Song of the Day: Poison (by Secret)


Secret Poison

This is definitely not your “Poison” of the early 1990’s BBD (Bell Biv Deveo) days. This time it’s the 2012 mini-album release for the South Korean girl group Secret. The quartet took a year off before launching a comeback which saw the mini-album’s release and a new sexy and feminine look. It was a far cry from their previous cutesy image.

The song is a combination of many influences from jazz (a repeating saxophone section) to pop R&B (reminiscent of late 90’s and early 2000’s) to hip-hop with it’s layered beats. All of these influences make for a nice uptempo beat that the video is still able to mine for a nice sexy, sultry concept video that shows the quartet unleashing their femme fatale aspects.

The video itself is a more story driven than most K-pop videos of the time. With the girls (or should I say ladies) decked out in British women’s spy fashion mixed in with detective film noir femme attire. While the theme calls to mind Spillane, Hammett and Cain, the dance choreography screams R&B and Hip-Hop. From the choreo matching the song’s percussive beats to the body rolls and get-low moves.

While all four ladies of Secret gets a chance to shine in the song, the video itself is taken over by the visuals of group Leader Hyosung and group Visual and Maknae (youngest in the group) Sunhwa. Both Hana (rapper) and Jieun (Main Vocalist) don’t shrink from their own roles despite the first two having a much more visual impact and presence in the video.

I must agree with all who have seen the video and some of their stage live performances of the song, Hyonsung plus thigh-highs stockings were and, still are, a killer look. A visual good enough to kill for.

Song of the Day: Décalcomanie (by Mamamoo)


Mamamoo Decalcomanie

The latest Song of the Day: K-Pop Edition comes from the 4-girl group Mamamoo. They first debut in June 19, 2014 with their official first single “Mr Ambiguous” from their debut EP Hello.

Mamamoo burst onto the K-Pop scene with a mature sound and style that even makes their more typical K-pop songs (happy, cheery and quirky) stand-out from the very crowded K-Pop releases. Their music videos showcases this group’s unique style which runs the gamut from playful to glam to femme fatale.

Their 2016 single “Décalcomanie,” from their EP Memory, is a blend of dance with early 90’s R&B pop. The song starts off at a slow simmer and the music video for the track showcases the song’s evershifting tempo and mood.

It’s a video that has the four members of Mamamoo (Solar, Moonbyul, Wheein and Hwasa) dressed to the nines like femme fatales out of a classic noir tale. Even the set location speaks to an era of detectives, glamorous damsels and fierce femme fatales.

When the song’s music video was first released, there was a controversy involving a sequence in the video that some in South Korea (and many fans worldwide) saw as being borderline sexual assault (some even calling it as one outright). the video was quickly taken down with the controversial sequence removed with some clever editing.

Either way, the controversy doesn’t change the fact that “Décalcomanie” is a great addition to the group’s growing work. It’s a very good showcase to the group’s strong vocal talent and visual appeal. The choreography I not as energized as most K-pop videos, but the tone and theme of the video itself doesn’t need for high-energy dancing and movements. The movements and mood of the video speaks more to themes of danger and sensuality. These are themes well-established with noir stories and art.

If there was a song and video to introduce a newcomer to Mamamoo, “Décalcomanie” is more than deserving to be an introduction to the group.

Song of the Day: Be Natural (by Red Velvet)


Red Velvet - Be Natural

My love for music may not be on the same level as my love for film, but it’s up there in terms of the range of types of music that has appealed to my personal taste. Pop music may be a bad word for those who see themselves as gatekeepers of what’s good or bad music, but pop music has always been a major part of music throughout history. One can even say that the music that Mozart wrote a couple hundred years ago was a form of pop music for it’s time.

Even pop music has branched off into different subgenres. Every country which has its own music industry has their own take on what’s pop music. This is why there are such terms as J-pop (Japanese pop music), K-pop (South Korean pop music) and everything else pop in-between.

Fellow site contributor pantsukudasai56 knows all about J-pop (this type of pop music being a major contributor to all things anime), but he also knows that K-pop is right there just waiting in the wings to snatch the unwary with it’s brand of pop music. I am one such unwary music traveler who has fallen to dark side, as pantsukudasai56 has told me.

Yet, while I have begun to appreciate the merits of K-pop and the hard work and creativity which goes into the creation of K-pop groups, albums and music videos, I am still very conscious of which type of K-pop music I’m drawn to. While many K-pop fans love all types, I have been more drawn to K-pop that’s not as sugary and cute. I’ve enjoyed the more mature and different sounding K-pop which draws music influences outside of dance and electronic. Influences that ranges from soulful jazz to Middle-eastern.

One such K-pop group that has become a favorite of mine of recent is the girl group Red Velvet from S.M Entertainment (yes, these groups come out of production companies). They made their debut in 2014 and with each passing year they’ve continued to grow (both creatively and by adding a 5th member to what was a 4-girl team).

Their second single, “Be Natural,” is a departure from their debut single “Happiness.” This second offering is a cover of an earlier song from S.M.E. first girl group (S.E.S.) and is less to do with the catchy, dance pop of their debut single and more in line with the original S.E.S. track that was all soulful jazz with more than just a hint of sensuality dripping through every line of music.

I do love this song and the original it covers. The one part of the song that does break the mood for just a moment is the rap section in the song where the break would typically be. Other than that part the song is a major must-listen and the video itself is sensuality personified. Lisa Marie is probably a better judge on the video’s choreography and fashion style worn by the group’s four member (Irene, Seulgi, Wendy and Joy).

Above is the song without the rap section while below is the official music video. Unfortunately, the music video does still have the rap section instead of just an instrumental break. It would’ve been preferable to have either group member Irene or Seulgi handle the rap section. At least, the tone of the song would’ve kept the sensual nature intact.

