[MV] SUPER JUNIOR DONGHAE&EUNHYUK – Oppa, Oppa (Japanese Ver.)

Considering how popular Kyary Pamyu Pamyu seems to be (you have no idea how much this legitimately baffles me) if Japan don’t lap this crap up I will genuinely be surprised.  

I first became acquainted with Oppa Oppa when I saw a fancam of Donghae’s Super Show 4 solo (shockingly—read: obviously—featuring Eunhyuk) on YouTube. I said it then and I’ll say it again now—Oh dear Lord what were they thinking? Despite the copious numbers of WTFs floating around in my head, I still followed each and every one of Donghae&Eunhyuk’s Korean promotions during December last year. The single has since been ported across to Japan so could this be the start of a new Super Junior sub-group? Oh God I hope not. But I kind of do.

All ridiculousness aside, I love this song. Why? I have no convincing answer for you aside from the fact it’s just so stupid it works. That and it’s catchy as hell. I can’t even give the song itself a proper review because I don’t even know where to begin. All I can say is there is no one more perfect in Super Junior for a concept as ridiculous as this. What can I say? Ridiculous works for these two.

D&E 'Oppa Oppa' Screen Cap 01 D&E 'Oppa Oppa' Screencap 02

Watching this video I really feel like I’m looking at deleted scenes from an Austin Powers movie. Undeniably inspired by the disco era, Oppa Oppa features everything you could possibly want in a music video: simple dance steps, catchy chorus and vomit-inducing costumes. How could anyone say no? Obviously I’m taking the piss because everything about this song makes me want to smash my forehead against a brick wall because I feel it lower my IQ with each play through. But considering how popular Kyary Pamyu Pamyu seems to be (you have no idea how much this legitimately baffles me) if Japan don’t lap this crap up I will genuinely be surprised.

Now, you may be getting the wrong impression so I’ll reiterate—I really love this song. I’ve listened to it so many times my IQ is in negative triple digits and I continue to go back for more like a shameless glutton. It’s just so catchy and so much fun I can’t say no and the more ridiculous it seems with each repeat the more appealing it ultimately becomes. The reason being Donghae and Eunhyuk just do not take themselves seriously. I mean,  how could you when you’re rocking out in a car like a gangster?

The brilliant part of this whole project is how successful it was bound to be with very little effort on SM Entertainment’s behalf. Putting Donghae and Eunhyuk together for a side project would draw enough attention on its own due to the undeniable chemistry the two have, which is obviously and quite smartly exploited by SM in this case. But love or hate EunHae no one can rob this song of the credit it deserves in the catchiness factor. Next to Big Bang’s Fantastic Baby, Oppa Oppa certainly ranks as one of the year’s most likely tracks to get stuck in your head for days on end. It has plagued me for months now.

Despite my usual disinterest in Korean-Japanese re-releases Oppa Oppa has transferred quite smoothly and works just as well in both languages. Of course the hook line ‘Oppa Oppa’ was never going to be translated into Japanese (it just wouldn’t work) but as a whole the song seems to have retained its unique character. The words flashing across the screen are certainly a delight because it adds to the overall tackiness of which this PV reeks. But hey, it’s working for them so why not? Though, for the life of me I cannot understand why Tokyo and London were expressed in Japanese while New York and Paris were not.

D&E 'Oppa Oppa' Screencap 04

Considering how badly Shindong wanted to be involved in this song when the duo were promoting in Korea—he even went as far as to make his own MV[1], which for the record had more time invested in it than SM Entertainment’s ‘official’ version—it’s great to see he finally got his wish and made a cameo in the Japanese PV. I’m not entirely sure why Sungmin is there but I’m never sure why Sungmin is anywhere. Can someone please explain/justify his inclusion in Super Junior M for me?

D&E 'Oppa Oppa' Screencap 04

It’s really hard to express how bad this song and PV are while still conveying how good it is. Everything about it is laughable but there is a little something that makes it endearing. Maybe it’s the obvious amount of fun they’ve had promoting this song or maybe it’s simply just down to how catchy it is. Regardless, Oppa Oppa is one song I love just as much as I hate it and I sincerely hope Donghae&Eunhyuk churn out more of these shenanigans for the sole purpose of my amusement.


[1] You can see his version here on SM Town’s official YouTube page.

[ALBUM] Jin Akanishi – Japonicana

Japonicana might provide a good pump-up backing tape while one is getting ready to hit the town on a bender, but aside from that, it’s borderline painful to listen to.

