Hi! I discovered your tumblr a few days ago, and I have to say, your works are great! It is great to find someone who loves music purely for music like I do. Out of curiosity, how do you choose which albums/songs that you are going to review?

Hello. Thank you so much for the kind words. I sincerely appreciate them, and equally, I appreciate you taking the time to send in this message. (And with that, I feel that I have been getting a lot of them this month, so thank you to readers for very much being “interactive” with the blog and I.)

To answer your question, it is one I never actually thought about. In short, there are two main ways: one is my own personal findings; second is from requests. 

To thoroughly explain what I mean, the first way is based on songs that I personally come across. Whether through checking the latest K-Pop songs or upcoming comebacks and debuts, or simply hearing a song on, say, YouTube, if anything seems musically interesting or relevant (in the sense that fans would be curious for a review), I then put it on a “to-review” list that I have on my laptop.

Unfortunately due to time restraints, there are too many songs to review within a month and so that is when I have to prioritize songs by asking whether the song or artist is “popular” and “relevant” enough. For example, there have been many older songs I have desired to review, but due to how it has been two years ago since those songs were released for a random example, I would then assume very few readers or fans would be interested. Equally, I prefer to review K-Pop artists versus, for example, Korean hip-hop artists–this being due to popularity. Within K-Pop, while groups vary drastically in popularity, I know certainly that there are more fans and readers interested in those K-Pop artists than artists that would not necessarily be within that genre. A true example is how, during July 2016, I wanted to review Basick’s “Nice”–a hip-hop artist in the same company as MAMAMOO. Sadly, I had to make the decision that readers and fans would be more interested in a K-Pop group’s song being reviewed even if that group was “unpopular”–such as the underrated ladies of Stellar, for example. 

Furthermore, I also try my best to not repeat artists for at least months. AOA, for example, has had numerous reviews on the blog during the earlier days. And so, when “Good Luck” by the ladies came out, while I very much wanted to review it as I had much criticism (and thus, would spark a hopefully productive conversation among fans), I decided it was best to not review AOA until much later. (And with their comeback arriving soon, it might be time I review them again.) Bringing in variety is important not only for the blog’s sake of appealing to a variety of readers who are fans and listeners of many different artists, but I believe having many artists reviewed brings a more complex idea of music production and composition. Even if, yes, many K-Pop songs are by the same producers and composers (though from what I am noticing, composers do vary a lot and as addressed before, there are vast differences between the two roles), many songs are in fact quite different in their fine details. When it comes to artists and having many reviewed, due to how each artist tends to have their own style and concept, that difference can easily translate into how the songs themselves are composed and thus, for musical discussions, there are a lot of benefits to this.

And since I am digressing a bit, I might as well continue with an important, critical question readers have in regards to me choosing which song or artist to review: why are there more female artists than male artists reviewed? It is a question I have answered in the past and I believe (and hope) I answered it bluntly and truthfully, but I will do so again: this may perhaps be a social bias that I unintentionally carry into the blog. 

Now before I offend or upset readers, this bias is not one that is “boys suck at music and even life because magical logic or because women are obviously better”; rather, the bias here is that since I have grown up and spent more time around females than males–and currently even still do–I personally am now more naturally attached and interested in “feminine”-based things. In terms of music, this means that I tend to listen to mainly female artists and watch shows that involved said female artists (and hence why I love makeup and fashion even as a heterosexual boy). Thus, this means that songs I come across and am exposed to merely perpetuate my current surroundings: female and “feminine” based. Contrary to past hateful messages I received of how I am being a “feminazi” or that I actually hate males, I simply tend to review female artists more than male artists as I am more surrounded with female artists and “feminine”-related shows and such. (And regarding past reviews where I threw in “privilege jokes” that made fun of males, after much reflection as a maturing person, I now actually do my best to avoid making those remarks. This is not to say I deny that social privileges exist–I argue they very much do exist–but to say that this grants us the ability to antagonize those of social privilege is unacceptable. As I said before: address social privileges, not the individual human beings, and sadly, my privilege jokes in the past have tended to be very aggressive towards males even if I never meant for them to be antagonizing individuals.)

All that said, I am doing my best to challenge my social biases–especially with becoming a future high school teacher where I have a social and ethical responsibility to respect and care for each student I teach. Whether through purposefully going out and finding more male artists and watching shows involving male idols (in fact, this is how I discovered Jay Park’s amazing “Me Like Yuh” as I spent time looking over songs by male idols), I truly am doing my best to challenge the biases I have. I do apologize if the unfair gender-ratio of artists reviewed have and do upset readers, and while I stress I do not do so with any malicious intentions, I am now doing my best to keep it equal–and hence why the next two reviews are by male artists to balance for the earlier reviews of December. Especially as I do strongly believe in being ethical and gender equality, this issue that readers have brought up (more so in the past as it truly was predominantly female artists only being reviewed back then) is very important to me and I do wish to come clear with this sensitive topic versus avoiding it. 

On topic and apologies for taking your question on a social tangent, regarding the latter way of finding songs, requests have also guided much of the blog. When it comes to requests, unlike my own findings where I have to be selective, I review each and every request I receive–unless if they happen to be non-Korean Pop or something absolutely ridiculous, though these situations have yet to occur (I hope). The best part of requests is that it allows me to review songs that a reader actually desires–and most of the time, these songs are ones I have either overlooked or have even never listened to. Definitely by far requests are my favorite songs and albums to review.

While this answer is far too long for a rather shorter question, I will blame the lack of sleep. Jokes aside, thank you once again for sending this question in along with the kind words, and thank you for checking out this blog.

Hyoyeon – “Mystery” Review

(Music
Video)
/ (Live
Performance)

Hyoyeon (Girls’ Generation) – Mystery

Reviewed
on December 30, 2016

I
argue that “Mystery,” while possessing strong composition at times, is
ultimately still a weaker song due to its poor use of “filler” sections—a
concept I will explain within the review (and of course, that label is one I
personally have made up). It is those “fillers” that then limit the song
vocally, instrumentally, lyrically, and as stated, with its section
structuring.

Personal Message:
A late happy holidays (or simply
happy days for those not celebrating anything) but an early happy New Year to
readers. Although I am far behind schedule due to the holidays, there will
indeed be three reviews coming out back-to-back before December ends. Once
January arrives, I plan to start strong and to even “store” reviews that will
be posted systematically through the month once I return back to university.
This way, the blog remains rather active due to frontloading many reviews
beforehand.

Regarding the current review, while
I did say SHINee’s “1 of 1” was next, I have decided to make a change. After this
review or perhaps in January is when I will review “1 of 1.” For now, Girls’
Generation’s Hyoyeon’s solo debut, “Mystery,” will be our focus. The reason
behind this change is—besides how “Mystery” has definitely garnered much
interest due to fans’ curiosity on how Girls’ Generation’s main dancer and
rapper would handle a solo—that the composition in the song itself is quite
intriguing. There are many strong points throughout, but at the same time,
there are equally many weak points. Moreover, in terms of a musical discussion
that I find relevant, this song provides a time for me to discuss certain
“standard pop song” compositions that I hope readers will begin noticing in
other pop songs they listen to.

In short, then, “Mystery” simply
provides many points of discussion—many of which I might even have to skip
over—and this is ultimately the reason for why I feel obligated to review this
song. And of course, as said, this review provides some spotlight to
Hyoyeon—Girls’ Generation’s lovely member and oftentimes musically underrated
member as she is solely praised for her dancing.

That said, however, this review
might actually not help contradict the view that Hyoyeon’s performance is
mainly her dancing. As readers will see, “Mystery” does not fare too well in
its scoring. Unlike many fans’ opinion that “Mystery” is an example of
Hyoyeon’s vocal prowess and is overall a strong song, I unfortunately greatly
disagree—this being the third disagreement in a row based on the previous
reviews. I argue that “Mystery,” while possessing strong composition at times,
is ultimately still a weaker song due to its poor use of “filler” sections—a
concept I will explain within the review (and of course, that label is one I personally
have made up). It is those “fillers” that then limit the song vocally,
instrumentally, lyrically, and as stated, with the sections themselves.

_______________________________________________________

Song Score: 4/10
(3.75/10 raw score) – “Slightly below average”


Vocals: 3/10


Sections: 4/10
(4.38/10 raw score)

Introduction, Verse,
Pre-Chorus, Chorus, Post-Chorus, Verse, Pre-Chorus, Chorus, Rap, Bridge, Chorus,
Conclusion (Post-Chorus)

1.     Introduction:
5/10

2.     Verse: 5/10

3.     Pre-Chorus: 6/10

4.     Chorus: 2/10

5.     Post-Chorus: 2/10

6.     Rap: 5/10

7.     Bridge: 4/10

8.     Conclusion (Post-Chorus): 6/10


Instrumental: 4/10


Lyrics: 4/10

Acting uninterested,
this dance got your attention
My breath is fluctuating anxiously,
my gestures in the rhythm
And of course, like hypnosis
Fall into my eyes, look at me

(As if enchanted)
Without anyone knowing
(As if your heart was stolen)
Full of only me
(As if fallen deeply for me)
Yeah like that
Yeah like that
Yeah like that

Mystery mystery mystery mystery-tery
Lalalala lalalala lalalala lalalala
Mystery-tery myste-te-tery

Come and get it baby
Come and get it get it
Come and get it baby
Come and get it get it
Come and get it baby
Come and get it get it

Three, two, one
Before you know it,
you’re dancing with me
You adjusted your movements,
manners and look so well
My voice in the rhythm
And of course, like hypnosis,
these eyes are permeating
Desire me more

