Oct 222020
 

My music tastes aren’t as seasonal as they once were (let’s be real: I’m Kpop nearly 24:7 these days); however: fall really tugs the nostalgia strings in my brain and I start craving certain bands/songs. Tonight, during my late shift I succumbed and put on some Balance & Composure. The way my body reacted was insane, like having a bucket of hot emotions poured on my head. Wooo boy the tears were sprung but it felt good.

Anyway, let’s relax a little, burn our tongues on some hot apple cider, sniff some pumpkin candles, etc. blah yadda. Here are some songs I like to achieve these vibes and maybe you will them too.

It has sadly been 4 years (right after the last election, to be exact, it was somber) since I’ve seen Balance and Composure and then they broke up soon after. Anyway, every time I saw them live it was BIG WARM FEELS man like an infinity scarf pulled over my face by a high school crush.

Love this band so much, but now I wish I was on my way to a haunted hayride while this is coming out of my car speakers. </3

(P.S. I was wrong! The last time I saw them was May 2017! You really care!)

Black Queen makes me want to walk around empty city streets in the middle of an October night with some hot goth I met on Darkchat and obviously this is 1999 because I am so totally devoted to Henry you guys come on this is not a Today Fantasy.

Exile is my favorite Gary Numan album ever and one time when I lived alone in the late 90s, I fell asleep with it on repeat and had some of the most wicked, vivid nightmares that I still think about to this day.

I was home alone the other night and played this in the kitchen with the lights out and yes, still has the same hair-raising effect on me and I fucking LOVE IT.

PVRIS is such a mood. As soon as a chill hits the air, I’m ready to crunch some crispy leaves in the cemetery with PVRIS as my soundtrack. The synth, the alt-goth aesthetic, the LYNN GUNN. Their old albums bring back memories of Ex-BFF so sometimes when I need to have that “swishing a cavity with bourbon” feeling in my heart, this is the fo-sho go-to.

I used to put this song on every mix CD I made back in the early 2000s and I just recently felt inspired to cue it up – yep, I’m ready to go on a lite night drive with foggy windows IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN. Chino Moreno and Mike Patton with some Goblin-esque elements simpering in the background, how can you go wrong?

(Speaking of Goblin, that will be my next kitchen LED light show tune, I think.)

***

OK, well now that tonight’s debate is over, I think I need to throw these jamz on a playlist and go take a bath in the dark. Happy fall y’all (wow, I really just said that out loud as I typed it, do I have to throw a wreath on my front door now?).

Sep 212020
 

Today was a PTO day for me except that I woke up and couldn’t remember if that was today or next Monday so I had to log on and check for myself instead of texting my boss to ask her because I’d like to at least keep somewhat of an air that I have my shit together, you know? So yes, I was correct, I have today and tomorrow off. HILARIOUSLY, when I talked to Henry earlier today he was like, “How’s work going” and I was like, “I DUNNO BECAUSE I’M OFF TODAY, DUMBASS, I TOLD YOU THAT LIKE 7 TIMES” and he was like “SORRY I FORGOT” – little did he know that I kind of did too.

Anyway, I had grand plans of sitting down at the computer this morning with some nice hot coffee and actually writing in this thing for real like I used to do in the LiveJournal days, when I would be in a good writing headspace and have no distractions and I treated it like it was some professional thing that needed to be free of grammatical errors and typos, but here I am at 7PM with my laptop balanced precariously on my knees with book review and NCT videos oscillating in the background, and all I can say is, “At least I’m not writing this on my phone in bed” which is how way too many of my blog posts are written these days, lol, oh reality.

Wow, what kind of a fucking intro is this, even? All I really wanted to say was, “Here is what I did this weekend, before it’s next weekend.”

I was really looking forward to Friday because we had planned on ordering pizza at Spirit and it’s been a hot minute since I had pizza (when we first started tearing up the kitchen, we were eating pizza a lot and my body was really starting to reflect those choices). Spirit has some vegan options as well and we love to eat it.

Chooch’s choice was the #3 which is not vegan, but it IS meatless. It has clumps of pesto and ricotta and when I was eating it I started to think about when I was kid and how I would reject my mom’s stuffed shells because I hated ricotta, or thought I did, anyway. Wow, I was a dumbass. Adult Erin loves ricotta. I wish I knew the exact moment when I realized that I liked it.

My choice was the Vegan Supreme, which had like, vegetables and seitan on it, oh and an oatmilk bechamel sauce which now that I think about it, I’m not sure I even noticed it. I love real bechamel. Henry has made me vegetarian mousakka in the past and the bechamel is the best part. Literally every time I typed “bechamel,” I spelled it wrong.

Then we got the news that Ruth Bader Ginsburg died and suddenly, who cares about pizza. Can we just set the GOP on fire? IN A PIZZA OVEN??

Penelope is all of us in 2020.

On Saturday, I went to my mom’s to get some wallpaper that we found back when we were cleaning out my Pappap’s house in 2016. I’ve had some ideas for them (none of those entails actually wallpapering a wall with them, sadly!), but I have honestly even considered framing small parts of them too because all of the wallpaper from that house is fucking art.

I’ll never forget this one time, I posed pictures from my Pappap’s house on my old LJ (OMG BACK ON LIVEJOURNAL, it’s amazing the shittiness from that era that has stuck to me like….gum on ribs, there I go with the old lady talk again) and some stupid bitch was like, “Wow that’s gaudy” and I was like “SHUT YOUR UGLY MOUTH.”

