Web traffic to Kpopalypse has been spiking recently, with recent posts about supporting feminism and admiring women in general proving very popular with readers, gaining Kpopalypse lots of c-word. However as we all know, “c-word is what people who haven’t achieved anything with their lives think they get if they get noticed on the Internet. I hate the word too!“, so something needs to be done to reverse this upward trend. Fortunately we’re still in Nugu Alert November, so let’s hear it for another episode of the most unpopular series on this site, the one and only Kpopalypse Nugu Alert, just the thing to reliably cool off that pesky extra web traffic!
While Kpopalypse is broadly a “k-pop” site, I choose to define the term “k-pop” pretty loosely. Just like a classical music historian or ethnomusicologist would regard any western music from Slayer to Britney Spears to Elvis broadly as “pop music” (“pop” in this context meaning “popular” and transmitting no other meaning), I tend to take a similar view of “k-pop” and define it as broadly as I can, so I can accommodate the maximum amount of content and musical styles. Jambinai and Love X Stereo sound pretty different to Twice and NCT, and that’s fine – it can all live under the same deliberately inaccurate “k-pop” umbrella as far as I’m concerned, because I feel that it’s all worth looking at. This means that I come across some pretty diverse musical styles in my question for the k-pops. This episode of Kpopalypse Nugu Alert features exactly some of this music, and is devoted to music that isn’t “pop” in the “pop music” sense of sounding like [insert your favourite generic pop artist here] or in the sense of being “popular”, because these are nugus who tick the required nugu boxes… and oh boy, are they ever ticked this time around.
The boxes in question are:
Less than 20,000 views on official channelsfuck that, we’re going to go with less than 1000 views for this ultra-nugu episode to ensure that we reduce c-word levels as much as possible
- That last person you dated who you had to break up with because they were so obsessed with k-pop that they wanted you to repeatedly wear clothing like their faves’ recent behind the scenes appearances and do the heart shape in the bedroom, definitely hasn’t heard of any of these people
- Relevant to Kpopalypse
Kissha – Dancing in the dark
Let’s ease you into this episode gradually, with by far the most pop-sounding and least-strange offering here, Kissha’s “Dancing In The Dark”. Definitely not the Bruce Springsteen song which was the solitary release from the 1980s that my mother/Boram thought was good enough to buy the single of, “Dancing In The Dark” would actually probably sound relatively normal if whoever was programming the synthesisers didn’t decide to go absolutely apeshit adding in tons of layers, syncopation and weird noise – not that I mind, I think the results are actually very cool. Not only does Kissha get the music right but the video is great too, making use of some imaginative locations and props, and I really don’t know why we haven’t had bales of Big-3 label’s shredded accounting documents turn up in one of their box videos yet. Some of the camera shakes and decolourisations are pretty grating to watch, but that’s about the only thing wrong with this impressively moody nugu effort.
Youtube views at the time of writing: 789
Notable attribute: Kissha checks her own Instagram at 1:33, just like the song it’s a trippy headfuck that is worth a look
Nugu Alert rating: extreme
Moonsomoon – Moonsomoon.net
Very much reminiscent of the sort of music I’d play on the radio before I moved over to Korean pop, Moonsomoon seems to be some sort of side-project of Cacophony, that incredibly strange Korean group that makes weird stuff that crops up in my weekly roundups from time to time. This is definitely more of that weird stuff, and I really like the atmosphere of it a lot. I’m not completely sure what the fuck they’re actually talking about in the narrative, something about witches with red eyes being shunned from society is about all I got out of it, but then being a little bit obtuse is probably the point – if you wanted to dig a bit deeper then you can head on over to moonsomoon.net where there is a continuation of the story from here, as well as some special extra content you can unlock, that might help clarify things for you, but it probably won’t. In the meantime for those in doubt, yes this is music, yes there is plenty of music like this out there in the world and yes, some crazy people like me even listen to it from time to time.
Youtube views at the time of writing: 595
Notable attribute: Subtitles spelled using incorrect American spelling, maybe she really is a witch after all
Nugu Alert rating: extreme
Juniper – Will Be Shining There
There’s two types of broadly ‘experimental’ music. The first type is the stuff that is genuinely trying to experiment and do something deliberately different, in the knowledge that yes it is at least attempting to be as avant-garde as possible. Moonsomoon above definitely fall into this category, well known western equivalents would be Throbbing Gristle, Einsturzende Neubauten and many others. Then there’s the second type of ‘experimental’ where you really get the feeling that they were trying to create a massive pop hit, but they managed to get certain fundamental elements of pop music so utterly wrong that the result ended up being something completely different by accident. The Shaggs, IceJJFish and Bangz all fall into this category, even arguably The Ramones as they were in fact trying very hard to be a pop group at the time. Anyway now we have a k-pop version – Juniper’s “Will Be Shining There” sounds like it’s using David Bowie’s “Ashes To Ashes” as a starting template, but the weird instrumental choices and completely broken harmony occasionally sends the entire package drifting off into a completely different direction. Just when it sounds like it’s getting back on the rails and starting to sound normal, some weird noise or wonky keyboard part comes up that completely conflicts with everything around it, sending the song toppling over on its side yet again, and that pattern continues until the devastating climax at 2:57 where the whole thing just hurls itself into the abyss. I’m not sure how I feel about this song, but it’s definitely the type of track that you look back on after it’s all over and think to yourself “yes, that was an experience, I’ll remember that one for a while”.
Youtube views at the time of writing: 122
Notable attribute: Juniper’s director shares the same fetish that Kissha’s has for reaching at lightbulbs, but they forgot to turn all the other lights off so you could see the shadows it creates, oops
Nugu Alert rating: extreme
Kimmineralwater – If The Desire To Live Is A Sin, I’ll Be Sentenced To Live In Prison!
If you read my weekly roundups and have a very good memory, you might remember Kimmineralwater from a previous roundup where she had some bullshit trap song called “No More Tears” that was ironically pretty upsetting to listen to. That song has just under a thousand views at the time of writing and would have also qualified for this roundup, but it sucks so I’ve included this other song instead which is way weirder and has far less views. Given that all trap music is basically “hip-hop music but without a beat”, it actually feels like a fairly natural transition for trap performers to make the small leap into ambient music territory as all it really involves is dropping the vaguest pretence of a beat completely. Of course there are drums of a sort here but I’m not sure how exactly to describe what they’re doing, however the result is pretty far away from Gowon territory and more in line with the sort of thing FSOL would churn out in the 1990s, with inexplicable visuals to match. It’s a step up from mumbling ‘eh’ over hi-hat triplets, I guess.
Youtube views at the time of writing: 73
Notable attribute: The resemblance to My Bloody Valentine’s equally bullshit-looking videos is uncanny
Nugu Alert rating: extreme
That’s all for this episode of Kpopalypse Nugu Alert! The series will return soon with more nugus!