When I first heard Test Drive many months ago I unconsciously slapped myself in the forehead. I can’t say I’m surprised Jason Derulo occupied more vocal time than Jin himself but to think he would add to the quality of the song was a gross miscalculation. There is virtually nothing that could have saved this track short of demolition. Test Drive is a bit of a bore for a club pop song and the poetic substance of the lyrics is sorely lacking. In fact, any thirteen-year old boy could offer more than what Jin has bought to the table. Sun Burns Down is a mild improvement on the first single but still contains the same basic R&B sound overlaid with banal lyrics. Well done, Jin. This didn’t have my hopes particularly high for Japonicana but only time would tell how much of a mess this brave new endeavour would prove to be.

Akanishi’s desire to debut in America would have come at no great surprise to the ordinary KAT-TUN fan. His passion for the R&B genre and desire to sing in English was well documented since his boy band days when a great number of his solos were preformed in English. The infamous Love Juice could have been construed as a pallet teaser for Japonicana but it really wasn’t: Jin has taken the smut, innuendo and R&B feel up a hundred notches to produce something I’m not entirely sure how to respond to. Love Juice, by comparison was a relatively decent song when put alongside the treats Jin has on offer with Japonicana. Classy like none of these hoes? No, Jin, I really don’t think so.

I can’t say there is one track on the album by which I am particularly impressed. Perhaps my deep seeded hatred of R&B is clouding my judgement but Japonicana seems to me to be a monumental failure.  This album fails to the showcase even a fraction of the vocal talents fans of KAT-TUN know Jin possesses. Tracks feature forced, rough wails—which are needless to say unpleasant to the ears—or monotone spoken verse that could be perceived as a horribly pitiful attempt at rap. Either way Japonicana does not present Jin as a talented vocalist or a great composer. All it does is paint him as a pathetic wannabe who is trying so very hard to be something which he is not and will never be. I am a little embarrassed for him.

Despite what the album title suggests, Jin has abandoned any notion of Japanese pop idol he may have still contained in favour of good ol’ American R&B. While assimilating into something already familiar to the American audience may have been the only way for Jin to gain any sort of attention, the fact remains he has brought nothing new to the genre. While iTunes claims this album to be an example of sleek, modern R&B/club it doesn’t succeed in meshing to two together—Japonicana’s tracks contain elements of both sounds but each song is distinctively one or the other.

The club house component of the album is an utter disgrace. Aphrodisiac and That’s What She Said are classic examples of club pop and aren’t something you would enjoy listening to outside of a bar and even then you probably wouldn’t like it that much. As to be expected of this specific genre the lyrics are minimal and this works in Jin’s favour as he didn’t have to strain himself too hard thinking of something profound about which to sing.  Aphrodisiac sounds just like every other song I hear when breaking out some moves on a club dance floor and I probably wouldn’t distinguish it from the constant drone of the DJ’s mix. I guess if you like club music you might appreciate Japonicana but for the average pop fan it’s not an album you would put on just to listen to. It might provide a good pump-up backing tape while one is getting ready to hit the town on a bender, but aside from that, it’s borderline painful to listen to.

That’s What She Said has been the centre of controversy prior to the album release. I don’t particularly feel like getting involved in the shit storm involving rape connotations and misogyny that inevitably appeared on the internet following the leak of the lyrics and will say nothing more than Jin’s English vocabulary is obviously more limited than one first thought. I’m impressed he understands the meaning of neologism but with Jin coining awe-inspiring words along the lines of Tixy—created from ‘tits’ and ‘sexy’—I can’t see these words taking off anytime soon. The beat of the music very much lends itself to a club dance floor and if you remove Jin’s pitiful excuse for vocals—is he even attempting to sing?—then it may provide something to dance to if there were nothing better on offer. The fact this song is a blatant play-by-play of a drunken one night stand with an overemphasis on oral sex really makes me question iTunes’ review asserting Japonicana is ‘consistently pop radio-friendly.’ Okay.

California Rock is utterly boring for a club song and once again with an incredibly narrow scope of lyrics it can’t have taken Jin any more than ten minutes to pen. Sex and alcohol seem to occupy a large portion of Jin’s brain activity so I guess one cannot blame him for alluding to one or both in all his songs. The boy likes to party but with a track as uninspiring as this one I don’t see myself jumping out of my seat anytime soon.

The first true R&B track manifests itself in Like You. This seems to be Jin’s first serious attempt at a decent song but once again fails to impress in any area. Set Love Free is much the same and perhaps the biggest disappointment in regards to these tracks is his singing. With uninspiring lyrics and bland melody, Jin needed to rely heavily on his vocal talents to achieve any form of praise for this album. Unfortunately for Jin his voice seemed far less impressive than it did when he was a member of KAT-TUN. I’m not sure whether this is implying his group mates are noticeably bad by comparison or whether Jin is perhaps not cut out for this genre of music regardless of how desperate he is to be a part of the American R&B scene. His voice seems strained and lacks the smooth sensuality he displayed in KAT-TUN’s discography. This is a genuine shame.

