Archive for May, 2011

Announcement- Just Thought I’d Explain Something About This WordPress~

Think of my posts as conversation starters- feel free to reply! I like reading all your comments ^^

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Hello Hello- FT Island

This just came out today. Three lines into the song I paused it, called my friend (a huge FT Island fan) into my dorm room, and told her this was the best MV and song they’ve ever released.

Lyrics: 7/5
I really love FT Island’s style. They don’t do many slow songs about loss and love, they tend to be quicker paced (probably because this is a band, and not just a solo singer, so everyone has to do their parts). But this song is no different.  The song is about a girl who stole their heart and suddenly left them. They can’t forget her and are just telling her that they still love her. It has a strong “Bad Woman” feel to it, but the music itself is like “Bad Woman” meets “I Hope” (two of my favorite songs). I’ll explain the chorus a bit in the “Other Things” section, if you don’t know Korean it may be a bit confusing.
The word annyeong is hello hello/ now it’s goodbye goodbye/ Even if I constantly try to forget you/ It can’t be done/ I hello hello/ Oh you, goodbye goodbye/ it’s a word that means I still love you

Dance: NA
FT Island is one of only 2 idol bands in Korea (the other being C.N. Blue). That means one singer and the other members are on guitar or drums. FT Island is the original, so their singer only sings, and he doesn’t dance (CN Blue’s members all play an instrument).

Story: (starts to complain)/5
I say “Starts to complain” because I really don’t know how to rate it. The story itself would get a “3/5” for being a little unclear, but it has ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with the lyrics and story in the song, so I feel like it should get a “0/5” for that, but it was still really cool so I want to give it a “5/5″… So IDK, you chose which rating you want.

Hongki is seen walking down the street when he spots a crowd in front of a house with smoke coming out the windows. Presumably he knows someone in the house, because he runs in to save them. He runs through the house until he finds all the FT Island members in a room together (playing their instruments, but I think it’s just supposed to represent him finding them) and gets everyone out when the firefighters were too afraid to enter.

So that’s where it has nothing to do with the song. It’s a love song, but he isn’t saving the girl he loves, he’s saving the other members. And at the end of the video you see him just walking down the street listening to the song on his MP3 player. He looks at the building and it’s fine, then it fades back to the fire and getting his friends out. That part makes no real sense, so I think it’s a lead in to an upcoming MV?

Other Things

OK, here’s the thing with the chorus: In Korean the word 안녕 (annyeong) can be used to say both “Hello” and “Goodbye”. The song is about the duality of that, saying the boy is saying “Hello”, while when the girl say it it turns into “Goodbye”. Think of it like “Aloha” in Hawaiian. He’s also talking about the changing of the girl, saying she’s first using “Annyeong” as “Hello”, then suddenly starts saying it to mean “Goodbye”.

I LOVE the style of this song. Like I said, it’s kind of “Bad Woman” meets “I Hope” in the feel, but it also kind of has a “Nightmare before Christmas” feel for some reason on the guitar solos (that’s just my opinion). It is a very fast song, and very sad at the same time.

Overall this is doubtless my favorite FT Island MV. I can’t say how excited I was to see this out ^^ And like I said, 3 lines in I’d already decided it was my favorite song of theirs ^^ And I LOVE Hongki’s hair. First he had 80s hair in “Bad Woman”, then that orange mess in “I Hope”, then in “Love Love Love” that scarlet… stuff (it looked like a bad wig), and this is just simple black hair. It actually looks a lot like Jung Yonghwa’s debut hairstyle (Jung Yonghwa is the head of CN Blue, who acted with Hongki in a drama before debut).

The same problem as always with FT Island MVs though- other than full group shots you barely see the other members. They severely lack in face time, especially leader Jonghun and drummer Minhwan. At one point I actually thought they’d lost a member.

Not sure if this relates to the maybe-sequel, but when the members get out of the building Hongki isn’t with them, only 4 leave the building, then suddenly Hongki is standing apart from the group who rushed to them to make sure they were OK and is standing apart looking sad… So… Either he wasn’t there that day of filming, they just kind of put him off to the side, or he was supposed to be dead.

The dead thing might make sense, he collapses in the hall of the building and is unconcious until a white light shines on his face, which he follows to his members. I took that as just, something showed him the way, but now I’m wondering if he didn’t die. The smoke seems to have stopped when he gets up, like it’s frozen in the background. He walks through a door into a room that probably shouldn’t be there and finds the members… Is it supposed to be that he’s a ghost still trying to get them out?

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Fiction- Beast

I’ll warn you, this is an odd MV, and my review is going to be all over the place. I’m glad I separated these reviews into categories all those months ago when I started writing!