(As if enchanted)
Without anyone knowing
(As if your heart was stolen)
Full of only me
(As if fallen deeply for me)
Yeah like that
Yeah like that
Yeah like that

Mystery mystery mystery mystery-tery
Lalalala lalalala lalalala lalalala
Mystery-tery myste-te-tery

Come on baby, holding back is harmful, whistle
Come closer and tell me, shh everyone
Coach like you’re under hypnosis
Take me before I disappear
Come dangerously

Look into my eyes, tell me

Mystery mystery mystery mystery-tery
Lalalala lalalala lalalala lalalala
Mystery-tery myste-te-tery

Come and get it baby
Come and get it get it
Come and get it baby
Come and get it get it
Mystery-tery myste-te-tery

_______________________________________________________

Analysis: Before
getting right into my criticism towards the song, there are still solid moments
throughout that need to be acknowledged—as is with every song. For example,
while we will soon discuss in depth on why the vocals scored at a three,
Hyoyeon’s vocals are still impressive at specific points. The verses are a
great example of such. In terms of what is most vocally appealing in the
verses, I argue the precision of the vocals is what we need to focus on. There
are lots of minimal, constantly changing details: beltings and pacing. All of
these details greatly augment the verse. For example, the beltings are minimal
and thus still allow the verses to maintain their more passive flow, and yet
with the vocal beltings indeed existing, they add the sonic appeal of variety.
Likewise with the pacing, the vocals in this sense create a rhythmic flow that
otherwise beats would take the role of—this being something that I argue is
both creative to “Mystery” but also strengthening to Hyoyeon’s vocal appeal as it
adds an additionally layer to what we hear with the vocals.

As
for other praises, to focus on the sections and their structuring, the
pre-choruses are admirable—as noted by their higher rating. Here, the
composition is quite impressive. Given that pre-choruses are the sections that
transition the song to its climactic point—typically a more upbeat chorus—it is
expected that pre-choruses buildup or “hype” a song. In “Mystery,” while the
same ideas are in place, the composers’ method of doing so is brilliant. As
noted earlier, the verses establish a rhythmic, slower flow due to how the
vocals are executed. The pre-choruses then take that flow and merely emphasize
it through not only making Hyoyeon’s vocals truly adopt an explicit
back-and-forth dynamic, but also by increasing the entire pre-chorus’ intensity
and pacing to create that familiar exciting hype.

Unfortunately,
even with those stronger aspects, “Mystery” still suffers from a lot.
Everything else I argue is too reliant on “fillers,” or if not that, then is
simply weaker for other reasons—such as the rap being only average due to
lacking a coherent, clean flow.

Before
diving right into the critiques, however, I think it is now best to clarify
what I mean by “fillers”—and more specifically, “filler sections.” From here
on, I will now remove the quotations as I hope—within this review of course—we will
consider it an “official” term. (But note: there is no such label nor concept
of “filler”; it is one I have made up as I find this best explains my argument
to readers.)

In
summary, a filler section is a section that does not necessarily add additional
components to a song but instead merely carries it forward in time. Before
using “Mystery” ‘s own examples, common filler examples that I bet many readers
are familiar with are in AOA’s “Like a Cat” and Red Velvet’s “Russian Roulette”:
in those songs, recall the parts where the ladies sing “la la la la”
repetitively. Before readers assume that it is only “la” at culprit, however, these
filler sections can still exist without using such: BTS’ “Blood Sweat &
Tears” arguably use a filler-like composition at the choruses when the members
repeat “a lot” (or “much/many”; I forget the exact word). Overall, the point is
that filler sections are incredibly repetitive parts—instrumental or vocals—that
do not add a new flow or tune and are mainly understood as just “filling” a
part in the song and oftentimes occur as the post-choruses. In fact, if readers
truly desire the official musical term for such, I believe in at least American
Pop music it has been referred to as the “millennial whoop”—this pop music concept,
regardless of labels, is exactly what I am trying to get at. Those portions of
songs that go “la la” or “whoa oh oh” or “oh oh” and so forth, is what I refer
to as filler sections. With all this hopefully understood, let us now return to
my argument of how the existing filler sections are detrimental to “Mystery.”

In
the context of vocals, the filler sections—predominantly the choruses and
post-choruses—greatly reduce the overall appeal that the vocals bring to the song.
Now that said, yes—as discussed earlier—Hyoyeon’s vocals are quite delightful
during the verses and even pre-choruses. However, once we arrive at the filler
sections, the vocals almost entirely degrade: they become chaotic, monotonous,
and fail to bring any new or useful element to “Mystery.” After all, this is
why I personally term these filler sections as such: they merely fill in
content for the song versus actually being a part of the song’s experience.

Regarding
other categories, ignoring the more explicit point of how the filler sections
themselves—the choruses and post-choruses—are rated at twos due to the poorer
execution of the filler sections, we should now focus on how even seemingly
unaffected categories are in fact indirectly influenced. With the lyrics for
example, while all the details included are varied and that the plot itself is
at least average for its creativity, it would appear that the lyrics score at a
five. However, due to the choruses and post-choruses, the lyrics at these parts
reflect the filler sections: repetitive, unnecessary lyrical details that neither
progress the plot nor provide new insight. “Lalalala,” as one can tell, is
nothing important at all in the scope of a song’s storytelling or message. Similarly
to the lyrics and vocals, the instrumental also goes through the same problems:
the instrumental is forced to follow the messiness and staleness for the
purposes of “filling” in content.

And
so, while “Mystery” could have very much scored at least at average or, if we
are very optimistic, even at slightly above average, I argue it is the filler
sections that limit this song’s potential. Those filler sections—namely the
choruses and post-choruses—negatively affect how every category runs, such as by
forcing repetitive vocals and instrumental or adding unnecessary details to the
lyrics. Even so, this review should not be interpreted or even used to bash Hyoyeon;
at most, this review critiques the composers of “Mystery” and their use of my
personally labeled “filler sections.”

When
it comes to Hyoyeon herself, I will personally argue based on the verses and
pre-choruses that while her vocal abilities are far from being utterly
impressive, they are still decent. But, for how “Mystery” should truly be
understood, I urge fans to not view her solo debut so much from a musical
perspective but rather, that fans should view this song in the lens of
performances. The song’s choreography is stunning, and coupled in with how
Hyoyeon is an extremely skilled dancer—and I truly wish to emphasize this—we need
to realize “Mystery” is here to shine Hyoyeon’s largest strength: her dancing.
Thus, while musically this song partially falters, we need to understand
Hyoyeon’s solo debut is very likely intended for fans to focus on her dance and
that is what needs to be most appreciated—and the fact that she has a solo
debut at all.

Finally,
I wish to return to the filler sections/millennial whoop and add a huge
clarification that I admittedly forgot: that filler sections are not inherently
bad at all. Three or so years later, I still hold AOA’s “Like a Cat” as the
cherished, near flawless example of how filler sections can be used as a powerful composition in songs. In that song (which
I did review; if readers are curious to see whether my current horrendous
writing could have been even more worse, feel free to read it), the
post-choruses’ “lalala” were very well structured and organized, and due to how
the song revolved around those filler
sections, they proved to be the song’s best section. Therefore, before readers
misinterpret the idea that filler sections are all useless and purely “fillers,”
I strongly caution readers to still be critical and to instead ask why and how said filler sections are used before jumping to conclusions. In
many cases admittedly many appear to be nothing more than fillers, but as mentioned
with “Like a Cat,” there are certainly those rare yet brilliant moments where
composers take those fillers and manipulate them in a way that captivates
listeners.

_______________________________________________________

December
30 and writing late at night—a sign that I truly need to fix my sleep schedule
before I return to university in roughly two weeks. Two more reviews are due
for tomorrow, and I very much am going to strive to review them. Specifically,
I plan to review Jay Park’s “Me Like Yuh” and SHINee’s “1 of 1” as, besides how
the blog needs more male artists involved as both men and women are equally
capable music artists, both songs will receive much praise. With reviews, I
truly do give my honest, critical thoughts and am never swayed by popular
opinion or faking an opinion in a way that would garner more readers and
favoritism. As such, with the past three reviews leaning towards negative
scores (“negative” in the sense of less than five for average), it is only fair
to introduce songs that very much score well and that I consider are strongly
composed.

Look
forward for them to come, and while I plan to actually review a song on January
1, I will leave a preemptive happy New Years to readers. Thank you to all for
reading this review in full or part, and for those who have been sticking
around frequently. Look forward to the next reviews—and of which, if I am
indeed on task, will be both posted on the same day back-to-back.

Have you ever considered making review / reaction videos on Youtube? I think you would reach more fans this way. Your reviews are too good!

Hello. First of all, thank you so much for the kind words. While I sincerely do not consider my reviews “good” as there is much to improve on–and that will always be the case–I still do appreciate your words.

On topic, this is a great question and if I am correct, I answered a very similar question in the past. To answer: Yes, I have considered that idea but as in the past, I will essentially actually never do so for many reasons. Since I have not explained why I refuse to do so, I will take this time to explain so.

To begin with a less serious answer, doing these videos tend to imply one shows their face on camera. With this, even if I perfectly apply BB cream and minimal eyeliner, I am still far from “camera appealing.” 

Self-deprecating humor aside, one aspect that I find troubling with “review and reaction” videos is the pairing of those two into one video. That is not possible in a genuine sense–if one wishes to be a thorough reviewer, that is. To review music, a reviewer cannot–and I truly emphasize the “cannot”–merely listen to a song once. Instead, she must repeatedly listen to the song, but upon each listening, focus in on the various elements at play all while critically asking the vital reviewer question: why was this aspect composed in this specific manner? Point is, to sincerely review music means that the reviewer takes his time with analyzing a song, and this time-consuming process goes against the concept of “reaction”–a concept that implies one is reacting freshly to a song they have never heard before.