This particular wallpaper was from my aunt Sharon’s room and I specifically had it in mind for this lighting project that I want to do after seeing a picture on some upcycler’s Instagram; honestly, I was prepared for my mom to say that she threw the wallpaper out of that it got damaged, etc etc but instead she was like, “It’s in the garage, come get it” so I did and it was also the first time I got to see my mom since quarantine started!

(Not sorry that I’m actually taking the pandemic seriously. I haven’t seen anyone but neighbors — at a distance — since March!)

(And various co-workers on video calls. Speaking of, a handful of us had a virtual happy hour on Thursday and it was the first time I got to show friends the kitchen “in real life” so that was fun! Also super depressing. I want to have a party.)

OMG I GOT HENRY TO READ A BOOK! HERE HE IS READING THE BOOK! (It’s “He Started It” by Samantha Downing, in case you too would like to read it.)

(Don’t mind that package on the table next to him. It’s just that damn pinball backglass that will probably continue to sit there until next year because apparently Henry is just one person and cannot do all these projects as quickly as I want him to but I think that he would just not sleep as much, and maybe take some days off work, he could finish it all?)

Later that night, we finally began hanging Chooch’s pictures back on his wall. But then! Henry threw a minor fit!

“LET’S JUST DO THIS TOMORROW,” he said out loud to himself. “CHOOCH IS TOO BUSY WITH THE CATS AND SHE’S CRYING OVER TWEETS ABOUT DOGS.”

And then he just left us!!

I thought for sure Chooch would just sleep on the couch rather than clean his bed off (after Henry put all that stuff there only to quit and storm off like a little bitch!!) but he actually moved everything to the floor like an actual adult. I was impressed. I would have just slept in the car or something.

Then Henry and I watched “Winchester” which is based on the Winchester mystery house and it had several good jump scares but it was overall pretty stupid. I am just as good at movie reviews as I am with book reviews and I should probably quit this blog and just do that exclusively.

Sunday started out OK. I went for a walk and that put me in a good mood, and then there were new live Taemin performances (he’s been doing the live music show rounds in Korea, which is always fun to look forward to!) and Henry called out from his Greeting Card Prison in the dining room, “Is that a new one?” and then came in to join me because the other song Taemin has been promoting from his new album is Black Rose, and that’s Henry’s favorite!

The song is so good and of course the choreo is amazing, so I was inspired to post a clip of it on Instagram, explaining that it’s Henry’s favorite, etc etc and some broad said “He has the same music tastes as my 21-year-old daughter *laughing emoji*” and IT REALLY RUBBED ME THE WRONG WAY.

I GUESS YOU COULD SAY I WAS TRIGGERED. Because I know she meant it as a blow, you know? And not like “wow Henry is so hip” omg why couldn’t I think of any other word to use. Dude finally enjoys the same music as me, and now you’re gonna shame him for that, cool, thanks.

I didn’t realize that there were age and gender restrictions on music genres. If I want to listen to fucking KidzBop, I will….probably need to be evaluated, but still, who the fuck cares? Is it disrupting your life? I mean, assuming you don’t live next door to me while I’m hosting a psycho dance party for one.

I know the comment was meant to be a jab at Henry for, god forbid, liking kpop (but can we even classify Taemin as kpop? His music really transcends all those constraints and he records full albums in Japanese too), but I am just tired in general of the “lol you like the same music as my kids.” I got that when I listened to screamo, post-hardcore, pop punk, emo, and now I get it for listening to kpop. I’m so fucking sorry but I guess I missed the memo that once I turned 25, I had to trade it all in for adult contemporary, and, what? Kenny G? Please tell me what a 41-year-old lady is expected to listen to, and while you’re at it, better make a Spotify playlist for 55-year-old Henry, too.

My one online friend posts these friendly reminders every once in a while about how it’s not funny or cool to belittle someone or make fun of them for the things that they like. What is even the point of doing that?

*(FULL DISCLOSURE: I have totally mocked Slut Life on here for blasting Miley Cyrus’s “The Climb” in the driveway BUT THAT IS DIFFERENT. THAT GUY SUCKS AND I HATE HIM. MOVE TO FLORIDA ALREADY, YOU DUMB DICK.)

This came so close to ruining my day. But then we worked on piecing together more of Chooch’s room, so that distracted me.

I picked out that party bunting and was so excited at how well it matched the new color scheme of his room. Chooch was just like, “Yeah it’s fine” because he IS AT THAT AGE.

The only contribution he had was suggesting that all of the cat art be clustered together above his bed, so that happened. I love that one in the middle so much! Henry and I bought it for Chooch at one of the Riot Fests from an artist who was vending there and you would think that I would have had that information available before I started typing this yet here I am, completely clueless as to who the artist is and which Riot Fest I purchased it at.

Today, I was walking around the ‘hood and saw that there is a house that just went up for sale on the street behind us, which is one of the super-few areas of Brookline that I actually like and have even said in the past, “I would never buy a house in Brookline unless it’s on x, x, or x streets” but before I even called Henry, I looked up the listing and it was OK but not something that made me excited, though how hilarious* would it be if I just made Henry spend the entire summer fixing up our dumpy rental only to turn around and move?

*(Probably not the word Henry would choose.)

Anyway, I’ll end this here with Taemin (A Singer For All Ages and Genders) performing Black Rose on Inkigayo (the show that has the sandwiches!) because fuck the trolls.

Aug 152020
 

Or…Saturday Songs, I guess would sound less like a moron wrote today’s title.

Anyway, I have been trying to hold back from slamming out CAPSLOCK screams up on this piece about SuperM’s recent comeback, but I am totally in the throes of kpop passion once again. Admittedly, I have been feeling pretty ambivalent lately with everything but SuperM is helping to put me back in touch with my inner teenager.