Lyrics: 4/5
They stick to Korean (mostly) this time, and the English is like a word or two long at most, so that raised their score (as I constantly rant- CUBE Entertainment composers have the WORST English…). I like the balance between melody, rap, and just the normal dance-song sound. I think the chorus is a bit anti-climactic, maybe even a little weak, and it doesn’t really pick up by the end of the song. That’s the only point I’d change. It needs to build power, but by the end you’re just where you started (I’m sure there’s some metaphorical meaning to that). The chorus is so flat I think I might strongly dislike it… Maybe it just has to grow on you (I’m writing this after only watching it 3 times, usually before a review I watch an MV 5+ times to get a full feel).
Again I’m like this (fiction in fiction)/ can’t forget (fiction in fiction)/ In my heart I’m writing a story with no ending/ I’ll hold on to you (fiction in fiction)/ I won’t let you go (fiction in fiction in fiction)/ in our never-ending story/ even today in fiction

Dance: 0/5
Yes, yes, I know I’ll get yelled at for this. The members do the dance very well, they are very together, and I like the domino effect where one member starts the choreography and each member starts a beat after the member before them, that looks great. So what cost this song 5 points in the dance category? That stupid penguin-walk thing that seems to be the chorus point of their dance. Once would have been… ignorable, but this happens whenever they do the chorus. I don’ t know if it’s supposed to represent kicking your toes or stumbling through life or whatever, but it looks bad. Beast has shown they can handle hard dances, and they really had it right with “Breath”, but that pengin dance… Look at a video of how penguins walk, it’s the same thing.

Story: 7/5
See? This review bounces all over the place.

The story features JunHyung as a man who lost his girlfriend (probably dumped). He writes in a notebook, creating a whole world of his own. At first he is wandering alone through this world, but as the song lyrics suggest he’s just creating the world where he can be trapped with this girl forever, a “room with no exits so you can’t leave me”.

He finds an old picture of the girl he loved and vanishes into his own fiction world. The girl he loved is wandering through the study/office/place (apparently she’s a crazy stalker?) and sees the book. She opens it and, instead of just showing writing, it shows a small screen of the guy wandering alone through this world. You’re meant to assume everything you see is what the girl is reading, but I really love the approach of a screen in the book instead of just text. Also, from the way she leaves a bigger book on the shelf and goes to the small notebook on the table I think it represents that he’s written tons of volumes of a fake life with this girl.

Anyways, he wanders through the empty city, then out into a desert where he sees her in front of him. He reaches out to touch her, but she cries and vanishes. Not long after he dissolves too, presumably giving up his fictional world and abandoning all hope.

The girl closes the book and turns to leave, then returns to write a note on a blank page. I asked my roommate to translate it (half the words are blurry and I couldn’t make them out). The Angel read it to me in English, so here is the translation, according to a Korean: “Right now I am so happy. I am writing a story. Still, it is all just my hope.”, the last bit I think could also be said as “Still, it’s all just hoping”, as in nothing has come of it.

The last lines are added when you see the camera pan, the girls hand is replaced by a guy’s, and he is writing the rest of the note. So it’s, I think, supposed to represent the girl writing “Right now I am so happy”, but then you learn, through the next shot and the rest of the writing, that the girl was never in the office, she never came back to see him, that it was all a story within his story (I guess that’s where “Fiction in Fiction” comes in).

Other Things
I like their styles, but I think the short hair theme went a bit far. All the members have very short cut hair, which… IDK, it’s not as visually sound as their other songs. And I think KiKwang needs to ditch the short hair and grow it out again, he looks too old with short hair.

I’m also grateful there were no shirtless members here too. It’s fine to show off the muscles, but it gets dull when someone does it all the time (I’m sure hard-core Beast fans will disagree with me on this).

Overall what impressed me most with this MV was JunHyung. He plays the male lead of the MV. Considering his normally tough image and the sad tones of the song I think it was a very logical choice. At first it seems unusual, why make the tough-looking member a sad, wandering man, but just think of it this way: he would have looked awkward trying to look as sad and lost as the members did when they sung. Putting him in the MV… IDK, it doesn’t fit with the image he normally has, but I really really like it.

And I think JunHyung’s acting was surprisingly good. As far as I know he doesn’t have an acting background, though he *was* a member of a ballad group when he was younger (see “Artist Profile- Xing” and scroll to whichever generation has “Poppin’ Dragon”). I guess that would explain the acting pretty well. Overall though I was seriously impressed with his work.