Expanding on the latter point, obviously, “reacting” is counterintuitive to the process of reviewing as no one is capable of genuinely reviewing a song upon the first listening–but the paradox is there as to react one must newly listen to a song. That said and as some readers may bring up, I have watched a few reviewers who have paired the reaction and review together and yet still have very insightful, critical discussion about the song itself. How is that possible? I argue it is because they in fact are not genuinely reacting but instead are “acting” and have, in truth, already heard the song many times and thus have topics to discuss. And thus, this leads to the issue of how “reaction” cannot exist within a review.

And with that, I now want to discuss why I personally dislike “reaction” videos after curiously watching a few months ago: there is nothing to glean in a musical sense. Yes, at times there are reactions that are heartwarming such as fans openly and bravely crying on camera due to understanding the hardship an artist went through to release the very song they are listening to and so forth, but in terms of musical discussion, most popular reacters (from what I gauged) predominantly focused on the visual aspect of the music video or focused more on be very “reactive”–which, again, is not bad and I do not wish to downplay emotional healthiness and sharing those emotions with other fans. In other words, for those seeking actual music reviews on YouTube and in the realm of K-Pop, very few exist. Reaction videos are not bad at all–and again, I do not wish for people to interpret me as bashing reacters–but I do find it very frustrating when people use reaction videos as “reviews” for a song or use reviews as “reactions.” The two are separate is my main argument.

Finally, I do want to firmly address if I truly would ever do something similar. In terms of “reaction and review,” it is a definite never; as discussed above, I strongly oppose those two. That said, would I ever be willing to make a video of purely a song review? Perhaps. Especially with how I can specifically play back a song in certain portions and have the time to discuss a song freely in a casual speaking conversation versus writing, I may do so in the far future. (The issue, however, is that I would lack visual content and many would rightfully struggle with this. Add onto how I could easily discuss a K-Pop song for thirty minutes, and I find viewers would be easily bored. To make an effective video, I would need to truly incorporate as much “learning variety” as possible akin to my future task as a teacher.) But that said, writing reviews will always be my priority and hobby as there is a beauty in this form of communication, and with how I personally deconstruct and review music, writing works as the best medium.

And so this brings me to a point I have yet to discuss with readers: the idea of “reaching more fans” as you have said. While I finally do have an audience to this blog, admittedly it is still far from anything significant. Furthermore, a predominant amount of my readers come in waves: they only come when their desired artist or song is reviewed. Afterwards, they disappear and seldom return to read other reviews or to “follow” the blog. 

However, personally I never wrote to gain popularity and refuse to ever do so. I write because I personally love pop music and music in general and just wish to share that; I find music to be one of the most fascinating, appealing and powerful mediums that humans have. Music connects in terms of fine arts/humanities and yet it equally latches onto social topics/sociology and ethics. To me, then, I write reviews not to one day gain Korean pop culture fame or to be hired on some K-Pop news site and to be paid for; I write because I live with music and also what pop culture can bring–ideas of understanding, love, compassion, empathy, hard work, and so on. If fame or even monetization comes the way and I end up getting hired to write, I consider all that as bonus. What I never want to occur is that I write for those things; I always plan to write because of a genuine, pure love for music (and ethics and social topics).

All in all, I hope these points answer the main question of why I do not create YouTube review and reaction videos, but furthermore, I hope this answers how I do feel about the idea of popularity and “reaching more fans.” Thank you so much for asking this question, and once again, thank you to all readers who do “follow” this blog beyond a single review–though thank you to all readers who stop by even for just that one review. I appreciate any time given to the content here, but most importantly, I hope readers leave with being critical thinkers–towards music, social topics, and so on.

Bulldok – “Why Not” Review

(Music
Video)
/ (Dance
Practice)

Bulldok – Why Not

Reviewed
on December 23, 2016

And
so, while many fans and listeners have argued this song is an amazing debut for
Bulldok and is an incredibly solid song, once again I will be on the opposing
side: I argue “Why Not” is a song that, in portions, seemingly holds well, but
once we account for its overall lack of cohesion, we will instead find a song
that is ultimately too clunky.

Personal Message:
With only a few days left in December,
admittedly I am on a slight rush and thus, I do apologize if this seeps into
the following reviews. For some random background, I had originally planned to
review “Why Not” towards early November, but as we can tell, that did not
happen. Nevertheless, given Bulldok’s debut was cherished by many—and that it
is always a pleasure to review artists who I have yet to cover on the blog—I have
decided to indeed review them despite the great delay.

In regards to “Why Not” and this
review in general, I will be clear: many fans will most likely not be content with
it. I say this due to the given ratings—many of which are on the lower end. And
so, while many fans and listeners have argued this song is an amazing debut for
Bulldok and is an incredibly solid song, sadly I will be on the opposing side: I
argue “Why Not” is a song that, in portions, seemingly holds well, but once we account
for its overall lack of cohesion, we will instead find a song that is
ultimately too clunky.

_______________________________________________________

Song Score: 4/10
(3.75/10 raw score) – “Slightly below average”


Vocals: 4/10


Sections: 4/10
(3.71/10 raw score)

Introduction, Rap,
Verse, Pre-Chorus, Chorus, Rap, Verse, Pre-Chorus, Chorus, Bridge, Chorus,
Conclusion (Introduction)

1.     Introduction:
5/10

2.     Rap: 7/10

3.     Verse: 3/10

4.     Pre-Chorus: 3/10

5.     Chorus: 2/10

6.     Bridge: 2/10

7.     Conclusion (Introduction): 4/10


Instrumental: 3/10


Lyrics: 4/10

Bulldok right here
Bulldok right here
Yeah yeah yeah
Let’s get it poppin’
Ayo, ayo
B.U.L.L.D.O.K girl
Ayo, ayo
Yes we back in a house
Ayo, ayo
B.U.L.L.D.O.K girl
Ayo, ayo

Hey guys let me introduce myself
Put away the boring kids
Don’t be embarrassing
The crazy dog of this place is me
I don’t want to stop
Don’t stop me
The moment you act arrogant,
you’ll be bitten apart
Rap that’s not like a rookie’s
It makes everyone’s legs shake
Yeah I’m on the flow
When I start to ride the flow,
it’ll be game over for you

Let’s go to the party
(Trust me and follow me)
Let’s go to the party
(The bounce that pulls me)
Don’t stop the sound that calls me
Don’t touch me I’m going right now
Yeah, I’m looking for yeah-eah-eah

Anyone can say that I’m crazy
I don’t care if they curse at me
Who can stop me?

Let’s say I partied a bit
I chewed some gum
Who cares?
Ayo ayo
Who cares if I play more?
I’m not mature
Who cares?
Ayo ayo

So boring, you’re just the same
How can a puppy recognize a tiger?
So I’ll go on top of the tiger’s head
No one knows the result until you come across me
A free fly
I’ll step on the heads of those
who don’t think highly of me
I’ll climb on top, you should practice
You nod your head even without a punchline

Let’s go to the party
(Trust me and follow me)
Let’s go to the party
(The bounce that pulls me)
Don’t stop the sound that calls me
Don’t touch me I’m going right now
Yeah, I’m looking for yeah-eah-eah

Anyone can say that I’m crazy
I don’t care if they curse at me
Who can stop me?

Let’s say I partied a bit
I chewed some gum
Who cares?
Ayo ayo
Who cares if I play more?
I’m not mature
Who cares?
Ayo ayo

Boys are all the same
No love, no no
Everyone says this is reality
Stop that nonsense talk

Let’s say I partied a bit
I chewed some gum
Who cares?
Ayo ayo
Who cares if I play more?
I’m not mature
Who cares?
Ayo ayo

Ayo, ayo
B.U.L.L.D.O.K girl
Ayo, ayo
Yes we back in a house
Ayo, ayo
B.U.L.L.D.O.K girl
Ayo, ayo

_______________________________________________________

Analysis: Beginning
first with my prior statement of how “Why Not” seemingly holds well, it should
be noted that perhaps “seemingly” is an inappropriate word; more accurately
said, there are strong points that
actually hold well and I do wish to highlight them. Especially if we focus on
the song in individual portions—essentially, if we see each category in of themselves
(vocals, sections, etc.) and do not account for the song in its entire unity—then
indeed, “Why Not” appears to be appealing.

For
example, the rapping is phenomenal. With the sonic component in specific, usual
strong points exist: the flow, pacing, and tune remain diverse and dynamic.
What remains most impressive I argue, though, is the raps’—and if being
specific here, the rappers’—ability to effectively manage the complexity at
hand. Listening attentively, we find that the rap sections are able to maintain
a smooth, coherent flow despite the prevalent minor pauses and quickened paces.
One would expect the raps to become disorganized or at the very least to sound
choppy as a result of those added aspects, but indeed, due to the prowess of
Kimi and Hyeongeun, that is not the case.

All
that said, I now wish to turn our focus onto the more critical part of the
review: why, despite the rap sections—or for that matter, anything else—sounding
well on their own, “Why Not” in its entirety still falters.

The
biggest issue I find with the song is it simply lacks organic unity—a term that
is typically more for painting but that I find to be very relevant in our case.
In summary, “organic unity”—in our case—is referring to how everything in the
song fits in and connects with one another. On a minor level, this could be
focusing in on how transitions bind sections together, but on a larger scale,
this could refer to whether the instrumental suits the vocals, and whether such
pairing suits with the sections themselves and so on. With this in mind, I wish
to argue why I find “Why Not” a somewhat weaker song: it lacks organic unity;
even if the song in individual aspects are solid—such as the raps—once we focus
on the song in whole, very little of it connects together.

