5 Favorite K-pop MVs of 2017

I actually made a playlist of K-pop music on Spotify to take to the hospital with me while I was giving birth.  I suspect that may have been a first for the Labor and Delivery unit.  It’s been another wonderful year of K-pop music videos; here are some of my favorites.

1. “Yes I Am” by Mamamoo

There is so much to love about this song, this video, and this group.  The song is so catchy and has the most body-positive and self-confident lyrics I’ve ever heard in a K-pop song.  The video itself is colorful and cute, and they did the choreography themselves.  But I can’t say enough about these four ladies as performers, because in my opinion they give the best live performances in all of K-pop.  Their vocals are flawless and their stage presence is magnetic.  They are known for changing their lyrics on stage and doing little ad libs.  If you really want to see them at their best, check out some live performances of this song, like this one.

2. “MIC Drop (Steve Aoki Remix)” by BTS

BTS had another huge year, breaking further into the American audience with appearances at the AMAs and on Jimmy Kimmel and Ellen.  I loved their first single “DNA,” but I was really struck by the video for their remix of “MIC Drop,” a song I already liked from the first time I saw it performed live.  The remix version is what they’ve been performing recently, and while I like this new version of the song fine (it has more English lyrics), the video just blew me away with its visuals.

3. “Hobgoblin” by CLC

I love finding new, young groups, and CLC is one that came on my radar this year with their badass video for “Hobgoblin.” Hyuna apparently worked with them on this, and you can really feel the 4Minute vibe, which is very welcome since the disbandment of that group.  Most young girl groups have a cutesy concept, which is not my thing, so it’s great to find a next generation capable of taking on the swag of groups like 4Minute and 2NE1.

4. “Rollin'” by Brave Girls

Here’s another group that came across my radar this year with a catchy song and great choreography.  I normally don’t go for concepts that are “sexy,” but this one is on the classy side (I know the title says “Clean Version,” but all that was removed was a few clips of the girls lying in a pile.  I dunno.)  I absolutely love the use of the stools in the choreography.  And in those high heels, too!  Very impressive.

5. “Peek-a-Boo” by Red Velvet

I’ve been a fan of Red Velvet and their catchy songs for years, and they sure had a great year with two big hits.  This is the most recent video on my list, but I’ve already played it on repeat so many times.  It is such a bizarre concept: a cult of girls who lure pizza delivery guys to their house to kill them.  Wearing shiny rainbow dresses.  Or something.  Somehow involving Jell-O.  But Red Velvet pulls it off just like anything else.

Other Honorable Mentions:

  1. “Shall We Dance” by Block B—Mainly for the adorable little girl showing off her moves with them.  Also P.O wearing Burberry lol.
  2. “Move” by Taemin—The maknae of SHINee once again turns out a killer video–actually three videos, but this one is my favorite.  His style blends so well with Japanese choreographer Koharu Sugawara; they are just poetry in motion together.  It has such an emotional and sensual feel in a very gender neutral way, without being overtly sexy.  Beautiful.
  3. “Ninano” by Minzy—Speaking of great dancing, my bias from my favorite K-pop group 2NE1, made her solo debut, and Minzy is such a good dancer it was fun to see her collaborate with Marquese Scott in this video.  It incorporates some of the original video choreography with freestyling.
  4. “Hola Hola” by KARD—This co-ed group is consistently churning out tropical house-style hits with awesome choreography.  This video adds some beautiful scenery and a chance to display some personality of the members.
  5. “Love” by PSY feat. Taeyang—Though this song is by the K-pop idol most famous here in the US, he doesn’t appear in this video at all.  Instead, we are treated to awesome dancing by Parris Goebel and her ReQuest Dance Crew (you may recognize them from Justin Bieber’s “Sorry” video).

 

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5 Favorite K-pop MVs of 2016

Another wonderful year of K-pop music videos; here are some of my favorites.

