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Because honestly, what is this blog without a KPOP update?

A lot has been happening in the Idol scene since we last chatted. CL is planning a US Tour to start this week. Boy band BTS has basically stolen EXO's thunder out from under them with a wildly successful (and sexy!) comeback. Big Bang is reportedly planning "one last" hurrah before heading into the army (I'll believe it when I see it). Golden-throated Jino of former SM-The Ballad infamy finally escaped the SM dungeon and debuted with boy band PentagonSuper Junior now only has one member left that hasn't left/finished army service. I.O.I. became arguably my newest "girl group" obsession, and hmmm...what else? Oh yeah, SHINee has returned to bless us with new music.

There's a lot of musical ground to cover in the months since this blog was updated and I was quite keen to keep on keepin' on rather than back-track too heavily. However, it would be very wrong of me indeed not at least mention the brilliance that was Carly Rae Jepsen's Side B EP released a few months back.

We're in a strange pop landscape in 2016. Gaga is a little too keen on going legit via Joanne -- an album that is unarguably strong vocally but in terms of "fun" totally lacking. Britney returned to form almost from out of nowhere, releasing her best album in a decade via Glory. Our best hope in a true teen popstar, Ariana Grande, is already attempting a transition to something a little more urban. But in terms of the current here and now -- America's one true unfailing pop force continues to be a Canadian wunderkind who too many toss off as a one hit wonder.

It's hard to believe but "Uptown Funk" was first released nearly two years ago. Let that sink in. That joyous nugget of a retro funk jam -- produced by Mark Ronson and heavily featuring vocal by Bruno Mars -- was everyone's favorite song for what felt like forever and even now hasn't really overstayed it's welcome. This past week, Bruno returned to the radio with what could arguably be labeled -- at least on your first listen -- as "Uptown Funk (the late 80's remix)" and I couldn't be happier. But the more I thought about it, the more I got into it, the more I felt there was, well, more to the story here.

Stroll with me.

Gosh, it's been awhile. For that, I do apologize. It's been months since I've updated here but that doesn't mean I haven't been keeping up with the music scene -- completely the opposite. More on that in a bit (and I really mean it, this time).

Before we go there, I have to get off my chest a few things. It's not the sole reason I haven't blogged -- there are plenty of mundane reasons like, say, work has been tiring, I had two Wisdom Teeth pulled and it knocked me out for a solid three weeks, I've been trying to exercise more and as a result I have less time to sit down and put fingers to keys. Oh, and all of my favorite TV shows are coming back. That takes up my time and attention because in a lot of ways I'm your typical basic chick who is so stoked for the fall sweater weather, scarves, candles, and Pumpkin Spice Lattes. I'm not ashamed.

But another reason why I've been silent here is for an arguably controversial reason. A part of me finds it hard to get in the head space of positivity these days. The ugly underbelly of the country I live in and love has been pulled back for all to see -- for better or for worse or perhaps both. To call people out for their racist words and actions is chastised and called un-patriotic (or worse to some -- "too politically correct"). To show support for an experienced candidate for President is considered "bias" because I myself am a woman. To say I believe and feel we as Americans deserve background checks and some gun control reads to some that I want to change the Constitution. To mourn for human beings who were slaughtered at a dance club where they should absolutely feel safe and free suggests to some that I am a weak, bleeding heart.

Read on if you'd like. More music posts are coming soon.

Yes, I guess I am weak, and yes, my heart is bleeding. It's hard for me to expend the time and energy on one of the things that makes me most happy in this world -- music -- because in the grand scheme, we have too much to lose in this country for me to feel alright with just keeping my head down {insert TVXQ! pun here, she says forlornly} and try not to insult or rock the boat.

I come from New York (State) but the majority of the state is not the suit-wearing, Wall Street-working, liberals you might expect. I grew up in a county in the Mohawk Valley (read: center of a very large state) that at least in one point of recent memory was statistically the most conservative county in all of New York. Like many millennials, I came into true political consciousness thanks to the horrors of 9/11 which happened in the first initial weeks of my high school career. I kicked and screamed and disagreed with much of the Bush administration policies but couldn't back up my anger because I was too young to vote.

Once I was, I cast my very first vote for President Barack Obama in 2008 and I couldn't be prouder that I was able to do that not once but again in 2012. I watched the television on Election Night in 2008 -- a senior at a small college, still in Upstate New York albeit not in that same county I grew up in, about to undertake a huge life change, accepting a internship at a record label in New York City. I cried when they announced Mr. Obama would be our President. And I vividly remember praying that night as I fell asleep that no one would try to assassinate him.

Now, here we are, eight years after that historic, life-changing night. Hillary Clinton, a former senator from my home state, is running for President against someone who inspired pure ire in me back when he was merely a grotesque reality show host back in my high school days, let alone now. This situation is the epitome of rationale for not just why we need feminism, but why we need rational thinking in this country. We need a little bleeding heart inside of us. We cannot toss off his nasty asides for fear of being "too PC". There's a supreme difference between "politically correct" and being an asshole.

We are allowed to have different opinions -- that's what makes our country so fantastic. I have mine, you have yours. We can agree to disagree. It's when people send hate-filled words for the sake of supporting a candidate who is himself not ashamed to spread hate that I simply need to say that I won't take anymore of this. People I've never met trying to belittle my feelings and opinions when my words were never directed at them. My own family members telling me to stop being "so judgmental" toward a man so vile a day doesn't go by that he's not offending someone. Friends I've known for years trying to convince me to change my vote because "if I was a real feminist", I wouldn't stand with Hillary.

Perhaps it's because we live in an age of social media. Everyone is able to make a comment, send a tweet, type a Facebook status. We're all so quick and ready to pounce on each other. When we hear words we don't want to hear, words that don't correlate with how we ourselves feel, we're quick to feel offended and angry and bitter. 

I don't want to judge people's character by their political affiliation but I'll be the first to admit right now -- in 2016 -- I do. I don't want to feel triggered on a daily basis by people willing to deny basic human decency toward me or my friends. I won't be belittled for wanting other races or sexualities or people who practice a different religion than me to feel safe, to not be mocked or silenced or worse. I won't apologize for being a feminist. And I simply won't accept that this -- how we as a country are acting -- is us at our best.

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