Bird’s Eye: Start with the Girls’ Generation video, which will show you what K-Pop is about. Then you can decide if you need to read a wonderful (but long) New Yorker piece about the history, style, and merchandizing of K-Pop. A wonderfully creative Amanda Palmer video of her latest single (some nudity), and for contrast, a crashingly punk/grunge blast with Neil and friends bringing it all home.
* 소녀시대_THE BOYS_Music Video (KOR ver.) Girls’ Generation YouTube
* Cultural Technology and the Making of K-Pop The New Yorker
K-pop is an East-West mash-up. The performers are mostly Korean, and their mesmerizing synchronized dance moves, accompanied by a complex telegraphy of winks and hand gestures, have an Asian flavour, but the music sounds Western: hip-hop verses, Euro-pop choruses, rapping, and dub step breaks. K-pop has become a fixture of pop charts not only in Korea but throughout Asia, including Japan—the world’s second-biggest music market, after the U.S.—and Taiwan, Singapore, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Thailand, Vietnam, and Malaysia. South Korea, a country of less than fifty million, somehow figured out how to make pop hits for more than a billion and a half other Asians, contributing two billion dollars a year to Korea’s economy, according to the BBC …
“Listen, boy,” Tiffany coos at the outset of “Gee.” “It’s my first love story.” And then she tilts her head to the side and flashes her eye smile—the precise crinkle in the outer corner that texts her love straight 2U. Why was watching “Mr. Taxi” such pure audiovisual pleasure? Why did my body feel lighter in the chair? It wasn’t the music—bright, candy-cane-sweet sounds, like aural Day-Glo—and, while the dancing was wonderfully precise, the choreography had a schematic quality. “They look like cheerleaders,” my twenty-one-year-old niece hissed over my shoulder one day as I was watching “Gee” again. “Uncle Pervy!”
…Good looks are a K-pop artist’s stock-in-trade. Although some of the idols are musicians, K-pop artists rarely play instruments onstage. Where K-pop stars excel is in sheer physical beauty. Their faces, chiselled, sculpted, and tapering to a sharp point at the chin, Na’vi style, look strikingly different from the flat, round faces of most Koreans. Some were born with this bone structure, no doubt, but many can look this way only with the help of plastic surgery. Korea is by far the world leader in procedures per capita, according to The Economist. Double-fold-eyelid surgery, which makes eyes look more Western, is a popular reward for children who get good marks on school exams. The popularity of the K-pop idols has also brought Chinese, Japanese, and Singaporean “medical tourists” to Seoul to have their faces altered to look more like the Korean stars. Some hotels have partnered with hospitals so that guests can have in-house procedures; the Ritz-Carlton Seoul, for example, offers an eighty-eight-thousand-dollar “anti-aging beauty package.” Women come to have their cheekbones shaved down and undergo “double jaw surgery,” in which the upper and lower jawbones are cracked apart and repositioned, to give the whole skull a more tapered look.
* Amanda Palmer’s awesome stop-motion music video [NSFW] Boing Boing
Amanda Palmer’s just posted her latest video for a new song called “Want it Back,” and it’s a fabulous piece of stop-motion animation in which the lyrics are calligraphed across Palmer’s body, sheets, companions, books, and some nearby graffiti walls in Melbourne. The inking here is nothing short of inspired. Palmer provides extensive notes on the production, which sounds like a real bear.
* “Keep On Rockin’ In The Free World” YouTube
Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl and The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach joined Neil Young on stage last night (September 29) at a free concert in New York.
The Global Citizen Festival, which took place in Central Park, was a five-hour concert featuring performances from Foo Fighters, The Black Keys, Band Of Horses and K’naan, with Neil Young & Crazy Horse capping off the evening.