I stayed up until midnight the other night for the new video to drop on YouTube (does MTV even still do MV premieres anymore?) which, you know, isn’t all that late but for some reason, I was really struggling and listening to Chooch scream while playing Fortnite was making my heart race.

Of course, it was worth it! I never knew I needed to see Taemin wearing…what even is that—a rich Dallas person’s cowboy hat?—until now.

This song makes me feel like I could run fo r100 miles, ISTFG. I preordered the new album and it has DANGEROUS WOMAN ON IT!!!!!!

Full disclosure, I just rewatched that Dangerous Woman video and I am sitting here quietly weeping all up in my feels. I have so many emotions right now: I am so thankful I got to see SuperM in real life before coronavirus happened, I miss being all excited at work when new things are announced in the Kpop world, I wish I was in Seoul right now. I’m a little depressed, weepy bomb ready to explode, you guys, take cover.

I also just saw somewhere that SuperM might get a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist and I need for this to happen and for them to win.

Another Kpop song that has me feeling like my old self again is “Boy” by the new YG boy group, Treasure:

Please tell me you listened to this and felt ready to take on the day, OMG. This song makes me want to repeatedly punch Henry (um, lovingly, though). That dance break! That room with the black furry couch and the smiley face balls! I never knew I needed a room like that in my house! (Sorry Henry!)

Oh! Taemin did an Instalive the other morning and in it, he said that SM has been preparing for a SHINee comeback!!!!! Plus, Taemin’s album hasn’t even been released yet. Still so much to look forward to in this shitty fucking year!

Jun 182020
 

Hi guys, here I am, it’s me, Erin. I had a whole list of bullshit I was going to rant about but then I ended having A TIME today and my brain feels like a smoothie bowl (see also: what I had for dinner tonight) and my throat hurts from doing an hour long presentation with an actual human audience as opposed to the cat crowd I’m usually crowing to on the daily.

So we’re gonna relax up on here tonight and listen to some Korean (and one Chinese!) jimmy-jamz! It’s been awhile since I shared my current faves, and I have a handful that have been on constant rotation over here on Pioneer Ave, plus I’m also sharing MY GIRL Hyolyn and the live performance she did recently on a new Korean music competition called Good Girl. God, Hyolyn is full queen.

But first! Here’s the latest Twice, which is my favorite comeback of theirs in a long time. I love their edgier side, and the outfits they’ve been wearing in all of the countdown shows have been amazing! Like Swiss Bohemian, I don’t even know.

 

Next up, let’s give Kang Daniel some love! He was in the now-defunct group WANNA ONE which I loved so much, but they had a very shelf life. Luckily, he went solo so we still get to hear his pretty voice! And fun fact, he’s dating Jihyo from Twice and I’m here for that!

Ugh, and then we have Demian. This song is several months old but every time it comes on my kpop Spotify playlist in the middle of the night, IT WAKES ME UP BECAUSE IT IS THAT FUCKING GOOD. There’s something about that gives me strong “summer night” vibes.  It has also inspired me to make a spice rack out of old cassette tapes for the kitchen:

I dare you to listen to that and not have it stuck in your head. Ugh.

In non-Korean jams, WayV (the Chinese sub-unit of one of my favorite kpop groups NCT) just had a comeback! You may remember that two of these members are also in the super group SuperM so I always give them lots of love when they have a comeback!

This song (and also the day I had) makes me want to go on an aggro-run through the back alleys of Brookline.

Meanwhile, another WANNA ONE alum is over here making me cry, but what else is new:

I’m glad that I got to see WANNA ONE while they were still together!

And to end, here is the promised Hyolyn video I promised, which I made Henry watch also and was mad that he didn’t cry like I did. God I love her. LOOK AT HER EMOTIVE FACE!! She is a goddess!

Hyolyn used to be in the legendary group Sistar. They disbanded in 2017 and I’m still not over it.

Actually, let’s end this with a super iconic anthem from Sistar, the official summer babes of Korea. God, this song is still so good, lol:

SUMMER IS ALMOST HERE OMG.

Apr 092020
 

As if I wasn’t already shambling lethargically through pandemic life over here, one of my favorite Korean groups, Winner, just released their newest video this morning, called “Remember.” So now I’m shambling lethargically through a stream of tears.

This release is significant because it’s the last time we will see them as a full-member unit because their oldest hyung, Kim Jinu, recently enlisted in the South Korean military last week. I think I saw somewhere that it won’t be until 2025 when they’re back together as 4 again, ugh. I wish they would have just enlisted together but I don’t think they get to choose their dates and I’m too depressed to Google that shit.

This video is 100% an homage to their history and my insides hurt from crying.

Winner is in my top 5 tier of most favorite groups, not even limited to Kpop, and they’ve been like a security blanket to me during BIGBANG’s hiatus because they’re kind of like BIGBANG Jr, in a sense. They’re on the same label and definitely have BB vibes without feeling like they were blatantly ripping them off. And Song Mino, come on – he is basically G-Dragon’s heir apparent. We love Mino in this house.

But for me personally, Jinu was my Winner bias, so I’m pretty crushed. 

JINU Starts Military Service, HOONY Up Next… The Importance of ...

Chooch and I were blessed to see Winner on tour last winter in Toronto and it was one of the best concerts of my life. I remember when we were leaving, Chooch was like, “That was so much better than the BTS concert” and I agreed with him – it was pure and real and cozy. It felt like we were in a theater full of close friends and family, and Winner was SO ENTERTAINING even in between songs. You should also know that they do write their own songs! There’s a misconception that all Kpop is manufactured – not all! There is real talent in that industry, and Winner has 4 of the biggest gems.

Winner Everywhere Tour!