There
are two blatant examples to analyze: the bridge and pre-choruses. Each on their
own are seemingly solid sections: the pre-choruses showcase powerful, intensive
vocals that provide the usual transition into the choruses, and for the bridge,
it grants a pause to the song all while showcasing equally powerful and
strenuous vocals. However, I argue for listeners to look beyond just the sonic
level and to instead equally consider the structural side. With the pre-choruses,
it is far too sudden of a switch from its prior section—the verses. With the
verses being slower paced and calm, the pre-choruses switching to an exceptionally
more intense section is far too abrupt. There needs to be something to
minimalize that jump, and unfortunately, there is nothing in place for such.
Even then, the pre-choruses are far too overpowering. Likewise, the bridge
follows a similar issue: the transition to it is nonexistent, and even if there
was an appropriate switch, the bridge’s dramatic and dragged flow fails to fit
in to the song’s upbeat and strenuous style that is seen in the raps and
choruses.

Furthermore,
returning to the raps, though they sonically hold well, let us consider them in
a structural context. For one, the raps themselves are structured in an
extremely peculiar manner: a slower, calmer start that then builds up in
intensity and climaxes within itself. For why this matters, the raps are
composed in a manner so that it is almost like these sections are a song within
a song—and this, in “Why Not” ‘s case, is troubling. If the rap sections begin
and properly conclude within themselves, fitting into the song itself is
difficult as there is nothing to build into
or out of the rap sections. Compared
to other raps in other songs where those raps are used to help progress a song
into its upcoming chorus or a rap is used as a post-chorus, there is a gained
sense of unity: the raps in those songs are there to help carry out the song.
Unfortunately in “Why Not,” even if the raps themselves are excellently
executed, they fail to fit into the larger scheme of the song. The raps come
and go—nothing more or less. Because of that, and for that matter the other
sections such as the pre-choruses and bridge, there is a lack of cohesion for the
song and this is why I find “Why Not”
to be a slightly weaker song.

All
in all, it is “Why Not” ‘s lack of unity that indirectly impairs it. It is hard
to find, for example, the instrumental enticing when it excessively changes in
style and sound just to match each section versus flowing and binding all the
sections together. Equally, it is difficult to find the sections—minus the raps—appealing
when each are so abstract and hardly related to one another. And of course,
vocally the issues apply where even if there are impressive vocal beltings at
the pre-choruses and bridge, it is all meaningless when the verses and choruses
adopt a repetitive, tuneless style that completely contradicts other vocal
moments in the song.

Finally,
this review is not to say Bulldok lack skills and will have trouble as a new
artist. At most, I am critiquing the composers of the song. When it comes to
the ladies, I strongly urge fans to be critical of their songs—and with that,
it means being open to disagreeing and agreeing with my review—but in the end,
to still very much support Bulldok. I look forward to new songs by them, and I
personally desire a song in the future that highlights the rapping capabilities
of Kimi and Hyeongeun. However as it is, I render “Why Not” as a slightly
weaker song mainly due to its lacking of unity.

_______________________________________________________

Another
review will hopefully be released today or slightly delayed until a few more
days. Either way, thank you all for reading this review whether in full or
skimmed. I do apologize for a somewhat poorer review quality in this case as it
is slightly challenging to convey my argument
in this particular instance, but I hope readers find this review
thought-provoking and that it encourages fans of Bulldok to intellectually and
maturely engage with it via disagreeing, agreeing, a mixture of both, and so
on.

Look
forward to a strong finish to December. After all, “we back in a house”—and by
this I mean reviews are coming back and that there truly is no relevant ending
quote I could use. Just look forward to most likely SHINee’s “1 of 1” and
perhaps even Jay Park’s “Me Like Yuh” as male artists definitely need more
spotlight on the blog.

How would you compare Kpops popular boy groups to US boy bands like Backstreet Boys and Westlife? And to Menudo of the 80s?

Hello. Excellent questions, but to be very honest, I cannot provide a thorough answer–or in fact, simply an answer.

Although I do live in the United States, I admittedly do not follow American Pop culture at all. The last time I truly was active in keeping up with A-Pop was in eighth grade and a bit in freshmen year of high school–and to gauge, I am now a sophomore in university. (Which, after forcing my English major head to do some math, is six to seven years ago. Right?) Even then, I was never truly too deep into A-Pop and vastly preferred K-Pop and C-Pop (Chinese).

But, to still attempt my best to answer–and to perhaps answer a bit off what you are directly asking–I would suppose there are differences and similarities when comparing United States boy groups to Korean boy groups. Musically, in terms of songs composed for groups or song composition in general, the differences there would be shaped by cultural differences. After all, this is why I refuse to review A-Pop: as said before, my cultural lens would blind me to what Americans deem is “excellent” pop music composition. But even so, I would guess the “dynamics” involved remain similar between the two cultures: each group would have “roles”–main vocalist, main dancer, main rapper, lead vocalist, sub vocalist, etc. As for group concepts, I would also assume there are similarities here in terms of how each group would possess their own “style” whether Korean or American–an example being a “bad boy” style, an “innocent boyfriend” style, and so on. As for choreography–a huge aspect of groups–I would equally assume American groups perform dances. 

However, point is, as I have no knowledge of American boy groups, I cannot do more than just speculate. Overall, though, I argue that regardless of culture and country origin, group artists would tend to be very similar if we temporarily ignore cultural differences. For an example of a cultural difference, with Korean groups, the idea of group members being very close and bonded is very important–this tying into how public perception is highly valued (and, more specifically, how the idea of community is more more important than the individual). In American pop culture, however, from what I can tell this is not the case: artists are there for their own, and befriending fellow artists–at least “on camera”–is not pressured upon them. Thus, if group members are not necessarily close and are seen more as cooperative artists than “sisters/brothers,” it would not be a big deal in American (pop) culture. 

And of course for a musical take, as discussed, differences exist on the virtue of cultural preferences in music. From what I can tell, many A-Pop songs currently tend to follow an EDM-based style while K-Pop–though it equally adopts that at times–is a bit more aligned with either a “very generic pop sound” (the cheerful, upbeat kinds) or more vocal-orientated songs (due to a traditional background of trot and ballad). Discussing musical differences, though, is for another topic and definitely off-topic from discussing U.S. boy groups to Korean boy groups.

All in all, the ultimate difference would simply be cultural differences, and from there, said cultural differences lead to other changes in music, concepts, dances, and so forth. 

What I am more genuinely curious on–and again, I truly do not wish to sound like I am “imposing” culture or being ethnocentric–is the question of why American Pop does not include more group artists. Many artists in the United States are soloists, but I do wonder on why there are not as many group artists because artist groups, I argue, tend to be very “public friendly” (and thus could garner more fans). I say this due to how groups have the ability to perform choreographies in a “team-orientated” manner (versus a soloist dancing with just backup dancers), that groups gain a “personality” and “familiarity” with knowing the members, the music becomes more dynamic with roles, and that groups can actually have their own mini-show such as MAMAMOO’s “MMMTV” or Apink’s “Diary” to feel more “accessible” to fans as seeing their “normal” side (or critically said, their “public-perception-off-stage-normal”). Again, perhaps this is due to my own cultural differences in contrast to mainstream American pop culture. 

Anyhow, thank you for sending this question in and I do apologize for essentially circling your question versus directly answering it. I sadly do not have enough A-Pop knowledge to firmly answer what those actual differences are, but I hope my answer points out aspects that you might be able to personally find. It is always a fascinating and great learning experience to compare musical differences between cultures and to then embrace those differences rather than shaming them or treating other cultures as “exotic.” 

(And for readers who may find I am spewing inaccurate points throughout, I will put a disclaimer of how I do indeed acknowledge I am speaking out of ignorance; to this, I deeply apologize if I come off as ignorant, ethnocentric, and so forth. I simply am not knowledgeable at all with A-Pop and frustrated readers should send messages for correction. I never wish to make K-Pop or C-Pop or any pop culture sound “superior” to another, and more generally, I never wish to imply that one culture–Korean, Chinese, etc.–is better than another. We are all humans and need to embrace cultural differences as this diverse experience is perhaps what makes us “human”–and with the United States specifically, though I am not tuned into A-Pop, I do appreciate the diverse aspect to the country.) 

Meng Jia – “Drip” Review

(Music Video) / (Music Video—Dance Version)

Meng Jia – Drip

Reviewed
on December 19, 2016

Unlike
the majority of listeners who claim the choruses are the “catchy” and
iconic—even best—part to the song, I disagree greatly. I will argue the song’s
choruses limit the song in all
aspects—vocals, instrumental, sections, and lyrics.

Personal Message:
Before starting, I will link a prior
post that does relate to this song: a post about the complexity of “double-standards”
and even “equity.”

Especially for readers who wish to go beyond just the musical component to
K-Pop/pop culture or are interested in sociology or simply wonder what
“double-standards” is truly about, I strongly encourage reading the rather lengthy
post.

Also, for one more point to make, I
do want to apologize to readers for not posting any reviews as of December—or
at least, if ignoring this review. While I have been posting other content,
such as the linked post above or answering questions (and I am very much
thankful to be hearing from readers), I actually have not been posting reviews.
The reason for this is nothing drastic at all: I am finishing up this semester
of university and have been quite busy due to that. After all, with so many
papers due and having to study for tests, it can become slightly overwhelming. On
the positive side, I will soon be finished (as of this sentence) and will have
a month to finish up December strongly, and to even have a head-start for January’s
reviews. Furthermore, I might actually be willing to share a pop culture
studies/literary studies paper I wrote in an English class about K-Pop: me
applying a queer studies lens onto GFriend’s music video of “Navillera.” I
imagine many readers are confused on what “queer studies” is and why or even
how I managed to write an academic paper about K-Pop, but to this, I will end
the discussion here or else Jia’s “Drip” would never be reviewed. (However, if
a reader is highly curious on anything said here—what queer studies is or how
one can write an academic paper about pop culture—do feel free to send in a
question. The link to do so is in the blog’s description. I will clarify what
was said through a Q/A.)