  1. “Blood Sweat & Tears” by BTS

Just when I thought I couldn’t love BTS any more, they came out with their Wings album this year.  This video, aside from the catchy song, has great choreography and complex scenery, plus the classic BTS cryptic/philosophical story.  Normally I hate it when MVs put a break in the middle of the song, but I didn’t mind it so much here.  Rap Monster is reciting lines from Hesse’s Demian; sales of this book have apparently jumped haha.

2. “Sayonara Hitori” by Taemin

Who knew SHINee’s maknae Taemin was actually an anime character?  Between the special effects and Taemin’s dancing, this is probably the most visually amazing MV I saw all year.  I also loved that this is the Japanese version (which I can understand better–and I think his Japanese has improved).

3. “Whistle” by BLACKPINK

I’m not the only one who loves this video, because it just won best MV at the 2016 MAMAs.  This rookie group is helping to fill a part of the 2NE1-shaped hole in my heart.  These four girls have such great style and attitude.  They already have four great songs out (“Playing with Fire” is another favorite), and I have a feeling I’ll be a fan for years to come.

4. “Cheer Up” and “TT” by TWICE

TWICE is back again this year with two cute videos.  I embedded “Cheer Up” because I think it’s marginally more original.  Each of the girls is playing a character in a different genre of movie (horror, action, romantic drama, kawaii magical girl, etc.), which is a fun way to play up some different tropes and give each girl a distinct personality (kind of important when there’s nine of them).  “TT” also has a cute use of Halloween costumes to achieve the same effect.

5. “I Like That” by SISTAR

While SISTAR is a very talented group, I’ve never really been a fan because their videos tend to be gratuitously sexy, to the point that I’m uncomfortable.  But this video has a very classy style of sexy, with a Chinese theme and some interesting choreography using their drape skirts.  The use of silhouettes near the end is also very striking.

Other Honorable Mentions:

  1. “Hate” by 4Minute—Before they broke up, Hyuna’s former group 4Minute gave us a follow-up to last year’s “Crazy.”  This one was produced by Skrillex, so wait for the drop.
  2. “Liar Liar” by Oh My Girl—From another younger girl group, this video has some great transitions, and I liked the references to Pinocchio and Alice in Wonderland.  They also did a dance version wearing roller skate shoes!
  3. “Queen” by History—We needed some more guys on this list, and who can resist guys in suits? I don’t know what the part with the puzzle is about at all, but the rest is pure eye candy.
  4. “I’m Jelly BABY” by AOA Cream—I know I’ve said I don’t like cutesy concepts, but this one by the subgroup of AOA is so over-the-top with its magical girl theme, I just can’t resist.
  5. “Why Not” by Bulldok—Also known as “How’s This?”–this song is the debut of another tough girl group.  The first rapper looks straight out of Sucker Punch, and the second seems like she’s in a Final Fantasy game.

What do they (nearly) all have in common?

I was just reading this somewhere and it made me laugh; if you watch all these, you can see a trend appear: having all the members sit around a table.  Four or five of these videos have that trope (you can even see it in the thumbnail for “Blood Sweat & Tears), plus a few others I can think of (like Red Velvet’s “Russian Roulette”).  Too funny!

GeekyNerdy Book Club: You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day

Welcome back to the GNCB, a bi-monthly book club hosted by Geeky Musings from a Nerdy Girl.  We’re switching it up this month with some nonfiction: the memoir of Felicia Day, geek girl extraordinaire.

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So, imagine you’re at some fancy Hollywood party.  You come upon a cute redhead talking a mile a minute and making everyone laugh.

“Oh hey, you’re Felicia Day,” you say.  “How did you come to ever make The Guild/”Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog”/your YouTube channel Geek and Sundry/etc.?”

“Well, when I was a kid…” and she launches into her life story for the next five hours.

And reading this book is what that conversation would be like.  It’s one part fact, one part emotion, and two parts awkward hilarity.  Genuine Felicia Day.

