The highly anticipated second full album from JYJ has finally dropped its opening track “Back Seat” along with a stylish new MV. I don’t recall ever seeing Jaejoong, Yoochun, and Junsu looking so collectively smoking hot. Usually one or two is rocking it but never all at the same time. Dayum. *fanning myself* I loved the “Back Seat” teaser so so much and could’t stop watching it on repeat but sadly the full track sounds good to the ear but isn’t really my thang. The song sounds like a Robin Thicke sleazy crooning reject as performed by the Backstreet Boys at the height of their hotness and fame. The redeeming qualities are the undeniable singing prowess from all three guys, with bonus points for how they complement rather than compete with each other on vocals. Junsu’s falsetto, Yoochun’s deeper smoky voice, and Jaejoong’s high drawn out notes all blend together into one easy listening track. Be forewarned not to listen too closely to the lyrics, it’s just mind-numbing stuff about wanting to make out with a girl in the back seat and urging her to relax. I guess there really does come a day when Yoochun says “Alright girl, don’t be afraid of it, imma put you on my back seat” and I just want to pinch his cheeks he’s so darn cute. The MV is better than the song IMO, featuring the guys dancing up a storm with clever use of floodlights choreography on top of some wicked big scaffolding. If the boys plan to leave for military service with a musical bang, I’d say they’re off to a great start. Continue reading
I need to thank all of you who pinged me one way or another asking if it’s true I’m making an appearance at KCON 2014. My lack of enthusiasm in my responses is 99.9% correlated to procrastinating the preparation for my panel and not related to a reluctance to attend. I skipped KCON last year due to my aversion to crowds and heat, and both were in abundance holding an event in the middle of August in LA in Los Angeles where the Koreatown continues to expand like a happy amoeba. I was invited a few months ago to attend and decided to give it a go and toss myself in the Hallyu pool where I’m assuming most people are going for the excellent two night concert line up and not as much to hear speakers pontificate. It’s almost too late to keep procrastinating now so I’m hard at work jotting down my panel thoughts and finally writing this post about KCON. I was also surprised (VERY) to find out last week that I’m on not one but two panels! Er….yay? Thanks for making me unwittingly procrastinate on my second panel as well, KCON! It’s a honor that the organizers think I’m qualified to speak on Hallyu blogging and the meaty subject of women in K-dramas.
On the former I just want to chuckle since I’m barely out of grade school when it comes to blogging whether in design or breadth, but I’m happy to share my anecdotal tales for all to take in. It’ll be a lot more interactive to chat about women in K-dramas, a topic that is near and dear to my heart but honestly probably lags in terms of why viewers watch K-dramas in the first place. Reason to watch K-dramas likely runs down in this order of importance (1) hot K-actors, (2) idealized romance and/or fantastical story that won’t happen to us in real life, (3) gorgeous people wearing expensive clothes looking gorgeous onscreen (4) marveling and musing over K-culture and thought processes, and finally (5) empowering female characters that are stand-ins for ourselves. I wish the predominately female viewers of K-dramas would be watching for strong female characters but it’s so hard to find truly well-written ones. But luckily the poorly written ones are also fun to hate/mock and lend a secondary amusement to the entire viewing experience. There will be a Q&A session on both panels so feel free to lob questions (soft ones, pretty please!) at me. If anyone has something specific you want me to touch upon, toss me a line in this comments section and if I can integrate it into my talk then I’d be happy to oblige. Continue reading
I feel for viewers of Lovers of Music (Trot Lovers) that are still watching because of genuine love for this drama. Up until this point it’s been middling but enjoyable, the stuff that I watch with judicious use of the FF-button and deriving decent kicks from scenes here and there. The most decent and rootable character remains Jung Eun Ji‘s Choi Chun Hee. I want her to get whatever the hell she wants and deserves in this drama. Jung Eun Ji is such a real entertainer, she has none of the airs or superficiality of many of the young actresses out there and her face and figure is gorgeously natural. She feels like a cool roommate who will assemble your IKEA furniture with you without bitching and then later have a beer and then bitch about the douchey guys down the hall who wouldn’t help. The problem with this drama really is all about the story and execution, and now both have gone in the crapper thanks to episode 11′s flamingo dive into the cesspool of amnesia. I was barely tolerating Ji Hyun Woo‘s Jung Joon Hyun up until now, he got better in the last few episodes only to have the plot dump him right back to the beginning after being bonked in the head by a falling stage light and reverting back to the pre-CCH asshole he used be. Ugh, this is so NO in terms of inane plot twist and NO in terms of delivering exactly what never worked about this drama. And two NOs does not make a YES! In case folks think I’m second lead shipping because I stuck Shin Sung Rok‘s eccentric and straightforward Gun Woo on the top, the answer is I’m not second lead shipping because Chun Hee doesn’t like him and instead likes Joon Hyun and I think Chun Hee is smart and capable enough to know which guy she likes so I’ll respect her decision all the way. Shin Sung Rok is on top because his scene was the only good on in this episode as he sings for Chun Hee and also the drama capitalized on his singing prowess by releasing the latest OST sung by Shin Song Rok. Continue reading
I’m so gun shy about writing that the female lead for the upcoming Korean remake of Nodame Cantabile has been cast. First off the drama title is now Cantabile Romance since the leading lady’s name will clearly not be Noda Megumi (shortened to the Nodame of the title). Cute if uninspired title but this drama has so many unknowns that the title will be the least of my quibbles. First came the news that Joo Won was cast as the lead to walk in Tamaki Hiroshi‘s big footsteps. Then came word that KBS was courting acclaimed young actress Shim Eun Kyung for the leading lady since she had oodles of talent to lend confidence she can do the role justice like Ueno Juri did in the Japanese adaptation. Unfortunately Shim Eun Kyung initially declined claiming scheduling conflict with her upcoming movie filming, and that’s when the casting crazy started. News of Yoona‘s casting caused the drama fans to go ape shit in terms of acting ability and image not suiting the character, and in the end she declined to film a C-movie and my gut tells me she ultimately did not want to subject herself to the torrents of criticism sure to come her way. That led KBS back to begging Shim Eun Kyung to take the role, and when I say begging that’s probably an understatement. Finally the wait has paid off and Shim Eun Kyung has just been officially confirmed as the leading lady. Joo Won has let out a massive sigh of relief now. I’m definitely watching Cantabile Romance for Shim Eun Kyung’s first drama in 4 years since Bad Guy, and maybe this will cure my Joo Won allergy. Continue reading
Records of a Night Watchman is still giving me a split opinion headache, but luckily my expectations are so low it’s not going to be upsetting if the end product skews towards unwatchable rather than unexpectedly fun. The official drama posters are out and the best one of the lot is the one above showing Jung Il Woo‘s ghost-seeing Crown Prince Lee Rin with his three guardian ghosts hovering over him. One is a former minister, the other Lee Rin’s personal eunuch when he was a child. I’m assuming the little girl may be Lee Rin’s childhood sweetheart but could be a dead sister or whatnot. Lee Rin is plagued by the same ability to see ghosts as his dad the King played by Choi Won Young, who has now turned increasingly crazy and Lee Rin’s half-brother the ambitious Prince Kisan played by Kim Heung Soo is eyeing the throne. I love the ambiance of the poster above with Jung Il Woo in a happy-go-lucky mood while three nagging ghosts sigh over him.