Anyway, do yourself a favor while you’re on lockdown and fall down the Winner rabbit hole on YouTube. They are so good! And their variety show appearances are HILARIOUS. Like, pretty much anything Mino does:

OK, I’m going to wallow some more. But I think I’ll be back later with a weekend wrap-up, which will be, you know, boring AF. LIKE EVERYTHING LATELY. But at least we’re staying healthy, etc etc. Perspective blah blah. I KNOW, LEAVE ME ALONE!

Mar 022020
 

The other day in the car, we had the regular radio on (weird, I know) and the intro to a very familiar song started to play. I screamed, “OMG IS THIS—-” but then it morphed into some dumb song which was decidedly not what I thought it was going to be. Yet another homogenous rapper sampling a really great song from my youth, that’s all. 

Meanwhile, Henry was still shook because if there’s one thing he loves to experience while driving, it’s my random, sudden loud outbursts from the passenger seat.

I had to Shazam the song on the radio, because I couldn’t for the life of me remember who sang the sampled song, other than it was three girls from the mid-90s who were signed to Michael Jackson’s label. 

Turns out the rapper is some Canadian, Tory Something (I already forgot) but now that I knew that, I was able to Google to find the name of the group AND IT WAS BROWNSTONE. Holy shit, I hadn’t thought of them in years and years but I had their debut CD and this song was a mixed tape staple of mine. Of course, I put it on Spotify while regaling Henry with the highlights of their Wiki page, such as how ONE OF THEM WAS FOUND DEAD in 2015?! She cut herself after falling in her home. Ugh.

Anyway, here is the song, please revel in its luscious R&B tones:

Oh man, this song brings back so many memories of crying over Justin Kail in 10th grade, lol. I was so pathetic.

This past Saturday night, Henry and I went to Sugar Spell Scoops because two of the Saturday flavors were calling to me: black forest and coffee cake. But as we walked in, and I mean literally as we crossed the threshold, BROWNSTONE’S IF YOU LOVE ME started playing, almost as if Henry had called ahead and requested it (that would never happen). This was such a mind-blowing moment for me that I blurted out to the shop owners, “JUST THE OTHER DAY I COULDN’T REMEMBER WHO SANG THIS SONG BECAUSE SOME RANDO RAPPER SAMPLED IT AND I HAD TO GOOGLE IT AND THEN I DID A BROWNSTONE DEEP DIVE, AND I CAN’T BELIEVE IT’S PLAYING RIGHT NOW.”

They just laughed and one of them commented upon how the shop’s playlist is so random, but that’s just it: it’s not a song that you would typically hear on the radio anymore, let alone a vegan ice cream shop’s soundtrack. WHAT ARE THE ODDS. 

I dunno, but it made my scoops taste that much better. (Not that they ever need any help!)

It reminded me a little bit of the Boz Skaggs Rabbit Hole. 

On that note, I’m going to put on a Brownstone playlist while I continue recovering from the awesome stomach bug I caught after spending the last week sterilizing everything and taking my temperature every 20 minutes after so many people at work contracted the flu. At one point in the middle of the night, I was laying on the bathroom floor, sobbing into a towel, and promising God that I would be good if he would just put a moratorium on the vomiting. Ugh.

Feb 192020
 

I feel like it’s been a hot one since I dropped some Kpop vids up in this rotting word-dump, so here are some of my current faves, because that sweet, sugary kpop is still fueling my lame-ass motherwhompin’ life.

FIRST, I want to show you guys (lol, every time I type those words, I’m 5-years-old again and talking to the stuffed animals lined up on my bed. I guess this is just the digital version of that) THE BEST ONE, which is SuperM performing “Dangerous Woman” on Jimmy Kimmel last week! I watched it 4x before I went to work that morning and cried happy tears each time, is it weird that it made me feel so proud of them?! Taemin, ugh. I’m really glad they chose this song because it’s nice to see them being relaxed and singing joyfully without focusing on choreo. When we saw them sing this live last November, I was like WHAT IS THIS SONG I LOVE IT!??! because it’s not on their album, and they debuted it during their tour last fall. UGH I LOVE THIS SONG!

Next up, let’s enjoy together the new IKON! It’s bittersweet though, because last year, they lost their member B.I. over something FUCKING STUPID and their dumb agency (YG, ugh!!!) didn’t do shit to fix the situation, and B.I. was one of the main songwriters of the group, so…this new album has his fingerprints all over it. I hate that he’s not with them anymore. Still, IKON never disappoints and I will support them always.

This one is Henry’s pick. He’s a HUGE Super Junior fan boy. Like, HUGE. Maybe even YYYYYUGE. I asked him one day, “If Super Junior did a US tour, would you go—”

“Yes,” he said, full of confidence, the rest of the sentence still dangling off my lips.

I just asked him who his favorite member is, and he thoughtfully said, “I don’t know” and like, not in that shitty I DON’T KNOW, STOP BOTHERING ME tone that he usually uses when I ask him to pick favorites, like who does he like better, Chooch or Blake? Me or Chooch? Red Pop or Moon Mist?

OK back to me and my favorites now. Pentagon just had a comeback last week and I have to say, similar to IKON, I applaud their resilience and determination to power on in the wake of scandal. I’ve touched on this numerous times in the past, but during the summer of 2018, they were riding high on the success of their single “Shine,” and two of the members, Dawn and Hui, had also just made a comeback with the side project they were in with Hyuna, one of Korea’s more controversial female solo artists, when Dawn and Hyuna admitted that they had been dating for the last two years.

