QRIMOLE – October 2020

It’s time for QRIMOLE!  Let’s take a look at questions for Kpopalypse!

How would you explain the disconnect between the K-pop industry forcing idols to be underweight versus the idols that actually end up being the most marketable? For example, Nancy is constantly told she is too fat yet she is the most popular member and her fancams are the most viewed. Likewise, Hwasa is constantly fat-shamed yet she is always voted as having the best body out of female idols. Seolhyun’s curvy shape was a big part of what made AOA famous to begin with, yet FNC still had her lose weight. Starship clearly wants all their idols to be as skinny as possible despite Cheng Xiao being the only member of Cosmic Girls to be famous for her body. This isn’t a new thing either, Ai Shinozaki would frequently beat Yoona And Suzy in Korean popularity polls when they were in their prime, which is especially impressive considering Ai is Japanese. I get that most of the hate comments come from jealous trolls, but I don’t understand why companies cave into it? Like they must see what gets attention and makes money? And I know that there are people who genuinely prefer the skinny body type, but there is at least an equal amount of people who prefer thick. Why don’t companies cater to that market? If you look at Korean Maxim magazines, those women look nothing like your standard K-pop idol.

I’ve heard some people suggest that it’s because most of the stage outfits that idols wear are rented from the same high-fashion warehouses, so all idols have to be able to fit the same sample sizes. I can understand that to an extent, but I can’t see this being enough of a reason to want every idol to have the exact same shape when diversity is actually what sells among both men and women. Any thoughts on this?

Korean culture is something I really find to be hard work, it seems to be so much based around appearances.  I don’t mean just physical appearance here (although there is that too) but rather appearances in the “keeping up appearances” sense.  Everyone wants to be seen as the best, the skinniest, the prettiest, the toughest, the smartest, the most moral, the most in control, etc etc, a real “keeping up with the Joneses” culture, there’s too much conformity and not enough “I am what I am, fuck what you think” for my liking.  That’s why companies are so scared of negative feedback and cave to it so easily.  It’s truly pathetic if you ask me, some rich company shouldn’t be caving to the inane comments of a few 13-year olds, I really wish more people in general would grow a spine around this stuff.  This is one of the reasons I dislike Shampoobuzz so much and other sites like that, they’re really fostering and promoting this culture of “oooh, let’s look at what the random strangers have to say, we must please everybody and all the random strangers or we are bad people doing wrong things” – fuck that.

The stage outfit theory, I think is getting warm, but not quite on the mark.  Outside of stuff like Blackpink most outfits aren’t “high fashion” but custom made costumes.  However what companies are trying to do is cross-sell their girls in groups as models for high fashion, and (usually) not “adult models” (where curves are preferred) but “fashion models” (where skinniness is preferred because people want to see the clothes – the girls are basically clotheshangers).  Overt sexualisation is therefore usually discouraged for girl groups for the same reason that it’s discouraged for high fashion models, because the girls are intended to be sold to other girls via proxy (a fashion company, or someone with a product etc) and people worry that a girl who looks “too slutty” won’t have name-brand value that other girls buying products will respect.  If a girl is a bit naturally curvy in k-pop that’s usually therefore seen as an accident that requires correction, Pocket Girls style groups notwithstanding.  By promoting curves in k-pop I think that I’m actually doing a lot more for the health of idols than I’m given credit for!

My love life has gone down the volcano lately, and I’ve been listening to Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart Again” an unhealthy amount of times. Not whatever album of theirs that contained that song but that just one song. Still, great music, so no loss really. Pls recommend me other songs of similar themes.

Also, I only recently got into Nick Cave’s Murder Ballads as a whole. Like everyone else I knew that one song featuring Kylie about bashing your girlfriend’s head with a rock, but never the entire album for some reason. I liked the stories each song tells, if nothing else.

p.s. do you like The Cranberries? If I can pick one song to be the soundtrack of my life it’d probably be “Linger”.

I think Joy Division only lasted one album, I could be wrong though.

I really like “Murder Ballads” even though Nick himself actually hates it.  Maybe that’s why.  The track with Kylie is one of the weaker ones and is really only there because Nick Cave has been infatuated with Kylie since forever and wanted an excuse to do a duet with her.  Best songs on that album easily “Stagger Lee” and “The Curse Of Millhaven“.  I was lucky enough to see Nick perform Stagger Lee live one of the very few times he did it, this was when it just came out and most people hadn’t heard the song yet and the gasps from some of the audience were hilarious.

The Cranberries to me are like Cocteau Twins with rusty-gate vocals, “Linger” in particular actually so if you like that song in particular Cocteau Twins are probably your speed to and probably less depressive than Joy Division to listen to at a time like this!

oppar, i tried to follow your latest music theory post for a song that i thought was mixed pretty shittily! (think like hard pan left strings and hard pan right rhythm guitar). i tried doing the symmetrical panning i saw in the examples but now the problem is that everything is so LOUD but still pretty muddled. How do you mix a song that has a lot more instruments so that everything doesn’t clash/break your ears with the loudness or be muddled? or am i doing this wrong and the initial hard panned instruments thing was completely normal for songs with 2 instruments in the same pitch range

It just depends on the track.  I would never pan strings and guitars hard left and right.  Two guitars maybe but then only maybe.  Also depends what you mean by strings, is it a string patch on a keyboard or an actual string section, and how big etc.  If it’s too loud turn things down.  I know that seems obvious, but just try chopping things out.  When mixing, a cut is always better than a boost.  I’d have to hear the different mixes and know what you’re trying to achieve to give better feedback than this.

My friend from Russia told me that you started to go to the gym to help your friend, which is cute.

I wanted to ask you a question: I have strong anxiety, thus I will never be able to go to a gym. I am training at home, but due to lack of tools, I don’t know how to improve my upper arms and forearms. With running as well as with knee bends, I started to gain muscles in my upper leg area, thus I want to ask you, if you could suggest creative methods to improve my arms or stomache area. I struggle to find something. I can’t do even one push-up/press-up, due to lack of strength. I managed to lose at least 8 kg in the last 5 months. I am 192 cm and I have 96 kg at the moment. I used to have 107 kg. I don’t know, if this information is important to training tools.

Honestly I think going to a gym is great for anyone with anxiety.  Having anxiety is a reason to go, not a reason not to go.  Gym as an adult is a totally different experience to horrid high school physical education class.  It’s pretty much just everyone exercising on machines and free weights and minding their own fucking business.  Put on some headphones and it’s an introvert’s dream.

I’m no expert on actual exercises, but standing bicep curls have worked for me pretty well, also if you can’t do a pull-up and you really don’t want to go to a gym, you can try a “reverse pull-up” where you start in the “up” position on a stool or similar and then drop yourself down, feeling the resistance of the body weight in your arms as you go.  That’ll give the same muscles a workout, as it’s not the part where you lift that builds muscle, it’s the part where you put the weight back down in a controlled manner.

Abs exercises are bullshit though.  I don’t bother with that crap.

Do you also feel some sort of melancholy while listenning to pporappippam or am I just too depressed?

That song was one of the only ones that didn’t depress me this year!  I think you’re just pre-disposed to depression perhaps.  You may wish to seek medical advice.

Hello Kpopalypse! I was recently going through your list of best 100 songs of 2010s and I noticed something. Most of the song which you have put in that list do not have that “replaybility” Factor to it. What I mean is, most of those songs are sound good but are not something you would like to listen to more than say 2 Or 3 times. I was wondering what are the factors that make a pop song catchy? What is that something which makes you want to replay a song again and again? Thanks for reading and please excuse and mistakes in my english. Have a great day oppar!!

Well, I would certainly consider all those songs have replayability and would listen to all those songs more than two or three times, in fact that’s exactly why I made the list, so I can do that!  I feel like answering the rest of your question wouldn’t really be useful, because replayability is a subjective determination, and people obviously replay more things that they actually like.  So any advice I give about what makes a song catchy, you’re not going to see it the same necessarily anyway.

Hello Mr. Kpopalypse oppar sir,
Your favorite forever depressed failing at everything she does verbose self-deprecating aspiring K-pop blogger here— if you remember me? I’ve written here a few times before with the last Qrimole being me having a mental breakdown at my mom’s office. That issue is mostly settled now as that was months ago and I got out unscatched. Though I still don’t have a therapist which leads me into venting about the American healthcare system and how shit that is because though I will find a therapist within my insurance network apparently I’m on a slightly different plan within said insurance so they’re technically not in network and if they’re not in network then they are more expensive and at this point I think I’ll just give up. Like forget it, I’m a lost cause anyway. Your words and the kind words of others only work for so long before I fall into a state of mind again that I’ll eventually escape from only to fall into a cycle again.