I’ve been a fan of Day since I first saw her webseries The Guild circa 2008 (in fact one of my first posts on this blog was about her launching Geek and Sundry).  From her acting roles and YouTube channel I was able to learn a few things about her, such as that she plays the violin and has a brother.  But this book covers so much of her life: her homeschooled childhood, starting her dual math/music major at 16, her struggle to make it in Hollywood, which sort of led to her World of Warcraft gaming, which sort of led to her creation of The Guild, and then even up to relatively current events like her sale of Geek and Sundry and being doxxed as collateral damage in Gamergate.

I think the part of the book that impacted me the most was how she talks throughout about her mental health issues.  She speaks pretty candidly about the fact that she was actually addicted to WOW and was using it to fill a void in her life.  She talks about sitting in the car feeling like she’s going to throw up before a big meeting.  Clearly Felicia Day and I are soul sisters, firstly because we have red hair, second because we’re nerds and geeks, and third, because I know exactly what she’s talking about when she describes her anxiety, risk-aversion, obsessiveness, depression, perfectionism, and desire to avoid confrontation at all costs.

For this reason, my favorite part of the book was the middle section where she talks about turning around her WOW addiction, and about the female support group that helped motivate her to start writing The Guild, and then helped her actually create the web series (by filming it on a super tiny budget, mostly in Day’s house over a few days).  This story was seriously inspirational to me, who is staring down 30 and trying to write the same “practice” novel I’ve been working on for, like, three years now.  There were a lot of funny “coffee mug slogans” in the book, but I think my favorite is from this section:

You Can Attempt Anything

Yup, it sounds Hallmark-Card-trite, but I’m definitely understanding her meaning that you should let your desires and dreams guide and motivate you.

Another thing I related to in this book was Day’s search for her fellow geeks and how the Internet made that possible.  I myself have found “my people” on the Internet, just as much as in real life.  It started in high school when I was writing fan fiction and interacting with other writers on fanfiction.net.  And then to a lesser degree when I started playing SWTOR, the Star Wars MMO (at first I was absolutely paralyzed by the idea of even briefly grouping with any other players I didn’t know; I’m better now).  Now my blog is a major source of socialization for me.  It’s been a wonderful outlet for my geeky thoughts (which is why I started blogging), and I love being able to talk Star Wars, anime, comics, writing, gaming, etc. with a diverse group of bloggers I follow (which has been a wonderful bonus).

PHEW! Ok, this was a long review, but as you can see I really enjoyed the book, and I would highly recommend it (but maybe only if you know who Felicia Day actually is?  Don’t confuse her with Emily Blunt, haha).  If you want to check out GeekyNerdyGirl’s original book club post, head here.

Our next selection will be Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey.  I’ve already read this one and loved it (I’m currently in the middle of the 3rd book in the series), so I’m excited to revisit it…and I’m trying to get my husband to read it also. Feel free to join in if you are interested!

More Star Wars Bad Lip Reading

Since my post about the “Chicken-duck-woman-thing” has been so popular, let’s talk about “Star Wars: A Bad Lip Reading” some more!

In the Empire Strikes Back video, there are 3 fabulous songs.  We open to a rap from Luke during the battle of Hoth (Dak has a slight malfunction trying to turn up the bass). (Edit: CHECK OUT THE FULL VERSION “Hostiles on the Hill” HERE!)

I watched this dozens of times times before I realized it’s actually a diss track.  I don’t know who he’s actually directing this to, but just for fun let’s call him “Wedge.”  Luke makes multiple comparisons between himself and Wedge:

  • Wedge=soup can, while Luke=Superman
  • Wedge touches a pom pom, while Luke touches an A-bomb (atom bomb)

Yeah, that doesn’t exactly paint Wedge in a favorable light.  He also seems to be competing with Luke for a girl named Veronica; looking at the closed captions, the lyrics are “I know you want her, too.”  However, Wedge stands no chance because he so lame he doesn’t even have any shoes.

I think it’s pretty clear now who the baddest pilot in Rogue Squadron is.