I know, big deal right? Artists date all the time. Taylor Swift always has boyfriends. Whoopdie-doo. Yeah, but Korea has a PRETTY DIFFERENT mindset when it comes to their idols dating. So, fans got pissed, netizens were disgusted and betrayed, and their agency was all, “OK, Hyuna and Dawn, GTFO.” Yeah. They got kicked out of Cube Entertainment. Hyuna literally MADE that agency. She fucking carried them on her back, and her back alone. Dawn was a pivotal member of Pentagon. But OK, Cube. Cook on.

We can imagine how much it sucked for them, but then also you have to consider the remaining members of Pentagon. They had been CRUISIN’, their popularity was at an all-time high, they were slaying the music shows. And then they had the rug pulled out from under them. It was devastating. But, Hyuna and Dawn got signed by Psy (come on, you know “Gangnam Style”), who has his own agency now, and they’re still together, and they’re still making fucking great music. So, I guess, don’t cry for them, Argenteenagers.

And, Pentagon has continued to bounce back, with comeback after comeback, and while their momentum hasn’t really seemed to pick back up to what it was that summer, I have yet to be disappointed with anything that they do. Here is their latest!

And, for old time’s sake, here’s a live performance of “Shine,” as well, because that song MAKES MY HEART SING and it is a true mood improver (Dawn is the one who starts the song, FYI):

And I’ll end with this new-ish Stray Kids that is also uplifting, because it’s winter so let’s listen to this shit and put on a pep rally for our mental health. RAH RAH, MOTHERFUCKERS.

OK I LIED ONE MORE. I was just telling Henry that I dare someone who thinks that kpop is dumb to watch this video and then tell me that they didn’t like it and he was like, “Oh ther will always be someone—” and I was like, “I AM BEING RHETORICAL HENRY BUT OK COOK ON” jesus christ! But seriously, if you watch this whole thing and don’t smile or like, I dunno, tap your pencil against your desk or start a conga line with your goldfish, then you’re fucking dead inside. And maybe that’s how you like your insides. If so, that’s OK. We can still be friends, but I’ll probably side-eye you every now and then.

Jan 242020
 

Is it weird to only listen to you favorite band occasionally, maybe even as infrequently as once a year? That’s how I am with The Cure, who, in spite of all the music phases I’ve tried on over the years, have never been dethroned as my All-Time Most Favorite Band In the World, bury me to Same Deep Water As You.

It’s because my emotional response to their music is so strong that I will likely expire prematurely if I indulge myself too much. But while I was reading the other night, I put on a Cure playlist and from there, Disintegration played in its entirety. Suddenly, it was winter of 1999 / 2000 all over again and I’m lying on a floor pillow in my sparsely decorated house, having only moved in several months prior, listening to this album on repeat, crying myself sick while seriously contemplating self-slaughter and now, all the way ahead in 2020, I’m wondering how I made it through that long, soul-sucking winter.

Those were some bleak times in my life. And I’d like to say something cheerful and uplifting about how The Cure saved my life and really pulled me out of the mental pit, but um…have you heard The Cure? My inner doom & gloom fed off their discography, which I played over and over again because I have always been one for torture and self-loathing.

Anyway, the other night while reading, only a split second of “Last Dance” had begun to play and I was already catching my breath and feeling that familiar lump forming in my throat. And then I just silently let myself cry a little.

That song is just as beautiful as ever but fuck does it rip me up inside.

Jan 162020
 

I needed background music while Chooch and I were having reading time on Sunday, and Kpop wouldn’t work in this sense because I always find myself focusing on the words to see if I can figure out any of the Korean (#obsession). So on a whim, I put on a dark synthpop playlist on YouTube. A MILLION MEMORIES AND WARM FEELINGS CAME OVER ME.

So, I’ve gone through a lot of music phases; some of them make me feel uncomfortable when I think about it because of the weird time of life it was, like when I was into very cold, angular indie-experimental stuff like Blonde Redhead and Deerhoof; I actually shudder when I think of those days. But when I was very heavy into synthpop, it was the very, very, very beginning of my relationship with Henry. I was obsessed with this label – A Different Drum – and used to buy all sorts of compilations from them. Henry, in an effort to win my heart, used to make me CDs of synthpop that he ILLEGALLY DOWNLOADED OMG. Can you imagine Henry, 35-years-old at that time, living alone in some weird apartment, burning synthpop CDs for me? I mean, it’s kind of cute.

Those CDs remind me of cozy winters, so even though it was unseasonably warm over the weekend, it still brought back waves of comfort as I curled up on the couch and read a book.

But then I had an idea!

I typed in “Synthpop workouts” in the YouTube search bar and was sad to see that there really isn’t much of a goth/synth cardio niche on YouTube. Look, I have been considering (only half-jokingly) of making my own amateur workout videos for some time now. My only problem, aside from being extremely awkward on camera, is that I have a difficult time moving while narrating what’s coming up and singing out motivational filler. I would want to do just super-casual and fun walking workouts, because those are my go-to videos on YouTube when I need to boost my step-count, I’m too tired/sore/sick for high-impact cardio, or I still have some energy to burn off after doing a strength-training workout.

I’m kind of obsessed with constantly moving. I don’t even watch my K-Dramas without walking in place (here is that part where I make a subtle hint for Henry to finally buy me that treadmill). But the walking workouts on YouTube are…eh. There’s Leslie Sansone, but her shrill Janice-from-Friends laugh gets to me. There’s Jessica Smith, but she always uses that generic cardio music which doesn’t help motivate me. I really like this one broad, Gina B, because her walking workouts are all themed to things like, “Walk to the 80s!” or “Disco Walk!” – so it’s fun because you’re doing these upbeat walking/cardio workouts to good pop music from past eras, and it helps keep you interested. IT DOES THAT FOR ME, ANYWAY.

