It’s time for Kpopalypse Nugu Alert! Let’s take a look at some more k-pop nugus!
There’s a lot of Christianity in k-pop, which has always puzzled me a bit as South Korea actually isn’t a majority Christian country. Still, the cultism is strong, and so it’s only natural that many idols would have Christianity as their preferred religion. We’re probably all familiar with the wacky religious screeds in Girls’ Generation’s album liner notes, Hyolyn scribbling a cross onto her stomach so the lord knows how to get toned abs, Siwon’s love of the bible being almost as strong as his love for skinship with his fellow groupmates, and of course the abominable gospel-themed CSJH The Grace being a thing for a few brief years, but none of these artists had preaching the gospel as their primary goal, it was always secondary to the usual mainstream k-pop business of making pop hits, making marketable idols and making money. As a result, often the question is asked “where are the super hardcore preachy Christian k-pop groups, the ones targeted specifically toward the ultra-Christian music listener who wants music that praises god every two seconds?”
It turns out that they do exist. Probably the most well-known fairly recent example is teensEL:
While their lo-fi Gfriend clone is kind of charming yet cutely inept and thus perfect for Nugu Alert, teensEL miss out on eligibility due to some of their dance practice videos having an alarmingly high viewcount, although I still think the majority of k-pop fans wouldn’t know about them so I’ve put them here anyway. The other Christian k-pop group that some readers might remember (besides the one that topped the 2021 worst list) is Hashina who rocked out back in episode 25 of this series, and even this was a struggle to recall as I could barely even remember that I’d written about them before:
Although Christian k-pop music doesn’t get a lot of traction in mainstream k-pop circles (just search “Christian k-pop” on Google and see the responses from k-pop fans to people who are looking for this kind of thing, to see how little k-pop fans actually know about this stuff), there are in fact very many of these groups. I’ve collected some of the more nugu ones for your entertainment – praise the lord!
Usual criteria apply:
- Less than 20,000 views on official channels
- God probably struggles to remember who these people even are, and so will you
- Relevant to Kpopalypse
Let’s go with this super Christian edition of Kpopalypse Nugu Alert!
Keepers – Lord to the Victory
While we all love our idol groups, the fact is that most Korean worship music is actually a sort of watered down pop/rock music hybrid and there is a lot of this shit in Korea. The typical style of worship music is perfectly demonstrated here with Keepers who have all the essential ingredients of one of these groups: a big anthemic lighter-waving rock song (even though it’s probably a sin to smoke), lots of swaying around with eyes closed while gesticulating at the air above as if something’s up there besides the ducted air conditioning, and incredible amounts of money spent on top quality musical instruments because premarital sex is a sin so there’s a lot of cash left over from all the casual dating these band members aren’t doing. Occasionally if you’re really lucky in these videos you’ll get some audience footage, and the audience is always at least as zombified as the performers. It’s fascinating to watch because neither the performers nor the audience are all that focused on each other like they usually are in normal rock music, but instead are so busy trying to communicate with an imaginary third party that they barely even notice each other in the room. Anyway for what it’s worth the song isn’t bad for one of these things and it’s good to see a return of everyone’s favourite nugu-friendly prop, the randomly placed let-there-be-fluorescent-light tubes.
Youtube views at the time of writing: 2468
Notable attribute: guy on the far left of the audience at 2:04 has some very pissweak little claps, not sure if that’s quite enough effort to get into heaven, pal
Nugu Alert rating: very high
Kim Dayoung – He Is Coming
Kim Dayoung’s song is all about the evils of alcoholism, which is pretty appropriate I guess as South Korea does have an alcoholism problem, mind you South Korea also has a Christian problem and after watching this video I’m not exactly sure which one is worse. In the video the girl starts off drinking, laughing and having a good time with some pals, the first thirty seconds or so just looks like any other soju advertisement to the point where I half-expected IU to turn up. The video’s protagonist only seems to become sad when she stops all the drinking fun times with friends and starts wandering around the streets late at night thinking about how she needs a bit more god in her life. Clearly she needs to just cheer the fuck up and get back with her friends and drink a bit more. Eventually she finds her way home and passes out and the next day she looks at some pictures of her family, which naturally then causes her to regret her life choices and go out and start drinking again, meanwhile the promised god of the title never actually appears, making this a pretty realistic video. As for the song here it’s actually legitimately good, even if the guitars aren’t loud enough because they thought the lord might be upset with too much distortion, mind you the bass player doesn’t seem to have the same concerns and his midrangey noodling is front and center of the mix, staggering around all over the place even more than the girl is. At the end Mr Bassman really goes off into solo land which makes me think that he’s seen that one video about “don’t overplay in a Christian band” and just decided “fuck you” like everyone else did who watched that trash which is pretty great actually.