And you know what, even Wedge agrees, because in the extended version he repeatedly avows that Luke is so sweet “like cinnamon.”  Which technically isn’t sweet, just a spice, but whatever.  We all agree, Wedge.  Take that, General Veers.

Moving on to Yoda singing about seagulls around 1:49…I don’t have anything else to say about this except that it’s amazing and I know all the lyrics and I wish this were a real song.  Even if he’s “sorta pitchy,” haha. (EDIT: It is a real song! There’s now a full version called SEAGULLS! (Stop It Now)–enjoy!)

scary yoda

Last, at 5:57 we have C-3PO’s song to end the video; I don’t think it has a name yet, but it appears that we’ll be getting a full music video of this one, too!  (EDIT: It’s called “Not the Future” and it’s wonderful.) I was trying to figure out what genre of music this song is and the best I could come up with was a mix of 80s rock and EDM.

This song brings up a couple of points.  First, there are several funny lines where characters are simply narrating what they are doing, like C-3PO walking away/turning back, or Han just moving his hand around in Cloud City.  It kind of breaks the 4th wall a little, a different kind of humor.

Also, the Star Wars movies work pretty well for funny dubs because of all the droids and characters with helmets (like Vader, stormtroopers, etc.)—because they have no lips, the actors are just interpreting their body language.  This gives a lot more range to the conversations the characters can have.  It also allows for some good non sequiturs, like Vader’s “spinny chair” song.

Star Wars also has a lot of characters that don’t speak Basic (aka English), often because the alien physiology doesn’t allow it, which lets the writers have a lot of fun with interpreting these more limited lip movements into English words, like Chewie saying UH-HUH.  Or sometimes not even real words…check out Admiral Ackbar in ROTJ haha.

Last, I found C-3PO’s Indian accent to be hilarious and strangely fitting.  But then I started reading comments on the videos (famous last words…) and saw some variations of “Of course he’s Indian, he’s tech support.”  In that light, I kind of feel a little uncomfortable about it now.  But none of his dubbed lines actually have him play into the tech support stereotype, so it’s just a meta-joke, and possibly an unintended one at that.  I dunno.  Thoughts?

We all got a chicken-duck-woman-thing waiting for us: Star Wars Bad Lip Reading

If you like absurdist humor at all, check out “Star Wars: A Bad Lip Reading” to find out about the selfies that Vader’s sending Leia, Han’s pet giraffe, and what happens if you look at a dead spider.  It features guest voice actors Jack Black, Maya Rudolph, and Bill Hader.

Stick it out til the end to hear Ben Kenobi sing about what exactly happened to Luke’s father.

That song at the end is pretty much the best thing ever and I’ve been singing it for days.  There’s even an extended version, with lyrics!

I love how the song functions on two levels, both within the film as the way Ben Kenobi is making up BS about how Luke’s dad died (which I’m sure is all true, from a certain point of view…), and also on a more general level, talking about how there’s always difficulties in life, usually in places we least expect them, even from people and things we love.  SO DEEP.

They’ve also done Empire Strikes Back (which might be the best one), featuring Yoda singing about seagulls (with a full version of the song here).  My husband and I are now going around saying “I don’t like fruit” to each other.

The Return of the Jedi one is also good, in which you can find out about Mon Mothma’s emotional state and the loose screw in Luke’s lightsaber.

I think Ben Kenobi really has some of the best parts in all of these, mainly because Alec Guinness always played him as looking very thoughtful.  So it becomes really funny when he says these offbeat things with that facial expression.  Whether it’s telling Luke about cleaning his father’s blood out of the floor boards, or just humming to the beat (not to mention calmly threatening to choke Luke over his taste in music in ROTJ),

EDIT 1/16/16: This post got like a hundred hits in the past week, mostly from people searching for “chicken duck woman thing,” so I went back and added some more analysis about the video and song to this post, and also did a follow-up post with more thoughts on these videos: More Star Wars Bad Lip Reading.  Add your thoughts/questions/etc. in the comments!