2013 Media Map – Music (Part 2)

This post was originally posted on Livejournal.

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Well hey I am on a roll and attempting to get things done by the time the clock strikes 2014! Music was a huge force in my 2013, and if you came from this post onto this one, yay! Moving along my music timeline…

The M! Countdown Era

Because I already work in television for a living, I don’t really get much pleasure out of watching T.V after office hours. However, I discovered that I had access to Channel M, which is one of the biggest K-pop T.V networks around (running a K-pop T.V channel is sort of like a dream, but that’s another topic.)
On Channel M is a weekly music charts show called “M!Countdown” and to understand it, I had to think of it as a cross between MTV’s TRL and America’s Top Ten hosted by Casey Kasem. My obsession with this show came as another surprise to me because I was the last person to care about pop music charts and anything Top 40. “M!Countdown” flipped *that* table and threw it clear across the room. It became my lifeline to K-pop. I tuned into it religiously because I wanted to know which groups were must-hears and which songs I needed to add to my playlists. Which was pretty much everything I saw on this show.

(U-beat was a sub-unit [or, a smaller faction] of its main group U-kiss. I was into this track and the sub-unit, but not so much U-Kiss.)

I found a lot of other K-pop groups here, and it helped get me more interested and curious about K-pop as a musical genre. Everything I saw on “M!Countdown” was exciting to me. Shortly after discovering it, I developed a habit of looking up the acts that had a stage (a live performance) on the show that week and adding their available discographies to my music library.

(This gummy bear makes me want to squish him! I’m not ashamed to say I’d hit this […as soon as he turns 18] because I am a sick, sick pedonoona.)

Through this show, I developed my eye (and ear) for scaling K-pop groups and solo acts against each other. I learned to distinguish major groups and appreciate the smaller, up-and-coming ones. I learned more about the K-pop that caught my attention and more importantly, what sustained my interest. “M!Countdown” was like a bible for me, introducing me to the cogs and the gears that kept the wheels of Hallyu spinning.

From K-pop veterans like Shinhwa still making their mark on the current charts to younger groups who fight to dominate the music scene…

No, Kim Hyun Joong you’re supposed to be a flower boy and play the violin! Not burn up the stage with your sexx legs! STOP!

The Jay Park Era

A brief detour in 2013 listening to the first Childish Gambino album inspired branching off to similar counterparts in K-pop, but I’m not sure if coming across Jay Park was it. Jay Park grew up in the U.S., but later became part of a K-pop group called 2PM . He went solo in 2010. Last year found Jay Park landing a hosting gig on SNL Korea, as well as being the subject of some controversy after a Vine he uploaded went viral, but not for the reasons he intended.

Out of his entire discography, I liked the track he released last year the most; the MV of which makes him less douchey than he often appears on-cam. Jay Park strikes me as the K-pop equivalent of the Mark Zuckerberg description from “The Social Network” – not an asshole, but tries really hard to be one.

…a sexy asshole try-hard.

The CNBlue Era

CNBlue stands for Code Name: Burning Lovely Untouchable Emotional

I attended my very first K-pop show in June, and it was a milestone two times over because it was also the first show I ever attended by myself! I usually have no problem eating and watching movies on my own, but I’ve always reserved gig-attending as a social thing. I discovered early on that K-pop’s function in my life was not just to serve as an entertainment, interest or diversion, but also something that would challenge my own paradigms of how I thought I ought to do things –and my attitude towards shows and attending gigs was the first real palpable shift that getting into K-pop signaled.

I don’t think I would have gotten into CNBlue had they not been scheduled to have a show at the Araneta in June, but because the show seemed like a huge deal at the time I was just getting my toes wet with K-pop, decided that it was something I needed to do. Despite seeing the show *cue big Celine Dion run* all by myself, I had a great time!

Part 3 tackles the era to end to all eras – EXO.

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