Oowah and Tell Me Why round out the relatively short album and are again nothing impressive. I listened to the entire album several times and these two failed to even register in my memory. That’s all I have to say about them, really.

While Japonicana seems to be mostly a genuine attempt to move away from his boy band roots, it seems like Jin should have stuck to what he was good at. Ultimately he has tried too hard and fallen flat in the process. Instead of challenging the music industry and attempting to further the genre he has instead added to a swollen pool of artists by offering much more of the same in an attempt to fit in. The result of this is an unimpressive pile of sameness that will remain unacknowledged amongst a sea of well-established and successful artists. Furthermore Jin’s vocals are pathetic and nowhere near the standard he produced as part of KAT-TUN. Way to take a step backward there, Jin.

If I was held at the point of some life-threatening weapon and demanded to pick a favourite track I would begrudgingly select Sun Burns Down. It’s the closest Jin gets to actually singing on the album and one of the few tracks that features him solely. He almost sort of manages to dance, too. In regards to the video, I fail to understand the relationship between seducing a woman and espionage, but hey, I don’t claim to understand Jin’s mind and I’m sure no one ever will.

 

If you’d like to check out what netizens are saying about That’s What She Said feel free to peruse this post on あらま They Didn’t!: http://aramatheydidnt.livejournal.com/3475605.html

It’s bound to keep you occupied for hours.

That Scandalous Belly Fat

The only thing I found particularly offensive about the article posted on allkpop was the outfit Lee Hyori was wearing.

Well all get it: the Korean music industry is shallow. Their obsession with youth, beauty and plastic surgery is perhaps a reason why this powerhouse just keeps on getting stronger. Everyone knows sex sells and the best way to sell it is by making it as lean and clean as possible. By being a fan of this genre I assume we all understood and accepted this. Apparently not.

Recently it was reported by allkpop¹ that netizens, God bless them, are up in arms in disappointment over Lee Hyori’s unsightly belly fat. Heaven forbid a woman in her thirties has the slightest bit of loose skin when sitting down. Yes, this is pedantic and the netizens concerned with this really do need to leave their own houses once in a while; however, the shallowness of the industry and its consumers are not part of the issue here. What I speak about is the continual plethora of comments replying to articles such as these jumping to the idol’s defence and complaining about the harsh expectation of netizens. While I personally find it horrifying some people consider Lee Hyori to have belly fat, ranting about the high standards placed on the physical appearance of idols is so worn out it’s become painful to read about. I’m sick of hearing ‘news’ regarding disgust with an idol’s image. More specifically, I’m sick of hearing about netizens who are disgusted with the disgust over an idol’s physical appearance.

Netizens’ obsession with their idols’ youth and beauty is the direct result of the image Hallyu has created for itself. They are no less to blame for their superficial expectations than the companies for producing it in the first place. The vicious cycle between the fans’ expectations and Korea’s infatuation with physical perfection will only continue to feed on one another. This is never going to change. While it does seem a little bit pathetic to find there is nothing more going on in the world of Kpop than netizens complaining over Lee Hyori’s stomach, nit-picky comments such as this are to be expected in an industry that prides itself on physical perfection. Fans jumping into these shitstorms to defend their oppars and unnies and slam other netizens or management for their harsh critiques are about as pointless as reporting the sky is in fact still blue. It might not be moral and it might be unduly critical but any fan should know that’s how the music industry—in particular the Korean idol industry—functions. They do not see idols as human beings but instead as commodities they can sell. Just like a box of Cornflakes.

Accepting that netizens are always going to be pissed off about something shallow, the only thing I found particularly offensive about the article posted on allkpop was the outfit Lee Hyori was wearing. That hideous, ill-fitting sack wouldn’t flatter even the youngest, tightest, fittest woman. So please, people, can we focus on that instead and just let the haters hate in silence.

As Lee Hyori² herself stated in her beautifully dismissive comment: what is everyone surprised about? Of course, this is extrapolating her retort into a different context, but we all know how shallow this industry is, so why bother getting upset about it?


¹ Allkpop article: http://www.allkpop.com/2012/02/lee-hyoris-belly-fat-surprises-netizens

² Second AKP article: http://www.allkpop.com/2012/02/lee-hyori-unfazed-by-belly-fat-criticism