Song of the Day: Paradise Lost (by Gain)


ga-in paradise lost

The latest Song of the Day: K-Pop Edition is not just borderline NSFW, but should also piss off the very religious. From the video’s dark and very sexual imagery and choreography to it’s reinterpretation of some long-standing Biblical storytelling, Brown Eyed Girls’ member known as Gain released the song “Paradise Lost” from her 2015 solo album.

The song’s release had the usual fanfare but also reconfirmed her as one of K-Pop’s longstanding artist who pushed the boundaries of the very rigid and structured K-Pop industry where talent is trained and honed and controlled by untold numbers of corporate handlers.

“Paradise Lost” is a 4 minute-plus tour de force of a video that presents Gain in the role of Eve both while in the Garden of Eden and also after her expulsion from “paradise.” Whether it’s the elaborate satin and lace white wedding dress that obscures and hints at Eve’s repressed sexuality down to the black and white sequence where Gain is not just Even after her expulsion, but moving like the snake who tempted her and Adam to eat the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge.

While some will just focus on Gain’s sultry and smoldering beauty and the video’s sinuous and sexualized choreography, when the lyrics of the song and Gain’s powerful and emotionally devastating performance gets factored in the song and video become one of K-Pop’s great masterpieces that even the Western music world hasn’t seen since the days when Madonna experimented and explored her sexuality through her music and her videos in the early 1990’s.

So, come and take a seat and watch for the taboo thrill of the NSFW video, but stay for the message in the song and learn why sometimes it’s the non-believers who truly understands the true meaning behind the things we consider Biblical and sacred.

Spider-Man: Far From Home Teaser and International Trailers


spider-man far from home

Spider-Man: Homecoming was the Spider-Man that fans have been waiting for. It was able to balance the character of Peter Parker and his alter-ego of Spider-Man. Where the Sam Raimi version was able to make the former stand-out at the cost of the Spider-Man alter, the Marc Webb version swapped the two dynamics. Webb’s version had a great Spider-Man but had a Peter Parker whose moral compass was a bit skewed.

Jon Watt’s Spider-Man and Peter Parker were a nice balance. It helped that the character was now free (to a degree) to play in the huge cinematic sandbox that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Last we saw Spider-Man and Peter Parker, he was dusted just like half the living things in the universe following the Thanos Snap. The question that gets brought up whenever Spider-man: Far From Home, the sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming, gets talked about is does this film take away from the emotional sucker punch that was Avengers: Infinity War and it’s upcoming sequel, Avengers: Endgame.

From this teaser trailer and it’s international version has shown, the question still remains as both teasers mention nothing about the Avengers and keeps the timeline of the film vague enough to make one wonder if this sequel happens before Avengers: Infinity War.

I guess fans will find out on July 5, 2019 when the film is released worldwide.

….and here’s the International Teaser trailer

Trailer: The Punisher – Season 2


the punisher

The first season of The Punisher on Netflix ended up being better than what had been advertised. The series and it’s ultraviolent tone became a divisive factor in how the show was scene.

Some saw it as the true adaptation of the titular character and his anti-hero status within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Others saw it as poor taste considering the rash of mass shootings and gun violence that’s plagued the country the last couple of years.

There was no disagreement in that Jon Bernthal owned and seemed born to play the role of vengeance-fueled and grief-stricken Marine veteran Frank Castle. His portrayal not just of Frank Castle but his vigilante alter-ego, The Punisher, was like watching a force of nature on screen.

It was a no-brainer that a second season of the series would be set into production and Netflix didn’t hesitate. It’s a bit bittersweet knowing that no matter how good season 2 turns out there’s a high probability that this will be the final season of The Punisher on Netflix as every Netflix-produced Marvel show has been cancelled the past year with only the upcoming seasons of The Punisher and Jessica Jones left.

Season 2 is set of a January 18, 2019 release date on Netflix worldwide.

Trailer: Netflix’s Kingdom


kingdom

Yes, I know it’s another trailer for a zombie series. Even with my love for all things zombie fiction, I must admit that we’ve reached beyond the point of oversaturation. There’s more and more bad zombie fiction (in TV, film, books, etc.) than there are good ones. Once in awhile we will get something that puts a new spin or adds something new to the zombie genre.

We saw this with 2016’s The Girl with All the Gifts and South Korea’s Train to Busan. Even the darling of all things zombie fiction, AMC’s The Walking Dead has hit a new low in ratings (yet still continues to be the highest rated cable series).

Netflix is now jumping into the zombie pool to take it’s pound of flesh with it’s South Korean production of a zombie series set during Korea’s medieval Joseon dynastic period. It’s a blend of court intrigue and survival horror.

The series is called Kingdom and from all promotional materials released since it was first announced, the series looks to bring the zombie genre into a time period we rarely see the genre appear. Rarely do we see zombie fiction on the big or small screen set in a time period other than modern times.

Netflix will release Kingdom worldwide on January 25, 2019 with a second season already set for production early 2019.

Song of the Day: Piano Man (by Mamamoo)


mamamoo piano man

The last few Song of the Day in the current K-Pop Edition has been showcasing the cute side (some cuter than others) of the music genre. I thought it time to bring things back to the more mature and sultry side.

Mamamoo’s follow-up to their debut with “Mr. Ambiguous” is another example of why the group has remained relevant and popular with K-Pop fans despite not always catering to what most fans seem to like. They’re neither overly cute nor overly sexual with their songs and videos.

What the lastest Song of the Day does showcase is the quartet’s ability to ooze charisma on-screen while showing the K-Pop world that there are no better group of vocalists. “Piano Man” is all about the classic, jazz piano tempo mixed in with some electronic swing to create a sort of jazz-swing-dance pop song.

The song starts of with a finger snap tempo and gradually becomes more energetic until we move past the break and into the post-chorus where We hear the magnificent vocal range of the group’s leader and main vocalist. Not to be outdone are the other vocalist, especially Hwasa who begins the song with a breathy intro and finishes it off with some great harmonizing with Wheein.

Group rapper and lead dancer Moonbyul adds her own voice to the song. While her rapping at the break doesn’t stand out it does keep pace with the songs tempo she also doesn’t become the distracting part of the song.

“Piano Man” is early on Mamamoo’s career, but already it shows that they bring something new and exciting to the K-Pop scene which their later releases only confirms. The quarter are here to stay.

Song of the Day: Kill Bill (by Brown Eyed Girls)


BEG Kill Bill

This is not the first time I’ve featured the K-Pop girl group Brown Eyed Girls. Their 2008 song, “Abracadabra,” was featured as a song of the day. It was really that song that first introduced me to K-Pop. While my interest didn’t skyrocket after that song, it did simmer for a few years before I was finally fully on-board.

The latest K-Pop Song of the Day is from B.E.G. and it’s their 2013 single release from their 5th studio album, Black Box. It’s a song titled “Kill Bill” and the song and accompanying music video is a homage to the 2003 Quentin Tarantino grindhouse mash-up. Even the music video literally lifts sequences and camera shots from the film.

Some have called this a loving tribute to the film of the same name which inspired the song. Others have called it a blatant rip-off. No matter which side one is on the song showcases the group’s ability to remain relevant in a music industry that either caters to the cute, bubblegum pop scene or to the overtly sexual (at times way too sexual) aesthetic.

B.E.G. continues to show that they can still bring a more mature visual that toes the line between the two extremes of cute and sexual. This is not to say that the song is just all about the visuals. “Kill Bill” is a catchy tune that  shows it’s Western-infused sound of acoustic guitars, bluesy electric guitar riffs and the ever-present whistling of past Spaghetti Western scores.

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.