9 episodes

Take a dive into the wondrous world of K-pop, one track at a time. Hosted by Claudia (@claudiawylo) and Michael (@regresssion).

Stan Ontology Michael Davin and Claudia Lo

    • Music Commentary

Take a dive into the wondrous world of K-pop, one track at a time. Hosted by Claudia (@claudiawylo) and Michael (@regresssion).

    Wonder Girls - Nobody

    Wonder Girls - Nobody

    See and listen to just how Nobody will never change: the English music video, the Korean music video, the Japanese music video, the Mandarin Chinese music video, or the song release live stage performance. Onward to notes:



    Wonder Girls' debut song, Irony.
    Wonder Girls' contribution to the debt that K-pop owes to reggae.
    I Feel You, which literally gives itself a "WTV" 1987 title even as there's an Mnet 2015 watermark in the corner.
    "Do you remember? When JYP tried really, really hard to break into the US?" asks JYP on his and Sunmi's new duet, When We Disco.
    Happy 20th debut anniversary, BoA! Go give Listen To My Heart a... listen.
    This episode owes a lot to the K-pendium piece on Nobody. RIP K-pendium; Taemin might have gotten me (Claudia) into K-pop, but it was K-pendium that made me stay. Yes I'm a big nerd.
    Watch them open for the Jonas Brothers with us.
    The silences in our reactions were live, and I only regret we did not film our faces so we could insert some choice facial expressions.
    Even listening to this back through is stressful, yeesh.
    Also, this explains why Western camera crews are so very bad at filming K-pop group performances - they keep trying to focus on the singer, which for a K-pop choreo, has no strong relationship to who or what your eye should be focusing on.
    Jason Nevins was responsible for this "slur of a remix". 🙉🙅‍♀️🚫 DO NOT LISTEN ️🚫🙅‍♀🙉 And when you do, remember we warned you.
    The slightly better other remix is the soft acoustic Rainstone Remix.
    CORRECTION: New York and New Jersey also have a large population of Korean-Americans - but still, California has the largest population.
    For our money, the superior SuperM track from their first EP is still Super Car. Incidentally, that video is also a good example of "Western cameramen struggle with K-pop performances".
    GOD I hoped we could sidestep OPPAN GANGNAM STYLE but no.
    Again I fervently hope that the mainstream comedy scene I grew up in HK with has moved past "ha ha middle aged fat man tries to be cool". I sure know that's still a thing in the States right now.


    As always, remember to follow @StanOntology on Twitter for the latest episode updates. If you have any questions you'd like to send in, direct them to us on Twitter!

    • 1 hr 9 min
    Twice - TT

    Twice - TT

    Listen and watch the music video, the Japanese music video, the song release live stage performance (feat. uncomfortably long elongated intro), or dance practice video. Onward to notes:



    Mnet is a big subscription music TV channel.
    OK so the whole deal with 2AM/2PM: they were once an 11-man band called One Day and then they split in half. 2AM has been inactive since 2015, and 2PM has been on hiatus since 2017.
    To get you a taste of what it was like, here's the trailer for the final episode of SIXTEEN. The comments are worth reading (yes, really!) as a kind of time capsule.
    TWICE - Like OOH-AHH, their debut song.
    The Fancy rocker hand sign bit. Also, check out how they've graduated from the small dance studio to the deluxe one with JYP ceiling lights.
    SORRY MERRY-GO-ROUNDS DON'T HURT US
    Sidechaining in action with Daft Punk.
    we slipped and accidentally BTS
    It was not the flute, I just have Intro: Singularity on a playlist with 134340 (which features flutes a-plenty) - CL
    The "Russian Meme Song" in question is 7th Element, by Vitas. Here's the Croes Brothers' version (one of them, anyway).
    I baked you a pie!


    As always, remember to follow @StanOntology on Twitter for the latest episode updates.

    • 1 hr 11 min
    Blackpink - Whistle

    Blackpink - Whistle

    Listen and watch the music video, the song release live stage performance, or dance practice video. Onward to notes:



    Their latest single, released on the same day as BTS's Stay Gold: How You Like That
    BLACKPINK - Boombayah, which released with Whistle as part of their 2016 debut.
    "Fan greet" is shorthand for "fan meet-and-greet".
    Lady Gaga, BLACKPINK - Sour Candy
    Go support Michael's other podcast, Hot Singles!
    If you want to take a look, here's an episode of a variety show featuring BLACKPINK, with English subtitles. Let's just say that if the only thinkg you know of BLACKPINK is their stage performances, they act differently.
    Jennie's Insta.
    In this thread: Blackpink fans plead with YG to let BLACKPINK out of the dungeon. Not an endorsement, just an interesting K-pop cultural snapshot.
    Two interesting variants of Whistle: an acoustic live Japanese version, and the rock remix live Seoul stage version.
    Four Chords of Pop
    John Coltrane - My Favourite Things


    As always, remember to follow @StanOntology on Twitter for the latest episode updates.