Finally on topic with this review, I
have planned to review “Drip” during the first week of December. As we can
tell, that plan did not work out though the review still is happening. What
should be noted about this song, however, is that it is not K-Pop at all: it is
C-Pop—otherwise known as Chinese Pop and if we dare to be more accurate, we can
even refer to this as “Mando-Pop” as it is in Mandarin specifically. That said,
this blog still predominantly focuses on K-Pop. Consider this C-Pop song a
bonus, and of course, as some readers may know, Meng Jia is from Miss A: a
female K-Pop group. She left the group once her contract expired, and from my
understanding, Miss A is still active with the three remaining ladies. Point is
this: although “Drip” is C-Pop, we can at least find that it relates to K-Pop
in the sense of Meng Jia being the singer to the song.

Now all that said, I predict that
one critical reader may be wondering: “But isn’t it unfair to review C-Pop
when, as you have said, you only review K-Pop so as to not be musically biased
due to cultural differences?” While I probably poorly phrased that, my answer
is this: Yes, I argue it is unfair for a reviewer to review songs that she is
not culturally accustomed to but, in
this case, he is accustomed to it. Indeed, I am actually accustomed to listening
to C-Pop because I do in fact listen to it. This may come as a surprise to a
few readers as it might be believed that I only listen to K-Pop. While I do not
deny that Korean songs—pop, ballad, hip-hop—tend to be what I listen to most, I
do listen to C-Pop—both traditional and contemporary, and both Canto-Pop and
Mando-Pop. It is far much less than K-Pop, but it is enough for me to
confidently review it without bias—in fact, as I have shared perhaps a year
ago, I grew up listening to older Chinese Pop (with some older American Pop as
well).

Since we are on the verge of a
tangent, however, let us now truly discuss “Drip.” This song marks Jia’s solo
debut, and because of such, I would argue it is important to gauge how the song
currently stands. In fact, let me emphasize a point: how the song currently stands. While Jia’s vocals will definitely be a
factor, I am more concerned on how her new label company has composed and
produced “Drip”—and already I will say, this song is great until it drips its
appeal away at the choruses. Unlike the majority of listeners who claim the
choruses are the “catchy” and iconic—even best—part to the song, I disagree
greatly. I will argue the song’s choruses limit the song in all aspects—vocals, instrumental,
sections, and lyrics.

_______________________________________________________

Song Score: 5/10
(4.50/10 raw score) – “Average”


Vocals: 6/10


Sections: 4/10
(4.00/10 raw score)

Introduction, Verse,
Pre-Chorus, Chorus, Verse, Pre-Chorus, Chorus, Bridge, Conclusion (Chorus)

1.     Introduction:
6/10

2.     Verse: 6/10

3.     Pre-Chorus: 6/10

4.     Chorus: 2/10

5.     Bridge: 2/10

6.     Conclusion (Chorus): 2/10


Instrumental: 4/10


Lyrics: 4/10

[Introduction]

Have a taste of it secretly
I’m just trying to help
Help you put aside your rationality
Can’t act like a silent harbor
You can be the real you, here

You, stay on the sofa obediently
Kneel down
I need your adoration
You have to bear in mind,
I’m a bit bad
Just want you tonight
I want you tonight

I make it drip, boy
I make it drip, boy
I make it drip, boy
Drip, drip, drip, drip
I make it drip, boy
Drip, drip, drip, drip, drip
I make it drip, boy

Nobody is responsible for me
I don’t want to gain passively
Now that you are on this express train,
I wanna do it like this way
You don’t believe your own choice
The indulgent song like this
I bet you would come, come, come

You, stay on the sofa obediently
Kneel down
I need your adoration
You have to bear in mind,
I’m a bit bad
Just want you tonight
I want you tonight

I make it drip, boy
I make it drip, boy
I make it drip, boy
Drip, drip, drip, drip
I make it drip, boy
Drip, drip, drip, drip, drip
I make it drip, boy

I make the boys sweat, sweat
I make the boys sweat, sweat
I make the boys sweat, sweat
I make the boys sweat, sweat
Are you ready?

I make it drip, boy
I make it drip, boy
I make it drip, boy
Drip, drip, drip, drip
I make it drip, boy
Drip, drip, drip, drip, drip
I make it drip, boy

_______________________________________________________

Analysis: For
a side note, I am finally on break. Given how behind the blog is, I may
actually opt to write a review per day if I somehow manage to be concise yet
meaningful with all the reviews—in fact, more extremely, I may opt to write two
reviews in one day.

On
topic, before getting into why the choruses are deeply problematic to “Drip,”
let us first begin with the strengths to the song. An obvious one is Jia’s
vocals—as we can tell from the given six. What should be noted, however, is
that the vocals are not impressive due to its tune or variety—factors that I
oftentimes gauge when it comes to vocals. For example with tune, we have to
notice that the vocals are not strenuous in any regard: there are no beltings,
note holds, extreme low or high notes, and so on. The tune, then, remains
simplistic. Furthermore, the vocals’ sounds do not differ much from each
section minus shifts in intensity. Even then, intensity shifts do not suffice
in terms of making vocals sound more diverse: in the end, the vocals in every
section still arguably sound the same.

Despite
all those points, why I am still giving a six is due to other details—details
that are oftentimes overlooked with vocals: the rhythm and structural syncing. Indeed,
Jia’s singing in “Drip” is quite different from most songs but I argue it is an
effective change. Regarding the vocals’ rhythm, the singing does not simply
flow in a horizontal fashion—in other words, the vocals are not merely
progressing based on following a tune in accordance to time. Instead, while
there is obviously a tune followed, what should be emphasized most is that the vocals
instead follow an “up and down” pattern via its pacing—a pattern that reflects
the instrumental. Because of this, especially as we can hear in the verses, the
vocals and instrumental become greatly synced to one another and hence my
earlier label of “structural syncing.” While at times instances of too
identical syncing could lead to staleness, in “Drip” the opposite occurs: it
provides the vocals an appealing flow that can be followed, and likewise, the
instrumental now appears to carry on a more dynamic flow versus just plain
beats.

On
that note, despite the instrumental’s lower score—and for that matter, the
sections and lyrics—this is not to say all these categories are entirely slightly below average. In many
ways, all of the categories are better described as: “good but, once the chorus
arrives, somewhat poor.” To make it more clear, the lower ratings are due to me
“averaging out” those strong points and weak points.

Let
us focus on the lyrics for example. Ignoring the “meaning” of the song—as this is
entirely subjective and up to interpretation (though if there are readers who
might be “disturbed” about the lyrics potentially connoting a woman coercing a
man in whatever manner, I do suggest reading the linked Critical Discussion I
posted on top)—we can focus on the objective aspects of how detailed and unique
the lyrics are. The verses differ from one another—this being a huge benefit—and
on top of that, the pre-choruses, even if they repeat each other, still add additional
depth to the lyrics’ overall plot. Where the lyrics fall short is due to the
choruses and bridge: meaningless, repetitive phrases that ultimately serve as “filler.”

As
for the instrumental, a similar idea applies akin to the lyrics. The bass and
beats are excellently executed—until the choruses’ “beat drop” occurs. Prior to
the choruses, the instrumental seamlessly syncs with the vocals as discussed,
and moreover, the instrumental’s role of shifting the song’s intensity is done
in a very efficient manner. Unlike many pop songs where those intensity shifts
are overly blatant or even roughly chunked up, “Drip” is able to switch from a
calmer verse to a hyping pre-chorus very naturally, and on top of that, when
the choruses arrive, the instrumental still marks these sections as the
climactic part even if the sonic component suffers.

That
said, for where the instrumental falters during the choruses, I will argue it is
due to the sounds themselves—even if these sounds are very unique and creative.
For example, we should note that the beats and bass function—during the choruses—akin
to water: in other words, from a theoretical side, the instrumental here matches the theme of “dripping” (and I
will explain how). In terms of artistic creativity, I do believe the composers
deserve much credit for this. I greatly applaud it. However, on the more
practical side, it is the execution
that fails. With the bass, it literally comes off in waves—each wave varying in
strength and length. As for the whistle-sounding beats, they come off in an
echoing and dripping manner. As we can tell, this is very creative. But, for
how this translates in a musical context versus say artistic representation, it
is quite jarring. The bass and dripping beats do not sync with each other in
terms of sonic or pacing, and later with added vocals of “drip” being repeated,
there then appears to be three main factors conflicting one another. All in
all, it all leads to a confusing, rough and disorientating experience. Again, I
praise the very intelligent composition of emulating water and dripping and by
no means wish to overlook such, but in a musical context, I strongly argue it
is not effective.

Overall,
“Drip” definitely has potential to be a rather solid song. But, ultimately, it
is the choruses that prove to be the song’s downfall as every category is
indirect or directly affected by it—and affected in a negative manner.
Certainly the choruses are very charming in their effects of creating a
visual-audio experience of water and dripping through music, but if we focus on
musical appeal, I argue the choruses
greatly fail to bring any appeal and because of such, the rest of the
categories all suffer. This may perhaps be the song of example for where the
theoretical fails to match up with the practical: everything looked good when thinking of the song’s composition,
but once the song was actually played, the choruses were not accounted for its
messiness. Nevertheless, if listeners/readers can manage through the choruses, “Drip”
still finds its footing as an average song—even if it is barely holding onto
said “average.”