Again, don’t get mad, but I was happy to see less of KiKwang and Yoseob in the MV for once. I HAVE NOTHING AGAINST THOSE MEMBERS- if you follow me regularly you know how I feel about groups where one or two members are featured over the others. With this one especially I was happy to see so much of Junhyung. He’s definitely a very popular member, but he doesn’t tend to get as much screen time as the others. I’d like to see more of him and DooJoon, or perhaps more of HyunSeung, who also seems to get minimal exposure.

OK, I’ll stop digging my grave now. I think Beast fans will get mad at me for making fun of that dumb penguin-dance thing and saying I’m glad two of the most popular members got less face time (I DON’T MEAN ANYTHING BAD BY IT! I think this song is OK, and I have nothing against Beast. They aren’t my favorites, but they’re pretty good).

Oh, one more bit- from what I’ve been seeing I believe this isn’t the whole MV. Like with SNSD’s “Oh” and “Run Devil Run”, I get the impression that this is just part 1, with part 2 either to follow soon, or to appear as the second half of their promotions. Everything says “The Fiction and the Fact”, and I don’t think that only pertains to the fiction that the girl came back and the fact that the “Real world” bits were still in the story.

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Run Devil Run (Japanese Version)- So Nyeo Shi Dae/ Girls’ Generation

The MV is extremely similar to the Korean version, the sets are just a bit more 3D and the lyrics are a little softer.

Lyrics: 4/5
The Korean version of “Run Devil Run” is very strong and powerful, meant to show off how angry the girls were… This version… It still has power, but the lyrics are a little softer. It sounds like, based on the lyrics, they’ve known the guy is cheating for a long time, and put up with it, but just now are they getting tired. I guess the best analogy I can make is that the original was “Bitch, die in a fire”, and the Japanese version is more “…you jerk.”
Everything about you is like that, isn’t it?/ just excuses, right?/ You’re a devil, devil you are/ you better run run run run run/ it’s the end for you/ you better run run run run run/ I’ve waited long enough, hey/ you don’t seem to understand/ I said I’ve had enough of your fooling around/ you better run run run run run/ you’re going to suffer in never-before-seen ways/ run devil devil run run/ even my love has it’s limits/ run devil devil run run

Dance: ?/5
I’m not sure if I should rate it or not, because the choreography is identical to the Korean version. They don’t seem as together as the original though, so whatever score I gave the Korean version for Dance, just take half a point off.

Story: NA
Still no story to this MV. Like I said before, the set is a bit more 3D, with stuff in the background and on the sides. The white and black sets are pretty much mirror images of one another, meant to show off the duplicity I guess. An interesting thing to point out is that the black set doesn’t appear much in the beginning of the MV. It kind of cuts in more and more as the song goes on, like their anger is building. By the end you get most shots in the black.

Other Things

The way I see it is that the Korean “Run Devil Run” was showing off the anger of girls, and this MV is showing off the anger of women. It’s no comment on the members age, everything just seems a bit more… mature? I guess. The outfits play a big part in it. The white outfits are almost copies of the original, but the black ones are more varied and less goth-prom style.

Can I just say Taeyeon rocks the short hair? I’ve been thinking this with all the new SNSD MVs.

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Announcement- OMG, Back to the Original Theme!

I liked the old theme, but the video links just appeared as… well… links, so you had to leave the page if you wanted to watch an MV!

I decided to change it back to the original theme from when I first opened the page, since you could view the  MV with the review and so the navigation would be simple.

HOPE YOU ENJOY! ^^

If you don’t… IDK, complain or something.

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Mr. Taxi (Japanese)- So Nyeo Shi Dae/ Girls’ Generation

I’ll warn you now: I don’t have a subbed version of this MV for you. For the purposes of my own collection I subbed the video myself, and thus far I haven’t uploaded it on my YouTube channel. I’ll let you know though if and when I do.

Lyrics: 4/5
It’s an extremely simple song. It almost has the feel of a CF for something, an airline probably (despite the name). The song is about needing to escape. It takes place mostly inside a taxi, the girls telling the driver to keep going and drive quickly. They say they want to show off their new styles everywhere, and also they want to shine without ever being caught by others. Parts of it also sound like they are almost flirting with the driver, telling him to look at them as well.

Mr. Taxi Taxi Taxi/ I’m going quickly quickly quickly/ at this speed no one can catch me/ Mr. Taxi Taxi Taxi/ I’m going quickly quickly quickly/ I’m shining but no one can touch me/ truly supersonic/ and hyptertonic/ I want you to steal me away/ take me right now/ Mr. Taxi Taxi Taxi/ I’m going quickly quickly quickly/ but it won’t be that easy.”

