QRIMOLE – New Year 2023

It’s time for the first QRIMOLE of 2023! Let’s take a look at reader questions for Kpopalypse!

Recently I saw the “revamped” trend on YouTube, where people restructure a song to match their actual expectations. my favorite is when they revamped “Red Velvet Zimzalabim” “Blackpink – Pink Venom” “Blackpink – How You Like That

at least with that structure i can finally listen to those songs

do you think this is disrespectful to the original music producer? we can compare this to when we order a ramen and then we put in various flavors according to our taste. as a musician would you feel offended when someone else messed up your song structure? and have you ever thought about rearranging songs according to your taste?

It’s basically just a ‘fan remix’ and they’re almost always terrible. I don’t think any of mando’s remixes make the songs better. Other than rearranging he often adds a lot of unwelcome stuff, I think his “How You Like That” remix where he’s shoved a generic latter day f(x) dance beat over the top of it is particularly awful as it seriously dilutes the best aspect of the original, which is the very clear and crisp production (an asset on all Blackpink songs, even the very weakest ones), by adding so much extra mush.

I wouldn’t call it ‘disrespectful’ though, that’s not really an issue. Do you see any k-pop producers complaining about it? Of course not. People these days are practically addicted to imagining ‘disrespect’ in places where it doesn’t exist (think about all the dumb complaints about ‘cultural appropriation’ – if they didn’t like your culture or at least think it looked nice, trust me they wouldn’t bother) while simultaneously ignoring and hand-waving away actual harmfulness and disrespect where it really exists in the industry (look at all the recent discourse on kpop reddit about how k-pop contracts ‘aren’t that bad’ for a prime example). If anything it’s flattering to the original producer that someone would give enough of a fuck to even bother with this level of effort.

Personally, I like the less is more approach to remixing. The problem with k-pop songs lately is almost universally ‘too much shit’ rather than ‘not enough shit’, because k-pop mixing ideology is always about maximizing the material. So rather than mando’s remixes which add unnecessary elements that clutter up the already full-to-the-brim mixes even more, I think the better approach is to remove things.

I love NewJeans – they’re my new favorite group, but I can’t help but feel a little… weird about it? A good chunk of people on Twitter or Reddit seems to be against supporting them since they’re all minors and since they don’t wanna support Min HeeJin either. And with the whole “Cookie” fiasco… I’m not sure what to do. Is it wrong for me to listen to NewJeans as an 18-year-old? Is it bad if I like Cookie (not the lyrics, but the melody and beat)?

Don’t let people ruin it for you, it’s fine to like what you like. There’s still plenty of creative people involved in that group and just because some people at the top have weird ideas about how to market underage people, it doesn’t mean that everyone involved is somehow ‘tainted’. If we’re going to hold up “must agree with the ideology and decisions of everyone involved” as some kind of ‘test’ for whether you can listen to music or not, you might as well go and get every single piece of music you own, in every single genre, and fucking burn it all, because musicians in general are fucked in the head and do all sorts of shit you’d rather wish you didn’t know.

For what it’s worth, after an unfortunate start, I think they’ve redeemed themselves somewhat with the “Ditto” videos, which are excellent and some of the best I’ve ever seen in k-pop.

[a bunch of clearing house suggestions]

Oops, they all missed out. You should have submitted them to the end-of-year survey instead of QRIMOLE. Oh well, they weren’t that good anyway.

Now that your lists are out, can you please repost your YouTube Wrapped without the censored videos?

I don’t actually know how to get to it to make it do the ‘wrapped’ thing again. But most of the top 15 got in.

Hi oppar! First of all, I hope you’re having a good start of the year. Now, for the first time, instead of asking you some stupid kpop related question I’ll have to bother you with a request for personal advice. Somehow I managed to get a girlfriend a few days ago, she likes me a lot and it’s the same thing for me, which is a good start I guess. We first met a few months ago, she really worked hard to get me with her, but honestly we still don’t know each other very deeply so let’s see where it goes.
These are my questions:
1) Despite me being older than most idols who debuted in the last 4 years this is the very first relationship for me, my biggest concern isn’t really about my lack of experience but instead of me being introverted, having some difficulties expressing my feelings directly and stuff like that. I hope you can share some tips to help me grow up and not fuck everything up like the idiot I am. Mind you she already complained about this and I know she’s kinda right, so I want to reflect and come back with a better image uwu
2) Oh god how do I tell her I’m a kpop stan lmao

  1. If in doubt just be honest. Women who are worth it will always appreciate honesty, even if it’s something tough for them to hear.
  2. see 1

How do musicians create a “nostalgic” sound? I listened to this song below:

and I don’t know how it does it. Logically music is just soundwaves being funky, so how does it make me feel certain emotions? And this song Living in the Shadows is pretty repetitive yet it’s just so arararahrharhhhhahggggggg.

I also recommend watching the mini Netflix short that this song is used in. It’s “Beyond the Aquila Rift” in Volume 1 of the series Love, Death, and Robots (each episode is a stand-alone). I don’t know if you even pay attention to our recommendations since you’re a busy real life adult with an adult job, but if you want to have a fifteen minute long existential crisis, go ahead and watch it.

