Sunday, November 22, 2015

Long Time No See

Once upon a time, I used to write blogs on the regular, mostly about my kids.  It was fun. Blogs had always been something I enjoyed doing but, at a certain point in my life, I no longer had time to do it.  I am exploring the possibilities of starting again.  We will start with one blog at a time and see where it takes us.  

My children are much older than the last time I wrote about them.  Things have definitely evolved since the time that I wrote stories of potty training and teething.  Something that has currently taken over my "other interests" categories, thanks to my oldest daughter, is K-POP.  Do you know what this is?  It is short for Korean Pop. Still not sure what it is? Basically, it’s similar to American pop music but taken to a whole other level by South Korea.  Let me tell you how this all started…

It was an ordinary day on Wednesday night, June 3, 2015.  I was doing laundry-sorting, washing, folding, etc.  My daughter, D (19 YO), comes into my room and says, “Mom, watch this.” I ask her what it is, “It’s a kpop video.”  She has mentioned to us something or another of her new found interest in K-Pop a year prior but we were anything less than interested when she told us.  We had been to little get-togethers where all the pre-teens were hovered around a computer, singing in a language none of us could understand but we always thought, “how funny… isn’t that cute?  what the heck are they watching?” We’d peek over their shoulders. Couldn’t really understand their fascination but figured there was no nudity nor bad language (that WE could understand anyway; keep in mind none of us understood Korean) so what was the harm if these children enjoyed it?  Anyway, so my daughter wants me to watch this video.  Honestly, I don’t have the time.  There is laundry in this basket calling my name.  But I want to be a good mom, so I take a deep breath, sit down and let her show me.

It’s a group called EXO and the video is CALL ME BABY. My first impression: there are a bajillion members in this group (ok, exaggerating but that's about how many I counted in my first impression).  The song is pretty catchy.  It’s the choreography that keeps me watching until the end of the video.  The dance is ridiculously good.  Their timing is ridiculous.  How are all these bajillion guys able to dance exactly the same the whole entire time??  

EXO, CALL ME BABY MUSIC VIDEO (for those of you who are curious):

All-in-all, pretty entertaining, I have to admit.  (Um, in case you didn't notice right away, go back to that video and look at the views. 62 MILLION plus views when I am posting this. Crazy.)

The next day, at work, I’m listening to SPOTIFY and think to myself… “what was the name of that group again?”  Yes.  I end up listening to EXO on SPOTIFY while I’m working at my desk.  I send my daughter a text:

That was JUNE 4, 2015.  Today is NOVEMBER 2015.  In the span of 5 months, I have become OBSESSED and learned all about EXO, BTS, GOT7, BTOB, BIG BANG, WINNER, IKON, DAY6 and BLOCK B.  Other groups I like to listen to (but have not really learned about the members) are EPIK HIGH, 2NE1, RED VELVET, BAP, SEVENTEEN and HYUKOH.  I’ve watched all the episodes of BTS AMERICAN HUSTLE LIFE, ROOKIE KINGS and BANGTAN TV.  I’ve watched HITMAKER which made me fall in love with Jackson from GOT7, which led me to ROOMMATES.  I’ve watched EXO SHOWTIME and EXO NEXT DOOR.  I’ve watch GOT7 in DREAM KNIGHT.  I’ve watched most of BTOB’s channel.  I’ve watch WIN, MIX N MATCH and WINNER TV for Winner/ Ikon.  I’ve watch SHOW ME THE MONEY 4.  I’ve watched BLOCK B in MTV MATCH UP.  Not to mention all the other random videos of these people that I find on YouTube.  I know I’m missing more stuff but that’s pretty much what I can remember watching at this point. Keep in mind... some of these shows have at last 10 or more episodes each. They range from 15 minutes to an hour long, depending on the video.

What… the… heck… How did I have even have time to watch all of this in the past FIVE MONTHS??