_______________________________________________________

I
greatly apologize to readers for essentially a hiatus. Given that it has been
two weeks of no reviews, I will definitely begin stacking up reviews and I
indeed have an enormous list. Look forward to many reviews to come now that I
am on break, and for December to hopefully end with around six reviews or even
more. Thank you to all for reading. “I need your adoration,” after all. (Not
really, though; if anything, I need readers’ forgiveness for mediocre writing.)
Look forward to BULLDOK’s “Why Not” as the next review.

AtrocityCL on Twitter!

Although this is more of a test, I do want to make an announcement that hopefully stays true: I will now also be on Twitter. That said, this blog is still the best way to contact me for review requests, questions and so on. 

There are numerous reasons for why I am adding this change: 

1. For readers who use Twitter but not Tumblr, this provides a way to stay tuned to new content posted on this blog.

2. This allows me to post upcoming reviews–even YouTube videos (as I do subtitling and translations)–in a place that will not be obstructing to the blog itself.

3. Along the lines of the second point, I can also now give “personal” updates–but I do mean this in a more lenient way. Although I believe in being truthful at all times, I do prefer to keep my personal life aside from my reviews but I do wish to give updates regarding the lack of reviews, new ideas, and so forth.

And so, I hope this all works out and if not, then this post will merely disappear along with the Twitter. Look forward to many upcoming reviews.

Hi! I recently discovered your blog and I have 2 things to say but first let me congratulate you for the quality of your reviews, I’m enjoying them so much! So, here I go: 1. It frustrates me that you don’t keep a page on Facebook, or updates through e-mail, or any type of medium that lets readers know when you post something new. I’m not a Tumblr user but your work is way too good to be restricted to this. I’d love to be warned when you post something and I’m sure there are other people like me

(continue) 2. I am a songwriter pursuing a career in k-pop, your reviews are helping me a lot in therms of improving my perception of k-pop songs (lyrics, structure, vocals, everything). It would be a great pleasure if I could have my songs reviewed by you one day. Thank you and keep the great work.

Hello. Before addressing these points, I do want to personally thank you for taking the time to send this in and for all the kind, supportive words said. I sincerely appreciate it. That said, I will cover each point now.

Regarding the first, this is excellent feedback. Although I acknowledge that most of my readers are actually not Tumblr users at all, I never thought of using other mediums as a way of notifying readers. If anything, I had hoped this blog was simply bookmarked and manually checked. But even then, there is nothing efficient currently in place to make my reviews more accessible. For what I plan to do, due to how an email subscription would be a bit more difficult to implement as of now (though perhaps in the far future it will work), in the meantime I can definitely create a Facebook page. Especially with how popular Facebook is, it seems to be an appropriate medium and of course it allows for this blog to become more noticed. Furthermore, I can easily post minor updates, such as explaining why the blog may be inactive at times. (And if readers are curious as to why there has been no review in December yet, it is due to finishing up my university semester. I have a growing list of reviews that I am excited to get to.) Edit: After many attempts to make the Facebook Page work, I am finding it far too difficult to manage. I will find another solution to help readers become notified of new posts.

For the second point, I am glad that you find my reviews helpful. I would definitely be more than glad to review any future song you end up writing. And to that, I wish you the very best in your pursuing of songwriting for K-Pop songs. That said, for something to keep in mind, while these reviews may be helpful to you, I would still strongly encourage equally reading, listening, and watching other K-Pop reviewers. I say this as, in the end, my reviews are still from a single perspective–and it is a perspective that is not utterly objective. What matters, though–and I bet you are already well aware with this due to being a songwriter–is understanding why reviewers claim what they claim about a song. For example I might find a chorus in a particular song weak due to some reasons, but another reviewer might find that very chorus to be the best she/he has ever heard due to reasons I perhaps overlooked. 

All in all, thank you once again for sending this in. All the feedback given is tremendously helpful. As for your songwriting career, your dedication and learning will definitely be rewarded in the long run. I wish you the best in your future, and I will indeed be willing to review songs that you help create. 

How do you feel about people who just react to k pop?

Hello. Interesting question, but I do apologize on my end for not being able to quite understand what you mean. As such, definitely feel free to send in a follow-up question if my current answer remains lacking. (And to note, I am in “dead week” of university and soon to have finals. Thus, I will keep my answers here relatively short–or so I say. Readers will know this is basically a blatant lie that I say in hopes of actually being true to it when I never am.)

The way I personally understand this question is essentially what I like to coin as: the “Casual Question.” Basically, then, the question of how I feel about people who are simply casual fans of K-Pop–and I include both aspects of social and musical (and perhaps within “musical,” we can generalize it further as “entertainment.”)

In short: there is never an issue with simply just being a casual fan and “reacting,” as you say, to K-Pop. If we are talking in the sense of culture, as I always have to stress with readers, K-Pop is simply Korean pop culture; in other words, there is nothing “special” with it at all. Especially as a majority of readers are international fans, perhaps I might have unintentionally given off false ideas that K-Pop is supposedly “special” and that it needs to be critically enjoyed versus casually. As said, the mentioned idea is false: by me encouraging readers to be critical consumers of K-Pop–musically and socially–I mean that in the sense of pop culture in general. I do not wish to say nor hold K-Pop as some superior form of pop culture; that is absolutely not just false, but absolutely horrendous and ethnocentric for me to ever encourage. (And on another note, this is why I will only ever review Korean and Chinese music; while certain identical genres do exist in many cultures, there are some cultural musical differences and I acknowledge that I have a bias with that said cultural musical differences. Thus, it would never be fair for me to review a song outside of Korean or Chinese music as it would be biased. What apparently is an amazing composition decision in for example an American Pop song might be, to my cultural lens of Korean and Chinese music, questionable and weak.) 

Overall, in the sense of culture, fans who merely “react” and casually listen to K-Pop is not a problem at all, and I want to make that explicitly clear for readers. It is not, for example, racist for one to say they just casually listen to K-Pop without concerning for the culture itself–unless, of course, genuine racist actions occur within that such as sexually objectifying Korean women or ignoring cultural differences and instead imposing one’s personal culture onto K-Pop/Korean culture. (And to not get too off-topic, I do want to address that this is one reason for why I truly dislike it when international fans greatly argue that K-Pop needs to be brought to, say, American pop culture. That idea is essentially saying Korean pop culture is its own exotic toy that fans should bring as mainstream to their own personal pop culture. While I believe in sharing music across cultures, I argue it is atrocious for one to say that the entirety of a culture’s pop culture should be “brought over.” Respect a culture’s pop culture as what it is in of itself; do not enter it in the mindset of injecting one’s own cultural background onto it. Again, this is a future topic.)

Now regarding a more general social side, this is trickier. Is it wrong to be a “casual” fan who only enjoys K-Pop for its entertainment and purposefully attempts to ignore social-related issues that occur? I personally argue that, as a human being, we all have a responsibility to care beyond the entertainment layer. Why? Because artists and idols are still humans, and because pop culture can be quite influential (and reflective of popular cultural values). For example, let us imagine there is a released music video where homosexuality is mocked–but let us pretend the music itself is great. Yes, on the entertainment side, we should praise the composition. But, as socially and ethically responsible human beings, I argue we need to be equally critical of the social side: Why is this music video mocking homosexuality or vice-versa with why does it choose to empower homosexuality? In the end, while I do strongly encourage caring for the ethical and social side to any pop culture–songs, music videos, “idol news,” etc.–it is up to readers to decide if they would care. Being a “casual” fan in this regard is something I personally disagree with, but ultimately it is up to a fan’s decision and where their own values lie.

Lastly, in terms of casually listening to music, I believe there is a somewhat recent review I wrote that discusses this. It is either TWICE’s “TT” or Apink’s “Only One,” but regardless, I am willing to summarize my take to this. I personally encourage fans to be critical listeners of music, but unlike the social aspect that has genuine consequences and high-stakes, it is not problematic in any sense if a fan only casually listens to music. Overall, how much one cares for the arts/music and enjoys being analytical in what they hear is the question to ponder. Casually listening to music is definitely not harming anyone, and despite my reviews and urge for readers to do so, I admit: I still casually listen to music. For a general example of such, there are cases where I listen to songs that I would critically render as weaker songs, but I indeed still enjoy these “weaker songs” because on a more casual take: the song is catchy, fun, and so on.

Hopefully I answered your question in the appropriate context, but as said, feel free to send in a follow-up question if this answer completely missed what you were asking. In summary, there is no issue with a fan merely reacting to K-Pop or pop culture in general, though I do certainly encourage fans to be critical of the ethical and social side to pop culture.

Critical Discussion: “SNL Korea and Meng Jia’s ‘Drip’: A Casual Conversation on Double Standards and Equity”

“SNL
Korea and Meng Jia’s ‘Drip’: A Casual Conversation on Double Standards and Equity”

Posted on December 1, 2016

image

Personal
Message:
I have
never felt this disorganized in quite some time, but it is time I clarify what
this post is. As some readers may know, similar past posts have been titled with
“Blog Opinion” or in fact, similar discussions have taken place directly in
reviews themselves. However, I have decided to change all of that: very lengthy
social discussions will now have their own separate posts and reviews will now
be purely focused on music—unless if there are minor discussions that can fit.
Consider this new type of post, “Critical Discussion,” a way of combining “Blog
Opinion” and social discussions in reviews into one convenient place.

Doing this allows music reviews to
indeed maintain their pure focus on the song at hand, and furthermore, it
allows readers to better “balance” my content. After all, it is incredibly hard
to suddenly transition one’s mind to a social lens when expecting a purely
musically focused review, and then after the social discussion, to then
transition back into a music lens. Thus, separating the two, I have decided, is
the best route. Consider this—to be quite cliché—a new chapter on the blog.