Dance: 5/5
This has to be the best dance I’ve seen from SNSD. While I really like the “Gee” and “Tell Me Your Wish (Genie)” Dances, this one seems more uniform and just in general well-maintained. The members don’t drop out of sync, despite the fast and complicated nature of the dance. Most of the action is in the arms, and most of it is very fast and sharp.

Story: NA
There is no story at all. Most of the dance is in the same stage, the back wall just changes between a massive LED screen and a map of the world. The solo shots are largely in front of a silver curtain display, but other than that the MV focuses solely on the members and the dance.

Other Things:

They finally seem to remember they have a member named Hyoyeon. She’s got several solo shots in this MV, which is definitely nice to see. Jessica and Tiffany share most of the spotlight, but we get a lot more of Taeyeon, Soohyun and Sunny as well. No offense to the other members, but I really think they push Yoona, Yuri and Jessica too much. It seems like SNSD is those three featuring the other six. Hyoyeon especially seems to get dropped out a lot. I’m glad that, while he solo dance is like two seconds long, she’s in the front center of the group dance break. And they didn’t make her hair look weird for once.

The hair stylist needs to work on Tiffany a bit more. The puffy hair looks good, but when her hair is pulled back or piled up it’s just kind of left to hang straight, and it makes her look too pale and thin, like she’s sick. Tiffany’s face is definitely one of those where her hair needs some volume.

I like Taeyeon’s short style hair, even though now I think she looks more like the maknae (youngest) than Soohyun does ^^

All in all I like this MV. The song is not complicated (I got a bit bored with the lyrics while I was subbing it), but the beat is good, the dance fun to watch, and I like the lyrics (not the translation, that’s what bored me). It’s got the same addictive feeling of  “Tell Me Your Wish”, “Sorry, Sorry” , and “Ring Ding Dong” to the point where I wonder if the Korean version wasn’t written by Yoo Young Jin (the composer of like 99% of SM’s most popular songs).

I don’t like the full body black jumpsuits. Half the members must have lost weight between the MV and when they were fitted, because, especially with Tiffany and Hyoyeon, they seem to fit badly, as if they were made for a bigger person. Though I like that SNSD went a little conservative with them (even if their yellow taxi outfits show off more skin than ever).

Oh, and if Tiffany keeps whipping her hair around like she’s been doing since “Hoot” I think she’s going to give herself whiplash. Just sayin’

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Rant #23- English in K-Pop

I copied this from “Mini-Rant #1: If You’re Gonna Use English…”. When I wrote this I was commenting on SM Entertainment, but I’m expanding it to include CUBE Entertainment and just a rant in general on the topic.

Within the last few years English has crept further and further into K-Pop. Now almost every song has English somewhere in the lyrics. Early on the pronunciation was bad and the English was awkward at best, but as companies started importing members from the US or Canada, or added members who had lived in the countries for a time, the English improved… More or less.

Let’s just go on a case-by case basis for a bit so you can see what I mean:

SM ENTERTAINMENT
You can almost set a clock by when they added English-speaking trainees. The overall quality of their English improved incredibly. Some songs were just awkward in their wording, others were awkward in their pronunciation. Now the recorded songs are much better, though sometimes pronunciation does play a part in misunderstandings with the lyrics. Here are some of the more awkward songs:

1) “내 여자친구가 되어줄래?”
Artist: DBSK
Album: Tri-Angle
Complaint: There is a pronunciation issue here with the word “heartbeat”. I think the line is “I only want your heartbeat”, I can’t quite understand what they’re going for. But anyways it sounds like they’re saying “I just want your herpies”. I may not know what they were trying to say, but I’m pretty sure that’s not what the composer was going for…

2) Sorry, Sorry
Artist: Super Junior
Album: Sorry, Sorry
Complaint: This isn’t a real complaint, just something kind of funny. Now I’m not sure if it’s the Korean accents doing this, or if it’s legit. Listen to them saying “Sorry”, especially in live performances. Well, I guess how they say it it’s more of “sOrry”. The members suddenly say that word Canadian style. Now I wonder where a Canadian pronunciation could have possibly come from??? (that’s sarcastic and said with a grin, for those of you who don’t know, Super Junior has had a Canadian member with them since 2007).

3) She Wants It
Artist: Super Junior
Album: Neorago (Sorry, Sorry Repackaged)
Complaint: Again, this one is more funny than a legit complaint (though aren’t these all?). Ryeowook gets the English line in the song that, surprise, is “she wants it”. But his Korean accent makes it come out as “Shit, woman.”. lol, I was a little surprised when I first heard it and had to backtrack to check. You hear it mostly in the recording, he seems to have improved for Super Show 3, though not by much!