It honestly pushes me further into wanting to leave this damn country. The health care isn’t the only reason (though I’m scared to fall into debt just because I want to have my freaking annual physical), but other factors are into play as well. I think you can guess but I think I still have this mentality where I feel like if I move to a different country I won’t succeed as well as I would have in America. It’s probably the media brainwashing or seeing how my parents (immigrants) built and made a very good life here, but it’s like if I don’t stay in America, I’m screwed. But I’m just tired of the politics, the direction the country is taking (I mean look at the coronavirus response), the fact that I’ve never felt that attached to this country (except for maybe when I was a dumbass kid), and, this is bad, but I kinda get tired of the race talk here as well. I’m black but maybe cause my parents are from Africa and I’ve personally never experienced racism (except internalised I guess) or the like, I feel a slight disconnect from all the experiences I hear about on TV that happen to other black Americans. I know it sounds awful and a lot of black people would think me a traitor, but while I very much do care for the movement (of course), I do get drained from it all.

But I also don’t want to feel like I’m running away either. Of course I know every country has it’s problems but I feel so tired of this country and some of its people. Sometimes I feel dirty over being American.

I just feel like there are so many countries in this world that I must fit better in one – I just don’t see myself in this country 5, 10 years from now. But am I wrong? Is this just the ravings of a disillusioned person who just needs some sleep and a smack from reality?

I’m sorry for ranting but it’s 2am here and I’m not in the best mood but I decided I had to vent somewhere. I had another topic on my mind though that you may be able to better help with. So I mentioned before I have a blog on K-pop and in one of my Qrimole posts I mentioned how I may want to try K-pop journalism. See, this past summer I actually sent a few of my posts that to a K-pop site to look though in hopes that they’d might use one that I could edit and have published. But though they showed interest even after reading the articles, they never got back to me. I fear it may be because my style of writing and the type of posts I publish are…not the usual pandering tripe, I guess? I think they may have looked at the rest of my site and felt turned off ☹ (This is especially since I have a few BTS-specific pieces that aren’t the…most flattering…and one is practically a shit/crackpost)

I’d like to give an example but you may have stumbled across my small site before especially since I sort of mistakenly pinged back to your site a few times (and apologized about it through your Twitter dms), so that may be a clue. I get discouraged easily so I wonder if due to the nature of my site that it will turn out to be hard to write for any sort of K-pop publication if I use posts from there cause I have to write Billboard-style or Soompi-style or Allkpop or Koreaboo-style…but I don’t want to compromise how I write or gloss over K-pop issues. I have thought of putting my more serious posts on a different website like a different WordPress blog (tho idk if that makes a whole lotta sense) or a third-party site like Medium, but I’m not sure. I don’t know…should I just start my own publication, haha? But as a recent college grad who doesn’t have a proper job yet I need something…

Again, this is too long and I feel like this time for sure you may not answer my questions. That’s fair cause I have been on a K-pop hiatus for my mental health and neglected your blog in the process (though I half-assed my way through your latest survey—yay~!). I’m the usual transcriber for your AustralianSana podcast but I didn’t do the latest one cause I’m still sorta on a semi-break. Apologies for that but hopefully someone else did it? I have been in a horrible state of mind so most days I’m down and out.
Hope you’re better. I hope one day I will send you a Qrimole with good news instead (if I last that long).

Well, if I lived in America I’d want to leave too, but then it’s easy to say that when it’s not the culture you grew up in.  I don’t know too many Americans who have moved to Australia, which seems similar on the surface but has a totally different culture in many ways.  It’s hard to move to another place, I think, but I also know a lot of people who’ve done it and haven’t regretted it.  It’s something to think about.  I think turn the clock forward 50 years and America might really be a place worth escaping, but then what do I know about it, probably even less than I know about working out.

From looking at social networking people would think that racism is everywhere, but I think in most developed countries it’s a lot more under the radar than people think.  Of course this depends on your location, lifestyle, and a bunch of other factors.  The fact that you say that you’ve never really experienced it is something people may want to criticise you for, but it really should be something that is celebrated, it’s a sign of progress.  We’re living in a time where there actually are black people in western countries who have never had to deal with racism and that’s a great thing, it shows how far race relations have come.

If someone who is as much of a stereotype as Lil Wayne can say that he’s never experienced racism either, I think that says a lot.  That doesn’t mean there still aren’t problems, or that people shouldn’t address serious issues, or that there aren’t shitty attitudes that are just buried under the surface more now, but a lot more progress has been made on this front than I think a lot of people realise.  I think we should be able to appreciate the good while still being able to point out that there is bad.

My advice for anyone writing personal k-pop blogs:

  • Don’t write “rants”, they are boring.  Nobody cares about your opinion or how upset you are about a thing.  Make it funny, make it educational, make it artsy, make it whatever you need to make it – but don’t make it only opinionated.
  • Don’t write like other people.  Don’t try to be me, or IATFB, or Chris from Korean Indie, or The Bias List, or any of the other stuff out there you see.  You’re a unique person so think about what you can bring to writing that is unique and specifically yours.
  • Learn how to use words effectively.  This doesn’t mean break out the thesaurus, or take a course, it means absorb the lessons from other writing that you read.  Every time you read something, you are teaching yourself how to write – or in some cases, how not to write.  Think about why some phrases work better than others.  Think about the writing that you like, what makes it work?  When it doesn’t work, what makes it fail?  Writing is a constant learning process, even I am still always learning.

I can’t help you much with pitching writing to professional sites though, I don’t give a fuck about any of that shit.  Who knows why they ignored you but maybe you should take it as a compliment, that’s certainly what I would do.

Other the years I have seen a large number of idol groups from smaller companies debuting, releasing one (unsuccessful) song and then we never hear from them again. I think it would be smarter to plan for a minimum of 3-4 songs released over the course of a year and budget accordingly. Considering the amount of money and the years necessary to train group members, buying and promoting a few more songs doesn’t seem that much of an expense in comparison? IMO if you plan a debut with only one song, it will be almost impossible to develop a fanbase unless the song is exceptionally catchy which seems like a crazy gamble. What do you think is the reasoning behind this?

These companies might indeed want to go for three or four songs but the money might not be there especially if the first song goes nowhere.  95% of groups that are formed never even get to debut, let alone release multiple songs.  There’s an outrageous amount of hurdles that need to be navigated to float a k-pop idol group, without a secure financial base from which to work from it’s extremely difficult to operate at all.  The groups that only have one song and then faded away, rest assured nobody planned it that way.  “Budget accordingly” doesn’t really work either, because the way to have an impactful debut is to make it look and sound as good as possible, which invariably means spending more money.  So companies go all-in on something (hopefully) mindblowing if they can do so, rather than releasing something less impressive and having money left over.  “Less impressive” generally doesn’t cut it in the hyper-competitive k-pop world.

Question about themes of k-pop songs. I could kinda understand that girls sing these songs, after all, not every k-pop girl groups get chance to perform more than 20-30 songs for their whole (successful) career. There’re young, youthful etc, etc.
However, songwriters: what kind of person are they? What is being like them? Writing all this sugary stuff for YEARS, several generations of groups?
Are they close to being crazy?

Well it’s writing “in character” to an extent.  You’re writing something while keeping in mind who is going to be singing it and in what context, which is just a job that involves a degree of emotional distance and relativity.  It’s no different to someone writing horror novels, if you’re a horror writer it doesn’t mean you want to stab everyone or whatever, but you want to write something that has the effect on the reader that you’re aiming for.  The stereotype of writing is that it’s always “from the heart” and in some sense it is because a little bit of yourself goes into all of it somehow, but really writing can also be a lot more method-based and analytical.

