HEY JUDE just SLIDE because it’s SUNDAY MORNING and it is FANTASTIC BABY because wow OH WHAT A NIGHT!

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Your brain is spinning.  Because you have no idea what the hell that title of the post was. I know…it was me trying to be funny…and it might have turned out lame.

As mentioned in the previous post (which was two mintues ago) I wanted to discuss what music actually means to me and my journey through KPOP.

I felt that it didn’t fit in with the teaching and school life and deserved it’s own post.  Plus…that post was getting way too long and I didn’t want to bore you to death.  So if music isn’t your thing or you really don’t want to hear me talk about it because you think I’m lame or you think KPOP is lame…or you think I’m a pyscho fan girl (I”M NOT!!!) , than feel free to skip over this post.

Though I will warn you, you’re pretty much missing out on a post filled with amazingness and my “priceless insight”.

So let’s see..where were we.

Oh yes, how I was “conned” (not really) into spending way more for Dream concert than I initially had planned on…which …was still a hell of a lot of money.

As I have mentioned before I have seen BTOB, BIG BANG and VIXX so far during my stay in Korea.  I know…it’s averaging up to be slightly more than one concert a month….

KPOP

Most recenlty I was able to see BIG BANG’s Made Seoul concert!  It was amazing to finally see them live, not to mention standing so close!

This is going to sound like the most corny thing you have ever heard, but they are indirectly the reason I am sitting at my desk in Korea….and not America….First KPOP LOVE! See…corny?

In September/October of 2013 I had been introduced through a new co worker who at the time I was still getting used to.  Remember last post when i said I had been unhappy with having a loud crazy roommate but it got better?

Well it was kind of the same thing.  I was shy…quiet…awkward…..I know, through reading these posts you’re probably like “WTF” but that’s because I’ve always been able to express my feelings and thoughts better through writing…so I don’t have to say them out loud.

I had gotten stuck on the night shift because I was the “newbie” and I got stuck with my co worker D (I don’t want to use real names here and I really don’t want to have to type them out because I’m lazy).

Now we got along well and I wanted to seem “friendly” so I watched a few videos with her when we had no clients (DOG GROOMERS!!!!!) and slowly I would youtube a song here or there.

We watched MV’s (almost all of which I would come to watch later and be all excited about) Lee Joon ripping his pants (please youtube this if you haven’t) and a lot of other stuff I don’t really remember.

But it wasn’t until she and our other co worker who happens to be from Busan said to watch “G Dragon’s Crayon” MV.

What the hell were they thinking?

Not only had I been scarred by SHINEE Lucifier the first time I had ever seen KPOP, but that could have put me off of it altogether.

God only knows how I got past the crack that video is and actually liked the beat of the song.  Then I researched further finding out he was in a band…and there were 5 of them.

At that time my BFF and I had been very into 1D (are you seeing a pattern here?).  But….things went down hill after I found out that Big Bang had a ton of songs, were huge ,and most importantly were not your stereotypical Asian men.

They weren’t all flower boys, nor nerds….and that was what started everything. They were flat out attractive. Yes, now I can even appreciate Daesung’s “country look”.

Now some introspective shit: language barriers
Having been trained as a classical soprano I was used to not understanding what I was singng: Latin, Italian, French…..RUSSIAN? (that was the worst). But there is something about music where you don’t need to understand what is being said.

Now don’t get me wrong, lyrics can make or break a song for most people, however for me, I am more attuned to the music itself. I think that’s the reason why I am more open to listening to different genres of music and generally liking them than most people.

I had previously gotten into Reggaetone (Spanish rap kinda ) and most of the time I didn’t know what they were saying (i am glad to say my spanish has improved!)  but it didn’t really matter.  I could have been singing along to a song about monkey butts, but at least it sounded good.

So the jump to KPOP should not have come as the big surprise that it did.

Big Bang was really the catapault for everything else that followed: korean food, language, dramas.

As strange as this sounds, I owe them a lot. Not only opening up to Korean Pop culture, but learning to appreciate and be proud of my own ethnicity-something I have tried to suppress most of my life.

I think my Big Bang kick (what my BFF and I call use instead of obsession because it sounds a lot better a lot less sad) lasted the longest.

After that expericnng I expiernced my first introduction to a new KPOP band.  I don’t know if there is a term for it but I would like to label it as exhausting. First you have to learn all fo their names (which if there is move than 7 I automatically say no) and then one of the harder parts, all of their vocal tones (i think I have a decent ear but when the popular vocal tone in korea is nasally and they all seem to have it + autotune) , and then personalites…well it’s a lot.  And it happened with BLOCK B.