4) Beautiful (Obviously)- Bonamana
Artist: Super Junior
Album: Bonamana
Complaint: This one lies solely on member Kyuhyun. I’m not the only person to notice it though, this one is legit. When he says “Winner” it sounds like “Wiener”. Just watch the MV and listen for it.

5) Hug (English Version)
Artist: DBSK
Album: Hug (Japanese Version)
Complaint: … the wording in this song is just overall awkward. It’s not necessarily wrong, most of the sentences are grammatically fine, but… IDK, that’s just not how English-speaking people speak English…

SM easily has the most English-speakers of any entertainment company in Korea.

Their English-Speakers:
Kim Kibum (Super Junior): Kibum lived in LA for a while, so his English is… well… understandable… sometimes.

Stephanie “Tiffany” Hwang (SNSD/Girls’ Generation): SNSD is really the first group to have non-awkward English in songs, and I blame it on their English members ^^ . Tiffany lived in California from 1989-2004.

Soo-Yeon “Jessica” Jung (SNSD/ Girls’ Generation): Jessica was born in San Francisco and raised in California until 2000, when she went to South Korea and joined SM Entertainment. She was there throughout the SM Awkward English phase.

Soo-Jung “Krystal” Jung (F(x) ): Jessica’s little sister was also born in San Francisco. She joined SM along with her sister in 2000 and worked for a bit as a commercial actress until she was trained as a singer and debuted with F(x). She’s the longest trainee SM has, with 9 years of training under her belt.

Amber Liu (F(x) ):  Amber is from LA. She lived in California until 2008.

Henry Lau (Super Junior): Henry is the only Canadian to debut with SM Entertainment (though they probably have others, since they hold auditions in Canada every year and have for at least 3 years). He’s been with SM since late 2006, and also with Super Junior since then. Fans often credit him with improving the members English, as after he joined them their pronunciation improved sharply (though that could be a coincidence).

Former SM Member: YooChun “Mickey” Park (DBSK, formerly): Mickey lived in Virginia for a few years as a child. He admitted to often teaching the other members of DBSK English.

CUBE ENTERTAINMENT

Cube has the least amount of foreigners at 1 (G.NA, who is Canadian).

Their English is easily the worst of ANY company in Korea. I can’t even give you specific song examples, it’s just awkward and bad all around.

Usually the English is PRONOUNCED correctly (or pretty close), but the words themselves are weird. I’ll give 3 examples:

Shock
Artist: Beast
Album: Sock of the New Era
Complaint: “Every day I shock”… … … what?

Bad Girl
Artist: Beast
Album: (not sure)
Complaint: This whole song- any time they use English it makes no sense. I can’t listen to the song anymore, I just don’t understand what the hell they’re trying to say~

Mirror, Mirror
Artist: 4 Minute
Album: 4 Minutes Left
Complaint: In the very beginning HyunA (who usually is pretty good with English pronunciation) says “4 Minutes Left, 4 Minutes Left, 4 Minutes Left, 4 Minutes Left”… Except… OK, I live in Korea right now, so let me explain how this happens. When a word has an “S” at the end Koreans tend to push the sound on to the beginning of the next word. OK. So following that you go from “4 Minutes Left” to “4 Minute Sleft”. Now, Korea doesn’t have the “f” sound. It’s pushed to the “p” sound, the closest they have. “4 Minutes Left” = “4 Minute Sleft” = “4 Minute Slept”. But when a “p” and a “t” are next to each other Koreans get a little tongue tied and tend to just push it together or leave it out entirely instead of the “p”. Here is where HyunA’s pronunciation fell apart (and really surprised me at first): “4 Minutes Left” = “4 Minute Sleft” = “4 Minute Slept” = “4 Minute Slet”… But Koreans pronounce “E” sounds as we would pronounce a “u” sound… you see where this is going? Instead of “4 Minutes Left” HyunA sounds like she’s saying “4 Minute Slut”. Listen to the song~

I know the trainees are there to TRAIN, and probably don’t take part in the actual recording process doing things like checking English (though they might, SM has admitted to using Super Junior’s Chinese member ZhouMi or F(x)’s Victoria as a pronunciation coach when recording Chinese songs). But the more English trainees a company has the better their English gets. CUBE Entertainment DESPERATELY needs either an English coach or more English speakers to pick up their work… Some composers speak English very well (I know for a fact 2 SM composers are very good at English (they are friends of a friend)), so they can cover and check pronunciation themselves, but…. IDK, Cube needs serious help and I’m glad SM’s English isn’t as awkward anymore…

One company who does a pretty good job overall is JYP. They had English speakers right from the beginning, and work heavily with English-speaking composers, so their English has always been pretty good.

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