Well it didn’t sound nostalgic to me… but then nostalgia is very subjective, as your age and cultural experience etc will determine what triggers your nostalgia, and therefore what type of sounds go along with that. The music theory series may go more into the connection between music and emotion but it’s such a complex area and nobody really understands it perfectly so any writing that I do on it will be similarly imperfect and may not really answer your questions either.

Noted on the Netflix thing but yeah I dunno if I’ll have time, I’ll note it here for other caonimas though!

There was a qrimole question about Yeezy running for political office. I interpreted that as this Yezi, going into politics in Korea.

I think that shows how little I care about American pop culture.

When I read this question I thought for a moment that Yezi was actually going into politics in Korea for real, I was hoping that you were sharing a news report about it and was disappointed to find out that you just linked a Yezi music video instead, oh well. I guess we both can misinterpret things.

How do I help a friend who’s suicidal? I feel like checking up on them and being there for them isn’t enough. I’m getting scared that they’re going to jump one of these days because they’re under a lot of stress currently.

You can’t stop someone from doing whatever it is they want to do in life, and that includes ending it. Ultimately the choice is always theirs. All you can really do is let them know you’re there for them, and let them know that killing themselves is a shitty idea. I also like to introduce suicidal people to Henry Rollins, I think he has strong life-affirming things to say about it. You might also want to talk to suicide hotlines about this as they may have really good advice, they don’t just advise suicidal people but also those closest to them. I talk about this a bit more and give a slightly more detailed answer in a question further down.

hey! i dont regularly read but i always read your year end lists and thoroughly enjoy them. treat this as a confession box, if you were a priest and the religion was being a cunt

i _will_ go see loona on their (probably last) concert

there are a hundred ways you can spin this in a pc way. boycotting albums and photocards (which i will do) is different from filling up an arena. if theyre gonna be forced to do it anyway just go. if you dont give money to them their debt from the unfair as fuck contract will just balloon. the industry as a whole is fucked up (in some ways even more than the current loona thing), so we should already be used to questionable consumption. etc. but im at the point where i can reasomably say that if i say those things im just coping.

i just want to see them. 4 years and some truly great songs (and some truly bad ones too as you’ll know), maybe i do deserve one last hurrah, no matter how selfish that sounds. guess that makes me a cunt too, hooray!

honestly im not as big of a fan as i was. people would skin me alive if i said that AND if i say chuu was not exactly a saint in her newly revealed things. but maybr im at the age where i have a grip on how i wanna deal w fucked up things. i dunno maybe you’ll be proud of me for that

p.s. as a fanfiction writer whose works will 100% disgust you, it pleases me that yoill actually release a book

I’m not that fussed really over whether people individually choose to boycott Loona or not. Do what works for you. If Loona bothered to do a comeback I would have reviewed it. Having said that, I do like the message that the boycott sends, I wish k-pop fans could funnel that same energy into also boycotting certain media outlets.

Regarding what you you say about stage presence, I think I finally get it. These days I recalled this performance of Girl’s Day.

They were performing Something for 100th time and, at around 6:30, Minah tries to do something spontaneous and goes closer to the public, she does a hand sign to the girls to follow her and they stay in the script, completely ignoring her and she just goes back to the stage.

Then there’s this performance by f(x) that I love, but the whole “goofing off” part is so awkward,

Sulli doesn’t even hide that she’s hating every second of it. And when I think of it, these idols were very much trained not to be spontaneous and these are examples of what stage presence is NOT, right?

Yeah this is all very much stagecraft-gone-wrong stuff. I plan to revisit stage presence in a post at some point this year. These are good examples to use so I’ll keep them handy!

I had a massively shitty day a couple days ago, due to crappy work conditions and even crappier home conditions (for example, my apartment building has no hot water and may not for 6 more months…), but I just wanted to tell you that today I adopted a cat and that has improved my mood exponentially. I’m looking forward to having a little asshole to love and spoil. Just so this is actually a question, er, favorite idol + animal interaction? Mine has to be JiU’s Cherry solo video.

No hot water for 6 months, wow that sucks.

Favourite idol/cat interactions, definitely UZA’s interactions with her cat Laura. Dunno if she’s an ‘idol’ but I idolise her enough to put her in my bias lists so she is to me. Everyone loves a woman who knows how to make content that mrcs

What’s the cheapest I should reasonably spend on a pair of studio monitors that still sound good if I’m working on a relatively tight budget? also what’s the difference between producing music using studio monitors compared to using headphones and why is it usually recommended to use the latter?

Get the cheapest ones you can that have a ‘flat frequency response’ (i.e that don’t colour the signal by cutting or boosting anything), that’s the #1 consideration for studio monitors. You can safely ignore just about any other factor you want beyond the basic ‘will it work’ stuff.

The reason why it’s better to use monitors than headphones, is that audio tends to sound ‘better’ on headphones, i.e it’s easier to pick out details in the mix, everything’s just a little cleaner and clearer etc because you have such close proximity to the sound and a near-total isolation of everything else that is not the sound. That might make you think “well I should mix on headphones exclusively then” but no – you want to mix on the tool that sounds worse, so then your mix sounds better in more environments. When I mix I use cheap garbage speakers if I can, as well as the good ones, and swap the signal back and forth between them. If I can make the mix sound good on the cheap garbage, it’ll sound fantastic on the better stuff.

