k-pop kineme: random songs

I suppose you already know how I feel about the word “random,” how I don’t believe that true randomness exists, or at least that our everyday usage of the word “random” isn’t at all consistent with what true randomness implies.

Nothing about a “random playlist” is random, and not everything that is “sudden” is necessarily random. I wouldn’t call myself a true-blue determinist though. A part of me is still open to accepting that maybe certain things are truly random, like maybe it’s possible that there are indeed no predetermined patterns at the quantum-level — because yes, I also believe that whether true randomness exists or not is not just a philosophical conundrum, but also a physical one.

Anyway, yikes, that’s not really what I meant to talk about tonight. I just intro’d with a quick note on randomness because tonight I feel like sharing with you some random Korean songs, which aren’t really random because — man, I can’t stop yapping about randomness, can’t I?

So, yes, Korean songs. Currently I am listening to “Dalmatian Love,” a rap track from the late 2000s by the hip-hop artist MC Mong, who is also known for allegedly evading Korea’s mandatory military service by extracting some of his perfectly healthy teeth. Apparently men with fewer than the minimum number of teeth (??) are exempt from military service in South Korea, but I don’t have any reliable source on this so don’t take my word.

Anyhoo, in 2011, two years after MC Mong’s Humanimal was released, Korean singer Gummy made a comeback with the song “As A Man.” It’s a ballad track that isn’t too different from Gummy’s usual slow-jam fare, but my favorite, uh, thing, about this single was the music video that came with it. The MV was a short narrative film — it’s like an abridged Korean drama with a comedy-of-errors premise in which the girl and the guy meet, hate each other, and eventually fall in love. It’s trite but it’s cute, plus I like the attempt at telling a story instead of just, you know, doing whatever singers usually do in music videos.

From 2011, let’s go back a decade earlier to 2001 when the the co-ed group S#arp released the song “My Lips Warm Like Coffee.” This is a cute song — catchy chorus, decent bars, neat acoustic guitars — but what I found juiciest about S#arp was the unfortunate bullying brouhaha between two of the members.

I’m sure you can find more details elsewhere but, in gist, one of the members (OM) persistently bullied another member (AM) and it was bad, man. OM would exclude AM from group practices, she wouldn’t use the right honorifics when talking to AM, and she even got her actor-boyfriend to slap poor AM. OM was basically on a pychotic quest to make AM’s life miserable, and it was allegedly because OM was a spoiled girl who was so used to getting things her way that she couldn’t bear being second fiddle to their group’s main vocalist. Long story short, the years-long bullying culminated in a sabunutan incident in an elevator in the KBS building, and this became the last nail in the coffin that led to the group’s disbandment.

But wait, there’s more! A few weeks after the sabunutan dramarama, the band’s management held a press conference so the members could explain their stories. S#arp was a popular band, so people were speculating as to what really went on. Of course OM cried during the press-con, and she acted all hurt, saying that it was AM who beat her up. OM also allegedly bribed their manager to lie for her, but the manager ended up revealing everything and sharing to the public how mean and manipulative OM had been the whole time. Dude! It was chaos! OM had to walk out of the press-con because she just dug her own grave. Anyway, yea. Cute song.

Moving on, fast forward to early 2010’s, a song that deserves more streams and love and recognition: Spica’s “Tonight.” This is Spica so the vocals are expectedly solid, but the music itself? Deep percussions with steady guitars that swell to a fist-pump chorus perfect for moshing? Ganda kaya! Minus brownie points for appropriating Native American imagery in the music video, but other than that, I think the video is also just as beautiful. It reminds me of Midsommar, actually, without the gore and with a slightly darker color palette.

And that’s all for the night, I guess. I’m already half-asleep as I write this — man, seriously, why do I even?

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