Joy In K-pop – A Monster Thread

This started with a Twitter thread about joy in music – I promised to provide some references in K-pop, then things went pear-shaped and it dropped off my radar.

So now I’m starting the year anew and all that. I’ll try to keep within the theme of joy, rather than just music I like, because there’s a whole universe of K-pop and I could wiffle non-stop for months.

Note: Yes, I’ll call them boys. I’m from the Paleozoic era, so everything younger than a trilobite is a junior to me (you dimetrodons get offa my lawn). And if you’re wondering at the references, it’s because this thread is turning into something resembling Godzilla.

And now, to business…

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TV Review – The Master’s Sun

Co-posted at Heroic Cinema

2013 – 17 episodes

This is just stitched together from a whole steaming pile of wrong. It can’t seem to decide what it is, so it veers between Cinderella rom com, mystery, and episodic ghost series, while never managing to be good at any of them.

Then there’s the acting and characterisation. Some of the actors manage, although the script doesn’t give them much to work with, but the male lead is like a lugubrious ironing board. I think if it was a choice between talking to ghosts or dating this man, I’d go the ghosts every time. In the Bad Acting Olympics, he rivals the lead from You Are Beautiful, who at least had good looks going for him.

The two romances are also entirely unconvincing. They’d have been better the other way around, as at least the female lead and male second lead had some chemistry. That might be because they were the only two decent actors in the bunch – female lead Kong Hyo-jin was in Don’t Dare to Dream, and you’ve probably seen second male lead Seo In-guk in Reply 1997 and the recently released Café Minamdang. The other two were pretty woeful – the second female lead, an egotistical actrine who behaved like a petulant toddler, was so badly written that it was almost impossible to imagine that anyone would want to be in the same room with her, much less get romantically involved.

If I were the female lead, I’d have made a ghost eradication deal with Mr CEO Ironing Board and moved in with the handsome bodyguard. But maybe that’s just me.

The icing on the Total Crap Cake was the frequent use of dialogue to convey plot and emotion, instead of using all that tedious acting nonsense that other series indulge in. Honestly, I don’t know why they bothered – they could just have held the story outline up to the camera and filmed that, saving us the bother of 17 episodes of utter tosh. And why 17 episodes, fergodssakes?!? Not 16, or 20, but 17? Were they aiming for 20 but ran out of money? Did they plan 16 but had to fit some more in? What?

Sorry, let me compose myself. Okay, let’s finish up.

The sole redeeming feature of the series was the fact that the ghostly revelations rarely fixed things for those left behind. We’ve been led to believe that one secret can change everything, that telling someone how you feel can change their behaviour, but alas, that’s rarely the case – in most cases people will continue to do what they’ve always done, because habits are easier, and there are always comfortable excuses.

No OST because the damn thing was so annoying.

1 ignored ghost message out of 10.

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DinDin – Insomnia (feat. Lee Hong Gi of FT Island)

This is mellow pastel Din Din pining, not for the fjords, but for a girl. He’s assisted in his pining by the dulcet tones of Lee Hong Gi from FT Island, who provides a calming counterpoint to DinDin’s melancholy musings.

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TV Review – My Shy Boss

Yeon Woo-jin as Eun Hwan-ki

Co-posted at Heroic Cinema

2017 – 16 episodes

The world’s most introverted over-thinker meets the world’s most outspoken non-thinker – what could go wrong?

Fortunately it gets better than that, because if it was just “Genius introvert falls in love with pushy extrovert”, I don’t think I could have stuck it, Sandeul soundtrack or no. I spent the first couple of episodes wanting to slap the female lead, because the character was so incredibly annoying. Most humans with an iota of empathy could tell the boss was suffering from crippling social anxiety, probably due to some past trauma, but Pushy Git Girl just kept on regardless, causing massive public humiliation and exacerbating his problems.

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Sandeul – My Shy Boss OST (with lyrics)

Confession time: I started watching the series because of this song. Yes, tragic, I know. But I’m unrepentant – Sandeul’s glorious vocals make everything better, and the song appears frequently throughout the series at appropriate moments. It’s a gentle, lyrical ballad that’s sweet and uplifting, rather like Sandeul himself, although thankfully he refrains from any leek-related activity here. Enjoy. (Series review coming tomorrow)

Music video & lyrics video after the jump
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TV Review – You’re All Surrounded

Co-posted at Heroic Cinema

2014 – 20 episodes

It looked like just another cop drama, but this little gem ticked all the boxes on my Cracking Good Series bingo card.

For starters, the cast: Lee Seung-gi as Kim Ji-young/Eun Dae-gu, whose mother was murdered in front of his eyes when he was 15, carries his role with a restrained intensity that starts at “To hell with the lot of you” and never flags. He often seems on the verge of explosion as he goes about his secret quest for revenge, hiding his real identity from those he believes to be involved, and the gradual thawing of his character after having been solitary for so long is touching without being maudlin.

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Lee Seung Chul & San E (feat. Kang Min Hee) – You’re All Surrounded OST

Two songs this time, both strangely enough about love, which is odd for a cop show. Heigh ho. I’m not particularly enamoured of either, but providing them for your delectation nonetheless.

Videos after the jump
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TV Review – You Are Beautiful

Co-posted at Heroic Cinema

2009 – 16 episodes

Everyone involved in this debacle should cower under the Doona of Shame for all eternity. I’m even embarrassed to say I watched it.

What a complete dogs’ breakfast – the script was woeful, frequently relying on the execrable tactic of character soliloquies to reveal important plot points & describe feelings, saving all that tedious acting nonsense you might see in other K-drama.

Maybe this was because the acting was so cringe-inducing that even my cat left the room – watching Park Shin-hye totter about like a wide-eyed wind-up toy must have offended her beyond all reason.

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TV Review – Secret Garden

Ha Ji-won & Hyun Bin in Secret Garden

Co-posted at Heroic Cinema

TV drama – 20 episodes

OST That Woman/That Man by Baek Ji Young/Hyun Bin

Japan may have Godzilla, but Korea has an equally fearsome monster. The chaebol mama may not trample buildings, but she has a shriek that can shatter glass, and is equally destructive of anyone who stops her doing whatever she wants.

Anyone who watches this expecting to see another Captain Ri Jeong Hyeok from Crash Landing on You will be sadly disappointed – as this was before Hyun Bin’s military service, HB was considerably slimmer, and his character is not at all the alpha male of CLOY. But this is still an excellent series, written by Kim Eun-sook, who was responsible for the enormously popular Goblin, the Lonely and Great God.

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Baek Ji Young, Hyun Bin – Secret Garden OST

Hyun Bin & Ha Ji Won in Secret Garden
Hyun Bin & Ha Ji Won in Secret Garden

If you want an emotive slow ballad, then I’ve got just the thing. If that doesn’t float your boat, then skip the music and wait for the review.

In keeping with the body swap theme of the series, we’ve got two vocalists singing the main theme tune – Baek Ji Young, whose version runs throughout most of the series, & male lead Hyun Bin, whose version pops up in a few strategic scenes for added drama.

Both versions have Hangul, Romanisation, & English translations, for your singalong pleasure.

Videos after the jump
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Really Not Dead…

Image of the Answer by Martinultima, used under terms of GNU Free Documentation License Version 1.2

Really not dead. Again.

No zombies were involved in any way. Honestly. Not a one.

We’ll get back to our normal, zombie-free programming soon.

In the meantime, we leave you with the Answer to the great question of Life, the Universe, & Everything. Vale Douglas Adams.

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