So this happened when I was 5-6.I was in first grade and went to school in a school bus.There were 2 boys,both a lil older than me,in second or third grade.I’m not sure of their ages but they were probably 7-9.At first they used to used ask me for money and all that. Later they started being inappropriate,sneaking a hand under me and grabbing my ass while I was sitting whispering cheap lines straight from a b grade Bollywood flick and the likes. This went on for a week or two,I was the kinda good,dumb kid who felt bad about about complaining because then the bully might get punished or scolded.Fuck I didn’t even understand what was happening just that I felt really uncomfortable.
The day I told my Mum was when the main bastard (the other one was his slimey sidekick) stood behind me in the bus and when it stopped, he used the opportunity to kiss my cheek which used to be a pretty big deal in a small Indian city. Walking back home from the stop with my Mum, she asked why my cheeks were red and I fessed up every thing. She told me to tell my Grandfather everything apart from the sexual harassment parts and he complained to the conducter of the bus, from that day those two stayed away from me. A lame end, I know.
Except that it wasn’t an end for me. Even as an unknowing kid I felt really creeped out but as I grew and understood that ass grab and those words and everything as sexual harassment I was pretty shocked,livid,frustrated and all that shit.
So when I was 17 I told my Mum and best friend about this and the other incidents of sexual harassment I’ve faced. My friend was very sympathetic but my mother kinda dismissed their behavior as a result of bad parenting.
I don’t really have another straight male who I believe will be able to discuss this with me honestly so I’m asking you Oppar, what do you think they were doing? I as the victim feel that it was fucking sexual harassment but maybe it’s my anger or my lack of understanding of creeps so I can’t think further than that. I’m not calling you an abuser or some shit but I feel that you might understand this more that I do.
Because honestly the bad parents thing isn’t really an excuse enough for me but I don’t have the guts to find their sns and ask them directly. I’m fat and tan, both things considered unattractive here so they’d easily deny it and I’d be called a liar for attention and crap. This is why it took me so long to talk about my experiences.lol I still don’t have the guts to tell someone who might now those two. I’m a fucking coward, I know.

I went through the absolute wringer with bullying in school and experienced a lot of incredibly bad stuff, over more than a decade I went through almost every type of bullying you can imagine.  I’ve always found that trying to get to the bottom of “why it happened” isn’t helpful.  What happened has already happened, you won’t feel any better from knowing why it happened to you, as ultimately there’s no justification for it anyway, so the question isn’t relevant to anything because no answer to it is going to help you resolve it really.  You’re not going to get an answer and then suddenly feel any relief or anything, nothing will be satisfactory.  Chasing a “reason” is like saying “well, there’s certain contexts where being victimised could be acceptable”, but you don’t have to accept any of it, right?

Rather than focusing outward on the people and why they did this, I suggest that you focus that energy inward, on yourself.  Focus on self-improvement, mental strength, knowledge, self-defence, resilience, and resistance to peer pressure.  Don’t give other people who are not worthy your mental time and space, save yourself for the people you actually care about.  I’ve forgotten the names of most of my bullies and I certainly never knew any of their motivations, but I was able to use the negativity from all of that in a positive way and build myself into someone who can either avoid or fight back against these situations and cannot be fucked with.  This might help.

pleasee oppar this has to be in your next fanfic! not sure how but i’m soo ready for another “army taking over the world” type of shit XD

Certainly I won’t write about this specific thing, but I’m sure ARMYs will work their way into my creative writing again soon.  I mean, Halloween is coming up this month…

If a large majority of KPOP wasn’t inspired by western genres (such as R&B) what do you think it would sound like? Also, would you agree with the opinion that KPOP was able to explode worldwide due to it being derived from western genres?

No idea, I guess it would be inspired by and thus sound like something else.  This is a bit like asking “what if Hitler got accepted into art school”.  Maybe the swastika would look different or something, it might have some go-faster stripes on it, or maybe a funky ribbon. 

I think k-pop has exploded worldwide mainly due to production smarts improving plus the Korean government creating an environment where Korean pop could be exported effectively, something that other countries haven’t really bothered with.

This is not a question, rather a suggestion for bonus random video of the week.

Well I put it in here anyway because I don’t intend to use it for that.  It sounds bad, the trot harmony doesn’t match the vocals so it’s all completely out of key.  A pity, there’s potential for someone to do this idea well, but this isn’t it.

Hi Kpopalypse.
I’ve read that you’ve had plenty of girlfriends throughout the years. How did you get over the fear of rejection/nervousness when asking out a girl you liked? I think as I became an adult I started giving less of a fuck at an exponential rate. I really started to wear/act how I wanted. But one thing that didn’t change is how I feel about girls I’m interested in.

A lot of it was because in middle/high school I was I guess “ugly” and people bullied me for it. A particularly scarring experience was when I told my friend I liked a popular girl.. and after a few hours the entire school knew, and was laughing at me.. for like – the rest of the year. People also did that thing where they would lie and say a certain person liked me, only for me to ask and have the person get freaked out/confused. People also would fake ask me out and the like. I could go on, but I’m pretty sure you get what I’m on about.

I know kids are dickheads but when I try to talk to girls now, I still feel like the same kid I was back then. I’m somewhat subjectively less ugly given I don’t have acne/braces. I feel especially as a guy I have no idea how actually attractive I am because it feels like girls speak in some kind of fucking alien code when it comes to showing if they’re attracted to someone irl.

Any other advice for me?

(Bonus if you’re comfortable answering: When did you know you wanted to date your current girlfriend? Did you feel back then that she was definitely “the one”? Or did it take a while to realize that?)

Girls aren’t alien creatures, just talk to them the way you talk to anybody.  This seems paradoxical but in my experience the best way to attract women is to not care about attracting women.  You are at your peak attractiveness if you are being yourself and not worrying about what others think, or impressing anyone etc.  I mean sure, give a fuck when the time comes and things get serious, but just be cool when getting to know people.  No big pressure, no “I really like you” speeches, more hanging out and having fun and seeing if things lead anywhere. 

Never tell someone else that you like someone – ever.  Guess you learned that lesson already, but – you run the risk of sabotage.  Keep that shit under wraps.  Either tell her, or don’t tell anyone, but don’t ever tell a third party, at best they will by sympathetic but can’t help and at worst they will use the information against you.  This is more for the benefit of others reading.

How did I know I wanted to date my current girlfriend?  When I first saw her.  I can’t really talk about how I met my girlfriend (she didn’t sign up to be an Internet celebrity, so I respect her privacy) but there was no “friendship” period.  Wasn’t really a situation of “she’s the one”, that sort of grew over time.  I don’t think you can be sure about long-term when first meeting a person – if you’re lucky you have a gut feeling and it turns out to be right, but just as often “the one” ends up not being that.

Hey Oppar,I hope that you’re having a good day/night!
I kinda feel weird because I don’t care about cultural appropriation and most of the other stans are obsessed (whilst ignoring or making up excuses for similar stuff from their own faves). For example I saw someone saying that abusive comments on blackpink’s Instagram are okay because they appropriated Indian culture (hindu religion to be more specific).As an Indian I didn’t get angry about it, just thought that they should just remove that tiny insignificant part to (which they did) but I seeing someone else get angry on my behalf was weird as fuck. Like I get why people (especially diaspora) don’t like it but is it serious enough to warrant bullying idols? Blackpink probably are just included in discussions around their clothes and make up and stuff. I don’t want to claim ownership of my own culture but others wanna do it for me? Although there were a shitload of desi armys involved in the dragging too because bp didnt work hard enough for their standards,cause they are ‘woke’ like that. I saw a tweet claiming that army are the ‘wokest’ people in India because they ‘talk’ about ‘racism’ (only about oppas) and mental health (while cyber bullying) and stuff. (Irony was that girl shitting on some girl group the other day).
Not saying that every fuck up of an idol is excusable, there are rapists and pimps there but I for one didn’t have very high expectations of a bunch of teens/people in 20s who either dropped out or somehow passed despite showing up 4 days per year to be well nuanced with political correctness, cultural sensitivity and all apart from the basics every one knows (or knows enough not to say in front of the people concerned usually).Sure school isn’t necessary to learn that stuff but you get what I mean, right? Like I’m not excusing racism or dumbass ignorant stuff but the ignorance is not very surprising? What were they expecting from kpop lol?
That brings me to the question that since nowadays every company dreams of a group a lá BTS who are very popular internationally and also considered to be all woke and stuff why aren’t other companies following suit with more woke groups? Why not have some,idk cultural/gender sensitivity classes so that they don’t fuck up on sns or interviews? Do they not care or are just a bit slow to catch up and we’ll have a bunch of wannabe bts groups in a few years?
Sorry for the rant Oppar,but most of my friends aren’t into kpop or if they are they weren’t dumbass enough to get involved with the fans.

I felt bad for that Hindu elephant god.  How do you know how your god feels about it?  What if it really wanted to be in a Blackpink video.  It’s not easy to buy promo that good, let alone get it for free, maybe this was in fact Ganesha’s divine plan and you all just ruined it.  I think there’s a lot of Hindu k-pop fans who are going to get a big shock when they die and end up in hell eating elephant shit because they robbed Ganesha of a cameo with Lisa and 600 million views. 

I think with the bigger groups we probably will see whiny westerners and their whiny western values creeping in more, but people in k-pop will still fuck up again and again because the cultural distance is just too great and nobody really gives a fuck that much.  Even the fans themselves who are complaining are mainly just antis posing as fans and looking for something, anything, to leap on – they don’t actually give a fuck about cultural sensitivity, they just want to weaponise whatever they can find so they can shit on the competition, hoping that then it goes viral with the people who do care.  That hindu god was in the Blackpink video for less than a second, it whizzes by so fast you can’t even see it unless you’re looking really hard.  Some fucked up fandom who hate Blackpink (ARMYs probably) were no doubt freeze framing every single second of that video, scanning it desperately, looking for something “problematic”, and I bet they were happy when they found it.