But man, I would be so down for a synthwalk. Even the real morose dark synthpop still has that thumping bassline which, I truly believe, would translate well to simple box steps, grapevines, step-taps – whatever walks are in the arsenal.

So the other night, I cried out, “I WILL JUST MAKE MY OWN SYNTHPOP WALKING WORKOUTS!” And Chooch and Janna will be my back-up walkers (Chooch already said no and Janna doesn’t know yet but I guess she’ll find out if she ever reads this; say yes, Janna) and we will all black – maybe gowns? Robes? Stompy boots, for sure. And we’ll light candles everywhere, and in between the higher-energy tracks, we’ll do body-weight moves to a slower-tempo funeral dirge, maybe hoist a weighted plank, a move we will call, “The Pallbearers.”

Fun fact about the above song: I once listened to it on repeat for an entire 8-hour shift at this one shitty job I had where I worked with like 8 people in a basement until midnight, and then I genuinely wanted to fucking kill myself afterward. No hyperbole here.

This could be a good cool-down track. PASS THAT INVISIBLE ORB OF ENERGY.

I have a vision of Janna crying at some point, to help keep the ambiance in the room aligned with the tragic vibe of this Mind Side Out track, so perhaps this will be the portion of the fitness video where Henry burns her with a candle off-camera.

I was telling my co-workers about this on Monday and they were like, “Wow. Glad you found your….calling.” I mean, I’ve attempted and failed at making writing, photography, and art a career,  so hopefully fitness figurehead is where my true talent lies!

NO I TAKE IT BACK: My favorite Depeche Mode song would be the PERFECT cool-down song:

 

See also: Wendy 1999 for a scintillating story sort of about this song.

“So what, are you just going to use your phone to film this?” Chooch asked me in that AWESOME judgmental tone of a middle schooler bracing himself for impending parental embarrassment. But the fact that he’s thinking this far ahead means that he BELIEVES IN ME!

Anyway, hopefully this comes into fruition once I conquer my inability to say motivational things without stepping on my foot. I think it’s going to be way better than my idea from 2004 to open a Crucifixion-themed restaurant.

ETA: I was just filling in Chooch re:The Pallbearer move.

“You made me pause my movie for that?” Chooch snarfled, and Henry Buttinsky was all, “Where are you getting this ‘weighted plank’?” because when he’s not White Knighting, he’s standing in a corner with a needle, punching holes in my logic.

“I mean, it’s just going to be, like, a board with weights on it,” I shrugged, like what else would I use? An actual coff—-

OMG I NEED AN ACTUAL COFFIN!

Jan 122020
 

What’s up, Diva cups, I’m checking in on this cozy Sunday night to regale you with another non compos cards  Valentine commercial!

The Cure is my all-time favorite band, as in: cash in your savings account and fly to Australia to see them after they hastily announce that they’re not going to tour again after that but that was in 2000 and you have since seen them like 6 more times because Robert Smith lied but that’s ok!

True to form, this is a cringefest so get your groans ready.

The set contains 16 different mini-cards, just like the kinds we used to pass out in elementary school except much cooler because, you know, The Cure.

Henry was like I DON’T GET IT and I’ll tell you why – it’s because he’s not actually a “fan” of The Cure.

This set is now available in my shop and I am so happy about it! Part of me wants to track down all my old friends from the long defunct chatroom I used to frequent in 1998/1999 called Darkchat and send them all one of these cards (and by frequent I do mean I used to stay up until like 5am private messaging with all of my goth paramours). God, those were the days! Now when I tell people that The Cure is my favorite band, the general response, “I don’t know who that is.” Well, just break my goddamn heart.

I think this set goes wonderfully with all the serial killer ones, the vintage porn star collection, the Golden Girls series and of course all the Kpop varieties in my Hello Hanguk shop too! I’ll repost all of those ones throughout the week in case you missed them last year. I love Valentines so much!

Interested in purchasing a set of The Cure valentines for all the lovecats in your life? Click right here!

Jan 042020
 

Hi hello 안녕. I waited a full day before posting about this otherwise it would be all in CAPS and a grammatical garbage dump, even more than usual. 

But let me walk you through a thing here.

Thursday night, I was getting ready for bed and checking twitter like I normally do after my shitty Duolingo Korean lesson, when I saw that this one vlogger I follow, JRE, tweeted that BIGBANG was playing Coachella.

Now, at first I scoff-laughed and figured he was just tweeting his hopes and dreams. But then I was like, “But…what if…” so I went to Coachella’s Instagram…

and…

Image result for coachella 2020

마이

갓.

오 마이 갓오 마이 갓오 마이 갓오 마이 갓오 마이 갓오 마이 갓오 마이 갓!!!!

“HENRY,” I said sternly, standing above him as he lay in bed, which is his absolute favorite thing ever, playing the, “Does she have a knife or not” game.

And then I just fucking started screaming and he was like, “WHATTTT??” and then grabbed his phone. Once he confirmed it was true, he started looking up Coachella tickets (first weekend is already sold out) but I was like, “Look, we’re not going, and it’s ok.”

BIGBANG is my fucking ULT, and while I would love to see them live, I just…don’t want it to be at Coachella. I hate even saying the name of that damn festival. We went to Coachella in 2004 to see The Cure and it was quite literally the worst music festival I’ve ever gone to, and I don’t want to sully the first time ever seeing BIGBANG by being surrounded with thousands of starfuckers in the weed-scented desert. Not gonna happen. Also, you know the guy behind Coachella is just the absolute, right? Like, Greenpeace has his name on a list and it’s not a Nice List.

But also, this just happens to be the same time we’re planning a spring break vacation so we potentially won’t even be in the country.

