single of the week

Kelly Clarkson - Love So Soft

 

album picks

Album Review: Red Velvet's 'Perfect Velvet' Is The Best K-Pop Album of 2017
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The Definitive Track-by-Track Ranking of Taylor Swift's 'reputation' Nobody Asked For
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Niall Horan Shows Us A Different Side Of Him In 'Flicker'
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World Bloggers And Social Media Awards
SBA 2014
SBA 2013
SBA 2012

 

 

 

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The very concept of a home-grown Korean pop (K-pop) act might sound oxymoronic to anyone completely insulated from that particular hyper-polished, acronym-dominated world. Coupled with the Internet’s insistence on ridicule, the premature death of BEAUNITE (aka #BEAUNTIE) – a local 13 member girl group with capitalistic, cartoon-like plans of world domination – could probably be seen from a mile away. Schadenfreude aside, this was a sign that the genre had finally attained peak cultural penetration by transcending into meme territory and provided an excellent opportunity for those unschooled to educate themselves about the forces behind this flaming trash heap of a debut.

For instance, it was news to a K-plebeian like yours truly that reality shows are part and parcel of being in a South Korean “idol” group which in turn is distinct from the definition of a K-pop “artist.” BEAUNITE falls under the former (or at least is inclined to) which panders to the more cosmetic aspects of society that rewards superficiality over talent. Slumming it and toiling as a “trainee” is mandatory, say K-pop gatekeepers who expect their idols to be nothing less than jacks of all trades on top of conforming to narrow beauty standards, of course. There is nothing new about fans vocally expressing discontent with the purported misrepresentation of their genre (or in this case, their country as well) but BEAUNITE’s presumptuous lack of content and prior experience explains the unanimous uproar against them.

We’d love to say we were declined a comment after reaching out to the group’s representatives but we knew better than to assume that actual adults (let alone Singaporean helicopter parents) were actively supporting this endeavour. Instead, we turned to Linda, our newly-minted K-pop correspondent to shed some light on this recent development.            

S: As our resident K-pop expert, what do you think of BEAUNITE’s “debut”?

L: They seem to be a harmless bunch of Koreaboos* who have their heads a little too far up in the clouds. People take issue with the “K-pop” branding - the fan community has gatekeeping tendencies and gets offended when a non-Korean group with no prior training (the average idols trains for years under their company before getting to debut) claims the label. You might have heard of EXP Edition, a K-pop group that only consists of Caucasian members. They garnered negative reactions from K-pop fans and the Korean public for similar reasons stated above.

S: So can K-pop exist outside of Korea?

L: The industry has developed strong global ambitions in the last decade - many groups promote in Japan, where Korean members learn Japanese and release music exclusively in the language. I've actually seen this used as a defence for EXP Edition: if Japan can accept a Korean group releasing music in Japanese, why can't Korea accept a non-Korean group doing K-pop?

There's also EXO, one of the most popular K-pop groups. They debuted with a concept where they have 2 subgroups, EXO-M and EXO-K: 6 members sing in Korean while the other 6 (4 of them Chinese) sing the same song, but in Mandarin. The Chinese members of EXO-M were still considered K-pop idols since they were backed by a Korean company. This leads me to believe that a Korean company somehow has to be involved in order for a fully Singaporean group to be validated as a legitimate K-pop act. Simply appropriating K-pop elements like what BEAUNITE appears to be doing isn't going to work, with or without high production value.

S: What should BEAUNITE’s next step be?

L: BEAUNITE shouldn't be discouraged from pursuing their passions for music/dance, but they should do away with the K-pop group label. There is nothing wrong with covering K-pop dances, but when you publicly designate yourself as the official maknae** of the group, or adopt a fake Korean name, you should probably reflect on your life choices. Their Koreaboo syndrome is a result of an ever-growing Hallyu*** craze here – there's a line between appreciating a culture and fetishizing one, and many K-pop fans here definitely belong to the latter. Still, it's sad to see really young girls being the target of so much hate.

Well, one thing’s for sure – I sure hope Xuan, the self-proclaimed meme queen, can at the very least appreciate the fact that she had a hand in creating a late but definitely great viral phenomenon.

 

Photo credit: BEAUNITE

*A non-native Korean who is obsessed with Korean culture to the point where they denounce their own national/native identity and proclaim that they are Korean. These people typically start off as K-Pop fans, but some Koreaboos also start off as StarCraft II or League of Legends fans since they are very famous competitive sports in South Korea. The word “Koreaboo” itself comes from the term “weeaboo”; a non-native Japanese person who is obsessed with Japanese culture.