This song has been pissing me off because it has a perfectly decent and in my opinion really quite good prechorus, but the rest of the thing is utter horseshit. What goes on inside the mind of a composer/producer to put together something so qualitatively inconsistent like this?

Actually I hated all of it.

No producer is trying to make garbage music.  It just happens sometimes.  It’s subjective anyway obviously.  It’s actually really hard to write a good pop song that appeals to many people, if someone tells you it’s easy ask them why they don’t have a hit on the charts.

Just wanted to know if you have seen this rare moment of seriousness on reddit.
It made me regain my faith in humanity a little after so many months of pure stupidity being shoved on my face.

Oh it got removed.  Just like most of my posts whenever someone puts them on any corner of Reddit.  I’m glad I have my own subreddit now so that bullshit doesn’t happen anymore.

Hi kpopalypse, I always wondered how do you keep track of every song for roundup? Is there a list or somewhere where you can find what week every song is released? Or do you just have a lot of knowledge when when group is releasing what. There’s a whole lot of songs every week in kpop, some from total nobodies that you always seem to include as well, so I was wondering how you even can find all of those.

I have very nice people who submit stuff.  The main one submits a list just before every livestream with a ton of stuff in it, and I actually cherry pick from it for the roundup, I don’t include everything.  There’s also a bunch of other people who submit stuff.  I get a lot of submissions, and the entire reason why I started roundup was because people kept asking me for opinions on songs and submitting them to me all the time.  Before this happened I used to keep track by subscribing to YouTube channels.

What with Dreamcatcher, Gugudan and WJSN sending their Chinese members home, never to return, is it a bad time to be Chinese in a Korean girl group (unless you are Yuqi)?

No idea about the politics of this.  Vivi is still in Loona so I’m good.

Lee Chanhyuk (the dude side of AKMU) allegedly bought a building for the equivalent of $4 million US. Even given that he’s the sole producer/songwriter on AKMU tracks, I’m having a hard time getting to the “buying a building” level of money. How is this possible?

With bank loans.  He’s now got a big old mortgage and is going to use AKMU money (plus whatever tenants are in that building paying rent) to pay off the loan.

You’ve probably heard about Kanye West going on a rant on Twitter about his contract among other things
And his rant over on his twitter )

My question is, how common is this? I’ve heard about exploitative contracts in both Korean & Western music, but it’s baffling to me that most artists are fucked over even after they’ve gained some negotiation power via fame – the first signing, sure, they’re nobodies and in no position to demand anything. But the 2nd time around, when they’re making back money for their labels through touring & endorsements?

Kanye West is….um, different, but someone as seemingly smart and business-oriented with well-off parents (i.e, able to afford good lawyers even as a teenager) as Taylor Swift getting a raw deal by her old label is weird. Is it just a matter of artists not caring what they sign during renegotiations as long as the money keeps coming in?

Believe it or not I don’t follow the activities of rap’s Donald Trump that closely, so I actually don’t know what he said.  However if he’s complaining about music industry contracts there’s a reasonable chance that he might actually be talking some form of sense for once.  Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

Artists get hoodwinked into all sorts of shit and a lot of them don’t look at contracts too closely, or as closely as they should.  It’s like any glamour industry, a lot of people get blindsided by the glamour aspect and leave their critical faculties at the door, only to find out later that they got fucked over.  Sometimes “later” can be decades away.

1. I remember reading in one of your posts “Some of that ‘Japanese drama scene’ men are pretty fit”.
I can’t read Japanese and it has been really difficult to find it myself, so would you please share the name of at least one drama with them to me? This way I can try the keywords one after the other, till I find what I want.

2. English isn’t my native language either, is this text in poor grammar?
My navigator is red underlining almost every word I typed. Using Firefox, btw.

P.S.: I Tried to ask this on your Curious Cat but I was cock blocked with the “You can’t send links” shit, which I didn’t anyway.

  1. Sorry but I don’t understand this question.
  2. Yes.  Hence my answer to 1.  Feel free to try again, via here or CC.

Hi Kpopalypse,

While I admit it’s very far-fetched (to the point it’s just a hypothesis, not even a conjecture), right now I think being forced/pressured to perform this sort of lesbian fanservices might be one of the reason Mina from Twice ends up suffering from mental health issues. I’m saying this as a Mina fanboy and a ASD patient.

For the person who asked you a physics question, I suspect he/she read your FAQ, and mistakenly thought you _really_ have a Bachelor of Engineering in audio/computer/electrical engineering (in addition to your Bachelor of Music), and is a practicing engineer……

I also want to say something about women and minorities in STEM. As a CS undergrad myself, I believe quotas for women and minorities are stupid (it’s patronizing and devalues their achievement), but I still think gender equality in STEM is a cause worth fighting for – there should be more outreaching programs, but never quotas. A pro tip to women and minorities in STEM: if you’re ever unlucky enough to meet those sexist/racist pigs, just tell them to talk to your hand.

There’s one thing I have to ask for your professional opinion: is it normal for a person to think a song to be quite good, after repeated exposure? Using ITZY’s “Not Shy” as an example, at first I found it to be mediocre, but after listening it a couple more times, I suddenly thought maybe my initial assessment was too harsh*. Is it because I gained immunity to its dreadfulness after I kept listening it over and over?

Actually, I am the guy who asked about the “cease and desist” question. Despite anyone capable of rational thought can tell this blog is extremely satirical and you’re basically the Christopher Hitchens of K-pop, I can still imagine some K-pop agencies would really want to sue you for libel, even if they end up losing the case – since most people in this situation would rather shut down the blog and settle the case outside the court than, you know, spending a hell lot of money to hire lawyers……

* I also found Yuna and Chaeryeong to be more attractive literally overnight, for unknown reasons.

Lesbian fanservice – that side of k-pop will probably never be discussed openly until some disgruntled employee packs their bags, moves out of Korea and writes a tell-all book (or does an interview with me)..

I actually do have an audio engineering degree along with my music degree.

I’m all for equal access, but you can only lead a horse to water…

Yes people tend to warm to songs because people like familiarity in music, it’s one of the reasons we bias toward music that we grew up with.

A libel suit would be dead before it even started.  There are legal lines and I know what lines not to cross from that aspect.  You should see some of the stuff that I choose not to publish… agencies should all be grateful that I respect the line in the sand and they should behave themselves appropriately.

Thoughts on this:

It’s good on the level of showing people what goes into the creation of a k-pop track.  However if it’s trying to make some kind of point about “making pop music is easy, just add more stuff” then it definitely fails, if anything it just underlines how difficult it really is because this track has no topline and sounds dry with lots of default sounds.

Your cat’s thoughts

Sorry she’s too busy listening to Yeseo.

Okay so I found this Old F(x) phone CF, for the Chinese market

There’s a Korean version of the song on one of their CDs, featuring SHINee instead of this who-cares other boy band, But I’d never realized it was a CF song! In light of this:

1 How does it stack against the other Lollipop CF songs (Big Bang and 2ne1’s Lollipop, Big Bang’s Lollipop 2)? Do they share any particular motifs?

2 What is your favorite Kpop CF song?

3 Does Sulli’s ridiculous hairstyle make you want to buy a Lollipop phone?

  1. They all suck.
  2. No.

Hi, does dog-whistle apply to live stages as well? In this performance of Fromis Underscore 9’s Feel Good, Jisun (coincidentally member with biggest heart), is wearing a handkerchief on her right side that based on the hanky code, means “dildo fuckee”. I think. The colour capture may have been messed up.

Oh look another attempt to make me give a fuck about the girls in “the underscore group”.  You’re asking a colour-blind person about the “hanky code”, that’s a really bad idea for obvious reasons.

What are your hot takes on k-pop?

I heard that if you visit kpopalypse.com there’s a few around if you search.

