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"Korean pop star introduces lackluster album to the U.S."

26 March 2009 - 11:47 AM

The title totally turned me off at first -- but once I managed to get past that, I found that the author does make some good points and offers some constructive criticism.

Korean pop star introduces lackluster album to the U.S.
BoA unable to keep up with American divas Spears, Gaga

by Alex Garens
Monday, March 23, 2009 20:39

A weird feeling accompanies the recent release of the self-titled “debut” album of Korean pop singer BoA. Weird not because K-pop is seldom heard or even heard of stateside, but because BoA is not only the premier pop singer in Korea but one of the foremost throughout all of Asia, making the idea of a “debut” of someone so established seem odd and even inappropriate.

At the same time, though, BoA is new to the mainstream U.S. music industry, so her “debut” works well as a marketing ploy to grab people’s attention. Unfortunately, the attention is only retained through the initial intrigue of the newcomer, as BoA is a medley of the dull and the trite, albeit a smartly composed one.

While using English in her songs is nothing new to BoA’s music, BoA is her first English-only album, offering 10 new tracks produced and recorded to appeal to the international market, as well as an English version of BoA’s previous hit “Girls on Top.” The fact she sings nearly flawless English is impressive, but it is ultimately irrelevant. Since the lyrics are so trite and vapid — entirely lacking any irony or humor — they may as well have been in Korean because while the listener understands the words, they do not listen to or remember them whatsoever. All that sticks is sloppy reiterations of “dance,” “love,” “you” and “tonight” in various orders and combinations.

The music, however, is not bad by any means. In fact, it probably would have been a much better album had the lyrics been in Korean, forgoing the distraction of their laughable hollowness. While all the tracks are dance-pop songs, many of them come imbued with a freshness gained from the incorporation of various odd-sound layers woven into beats. “Did Ya” matches Oriental wind instruments with Western horns as a recurring undertone to the dance bass and drums. “Touched” playfully mixes xylophones and alarm sirens. “Obsessed” mashes high-tempo shouts reminiscent of a traditional Oriental festival with the heavily synthesized main beat. It’s not that the album is bad — it’s just boring.

While half the tracks pack the musical punch to make them potential dance-club hits, it is unlikely any actually will. The beats are complex and BoA is as capable a singer as she is a sex icon, despite being more synthesized and less silicone-ized than Britney Spears. But what BoA lacks is any point of connection with the audience. Not as eccentric as Lady Gaga, as scandalous as Britney, as juvenile as Katy Perry or as bitchy as Pink, BoA offers no real personality through the lyrics of her debut album. And until she does, she simply doesn’t compete.

Quite frankly, the current state of pop music is heavily dependent on lyrics — people just like a song they can easily remember, recite and enjoy. “If U Seek Amy” would be a completely unremarkable throwaway pop song if the lyrics weren’t deliciously slutty; similarly “Poker Face” wouldn’t be the same without that senseless refrain and silly bits like “bluffin’ with my muffin.” In this regard, BoA feels dated, reminiscent of a time when dance music only had to depend on a solid beat to be successful. However, since the actual sound of popular music has barely evolved at all in the last half-decade or so, the current state of the genre places lyrics as paramount — the last device to amuse and distract the masses from the static, plastic veneer of a mass-produced and highly commercialized sound.

BoA playfully uplifts the genre in a few places, but the worn-out and weary countenance of dance-pop remains in need of a serious facelift — or just a new face altogether. Even worse, without worthwhile lyrics, BoA is riding several years behind a wave of shifting emphasis in the genre that seems to be slowly recognizing its own imminent demise.

Source: http://badgerherald....p_star_intr.php

Korean Pop Star BoA Attempts to Break Stateside

19 March 2009 - 10:52 AM

Sorry, :notworthy: after posting I realized this was already posted earlier here. Mods, you can close this if you want.

Korean Pop Star BoA Attempts to Break Stateside
Wednesday, Mar. 18 2009 @ 1:39AM
By Liz Ohanesian

Posted Image

For those prone to pulling all-nighters while watching the Cartoon's Network's Adult Swim, Korean-born singer BoA (real name: Boa Kwon) rings familiar, a sweetly mature voice that drives the light electronica of "Every Heart (Minnano Kimochi)," a closing theme for the popular anime InuYasha. But that was BoA as a teen idol-in-the-making and in the years since that recording, she has become one of the best-known performers in Korea and Japan, pumping out heartfelt ballads, feisty rock numbers and dance jams with equal success.

BoA was discovered by Korean S.M. Entertainment, a firm known for launching the careers of young pop artists, when she was only eleven years old. Within a few short years, she was a bona fide star in her native country and proceeded to conquer the Japanese pop market. At the same time, she managed to accumulate a fanbase in U.S. Kpop and Jpop circles, perhaps fueled in part by her appearance in several high-profile anime series. Last year, her name was abuzz throughout the music blog community when Weezer covered her hit "Meri Kuri" for the Japanese version of "The Red Album."

Now in her early-twenties, BoA has been traveling back and forth between the US and Asia so frequently that jet lag "is always there" in preparation of her first Stateside release. The self-titled album, which was released on March 17, features writing and production contributions from Bloodshy & Avant, Sean Garrett and Brian Kennedy. It's a hit-after-hit affair with a profound electro R&B influence that matches well BoA's street tough dance moves and penchant for baggy, menswear-inspired outfits. We met up with BoA in Hollywood on the day of her album release for a Q/A session.

