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 Fantasize. But I no longer think that’s true.
October 12, 2012 § Leave a comment
I’m always alarmed and worried when the meaning in words and actions are changed from politics to the conceptual level. This is what Miss A is heading towards using a banner with the words Independent Women and This Is For All The Independent Ladies, for their new promotional pictures. To make money out of a short promotional period on the very much so important issue of womens rights is indeed higly questionable. This is obviously so much of a marketing strategy that no one can be misstaken, but who knows, Miss A might turn out to be part of a newly born feminist movement in South Korea in the end…
Good idea or bad idea to use this concept? Does it make it better or worse that they look awesome in suits and other traditional “male” attires in the teaser MV?
The Future is Idol – L
October 11, 2012 § Leave a comment
I wonder about a lot of things. Today for example, I really wonder about the fact that I woke up this morning from a rather problematic dream about a member from Exo-K or why the dream ended with me and my friend Jonas eating food in the middle of the night. I wonder why I forgot to bring lunch to work so I had to go hungry, why I didn’t go and just buy something food-like and why my colleague had to tell me everything terrible about one of our students so I in the future will only think about this when I teach this student. Later in the evening at the University class of North and South Korean politics the guy next to me moved his leg so it touched my leg over and over and I wonder if he did it on purpose, because thats what it felt like. I also wonder about how it came to be that Ranias latest track Style is turning out to be this enormous obsession of mine when I never really cared about them before. In general, I wonder a lot of things about K-pop.
The Future is Idol – L
October 3, 2012 § Leave a comment
I have had my ups and downs with U-kiss over these last few years. I fell in love with their quirky sides, variety shows and extreme coreographys(crazy ass). It felt like they hand no boundaries and could say anything, and those kind of idols seem to be of my preference, the crazy ones. I also fell out of love with them as Alexander Eusebio, my favourite member, was kicked out of the group together with member Kibum. And as for being the grown man I am, this is the group that really made me realize how far my fandom and the feelings connected to it had gone. The creation of a fanboy perhaps. The anger, tears and time spent on the evil bastards of NH Media and the atermath of it all… I decided back then, when Alexander left the group, to never listen to them again. That did not work out well for me…
Kevin, my other favourite was still in the group, so talented it is hard to keep away from. To see him evolve over the past few years has been worth the watching, and most of their later releases are far better then everything released before the member-change. Neverland was awesome, and Obsession became a huge obsession. The recently released Stop Girl turned out to be a new top favourite from 2012 and then there is the melancholy of this track:
I kind of need them to sound desperate and sad from time to time. This helps.
And does not mean I accept all the current members of U-kiss. But I won’t tell which ones I don’t.
The Future is Idol – L
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.
September 16, 2012 § Leave a comment
When Orange Caramel made their debut back in 2010 with Magic Girl I was a big sceptic. I saw the influences from the Japanese kawaii (cute) world, something I have never been a fan of and didn’t want to connect with the K-pop scene at all. The music just felt weird and I was hoping for a one time project. On the other hand I was madly in love with After School (omg you have to press this link), the group that sub unit Orange Caramel descended from and therefor could never just not care about this new project.
Something happend though, bcuz in the spring of 2011 they released Bangkok City and I fell for it like a fool. By taking small steps away from the cuteness and the cartoon-feeling, Orange Caramel ventured into sexy and fun, which for me was something positive.
Yes I know exactly how problematic this may sound and believe me, I’m still not clear over what my feelings really concerning this really are. But the thing is, as they started releasing tracks that did not just only sound like something out of a cartoon, combined with a sexier but still kind of silly image, it really felt like they knew what they were doing. Making fun of everything, but with serious intentions. I don’t know if this is actually the case, but that’s how it felt and still feels. Also, by reading about how the members felt awkward over the first concepts and the groups name when initially being put together, it felt like they were in the same strange position over this as myself, and I saw that as a good sign.
The latest track, Lipstick arrived this week and I had my doubts(my co-writer did not). I really liked the teaser and the photos but after the first listen I was not that impressed. After a couple of days of listening though, and watching(ever so important), my heart is melting. It is not my favourite track so far, but atleast it’s moving in that direction. Maybe it’s them making fun of me.
The Future is Idol – L