While the landscape of Korean entertainment can be vast and wondrous, it’s often the little things that make us fall in love, inspire awe, evoke secondhand embarrassment, or sometimes…break our hearts. In this segment, we ask our writers: Among the many things vying for your attention this week, what made your heart beat?
This week, we also welcome new writers to the segment!
[Idols/MVs] TXT, Teen Top
TXT‘s Soobin did a K-pop Talk vlive this week and it was such a blast from the past. He mostly played second and third generation stuff, like Teen Top, 2PM, Sistar, and Block B while he talked about his memories listening to those songs in junior high. It gave me similar flashbacks to my university years when those same songs came out, and I was amazed that I still knew every word to Nillili Mambo. Everyone has diverse music tastes, of course, but I always love seeing idols get excited about K-pop and fanboying/fangirling to the music that inspired them. The Beomgyu cameo — mostly Beomgyu screaming “Hyung” on speaker phone as Soobin ignored him and danced — added just the right amount of chaos to an otherwise nostalgic hour.
The vlive had me opening up my iTunes for the first time in years to access my “Kpop Jamz” (it was 2011, forgive me) playlist and rewatching just about every Teen Top MV on YouTube. Which brings me to my second beat: Teen Top’s really dubious MVs. There’s already been a lot of discourse about the ethics of “Don’t Wear Perfume” but the MV for “Miss Right” is also… a lot. Specifically, the scene where Chunji pretends to be blind while sitting in the corner of a locker room to watch a woman change clothes had me cringing and wondering how groups got away with this stuff in 2013 — because it definitely wouldn’t be okay today.
Speaking of TXT, I was looking for covers of “Anti-Romantic” the other day when I came across this medieval reimagining of “0X1=LOVESONG,” and I absolutely love it. The strings and drums re-arranged in “bardcore” fashion are just so funny and genius at the same time. Needless to say, I’ve been playing it on a loop the entire week. The comments are just as amusing, with fans spinning up their own Gothic tales about Lords Yœnjuhnth, Sawbeen, Tæhyunth, Bëaumgyou, and Hueningth Kai. As a bonus, the channel, stantough, also includes Old English lyrics in the description which surprisingly, perfectly fit. Just letting you know, in case you wanted to sing “Imbibe me, were I a potion / I know I love thee” the next time “0X1=LOVESONG” comes on!
Other favorite covers include Stray Kids’ “God’s Menu,” where the lyrics “du du du” are replaced with “stew, stew, stew” and Red Velvet’s “Psycho” which sounds just as lush and romantic as the original, but with an eerie twist.
MMTG brought together some second-generation K-pop acts such as 2PM, After School, and Nine Muses for a “Renaissance Special” two weeks ago. I’ve been a fan of After School and I was crying seeing them on stage! This week, I watched Kahi through her own YouTube channel on what happened behind the scenes of After School’s reunion performance. She showed quarantine life after arriving from Bali, meeting up with Bekah, and all the backstage preparations. It’s amazing that MMTG even managed to get their former stylist team back!
I teared up towards the end of the video when she said that she will be flying back to her two sons and her husband in Indonesia. She was obviously happy performing again, but it’s just she has a different life now. It also made me think how the idols we love now would one day give up performing just to be with their soon-to-be families.
[Music/Radio] The 2000s and 2010s of K-pop, Day6’s YoungK hosting Kiss The Radio
It seems the nostalgia has been back in full force this week! After 2PM’s glorious comeback, I’ve found myself reliving the early 2000s and 2010s of K-pop. It was certainly a different era back then, and watching grainy footage of classics such as SNSD‘s Hello Baby or 2PM’s Wild Bunny threw me back to the good ol’ days. I’ve particularly been reminded of Infinite, one of my favorite groups and a group that I consider to be trailblazers in terms of their dance and variety. Their infamous synchronized dancing still holds up against the complex and performance-based routines of today’s K-pop acts, and “The Chaser” remains a ubiquitous bop that will never go out of style.
In other somewhat analogue news, I’ve been enjoying Day6’s Young K as the host of KBS’ Kiss the Radio. The livestreams begin early in the morning for my timezone, and even though I can’t understand live, it’s always fun to hear the energy in his voice as he interacts with guests. He has a certain infectious energy that really comes across despite the language barrier. The highlight of this week was his interactions with guest Epik High. Tablo is a former radio host himself, and it was clear that his compliments meant a lot to Young K. Nowadays, the immediacy of Youtube and V Live content means that the radio has fallen somewhat out of favor, but I for one still enjoy the comfort that come with beginning my morning with a radio show.