Video for "Eat You Up"

You've played with many different styles during your career. Why release a dance album in the US?
Our plan was to introduce me to America. I'm a really new artist here. I would say that my style is an artist who can dance and sing. That's why my album is really upbeat. Maybe we will try slowly to do ballads or middle tempo songs. For now, this is my introduction album, so I want to try something that I really can do. I want to try my best.

Are you trained as a dancer as well?
I started training with singing and dance lessons at the same time. Also, I was taking Japanese lessons too, when I was eleven or twelve. After school, I went to the recording studio. I made a contract with my recording company [S.M. Entertainment] when I was eleven years old. After that, I jumped into training. It took two years. I debuted in Korea when I was thirteen years old. After that, I debuted in Japan, at fourteen years old. So, we prepared to go to Japan.

Now that you're working in America, is it like starting all over again?
Yeah, from scratch. I need to learn English and everything is so new to me. I need to learn most of all about American culture. I feel really fresh.

What makes a career in America so appealing?
I never tried to be sexy. You know, most people say that Asian or female artists should be sexy in America, but I don't think that I have to be like that. I have a tomboy style. My choreography is not that way. So, I want to focus on my music style to match the choreography, which is really cool. No girls can dance those moves. I try to make them really fresh.
I'm working with the same company, where I started first. They know me. I know them. We are good to each other.

Are you guys like a family now?
Most likely, yeah. Like Entourage.

How does it work?
If they want me to do something, they ask me. We decide together. We can share everything. I make my own ideas. They make really good ideas and we can make them together.

What influenced this record?
I [had] the chance to work with Sean Garrett, Brian Kennedy, Bloodshy and Avant, really big producers here in America. They helped me out a lot, so I would say that my inspirations are those producers...
It's amazing that I can make a record with Sean Garrett or Brian Kennedy. Sean Garrett produced a lot of hit records. I used to listen to Usher's "Yeah!" and "Run It! " by Chris Brown. I was really shocked that I could make a record with him.

Listen to new single "I did it for Love" MP3 from her album, BoA.

BoA plays Universal City Walk on Saturday March 21 at 6:30 p.m. There will be a meet-and-greet session for 125 people.

Credits: Reprinted from http://blogs.laweekl...ready-to-break/

new look needs new emoticons

16 March 2009 - 10:24 PM

Just today my favorite forum stunned me with a whole new color scheme. In a way it's kinda hard to navigate, but in another way I really like it. It should just take some getting used to. One thing that will need fixin' are the current emoticons are blended to a white transparent background, which make them look odd on a dark background :lol: . If we're going to keep this look we'll need the emoticons fixed. Not necessary to get different ones - just run this batch through photoshop.

Edit: The best part with the new colors is the PURPLE! I <3 purple :wub:

Can you help me find a video organizer software?

25 December 2008 - 03:49 PM

As many of you know, I collect videos of performances by BoA and other artists. Since a lot of you do the same, can I get suggestions on organizing all these files?

The problem is, I currently have about 2,000 video clips and Windows Explorer just doesn't cut it. I need some software that will allow me to tag each clip with a thumbnail and user-defined fields such as artist name, song title, year, performance location, video resolution, etc. - and then search or sort my collection by those tags. It would be nice if the software also has a thumbnail browsing mode. I should be able to click on the thumbnail to launch the video in my default media player. I've searched all over and can't find anything like this. What do you use to organize your videos?

South Korean president cycles to work as world celebrates car free day

22 September 2008 - 08:29 AM

President Lee Myung-bak rode his bicycle to work and the citizens took mass transit for free on Monday morning as South Korea participated in World Car Free Day to help the environment.

“President Lee and all his secretaries will use their cars sparingly throughout the day,” Yonhap news agency quoted an official at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae, as saying here.

The event also goes along with Cheong Wa Dae’s campaign to save energy.

The World Car Free Day is simultaneously observed in 2,000 cities across 40 countries as part of an international initiative to have people experience a car-free lifestyle and help the environment.

On the street, the annual event drew mixed responses. Police blocked off stretches along major streets in Seoul and other cities around the nation, allowing only buses to pass through.
“The roads are usually jammed with cars but there were few of them today.

It was a pleasant ride to work,” said a woman who came to work by bus, giving only her family name Lee.

Others were less than pleased, as police sealed off major roads in Seoul’s Jonggno and Dongdaemun wards, causing backups.

A man who asked to be identified only as Jang said he spent twice as much time on the road than usual.

“I can’t understand why they’re doing this in Jongno, which is usually congested. It took 30 minutes to get to work. It would take 15 minutes usually,” he complained.

Source: nstonline

Sounds like Korea has got an uber-cool president! At least in that he rode his bicycle to work and gave the country free public transit for the day!

I wonder how many people even realize today is "World Car Free Day". I doubt most of my neighbors know. Ok, so I'm gonna try leaving the car at home and take the bus to town today. It's 15 miles one way, if it was shorter I'd ride my bicycle. I hope it will work out well. How about you guys?