Hey, it’s that person that sent you that very long video about the 158 genres of K-Pop! Since you didn’t have time checking the whole video, I decided to do it myself and list down songs that made it onto your different year-end lists along with the genre listed:

Top 30:
Candy (Anime)
Gottasadae (Art Rap/Avant Garde)
Dreamer (Britpop)
Suitable (Chillwave/Synthwave)
I’m Not Afraid (Dream Pop)
Love Tonight (Electro Trot)
Number 9 (Electropop)
Imagine, Close Your Eyes (Experimental Rock)
Callin’ (Gabber)
Sidekick (Hardstyle)
Camellia Flower (Indie Folk)
Trippin (Industrial)
Whale (Lo-Fi Rock)
Little Cat (Pop Rock)
Badster and even Side Effects (Psytrance)
Don’t Be Shy (Reggae)
Lip 2 Lip (Ska)
New (Soultronica)
Siren (Synthpop)
Hate You (Witch House)

Banana Allergy Monkey (8-bit/Chiptune)
Be Mine (80s Alternative Synth)
WDFHOotN (Industrial Hip-Hop)
Nilili Mambo (Orchestral Pirate Music)
Final Kiss (Power Pop)
E (Techno)

Other songs you liked:
The Blue Bird (Classical Crossover)
Black Heart (Electrical Swing)
Mamma Mia (Surf Rock)
Is Who (Swing)
Picky Picky (Teen Pop)

Worst 30:
Hocus Pocus (Chillhop)
Stay (Country Pop)
Domino Game (Lambada)

Now, the question is, is there any inaccuracies to the genres matched to these songs? If there is, should they be labelled under a different genre?

You can probably figure this out without my help.  Basically if you go to a music store and don’t see anything filed against that particular category, it’s not a genre.  For instance fucking no-one is filing shit under “classical crossover” or “orchestral pirate music”.  People just invent any old bullshit these days and call it a “genre” as a marketing tactic/fan-friendly gimmick.  Just look at all the turds on Twitter who think BTS is “BTS-pop”, yeah nah.

i’m thinking of quitting kpop, any advice??

Do it.  Just come back each year to here and I’ll give you 30 good songs to save you the trouble of following it all closely and caring about bullshit.

Jessica faced a lot of backlash (I don’t know if that’s the correct word to use) from SM for creating her own businesses and they basically kicked her out. I’m assuming this is obviously because SM didn’t make any profit from any of her businesses. What about in the case of popstars like Lady Gaga and Selena who have their own makeup lines? This obviously means their agency won’t make money off it nor can they advertise for competitors so how come they’re doing their own thing? How do these things work with music agencies?

It depends what’s in the contract.  If the contract says you can’t do a thing, and then you go and do the thing, then you void the contract.  Girls’ Generations’ contract is probably a lot more restrictive (like a “360 deal”, look it up) than Lady Gaga’s.

i was browsing twitter and noticed this. This journalist initially interviewed bts but didn’t include a single quote from V and when harassed by the fans as to why, she said he just didn’t talk at all and armys harassed her MORE saying its her jobs as an interviewer to engage the celebrities. Is this true…? I remember like many american bands certain members ex meg white, danielle haim usually just didn’t speak because they were shy or tired about it. Is this just another form of bts fans being absolutely deranged? Or did she genuinely do something wrong because she had to GO BACK and interview him to write an article (or maybe she just made it up who knows). Either way though, I don’t understand how some people are stilling willing to interview them with how vile their fans can be even when there’s no negativity towards them

She did nothing wrong.  Her only big mistake was doing what the fans wanted and inserting a V statement after the fact, that just proves to the trashy human garbage fans that bullying and harassment is what it takes to get their way.  It’s animal-level mentality.  If your cat scratches your furniture and you feed her to distract her from doing the scratching, this just teaches your cat that “scratching furniture = food will be given” and she will then always scratch your furniture whenever she is hungry.  Journalists should know this but they often don’t because they’re not real pros, anyone can get a gig writing for big sites if they know how to string words together and are willing to suck the corporate teat, so when the pressure is on a lot of them crumble, it’s a shame but there you have it.

In most bands there’s usually a spokesperson or two who takes the lead in all the interviews, and other members that don’t get interviewed hardly at all.  It usually comes down to who wants to do it more and has more to say, and actually gives a better interview.  Some people really open up when interviewed, others give one-word responses.  You want more of the former and less of the latter.  In bands where I’m creatively in charge I’ll do interviews, but if it’s a band where all I do is rock up and play my guitar, then I’ll let other people do them as the interviews will turn out better.

How is it possible, that Eunji in random YouTube video performs better that on albums, live concerts etc?

First time I genuinely wanted to go on live concert of k-pop star. Why is it so rare to see in actual k-pop shows? I mean, dancing could be cool, however it’s nothing compared to actual signer performance.

It’s a different type of song to what she normally does musically, so it requires a different type of delivery.  Also there’s a limit to how much you can strenuously vocalise while dancing, that’s why on dance tracks singers ease back on the vocals and let the backing track do most of the work.  Song is fucking shit though, I mean really what generic garbage, I’d rather hear the new Apink stuff.  Mind you Ms Pac-man looks really good here rocking that grey suit, so every cloud has a silver lining.

hello! i’ve been in a couple relationships so far- just for context, i am a 20 year-old lesbian. i don’t know if it’s just anxiety or what, but no matter how much i love the person, i find myself afraid of a future spent together most of the time. it probably sounds selfish, but i feel a very real and physical fear that creeps in every so often and tells me i need to be alone. i have not experienced any trauma that could explain this- at most i think it’s the result of living in a large, often casually intrusive family. even then, though, i feel like a freak for having to isolate myself. it feels like people interact with others so easily. have you ever felt that way? any advice beyond “force yourself to interact with others”?

to wrap things up, i now know every single activity of dreamcatcher bc of asian junkie and it’s getting out of hand

You’re 20 years old, you shouldn’t be going around thinking “oh no what if I’m stuck with this person for life”, because that’s probably not going to happen anyway at that age.  Of course then again it might, but statistically the odds of your next relationship being “the one” are low.  I always thought part of the fun of being non-straight was not having to worry so much about commitment bullshit anyway because there’s no pressure to start a family etc… but then I’ve been with my girlfriend for 10 years now and we’re sworn to despise having children until the grave so I dunno.

Interacting with others is something that you might have to “fake it until you make it” with.  It gets easier as you get older and give less fuck in general about trivial things.  That’s one of the best things about aging, not caring about things that don’t matter becomes so much easier with a bit of lived experience under your belt.

I read a lot of Asian Junkie’s posts but I tend to skip the Dreamcatcher fan-fawning-over-some-thing ones because I don’t really care about what Jiu had for breakfast or whatever.  I just want them to do more metal and less pussy weak shit, no more or less.

Do you know of any music that pretty much only people who know music theory can appreciate?

Yeah but it’s all garbage.  I’m pretty sure only a music theory weirdo can appreciate the trash that is “twelve tone music” for instance.  All that shit sounds like fucking ass.

Is this as much BS as my instincts say?


Firstly, causation doesn’t equal correlation.  Korean food and fashion is increasing in popularity anyway.  Secondly, projections decrease with accuracy over time.  So while there is some logic to the article, there’s no guarantee that the predictions will pan out and the further out they project the fuzzier the results will be.  In 2019 I’m sure that financial planners predicted that 2020 would be a great year for the cruise ship industry.

Hello, oppar. I’m a loyal caonima who’s been reading your blog for years now. Your writing got me through some very rough patches in life and I wanted to thank you for your continuing service in educating and entertaining dumb caonimas like me.

Now, on to my question. I have a huge problem. For the past 5 to 6 months I’ve been talking to a guy online. We hit it off instantly and it’s been, to be frank, one of the best things to happen to me this year. We got along amazingly well and formed a deep sense of friendship. Well, two months ago he confessed his feelings towards me (which are very much reciprocated). But here’s the thing.

I’m a 22 year old woman and he’s 30. I have zero relationship experience and I’m, to be honest, a difficult person. I was sexually assaulted as a teenager, which resulted in a pretty bad case of PTSD. Now, 7 years later, I finally managed to bring it down to an acceptable level after countless hours of therapy and multiple shrinks. It’s nowhere near as incapacitating as it once was, but it’s still part of my life and I have severe reactions to certain triggers. It’s a fucked up thing that I wish upon no one. Because of all of this, as you can imagine, involving myself with other people has never been an option. I’ve always been mostly into women (which helped, a little, since they felt less threatening) but I never managed to move past the first date. Anyhow, he’s had three girlfriends and is obviously way more experienced than me. For the sake of good communication I’ve already opened up quite briefly about my disorder and he was so very respectful about it. You’d think that’s the bare minimum, but I can’t even begin to tell you how many people I thought I trusted tried to make me relive the worst day of my life because of their morbid curiosity. He sent me a long, long letter detailing his thoughts, how my PTSD wouldn’t change a thing about how he percieves me and stressing that I need to tell him what makes me uncomfortable. I’m honestly at loss at what to do. He never pushes me. This is too good to be true. I even ran a huge background check on him to see if I was talking to a creep with ulterior motives but I think it’s only my head tying to sabotage myself. I’ve never clicked like this with anyone. Am I too insecure about my assault defining me? Is the age gap too large? Am I being naive? I’m freaking out because on one hand I’ve never felt like this in my entire life, but on the other I’m terrified of not being able to fulfill expectations of a normal relationship, because I can’t give that to anyone, and I don’t want to hold him back. Oppar I’m desperate.

