Open Thread #7: Candy to my Ears

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Sorry, but it had to happen eventually: I’ve fallen in love with K-pop.

Well, with 3 more remixes from Greek trance DJ Areia (아레아) to be precise. With apologies for dispensing with my normal analysis of the songs on this occasion, but I can’t remember the last time that I liked new music so much that I’ve lost sleep listening to it over the next few days.

Seriously, this music makes me feel like a smitten teenager, and hopefully it will some of you too.

The first track is My Ear’s Candy (내귀에 캔디) by Baek Ji-young (백지영), from her mini-album EGO that came out in August last year (it also features Taekyeon {옥택연} of 2PM). Curious after what I wrote about her last weekend, then you can blame this video getting me hooked:

But not so much because of the cinematography and costumes, although I confess I have always loved that look with the white wig. More because Baek Ji-young looks like she’s genuinely enjoying herself, which makes a refreshing change from the forced smiles of Girls’ Generation in Oh! for instance, or alternatively the seeming disdain for the viewer that U.S./Barbadian singer Rihanna displays in Shut Up and Drive that SM Entertainment has been accused of plagiarizing.

Granted, Rihanna’s persona is appropriate for the title of the song, and I’m not so naive as to not be aware that Baek Ji-young’s may be just as carefully choreographed for this one also. But still, she does look like someone great to go clubbing with.

As for the remix itself, arguably it is very similar to the original (as is the next song too), and you may well be wondering what the point is. But there are differences, and which as all trance aficionados are well aware, unfortunately you’re likely to be completely missing if you’re listening via your tinny computer speakers. Please try headphones instead, and you may be pleasantly surprised!

Next is Like the First Time (처음처럼),  by T-ara (티아라; say “tiara”). Put off by their simply atrocious Bo Peep Bo Peep (보핍보핍) last year though, and which even Areia’s remix could not save, then I’d never have suspected that this one would become my new favorite:

As happens to many viewers of K-pop these days, you might be very surprised to learn that one member of the group, Park Ji-yeon (박지연), is still only 16 (as is one girl in the next video too, but she looks her age). But that’s a discussion I’ve already covered in great depth this month; instead, consider this assessment of the of the the dancing and clothing in the video by Areia himself, as it partially inspired the topic of one of next week’s posts, and I’m very curious to hear your own opinions of it before I start writing:

The girls are supercute throughout the video and I find them very sexy at the scenes with the black dresses. The way they slowly move to the melody just kills my heartbeat every single time. To the untrained western eyes the video might just seem a bit cute or even silly. “It’s just some girls with short black dresses trying to look good, so what?” my overexposed-to-western-sexiness friends back home would say. But there is a huge difference here and this difference is very representative of the gap between the eastern and western stereotypes. It’s not okay to express too directly in Korea and that leaves you with only one acceptable weapon to tease your target: charm. And this is exactly what these girls are doing with their moves in this video – I’m not referring to the cute scenes. Whoever did the choreography and the dresses knew very well what they were doing. And the girls of course have done an excellent job at being charming. When I watch some sexy western video clip (let’s say Buttons from Pussycat Dolls) it hits my eyes. But this charm here hits me straight in my heart – I feel like wanting to hug the girls not…. Perhaps that’s the reason I’m into Asian pop in the first place.

Finally, here is Please Don’t Go by CL and Minzy (the 16 year-old) of 2NE1 (투애니원; say “to anyone” or, confusedly, “21″). No music video being made, then this one of a performance of theirs is unremarkable, but this remix at least is virtually unrecognizable from the original song, and in my opinion a vast improvement:

Update: For reasons explained here, unfortunately Areia had to delete that video, but the MP3 is still available for download.

Click on the titles of all the remixes for links to where you can download MP3s of them, and detailed explanations of what when into making them. I hope you’ve enjoyed them, but if not then thank you for bearing with me, and please remember that this is still *cough* an open thread, where you can raise anything on your mind.

Speaking of which, as of yesterday I am now officially in the job market again, and so would very much appreciate any readers help in getting jobs teaching adults in either Busan or Seoul, or of course anything not involving teaching at all. Unfortunately with having a family to support then I’ll need at least 3 million won a month before moving to Seoul especially, but hopefully that won’t prove too difficult?

Wish me luck!

Update: An hilarous parody of My Ear’s Candy on the popular variety show 1 Night 2 Days (1박2일), with MC Kang Ho-dong (강호동) and Baek Ji-young herself:

Yes, it really was called My Ear’s Pig (내 귀에 돼지)! Thanks to reader Christine for passing it on.^^

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Filed under: Boy Groups, Girl Groups, Korean Music, Korean Sexuality, Open Threads Tagged: 2NE1, Areia, Baek Ji-young, T-ara, Taekyeon