The other reasons why headphones are less ideal, is that it’s hard to get a flat frequency response out of headphones (they all ‘colour’ the sound at least a little) and also wearing them for the long periods of time you need to wear them to mix a track is just uncomfortable. Mind you if budget is a concern headphones might be better because at least if you get decent headphones you don’t have to do things like acoustic treatments of the room, which can really add up cost-wise.

which song from your favorites list would you hate most if it was an inescapable, constantly playing radio hit and which song from your least favorites has the most potential to actually be good if it was remixed/remade by a competent producer/artist?

Which list? I assume you mean “all of them”…

I think Sistar’s “Loving U” would make me kill someone eventually.

Pretty much any bad song could be made better but Jimin’s “Hey” strikes me as a song that mathematically had all the ingredients for success and really could/should have worked in the right hands.

how does this compare to abittipsy?

It’s an album track, that’s how it compares.

In the midst of all the legal battle BlockBerry is actually dropping a new Loona album. My question: Why the fuck did BBC think this is a good idea?

Money. They nixxed the idea as soon as they realised money wasn’t going to be made.

For your awards consideration: Kara’s Youngji in the Best Legs category of the 2023 Objection Survey. I realise it’s way too early in the year to strat a campaign but I think people should see this video before they vote

Yeah not sure if people will remember this come voting time but we’ll see I guess.

Are you aware of hrhcollection? I feel like you’d vibe with her

Never heard of her so I checked out the channel, didn’t last longer than about two minutes. Hour-long videos of her ranting about nothing in particular, good luck to her but I got shit to do I don’t have time for this. This chick spends like two minutes adjusting her fucking necklaces so they look right on camera or whatever, bitch I don’t give a fuck about your goddamn necklace make your videos short and get to the point damn.

A recommendation

Bollywood stuff is lost on me, honestly. Great aesthetics and ideas occasionally but dull music every single time.

Thoughts on long distance relationships?

Context: I may or may not have to be separated from a romantic partner for an upwards of 3 years straight. Alternative question, how do I tell a significant other that I’m a weak-willed bitch who can’t do long distance for that long of a time?

Honestly in my opinion three years plus is a deal-breaker. A lot can happen in three years. People don’t even go to the army for that long. If you’re not already married and neither of you are going to prison just say “I can’t do it, I have a life to live. See you in three years, if we’re both still single at that time maybe we can get back together, but no promises.”

Which do you like more, Feel My Rhythm or Air on the G String?

Red Velvet. Bach didn’t even make MVs for his feature tracks so he can get fucked. All we have is fan covers, the videos just can’t compete.

Hi Kpopalypse, may you please consider making a compilation post of all the “hidden metal” songs in KPOP, like Kara’s “Wanna”? Thank you!

No, too much like hard work. People will then ask me to do it for other styles too and it would never end. Also I can’t even remember half of them anyway. I don’t like lists as much as I like facts – I’d rather teach you guys how to find these yourselves so you can do your own lists.

I really shouldn’t ask a stranger for career advice, but I just want an outside opinion. I am in the process of applying to medical schools (I’m in the US as an FYI) and I am really having doubts about my current career path. As part of my “gap year,” I am working as a medical scribe which low-key feels like a glorified secretary. I am so bored at my job and feel like my mind is wasting away as I write these medical notes. Plus, I see first-hand what a doctor does every day, and it leaves me wanting more. My previous ideas of what being a doctor entails are being gradually dismantled as I continue working. Now, I don’t believe any job is perfect, but for the amount of training and effort it requires to become a doctor, I just don’t know if it’s worth it when I feel so lukewarm about it. As someone who has previously suffered from depression, the feelings I have when I am at work mirror some prior depression symptoms. I really only feel this way when I’m at work…

Anyway, my question is do you think I should keep going with medicine despite its issues? Am I being too harsh in my judgments of this profession and suffering from a “grass-is-greener” syndrome or having difficulty transitioning to the working world? I can’t tell if my apathy is misplaced toward my current boring scribe job or healthcare in general. If that’s the case, how do you cope with a job that you hate?

I would suggest sticking with it simply because you’ve experienced depression and it’s possible that you may be having another episode now that is colouring how you feel about work. Also being a doctor is a lot of money, you’ll make a lot more than my broke ass ever will writing about k-pop for 0.00001 cent per word for the last decade, so you should get to the point where you can treat yourself to that cash. There’s no rule saying you have to stay a doctor forever, if it bores you it’s a great job to do for a while so you can build up stacks of money and then change careers down the track with some capital behind you, if that’s what you decide you want. There’s no rule saying you can’t do another degree later, and doing a second degree is a lot more fun when you can comfortably afford it.

Having said that it does depend how far into it you already are. If being a doctor is around the corner I’d stick with it, but if it’s still another ten years of study away, then maybe swapping to something else makes more sense. Ultimately any job gets boring though, even your dream job. I honestly got bored of music teaching after a while, it’s fun but it can be exhausting and there are days when you definitely don’t want to go to work, no matter what you do. I think ultimately finding happiness in work is great and everyone should do it if they can, but finding lots of money and getting your happiness elsewhere is a pretty good second best.

I have seen that you deleted some old twitter posts that you made. May I ask why? There are some great gold mines. Like how someone found “Dead Gakkahs – Paradox over Paradox. I guess you searched for it, but it was deleted before someone uploaded it on youtube and then mentioned it? Was that meant for a scrapped article? One of the few cool kpop mv’s that I have seen in my life. Even if you don’t answer it. Thank you for making it appear on youtube and have a nice december.

