop music in general really isn’t that deep or political). Essentially, why do people instantly view it as inferior/sub par to Western pop (when Western pop really isn’t any better, and nowadays isn’t even half as catchy as whatever twice is doing)? What makes a journalist go “wow” at an Ariana Grande or Shawn Mendes song but grimace at Twice’s ‘knock knock’ or SNSD’s ‘Oh!’ (not talking about personal preferences obviously, but about people whose job it is to review pop music).

Just some thoughts that I would be interested in hearing about 🙂 I hope this wasn’t too long, and that you’re safe and doing alright!

American award shows are Amerocentric, basically.  They’re kind of being forced to acknwloedge k-pop at this point on some level (thanks PSY for paving the way) but there’s huge pro-American bias, obviously.  The same works the other way around too – foreigners don’t perform too well at Korean music award shows.  Remember awards are never objective.  A lot of it is about the industry giving themselves pats on the back, and obviously the American industry will pat themselves the hardest.

People claiming western music is superior is just another part of the same thing.  It’s all just bias of some kind, which is perfectly natural and understandable, because people relate most to the music and culture they grew up with.  There’s really not much more to it than that, and it’s impossible to be completely objective about a lot of this stuff anyway because cultural factors really do influence how we hear music.

Hi oppar!

I’m a young adult female half-korean half-white (resided in and out of korea). I enjoy your blog because it matches with my edgy teen humor where I pretend to be a badass mature adult but fail spectacularly because I’m actually a pathetic wannabe (with an interest in music).

Moving on, I do have a relevant question that I’d prefer to ask a stranger on the internet than any real people I know. I am very pretty (yes, pretty people know they are pretty) and I have been scouted by agencies. When I was an elementary schooler, I was scouted to be in JYP – I turned down the offer because I wanted to focus on school and playing with my friends. Then in middle school I got an offer to be a model/trainee at Pledis when I went to vacation at Jeju island with my family (idk why there were pledis people down there). And now, my cousin who works as a fashion designer in Korea offered me to be a model for her company, who work with other entertainment agencies that are pretty shady but produce record breaking artists.

Now, I don’t enjoy the idea of having restricted freedom and not being able to walk the streets of Seoul without being stalked by creepy uncle fans, but the inner child in me absolutely loves the idea of fame and fortune and whatnot. I have a solid interest in music (namely sound production) and being an advocate for eye shadow or whatever shitty makeup brands try to promote. So I’m asking you, a probably boring adult man, if I should pursue the slightest interest I have in one-upping my peers and become a public figure. I won’t be needing copious amounts of plastic surgery or insane lessons, but it’s still a mildly untrivial question that I feel the need to ask strangers online about.

What are your thoughts on someone joining the idol/model industry even knowing all the horrible things happening off-camera (on on-camera, tbh). I’m not dumb (okay no, I am pretty dumb), I’d have to slave over fap-worthy dance performances and get a total of five hours of sleep a week while making sure I don’t accidentally make a gay joke live. But I’m a self-absorbed, egotistical, and righteously arrogant young adult with a beautiful face so I feel somewhat obliged to commit to a career like this.

Thanks for reading this far,
-a loyal caonima

I want you to go for it so you can get adjacent to the k-pop business in some way and then do an interview with me in a few years and tell me all about the crazy stuff other people won’t talk about, simply because you sound like you’d have the balls to actually fucking do that and the common sense to keep your head screwed on straight while doing it and not wind up in a ditch somewhere.  If you’re really that attractive you’re going to get stalked by creeps anyway probably like every day for the next fifteen years at least so I don’t think you’d have a whole lot to lose in this equation as long as you stay street-smart.  You’ve got family involved which is a great leg in, plus you won the genetic lottery, so go for it and be a model celebrity and closet undercover caonima, don’t forget to use the ridiculous amounts of money for something cool to transition into later instead of blowing it all on shit, because modelling doesn’t last forever.  Live like Han Seo Hee, but without the jail part, we’ll all be cheering you on, especially me.


That’s all for QRIMOLE!  This series will return in a month, in the meantime don’t forget to play computer games that meet required Wonho standards!

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!

