- What Matters in K-pop? - I have often viewed increased visibility of K-pop in mainstream American media with ambivalence. On one hand, increased visibility may mean more opportunities for concerts and access to K-pop-related media. On the other hand, it may mean significant changes to K-pop and its fandom that take away the things that drew fans in the first… Continue reading What Matters in K-pop?
- What I’m Listening To: “The Manual,” Eddy Kim - “The Manual” is from Eddy Kim’s 2014 EP, The Manual. Image: “Eddy Kim Profile.” KPopMusic. http://www.kpopmusic.com/artist/eddy-kim-profile (14 Jun 2017). Video: 1theK (원더케이). “[MV] Eddy Kim(에디킴) _ The Manual(너 사용법).” YouTube. 7 Apr 2014. https://youtu.be/Y4mH2KvzUQ0 (14 Jun 2017).
- What I’m Listening To: “Tripping,” Hyun Seong - “Tripping” is Hyun Seong’s solo from the Boyfriend’s 2012 album Janus. Image: Jeff Benjamin. “Boyfriend to Bring K-pop to Middle America for Chicago & Dallas Shows.” billboard. 3 Jan 2014. http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/k-town/5820050/boyfriend-to-bring-k-pop-to-middle-america-for-chicago-dallas-shows (9 Jun 2017). Video: KookieCane13. “Shim Hyunseong – 이랬다 저랬다 (Trippin’) [Han & Eng].” YouTube. https://youtu.be/fsESKprKK1I (9 Jun 2017).
- What I’m Listening To: “Carnival,” B.A.P - “Carnival” is from B.A.P’s 2016 EP Carnival. Image Tamar Herman. “B.A.P Brings Party Baby Tour Stateside, Talks ‘Wake Me Up”: ‘We Are Part of the Current Generation.” billboard. 10 May 2017. http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/k-town/7752638/bap-interview-party-baby-tour-wake-me-up (9 Jun 2017). Video MBCkpop. “박정아의 달빛낙원] B.A.P – Carnival, 비에이피 – 카니발 [박정아의 달빛낙원] 20160320.” YouTube. https://youtu.be/CIA2h-dAEO8 (9 Jun 2017).
- Why The BTS Billboard Win Is Only One Half Of The K-pop Fan Story - Unless you have been under a rock, you are surely aware of the win by BTS for Top Social Artist at the Billboard Music Awards. While the win shows the way K-pop fans can mobilize in the moment, the celebration of group anniversaries demonstrates the longevity of K-pop fandom. Many have pondered what the win… Continue reading Why The BTS Billboard Win Is Only One Half Of The K-pop Fan Story
- What I’m Listening To. . . AOA, “너 때문에 [Help Me]” - “Help Me” is from AOA’s first full album, Angel’s Knock (2017). Image: 1 Video: K-Pop Music For You. “AOA (에이오에이) – 너 때문에 (Help Me) [MP3 Audio].” YouTube. 1 Jan 2017. https://youtu.be/m_ksKZPW36M. (19 Mar 2017).
- What I’m Listening To. . . Niel, “그런 날 [Disappear]” - “그런 날 [Disappear]” is from Niel‘s second solo album, Love Affair (2016). A member of Teen Top, Niel showcases his vocals on this track. Who knew Niel could get down like that? Source: YJzKP. “NIEL(니엘) – 그런 날(On that day)[LOVE AFFAIR…](MP3).” YouTube. 15 Jan 2017. https://youtu.be/ccAuU783NKI, (21 Jan 2017).
- Fan Hierarchy and K-pop - Fan hierarchy, which use criteria to declare some fans “better” than other fans, is not unique to K-pop. Nevertheless, it distorts the realities of fan dynamics in K-pop. It is no secret that Korean fans feel some type of way about global fans, and vice versa. For example, many global fans are multi-fandom, which means… Continue reading Fan Hierarchy and K-pop
- What I’m Listening To……Trax, “아직은 나 [I Can Change]” - TRAX (Typhoon of the Rose Attack on X-mas), known for its more driving tracks, slows it down for “아직은 나 [I Can Change],” from their mini-album, Cold Hearted Man (2010). Image: 1 littlestarzeo. “TRAX_04-아직은 나 (I Can Change).” YouTube. 19 Nov 2012. https://youtu.be/POXY0nc0aec, (27 Dec 2016).
- What I’m Listening To. . . Seventeen, “Highlight” - “Highlight,” an upbeat dance track, is from Seventeen’s 3rd mini album, Going Seventeen. Image: 1 WINGS K-pop Music Group. “SEVENTEEN (세븐틴) – HIGHLIGHT [MP3 Audio] [Going Seventeen – 3rd Mini Album].” YouTube. 4 Dec 2016. https://youtu.be/qWqxHSbExXk, (27 Dec 2016).