Everything on my Twitter auto-deletes if it’s over about 90 days old. I have this set up as an automated process on purpose, the reason why is to stop people with a vendetta against me from picking through years-old tweets to find stuff to report (a common tactic of k-pop’s cyberbullies, read more here) and also I don’t place that much historical value on what I put onto Twitter (or any other social network) anyway, I literally never look at anything on my Twitter that’s older than about a week and I don’t expect anyone else to either. The real online content that I give a fuck about preserving will always be on this site. As for that video, enjoy:

To preface this, I am a degenerate and quite possibly a perverted menace to society. Anyway, I was looking through kpop fanfiction sites and I noticed that one of the most popular EXO fanfiction out there is just about Kai exploring his newfound love for anal sex. It’s 300,000 words (about the same length as Anna Karenina, or Don Quixote) of pure, unrepentant butt fucking.

Because you’re super old and crusty, do you know if this type of top tier perverted antics from bored housewives and phone-addicted emo teenagers has been going on since the dinosaur times? Writing fanfictions seems like a natural human thing as this point.

What are your words of wisdom, oppar?

I’m just disappointed that you haven’t linked to this magnum opus of idol butt sex. My readers will now be asking for it so please come good with this information in time for February QRIMOLE thank you. In the meantime my readers will have to just be happy with December’s JAV of the month which is MIAA-753.

I’m old but not old enough to remember a time before fanfiction, so I can only assume that it’s existed ever since cavemen drew pictures on cave walls of other more famous cavemen licking stegosaurus balls or something.

Usually idc about drugs much (in that I don’t give them much thought) but sometimes I go on a research binge and get stressed about how dangerous the effects of drug abuse seem and how my gf does a lot more drugs than I do (the main one which stresses me out is how she occasionally does coke, also vapes/hookah which is generally not great for your lungs.) I want to let her make her own decisions but the idea of her accidentally fucking up her life or dying makes me very scared sometimes. She doesn’t seem easily addicted to anything (except maybe coffee/sugar,) only increases usage when there’s some sort of external stressor, and seems to not have trouble going back to baseline/giving things up for a while. How do I cope with these feelings?

(Also note that I’ve long had more stress about drugs than the average person because of a vomit phobia, but having it be “reasonable” to worry about drugs makes it hard to tell to what degree my worries are justified. Nonetheless, I want to feel less stress.)

Vapes are about as harmless as a drug gets, it’s basically cigarettes but with only ONE harmful chemical in them entering your body (nicotine) instead of literally 4000. Anti-vape people are dumb, you really want to make it harder for people to quit smoking tobacco? Yeah vapes are not great for your lungs, that’s true (everyone I know who switches from cigarettes to vapes has experienced huge benefits but they all still have the “smoker’s cough”) but you know what else is a lot worse for your lungs, tobacco. Ban cigarettes first, then let’s talk about vapes only after that.

Coke’s obviously a bit less benign but any drug, even the hardest drugs are not a “one hit and you’re hooked” thing, it’s very much dependent on personality and your environment. Most people who do coke that I know just do it recreationally (i.e one in a while before they go out) and can otherwise take it or leave it (and they have to leave it most of the time anyway because that shit is expensive here). I’m not advocating that people start, but if you know someone who does drugs it’s worth asking how often. If you want to do anything to help someone who likes drugs, try not giving them a hard time about it – make their environment better, not worse, and they’ll likely wean themselves off the drug in time. I’ll link the same video that I always link whenever the topic of drug addiction comes up in QRIMOLE, which it does fairly often. Watch all of it.

As a music-y person, do you know how this dude is able to sing like this?

(the vocal edginess comes out at 0:50)

Does he gargle bleach every day? Does he remove his vocal cords, put them in the air fryer, and wait until they’re well done until he swallows them back in? Other rock artists have a similar style, and I’m concerned that they’re hoarding all the air fryers in the market, because it’s so hard to find them in my local shops these days.

On an unrelated note, how do you deal with crippling anxiety, self-sabotage, and feeling like a failure for totally preventable things? Context: I think I missed a grade by one mark on a very important exam because I got too overwhelmed and now I just want to purchase a time travelling device from any of those shady magical dealers and redo my entire life.

This might help:

In the absence of time travel, learning the lessons and moving on is your next best bet. I don’t think about the past ever, I think about the future only sometimes, I mainly just worry about what’s happening now. Since you can’t travel through time, grounding yourself in the present moment is the best way forward. What action can you take right now to help yourself overcome future obstacles.

What’s your opinion on Pets Tseng?

Boring ballads just as awful as anything that comes out of Korea.

It was recently the 5th anniversary of Jonghyun’s death, and, honestly, it still feels so unreal. I still vividly remember the day I learned of his death since it was otherwise a fantastic day, so the gut punch hit even harder. Maybe due to how insane the past couple of years have been, but it feels like I’ve been in a period of stasis since. It still feels pretty raw. I know you’ve mentioned losing many friends from suicide, and you were/are a massive fan of Sulli. How do you deal with it? Does it get better? Obviously, friends dying will sting a lot more than celebrities dying, and I’m thankful that I haven’t lost anyone in that manner. Do you have any advice for noticing warning signs in friends? I want to be able to intervene if it is ever necessary.

