With baseball season over, I can finally bring back features I’ve been meaning to use but haven’t, mainly because I’m lazy. I know you all are just itching to hear my takes on more shit.
Anyway, a ton of stuff has been happening that I think is probably worth discussing. Or are just fun, honestly.
Defector: On the Squid Game reality show.
In Squid Game, the audience’s disgust is meant to be directed at the Host, who orchestrates the games, and the masked millionaires who watch the proceedings for their own entertainment. If Netflix’s goal was to execute some sort of meta-commentary and make everyone watching at home feel like those evil millionaires, then I suppose they’ve done a good job. Either way, I think I’ve had my fill.
Regardless of all that, people love the show, which I understand, but man it’s definitely bleak.
Also, Defector is probably the best sports site out there (and it’s also pop culture adjacent). Sub if you’re interested since that’s their business model of not needing to be clickbait dipshits like the rest.
Daily Mail: There was discourse about journalism surrounding K-pop as a result of this article, which is them doing one of those lazy ‘dark side of K-pop’ pieces because BLACKPINK recently was given honorary MBEs by their King.
Think that basically sums up where I stand on the media environment surrounding K-pop. Like I obviously understand the frustration and criticism, but it’s a bit of a reap what you sow situation in regards to the way fandoms move and what kind of stuff they reward outlets for doing.
New York Times: Another discourse starter popped up soon after due to a podcast that discussed the evolution of K-pop, especially in regards to the trend of English-language songs and targeting Western demographics, in addition to what K-pop even is anymore. They centered this mainly around BTS and Jungkook, so things went as they probably expected.
While I don’t agree with some of the tone, I do find it hard to argue about the points regarding K-pop companies shifting away from mostly unapologetically doing their own thing and making maximalist pop music. It’s not controversial to discuss whether K-pop companies seemingly changing the target demo is impacting the kind of music they now put out and whether that erodes what made K-pop acts gain attention to begin with.
Those points about the way K-pop is trending are admittedly thoughts I’ve had as well, mainly because … well, if you listen to enough of it then it’s hard not to notice. Still, at the end of the day, I’ve admittedly begun to care less about carefully delineating what was influenced or impacted by what, or what is labelled K-pop or not, or whatever else. I’ve largely tried (tried) to eschew this in favor of focusing primarily on whether I enjoyed the music or not. At the end of the day that’s what most of it is about to me, especially with regards to pop. I understand the counters to this seemingly simplistic attitude, but I also don’t care.
I did want to say that one of the things I fail to understand is why my opinion on a K-pop artist’s music should be impacted by whether he’s heavily influenced by a Western artist or not. Like I get that it’s hard not to notice, but in other ways it feels oddly xenophobic to write off the output of Asian artists in that way, and say things like you might as well listen to the original or whatever. Like it’s pop music, every modern star is influenced heavily by those who came before them, it’s even documented proudly in most pieces about Western or other foreign pop acts, yet their output is not discarded as therefore lesser than if the songs are successful. To me, at that point you come close to asking “Why enjoy pop music?”, which is fine if that’s what you’re going for, but unless you’re gonna ask the same questions about non-Asian artists who are also regurgitating trends and sounds, it feels weird to be making a mountain out of that molehill. Obviously I’m not saying one has to like this song or that song, but I just wish people would reflect a bit on whether they would have the same standards if the artist was European or something.
If you’ve noticed a lot of breathless PR puff pieces about FIFTY FIFTY‘s Keena have been circulating recently, well that’s because ATTRAKT is basically sending templates for easy articles to outlets as they seemingly try to make sure the support they’re getting doesn’t end up temporary.
I mean, look, it’s fucking working, man. Can’t argue with the results, as they are playing people like a fiddle with all this.
On a lighter note, Chuu Can Do It is apparently going back to its environmental roots a bit. That’s nice, but mainly Chuu is still apart of it so it’s great anyway.
Uprising led by Chuu coming.
On the PLAVE front: 1) Why does it look like they’re double-teaming that watermelon? 2) Them playing Suika Game as a life-or-death thing made my night.
And finally, Dreamcatcher doing Team Rocket from Pokemon.