End of the year, K-pop 2012. Best Track of 2012

January 2, 2013 § 1 Comment

Mis knew it from the beginning of course, for Lars it took a bit longer to realize, but the important thing is that we now both know the truth about the best track of the year.

Orange Caramel released their Lipstick full-length album in September and Lipstick was a great single release, Orange Caramel tend to have great single releases, but Lipstick is not our favourite track of the year though. Which one is it?

orangecaramel_lipstick

Though the title may give you a hint of something light, cute and fun, this is not necessarily what it is. Not only at least. There is a slightly spooky feel to the meldoy and it is turning hypnotizing on you after a while. This combined with sweet voices and lyrics that tells the story about love that went bad, makes this track a complete success. There is usually something special happening when Orange Caramel takes the cute concept on, something intriguing if you like.

The track has been played over and over again by both of us and by others close by. For those, like Lars who counts everything carefully in his Itunes library, this track has achieved an all-kill on most played list EVER.

The first track on Orange Caramels full-length Lipstick album is called Bubble Bath and this is OUR best track of the year.

“Why is it still remaining here and there?
No matter how much I erase, you still remain
Like the rain, like the music, please flow out
All of your traces, please be washed away

Bubble by bubble, bubble bubble
You are still there like soap bubbles
Bubble by bubble, after you disappear
I will be clean from hateful you”

The Future is Idol
If you haven’t done it already, check out other End of the year, K-pop 2012 posts here.
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What truly matters

November 19, 2012 § 2 Comments

Kpop has given me a lot of things. It has helped me through recovery from eating disorders. It has given me new, awesome friends. It has provided me with role-models when I have needed to push myself through heavy workloads in school. It has given me incentives to learn not one, but two new languages. It has given me friends all over the world and made me travel far away on my own in a way that I could never previously have imagined. All in all, it has given me a more beautiful outer world. But that is not why I’m in it.

Let me explain.

A common way of defending young nerds’ interest in low-status hobbies is saying that it will lead to something with higher status. Computer games will improve your English and problem solving skills. Manga will let you know “Asia”, which appearantly is the World of the Future. Vampires will give you a sense of community, although this might also be seen as something destructive. Technology will eventuelly make you rich – just look at Bill Gates!

I guess all of this might seem the only way to defend these things against sceptical parents and teachers and classmates, and to encourage children who are ashamed of liking them and feel that they should spend more time on sports, gossiping, or whatever is considered more appropriate for their gender and age. But even so, it is beside the point.

As for me, the indirect effects of kpop are doubtlessly nice to think about when I spend yet another evening doing seemingly pointless things. Scrolling through Tumblr instead of studying. Reading kceleb gossip instead of going out with friends. Missing Girls or whatever show that apparantly is currently what you’re supposed to watch because I’m busy watching kdrama. Especially as I haven’t had a real relationship in years, as that seems to be the true stamp of approval from Life Agency.

But seriously, that is not what matters.  I have said this before, but I’ll say it again – if not else but because I have to remind myself of this every day. The true value is no language skill, no networking, no cross-cultural know-how or future work prospects. The true value cannot be described with terms as achievements or benefits. The point of it all is how it feels. It is about being instantly cheered up from playing that certain song and imagining the awesome video. It is, also, about losing breath and crumbling to pieces over an animated gif. About the excitement of finding the fancam for a performance you have been jealous of. About giving the pillow a beating to let out your embarressment. About getting all giggly just thinking about a certain idol. About the feeling of intense interest talking about them. About crying. It is about worries and joy and love. The other stuff is just there for us to point out when we are questioned.

/Mis

The Wet Dream of a Fanboy

October 24, 2012 § 2 Comments

I’m Swedish, born and raised, still living in this northern part of Europe with it’s chilly climate and welfare state. I’m a man who just turned 30, a teacher and more important for now – I’m kind of a fanboy. In a K-pop kind of sense that is. Key(of SHINee) is so obviously my bias and I sometimes find it hard to understand how this works. What is it about that man/idol that keeps me captivated? Don’t know. Do I want to know?

Earlier this evening, Mis sent me the Key-gif to the left. Attached were the words: “Thought he was inserting snus from the beginning.” (Snus = Swedish snuff) Snus is the most macho kind of tobacco there is in Sweden and the layers of Key perhaps using that kind tobacco is mind blowing, the Swedish fanboy I am.

Key is in the fandom rather portrayed in a feminine kind of way then in a macho. His interest in clothing and the quirky personality his got makes this version of him understandable and a classic gay characteristic, which also is a common way to describe him. SHINee Key gay is by the way one of the highest ranking search terms at this blog. This is perhaps not for me the most exciting Key version I could think of. Rather, the wet dream of a fanboy like myself could be “Key doing “manly” stuff” and my reaction to this gif was instant and thrilled, even though both me and Mis could see that Key was probably not inserting snus after all…

Important to point out is that I do not want to rank a manly version of Key higher then a more feminine one. But as the clichés of him and being gay is usually twisted towards the later one I always find it liberating and awesome when things comes along disturbing the cliché. It could be him being pshysically strong in an old episode of Maknae Rebellion or the picture of him with his unshaved moustache as seen in the picture below in the middle. Also, being a man/or manly AND being feminine is another great combo if thats what is prefered.

The Future is Idol – L

btw. Key doing “manly” stuff could of course also be the wet dream of a fangirl, even if it might be rare.