Speaking of Jonghyun and Sulli, have we seen idols who are as genuine as them in recent years? I feel like they were special for how outspoken they were about the sheer awfulness of Korean culture. Jonghyun took an actual fucking stand for the LGBTQ+ community in the absurdly conservative South Korea (BTS may pave the way, but they’ll never say anything worthwhile and stand with it when they continue to be the massive hypocrites that need to be to sell to everyone and no one at the same time) while Sulli’s entire life revolved around exposing the misogyny inherent in that world. They were truly special people.

Jonghyun and Sulli were both good people who deserved a stanning just for their actions, regardless of any musical content. Of course people with actual moral values do it roughest in the corrupt, conservative and superficial Korean business (remember how much Sulli was hated by the media and fans alike when she was active, I felt like I was the only one with a website who was sticking up for her at many points) so it’s expected that they would feel so alone and on the outside. I have no doubt this contributed to their suicide.

My (unfortunately) extensive experience in dealing with suicide could probably be a full article one day, but a lot of shit is still pretty raw for me and I don’t want to write it until I have some more distance. Also I don’t want to write such an article until suicide is in the media generally, because I’m wary of the proven fact that more discourse in the media reminding people about suicides can actually lead to more suicides. But then ignoring a problem until it becomes a problem and someone dies is just as shitty, so what to do? I don’t have a good answer. However since the subject is now here, a tl;dr one paragraph version of an article I may one day write is to keep connections open, talk to them regular (in real life not just online or phone). Don’t ignore ‘attempts’, yes it might just be ‘for attention’ which means you should give that attention. That annoying person who just seems to want ‘attention’ might be annoying, it’s when they stop wanting attention, watch out for that. But probably the biggest red flag in my experience is when a suicidal person seems to stop talking about it and just starts acting like everything is suddenly fine. Your brain will want to be optimistic and process it as a sign of recovery but often this just means they’re happy because they’ve now finalised their suicide plan and they see the end in sight. The night I spent with my ex-partner before she died was the happiest she had been in months, of course I was happy too because I was thinking “finally she’s feeling a bit better about the problems she’s been having” and of course it’s natural to want to try and look on the positive after dealing with so much doom and gloom, little did I know…

Hi, song submitter here! First of all, happy new year and I wish you all the best because you’re so entertaining with your post!

My question is: last week Stellar discography pre-Sting was removed by Spotify because the distribution ended. Well, I think the agency behind Stellar, after they disbanded, collapsed, so who decides the rights to the songs? The songs were reputed on Spotify under another distributor.

Second question: Gidle Soyeon has some impact on music output for her group, but she actually dislikes Senorita, produced by her. In this market where everything is against idols wishes, why produced a song that she doesn’t like. The only reason probably is because Cube wants a Latin concept and she doesn’t like its style of it.

First question: If the deal ended the rights would fall back to whoever owns the songs originally and then they have to arrange a different distribution deal if they want the songs to remain up on a platform.

Second question: whether a composer is part of an idol group, or someone writing songs for an idol group doesn’t matter – in either case, they may still be in a position where a label says “please write me a song that sounds like x” and they have to do it. They may not like style x, or maybe they do like style x but they end up not writing a song they’re happy with but the label still likes it, or maybe they wrote a great song they loved and then the label insisted on changes they didn’t like, or maybe they just ran out of the time needed to make the song the way they wanted it. All these things and more are possible, there’s endless reasons who a song producer might not be happy with a final product.

I can’t believe the year’s over. It all feels so unreal, yet somehow, I’ve come to grow numb to the Russia-Ukraine War. How? How did I grow to care so little about the biggest European conflict since WWII? Is there something wrong with me? I’m no longer spending the hours on Perun videos that I would have during the beginning of the war and the summer. I’m no longer reading every article on the war that I come across in my normal newspaper. I’m no longer listening to every Zelenskyy speech, and more importantly, I’m not feeling emotionally moved by him despite his great oratorial skills and fantastic writing team. It feels utterly insane. Yeah, I thought he deserved to win Time Person of the Year because fuck Putin doesn’t deserve it, and I still got pumped when the Ukrainians retook Kharkiv. However, those are just the most popular headline statements. This may be melodramatic, but it’s been weighing on my mind for months now. I’m somehow used to it now, despite knowing how disgusting the war is. The reports of war crimes barely phase me at this point. Victories, defeats, it all blurs together.

People actually in a warzone apparently experience this too, the war just becomes a fact of life. “Oh the bombs are dropping again, gosh guess I’d better go shopping for food”, that’s why civilians caught in a warzone often look so casual and not like the frightened people you see in the movies. You have to numb yourself a bit and kind of resign yourself to the inevitability of it and the randomness and luck of whether you’ll get hit by a bomb that day just to get through it. I don’t follow the war stuff every day either, it’s exhausting. Putin’s probably relying on this fact in the hope it’ll make the general public in the west support freeing Ukraine less, at this point it’s probably the only card in his favour given how thoroughly he’s messed up literally everything else. It’s a tough thing to follow especially when things bog down into a war of attrition, there’s only so much footage of sad conscripted Russian soldiers being driven to their deaths like lemmings that one can watch. I hope the Russians form a clue and realise they’re fighting an unwinnable war but sadly they don’t seem to have that much self-awareness so let’s hope Ukraine can beat them back quickly so the war ends with a minimum of casualties for everyone. It’s easy for people to say “we love peace so why not give the Russians what they want because that would get peace straight away” but that’ll just mean a temporary pause in the fighting while Russia regroups and then attacks again even harder in a year or two. Russia’s 19th century style brutal expansionism and corruption culture is out of place in the modern world and has to be harshly rebuked for humanity to have any hope of getting through the 21st century. Fortunately Ukraine have the means and the will to do it, and they will, it’s just not an easy or quick process unfortunately. Just as well for all of us that the Russians aren’t as good at fighting wars as they are at filling the Internet with divisive political spam comments.

