Tonight belongs to the guys in Bigbang. Since frontman G-Dragon went into hiding in 2011 after the rare K-pop scandal (he tested positive for smoking marijuana but was never charged), this performance marks a triumphant onstage reunion for the group. They seem up for it; you can feel it in their gravitational pull. They move more like moussed-up panthers or professional athletes than pop stars. When G-Dragon’s childhood friend and fellow rapper-singer T.O.P approaches, it’s as if the city’s been tipped on its side for 30 seconds.
Your once laconic, germaphobic neighbors hurtle and squeeze into one corner of the section like a pile of giggling carp along a catwalk, mouths agape, eyes wild, hearts doing weird things inside their chests. T.O.P swivels and smirks, as if to puckishly half-acknowledge the frisson at his feet. He probably took a class on this. A beat drops, your eyes water. A hook arrives, you laugh to breathe. Kids are running in place, clutching their faces, screaming in so many different frequencies that the sum resembles what it must sound like if someone could roll down the window on a 737 six miles up.
With an hour left, some of them are starting to collapse from exhaustion, their friends catching and carrying them out with such calm it feels like just another part of the ritual. Not long before Bigbang begin their encore, a wavy-haired, thirtysomething American woman grabs my arm. “How do I get out of here?” she shouts. “How do I get out of here?!”
David Bevan, “Seoul Trained: Inside Korea’s Pop Factory”
This is a really great article on K-pop, not only because it’s informative but because it manages to partly capture why people (myself included) go crazy for the music and idol culture. The article’s subtitle (“Inside Korea’s Pop Factory”) sounds a little sensationalistic, but I would challenge the idea that a “pop factory” is a bad thing. Of course, the common criticism against pop music is that it is “manufactured.” I absolutely hate hearing that for a number of reasons. First of all, it gives this false impression that we don’t already highly value manufactured products (e.g. Apple products). But second, why wouldn’t you want a large group of people working really hard on making great music together? Why wouldn’t you want artists training to be really good at what they do (which is exactly what we respect athletes for, or by the same token, classical musicians)? People fear that this would turn music into some hollow product, devoid of genuine feeling, but any fan of K-pop knows that this is simply not how it works. It’s borderline ritualistic (which means that it thrives of precision and repetition): it’s magic.
- lizbeth538 likes this
- qqgifs likes this
- cryo-sleep likes this
- vph-mcse-p likes this
- defenderofyourface likes this
- waavedada likes this
- subdee said: I started listening specifically for phone sex sounds in Big Bang music, and they are like, all over the place. >_> The beat too, especially on the stuff Kush produces: it pulses. This stuff is about as sexual as you can get away with in idol music
- occupiedterritories posted this