Oh, if I have a bias from the group its a toss-up between Irene and Joy with Seulgi being my bias wrecker.

Horror Song of the Day: Highway to Hell (by AC/DC)


Highway to Hell

We’ve finally reached the finish line. It’s now Halloween. Enjoy the sun while it out and about because when it goes down and the sky darken and turns to black, the ghouls and monsters come out to play.

Those inclined towards enjoying the darker aspects of life will dance and play throughout the night as they continue their way down the highway to hell.

“Highway to Hell”

Living easy, livin’ free
Season ticket, on a one – way ride
Asking nothing, leave me be
Taking everything in my stride
Don’t need reason, don’t need rhyme
Ain’t nothing I would rather do
Going down, party time
My friends are gonna be there too

I’m on the highway to hell
On the Highway to hell
Highway to hell
I’m on the highway to hell

No stop signs, speedin’ limit
Nobody’s gonna slow me down
Like a wheel, gonna spin it
Nobody’s gonna mess me ’round
Hey Satan! Paid my dues
Playin’ in a rockin’ band
Hey Mama! Look at me
I’m on my way to the promise land

I’m on the highway to hell
Highway to hell
I’m on the highway to hell
Highway to hell

Dont stop me!

I’m on the highway to hell!
I’m on the highway to hell!
I’m on the highway to hell!
I’m on the highway to hell!

And I’m goin down..all the way!
I’m on the highway to hell..

Horror Song of the Day: The Shape Returns “Halloween 2018” (by John Carpenter, Cody Carpenter and Daniel Davies)


Halloween

Today we see the wide release of David Gordon-Green’s sequel to John Carpenter’s Halloween. A film that’s a direct sequel to the horror classic, David Gordon-Green was able to bring in John Carpenter himself to compose the film’s score just as he did for the original film.

This time around, Carpenter is accompanied this time around by his son, Cody Carpenter, and godson, Daniel Davies. So, we have three generations with the original Halloween in their DNA attempting to improve or, at the very least, not make the score to this official sequel sound like just a copy and paste of the original score.

I would say, after listening to the full score a couple times, that these trio have succeeded where others have failed in scoring the other films in the franchise. My favorite track from this new score has to be the one titled, “The Shape Returns.”

With more modern electronic and synthesizer equipment available for use, Carpenter and his helpers were able to take the main Halloween theme and give it a more modern, angrier and menacing (if that’s even possible) sound for “The Shape Returns.”

Horror Song of the Day: Prince of Darkness Opening Credits (by John Carpenter and Alan Howarth)


Prince of Darkness

John Carpenter, as most long-time readers and visitors to the site will know, is one of my favorite filmmakers. While he has been in a self-imposed retirement these last 15 or so years from directing, his works for two decades prior have to be considered some of the best genre films.

While some of his films have been critically-acclaimed from the start, others weren’t treated as well when they first released. It would only be years later when genre fans would finally come to appreciate some of his lesser works.

One such film is Prince of Darkness. The second film in his unofficial “Apocalypse Trilogy”, this one would be lambasted by most film critics upon it’s release. Even fans of his films would mostly avoid this entry.

Yet, years later it has turned out to be one of his most underappreciated films. It’s soundtrack, one Carpenter did himself with assistance from long-time collaborator Alan Howarth, would become a favorite.

The expanded “Opening Credits” section of the Prince of Darkness soundtrack is a great example of the sort of mood Carpenter can create with his preferred usage of synthesizer and electronic keyboards when it came to composing his film’s soundtracks.

Song of the Day: Simple Man (by Lynyrd Skynyrd)


Lynyrd Skynyrd

This past week saw another great musician pass away.

Ed King was an integral part of the three-guitar sound that made the Lynyrd Skynyrd sound so unique among the other blues-inspired American rock bands of the 70’s. Some have called Ed King the backbone of the band.

He was great either on bass guitar or as the third guitarist. The latter becoming the signature sound of the band’s most popular song and one of their most requested: “Free Bird.”

While it’d be simple enough to commemorate Ed King’s passing with another listen to that hit song, it’s on another much simpler song of the band’s that best typifies the member of Lynyrd Skynyrd. He who helped give them their signature sound and whose laid-back attitude finally convinced him that it was time to leave the band when the atmosphere around it began to turn mean and violent.

Some fans of Lynyrd Skynyrd don’t have good things to say about Ed King. They think he bailed on the group just when they were reaching the pinnacle of their success and popularity. But as the song “Simple Man” says, “Oh, take your time, don’t live too fast.”

That was Ed King. It’s time you joined the rest of your band mates waiting for you up above.

Simple Man

Mama told me when I was young
“Come sit beside me, my only son
And listen closely to what I say
And if you do this it’ll help you some sunny day”

“Oh, take your time, don’t live too fast
Troubles will come and they will pass
You’ll find a woman and you’ll find love
And don’t forget, son, there is someone up above”

“And be a simple kind of man
Oh, be something you love and understand
Baby be a simple kind of man
Oh, won’t you do this for me, son, if you can”

“Forget your lust for the rich man’s gold
All that you need is in your soul
And you can do this, oh baby, if you try
All that I want for you, my son, is to be satisfied”

“And be a simple kind of man
Oh, be something you love and understand
Baby be a simple kind of man
Oh, won’t you do this for me, son, if you can”

Oh yes, I will

“Boy, don’t you worry, you’ll find yourself
Follow your heart and nothing else
And you can do this, oh baby, if you try
All that I want for you, my son, is to be satisfied”

“And be a simple kind of man
Oh, be something you love and understand
Baby be a simple kind of man
Oh, won’t you do this for me, son, if you can”

Baby, be a simple, be a simple man
Oh, be something you love and understand
Baby, be a simple kind of man