My question: Why does the piano sound so awful starting around :24 in Step Back by GOT the Beat? Is it deliberately out-of-tune and/or dissonant music intervals?

That’s not actually a piano, but a sample of a string orchestra. It’s deliberately dissonant in the context that it’s presented. I actually love the effect, it’s just a shame that the vocals they used on top of this section of the song don’t complement the dissonance at all. The song has such great building blocks but is a classic example of a song “written by committee”. Everyone had lots of great individual ideas, and then they were forced to fit them all together to please everyone in the room, the result is a disaster.

Hi Oppar! Hope you and your gf are doing well. I found your blog a few years ago and have read through a good chunk of your old articles and QRIMOLE, and they really helped me get through uni and with a lot of other stuff as well, so thank you. I didn’t think I’d be writing a really long question about some personal stuff in my life, but here I am. So I found out [a bunch of stuff deleted at reader request] but if you have any advice, it would really help. Also please censor all the personal details, since a bunch of people I know irl read your blog as well. Thank you again, and I hope you have a happy new year ❤

I think your gut instinct is correct, just ride it out. You haven’t got long to go. In a year’s time you’ll have moved onto better things in life, and you’ll look back at this time in your life and go “well, fuck those bitches, they made their choice and I made mine”. The situation sucks, but it’s very temporary and the months will fly by quicker than you think. It’s a really good excuse to knuckle down and focus on your studies actually, less distractions will help in the long run, there’ll be time to revisit these aspects later if you so choose.

hey there, hope you’re having a good day oppar

so, last christmas, I did a cover of Last Christmas by Wham for my last year of high school.  (if you get to this question pls don’t embed the video and just make it a hyperlink or something I don’t super want to expose my face on a site with a lot of visitors thanks) so, questions:
1. how did I do? this is supposed to be a vocal cover cause I’m in the glee club (even though I caked my vocals in reverb) but I’d also appreciate comments on the instrumental.
2. the reason I made an instrumental in the first place instead of using the original is that I realized that Last Christmas is very slightly sped up. The key is in D but tuned slightly higher and the tempo was irregular and had decimals in it (I couldn’t use it to record because my software didn’t allow decimals in the tempo so I wouldn’t be able to use a click track and I didn’t know how much the track was sped up by so I couldn’t slow it down for usability). Was this done in the recording studio or was it sped up after the song was done, and what could be the reason for doing this?

I just removed the vid, a LOT of people click my links so hyperlinking instead of embedding wouldn’t decrease the views/exposure as much as you might think.

1. It’s good! Wouldn’t have minded some sort of rhythm instrument in there but what you’ve got there does the job. Singing is fine, effects or not.

2. If you want to know the exact BPM of a tune for cover-making purposes I find the site all8 really good. Just tap along to the piece and as you keep tapping the BPM will get more and more accurate (doesn’t work for those without a sense of rhythm or for songs with tempo changes obviously), after half a song it’ll be perfect. The original seems to be about 108 exactly, so I doubt it’s been sped up, but if it was indeed sped up (hypothetically), how would they do it? The song was recorded back in the days when analog masters were more popular and it’s entirely likely someone could have just sped up the tape a little to make it sound “brighter”, not uncommon with pop songs back then.

Hi and Happy New Year! I hope you had a better time celebrating than me, I stayed home because the fireworks and celebrations have been cancelled due to strong winds and heavy rain. The new YG girl group is debuting soon and I was pleasantly surprised that it doesn’t have 4 members. Fingers crossed that’s a sign that we’re not getting 2NE3. Girl groups have really upped their game recently so these girls are going to face tough competition. I know that companies want their idols to be brand ambassadors, commercials models etc… because that’s what bring the money but I really hope we can get some good songs first. What are your thoughts on this?

I don’t think it matters how many people are in a new group, it won’t change the sound. We’ll get the songs they see fit to give us regardless. If we get lucky they might try a new type of sound, but given YG’s track record with girl groups I wouldn’t bet on it.

ok so I finished listening to Merzbow’s Pulse Demon album and I… think I… like it? Compared to literally everything else I’ve ever listened to tho, the reasons why it appeals to me are completely out of my grasp. How do you know when a song in this style sounds good when most of it sounds like square waves and bitcrushed samples of dudes screaming? What makes a good noise passage different from a bad one? Is there like a documentary or something I can look into that describes the process of how any human can make music like this?
Also, what’s your favorite song by him?

It’s all very subjective but I think the transgressive nature of it plays a part, the idea of getting to the “most extreme” forms of music, the idea that you’re hearing something so intense that it breaks music in general. Merzbow’s “Venereology” album (also his best work I think so that answers the other question) was marketed to metalheads in Australia with a tagline of a “if you think metal is extreme wait til you hear this” or similar. Of course you could argue all day about various noise music and what qualifies as more extreme or whatever, there’s a pretty deep rabbit hole to go down. I’ve never seen a good documentary film about it although there’s a few bad ones on YouTube.

