Feeling Run Down About SNSD’s Run Devil Run
The big draw for me to listening to SNSD (a Korean girl-pop group of 9) was their cuteness and their peppy songs. I haven’t been overly thrilled with Kara’s serious-business mini album Lupin or any of their perfs so far, and the same is ringing familiar with SNSD’s new single and perfs for Run Devil Run.
Maybe it’s that the attitude of the song isn’t bright and cheery, or that the costumes aren’t bright and happy (or quite as leggy, for that matter), but it just doesn’t hook me in as well as Oh! or Gee ever did. I can’t really pin it down, but this one just doesn’t do it for me. It’s not something I’d really find myself humming at work or getting stuck in my head very easily.. I like the side seams on their white pants (although from a distance they remind of leotards or white nylons, but the black nylons-look of their dark outfits is almost entirely unappealing to me and the material in their hair for the dark outfits is more weird than cool, and the “run” motion during the chorus is frankly a little lame.
The Rise of Beckii Cruel
On a lighter note, and despite the heresy that many in the J-pop world might suggest I am perpetrating by even mentioning Beckii Cruel — it must be done. I first came across the video below, only moments ago, that shows a girl with a British accent in some sort of interview with Sayumi Michishige from Japan’s famous Morning Musume group.
Beckii is a 14-year-old who had been posting numerous home-filmed choreography/dance covers on YouTube (including numerous Japenese tunes) and by a stroke of fortune was discovered and posted on a popular Japanese video sharing site called Nico Nico Douga and near-instantly became a huge hit which eventually led to a recording contract and is described by many to be a budding star. She’s the daughter of a policeman and a former dance instructor, and hails from the Isle of Man, an island between England and Ireland I’d never heard of until today but seems to have a deep, rich, and significant history and inhabited by a people group called the Manx, a blend of English and Norse. You can read more about her at her wikipedia page, and check out more of her videos (including a Massara Blue Jeans dance cover) at her YouTube account. Her new group, the Cruel Angels (perhaps as a spin on the Neon Genesis Evangelion theme, Cruel Angel Thesis although unconfirmed) is one that I may have to keep an eye on.
EDIT – I’ve gotten my hands on an MP4 version of the “This Is Beckii Cruel” DVD and the best description I can give is that, “If Luna Lovegood were to make a Japanese “idol” DVD, this is what it would be like.” The whole thing seems like a sort of imitative commentary on the Japanese idol DVD market, rather than attempting to be its own version, per se. It’s almost as if its publication were an editorial on patterns Japenese idol DVDs follow, as if in some slight way to mock them without directly saying so.. She definitely reminds me of Luna Lovegood, though — doing her own thing, dancing by herself, saying weird things out of the blue, blissfully (and delightfully) unconcerned with how she is perceived by the occasional on-looking asians in the background. I would have not been terribly surprised if she gave us a brief documentary on Wrackspurts and Nargles.
Btw, Oliver Pauwels has a brief bio here.