Now let me tell you why I’m so excited about this. BIGBANG has been on hiatus since the beginning of 2017, when one-by-one the members entered the military for their mandatory service. Time away could be the kiss of death in the kpop scene, which is notorious for being extremely fast-paced, which groups having multiple “comebacks” a year. And then their youngest member, Seungri, became mired in a “scandal” at the beginning of 2019, and the investigation has delayed his military enlistment. Regardless of whether he has actually done the things he’s been accused of (I believe he didn’t), the Korean media has pretty much smeared his name into the ground enough that he officially “retired” from the industry and was released from his contract.

The last year has been straight terrible for BIGBANG fans, and even with the release of the other 4 from the military at the end of 2019 (T.O.P. was released in July), it really felt like this was it, that they were just done as a group. But then this Coachella announcement came out of nowhere and VIPs are fucking foaming at the mouth right now, me included. BIGBANG IS COMING BACK! And if they’re coming to Coachella, maybe that means they will do a proper US tour (Blackpink did last year) and that we could possibly GET NEW MUSIC?! G-Dragon, save us from this boring fucking music industry!! All the end-of-the-year Korean music stages have been soooo lackluster without BIGBANG.

Even if nothing happened last year with Seungri, he would be in the military right now and wouldn’t be able to perform them anyway, so I really feel like they had always planned to do something as a 4-piece while waiting for him in order to keep relevant. So….I will hold on to the hope that once his investigation is officially over and he completes his military service, he will be able to rejoin BIGBANG and all will be right again.

And for anyone who is like, “But why not BTS?!” Please understand that BIGBANG is on a whole other level. They transcend “kpop.” They are rough, edgy, musical powerhouses who get on a stage and whip it into submission. I put on loops of their live performances when I need cheering up and it never fails to entertain me, no matter how many times I have watched. They are INSANE and I hope those who do attend Coachella realize how lucky they are to stand before actual Korean gods.

I texted my friend Jiyong yesterday morning and told her.

“Bigbang? OUR BIGBANG?” she responded, and it made me feel important, to have something with her that’s an “our,” lol. When I met with her today for our weekly “Watch Erin Struggle To Speak Korean” session, we excitedly speculated over what this could mean for BIGBANG’s future. Please lord almighty don’t let this be a one-and-done farewell type scenario.

Also, for the people who are like, “Kpop groups don’t sing,” please acquaint yourselves with the legendary BIGBANG:

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be over here watching BIGBANG Youtube while waving my BIGBANG light stick in Henry’s face. I mean, it’s Saturday night after all.

OMFG BIGBANGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG!!!!!!!

Nov 292019
 

Every time I sit down to write about this night, I drift off to my own version of La La Land that’s located on a soft, velvet cloud floating right above Seoul. I told Chooch to make sure I actually get it done this morning for real though because we’re going on two weeks now but don’t worry, it’s not like I forgot anything — I watch YouTube videos from the show every single day.

I’ve made Henry watch them.

And Janna.

And my mom.

I tried to get Chooch to make Blake watch them too but I don’t know if that ever happened. I figured it would be a nice change from Boss Baby, which Calvin makes Blake put on 24:7, apparently.

The concert was at EagleBank Arena, which was George Mason University’s basketball arena. It was a nice mid-size venue and I was cool with that because the other closest show we could have attended was at Madison Square Garden, and I didn’t want to deal with a concert of that magnitude. (Also, please note that SuperM is the first Kpop group to ever play at MSG aside from KCON, which is an entire convention! Usually kpop groups play Newark for their “NYC” date.)

Speaking of, the first night of their tour was in Ft. Worth, but the members kept calling it Dallas throughout the night and some asshole sports writer who was probably just surly because he was assigned the show to review, wrote this totally curmudgeony piece berating them for “insulting” Ft. Worth, flailing on stage trying to stay in sync (dancing, I think that’s called?), and not having a backing band (hello, most kpop groups do not bring bands on tour with them; yes, G-Dragon and BIGBANG do, but certainly not a brand new group who basically had a whirlwind tour thrown together seemingly last minute and real kpop fans aren’t going to concerts to hear the music stylized by a live band – we’re there to see our idols sing and dance, so HUSH YOUR BITCH AS MOUTH, SPORTS WRITER). The worst part was then he proceeded to then tweet that kpop is music for thirteen-year-olds, and anyone over the age of 18 who likes it should reconsider their life. Excuse me, sir? I have liked many different genres of music throughout my life and got trashed on by co-workers and friends for every single one, so this was nothing new to me. But it still pissed me off because let people listen to the music they want to listen to! This guy got DRAGGED on twitter by journalists who actually are employed to write about kpop (h/t Jeff Benjamin) and and this guy named Jack Phan, who is a CEO and tech entrepreneur who accidentally went viral a few months ago by asking “What is MOMO?” when he was shocked to see that #momo was trending at #1 and not Apple. 

Look, I have seen bands tweet about coming to Pittsburgh and half the time, they spell it without the “h,” or when we see shows 45 minutes away at our outdoor pavilion concert venue which is closer to West Virginia at that point than Pittsburgh, bands still say “WHAT’S UP PITTSBURGH” and NO ONE CORRECTS THEM BY SAYING, “Sorry, Marilyn Manson, but this is actually Burgettstown.”

Furthermore, these seven guys are from South Korea and just know that they flew into Dallas/Ft Worth, so lay off.

Jesus, why are middle-aged men SO THREATENED by kpop?!

Anyway, Mark referred to the area as DMV several times (DC/Maryland/Virginia) so nice save, Mark!