BLOCK B was also the first KPOP concert I had ever attended..

Block B had a different sound to them-more harsh? When I learned they started out as a hip hop group it all made sense.  For me what got me hooked was the song “Tell Them”.  While it had that “hip hop” sound, the bridge changed the entire feeling of the song and shifted into the chorus for full on pop. It actually remained my favorite KPOP song up until recently (so almost made it a full year!)

And then… there was the beautiful vocals of the main singer.  Big Bang’s Daesung has a nice tone and he’s gotten a lot better than he used to, but he doesn’t have the chance to sing a lot.

But Taeil had a voice that I hadn’t heard really in KPOP up until that point-a nice full tone with a bit of soul and power.  Not to mention his large range. I fell in love with his voice and to this day is one of my favorites.  Block B is still one of the bands where I can listen to all of their music and not want to skip over any songs.  It’s strange that happens in general for me, but especally for KPOP.

Insightful time: vocals
In general the type of voices that really get to me are full, soulful and powerful voices with a tone that is unique. I think there are a lot of good singers out there but those who have the power to transcend langauge barriers, and bad songs with their emotion are hard to find. It’s amazing what a well written song can do, but when you feel the emotion and heart a singer puts into their music, it really can make you feel like you are living their words/or the melody of the song.
We all like different vocal tones, and what appeals to us. Sometimes when I hear that my friend thinks this person has the most perfect voice, and I don’t get it…it makes me believe that voices are just like personalites and looks (as shallow as that is) and anything else. It’s something that is unique to us. And that’s cool to think about.

From Block B I moved onto BEAST.

Now the situation with BEAST is a funny one, and acutally happens twice.  My BFF went through a 2PM phase where we had arguements about Chansung (still think he’s ugly…) so I went back and tried to get into them.  I thought I was missing something…but it backfired and I wound up getting into BEAST instead.  They were on an episode of running man togheter…and it just didn’t work out how I had planned.

What really impressed me and still does is their ability to not only sing and dance well-I wouldn’t say there aren’t any weak memebers- but they do it live and it’s amazing!  Yoseob has one of the most consistent and well controlled voices I think.  Now while I do love his unique (weird) tone it is a little thin and slightly nasally.

This might sound weird, but BEAST was kind of another stepping point for KPOP for me.  It was the first time that I saw a band perform so well without a track under and all dance well.  Not to mention that I had discovered them right as they were promoting “Good Luck” which is just flat out amazing.  I think BEAST made me hold KPOP as a whole to a higher standard of performing live and abilites.

Insightfullness time again! : Bonds of Friendship
BFF did not want to get into BEAST. But I forced her and she is now happy I did. Its amazing what the simple power of friendship can do through music. WE’ve always traded back and forth hobbies, likes etc. and even shared some.(Deadliest catch, baseball, soccer, Muse) But the true test of friendship…was getting her into KPOP as whole. Because for a while I didn’t think it was going to happen. Baseball had been hard enough.
But then again..I know her so well all I did was drop a song that had a booming bass and that was the end of it.
Music is something that she and I share and while our tastes might be different, it is something we can give and share with each other. And I think that is a speical thing. Because not only do you get awesome new music, but it’s a speical bond.

Right as I was getting ready to head to Korea, I had decided I should try to like Infinite.  I don’t know why, or what made me think I should look into them but I did…..and I wound up fnding BTOB instead.

What was really intersting about finding BTOB was the fact that it was in the same company as BEAST and 4 mintue so I wasn’t moving to another label.  And a lot BTOB vidoes had them interacting with BEAST.

As mentioned what I like about BEAST was their ability to perform live and not have an obvious weak member, what I really liked about BTOB was their ability to do that….and even sing together!

I know it sounds bizarre- but you if listen/watch to most KPOP, members usually sing alone. They don’t sing togher…even in the chorus which I found to be strange.  But BTOB did so it made them really unique to me-and apprciate that their singers blended well and could actually harmonize.

Unlike with both Block B and BEAST,  I loved both the rapping and vocals  of BTOB .  Ilhoon has a great tone, though some say he sounds like Junhyung of BEAST , and while Chansub has a really nice , for me Eunkwang has one of those voices that is a stand out. As an entire unit they work really well together…even is Peniel’s Korean is not that great.

Insightfulness: alone

While music can be a wonderful thing when you share it with friends, it can be a little isolating at times. With BTOB I was kind of alone. With the BFF in China I couldn’t force her to watch vidoes like I had been doing prior. *evil*

Have you ever had a song where you are so moved by it but no one else gets why? That’s what BTOB kind of felt like. And it was lonely but at the same time it was something just for me.

