PSYchotropic: 6 Kpop Songs for Melting the Brain

Super Junior – Mr. Simple

If horny monkeys ever escaped on roller skates to invade one of those seedy Korean ‘booking’ clubs, then this would be their party-cock anthem.

The song is as simple as it sounds, and yet it isn’t, bursting as it does with synths, vocoder and multiple break-downs to batter down the senses. What I’ll never understand though is the intro to the video, which is a really melancholic jazz plea that’s more Mr. Suicidal than Mr. Simple. Are the boys saying that behind every mean and moody looking individual there’s a rampaging party monster ready to do the do once he’s seduced you with his Edward from Twilight act? Fuck knowz.

2NE1 – Fire

Speed bikes and lasers. Giant playing cards. Hindu gods. Four snotty ragamuffins spawn a swaggering earworm and a half. I like how they style these girls to look as angular and as ball-busting as possible. 2NE1 are the only Jokers in a rather homogenic pack of cards I feel.

giacomo lee

Giacomo Lee is a London writer. His new book Funereal is out now, a unique novel on death, k-pop & cultural technology in Seoul, South Korea. #한류 #doppelgängnamstyle

14 Responses

  1. amy says:

    4/6 on my iPod. xD I only have one Girls’ Generation song, and that’s Gee because… because… I just couldn’t escape it after years and years of resistance. It’s like crack.

    I listen to Narsha, BEG, Miss A’s Breathe and 2NE1 without remorse, though. And I’ve also compared the Sign MV to Oldboy hahaha, it’s just too much of a coincidence, you know? I like the funny English version of Sign because it’s helped me sing a long to the song. xD

    • Giacomo Lee says:

      @amy, I’ve recently discovered Miryo. What do you think of her? Is she doing well in Korea? And how about Narsha? I’m curious if she flopped with Bbi Bbi…

      • amy says:

        @Giacomo Lee, I don’t think BEG are all that popular in Korea – or not as popular as I would like them to be, but Abracadabra and Sixth Sense were hits. I like Miryo’s raps (she takes me back to my Lisa Left Eye Lopez days xD), but I thought there was something missing from her album this year. I like her better within BEG.

        Narsha seems to be popular within variety shows – like, she’s silly beyond belief. I don’t think Bbi Ri Bba Bba broke any record in popularity, though, even if it’s a great track. Personally, I find it impossible to type the title without copy/paste LOL and I wished she had released more than those two tracks (the other being Mamma Mia) for her debut.

        I’m dying to see what GaIn has in store for her upcoming 2nd solo mini, though. It looks promising.

        And I love JeA, but she’s a ballad vocal girl through and through… and she hasn’t released much on her own.

        Oh, yeah. Can you tell BEG is my favorite Korean group? xD It took me a few years to know who is who though xD No such luck with SNSD. Still don’t know half of them.

        • giacomo says:

          @amy, I have the Sound G album, as bought in an E-Mart back when I lived in SoKo. I really most of those electric tracks, so it was a shame when they changed tack. I was actually going to post up Strange Days in this list but there’s no accompanying MV of course. That track is haywire

        • giacomo says:

          @amy, I’ll check out some Ga-In. As for Miryo, I liked the video for Dirty more than the actual song. Very black humour there (almost Thirst like, dont you think?)

  2. Let me highly recommend the Areia trance remix of Visual Dreams instead of the original. Not just because I think it turns something I frankly found rather wooden and uninspiring into something, well, magical *cough* , but it’s also a much better match for the themes of K-pop embracing electronics and brain-melting!

    -edited out-

    With apologies for the self-plug, here’s my translation of the lyrics.

  3. Thanks. The feeling’s mutual! :)

  4. amy says:

    I actually don’t mind that BEG didn’t follow through with Electronics, and I think their voices fit perfectly with the cabaret-y jazz funk thing they had going on with Sixth Sense as an album. But I really think their roots are firmly planted on ballad and R&B (like their first two albums). JeA being the leader and all, it makes sense too.

    I had a kick with Miryo’s MV, I thought it was quite hilarious in a “i have no idea what is going on” kind of way. As far as Narsha, I’m not sure where she stands musically… like, she seems to be the edgy one but she also does ballads.

    As far as GaIn goes, her first mini – I described it as parrilla argentina because it had a lot of tango influence. The teasers for her latest mini seem to show that she’s going a similar way to some of SunnyHill’s style of music.

    Having said that, I think SunnyHill’s Midnight Circus could be included in the list of Kpop Songs to Melt the Brain xD

  5. Giacomo says:

    Yes, I was going to include that actually!

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