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.