April 27, 2011 § 3 Comments
In white, middle-class Stockholm, you don’t really have to get married. In my generation, having unmarried parents is not uncommon, and having divorced parents is almost the norm. But the marriage statistics are rising. People are getting married again – for purely romantic reasons, it seems.
Now, I get that some cultures require marriage, and that some people do it for religious reasons, or for legal reasons, like citizenship or inheritance issues, but I think that neither church nor state has anything to do with whom I fall in love or whom I choose to sleep with. Even though same-sex couples can get married in Sweden these days, marriage still holds its position as a symbol of an oppressive, old-fashion system where everybody has to end up in a traditional family constellation to get happy, and for me that makes a pretty darn good reason to stay away from it.
In Korean society on the other hand, marriage seems to hold its ground as the one natural way to live with your partner. For a k-pop fan like me, it’s unavoidable – in interviews, dramas and variety shows, it keeps popping up. Everybody past their earliest twenties get questions about marriage – questions both asked and answered as if marriage was something natural, an obvious step in their life. And talk about sex, even when hinted, immediately gets flagged with a big “OF COURSE I MEAN WHEN I GET MARRIED”-banner. It’s a society where Christian morals are combined with Confucian traditions. My post-modern super-ego pats my head and tells me to try to look at it from a non-Swedish point of view, and I reluctantly do my best to balance complying to this request with keeping my own opinions intact. A tricky thing, indeed.
K-pop is a symbol of South Korea becoming a part of the modern world. It is also the industry of dreams. So when marriage and domestic life is not required for survival, at least a wedding can remain a dream to make money out of. For even though I know my opinions on the subject, does that mean that I’ve never fantasized about what my wedding dress would look like? Does that mean that I don’t secretly get all worked up, going “That’s totally me!” when my oppas rant about the future wife of their dreams being a good cook who shows elders respect? My sober self tries to hold my giggly fangirl self down as k-pop marriage propaganda carries her away on a rose-scented wave of wedding plans…
The picture above makes it really hard not to wish I had cultivated my congenital awkwardness into something more like IU and less like a Michael Cera character.
April 27, 2011 § 1 Comment
When I got home late last night I found a thick brown envelope inside my door. It had my full name on it(all four of names) so I understood that it was probably from someone who knows me quite well, but I really had no clue who it could have been from as standing there in my dark hallway. I rushed inside to open it, and actually I still, almost 24 hours later start to smile when i think of what was inside. The envelope, which also hade some words in hangul stamped on, it contained one pink heart shaped balloon with Girls Genereation printed on it, one notepad with pictures of U-Kiss (the correct set of members!), one mobile phone jewelry with SHINee KEY written on it and a blue E.L.F. Super Junior bracelet.
It was a present from my friends who moved to Seoul not long ago, and sending me this gift was exactly what I needed at the moment. I’ve walked around in a cloud of happiness all day long. Thank you!
/The Future is Idol
April 26, 2011 § 8 Comments
SNSD dropped their third japanese single MR TAXI today after putting it on halt for a bit due to the earthquake and tsunami disaster. It is not the best track or MV by them ever, but on the other hand, even if it would have been their worst it is a wonder of quality within the K-pop/J-pop industry.
This is by far better then most of the stuff released so far this year by any korean mainstream pop group. I’m not really sure what i think of the taxi themed concept, but they do the coreography flawlessly and the track has got some really nice beats to it. Over all I am very positive and yes, I will listen to it, watch it, over and over again. OMG for Yoona.
/The Future is Idol
April 26, 2011 § Leave a comment
I spent my Easter holidays with my family, but also with driving around in the country side near the place were I grew up a couple of hours north of Stockholm. Small winding roads over hills, down into valleys, and through small run down mining communities that are tucked away deep in the forests. And the forests are every where in this part of Sweden, it can make you feel small and lonely, but also, it at least makes me feel quite peaceful.
Playing on the stereo while driving is mostly, with no surprise, K-pop, old CDs I made over these last one and a half years. Depending on what music I actually had, what was new at the time and what I then enjoyed listening to. Since I almost never drive in Stockholm I always leave these CDs at my mothers house to listen to while being there and it is always fun to re-discover the music I listened to day and night during a specific period.
I don’t know when I put on a CD what will be on it since they are just stacked in a pile unmarked and forgotten since last listened. This time I discovered one in particular good brilliant mix by myself, starting off with ZE:As All Day Long. There is something special about driving around on your own, listening to music while the landscape is rushing by. Perhaps it is all the senses working togheter with hearing, seeing and also, the feeling of the motor and the car itself.
I don’t know if it is true, but it seems to me that these feelings while driving has grown the last two years since I can’t remember them from when I first got my driving license seven years ago. Maybe, just maybe the feeling is the result of me falling in love with music again, falling in love with K-pop.
/The Future is Idol
April 20, 2011 § 3 Comments
April 19, 2011 § 5 Comments
As you’ve already noticed, this blog deals a lot with the definition, even claiming, of the word ”fanboy”. I won’t go into that, since I don’t really feel that it’s my area. On the other hand, fangirlism is. During a recent conversation with some of my classmates, who are about the same age as I, I claimed that I make up how I was never a part of the Western boy band era by being a k-pop fan now. But thinking some more about it, I’m not sure.