- Strong Women and the Men Who Love Them: Strong Woman Do Bong Soon and Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo - Both Strong Woman Do Bong Soon and Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo place unconventional women in the center of K-drama in ways that do not diminish them for being strong. Interestingly, both dramas have origins in the childhoods of the main characters, where the female leads disrupt the conventional narrative by being the saviors of… Continue reading Strong Women and the Men Who Love Them: Strong Woman Do Bong Soon and Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo
- Hatin’ on Hae Soo in Scarlet Heart: Ryeo - There are many aspects of Scarlet Heart: Ryeo that make it a worthwhile K-drama to watch, but there is one that is quite annoying. Hae Soo (IU) is the female lead that drags this K-drama down. This is not a criticism of IU, who is supercute and an expert in the wide-eye closeup. This is… Continue reading Hatin’ on Hae Soo in Scarlet Heart: Ryeo
- Daebak. . . Is On My Mind! - I put this K-drama down for a minute, but I had to pick it back up once I realized that it had the Triple Threat!!!! First, Choi Min Soo as King Sukjong! He is one of my favorite actors, and he apparently is the founder of the School of Chill Acting. No matter the role,… Continue reading Daebak. . . Is On My Mind!
- Power in Unity!: Ideal Masculinity in Descendants of the Sun - We all know the primary reason we are all over Descendants of the Sun is Captain “Big Boss” Yoo Si Jin (Song Joong Ki). He’s become one of my favorite male protagonists in a K-drama, so central to the story that he takes attention away from the female lead. At the same time, he reinforces male… Continue reading Power in Unity!: Ideal Masculinity in Descendants of the Sun
- Chief Master Sergeant Seo Dae Young. . . Is On My Mind! - Don’t get me wrong, I see you, “Big Boss” Yoo Shi Jin (Song Joong Ki) right there, but his sidekick Chief Master Sergeant Seo Dae Young (Jin Goo) is no slouch in Descendants of the Sun! Even though those brooding good looks may suggest that he’s an aloof loner, he’s actually great friends with Shi… Continue reading Chief Master Sergeant Seo Dae Young. . . Is On My Mind!
- The Sons of Yi Seong Gye. . . Are On My Mind! - Six Flying Dragons keeps our attention on the shenanigans of Yi Bang Won (Yoo Ah In) and his buddies as they run around Goryeo trying to start a revolution, but let’s not sleep on Yi Seong Gye‘s other sons, Yi Bang Gwa (Seo Dong Won) and Yi Bang Woo (Lee Seung Hyo). Unlike their carefree… Continue reading The Sons of Yi Seong Gye. . . Are On My Mind!
- Yi Bang Won. . . Is On My Mind! - Every king has to start somewhere, and while Yi Bang Won (Yoo Ah In) is knee-deep in the foundations of the revolution in Six Flying Dragons, he makes time to give attention to his love life. I have to say I’m liking his criteria for women. Basically, it’s. . . “You see that girl over… Continue reading Yi Bang Won. . . Is On My Mind!
- Moody K-dramas and their Moody Leads - Dramatic music. Shadowy settings. Mysterious villains. This can only mean one thing: a moody K-drama! I love my romantic comedies, sageuks and melodramas, but I have a special place in my heart for the police story, especially the “special task force,” the detectives-not-detectives, the “we don’t exist” teams found in K-dramas. More importantly, I love… Continue reading Moody K-dramas and their Moody Leads
- K-drama Characters to Love and Loathe - We all watch K-dramas to see the actors we like, but if you’ve watched enough K-dramas, you may have noticed that certain actors frequently show up in strong supporting roles. As a result, some actors gain a reputation for playing good guys, and others gain a reputation for portraying punks. Here are some of my… Continue reading K-drama Characters to Love and Loathe
- Cha Gun Woo…….Is On My Mind! - And not in a good way. Dude, we GET IT! You are carrying a grudge because someone killed your girlfriend. I like how at the beginning we are reminded that this is a fictional work. Of course it is, because no one could be as angsty as Cha Gun Woo (Kim Bum) in real life!… Continue reading Cha Gun Woo…….Is On My Mind!
- “He’s Different”: The Man From Nowhere (2010) - It’s not often that I say this, but you have to forgive me. I have been avoiding Won Bin like I owe him money. You know how everyone else goes on about a person, and just to be contrary, you stay far away? Yeah, that was me and Won Bin. Please forgive me. That’s the… Continue reading “He’s Different”: The Man From Nowhere (2010)
- Oldboy (2003) - I was eating my breakfast this morning, and it just popped into my head: Park Chan-wook’s Oldboy. Just like that. It’s been a few years since I saw that movie, but it’s kinda hard to forget it. I have it on good authority that the brains of some people have been irreversibly altered by watching… Continue reading Oldboy (2003)
- One of These Things Just Doesn’t Belong: The Good, The Bad and the Weird (2008) - Let me preface this by declaring my love of the quirky, dark Korean movie. I loved the dysfunction of The Quiet Family (1998), and the domestic hitman vibe of Guns and Talks (2001). So I’m thinking I’m going to like The Good, The Bad and The Weird. It’s seems to have so much going for… Continue reading One of These Things Just Doesn’t Belong: The Good, The Bad and the Weird (2008)
- Haeundae (2009): We’re Gonna Need A Bigger Boat! - I confess, I love disaster movies (actual disasters, not so much). But disaster movies are not all about the big spectacle. Sure, we expect to see buildings fall and cars get swept away, but the only way we care about the big spectacle is because of the small spectacle. I’m talking about the dysfunctional personal… Continue reading Haeundae (2009): We’re Gonna Need A Bigger Boat!