Behka Nerds Out: Four Earworms That Surprised Me…and One That Disappointed
Guys, I absolutely get that you may not care about this one.
This is one of those posts where I'm going to rant to you about music, so I get it if you want to check out now. Yes, all of them are K-Pop songs, so again, if you wanna check out, okay. I think you might like a few of these.
But also be warned, if you listen to these songs, they will probably get stuck in your head. And you probably won't be able to sing along to about half of it, because it's in Korean, but you know me. I don't care. A good song is good song, no matter what language its in. Let's get into it, now that you've been warned.
Enhypen are a group that came to be because of a reality show, I-Land. No, nothing to do with the former internet provider. But if you watch this and think, "Huh? Mirrors with no reflection, dudes in chairs floating, old clothes, bats, ancient ruins, red everywhere.... Are they vampires?" YES. THEY ARE VAMPIRES. The music video is linked to a webtoon series where the group are all vampires that are fighting werewolves. Amazing. That hook is catchy as all get out.
Misamo here! This is a group that is referred to a "sub unit". Basically, they're already in another group, and this is a side project. They're all in the group TWICE, who I love. And I'm sure there are many parents who would like their kids to hear this. But really, everyone can learn a few things about body autonomy and the right to say no, so I'm all for that.
Which brings us to JK. Guys, this is... well. It's just bigger than a video or a single. Jungkook is the main vocalist in BTS, and he's generally the center of most formations and photos. He's also almost the last member to release solo material before entering the military (five members still haven't gone yet). So of course, all the stops were pulled out for this one. The girl in the video is a famous actress in Korea, she's been in a ton of things and her fair share of music videos. I know if you watch this you might think, "Jeez, JK, she said no already..... didn't you just note with the other video it was okay for her to say no?" Well, yes. That's just it. Jungkook follows his intended around for the whole video, but if you notice, he never uses violence or tries to force her, and he never even tries to touch her until she reaches out at the end. So it's a "Hey, I'm not giving up on you" type thing. This one surprised me though, because... well, it's rare in K-Pop music to swear, much less drop a big one. In the "explicit" version, he doesn't sing "Loving You", he sings... well. The F one.
And while I acknowledge that Jungkook is a grown man in his mid-twenties with a career, riches, a crap ton of mattresses and a wonderful life... I refuse to acknowledge that version. It just squicks me out. He's like a little brother, in my eyes. I see him as a sweet angel BABY CHILD and I just can't see him any other way. But I will love his music and stream the heck out of it, just.....not the explicit version.
Oh boy, how badly did I want this one? Like, really badly. After a few disappointing singles and the group being in pieces for a long time, this is the closest we've had to a real EXO comeback for a long time (I know "Don't Fight the Feeling" was great, but it just wasn't the bop this is... I would say this is the best one since "Obsession", and they weren't the full group there). Now, I will say, if there are K-Poppers reading this, I'm not an EXOL. I'm ARMY. But, I do love me some EXO, and they're responsible for one of my top five favorite K-Pop songs of all time. And this single delivers, majorly. So catchy, everyone gets a moment to shine (Even my favorite, Sehun, gets more lines), and they deserve a win after the troubles they've had. For the "normals", who don't listen to K-Pop....It's a long story. Basically their record label really, really sucks. It might be imploding in the next few years because of allegations of untoward behavior. The company threw one of the members under the bus when it came to enlistment*, and three of the members are actually suing them right now to get out of their contracts, alleging financial shenanigans.
Guys. GUYS. I want to say something before I get into this one, and I want you to know that I really, really mean it.
I love SHINee. Love them. They're amazing. Seriously. They've been in the industry for a long time, and they keep killing it over and over again. They have the most consistently good solo projects (Taemin ALWAYS hits it out of the park) of any group, and they've had some seriously catchy bangers over the years that are undeniable. That last one is even banned from being played at Universities during finals, because it's catchy enough that it's a distraction to their studies.
But this one... no. Just... no. I get that it's a kind of tribute/parody of the early nineties almost New Jack Swing kinda thing, but this just doesn't hit the mark. I think it hits me the same way that "Jenny From the Block" and "Mississippi Girl" did. If you have to tell people too bluntly some aspect of your personality, it's probably not true. And what kills me is, these dudes are not toxic masculinity types. They have cute cats and little shimmies and they cry while singing, etc. I just don't think, in my opinion, this is their style. I will note... they're under the same problematic label as EXO. Infer about that what you will. These lyrics may or may not have had anything to do with them personally.
Anyway, that treatise is about the latest songs that have been stuck in my head. I hope you enjoyed the essay. And I hope you don't roll your eyes too much at the music nerd being a music nerd.
What are some of your unexpected earworms? Share some in the comments!
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*I'll try to explain it real quick, the way I understand it. I acknowledge I don't know all of it, and I'm glad to be educated if I'm wrong. Basically every able bodied Korean man between the ages of 18 and 28 is required to serve about two years in the military, because the Korean War is technically still going. It's not officially over, they're in a truce. The average man can go whenever he chooses, and most entertainers who are successful put it off to the last minute. So anyway, the government wanted to keep getting that sweet BTS money, so they passed a law saying that entertainers who won the Korean award called the Order of Cultural Merit can defer their service until the age of 30. Well, BTS are the only K-Pop entertainers who have been awarded it.... so it was a way to keep the members out there and earning that money for a couple more years. It was known in the press as the "BTS Law". However, SM (the record label) apparently decided to interpret the BTS law as "Any Idol that wants to can defer to the age of 30", when the law clearly states that anybody who doesn't get the award still has to serve by 28. So the label acted like EXO member Kai could go ahead and just keep doing music with his group like he had been, and it was quickly shut down. He had to go suddenly and without much notice, and you just know the company told him he could defer. They had him working on the last EXO comeback til the very last second, and seemed to think he could stay, and when he couldn't, they just let the criticism continue. They let him be called a "draft dodger", a "coward" and a bunch of other stuff, like it was somehow his fault for not abandoning his job, when his company was keeping him working. But... you're the same company that literally has three of the members of this group -WHO ARE PARTICIPATING IN THIS COMEBACK- suing you to get out of their contract. The same group where three OTHER members sued years ago to get out of their contracts almost a decade ago. I just don't buy for a second that this is Kai's fault.