    • 1 hr 4 min
    Red Velvet - One Of These Nights

    Red Velvet - One Of These Nights

    Listen and watch the music video or the song release live stage performance. Onward to notes:



    English language reporting on Red Velvet's North Korean concert. Stan Ontology wants to note here that any event like this is going to be rife with contradiction and tensions - it's not as if there aren't emotional performances going on for the South Korean contingent, either. What we're saying is: it was awkward, ok?
    The Chilseok myth.
    f(x) - Red Light. This is the track that was supposed to be an explicit criticism of the Sewol Ferry tragedy, per SM Entertainment production team leader Lee Sung Soo.
    One of the academic pieces we read on the Sewol Ferry disaster.
    The R&B tracks we referenced: Aaliyah - Rock The Boat, SWV - Rain, Kelela - Frontline.
    K-Pop Fancams Got Political to Protect Black Lives Matter Protesters From Dallas Police, and another excellent piece also from Teen Vogue On K-Pop Fans, Political Activism, and the Necessity of Nuance. As we say, there's a lot here.


    As always, remember to follow @StanOntology on Twitter for the latest episode updates. Stay safe everyone.

    • 1 hr 7 min
    EXO - Monster

    EXO - Monster

    In light of the massive protests going on in the USA at the time of releasing this episode, we open this episode with a message of support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Stan Ontology supports the efforts of Black and indigenous activists in America and across the world, fighting for justice against a state that has long treated Black and brown lives with cruelty and indifference for too long. We applaud this and other similar movements fighting against police brutality.
    Criticism and analysis of all culture is impoverished if it doesn't reckon with pervasive anti-black racism. We also want to critically engage with the ways in which race and racism shapes K-pop as a cultural phenomenon and industry. We remain committed to highlighting the work of Black artists in K-pop, as well as the debts that K-pop owes to Black musical traditions.
    It's not widely publicized, but one of Monster's songwriters is Chikk, and she has a video about the songwriting process, featuring her demo vocals.
    You should know that the music video and the Mandarin music video both contain (abstract and aesthetified/"prettied-up") scenes of police violence against the group members. You can also choose from the performance music video, the dance practice video, or the song release live stage performance. Off to the bullet points:



    This is also the episode where we crack all of K-pop. Chromatic basslines! Modal interchange! Mixolydian ♭6!
    Sidenote: The mixolydian ♭6 is also called the mixolydian ♭13, Aeolian dominant, or the one I (Claudia) knew it as, the melodic major.
    LOONA is part of Polaris Entertainment, which is a subsidiary of the Ilkwang Group.
    Once more with vigour: "simple" isn't bad, and especially not for pop!
    The example of Arabic music using the phrygian major mode is 'Hijaz Improvisation', by oud player Jaber Fayad. Arabic modes come from a distinct tradition to Western harmony, so there isn't a perfect correspondence between maqam hijaz used here and phyrgian major, but they share the distinctive interval of an augmented second between the second and third degrees of the scale.
    Here's a playlist with all the Western pop songs we mention!
    Some day I'll get to talk at length about the dance practice video as an earlier form of constructed intimacy and authenticity on platforms orthogonal to social media for a full hour. Some day.
    Return of the stripy shirt (AKA Taemin's practice video for MOVE).


    As always, remember to follow @StanOntology on Twitter for the latest episode updates. Stay safe everyone.

    • 1 hr 45 min
    2NE1 - Come Back Home

    2NE1 - Come Back Home

    Wherein we crack a longstanding mystery: Why did 2NE1 have a reggae remix in their first studio album?

    As always, watch the music video, the dance practice video, or the song release live stage performance. On top of that, here's the acoustic live version, dedicated to the Sewol Ferry tragedy victims. Onto the chronological bullet points:


    Start your day right and listen to 2NE1's I AM THE BEST (all-caps warranted).
    It's a fun exercise to go through the songs we've featured in other episodes, and note the changes in register in their music videos.
    Seo Taiji and Boys - Come Back Home
    This is quickest way I can explain the v a p o r w a v e   a e s t h e t i c.nyorm
    Compare the rebellious aesthetic (also in tiled tunnels!) with labelmate Big Bang's BANG BANG BANG music video. (And look out for next episode...)
    Adorno - On Jazz (1936). He's not a fan.
    Avicii - Wake Me Up as a point of comparison.
    Christian rapper Flame initially won his lawsuit against Katy Perry, claiming Dark Horse infringed on his 2009 song "Joyful Noise", but the case was overturned on appeal recently.
    Major Lazer - Lean On, and I hope I don't have to link you Despacito.
    Teddy Park has so many production credits he has a separate Wikipedia page just for that.
    1TYM - HOT
    In the sober light of day, Claudia would like to take it back. Search for Stony Skunk at your own peril.
    There's a cute behind-the-scenes video for the Come Back Home MV.


    As always, remember to follow @StanOntology on Twitter for the latest episode updates!

    • 1 hr 15 min

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