That said, the following discussion
has been excerpted—if I may use that word—from the Personal Message of a review
on Meng Jia’s “Drip.” The actual review will be posted some time later as I
finish up on it. This separation of social and musical discussions came only
after I finished and realized how difficult even it was for myself to
transition in mindset.

_______________________________________________________

Analysis:
(Note: As said above, this came from the Personal Message of
Meng Jia’s “Drip.” Thus, the language used reflects that and may come off as confusing
given the context was originally in the review post itself.)

Although the following may come off
as abrupt or even harsh, I will be clear with this specific Personal Message:
it might get very controversial. To that, if readers are uncomfortable with
discussing social topics, while I strongly encourage readers to stay for the
conversation, it is only right that readers have their own voices and
decisions. Thus, if this is the case, I suggest only reading the few last paragraphs
here where I discuss “Drip,” but more significantly, to skip to the review
itself. After all, I understand I have a relatively wide audience that ranges
from readers who care for purely the critical music discussion but also those
who come for that and a critical
social discussion. Either way, point is, readers should decide now on whether
they wish to read this Personal Message.

With that, no matter where a reader
is located in the world, given that every reader (yes, a bold generalization)
here is into K-Pop, I hope this following discussion is important and relevant.
After all, only through maturely and intellectually discussing social
topics—from gender, race, class, sexuality, and so forth—are we able to become
more loving, compassionate, understanding, empathetic and critically thinking
human beings. That said, for this review, I do wish to finally discuss the
topic of “double standards”—a topic I noticed gaining traction, but moreover,
becoming a completely complex topic that has garnered both support and
challenging as we will get into.

While I will focus on “Drip” in
relation to double standards, in terms of why I say it is a topic that is
gaining traction and attention, in the context of K-Pop this topic of double
standards has come to life outside of “Drip”: SNL Korea’s recent scandal. For
those unaware, I am indeed referring to how female staff members have sexually
harassed male idols as a supposed “welcoming tradition” in order to make the
men feel more comfortable. You read that correctly, and assuming one has basic
logic, a reader should be able to find the sweet irony: sexually harassing male
idols somehow makes them more comfortable on the show. Somehow.

Specifically for the actions
occurred, to be rather frank, the guesting male idols would be lined up and
then, for a surprise, certain female staff members would run up to them and
grab the male idols’ genital area. The worst news has yet to come, though: the
true horror is that these female staff members are facing no penalties minus
having to write apology letters to the public. Where does “double standards”
come in? Imagine if the genders were reversed: female idols having their
genital area grabbed by male staff members. Indeed, the staff members would
suffer much—and rightfully so. And yet, why do we socially turn a blind eye to the
male victims and excuse the women’s horrendous behaviors? Why? Why is this
double standard in place for male victims while everyone is suddenly rushing to
support female victims—again, this is a right action and I am not bashing that, but why is this “right
action” only applied to females?

I do not deny that males are still
socially privileged and that double standards is oftentimes when a marginalized
group is the one becoming even more vulnerable because of such. But, these
cases are still equally double standards at work, and I would argue that there are reasons for why male victims are
silenced—these reasons being tied into gender inequality and the dominant view
of masculinity being superior to femininity. For example, just ponder over
this: what happens to male victims when socially we regard men as “invincible” and
“tough” and “lacking emotions,” and that women are “weak” and thus “always need
protection” and could never be rapists or sexual harassers? What happens, then,
when those fictional standards are busted and truly occur: a woman does rape a man; a woman does beat her husband; a man does need help and protection and
emotional support.

Sadly, as this SNL Korea incident
reveals, perhaps when the realities conflict with our presumptions of gender
norms, we (“we” as in collective societies) do tend to ignore the believed “fantasy.”
We do ignore the men crying out for help; we do ignore the men who have been
raped by women; we do ignore the men’s voices and instead claim that they “should’ve
enjoyed it” or that “it is simply impossible.” And so, while male privilege is still
definitely in place, in certain cases where men are supposedly breaking gender
norms and falling into the socialized category of “feminine,” suddenly the
tables turn: men no longer have power in these scenarios because socially we
refuse to believe that a woman can overpower—physically, mentally,
emotionally—a man. But, the reality is there: that can—and does—happen, and for people who believe in gender equality/feminism,
social justice, and ultimately believe in treating humans ethically and to be
compassionate, men cannot be brushed out of the picture with blind bashing of
“but male privilege” or “but we should only care for women.”

Indeed our role as socially responsible
people is to side with the marginalized. If this means men in certain cases,
then indeed, I personally will stand by men and, such as in the case of SNL
Korea, I will be boldly critiquing the women’s wrong behaviors. Equally, while
Whites in the United States have race privilege, if I was in South Korea and a
White person there was being discriminated on her race by Koreans, indeed I
would side with her because in this case, she is the marginalized.

Overall, perhaps this is to be
reminded that these “double standard” cases of males being the victims and
women the perpetrators and getting away with such are not “feminazi” work (and
likewise we can apply this outside of gender). If anything, this SNL Korea
situation reveals we need feminism
now more than ever: feminism is here to stand by marginalized women and men (and, I argue, genders that do
not fall into the binary of man/woman). It is a shame feminism is misconstrued
as the “enemy” (being seen as anti-male or even anti-gender queer) when said
“enemy” is what true feminism and feminists fight against and more. There is so
much to discuss so let us just continue on with double standards as a topic
itself.

Backing up a bit, though I bring up
this atrocious news of SNL Korea, I will not dive too much into depth on it as
I do wish to focus on “Drip” and this song’s role with double standards, and
more importantly as said, I wish to discuss double standards in of itself. However,
for readers who are interested and perhaps as frustrated as I am at this
incident, I recommend reading Soompi—an English K-Pop news site—and their
articles on it. They have done an excellent job at actually covering the event,
but furthermore unlike other K-Pop news sites that are written too
simplistically and focus more on advertisements and click-baits, Soompi does
not withdraw when it comes to voicing out a strong push for social topics and
social justice—in this case, justice for male victims whether idols or not. That
bravery and care to see K-Pop beyond a superficial level is why I constantly
recommend Soompi as a reliable K-Pop news site (for English readers)—and of
course that they, as said, deliver news without emphasis on ridiculous titles
or poorly edited and written articles. Basically, shout-out to Soompi for their
great work. (And no; I do not work or write at Soompi or any K-Pop news site
for that matter. My reviews and social discussions are all of my own
independent thoughts—and of which should be openly challenged. Likewise, I make
no profit—and have decided not to after much thought—out of this blog.)

Now that said, yes, sometimes
entertainment media are seemingly only there for the entertainment, but as I
have argued on this blog for quite literally two years, we are all human
beings: sometimes, we have to put aside our artistic lenses and actually
critique the actual, inhumane treatments that occur in pop culture. We should
not dismiss the SNL Korea incident as worthless because it is pop culture and
not “real-life news”—a phrase that is already ridiculous as it implies that pop
culture is somehow fictional and a fantasy. We certainly have to care, and I
argue we might even need to care more
than “real-life news” because pop culture is something we all consume and feel more connected with (but of course, we still
need to care for “real-life news”).

Finally focusing on the topic of
double standards, I do believe readers have a general understanding of it—or so
I would hope otherwise the entirety of my prior points make no sense. In
summary—and apologies for not doing this sooner—the idea of double standards is
that one group can perform a certain act and have it be acceptable while, if
another group (typically but not always, a marginalized one) does the exact
same act, they are criticized.

Recycling the SNL Korea incident as
an example, the double standard is that the female staff members get away with
their actions because the victims are men. Reiterating what I said earlier, if
the genders were swapped, I am positive that the staff members would lose more
than just having to write apology letters: they would be fired, potentially
face legal issues, and so on. Likewise, another example is that a woman can
almost physically hurt her man in public and no one would bat an eye, yet if
the opposite occurred, many would stand up for the woman—again, that desire to
intervene is an appropriate act; the issue is that it applies only on one end
and not the other. It is these points that people have critiqued feminism as
“feminazi” as it is assumed feminism is being “anti-male” when it is not (but
understandably, I can see why people would believe so such as in these cases). Now
perhaps the more common views of double standard—of the minoritized being shut
down—is during, for an example, a case where a woman who swears a lot is told
to be “unladylike” while the man next to her is swearing equally and yet is not
reprimanded. Another case is where a woman is told she is being too bossy or a
bitch (and I do apologize for no longer censoring words; as this blog is an
open space for critical, mature discussions, readers need to recognize any
offensive word on my end is for an educational point and not to insult a group
of people) for being a leader and yet, a man doing the same is suddenly
respected as being “a true man and leader.”

Now that we understand what double
standard is, I want to address the “big question.” Although I have already
addressed why double standards can occur in the realm of gender, I think there
is still a question no one dares ask: why do we allow some double standards to
slide in favor of the marginalized? In the case of SNL Korea, I did address a
part of the answer: in the case of gender, we ignore male victims due to the
reasons I discussed above. But, what of other scenarios such as when a woman is
allowed to say “we need more woman power in this novel” and yet a man would be
heavily criticized for saying “we need more man power in this novel”? If I did
my job correctly, people should feel heavily conflicted. For one, it is wrong
for a man who is socially privileged with his gender to say that (and in this
situation, the one in “power” versus say a male rape victim), but yet a woman
can say the same and we would embrace her (and to that, I do say yes, we
embrace her words in this situation). Why? How does double standards play out
in this case? Is it about who has power? Is there more?

