one girl's journey across kpop paradise

Tag Archives: k-pop

To be absolutely honest, the past couple of days I think I’ve hit a peak with my k-pop. I go in and out of cycles of being obsessed with k-pop, and I think the recent attention put on SHINee has kind of died out, now that they’ve been performing on music shows for three weeks. A lot of established groups aren’t promoting new songs right now, so it’s been kind of dead on the radar. There are always a lot of new groups promoting, but I feel like there are so many of the same kind of groups that pop up all over the place that I’m starting to get a little impatient and sick of keeping up with k-pop a bit. I hate to say it, but I do need breaks from my beloved k-pop world at times too.

But I randomly stumbled upon SPICA yesterday and I’m been obsessed, watching all their MVs and listening to their first mini album. I think that in the mass sea of new girl group debuts, they have something special and could really succeed.

Some background information – SPICA is a new group that debuted back in January, though they didn’t start actively promoting until February. They’re managed by B2M Entertainment and are produced by the famous Lee Hyori.

Here’s the song that caught me:

For me, the first couple of seconds of a song is very important, because it sets the tone for the rest of the song. This song, “Painkiller,” begins with a haunting piano tune and a fantastic voice. Hooked from the start. And then the set seems to mainly be an abandoned alley (that’s all too familiar for us k-pop fans), but there’s something I like about the way this MV is executed. Someone on YouTube commented that the song gave off the feel of a “tragic romance” and I have to agree – it has a bit of a Romeo and Juliet feel to it, somehow.

I think each member is really unique-looking and I think pull off the badass girl attitude without seeming pretentious or like they’re trying too hard. I love the outfits – there’s something about them that I like, can’t exactly put my finger on it – but everything about this group strikes to me as mature and professional, like they’ve been doing it for years.

Then I did some research and realized that they have been doing it for years. The youngest member is 23, and the oldest member is 25. Thank goodness. Most of the new groups (both boy and girl) have been way too young. Zelo – B.A.P – I know people love you, but 15? Really? The girls of SPICA have been in the business for a while. BoA, the lead vocalist, was Infinite’s vocal trainer. Bohyung was supposed to debut with 2NE1, and Jiwon almost debuted with T-ARA. These girls have been training for a long time, and I think it really shows.

Now, I’m not encouraging companies to train their talents for a long time or anything. I just think it’s better to debut your talent once they’re older and more mature – not only are they better performers then, but they’re more capable of handling the stress of being in the spotlight so often.

Here was another one of their singles, “Russian Roulette”:

The video starts off with the girls gathered around a circular table. BoA instigates a russian roulette game – for no given reason – and the girls take turns with the gun. The entire atmosphere of the MV is very sophisticated; it reminds me a bit of Casino Royale (2006), the suspenseful, mysterious, dark aura really works for these girls. The outfits in this part of the MV are fabulous. Admittedly, I’m really into fashion, and I felt like these outfits were sophisticated chic without trying too hard (like I’ve already iterated about the previous video). The song is catchy, not as heavy as “Painkiller,” but still very memorable.

Kim Bohyung, maknae

Kim Bohyung, maknae

With such good vocals on the MVs, I was a bit apprehensive when first watching their live renditions, worrying that it wouldn’t be as good as in recording. I mean, every group live won’t sound as good as their recordings, but I think SPICA did pretty good, considering they have only been performing on music programs for a bit over a month. I think they have room for growth, but I think they’re waaaay underrated right now. They’re flying mostly under the radar, and I think they deserve more recognition! If you like them, tell your friends about them :)

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And today I will take a break from what I usually post about to talk about one of the greatest joys of my life…being a fangirl.

I have to be totally 100% honest when I say that the reason I got into Korean culture and learning the language is because of k-pop. K-pop and Korean dramas, but mostly k-pop. K-pop, with their attractive boys and girls, pretty costumes, beautiful sets, catchy songs, and sexy dances, is really, really appealing. And, like many other young girls, I fell madly in love with perhaps the cutest boys on earth.

But it’s not just the visual factor that keeps me going. Reflecting back on my almost three years as a pretty fervent k-pop fan, I have come to realize that what makes me coming back for more is the incredible level of unity and friendship I feel within the k-pop community. It’s not just me and just me liking a song or a music video or a boy group. It’s me, spazzing out with thousands of other fangirls and fanboys AROUND THE WORLD when the music video comes out.

Lately I’ve been keeping up with the SHINee and Infinite fandoms on Tumblr, and I swear, the level of dedication of fans is so awe-inspiring and just downright incredible. When Infinite’s Woohyun celebrated his 21st birthday back in February, there were dozens upon dozens of Inspirits who created picture sets of his best photos and wrote long, emotional letters dedicated to him. And then the thousands of Inspirits liked and reblogged the crap out of the photo sets. I was among them. I even sent Woohyun a tweet saying happy birthday.