I am a huge classical music fan. And most of my friends, while they like it here or there, none of them really are moved and filled with the same joy I am when I listen to it. The sound of the bittersweet cello, or intensity of percussion or historical feeling of the harpsichord (i know i ‘m weird) But it’s something that is mine and I don’t need to share with anyone if I don’t want to.

SO what if people don’t understand my love for The Waltz of the Flowers (serisouly that is no joke!)? I love it and sometimes that’s all that matters.

So that brings me to where I am today. VIXX. And one of the main points of music in general.

I hadn’t been in a great place my first month. I was beyond lonely, friendless, tired, insecure, homesick for my parents and especially my dog. I had nothing really going on and didn’t really care. It could have been really dangerous-I could have gone into a bad place but I forced myself to head up to Seoul for the concert.

That weekend not only did I find out about VIXX but a lot about myself.

I think I am pretty good at public transportaion and I’m not really afraid of it-living 4 years in Philly will do that.
But this is not the simple Philly grid system. And it’s not in English. Sure I was panicking the entire time and was so nervous but making it through the weekend alone with just a metro map (while apps are great there is no substitue for a map) made me realize “I can do this.” and not just the metro but life here in Korea.

Being Seoul seemed to automatically clear up any fears or doubts.
Seeing my friend W was also the best. She had been my biggest supporter the entire applicatoin process aaside from my parents, so to finally see her in Korea was a nice feeling.

As mentioend I had not wanted to go to the cnocert really. But I wanted to see my friend and seoul as well.

This is how it went down:

Before the concert: I don’t really want to be here. I want to go to BTOB next weekend more!

1st Song: this isn’t going to be fun. I know nothing and don’t really like the song.

Middle: this is kind of great. and amazing.

Final song: it’s over? but wait! why didn’t I pay attention earlier?!?!

After: …….*replay the only Vixx song on iPod*

To borrow the amazing show “avatar the last airbenders” opening intro “Beast. BTOB, Block B, Big Bang. Long ago the four bands lived together in harmony. Then everything changed when Vixx attacked and kind of jacked everything up.”

I won’t go into detail about how they are all awesome dancers (even Ken isn’t that bad) and can sing, and do it all live, and sing together-it’s like all the individual things that made the other groups amazing was put into one group…and it was amazing. Being in Seoul had lifted my spirits but the concert really made me realize that there is no use sitting alone in my apartment and not exploring what was around me.

From that weekend on, I have yet to spend one full weekend in my apartment or small town. And I love that.

Insightfullness:
It’s amazing how a song can bring back a feeling or memory-painful or happy. They say smell is the strongest trigger of memory-for me its songs or sounds. If I hear a melody and I can’t place it I usually will go crazy and even look for it until I find it.

Goo Goo Dolls came to me in one of the darkest moments of my life. When my 20 month old puppy died of cancer (on my birthday….yeah) they got me through it. John Rzeznik’s genuis lyrics and melodies were able to heal me and while when I do hear those songs and think of the painful time I’m also able to remember how I got through it.

The Beatles remind me of my college years-how much I did love them and all the friends I’ve made, my two bff’s in particular- before my bff S had not been as close to my other bff T at the time, but the three of us bonded over the beatles to the point we all took a midweek spontanious road trip to NYC for the anniversary of John Lennon’s death. Even though we are in different countires, seperated by time zones, we are still able to have those memories though those songs.

I think the reason I got into VIXX so quick was because it was during that time, both the weekend and the concert itself, that I was able to get back on track, and fully appreciate being in Korea, and starting this new chapter away from home. Also, the distraction helped out with homesickness. While I do get homesick occationally and cry at night, it is not frequent. This a band that somehow pulled me away from what could have been a very very dangerous place, and in a weird way I do owe it to my friend W and Vixx as stupid as that might sound.

W and I were having this conversation via text: KPOP is like any other music. it doesn’t matter if the lyrics are stupid, or if the MV is over the top (which most of them are)-if it means something to you than that is all that matters. If it helped you out during a bad time or reminds you of happier times, than you shouldn’t be concered about anyone elses opinion.

And this goes for all music. Not just the negative KPOP sterotype (which is stupid). If that an aria in madam butterfuly is speical to you, or you are hooked on aerosmith’s don’t want to miss a thing (looking at you S bff) or if you love teen top because they make you cry (sorry W) then music did it’s job. It transcended words, language, and got into your soul-and after all isn’t that what music is all about?

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