10 thoughts on “QRIMOLE – September 2020

  1. For the person wondering about grad school vs. going into industry first, at the risk of disagreeing with your mother, I think the latter is a better idea. I did well in grad school, but that’s because I had enough experience in the field to know that I wanted to get THIS degree for THIS particular reason, so I was very motivated and could handle the workload. A lot of my classmates were younger and were just going because they were afraid to leave university, and they didn’t do that well and had a pretty miserable (and very expensive) time. Even just a couple of years in the work force helped–I don’t think any of the people who got honors in my program were under 25.

    • YES YES YES. Do not go to grad school right out of undergrad, please.* It’s a vocational degree with a very particular intent (yes, even a PhD). Much better to go when you’ve seen things outside of school, know what not school looks like, and know why you are there.

      *Exception: if you went to undergrad later in life and thus have some workforce experience that way.

  2. For the person who asked Kpopalypse about “Oh Boy”, I’d just like to go on record and say that it’s one of my personal favourite AOA songs. If you need any proof that Park Choa is one of K-pop’s greatest vocalists, then I suggest that you listen to this song’s chorus.

  3. Hey, I’m the person who submitted the comment about Sohyang being a cancer survivor. I was honestly just trying to spare you the drama of potentially being cancelled again. That’s why I said if you don’t have an issue with that, just ignore it. I wasn’t trying to imply that you didn’t understand the horrors of cancer, nor was I trying to criticize your use of dark humor (obviously if I was offended by your humor, I wouldn’t have sent the message), nor was I ignorant of your identity as an Australian or anything else. I was literally just letting you know that Sohyang is a cancer survivor and some people might take your comment out of context (as they have done several times before) and try to frame it as you purposefully mocking her condition. That was all.

  4. Hey, this is just a response and POV from a teenager in a first world country aspiring to go into STEM, @ the commenter about the pointlessness of pushing for gender equality in these fields (as well as the big oppar himself, I guess).

    You say that it’s common sense for men to be inclined towards engineering fields, but what is there to say that this “common sense” isn’t just a pre-existing bias from growing up in a status quo with those values? Where I come from, a heavy majority of students are children of, as aforementioned, men and women who picked STEM as a pathway towards financial freedom. There are literally zero predispositions regarding whichever gender is “geared” towards STEM fields, because we grow up seeing our mothers, fathers, teachers and classmates equally pursuing such careers, and are encouraged to do so.

    I would argue that growing up in an environment that equally encouraged all of us to pursue STEM through exposure, is largely what makes the girls here more willing to tackle a nationwide gender gap. In this video, linked in the The Atlantic article Kpopalypse sourced in his response (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OZ7zX6LalLI&feature=emb_title), it also shows how the way CS fields, etc, are depicted in mainstream media has historically had impact on the % of women working in these areas. My own best friend has talked to me about how despite preferring game dev over other areas of programming, she’s not planning on pursuing that field because she simply doesn’t want to have to deal with gaming communities’ routine misogyny (https://www.wired.com/story/retro-gaming-violent-tragedy-rudy-ferretti/).

    Also, this is something that is not entirely, but I feel is somewhat related. In college, grad school, etc, applications in the US, underrepresented minorities like Native and Black Americans are dealt a great advantage over overrepped minorities like Asians. You could say that it’s unfair to give the former an advantage simply because less apply to college. Why do we need to encourage low income, underrepped minorities to pursue higher education? Aren’t they just less inclined to study and go to college anyways? We should just give those positions at elite institutions to the clearly higher achieving on average, Asian and white students, because they’re more qualified.

    Now, unless you really are bigoted/uninformed, you can see how this makes absolutely zero sense– underrepresented minorities have historically had less access to resources, or push from their communities to pursue higher education. Meanwhile, a fairly large amount of the competitive minorities who apply have come from parents and places that pushed them to value education.

    What we’re “inclined” to do is a result of the background and places we come from. Trying to recitify historic imbalances in fields like STEM, or even higher education in general, just prevents gatekeeping and makes it easier for people to do things they might not’ve otherwise.

  5. Regarding news, I check out KPOPJunkee’s weekly video. It’s about 10 minutes and you find out the major stuff (or that there wasn’t any) and experience, uh, sEgUeS.

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