It’s natural to feel cagey and anxious about going into uncharted territory.  However honestly it seems to me like you might have one of the good ones.  I think you’ve answered your own questions and you’re self-sabotaging, which is a natural thing that people do when they’ve experienced trauma and then suddenly they don’t – as weird as it seems, patterns are addictive, even destructive ones.  However you should rise above it.  He seems like the kind of guy who won’t force you into anything and is cool to just let you adjust in your own time, so if I were you I’d take the shot and see where it leads you.  Age difference has nothing to do with it.  Also your trauma doesn’t define you, it’s something that happened to you but it’s not who you are.  You create who you are, not anybody else – and why let the demons win?  If a relationship with a genuinely good guy fails purely because of past sexual assault, that means the sexual assaulter won – why let them win?  I’d fight them every step of the way by proving to yourself that you can do exactly what you want.  Whether things work out or not you’ll probably learn a lot, just remember that in this type of situation communication is key.  He can only make decisions based on the information he has so make sure he knows what’s going on and what matters to you, and if he’s a good dude then he’ll do the right things.

Hi oppar, another women here to annoy you with relationship advice!

I love my boyfriend so much but i’ve never gotten to tell him. Covid-19 has gotten in the way. There’s really no where for us to meet these days. We text each other everyday, and have even watched a movie together on discord. He is my first relationship (Yes i am an adult),and he’s everything I want in a man.

We haven’t gotten it on or gone on dates since March. Our first date was January. He now shares a room with his brother and my father is home most of the time in my apartment. These are not great set-ups for making love.

I say I’ve been with him 7 months. What I’m wondering is… do those 7 months truly count? When it comes to a year together can I really say “Yeah its our one year anniversary together”?

What does “truly count” even mean, and why are you worrying about this anyway.  What you should be worrying about instead is “is this situation working for me, or not”.  If it works for you, why keep score?  If it doesn’t, what do you need to do to change things and make it work?  I think those are more important questions than counting relationship days like YouTube views.

Annyeong Kpopalypse. We are TWICE. We are a South Korean girl group formed by JYP Entertainment.

We would like to humbly ask you to stop streaming our videos and music. As you are located in the continent of Australia, downloading our content puts a lot of strain on the undersea pipes connecting Australia to South Korea. If you continue to stream our content, these pipes will eventually burst and every living organism in the ocean will be electrocuted.

The ensuing ecological devastation would be catastrophic. Civilization would collapse and humanity would be reduced to a Hobbesian war of “all against all.”

More importantly than this, however, would be that fact that the lives of ONCEs everywhere would be put in grave peril. TWICE loves ONCEs more than anything else in the world, more than any commodity and more than any ephemeral pleasure that could be afforded to a woman.

The members of TWICE realize that the purpose of life is not to learn about the human condition, it is transcend it. ONCEs transcend the human condition by listening to TWICE. What is the ape to man? A laughing stock and a painful embarrassment. Likewise, what is the member of another fandom, or someone (dare we say) who doesn’t even listen to k-pop the the ONCE? A laughing stock and a painful embarrassment.

Man is simply a bridge connecting the beast to the ONCE.

We hope you will make the sacrifice of avoiding listening to our new releases for safety of ONCEs everywhere.


You girls already convinced me with “More & More” that it wasn’t worth streaming your crap, so don’t worry I’m happy to comply with this and will only download Twice content if any of the girls transition to JAV and then I’ll use the Japanese pipe instead which is built far better.

Hi Kpopalypse,

1. Since covid happened you seem to be quite busy, what changed that makes covid life more packed now? Or has it nothing to do with covid? I mean in my country everyone in the entertainment industry is jobless as fuck right now. In any case I hope you’re doing well and that life is treating well! 🙂

2. Not sure if you care enough about these things to answer, but in a previous roundup you expressed your doubts about the chorus progression of when we disco (the duet with JYP and Sunmi). As I also feel like something is off about the chorus I wonder how you’d change up the chorus. I’ve honestly been wondering this since you wrote about it how you’d improve it, or at least be able to point out why it sounds a bit lackluster. I really enjoy thinking of how i’d improve songs but I have the musical insight of a gorilla and don’t care enough to do anything about it.

3. Not really a question i’m just really impressed by the amount of guitars they featured in this song, how this one dude in the back is multitasking his way through the song and how it still works (to my gorilla ears at least). Maybe you’ll enjoy watching it aswell, or not be impressed at all idk, you seem to me like the kind of person who’d flex with having had like 7 guitarists in your band at the same time at some point of your carreer and that it was the norm back in the days :^)

Anyhow thanks for always answering my questions in a kind and respectful manner even though usually my sentences are long and incoherent as fuck and just pure torture to read, you’re patient as fuck.

  1. I changed up my jobs a little.  All my entertainment work evaporated literally overnight, so I started doing less/none of that and a lot more non-music stuff.  As the non-music work I do (which I can’t discuss due to NDAs) is technically in an “essential services” category, I have been busy as fuck ever since, although things have calmed down somewhat since the peak insanity of March/April as Australia is mainly in control of our COVIDs at this point.  My state has zero active cases at time of writing.
  2. Actually I’ve warmed to that progression quite a bit since, however I just thought going back to the root chord every other measure was a wasted opportunity and he could have gone somewhere else.  I was hoping for a more complicated harmony like in classic trot songs and T-ara ballads I guess.  However it’s my problem and I’m seeing someone about it, I’ll get over it.
  3. What a shame that they’re miming, but then I guess it would be near-impossible to play that drumbeat while also moving your feet from left to right like that.  If this band don’t play it like this live I’ll be disappointed though, regardless.  They’ve set the bar, they need to meet it.

Hi Oppa!

I thought you’d find this recent podcast by Joe Rogan featuring Miley Cyrus interesting. I’m sure it’s a lot of what you already know but I really liked the conversations they had about being a child star, relationship with the public and some other stuff.

I do have a lot of time for Miley, but probably not enough to watch a two hour podcast, at least not right at this minute while answering QRIMOLE questions of which there are many (as you can see).  Thanks though, I might cherry-pick it later.

Hi, hope you’re doing well. Do you have any advice for a person who is scared of getting sick? For the past 4 years, I’ve been juggling several projects and obligations because I’m usually physically and emotionally strong enough to handle things. But just as everything was lining up for me professionally, I got really sick all of a sudden and had to spend a scary couple of weeks trying to figure out what was wrong. I’ve been telling people that I’m fine but the truth is I am scared. I’ve since been really careful with my health but I think the fear of getting sick again in a public place and feeling completely helpless is very stress-inducing and ultimately detrimental to my health. I just wanted to vent mostly but also ask: how do I stop feeling scared?

You’re living in great times for this.  One of the interesting side-effects of COVID and if you ask me one of the great unexpected positives is that it’s really normalised hygiene, and as a result the incidences of humans getting diseases that are NOT the coronavirus have actually rocketed straight downward.  For instance hardly anyone got the conventional flu this year compared with previous years.  All that stuff they tell you to do to stop COVID spread, be vigilant about that stuff and you’ll find that other diseases you’ll get a lot less often.  Especially watch out for objects that multiple people touch, like door handles, remote controls and lift buttons.  It’s really easy to not get sick these days.  However also practice good diet and exercise, that way even if you do get sick you’ll bounce back strong.  You’re in control more than you think.

There’s this bizarre trend of young adults and teenagers becoming more and more fearful of hitting their 30s and lashing out against anyone who is like… 25 years old and dares to exist online. A lot of critics have weighed in on this issue and the conclusion is that kids are scared of living in these unprecedented, chaotic times where all the social markers of adulthood such as owning a house, getting a PhD etc. are materially unattainable and that’s why they become obsessed with hypothetical age gaps and shit as they project their mommy and daddy issues onto whatever adult is available at the moment (see for example the way Jordan Peterson is a substitute father for many young men. Somehow they ignore the fact that Peterson is a benzo junkie whose brain is so fried by Klonopin and a shitty diet that he is physically and mentally incapable of wiping his own ass let alone caring for a potential son). This is especially obvious when it comes to women, kpop fans act like they’re super progressive but then they’ll call women in their fandom “hags” and project some really fucking misogynistic fantasies on them, such as that if you’re not a mom by 30 you’re like an unemployed loser, but also if you’re a mom AND into kpop or fanfic or some innocuous shit you’re “immature” and a terrible mother ?? which is just insane to me as, again, these people believe they’re progressive and feminist but espouse beliefs about actual women that are too outdated even for a conservative boomer. This also speaks of their huge hypocrisy as:

1. A lot of people involved in kpop behind the scenes (and movies, and tv shows) are old as shit, or definitely much older than the arbitrary cut off defined by kpoppies. Are they not immature? the folks behind the scenes breathe and live kpop and creeps like YG seem to be the rule, not the exception. Who gives a shit about random 27 year olds making videos about Blackpink or whatever. I saw some dumbass in one of your past Qrimoles complaining against “30 year old women on youtube” and it made me realize how this is basically the “unmarried cat lady” stereotype but repackaged for the new generation.

