Review: “Drawing The Line” – Royal Pirates


“Pop-rock”, at once characterized by hook-heavy harmonies, jangly lead guitar licks, crunchy rhythm guitar riffs, and melodious bass lines, is alternative rock’s radio-friendly next-of-kin. Bands like The Gin Blossoms and The Lemonheads produced some of the most unforgettable pop-rock songs in the 90’s – pop tunes plugged into Marshall amps set to ten. Later on, the term “pop-rock” somehow plucked itself off from its grungy roots to describe glossy, danceable pop music that incorporated live instruments being played during performances. Today, it is very much alive in groups like Maroon 5, who infuse elements of dance, funk and electronic music in their songs.

It’s still an unusual sound in K-pop, where the hooks are definitely dominated by the dance groups, and the harmonies only ever make an appearance in r&b ballads. It’s tricky to be a rocker in the K-pop game. However, the few groups that identify as bands sans the prefix common in most K-pop today have won their fan bases over with their own brand of songwriting and performing on top of the pre-requisites that dictate idol behavior and physical appearance (nobody in K-pop can escape those!) FT Island, CNBlue, Busker Busker, and Dickpunks are some examples of bands that have secured their place in K-pop despite their lack of synchronized dance movements. Is there room on the playbill for more pop-rock?

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2013 Media Map: Music (Part 7)

This post was originally posted on LiveJournal.


Though I am probably the last person I’d peg to fall into the K-pop fandom, in so many ways, K-pop is the perfect fandom for me. I love fanfic. I hoard information. I obsess. I like boys. K-pop has a lot of boys. A lot of them are smoking hot. Last time I showed you some of the bad boys I got into, and this time we take on the sexy sexxiness and the cutie cutie-cles and also some princely manliness of some of these boy bands. Oh, there are also boys in bands. *wiggles pervy noona brows*

*cue the opening riffs of Air’s “Sexy Boy”*

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2013 Media Map – Music (Part 5)

This post was originally posted on LiveJournal.


Whaaaaat – 5 parts into this Media Map for Music and we still haven’t seen the end of it? I know, I’m just now realizing the scope that K-pop covered in my life in 2013 and suddenly the timeline I mentioned at the beginning of this series doesn’t seem like such an exaggeration now. But, onward and upward my dear friends.

A Brief Intermission for The Rising Gods of the East

Any attempt at a primer on K-pop would be incomplete without making mention of the Rising Gods of the East, or DBSK (Dong Bang Shing Ki, known to purists as DB5K.) It would seem incredibly ignorant of me not to have touched upon them at some point in my indoctrination to K-pop, so of course I looked them up. However, just like what happened with B.A.P’s “One Shot”, I lacked the framework (and maybe even the capacity) to fully appreciate DBSK the first time I listened to them. Here’s why: the K-pop landscape has dramatically changed ever since this group debuted in 2003, so listening to their discography was disorienting at the very least. I’m not going to lie when I say I found many of their early material very dated. Because I came into K-pop tongue-in-cheek, I didn’t think I was up to taking DBSK’s discography as seriously as the material demanded.

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2013 Media Map – Music (Part 4)

This post was originally posted on LiveJournal.


It took me a while before I got curious about any of the girl groups or any of the female artists in K-pop. I’ve come to observe that non K-pop fans were usually quicker to become biased toward girl groups rather than the boy bands. My theory is that non K-pop fans find it less embarrassing to admit liking the girl groups over the boy bands. The consensus is typically – “I can’t take the boys seriously.”(Who said you were supposed to?) Would this imply that the level of cuteness, sexiness and exaggeration in fashion styling is something that is expected towards female acts, but when applied to their male counterparts invites suspicion?

Have a think on that non K-pop fans.

Buh-bring the girls out…!

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2013 Media Map – Music (Part 3)

This post was originally posted on LiveJournal.



K-pop fans over on Tumblr kept mentioning this group whose comeback was so long overdue that it was becoming a running joke among them.

But first, a “comeback” refers to any new track from a K-pop group or solo act that has already officially “debuted”, or has already been introduced to the K-pop market. Comebacks are a big deal, and crucial to a group or act’s continued success. A comeback is typically composed of the following:

1. the single being promoted
2. the group’s concept or overall styling for the promotion of the song
3. the stage, or the performance of the song on music charts shows
4. the teaser video of the song (or, if we’re lucky, the whole album), usually fifteen to sixty seconds long
5. the MV, or music video of the single being promoted

Other components of a group’s comeback may also include:

6. guestings/interviews on other variety shows on T.V and radio
7. own variety/reality show being developed
8. product tie-ups and endorsements
9. magazine interviews and spreads
10. event appearances (i.e. fashion shows)

Items 1-5 are integral to any comeback, but items 6-10 usually follow after some type of success has already been achieved. Success in this case means that the song (and by virtue, album) being promoted is performing well sales-wise.

One last thing about comebacks – the turnover for comebacks is very quick and fast-paced. A comeback that takes too long to materialize (more than six months without anything new to promote, and the fandom gets very antsy for new material) can break the momentum of a group, especially if the group is relatively new to the industry. There is always a demand for newness that constantly requires to be filled in K-pop. It’s a lot like “Showgirls” in that sense – with new groups debuting all the time in K-pop, there’s always someone younger and hungrier coming down from behind you on the stairs.

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