Yes it’s back again, the Korean video series that nobody asked for – Kpopalypse Nugu Alert! Let’s check out even more nugus!
It’s been no secret that many readers have felt let down by the quality of k-pop songs released in 2021 so far, with many of you making your displeasure known to Kpopalypse directly. I’m actually a lot more optimistic than most of my readers and I always have a shortlist of good songs stocked, but nevertheless I do still find your pain relatable as I have to slug through 95% shit songs on roundup week after week. This edition of Kpopalypse Nugu Alert has purely been released to ease your psychological burden by highlighting some good nugu tracks that have been released in 2021. All of these have been shortlisted for possible year-end list inclusion and hopefully these tracks will lift the overall song quality average for some of you, and also assist with any mental health issues that you may be experiencing due to listening to the near-constant scratchy releases by Korea’s A and B-tier groups. All of these songs are crazily catchy and I promise you that you’ll have at least one of them stuck in your head for hours after checking out these videos – maybe even all three at once.
Usual rules apply:
- Less than 20,000 views on official channels
- Maybe someone cares about these artists but your BTS-loving friends sure don’t
- Relevant to Kpopalypse
Let’s take a look!
CITI – I Can’t
Ultra-nugu CITI has done something with “I Can’t” that has eluded nearly every single k-pop male soloist since the dawn of time – he’s actually made a song that is really fucking good. There’s not really a lot to it, being just a simple four-chord mid-paced tune over synth-based backings, and there’s not much happening in the video either as it’s basically just “a guy in a room singing stuff”, but that’s all fine. In pop music simplicity often works better than trying to do some complex and ambitious over-the-top craziness that doesn’t quite fit together, a truism that a lot of k-pop songwriters in 2021 really need to remind themselves. Apparently he classifies himself as an “R&B soloist” too, but he really shouldn’t insult himself like that because R&B is disgusting trash that doesn’t sound like this at all, someone should have a word to him about his self-esteem issues.
Youtube views at the time of writing: 2949
Notable attribute: the microphone cord leaves the mic, snakes down the stand, and… where the fuck does it go next? How did he make the other end vanish?
Nugu Alert rating: extreme
Vandy City – A Bit Too Passionate, A Bit Too Foolish
It starts off a little dull but keep listening, and I promise you that by about the two minute mark you’ll be sold on this incredibly good pop song. The melody is super sweet but it’s the backing choices that really make everything come together, with this duo making good use of some electronics to create a lush soundscape that perfectly matches the vocal, without also sounding boring or conservative like so much of k-pop tends to do when they tackle this sort of mood. Some of the textures used here is stuff that you generally don’t ever hear in k-pop at all, and it really mystifies me why not, because with such a huge wave of A-list electronic producers now working in the field you’d think creating something like this wouldn’t be too hard for them, but if you don’t like synths and want a rock version instead here you go. Oh, and full marks for English subtitles that actually make sense, if these nugus can do it, what’s your faves’ excuse?
Youtube views at the time of writing: 1005
Notable attribute: the Korg MS-20 synth is actually monophonic, so we know that she’s miming at 3:18, but her Eunjung vibes mrs so I forgive her
Nugu Alert rating: extreme
Drinking Boys and Girls Choir – Secret Revenge
If you’re after something a little more upbeat, here’s a very good punk rock entry that should satisfy those craving for some fast paced music, as punk rock from Korea is very low profile globally and hard to find. Apparently this video is the result of some feminist collective called “Feminist Filmmakers Forever” all working together on different sections, which explains the rapid chopping and changing of various visual styles and techniques throughout this very short video. Such an approach shouldn’t work well in theory but in practice it actually does, because there’s always something new happening and the constant transformation fits well with the punchiness and fast pace of the music. A lot of Korean punk music that I come across sounds weak compared to their western counterparts but not this time – “Secret Revenge” is much better than most western attempts at a melodic punk style I’ve heard in recent memory.
Youtube views at the time of writing: 192
Notable attribute: if you want to know who did what visually, it’s all helpfully timestamped in the video comments because the creators of this knew you would be confused as fuck
Nugu Alert rating: extreme
That’s all for this episode of Kpopalypse Nugu Alert! Kpopalypse will return in due course with more nugus!
3 thoughts on “Kpopalypse Nugu Alert Episode 56 – CITI, Vandy City, Drinking Boys And Girls Choir”
I quite like that CITI song, I’ll have to look up his other stuff.
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Thank you for (what feels like finally) having a (at least abbreviated) list worth listening to. Sorry for the parenthesis, but there’s more than one voice talking and sometimes it’s hard to transcribe their shit in a coherent way.
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