Monday, June 24, 2013

Stuck In My Head: Wolf

Warning: small tangent for the next few paragraphs.  Feel free to skip down to the Wolf section.

I like k-pop.  I hesitate to call myself a k-pop fan, though, since I don't feel like I really fit the demographic.  It seems that most people into k-pop latch onto a certain group (or groups) and become one of their fans.  Now that doesn't just mean that they like their music, but that they are dedicated to that group.  They have official names for fans of certain groups.  For example, Infinite fans are called Inspirits.  2ne1 fans are called Blackjacks.  U-Kiss fans are called Kiss Mes (yes, for real; but there are worse ones than this).  Anyway, the fans usually know all about the members, keep track of their activities, have fan club meetings, and support them no matter what.

That's...not really for me.  Sure, I like certain groups more than others, but I am not that dedicated.  I'm also pretty discriminating.  I think it's kind of hard for me to really be a fan of k-pop groups because they tend to change up their style and genre all the time.  While every artist evolves and changes, a lot of k-pop groups will have several different genres represented in the same album, and that makes it hard for me to whole-heartedly get behind them. I cannot stand ballads, and it seems that every group has to have some terrible slow song in there.  For example, I absolutely love B.A.P's upbeat, aggressive songs like No Mercy or Warrior.  But then there's Rain Sound and Stop It.  Oh my freaking gosh they're bad.  I just don't get it.  They're so good at being aggressive, so why can't they just focus on that?  Why make them act cutesy when they're clearly bad at it?

Because of the constant sound/image changes, it's hard for me to fully support a group.  But I do have lots of songs and videos that I like.  So I guess I'm a conditional k-pop fan?

End rant: back to Wolf

SOOOOO.....Wolf.  Exo is an interesting group.  They've only been around a little over a year but already have a large following.  SM is trying a new marketing style which I think is a good idea.  Exo is a 12-member group (I know, right?) that's split into two sub-groups.  They sing and perform the same songs, but Exo-K sings in Korean and Exo-M sings in Mandarin.  Really, that's a pretty good idea.  Then you can reach out to more fans with the same group but only have to work on one concept.

Anyway, Exo's Wolf came out not too long ago.  When I first listened to it, I was not a fan.  One of the current trends in k-pop is to take a bunch of random song bits and mash them together to try to make one song.  Personally, I'd prefer it if they just stuck with developing one theme well instead of jumping around so much.  I especially hate it when they have a piece of the song that I like but since there are so many parts that I barely get to hear it (ex. I loved the thirty-five second mark of Bilasa's What's Happening but it did NOT fit the rest of the song).  A good (or should I say terrible) example of this is Girls' Generation's I've Got A Boy.  Oh, it gets ugly.

So by all counts I should hate Exo's Wolf  And the first time I listened to it, I didn't like it.  But I listened to it a few more times, and a miracle happened!  It grew on me.  Before long I was going around singing, "Guerra 'olf, naega 'olf" and howling.  I love the chorus too.  It's very epic and spine-tingling.

The video is pretty awesome, so that also might have influenced me in its favor.  I love the shadow arm tree at the beginning and the flowing, jumping wolf pack and the cool member formations with wolf-boys breaking through.  I do have to say that it's a bit amusing to see them try to look fierce.  They're trying so hard, but some of them still just look cute.  Sorry guys.

I did watch the Mandarin version too, but it doesn't sound as epic as the Korean version.  That said, the Mandarin lyrics appear to be light-years better than the Korean ones.  I know, I know.  I never should have looked up the translation; I should have just enjoyed the music.  But I didn't.  Unfortunately, the whole first verse of the Korean version is terrible!  SO BAD!  Cheese?  Toenails?  Those really aren't the makings of a great song.  Who thought that was a good idea anyway?  With all the money they spent on making the video and marketing the song and everything, you'd think they'd have spent a little more time on the lyrics.  Sigh.  I guess it's not much worse than Katy Perry's "plastic bag" line.

Anyway, check out Exo-K's Wolf.  I strongly suggest you watch the video with it, or else you may never want to listen to it again!





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