Sunday, September 25, 2011


Apologies, friends -- as these 'Countdown To Live' posts tend to be kinda long. Bare with me -- the squeeing will be over with in...well, who am I kidding?

If, perhaps, you live under a rock, I have scored tickets to SMTOWN NEW YORK, a live concert event taking place on October 23rd, 2011 at Madison Square Garden featuring a large majority of my favorite performers in the KPOP genre (including the Ultimate Bias, but we'll get to him later...). In excitement for the big day, which is officially less than a month away (seriously, what the hell am I gonna wear?), I've decided to present to you these lengthy KPOP-infused squee posts under the guise of 'Countdown To Live.' Each week, I shall be discussing a different artist who will be performing at SMTown (with the only exception of Kangta, simply because I'm not as familiar with him), along with some of my favorite tunes by them that I'm most looking forward to seeing live. And don't worry folks, the day of, you can certainly expected lots of shrieking and crying via my Twitter (trust me, it'll be a full day event) and an intense recap here at the blog once my body begins functioning again.

With that said, if you're not the biggest KPOP fan, I suggest you might want to skip ahead to a different entry, but in the interest of being testy, I suggest you don't. Come to the dark side, friends -- we have Korean cookies.

While each week I will be spazzing over a different SMTown artist, there are simply too many artists performing at SMTown for me to give each of them their own week, so instead, I was forced to lump two artists together for this week's post. Hence the first entry will go to the deserving girl groups of SM Entertainment. First up, f(x).

I may not be f(x)'s biggest fan, but the are still no strangers to the blog. I became blackhole obsessed with one of their more recent singles, "Danger (Pinocchio)", this past May (although it feels so much longer ago). The five-some is interesting in that they are currently SM's youngest act, as well as their most international. Leader Victoria hails from China. Tomboy-ish rapper Amber's family is from Taiwan, but she was raised in Los Angeles. Youngest member Krystal (she's literally only 16 years old) was also born in California, before moving back to Korea at a young age when she and her elder sister Jessica were recruited to SM (and Jessica went on to become a member of the other current SM girl group, Girl's Generation). Cutie Sulli and vocal power-house Luna remain to be the only Korean (as in were born in and grew up in Korea) members. This gives f(x) serious options in terms of skirting language barriers. 

Their style is also more street savvy a la 2NE1 (the group did debut around the same time as my said-favorite Korean girl group), rather than following the more sexy image projected by Girl's Generation. While originally, they debuted with a more cutesy image, reflected in songs like their debut cut "La Cha Ta", newer cuts like "Danger" and the followup, "Hot Summer" (a Korean remake of the Monrose original), have more of a slicker feel. 

While I'm most psyched to see "Danger" performed live in person, my overall favorite f(x) cut hands down goes to the little ditty that is "NU.ABO". Check out the original music video below or watch the group perform it "live" (as in danced live and lip synched, at least in the presented television recording) at the recent Paris showcase for SMTown here. Be prepared, it's a serious earworm. From the attitude-soaked verses, to the slightly robotic chorus, to the "Nah Nah Nahs" -- something from this is getting stuck in your head, guaranteed. Even Simon Curtis has stated his love for the cut.

(Note to Self: Straighten your hair and get some colored extensions for the concert.)

Moving on to the other act I wished to talk about in today's post, the ladies of Girl's Generation (or to be more official, So Nyuh Shi Dae (SNSD)). The nine-membered girl group (seven from South Korea, two American-raised) debuted in 2007 as a sort of female version of SM's flagship large boy band Super Junior, but began gaining serious momentum in early 2009 with their single "Gee".  They have released a couple albums in Korea, as well as a few EPs, but have recently become very successful in Japan, releasing original material in the form of single "Mr. Taxi", which went to #1 on the Japanese Oricon Daily Chart and the Japanese Hot 100.

Despite their success, I've found it a bit difficult to get into the group past some of their more catchy singles. With that said, I do find several of their members entertaining from a variety show standpoint, and it is very clear that the girls are incredibly capable of putting on a great show. As I've stated, I prefer my girl group's a touch more fierce rather than sexy, and that was displayed in their more recent single "Run Devil Run", a Korean creation based on a demo crafted by Ke$ha (her name just keeps popping up, doesn't it?). My personal feelings aside, it is really amazing to watch choreography crafted for larger groups like SNSD or Super Junior, as the high member count would seemingly make creating an interesting dance routine potentially unweildly. Still, SM continues to not dissapoint in this area.

When it comes to SNSD, there is really only one main song that would literally get me super-stoked to see performed live and in person. If you follow KPOP even in the slightest, you probably already know what I'm going to say (or write, rather)...

"Tell Me Your Wish (Genie)" is just one of those KPOP jams that stands a cut above the rest, no matter the artist. A Yoo Young-Jin creation (the Korean Max Martin), "Genie" continues to stand up and stand out as a kind of perfect pop song and makes me pine for a capable American artist to cover it and dance the hell out of it (or perhaps SNSD could cover in English themselves?).

(Note to Self: Remember not to flick your leg too hard during "Genie", as whoever is in the seat in the row in front of you might not like getting the back of her seat whacked over and over again during the chorus. Also, practice how to say "Sowoneul Malhaebwa" so you can use it as a pick up line on Changmin and Donghae.)

Check back next Sunday for another installment of what I'm most looking forward to at SMTown!

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