**Maknae is a common Korean term used by older people, generally young adults, to refer to the youngest in a group. It's often used as a title in place of their name.

*** “Korean wave” or “Korean fever,” it refers to the sudden increase in popularity of South Korean culture around the world in the last ten years largely due to the Korean entertainment industry boom and the popularity of kdrama and kpop.

That's exactly what happens when the music takes over.

Camila Cabello has recently accepted the 'Breakthrough Artist' Award at Billboard's Women in Music last week. Apart from receiving her deserving title, the singer-songwriter started the show with a performance of her chart topping single, Havana.

The songstress stripped down the performance with minimal instrumentation so that her amazing vocals could take centre stage. With just a guitarist, cajonist and pianist, Cabello was able to elevate the song to a whole new level that really showcased her Cuban roots.

In the middle of the song, at approximately two minutes and twelve seconds into the performance, Cabello was so consumed by the music that she made a hilarious eye twitch. Many fans have observed the unconventional facial expression and have pointed it out it the comments section of the video.

The 20-year-old singer acknowledged her involuntary eye movement and addressed it on Instagram by posting a two-part series of her performance tape with the caption, "i do love a good eye twitch" followed by some emojis of the girl who shrugs her shoulders.

 

Photo Credit: Billboard

More than meets the eye than a pretty wedding dress.

Demi Lovato recently dropped her highly anticipated music video for Tell Me You Love Me after teasing several photographs of her posing in a beautiful wedding dress which made a lot of fans very excited.

The music video starts off with a scene where Lovato's on-screen boyfriend pops the question to which the pop star said yes to. Following the successful marriage proposal, the couple though seemingly in love, faced various struggles of their own which resulted in constant arguments.

One of the many disagreements they had involved Lovato receiving a call from someone named "Erik" and when her fiancé asked who it was, she dismissively replied "nobody". After explaining that he is one of her best friends, Lovato's fiancé defended himself after being accused of being jealous saying that he does not need to be jealous to not like what is happening. The short story ended with Lovato's fiancé apologising and walking away from her on their wedding day.

Many fans are convinced that this music video is Lovato's way of communicating the pain and struggles of her long-time relationship with Wilmer Valderrama that almost resulted in marriage but has unfortunately ended in June of last year. In addition, many have also speculated that one of the causes of the breakup is Lovato's BFF, Nick Jonas, who is represented as "Erik" in this music video.


 

Photo Credit: Demi Lovato Facebook

Heart-breaking ballads might have gotten Sam Smith his well-deserved fame, but the 25-year-old is FINALLY going to ditch the genre to focus on more upbeat songs.

The reason? Well, your homeboy just found himself some new love with boyfriend, 13 Reasons Why actor Brandon Flynn.

“I might be starting to write some happy songs. I’m just so sick of being dreary,” he shared with The Sun.

“I want to challenge myself as a writer and have some really strong — not positive because I don’t like the word positive — but strong and empowering songs.”

Don’t get us wrong. Smith’s ballads are perfect for melancholic afternoons when we all just need a little background music to complement our bleak mood. However, it does get a bit tiresome listening to irresistibly good yet depressing music.

“For the first time I’ve realized how much the whole second album thing affected me. I thought it was too dark sometimes."

“I’m ready to turn into BEYONCE. I’m going to be writing the third album on tour.”

I don't know about you guys, but we can’t wait!

 

Photo Credit: 247PAPS/Splash News & David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images

She demonstrates that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

At this year's Billboard's Women in Music, Selena Gomez was rightfully awarded the title of "Woman of the Year" with all the success that she has achieved despite her many struggles in life.

The 25-year-old singer began her acceptance speech by saying that her best friend, Francia Raisa, should be receiving this award instead. While fighting back tears, Gomez expressed her gratitude to Francia saying that she basically saved her life.

Trying to pull herself together, Gomez continued to convey her appreciation for the platform she has been given to be a part of something bigger than herself. In addition, she feels blessed as her love for people helps her make others feel great.

Amongst thanking her team and family who has stuck with her throughout the year filled with tribulations, Gomez acknowledged the older women in the music industry who have paved the way for younger girls in the business. Having no idea how to repay everyone for what they have done for her, the songstress blurted out that she'll maybe do so by making an epic album next year.

 

Photo Credit: Billboard