With this, let us turn to “Drip.” What
do we explain in the case of Meng Jia’s “Drip” and its music video? This is
where I wish to turn our discussion to, but thankfully, her solo debut provides
an excellent example of what I argue is not necessarily double standards, but
instead, is actually a case of “equity.” Certainly this is becoming a mess and
too many sociological/social terms are being used, so let us take this slowly. Let
us first focus on “Drip” ‘s music video so we can understand where the video
stands currently.

Critical viewers of “Drip” are not
wrong to point out that a double standard is being applied in favor for women.
For example, the man in the music video is explicitly kidnapped. If the
opposite occurred—that Jia was a man and a woman character was kidnapped—then
many would critique the music video. Again as repetitively said, that would be
a correct response—so why are we not doing it here for the man and, in some
cases, why do we even praise such a
plot? (As I believe in being truthful, I am that very person who praises this
music video’s plot—even if it is seemingly applying double standards or even
“anti-male.” I will explain why I still support the video.) Furthermore, the
kidnapped man is roughly interrogated and almost implicitly tortured by the woman.
Lastly, the lyrics do not help, either: assuming the lyrics are from a woman,
it appears that she wants to control the man in every aspect and wants him to
be a sweet, submissive and lovely boy who only adores her. Just imagine if the
lyrics were from a male perspective and talking about a woman—it would not get
far, but rightfully so.

As proven, then, it very much seems
“Drip” is one-sided and should be heavily criticized—and yet it is not. Is it
because of “feminazis” or is it, as I personally will argue, there are certain
cases where “equity” is in place? (Before continuing, though, this is not to
deny that this music video is completely innocent. I argue that it is a form of
challenging patriarchy with matriarchy via how women are the ones depicted with
power and men are submissive and at the will of women. But that said, it is
worth noting this music video still very much is worth critiquing from a gender
equality perspective, and considering there are marginalized men, we need to be
cautious of this music video in regard to that. We need to keep male victims in
mind, in other words.)

When it comes to equity, it is
perhaps best described as an “equalizer” versus of “equality.” In a very
rudimentary explanation, “equality” implies every person gets the same thing,
but in “equity,” it focuses that the outcome
is equal. So for a horrible example, if I was focusing on equality in a makeup
giveaway, I would make sure every man and woman got the same item. In equity,
perhaps a woman has no cosmetics at all while the man next to her already has
two. In this instance, equity would be giving the woman two cosmetic items and
the man being given none—there is no equality here, but there is definitely
equity.

For why this is important to
understand, equity is here for a reason: it helps reach equality as an outcome.
After all, to use the prior example, if I only focused on being “equal,” the
woman would still never have as many cosmetic items as the man: she would
always be one short since everyone would be earning the same amount and the gap
remains the same. Thus, equity is important in this regard especially when we
layer social statuses on one another—for example, that it might actually be
worth giving slight priorities to male makeup artists for hire or slight hiring
priorities for female engineers. Equality would mean everyone, regardless of
their social statuses (race, gender, etc.) would be picked and instead pure
characteristics are gauged (which should still be accounted for very much), but
equity is useful here because what if we consider that the female engineer who
is applying had to overcome obstacles that a male engineer had the privilege of
not facing? (Some examples of those obstacles would be how the female engineer
never had a “head-start” as her male peers since she was taught “females are
supposed to stay at home and not be into science and math.”)

All in all, in the context of jobs,
I like to consider equity what many term as the “language advantage”: if there
are two people with the exact
qualities and skills yet one knows a second language, it is realistic to hire
the person who knows the extra language. Equity for one’s social statuses is
similar: you have a man and a woman engineer who are exactly the same, but given how women have social barriers to
overcome in this field, a hirer could argue the woman has “a slight advantage”
since she needed extra work to make it through. And to not forget, she brings
potentially a new perspective to a predominantly male-dominated field.

But without getting off topic, relating
this discussion of equity to “Drip,” we could begin to view this music video
and song not as being “anti-male” and applying double standards unfairly—or
again, the silly phrase of it being “feminazi” messaging—but instead could
interpret the music video as an interesting form of equity. After all, it is
highly doubtful the directors would wish to antagonize and victimize males; if
anything, there would seem to be a more realistic idea: challenging the idea
that women always have to be on the “submissive end.” And how do the directors
perhaps go about challenging that very notion? Through flipping the script;
through swapping gender roles and showcasing a woman who is the one controlling
men and showcasing them as the submissive, powerless one in this case.
Especially given the music video is a form of art and therefore an expression—unlike
actual events of, say, SNL Korea—and factoring in the realities that women
acting in the way Jia’s depicted character in the real world would be heavily
criticized on a social level, “Drip” truly does begin to seem like a bold
social critique of gender norms. It is far from abusing double standards and
hating males.

All that said, however, as mentioned
earlier, even such an empowering music video can come across as offensive and,
if we are truly critically, it partially does play into double standards even
if its intentions and overall point is to challenge gender inequalities. And
so, this leads us to where the main discussion of equity is currently at: what
are the ethics of it? Equity indeed, I argue, needs to exist, but to what
degree? For example, until statistically huge disparities in jobs are
minimalized, I say equity in the workplace is acceptable and even welcomed.
But, when it comes to “Drip” ‘s music video, how far can the music video’s form
of “equity” go? It is highly unlikely that the ridiculous idea of “feminazi”
would truly exist—the idea that women would not become equal but instead surpass men as superior. However, it is
something to consider over as critical readers: what if we socially do reach a
point of gender equality, but interestingly enough, matriarchy for example
begins? I personally highly doubt that would ever happen because the whole
purpose of equity and feminism in general is to create that very equality
where, currently, males are the ones who are considered the “default” at with
privilege. To then subvert that and go further to the point of inequality once
again—for example, a rather ironic future of women catcalling men and how men
would be taught to “smile” or to “not get raped” instead of telling women not
to rape men (and as critical readers can tell, I am indeed using current
rhetoric that we tell women)—is not what feminism or equity is about. But, this
debate of “how far should equity go” is something readers have to decide for
themselves and I am in no role to dictate that personal decision; my role here
is to merely provide that seed for thought.

To perhaps tie up the discussion of
equity, to restate the biggest point, I will strongly assert that equity is
here to stay. The discussion of it should not be, in my opinion, of discussing
whether equity is to exist at all; the true discussion that needs to occur is
the degree of equity as mentioned earlier. What needs to occur is that from the
dominant social group is understanding. (In specific cases, it should be noted
that the “dominant group” may vary from the general. Such a case is with female
teachers in an elementary school being the “dominant group” despite how
socially women are marginalized in “main society” if we can term it as such. I
say this because male elementary school teachers are still much less in
comparison and oftentimes are marginalized with assumptions towards their
sexuality, for example.)

It is the failure of possessing that
very understanding that proves most concerning. After all, for a drastic
example, White supremacy in the United States originates from that lack of
understanding. To elaborate, it must be understood that White supremacists are
not holding their views out of pure “delusion” or “narcissism” (or at least, I
am attempting to give this admittedly disturbing view some fair spotlight);
while they absolutely must be challenged, one of the realistic roots of the
ideology behind White supremacy is that their perception of equity is that
equity brings threats: why should Whites have to step aside at times to let
marginalized members of society have priority when “true equality” ignores
social statuses? From these people’s perspective, equity is an attack on Whites
and a shaming of their race—a view they argue is hypocritical of what equity is
supposedly bringing. To this, what they do not understand is equity is to
combat a generated advantage Whites have garnered—and most of that advantage, at
least in modern times, is actually unintentional. However, because of lacking
that viewpoint and understanding and thus interpreting equity as a “shift in
power” versus an “equalizing in power,” White supremacy takes place as a way to
“regain” power (as ironic as it may sound)—and what better way to “regain”
power than to assert that Whites are the “naturally superior race” in the
entire world?

(As a side note, a different
discussion for a future review would be “systemic oppression”; in short, it is
the idea that certain societal structures are unfair on a social level even if unintended. I emphasize “unintentionally”
otherwise we begin tracking into conspiracy theories of how, for a random
example, Whites want to dominate the world. But, I very much doubt there is a
“secret plotting” of that very notion as do conspiracy theories argue is true.
That said, many social structures unintentionally
favor certain social groups and that
seems to be convincingly true and, to be humble, I believe many are against
this systemic oppression even if benefitting from it. Point is, no one
individually is to be blamed; we all have to collaborate to challenge the
societal structure itself.)

In the end, we truly have covered
too much in such a brief, rough frame. For those who are deeply interested in
these topics, personal academic research of equity and double standards (and
perhaps White supremacy) should occur. Besides, I am far from “correct” with my
opinions—music and social. I care more for beginning a discussion that readers
can later carry on for themselves and others, and if my words provide a perfect
starting point for those very discussions, then I will be satisfied. If
anything is to be gleaned—and admittedly given the huge length of this discussion
and poor organization, it may be hard to find any worth—I simply want to
emphasize that social topics are much more complex than they appear to be.
“Double standards,” for example, is not just a debate of “feminazi or
feminism”; there are much more complicated nuances in place. Being critical is
what is always necessary, and of course, to keep an open heart for others as
cliché as it may sound.

All that covered, let us now
transition to the review itself—a rather odd feeling after such lengthy
discussions. This said, I am considering potentially splitting these types of
discussions for perhaps “Blog Opinion” posts versus reviews themselves, but
time will tell. _______________________________________________________

While I normally formally conclude
every post, for this one in specific, I find that I have technically concluded
it already given that the content was originally in a review. As such, it will
end here but I do want to add the usual words: thank you for reading this.
Whether one disagrees or agrees (or both) is irrelevant; the fact that one engages intellectually with this post at all is what
matters most, so thank you for reading it or skimming it.