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.
The casting director deserves a bonus for this series. I can imagine the briefing notes: “Find us a lead actor who can smoulder. We want someone who can seduce all women, and some men, convey a broad range of emotions, or appear mysterious and enigmatic as needed. The ability to look sexy on a motorbike and deliver a spinning back kick would be good too.” Well, they certainly got all that and more with Kim Nam-gil. Add Han Ga-in as Moon Jae-in, the poor but ambitious outsider who becomes his close confidante and almost lover, and Kim Jae-wook as the loose cannon who took his place as the bastard son but is never accepted, and you get a triumvirate that circles uneasily around each other, never quite settling into the relationships that will satisfy them or you, and setting up the inevitable denouement with the inexorability of an iceberg heading for an ocean liner.
Who’d have imagined that Lovely Nurse Park ™ from Doctor Romantic could metamorphose into a shouty, obnoxious, tossbadger? It certainly wasn’t on my bingo card, but Kim Min-jae does a sterling job, carrying off the role of the nouveau riche gamjatang tycoon with an unsuspected elan.
I suspect Kim has been typecast as the mild-mannered romantic lead far too often, so this role must have been a welcome opportunity. It was first offered to Lee Jae-wook, of Do Do Sol Sol La La Sol fame, and I for one am glad that Kim got it, because you couldn’t find a stronger, more colourful, Jin Moo-hak if you’d baked one yourself.
Yes, I’m a sad git – I really did watch this series because DinDin has a song in the OST. Hey, sue me. It’s a great song, as most of DinDin’s songs are, and ideally suited for that part of the series. For those who are interested, there’s lyrics in Hangul, Romanisation, and English translation.
There’s also another, by female vocalist Klang, a beautiful slow ballad entirely in English.
Enjoy the MVs, and there’ll be a review on the way tomorrow.
Do we need another version of Journey to the West? We’ve already had the Japanese TV series Monkey! (exclamation mark damn well included), the massively cool anime series Saiyuki, The Monkey King, and numerous other versions of the 16th century Chinese story about Great Sage Equal Of Heaven, otherwise known as the Monkey King.
And my answer is yes, gentle reader, we absolutely do. We need this particular version because we need the mesmerising Son O-gong that only Lee Seung-gi could give us.
We’ve got 3 MVs this week, from the hit K-drama A Korean Odyssey based on the 16th century Chinese classic Journey To The West. Enjoy them while I’m frantically trying to finish the review for tomorrow.
Most men would be thrilled if the lovely Shin Min-ah followed them home, but not Cha Dae-woong (Lee Seung-gi). Possibly because she’s got nine tails and 500 years under her belt, but more likely because she threatened to eat him – that kind of thing does tend to put a damper on even the most modern relationship.
If you can get past Lee Seung-gi’s startling hairstyle and plenty of shameless overacting, this is an enjoyable piece of romantic fluff. It’s a fairly simple premise: Cha Dae-woong (Lee) stumbles into an ancient temple at the height of a storm and releases a gumiho (fox spirit) who’s been trapped in a painting for 500 years. The gumiho saves his life and follows him home, where she proceeds to be generally adorable and falls in love with him despite his fervent rejections, while the previous object of his affection acts like Ms Snidey Bitchface at every opportunity.
The producers really got their money’s worth out of Lee Seung-gi in this show – not only is he the male lead, he’s also responsible for 2 of the songs on the OST. The first is bouncy and autotuned up the wazoo, the second is a ballad with more drama than a field of llamas. Review on the way…