 

And I know there’s a little mistake in the last sentence, but that’s okay. It was my little contribution to the millions upon millions of fans that want to reach out to the idols. Hell, I’m learning Korean so that I can understand my favorite idols. When I understand a whole sentence they say, a little bit of my heart warms up, knowing that I’m a little bit closer to them. The fact that Woohyun probably never read my tweet is saddening, but I’m okay with it. He has so many fans that do so much for him and the rest of the Infinite members – I just wanted to show my support in the very small way that I could.

Now on to SHINee. The past two weeks have been crazy hell for Shawols everywhere. Ever since SM announced that SHINee would finally be making a comeback after 18-something months of Korean prime-time inactivity, Shawols have been ecstatic. Finally, their five beloved SHINee boys would be coming back with a new single!! I’d just joined the SHINee world about two months ago, so I can’t really express the emotions of a true die-hard Shawol, but I could really feel the amount of love for the boys hardcore Shawols have. Last week alone, Shawols on Tumblr were going crazy trying to predict when SM would be releasing each of the five members’ individual photo teasers. My Tumblr dashboard was filled each night around 7 pm with antsy Shawols wondering what the hell had happened to SM that they weren’t uploading the photo teasers. All of us waited and refreshed our Tumblrs with bated breath as the teasers finally came out, one by one. And when the photos came out, Tumblr Shawols did what they did best – edit and collage the hell out of them. And then the notes piled up. Soon, each of the members had collages with up to 2-3,000 notes. The power of Shawols.

This past Sunday, I woke up at around 6 am to find out that the music video teaser and the digital album would be released soon. Shawols once again scrambled together to wait for the teasers, and then also edited and gif-ed the hell out of the short 39 second teaser. But it wasn’t until this morning (Tuesday) at 11 AM that I truly felt the love. Apparently, at 11 AM Tuesday (00:00 Wednesday KST), the full music video was to be uploaded onto SM’s home page on YouTube. The time came and went, and with no music video uploaded, Shawols went absolutely NUTS. They spammed the comments section of the music video’s teaser video like there was no tomorrow. For a whole hour, I turned on automatic comments and just watched the comments streaming in like the opening of a dam. A dam that had been in hibernation for EIGHTEEN MONTHS. It was probably one of the most amusing hours of my life. Here are some memorable YouTube comments that I’ve saved:

 did the uploader fall asleep?

guys. just breath…there OMG WHERE IS THE FUCKING MV???

sm is too busy preparing for exo’s new teasers

I’M GOING CRAAAAAAAAZZZY!!! >:((((((
STOP JOKING AND UPLOAD THE MV RIGHT NOW!!! -____-

Not here yet? I faked sick and didn’t go to school for this! *anxious*

I am eating popcorn while reading comments on atomatic mode LMAO (dead serious)
I could seriously wait hours while doing this lol so helarious XD

only SHINee can get a over a million views for a 39 second teaser :P

I am very very frustrated right now.

OMFG SM, YOU’VE JUST TROLLED US.
GET READY FOR SHAWOL’S REVENGE
LOL
BRING THE BOOOOOOOOOOOOYS OUT

IM SO FURIOUS YEAHHHHH~

maybe SHINee will upload short videos telling us where to look for the MV

Oh I’m so curious Yeah~
Oh I’m so curious(what SM is doing now) Yeah~

This is not the reality we wanted.

EVERY REFRESH = NEW TOP COMMENT. POWER OF SHAWOLS

Calm the fuck down, people. It’s not like SM had been punctual before. Give the slowpokes some time to figure this shit out.

people we broke youtube again ……

This went on and on. Until people had to go to sleep, or school, or work, or they simply grew tired of waiting and decided that SM simply wasn’t going to release the video at that time. It’s still not released, and we Shawols are at a loss of when SM will release it. But one thing is sure – through this ordeal, I learned the power of Shawols and k-pop fans. In the span of an hour, SHINee’s music video teaser accumulated over thousands of comments. Oh how I love you, my fellow Shawols.

When people think about the demographic of people who are k-pop fans, they think they’re all pre-teen Asian girls. They could not be more wrong. I’ve encountered k-pop fans from all around the world – England, France, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland, Colombia, Brazil, Peru, Malaysia, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore – just to name a few. People who don’t speak Korean at all and who cannot understand the language nonetheless devote tons of their time to Korean music and culture. This absolutely astounds me. How this has happened is completely beyond me, but it really floored me. At this time, I realize that I have never been more proud of being a k-pop fan. I truly believe k-pop has the power to change the world. It already has. It’s brought people from thousands of miles away with nothing in common to become a tight-knit community of people who have to come to understand and love each other. If that’s not world-changing, I don’t know what is. K-pop doesn’t have to be a charity to change lives. I know of countless people whose lives were changed by k-pop, and thus they give much of their time and energy to giving back to the stars who changed their lives.

As long as I live, I will remember this special and precious time of my life – when I was a k-pop fan. I don’t think it will last forever, and I certainly don’t believe any of the other k-pop fans expect it to either, but it’s just such a unique thing that I will forever remember and treasure. Thank you k-pop and thank you fellow fans, for making my life so much brighter and warmer.