2. Quite a lot of kpop female fans are lesbian/bisexual/trans and many of them don’t even want to be a married-by-30 heterosexual housewife. How kpop fans manage to complain about Irene and Seulgi “queerbaiting” while also calling gay women losers for having hobbies is beyond me.
Also they don’t seem to care about older men into kpop (you being the sole exception) or “uncle fans”. At best they tolerate their presence. I don’t understand the thing about being “losers” also. We’re in the midst of an unprecedented crisis greater than the Great Depression with millions unemployed and homeless worldwide. Hello??

As a lesbian who doesn’t give a shit about aging or children, I’ve slowly come to terms with the fact that my goals and happiness don’t line up with anything society wants or deems remotely “respectable” as being a woman who only fucks other women automatically offends a lot of people for no reason. Many of my favorite singers are way older than me, some of them started their artistic careers well into their 40s-50s and and only got better with time as they honed their skills, and that gives me hope for the future. But recently, I heard of a case of a 28 year old guy who killed himself with no previous history of depression or anxiety, he was successful with a loving partner, a nice job etc. yet when his family and friends looked up further, they found out he was really, really fucking scared of turning 30 and that despite his personal achievements he saw himself as a “loser” just because he was into anime and other geeky interests that he considered “immature”, and they said that maybe this weird rhetoric against aging could’ve affected him due to the high amount of teenagers in his fandoms making him feel self-conscious.

I honestly find this extremely disturbing and I know he’s not the only one as a lot of depression and anxiety forums are full of people swearing that they’ll kill themselves before or on their 30th birthday. I’d like to ask for your advice in the case other readers have similar suicidal thoughts: You’ve probably got a lot of shit for your age and writing about pop music. How do you manage to not care? I remember years ago you said the 30-40s are actually one’s best decades in life. Would you elaborate more on that?

I also want to know if this is a new phenomenon or if this is something that happens in every generation. We know the kpop business is extremely unforgiving to women but what about older women in the music industry in general (all genres included)?. Could the extreme ageism in kpop factor in fans’ behaviour? they have no critical thinking and believe being aware of something makes them immune to it so this could very well be case.

How do I not care: well I didn’t even really know about it for a start.  I mean, sure I knew there was ageism with k-pop fans (how can one not know) but I didn’t know it was this specific and that 30 was highlighted as a specific turning point.  I guess I’ve always felt like an outsider and an outcast, someone who never fit in, so just one more way in which I don’t fit in to add to all the other ways, it doesn’t really even get on my radar.

The music industry has always been ageist as far as women are concerned, as women are often designated with the role of youthful attractiveness.  Although this exists for males too, there’s no denying the expectations on women are greater and have been as long as I can remember.  Having said that there are exceptions and female performers who don’t care and are happy to age in public, and there’s a lot of them who look quite good doing it too.  I think with k-pop the ageism is heightened because of Korean culture’s beauty obsession, but even then I’d say that the older women look great and most of my k-pop biases are either somewhere over 30 or just under.  I think in the west the attitudes to age are becoming more sensible but I think Korea is lagging behind in this aspect.  Things will probably change if some of the really big stars from the last ten years are able to hit their 40s and 50s and maintain a career.  Good examples achieve a lot.

What’s up, oppar! I was just reading the latest QRIMOLE and saw your answer to that guy asking about “women in STEM” and equality and the like, and honestly? I’m a girl trying to become a mathematician (in the U.S.) – so naturally I have ended up with many male friends who are very into math – and the way that they seem to interact with STEM seems very gendered? They’re always talking about how they were encouraged to learn how to build things and code or whatever. In grade school I went to robotics summer camp, was the only girl, and felt so excluded and talked over I never tried anything related to tech again. My best subjects were always math and creative writing/art/literature, and it’s no surprise to me why many girls whose strengths are similar choose the latter if it’s the path of least resistance. Especially since the computational “follow the proper steps and get the correct answer” aspects of mathematics are stressed very early on, so the (important) bits about creativity, unique solutions, and beautiful structures are never shown to young students. It’s no wonder so many people think they’re “bad at math” – most people do not know what math really is. Compounding the problem, many girls are not tangentially exposed to the connection between creativity and mathematics in the same way that a middle school boy writing his first computer program or creating his first 3D model would be. I always got way more attention from teachers/authority figures/random adults for being a halfway decent pianist or being able to draw or whatever the fuck. It’s too bad that the qualities that make a good artist most certainly make a good mathematician. Most of the math boys I know are similarly interested in literature and the arts, but it’s no secret to me why they ended up choosing the math route over becoming English professors. Imo, it’s really the many subtle differences in the ways we socialize girls and boys that cause young women to make the decision that math/STE is not for them, when in a different world it might be.

P.S. Dipshits like the guy who wrote you that question sure don’t make things better. I don’t exactly squeal at the prospect of going into engineering or a tech field, where the male peers who talk over me/other girls at the problem-solving table because they think I got in the easy way (even when I’m – get this – consistently correct) would be my colleagues and, worse, supervisors.

In any case, I should ask a question. Why don’t you like classical music? I mean, lots of the (very general) things I like about genres like metal and k-pop are things I find to be pleasurable about classical.

I think the whole “women in STEM” discussion is a much more nuanced one than a lot of people are willing to have.  Struggles like the ones that the other asker have are real and not fictional, but struggles like yours are also just as real and also deserve to be heard and addressed, and I don’t see why those can’t be addressed side by side.  Rather than polarising and saying “no, WE have it tougher”, “no, actually WE have it tougher” why not acknowledge that there are factors that make it harder for everyone and those things need to be worked on so everyone has a fair shot.  Like you point out, the discrimination actually starts way before STEM, at grade school level.  Weed out the problems at that level and by the time people are STEM-ready maybe there’ll be a lot less of a culture of bullshit for them to contend with and maybe more women will actually want to do it.  That’s just my view on it, being a completely non-STEM outsider I don’t really know what I’m talking about but pitting genders against each other is an obvious route to nowheresville.

One of the worst things about quotas is exactly what you point out – it invalidates the achievements of women who do have ability that equals or (quite often) exceeds their male peers.  Forgetting about STEM and moving to an area where I do have decades of experience, I know girls who play in punk bands where I live who are sick of my radio station’s “female play” quotas, because when their releases chart high all their male friends just groan and say “well, you got in the easy way” – it completely invalidates all of their hard work.  The fact is they’d chart well anyway because they have great music that kicks ass, but as long as the quota remains, sexist guys always have a way to dodge around and deny that fact.  They want to be taken seriously but how can they be when they still have the “training wheels” on?  This is why I don’t like quotas, they genuinely hurt the people they’re trying to help the most, by babying them too much.  Let people stand on their own two feet, the quality will always rise to the top in my experience.

I don’t like classical music probably because I studied it at grad school level and I actually know how it works quite intimately.  A lot of it is bland honestly.  That’s not to say I hate everything classical ever but a lot of the “classics” I find to be seriously lacking.  When you look at the forms and structures involved, a lot of classical music is just as formulaic and cookie-cutter as any tropical house k-pop track, and certainly a lot of it was driven just as much by exterior forces that demanded pieces sound a certain way etc.  I actually find more modern attempts at “classical style” sit with me better than the originals just because there’s less adherence to outdated rules like “functional harmony” (which a future music theory post will cover).

Are you as tired of fandoms protesting idol “mistreatment” as I am? Just yesterday/today Once were all up in arms yet again about the way Twice is “mistreated,” and while I DO think some of their arguments are valid, trending shit like 1_Day_Til_Deadline does fuck all. Sure, YGE responded to the “protest truck” when it came to Blackpink, but that seems to be very rare, and I’m not sure what fandoms expect to change with their mass tweets and emails. I don’t see overwhelming outrage over ANS’s company forcing them to live on $8 a day, and it annoys me when fans categorize the management of people who are richer than I’ll ever be as “mistreatment.”