Youtube views at the time of writing: 1255
Notable attribute: gratuitous use of constant angled camera shots plus heavy green tint actually makes the video visually resemble Battlefield Earth, probably not an optimal choice for Christian music but oh well
Nugu Alert rating: extreme
Jang Jaejin – Koinonia
Jang Jaejin’s video just looks and sounds like the typical Christian rock thing with the usual previously-mentioned elements all in place (expensive musical gear, lots of skyward swaying and being elated for no reason, big rock sound), but as I kept watching I felt like something was missing. Then I worked it out when the guitar solo appeared – where the fuck is the guitarist? Did the guitar player call in sick on the day of the video shoot? Was the guitarist deemed too ugly to show on camera? Or perhaps it was the opposite, maybe the guitarist was too sexy and the video producers were worried that showing them might lead sensitive Christian viewers down the path of sinful lust? Then I remembered – I used to play in a Christian band when I was young too. I wasn’t a Christian, I just wanted some playing experience, and an “experience” it sure was, but certainly not an experience I would want others to be capturing on video and replaying to the world. (I talk about my dodgy Christian band past in more detail in this post if you’re curious.) So I think it makes sense that the guitarist of this band felt a little bit ashamed about having their appearance associated with the rest of the performers because they might be worried about their reputation as a true kult black metal warlord of the guitar suffering somewhat. I’m guessing that it’s the same guitarist that is in Dark Mirror Ov Tragedy, put your alternative guesses in the comments below if you have them!
Youtube views at the time of writing: 1065
Notable attribute: girl on the keyboards at 2:21 looks like she’s really enjoying herself until she notices that the camera is on her, at which point she visibly starts wishing she skipped out on the session like the guitarist did
Nugu Alert rating: extreme
Er.Worship – That Day
Unlike the other entrants to this episode of Kpopalypse Nugu Alert, we actually have an all-singing, all-dancing group here, not a rock band or a solo singer. Don’t get your hopes up for a song you’re going to actually like though, as Er.Worship’s stab at idol pop is easily the worst song here, it actually sounds legitimately fucking woeful, with several elements of the music being done really badly. While the very strangely affected vocals that seem to all be sung by the same double-tracked singer and the needlessly busy (again) bass guitar are what most people will notice, the icing on the cake that makes the song sound so utterly awful is the ambient keyboard patch in the background which is quite literally completely out of tune with the rest of the song. I think the keyboard player just dialed in the “angel synth pad” setting, decided to play any old thing and then just prayed to god to fix the notes in the mix. At least there’s some mild visual interest if you’ve ever wondered what a Christian take on the popular “white t-shirt and denim jeans” k-pop style would look like, and the word “prayer” on each of the shirts is a nice touch too, although perhaps next time a little less prayer and a little more attention to the songwriting and arrangement could be a good idea.
Youtube views at the time of writing: 603
Notable attribute: filmed in a public area with lots of people but not a single fucking bystander is watching this, even the guy at 2:21 who sneaks in a quick look at the girls from behind (clearly a pervert tsk tsk) is still more interested in getting home with his shopping
Nugu Alert rating: off the chart
That’s all for this episode of Kpopalypse Nugu Alert! The series will return soon with more k-pop nugus for your entertainment!