Up until I was about ten years old, a fan was more something I had to relate to others being than actually being myself. Except for nurturing something of a, should I say, February-September crush on Björk, the closest I came was almost making it at being a fan of the Hanson brothers. But I remember that as a bit of a charade, occasionally kissing my only (!!!) Hanson brothers poster before bed more as a way of pretending to be a normal girl than as an act of actual admiration. I grew up during the BSB and Spice Girls era, but was never a part of it, and since I even at an early age seem to have been determined to do everything the hardest way possible, I had to like something else. I chose the Hanson brothers as my allies, and motivated this with that while BSB and SG were fabricated, Hanson were completely REAL and PLAYED THEIR OWN INSTRUMENTS. This is funny compared both to my later interest for indie music and my interest in k-pop. I also, strangely enough, enjoyed the fact that they were frequently accused of actually being girls. This, too, is funny, in a whole other sense. (And the only Hanson song that I really, really loved was “Yearbook”. Please go fetch your slash glasses, or perhaps slash hearing aid, and listen to the lyrics.)
I think I’ve made myself clear on being a boy band fan or not. Enter books!
I won’t even get in to the number of books that I have been obsessed with or how many times I’ve read them, but there are a very special kind of books that more than any else has shaped my life, and that brought me my very first experience of loving something so much that I had to talk to others about it, had to breath it, live it, and make it a part of my identity – it’s the Harry Potter books.
I can and will, without a doubt, without any kinds of reservations, call myself a Harry Potter fangirl. I’ve queued for books and I’ve read and reread them. When I was 11, I made my own Harry Potter fansite using Netscape Composer. I’ve spent more hours than I dare to guess reading fanfiction (some that made me cry, some that made me laugh, and some that… did other things to me, eehehehehe) and even got some nice feedback on my own. I have dressed up for movie premiers. I’m considering a Harry Potter tattoo. I think you get the picture.
Although most people find such a strong passion for Potterverse a bit pathetic for anyone past hir early teens, I honestly think it’s easier calling myself a Harry Potter fangirl than a fan of an entertainer. This probably has a lot of reasons, but one of the most important ones is the fact that I don’t want to be in that kind of position towards an actual person. To me, there’s something wrong in the power balance.
It’s true that fans hold a massive amount of power in the entertainment industry. Without fans, there wouldn’t be any idols, which is something any idol would know and take into consideration at every exposure to media. Fan wars, boycotts, but also the support that fans will show their idols both at hard times and happy – that’s the power of fans. That is beautiful, and as I’ve already mentioned, the beauty of being a small part of something incredibly big and sharing the love for something with thousands, perhaps millions of others is one of the main reasons I got into k-pop.
But an idol literally means an object of worship, and yet an idol in the sense that we use it today is a person. And although the love of the fans wouldn’t be there in the first place if the idol didn’t hold some sort of talent, the stanning is also an act of obsession with the personality said idol presents. When you call yourself a fan, you actually put a word not only on the action or admiration, but for yourself in relation to what you’re a fan of – you make that thing a part of your identity. Or am I just taking things too seriously? Am I too proud for my own good? I’m just really hesitant to do that for an actual person. While I would act humbly towards a senior I admired, I still have problems accepting the thought of positioning myself below someone my own age, especially if I’m obsessed with that person because I think hir concept is awesome rather than by hir accomplishments. Of course I know there are no equal conditions when one has like 465498 gifs of the other doing random things like smiling, frowning, drinking water etc, but delusion is strong with this one – I want to believe that there are.
I also feel a bit perverse making an interest out of someone who, thousands of miles away, is living a life in many ways different from but also a lot like my own. But the striving for fame and the acceptance of being partly fictional is such a big topic that I should make it a blog post of its own.
Footnote: I used to be quite the Morrissey follower, but in 2008, I wrote him a letter telling him I still appreciate his work but would follow myself instead.
April 19, 2011 § 2 Comments
I realized it a couple of days ago when I first heard the Pinocchio track, but was still in some strange way hoping for a miracle that would save this comeback from complete disappointment.
So, I woke up this morning and the MV was released. But if I yesterday thought that the MV would lift the track as was the case with NU ABO, a track that before the release of it’s absolutley impeccable MV was just another not so interesting track from f(x), this MV did quite the contrary. If the NU ABO aesthetics gave us a glimpse of the future of K-pop, this MV is just empty, and not nearly as good as it should have been. On the other hand the set design really resembles(the same?) one of my favourite MVs of all time, Bulletproof by La Roux and that is at least possitive.
But the main issue here is the track itself, since the clothes they wear are gorgeous and most important, Amber never looked better. The track lacks in refrain and is as far away from a brilliantly simple pop tune it could be, and that is difficult for a main stream pop group to pull off. I find this track boring on the verge of La chA Ta-boring, but with out the melodious feeling. My favourite part of this track is the last 1,5 minutes with Ambers rap part and the ending melody loop that should have dominated over the rest of the track. I have a soft spot for f(x) since they always look stunning in their MVs and as written earlier, really kill in their commercial MVs. But this is not even close to what I was hoping for.
In so many ways I always want the stuff SME releases to be like this, or rather, as shown below, a crystal clear comeback with an adhesive track and a gorgeous MV:
Will Super Junior or SHINee have another album out before the end of 2011?
/The Future is Idol