It is a borderline sickness… but can I tell you what I have discovered as I have delved deep into my psyche to figure out whether I need to seek professional help or not?  First of all, I am such a huge fan of boys bands from the get go.  Back to NEW EDITION days.  NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK (when they FIRST came out AND now). MENUDO (I remember my mom taking me to the mall to see them at a FREE concert in the parking lot!!).   BOYS TO MEN, SURFACE, KAI, BACKSTREET BOYS, 98 DEGREES, NSYNC etc etc…. These were real slow jams.  Love songs with lyrics that made you FEEL in love.  Songs about heartbreak that made you want to cry your eyes out.  These guys talked about how BEAUTIFUL you are (in the inside) and how precious you are to them.  They didn’t talk about the size of various part of your body and what nasty stuff they wanted to do to you.  They didn’t talk about getting drunk or high. It was just about falling in love, being in love or falling out of love. Simple as that.

This kpop stuff?  SO throw back.  Despite the currrent times we are in, they still sing about the butterflies they get the first time they touch your hand or the first time you look into their eyes.  It’s cheesy, yes, but sometimes it’s refreshing.  Especially having daughters that range in ages of 11, 16 and 19.  To know that they can listen to music (albeit in a different language) that portrays the “innocent” adolescent days of falling in love, in which a look or a touch of the hand is enough to make their hearts flutter, is reassuring. It is fun to see my girls “crush” over these boys the same way I used to with Donnie Wahlberg, Ricky Martin, Nick Lachey, AJ McClean or Justin Timberlake (to name just a few).  We hang posters on their walls, we talk about music videos and how cute so-and-so looks with this color hair or that outfit.  We look forward to new music debuts!  Concerts in the US!  These kpop “idols” do their best to maintain the most respectful and wholesome celebrity image for their fans.  The take responsibility for anything that may have ever done to offend the public.  They are grateful for the opportunity their fans have given them.  They are always so humble and try to be good role models.  How can you be mad at that?

I have to admit, sometimes the music videos are overwhelming.  A lot of times, to introduce myself to a new group, I listen to just the audio first (just their songs) and once I hear some tracks I like, I will look their up music videos.  I don’t always get the music video so sometimes live performances are better for me to watch. I like to look up the English translation of their songs, which usually makes me like the song even more.  The groups all seem to have YouTube “channels” where you can watch “behind-the-scenes” footage in which you can get to know the members off-stage. Their personalities are so different from their “on stage” personality.  On stage, it’s all confidence and swag.  Off stage, they show that they are just regular people (shy, funny, insecure, etc).  They have a way of interacting with one another that is similar to siblings-you can tell when they are annoying each other but they never fight on camera (although what they do off camera may be totally different!).  The shows are funny to watch-you become fond of certain members and it also helps you to remember who is who (and their names).

Some groups release new music (even if just a “mini album”) every 4-6 months.  It’s agony when the fans have to wait longer than 6 months for new music.  I know with some of my favorite American musicians, I sometimes have to wait YEARS for new music!!  So to get new music in 4-6 months… it’s like getting a present wrapped up in a shiny bow every few months.  There’s an excitement in knowing that a new music video is releasing at midnight in Korea (which is 8AM my time-which will also be immediately available on YouTube!) and I feel like I am 13 again.  Actually, I don’t even think I had the same excitement back in my days.  Catching a glimpse of a music video on MTV by an artist I loved was like catching a glimpse of a rainbow.  It happened far and few between unless you could keep the channel on MTV for the WHOLE ENTIRE DAY.  Ah, life before YouTube!!!!

Not to say that there aren't some music that has curse words, booty shaking and scantily clad women in their music videos.  I think these are more commonly considered "K-HIP HOP", although some of the KPOP bands will sometimes have these kinds of videos.  They do give you “warning” by rating these videos by age (example 17+) the same way we do our TV shows and movies.  I will admit, some of these songs I also find catchy, although these I tend watch on my own (not with my younger children. Actually, not even with my older children. Too awkward!) Their hip hop is good but we also have plenty of that here in the U.S. already.  What we DON'T have anymore is some old-school, bubble-pop, cheesy, lovey-dovey stuff with awesome visuals that I could enjoy with my children! Hopefully, some day, boy bands will be cool again here in the U.S. Until then, we will least have KPOP!

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