Fandom version of idol mistreatment:

  • why doesn’t my fave have a comeback, like, nao
  • my baby doesn’t get enough lines in the new song
  • why doesn’t my fave get a solo/movie/eyeliner range/etc

Actual idol mistreatment:

  • idols can’t eat proper meals because they’re not allowed to
  • idols are often isolated from parental guidance
  • sexual coercion is ridiculously common
  • psychological abuse is completely normalised in many cases
  • physical health is often sacrificed for the sake of physical performance
  • idols are signed to exploitative contracts which ensure they are the last to see any income

There’s too much dialogue about the former and not enough about the latter in my opinion.

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.

The mashup effect might be a conscious decision, or perhaps a happy accident just because the same songwriters who worked in those groups are now writing for SuperM.

I luv CupcakKe. But what could make this song better?

A better beat wouldn’t hurt.  The beat choice is the most disappointing thing about her, and always has been.  Everything else about her is great and I’m glad she’s still active as the last I heard from her she jumped the shark on Twitter and went all god-bothering or something.

Hello oppar! I’m the one from August QRIMOLE who likes kpop, Depeche Mode, overthinking stuff and your blog. Unfortunately, I couldn’t write this for Septemer QRIMOLE so I’m writing for the next one.

I was very excited to read your answer and when I read it I learned two things:
1. I shouldn’t write lengthy posts that require a lot of concentration when/if I’m tired as hell. This will affect the coherence, correctness and focus of my writing.
2. It’s impossible to be truly anti-capitalist while profiting off of that same capitalism (which is exactly what mainstream music artists do).

To address the first thing, I remember writing that post late at night so it’s rather jumbled up. I should have worded it better, which leads me to the second thing:

When I mentioned the “anti-capitalist lyrics” I should have noted that they aren’t really like that, but I forgot to. Your answer corrected this mistake: one does not simply casually write anti-capitalist lyrics while earning money thanks to capitalism AND not look like a hypocrite. This is perfectly logical theoretically.

But in reality, while capitalism is mostly good for mainstream artists, it’s even better for their record labels, and sometimes it’s ONLY good for their record labels while the artists are broke and treated like garbage. The latter case is the one we see in majority of kpop. It exists in western pop as well as other genres, of course, it just seems to get swept under the carpet, but the truth eventually comes to light.

Since you already know all of this, I’ll just note that I’m rather neutral on the actual topic of capitalism (it’s shitty but communism isn’t better by a long shot) and get straight to my question:

Is it fine to criticize aspects of capitalism one disagrees with even though they profit off of it? In this case, can a mainstream musician call out the greedy record labels without looking fake and dishonest?

Thanks in advance for reading and for the eventual answer.

I think it’s fine.

Example: Public Enemy’s Flavor Flav was obviously a crackhead, yet Public Enemy had several anti-drug songs and were one of the few rap groups to go hard on the anti-drug message (including anti-weed) right when Dr. Dre’s “The Chronic” and Cypress Hill were both huge.   Several people criticised Public Enemy for this – “how can you be so anti-drug when you’ve got an obvious drug addict in the group?  Isn’t that hypocritical?”  However in my opinion that made them even more qualified – who better to warn people about the excesses of drug abuse than someone suffering from those effects in real time?  Likewise, who better to criticise a major record label’s cash-shovelling schemes than an artist on that label who is the direct victim of those actions?

So, how are you Mr. Caonima?
Have you ever played Final Fantasy XIII? I’ve been playing again since last months and felt a little better with the hopelessness my country (and its fucking leaders) has been putting since the start of the pandemic. It’s a RPG, and I think that you might like it since it has hugely annoyed Final Fantasy fandom for more than 10 years.
Plus, it can give you some nice ideas to add to your own games. And is also available for PC on Steam.
Take care and never stop being a cunt!

I’ve never played this game.  I might try it one day but I’ve got so many Wonho-themed RPGs to play that I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to justify playing an RPG that doesn’t satisfy in this area.

Would you please describe with your own words how is to experience the Föhn in Adelaide? How do you people deal with clothing on such weather change? Do you get sick or something etc.

I’ve never heard of this term.  Looking it up, this appears to be a Northern Hemispherian thing that doesn’t really apply to us.

Have you ever considered how hard was to Pentagon’s Hui to be in a unit with Hyuna and E-Dawn? Like, how to actually focus on work when the rest of your team are vigorously fucking anytime they can?

I’ve been in groups where I was the only member of the group not banging other members in the group.  Honestly it’s not that big a deal because it’s not like they’re doing it in front of you or anything, all that shit happens behind closed doors.

So I know you don’t like lyrics all that much, but are there good(!) songs out there (K-pop and not) that have great meaningful lyrics? And if so, can you share some of what comes to your mind? Thank you!!

It’s not like I don’t like them, it’s more that they’re rarely the deal-breaker (or deal-sealer) in a song.  I’ll make an exception for Anal Cunt though.

Boyd Rice too.

Ok, so here’s a bunch of songs that I think have what you call “pedal-point harmony” in it. So am I right? Have I finally nailed down this elusive concept in my brain?

No.  I’ll probably do a post about it soon in the music theory series.  I know I already have a post about this but it deserves a follow up, as people had issue with the original post.  The original post isn’t wrong, but it needs to be explained better.  It’s on the list.

Good day oppar-nim,
This is probably pointless (First please read this – how paranoid should I be about posting such stuff, both publicly and anonymously? I want to tweet the companies to give them a 3 month break using sweet pleading non-offensive non-suspicious language, but if I post such stuff, even if anonymously, could that attempt be ruined, like, if someone spying knows people are aware the companies could restrict idols’ SOS hints and cover up their condition even more, tightening the noose) (And please answer this but if you have the slightest doubt that my pleading-for-a-break-for-idols attempts could be affected by this post, delete all the question text except the parts that reveal nothing about the idol industry’s evil and don’t mention it, but still do answer the question. You could replace the question text for a query about efficacy of reaching out to companies on social media to give idols a break,ie, how to get them to notice it etc. Yes means everything is hopeless in context of the entire actual question and no means something can be done, then please elaborate cautiously) bleak but how can we end the suffering of kpop idols? Is there anything we, or influential activists in Korea can do? I was dumb and thought that if most people stop supporting anything exploitative companies put out, then the current idols will suffer, but no potential idols and staff will. But will the majority be convinced? I read an article about the k-pop-out-their-bones industry which said that aspirants choose this fuckery because every other job in Korea sucks as much and they’d follow their dreams if they’re to toil equally anyway. Is this true? Because it seems that in other professions at least there isn’t the extreme pressure of a flawless image, crackdown on self-expression or as much wanton forced labour or the expected fake, backstabbing environment of the kpop industry. You know the sponsorship angle. Can anything be done? Is it hopeless? If nothing else, will asking companies to give them reasonable breaks from time to time and gathering support on social media for this end work?

Don’t worry – the sad truth is that what you’re writing won’t have any effect because the companies simply don’t care about you, or their idols, all that much.  Korean pop is a two sided market, and neither of us are on the side that matters the most.  The lack of care exhibited in general is fairly palpable – just read about some of the stuff that Kim Nayoon and Cheska went through to get an idea.  Both us and these idols have something in common – we’re all tools for the companies to get to an end goal, one which has little to do with any of us.  That’s why I fight for idols and musicians, but not the companies that employ them, and I do it not by approaching the companies themselves, but by showing you and others various undiluted sides of manipulation so the bigger picture can be seen.  Agencies will only start feeling pressure to change when there’s a mass awareness of how things are, and that how things are really isn’t okay.

That’s all for QRIMOLE!  This series will return in a month, in the meantime don’t forget to do the latest Kpopalypse survey while it’s still open!

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!

3 thoughts on “QRIMOLE – October 2020

  1. Excuse me, but I believe that the correct way to refer to the young lady is ‘MRS Shinozaki’.

    Secondly, causation does, in fact, equal correlation. The converse, however, is not true.

  2. Joy Division released 2 excellent albums: Unknown Pleasures and Closer, the latter of which was released after frontman Ian Curtis committed suicide. And following the commercial and critical success of New Order’s Substance 1987, the surviving members of Joy Division released a compilation called Substance, which included fan-favourite standalone singles “Transmission”, “Atmosphere”, and of course “Love Will Tear Us Apart”.

  3. “i feel a very real and physical fear that creeps in every so often and tells me i need to be alone….i think it’s the result of living in a large, often casually intrusive family.”

    It sounds to me like you’re a more-introverted person who was raised in a family of extroverts. It’s not necessarily selfish or anxiety or in any way pathological to want to be alone–introversion is an innate personality trait. If you make sure you have enough alone time in your day, it is entirely possibly to be a highly-introverted person who is happily married and a good parent.

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