Watch Key do all of these things here.

Obsessions, now and then

October 23, 2012 § Leave a comment

When I get too tired from worrying about idols, about their psychological and physiological health, about their love lives, about how they feel about what they do, about their economy, about their integrity, about the “race” dynamics between my (Caucasian) way of looking and theirs, about their attitude towards gender and sexuality, about their body image and their views on other bodies than their own, about what would happen if I actually met them, about what will happen if I never meet them, about their view on fans, about their popularity; in short, about idols in general, I sometimes really miss the days when I was just a bored, sad fifteen-year old virgin fangirl with idle hands and a huge obsession with Harry Potter.

No real people. None of the never-ending grown-up reflections that block my way today. Just me and my fiction, fanon and canon.

The following conversation just happened:

Me: Sometimes I wish being a fifteen-year old Harry Potter obsessed. It was so much less complicated.

Lars: You can never have that back.

Me: No. Never.

/Mis

Footnote: BUT I WOULD NEVER EVER GO BACK IN TIME. NEVER. EVER. WOULD I GO BACK THERE AGAIN. NEVER. Because it sucked. But I can still romanticize it afterwards.

Inside our Heads

October 14, 2012 § 1 Comment

The other day a common friend (a psychology student) of The Future is Idol crew started talking about the lives we live inside our heads and the richness of that life – often, but not always, in contrast to the life we live on the outside. In that moment, Lars and I looked at each other and started laughing out loud, thinking the same thing.

I’ve said it before and I say it again: Kpop is an industry of dreams. Kpop deals in dreams, and dreams is what it sells. Something I find extremely interesting about it, is how it is not an industry based on selling dreams about the buyer, but about someone else. The clothing and make up industry sells dreams about yourself, the person you will become in those particular jeans or shoes or shades of eyeshadow. The furniture industry sells dreams about yourself, telling you that your inside is represented in your home. A lot of the technology industry is based on the want of the buyer to be cool, to have that awesome sound system or at least that hip new phone that everybody are talking about.

But kpop is about dreams about others. We might objectify our idols, and I know a lot of fanspazzing is downright dirty, giving explicit descriptions of what the fan would do were hir idol near, and of course we will fantasize about how it would be to share some kind of romantic vibes with our idols. But the vast majority of kpop fanfiction is about the idols with each other, as is a huge part of fanart. I personally believe that one of the reasons that so many straight fangirls ship their male idols together is that they want to see them in love, but without having to identify or compare with a female character in a world where, unfortunately, gender is expected to be one of the most major parts of one’s personality and the base of especially heterosexual interactions. I often find favorites among the idols I identify with, but have no interest in doing the things that idols do – I don’t want to dance, or sing, or participate in variety shows. It is not the possession of a skill that I want that make me idolize them, no matter how much I can enjoy seeing them perform it. I want to fantasize about them, about what they do, about what they think and who they love. When I buy their music, I’m not buying a dream about whom I could be. I buy a dream about whom they might be.

When I was a teenager, I loved a song called Happy People Never FantasizeBut I no longer think that’s true.

/Mis

Long-distance crushes

September 21, 2012 § Leave a comment

Just wanted to share this short conversation I had with a friend I met up with the other week. (Note: This is translated from Swedish to English, which is harder than expected. I will here be using “they” as a gender-neutral singularis pronoun and “you” as a non-specified pronoun; my friend was not addressing me especially.)

Friend: I have decided to try not having someone special while I’m [living at the Folk High School]. Because I know it’s like that… that whenever you get bored, sad, feel stuck where you are, or a little lonely, you will flee to that person. You will think about them, look at pictures of them… Maybe talk to them, or visit them, but that’s not the most important part.

Me: Yeah, I know.

Friend: It’s just escaping, really.

Me: This is when it’s good to have idols.

Friend: It is, right? And then no one gets hurt. Because you know it’s not for real.

Me: Something like that, though not that it’s not real… It’s just that the responsibility towards an idol is less direct. You can leave them for a while, then look to them again when you need them, and that won’t hurt them. You know them, but they don’t expect anything from you specifically, or personally.

Not the full answer or truth, certainly. But one small part of what idols are to me. I hope it doesn’t sound like I don’t think fans have a responsibility towards their idols, because I really do think that fans should be there for their idols just as much as the opposite. However, should a fan not be able to pay enough attention to a particular release at a particular time, it’s not like their idol will call them specifically and be hurt and ask what they are up to. And although that can sometimes feel sad, it can actually be a very good thing too.

/Mis

The Fangirl Smile

September 5, 2012 § Leave a comment

When I was seventeen, I had a boyfriend who named one of my smiles “The Fangirl Smile”. I hadn’t known that I had it before: It was the smile I smiled when I wasn’t paying attention to my surroundings, but suddenly came to think of something that made me blush from the thrill. Not a communicative smile, but the introvert smile caused by a sudden wave of warmness towards something that wasn’t there.

What he didn’t know is that I actually have the exact same smile when I think about someone I have a crush on. I know that, because that is usually how my friends find out I do; by catching me smiling and asking me about it. How would he have known, when it was him, back then? In his presence, it was always some Sirius/Remus fanfiction novel or something that made me smile like that. But in his absence, it was often he.

Since then, other crushes has come and went, along with other obsessions. But how come the smile is the same?

/Mis

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