1. I was in line at the dmv trying to renew my drivers license when I accidentally pooped myself. And because of it I looked grumpy in my license photo. This is a true story. What type of food makes your bottom runny? I foolishly had Indian the night before

2. What non-Kpop music conspiracy theory do you believe is true?

3. I completely believe MJ abused those children, the man was clearly a batshit weirdo. But people still defend him to no end because he could moonwalk. I don’t understand. Which Michael Jackson knock-off would you rather be molested by, Taemin or Kai?

4. I’ve studied a lot of music theory, technology, and history so that I can create my own music at some point. But when I watch videos of top pop music producers making songs, it’s just easy basic shit. What’s the point of learning about all this stuff when the general public will listen to the most trite, trivial slop?

  1. Lack of sugar, I periodically sugar-fast and it has this effect!
  2. The NSA definitely did spy on people, and most western countries have an equivalent of the NSA, they use the same voice recognition technology that Google Nest and similar apps use to work out who’s talking about what and if you’re talking about a lot of sus stuff in your home you will be ‘flagged’ and listened in on via your landline phone, your smart TV in ‘standby’ mode etc on a regular basis to make sure you’re not planning something crazy. When you hear on the news every now and again about how a terrorist plot was caught in the planning stages before anything actually happened, that’s sometimes how they caught them. I can’t prove this and obviously I could be completely wrong but I’ll believe it until a believable case for the negative is presented.
  3. This one I’m a lot more informed about, as I know a few different people who have met MJ and even someone who met him as a child and spent an entire day with him. All of them say the same thing – MJ just loved kids in a purely platonic way, and he also loved the idea of being a kid in general, because he didn’t have much of a childhood of his own, that was stolen from him by abuse. Hence why MJ wanted to hang out with kids so much and why he had childlike interests like having a “Neverland’ ranch or whatever, he wanted to try and recapture some of what was stolen from him, the childhood he never really had. He confirmed that MJ wasn’t creepy or inappropriate in any manner. Maybe at the most MJ whacked it to some Min Jee Hin style arthouse pictures in the privacy of his own home when he wasn’t banging Lisa Marie Presley or some random Australian chick, but as for actual child molestation, I don’t believe it. Folks just saw dollar signs if you ask me, and when he stupidly settled out of court with one family because he was worried he’d lose the case, that opened the floodgates for any other greedy parents who also had a kid who visited Michael (and there were many, because Michael would make a point of hanging out with his young fans all the time). I would rather be molested by Kai because he has a better song than any of Taemin’s, obviously I’d prefer to not be molested by either, but if I have to be molested and had to choose I’d pick the guy with better songs just in case he started singing during the act Clockwork Orange style.
  4. Making trite trivial slop is easy, but making trite, trivial slop that sells consistently over years is not, the practitioners who do this stuff for years on end and sustain a long term career, those people know what they’re doing (even if it sucks). You may not ever need all the skills that a class teaches you, but in such a competitive industry anything that gives you an edge on the competition can’t hurt, and if you have a general interest in music, it will be interesting to learn about regardless of its career usefulness.

So I’m not typically one to speculate beyond my means too far – but there’s been some discussion on hybe and the “big three” and whether hybe is big enough to enter into a “big four”. However,, my question is not about hybe, but about whether YG can remain as such a big player on the horizon? It seems that their prospects don’t exactly look amazing. Both ikon and winner are kind of dead (and never really achieved consistent success anyway); I don’t really follow treasure but they never really reached to a level you’d expect from YG, and then had some issues with members recently. Blackpink are their main saving grace but their contracts are up soon, and who can predict how that goes down. As for future projects? There’s been…. Nothing. Really their next girl group is where they could continue (which I find extremely ironic that girl groups are their biggest items considering how misogynistic YG is) but I doubt that they can reach blackpink levels, and there’s been no real information about their plans either. This kind of fits in with their “basically no communication and relying on starvation methods where people are so desperately hungry that they celebrate getting diced caught rat as a feast” – but im not so sure it could work so well for them with a new group at the rate they’re going right now. SM and JYP in comparison are miles ahead in terms of current and “future setting” projects – they feel very strong and like companies that are holding up their legacy. Hybe is also going pretty good with their girl groups, despite some shaky starts they’re really leading the current generation and are setting up a good foundation for hybe to become a mainstay in the industry (plus txt is also very popular I believe, idk I don’t give much care about boy groups unless they put out something worth listening to). When you look at YG – they just look so anemic??? We’ve seen companies fall from the top like FNC; do you see YG really keeping up this ‘top company’ status at the current rate, or are they kind of flailing and holding onto status through the past?

