Song of the Day: Lion Heart (by Girls’ Generation)

Girls Generation Lion Heart.jpg

The latest Song of the Day: K-Pop Edition comes courtesy of the girl group who has helped usher in the worldwide success of the genre beyond just the borders of South Korea and the surrounding region. Girls’ Generation (aka SNSD) has been one of the biggest K-Pop girl groups since they debut in 2007.

Girls’ Generation originally had 9 members, but since 2014 has been promoted as an 8-member group after one of it’s original members, Jessica Jung was removed from the group due to conflicting schedules. Yet, despite this the group never lost a beat and continued to crank out hits after hits.

Their musical style was typical of the K-Pop groups which has been heavily influenced by dancepop and electropop. This made their earlier releases and accompanying music videos to be very high-energy with the bubbly, sugarpop aesthetics of other girl groups of the time.

Things began to evolve with each new album release and while the group still retains their high-energy dance and electropop origins they’ve also added hip-hop and punkpop to their repertoire. They remain cute and accessible, but now with a nice edge to round them out.

This could be seen with their “Lion Heart” release and especially with their msuci video for the song. The song itself has basis on bubblepop with some soul infusion to give it a retro sound. The video itself conveys a 60’s-retro aesthetic mixed with the candy color palette of past K-Pop videos.

And as the image above shows, the video also shows a bit more of the group’s ever present sultry side as choreographer Tony Testa and in-house choreographer Shim Jaewon get the ladies to provocatively get low with their hip sways and rolls.

It’s definitely a nice bit of dance move that’s hypnotic and catches the viewer’s eye. It’s especially surprising in contrast to the glittering, Flapper-style fashion the group wears in the video during the song’s breaks.

Girls’ Generation is one group from the previous generation that I would recommend for those new to the K-Pop scene. While the group itself is now down to 5-members, they still continue to make an impact on the K-Pop music industry and have cemented their legacy as one of the first K-Pop groups break through beyond Korea and the surrounding region and be successful globally.


Magical Christmas Ornaments, Review By Case Wright


Happy New Year! Sorry that I was MIA for just about all of the holiday season.  I owe my editor – Lisa an apology for that. There was travel, family, and a hint of drama, but these are all just excuses and excuses are all the same.  I’m hoping to make up for it with this review today!

I love Hallmark Movies! I enjoy watching them with my girls, and playing Hallmark Christmas Bingo – See Below.  Magical Christmas Ornaments is a Hallmark Christmas Movie, but it’s so much more because it unknowingly scratches at mental illness.  During the entire viewing, unlike other Hallmarks, I was kinda unnerved by the heroine – Marie played by Jessica Lowndes.  Instead of the heroine coming across as growing into her own, she seemed more and more untethered.  It was as if Hallmark and Lifetime wrote a creepy christmas movie.  I kept thinking more and more: this should be on Lifetime because it could easily turn left into madness.  Then, I searched IMDB and Jessica Lowndes has been in not one, not two, but three Lifetime MOWs: A Father’s Nightmare, A Mother’s Nightmare, A Deadly Adoption, and Maybe, Parenting is Not For Us?! (Coming Soon).  In fact, A Deadly Adoption was reviewed by my Editor- Lisa:   Lisa’s Awesome Review Here!

Magical Christmas Ornaments does have some of the tropes, but never full-on.  My youngest did win the bingo (far left column down), but the hatred of christmas was never that adamant, the jerk boyfriend wasn’t that jerky, and she wasn’t particularly work-obsessed.

The plot was straight-forward: Marie (Jessica Lowndes) didn’t like Christmas, and was nursing a broken heart.  Nate (Brandon Penny) played the traditional in love with christmas next door neighbor love interest.  Marie’s parents want to reignite her love christmas by sending her ornaments to put on a tree she never purchased.  Nate supplies the tree and she begins hanging them, but then she starts to believe that ornaments are influencing the events in her life.

I’m all for implied supernatural tropes especially in Christmas movies, if it’s understood that we are in an implied supernatural story, and Hallmark does that a lot with a real or implied Santas.  However, in this story, the magical ornament plot device trends creepy because no one else is on the same page as the protagonist, and the rest of the story is deeply rooted in reality.  Also, Jessica Lowdnes’ Lifetime facial expressions and over the top reactions give it a manic feel.  She seems to get angrier and angrier as the ornaments seem to portend the future.  Marie puts significance of each ornament predicting where her career and love life will turn.  When Marie tells the other characters that she thinks the ornaments are in fact magical, the delivery is so earnest that it comes across as Lifetime MOW delusional and the other characters kinda react that way to her too.  At one point, she even screams at her love interest, which is way atypical of a Hallmark film and it’s not even over a typical misunderstanding trope that’s often used in a Hallmark Christmas films, but more from pure jealous rage.

Yes, the characters do find love, but when she’s scorned, there is a pall that falls over this film like icy gooseflesh.  I highly recommend this film for the Lifetime movie qualities and if they changed the musical score to a typical Lifetime MOW, it would be a nailbiter!

Happy New Year!

Music Video of the Day: Just A Friend by Biz Markie (1989, directed by Lionel C. Martin)

Just A Friend is a song anda video that, for years, has inspired people to ask, “Is Biz Markie okay?  Why is dressed up like Mozart?”

The song’s piano medley, as well as the phrasing of “You got what I need,” is lifted from Freddie’s Scott’s (You) Got What I Need.  Biz Markie tells the story of meeting a girl at a show, being told that the man in her life is “just a friend,” and then later discovering her kissing that same friend.  It’s a universal tale that everyone can relate to.  However, what most people remember about this song isn’t the story of a bad relationship but instead the sound of Biz Markie’s increasingly crazed cry of, “Oh Baby — You!  You got what I need!  But you say he’s just a friend!”

And, of course, Biz Markie wearing a powdered wig.

With the help of this popular music video, Just A Friend proved to be Biz Markie’s biggest hit to date, reaching #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1990.

Weekly Reading Round-Up : 12/23/2018 – 12/29/2018, “Ley Lines” 2018

Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

Placing itself at the conceptual and philosophical intersection of comics and the works of art in other mediums (as well as the artists themselves) that inspire them, the quarterly “solo anthology” or “mini-monograph” series Ley Lines, a joint publication effort of Grindstone Comics and Czap Books, boasts a wider-than-it-sounds editorial remit, a “murderer’s row” of cartooning talent, and production values to match, each issue being approximately 1/3 (or so) the size of a standard comic book, riso-printed on high-quality paper with unique color schemes designed to match and, by extension, amplify the tone and tenor of the material on offer. Before the calendar flips yet again, I think it would behoove us to have a look back at the four installments of this remarkable title that came our way in 2018 —

Jia Sung’s Skin To Skin (Ley Lines #14) is visual and verbal poetry of the absolute…

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“1-800-Kravlox” : A Telephone Call To Realms Unknown

Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

It’s my understanding that among connoisseurs of the truly obscure and “outre,” Isabel Reidy’s 2012 self-published mini 1-800-Kravlox is considered something of a modern-day classic, and it’s not hard to see why : wearing its absurdity and outlandishness plain as day on its sleeve, it calls into question just about everything with its amorphous, energetic illustration and sparse, precise scripting — including, in a very real sense, its own aims, purposes, even reasons for being. It exists on its own, entirely self-created, terms and forces readers to either meet it on those terms or shrug their shoulders and walk away. That’s refreshing in and of itself, sure — but it’s also important.

Ostensibly a treatise on the nature of desire “starring” what must be, at the very least, an alien (perhaps even inter-dimensional, if not outright demonic) phone sex operator, it deliberately undercuts its own arguments — whatever…

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