I’ve had a remarkably good start to 2015. Not that anything in particular has happened–except for me clearing all available day and dream levels in Candy Crush Saga for the first time–just that I’ve been feeling remarkably good about it. I had an extremely relaxing holiday, sleeping for as long as I wanted to whenever I wanted to, to the point that I would wake up late in the evening and go to bed in the afternoon. I kept this up also for the 3 days I went to the office and though I did get a bit tired in the afternoon, I was so satisfied with what I could achieve at home during the night that it didn’t really matter. Only real drawback was that I didn’t have any good time to go grocery shopping, which became a little too apparent the last few days.
I had wanted to keep that up a while longer, but yesterday, when I was supposed to be writing the 7th anniversary post, I was feeling really bad and ended up sleeping as much as possible to escape stomach cramps. So now I’m afraid I’m back to a more normal schedule. As the good adult I should anyway pretend to be.
One of the things I’ve been doing during my nights awake is to play CDs on repeat. The way I buy CDs has changed a bit in recent years as I’m trying to limit my purchases. Nowadays I pretty much only go for things I already know, or could trust to anyway be worthwhile based on the label or people involved. But I anyway had to make one exception when I was in Korea last time for an album cover that’s just too interesting: Godfather Tiger‘s 쓸모없는 입술 (Useless Lips).
I know Bissantrophy Records to be home to several intriguing releases, but didn’t notice that’s where Useless Lips came from until later. As I realized, combined with the cover I figured it’d be some sort of punk release but when I finally got around to listening it turned out to be folk. Folk with raunchy lyrics. Damned folk, according to the producer. Already in opening track “헤어진 여자친구와” there’s a call for sex (‘섹스합시다’) and the partially English language track “please” contains lyrical gems such as ‘I don’t wanna watching japanese AV anymore…I wanna real love with you’. In album lead track “생일 선물” Godfather Tiger asks to have his birthday cake put on his body. With 9 tracks total it’s one of those albums that makes me wish I was fluent in Korean.
But it’s not just the songs that–for reasons I can’t really explain even to myself–makes the album appeal so much to me. The booklet is fantastic. In addition to issuing thanks to anonymous groups of women, there is also a “sorry to every customer” and some special sorries which goes well with the overall apologetic nature of Godfather Tiger. But the real takeaway is the artwork, where the naked man from the front page is shown during various stages of having a shower. It’s sort of brilliant and thought-provoking. Possibly a comment on the objectification of women, or a photo story of a man having a shower without any deeper meaning, or something completely different. I don’t know. And I’m afraid to ask, because I fear knowing the answer would ruin the illusion.
After pondering the meaning of Godfather Tiger, I proceeded to Bluestream‘s 시장속으로–a single I picked up on a whim as I noticed it had been issued by Helicopter Records. Turns out that Bluestream is 3/4 of what used to be The Freaks plus a new member, something I embarrassingly enough had missed until just now. It all makes sense though. It’s the same laid-back, sort of nonchalant performance of attractive melodies. The single only holds 3 tracks but they can withstand several hours of repeated play without problem. I’ll be looking forward to any future releases from Bluestream.
And then there was Rukh. I made a point of picking the CD up when I was in Korea last time as Kim Daeinn aka jellyboy had produced it. As expected, Rukh offers some pretty strong post-rock–my husband even thought I was listening to new material from Apollo 18. The entire album is enjoyable enough, but “엉겅퀴” and “A Stranded Ship” in particular are exquisite.
As I figured it was about time I started to keep track of how Korean indie music does on the Korean music charts again I had planned on making a post on the Gaon charts for 2014, but there wasn’t really much of interest there. The only thing that really caught my attention was that Busker Busker‘s “벚꽃 엔딩” made the top 100 on the 2014 digital chart even though it was released in 2012. Looking closer on the streaming chart for 2014 I found that the track had been streamed more than 30 million times per year since 2012, landing at over a 100 million streams total. Unfortunately Gaon lists all songs on the chart as “new” so I couldn’t easily find if the same is true for any other song, but regardless it is a very impressive achievement.
While on the subject of Gaon charts, after a 2 year hiatus I’m planning to resume posting the Gaon chart ranks for Korean indie songs and albums. The format will be a bit different from before, but I’ll try to make it a weekly feature. I’ve already started a YouTube playlist with the Korean indie songs on Gaon’s digital chart in 2015, which will later be revised to contain only the charting songs that were actually released in 2015.
In the last randomness post I mentioned that I’ve been working on a KMA database that will be used as basis for a series of posts on KMA history. As a pre-face, mainly for myself, I posted a history of categories in the Korean Music Awards last Wednesday. It turned out to be more popular than expected, so hopefully there will be some interest also in the later posts. With all relevant data now available in the database, next Wednesday I’m planning to post a breakdown of how different genres fare in the general Korean Music Awards categories.