This question comes up with YG every single time their existing groups are looking a bit long in the tooth (tons of people asked me the same thing at the tail end of 2NE1’s career before Blackpink came out), and they always find a way out of it, so I’m sure that they’ll do so again. Remember that a lot of the big earners for these agencies is the stuff that isn’t the most immediately obvious to music fans. Blackpink might not be doing songs right this minute but Rose signed new endorsement contracts literally this week. I don’t know why people care so damn much about the fate of these companies though. Like who gives a fuck if the “big three” is the “big four” or whatever. Fans trying to analyse the business side of k-pop never ends well, you’re deliberately kept on the outside by these companies for a reason. If I were to pick one major negative influence of my writing, it’s that people have read my business-focused posts and this has led to an increased amount of speculation about the k-pop business as whole, which I actually think is a bad thing. The only reason why I’ve focused on that at various times is so people wanting to enter the biz know how screwed they’re going to potentially get and how to best protect themselves, not because I want to play “is company x bigger than company y”.

seeing what’s happening with loona, do people not realise that boycotting kpop companies just nets them more money? I know you’ve done your ‘advertising is where they all make money the songs turn a loss’ post, but you haven’t really talked about the smaller companies rampant creative accounting with futures trading. Idol debt always increases until contracts end, which is a reliable thing to trade on. When idols film a comeback, their debt increases just the same, except if they don’t get as much revenue due to a boycott, the debt is just larger for them, and the futures payout is even greater. The company wins either way. Middle range companies use each others groups to avoid insider trading, but loona are under ilkwang group, so they were just a setup for laundering right from the start. Anyone who’s shocked that the company wasn’t trying to turn a profit and didn’t care about controversy is ignoring where they actual profits came from, the debt itself.

I don’t talk about this because I don’t have reliable evidence for it, or reliable insiders talking to me about it. Ultimately once again the fate of the company doesn’t concern me overly. I’m more interested in the fate of you the fan, and you the artist, and the specific parts of the industry that affect this. Like I give a fuck about some already-rich cunts. Blockberry didn’t pay the Loona members – but they could have, futures trading or no futures trading. I’m sure their top execs found a way to pay themselves. If they’re not going to give the money to Yeojin they can shove it up their ass.

This isn’t really a question, but a while back, I talked to you about Hong Kong and my family’s plight. Well, at the time, my cousin really wanted to emigrate to Australia, and you provided some resources. Now, he’s finally been able to get a visa, and apparently, he’s been able to get started on one of the pathways to become a permanent resident. Hopefully, he’ll eventually become a permanent resident. Thanks! I also hope others in Hong Kong are just as fortunate in their endeavors to leave the burgeoning dystopia.

Great news! I hope it works out. The current government is a little bit softer on China issues than the previous bunch of dicks so hopefully for your cousin that means that the door doesn’t close. I hope things progress smoothly. If he becomes a permanent resident let me know.

Hi Kpopalypse, my favourite blogger!

Not too long ago I read your post about surviving crowd crushes and just a few minutes ago I survived one!

A bit of backstory: Croatia won 3rd place in World Cup and there’s a huge crowd on the main square in Zagreb celebrating and waiting for the team to come so I came as well. At one point a bunch of people around me started going back to the street they (and I) came from which soon developed into an actual crowd crush. I tried my absolute best to stay calm despite my usual anxiety and followed your advice and…well, I’m alive obviously since I’m writing this! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! Although indirectly, you saved my life!

Wow, good work surviving! Crowd crush post here for those who want to read it and haven’t yet. Since I made the crowd crush post, there have been five more crowd crushes around the world with multiple fatalities, so I think it’s good that people take these things seriously. Yes my posts have a lot of stupid humour, but that’s mainly just so you keep reading – a dry-ass post about an important issue that nobody bothers to read, won’t save anyone’s life. Not that I can take credit for it really, you probably would have been just fine, but I don’t think it hurts to be armed with all the information and trufax that you can so you can life your life to the best of your ability. Look out for more educational posts on this site about all sorts of random crap and stay safe in 2023, caonimas!

That’s all for this episode of QRIMOLE! This series will return next month! In the meantime remember don’t believe the hype!

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!

2 thoughts on “QRIMOLE – New Year 2023

  1. Happy new year to you. I was reading the post and I saw talking about depression and suicide. As a psychology student that is something we deal a lot. For starter we can’t solve the situation, is complicated and rely in a bunch of different approachs to handle people in psychological urgency ( is the state we call a person before attempting suicide but with the odds of doing it). Even for us there isn’t a right way to deal with it that will magically make everything alright. For a person to do something like that the strings that attach that person to the will of living are already fading so we have to be super careful.
    The only advice I can give to someone that is seeying someone in that state, even if sounds like is just an attention seeker for you. Confort that person, just say you love her and you are there for her no matter what. Let her now that she is loved and accepted. Don’t try to give reasons and inject knowledge or positive thoughts. Just hug, say you love her and if there is anything she needs you are there.

    honestly that is the only thing you can do, give confort and supporting. It depends on them to take action but the fact that person feels accepted that can motivate to a further step. Depression is a very complicated process and isn’t the same for everybody, there are different reason to cause it and that means there will be different ways to handle. But the complications usually are the same, there is a more dangerous depression that is called smiling depression that a person live almost normally and function all the time pretending to be ok like an autopilot and one day there is a breakdown and a sudden suicide attempt.
    Anything related to emotions and mental health are working process, there isn’t a pill to solve all, is a long understanding process, need a group of professionals and a lot of struggle to get better. but all depends on that person, isn’t a choice we can make from outside. So supporting and conforting, being a good friend thru all process is all we can do and is tiring and not always show the result we expect, so we need patience and lots of love.

    Sorry for the long post and the many mistakes, english isn’t my first language and because of that much was lost in my attempt of translation. Hope this can be usefull.

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