The other two posters are too terrible to even remotely merit a second glance. The slightly less bad one has the night watchman guards all on the roof getting ready to wrangle some ghosts. Go Sung Hee has changed out of her spirit girl costume and is cross-dressing with a bow and arrow in hand while Jung Il Woo is still rocking the hideous leather vest ensemble from before. The other three night watchman there to complete the package are Yunho, Yoon Tae Young, and Jo Dal Hwan. The most dreadful poster of the lot is where the entire cast is photo-shopped in a row in front of a bad screen of the palace. This one includes Kim Sung Oh‘s shaman wizard in his bad wig and full one-shouldered toga glory clutching his massive snake staff. I know there’s a bad pun somewhere in there. The second video teaser has also been released and actually looks cute because it dispenses with the ghosts and shamans and crazies and instead just features the four pretty young leads. On this trailer alone it definitely gives off the hopeful whiff of this production company’s previous work Sungkyunkwan Scandal. Continue reading
I’m going to have to apologize virtually to the lovely Lee Yeon Hee since her picture is splashed all over this post even though she has nothing to do with it. Happened that way because she happens to have attended the Busan Film Festival back in 2012 with Go Ara and Kim Min Jong who are in fact the subjects of this post. Lee Yeon Hee is gorgeous always and I never mind seeing more of her anytime, but back to the topic at hand concerning Lee Yeon Hee’s same agency acting mates Kim Min Jong and Go Ara. SM Entertainment is so big and filled with so many good looking virile idols and acting talents the depth and breadth of dating within the agency is higher than almost any other K-ent agency out there. So the question isn’t who is dating within SM but when and if the agency will allow that couple to be outed, and then which couple it’s going to be. Earlier this year when Nichkhun of 2PM and Tiffany of SNSD were outed and confirmed as dating, the tabloids actually had a second SM couple (with pictures to boot) that it wanted to out as well. SM reportedly allowed Khunffany to go public without a fuss in order to bury the other couple because of the age difference and the fact that she had a high profile drama coming out. Now that the drama just wrapped, K-ent is abuzz that these two might go public soon and the two in question are none other than talented hot singer-actor ahjusshi Kim Min Jong and his acting hoobae Go Ara who just finished You’re All Surrounded. The cynic in me thinks SM will unveil this couple whenever it needs to deflect attention from whatever crap is burbling up around it. Continue reading
It’s odd being crazy about a particular member of a music group since it leads to thinking about them as “my (insert fave) and his band mates!” whenever the ensemble shows up. The perpetually adorable Kang Min Hyuk was in Taiwan this past weekend with CNBLUE for the two-night leg of its CNBLUE LIVE: Can’t Stop Asian tour. The tickets weren’t sold out but that’s likely due to the band performing two nights rather than just one gig, and even then it was pretty much as packed show for both nights. Goes to show just how popular they are as a quartet. The Taiwan media was noticeably annoyed with member Jung Yong Hwa‘s sour visage during the press conference, keeping a poker face on and being rather curt with answering questions, and reports have been rather snarky about it. He explained that he was just tired having come from filming his upcoming sageuk drama Three Musketeers and hopping right on a plane for Taipei.
I actually thought the whole band was rather serious and dour though Kang Min Hyuk cracked a smile now and then. It likely is just exhaustion setting in after nearly two months of tour dates and promotional activities. The band has one more set left in Kuala Lumpur on August 9th before jetting straight for Los Angeles to perform at KCON. I don’t know how Yong Hwa has the energy for his music commitments plus being one of the male leads in a currently filming sageuk, I’m surprised he didn’t fall asleep at the Taiwan press con. The reviews for their concerts have been uniformly strong since they have a very loyal fan base plus their rock and ballad music is a lovely exception to the overly synthed synchronicity of most other K-pop boy bands out there. They manage to make rocking out in simple t-shirts and jeans look hotter than ripped abs hopping around on the stage for fanservice. I’m hoping with the tour wrapping up soon Kang Min Hyuk will also come back to drama land, hopefully as a male lead for me to have more screen time to droolz over. Continue reading