Our seats were on the floor and Chooch was like, “Wow, these seats are great!” at the same time I was crying, “WE ARE NOT CLOSE ENOUGH!!”

“You could be in Taemin’s lap and that wouldn’t be close enough for you,” he sighed.

Anyway, the stage had a catwalk with a smaller stage at the end, which that security guy in the yellow shirt is standing next to in the picture above. So anytime the guys were on that part of the stage (which thankfully was a lot!), our view was divine. But when they were on the main stage, we had to rely on the screens at times. Which was fine, I guess. IT WASN’T FINE. I AM NEVER HAPPY.

I brought my Taemin lightstick from his Japan tour! No, I wasn’t at any of the shows, but someone from a Canadian Shawol (SHINee fan club) group was selling an extra one that she had left over from a group order and I was like WHY NOT I MIGHT ACTUALLY NEED IT ONE DAY but never thought I actually would!

Oh, and guess who was sitting next to us?! The older woman who was in line behind us when we were checking in earlier that afternoon! We started talking and she’s actually originally from Pennsylvania and works remotely from a Pittsburgh-based company! What a small world. She is also a huge Taemin stan, so I was in good company. She was wearing a Taemin headband and I had major remorse for not making one, or at least a sign, like I kept saying I was going to do. Why am I so lazy!?

Well, friends, here is the part where I lose my mind, forget that I’m a 40-year-old mom, and become the best version of my 16-year-old self that will never be put to rest because I’m pretty sure that’s when I peaked.

I honestly wasn’t sure how I was going to react when they took the stage. I have all kinds of different concert personalities: leaning against a wall in quiet introspection, sitting at the bar being too-cool-for-school, standing in the back with my arms crossed, in the middle trying to dance/jump/something, paralyzed and crying.

When I saw G-Dragon, I was “paralyzed and crying.” Literally just stood there, stunned, mouth agape, staring at the stage in disbelief for two and a half hours.

So I wasn’t sure which Erin was going to be present on this night, until the intro video ended on the screen and SuperM rose onto the stage amidst the fog and flashing lights, and I saw Taemin for the first time in real life and not on a screen. That’s when the rare “FULL-THROTTLE SHRIEKING BANSHEE ERIN” came out. I couldn’t stop it. It just happened. It was like this, “Oh….MY….GODDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHYWQIOR9328492!!!!!!”

I was a motherfucking mess. Chooch was like, “Here we go” and I’m not being hyperbolic at all when I say this, but he had to grab my arm twice because I was screaming so violently that I was knocking the wind out of myself. That couldn’t have been healthy but ironically I can’t remember when I last felt SO ALIVE.

I managed to avoid (most) setlist spoilers so I didn’t even know that their first song was going to be Can’t Stand the Rain, which is THE JAM. However, right after that, the lights went down and I was like, “OOH WHAT IS GOING TO BE NEXT??”

Taemin’s motherfucking solo, that’s what! I WAS NOT PREPARED. I really didn’t think this was going to happen so soon into the concert! I heard people in line outside saying something about “Sherlock,” which is a SHINee song, so I was confused and thought they meant he was going to perform that on his own, but what actually happened was that he did his debut solo song, “Danger,” with elements of “Sherlock”* – it was so good and the whole time I was blinking back tears and thinking over and over, “Holy shit, I’m watching Taemin dance. That is LEE TAEMIN dancing a few hundred feet away from me. How did I get so lucky?!”

*(Some parts of “Sherlock” were swirled into “Danger” and it was brilliant, really.)

And then the next song he did was “Goodbye,” and that choreo is legendary. I did cry for this one. Like, full-on scrunched up my face and let the eye water run like a faucet. Oh, I was a mess.

Here is a good video of it:

After that, Taeyong came out and performed his brand new unreleased sole “GTA.” Like I said, I did a pretty good job staying ignorant to the set list so I had no idea that new songs were prepared for this tour, so I was excited to hear them for the first time since I avoided it all on Instagram and YouTube!

Next, Mark, Taeyong, Ten, Baekhyun, and Taemin came together for “Super Car” which features Taemin’s legendary “vrooom”:

I COULDN’T STOP SCREAMING MY FACE OFF.

Next, Ten graced us with his effortless dancing when he performed his two solos, “Dream in a Dream” and “New Heroes.” I yelled, “I LOVE THIS SONG!!!!” at Chooch’s bleeding ear when “New Heroes” began. Honestly, even if Taemin wasn’t in SuperM, the chance to see TEN would have had me tossing my wallet into the sky and dancing beneath the raining credit cards with wanton abandon.

This one is actually my video:

Next, we had Chooch’s highlight of the night, Lucas’s unreleased solo “Bass Go Boom,” which was adorable and entertaining (I only know Lucas from NCT reality show-type videos on YouTube so I don’t have a very good feel for him as a performer – this was a really good showcase for him!), and then Baekhyun came out with “Betcha” and “UN Village,” which I love and the whole time I was thinking, “Wow, this is really Baekhyun.” I have never seen EXO and at this point, I’m starting to think I’m never going to now that a bunch of them are in the military and for some reason, SM Entertainment likes to deprive America of their artists.

I’ve said it hundreds of times, but I think EXO deserves more attention and accolades than BTS, the group they are always pitted against. Seriously, those two fan bases harbor extreme feelings of hatred for each other, it’s chaos.

Afterward, the whole group reconvened and hit us with an acapella intro to their new song, “Dangerous Woman,” which I am desperate for them to record and release because I think it’s my new favorite SuperM song!? Also, that dick-noodle sports writer who said SuperM lipsynched through the whole concert can suck a dick, because they were clearly singing. Granted, I will admit that there are times where they rely on the backing track but that’s because they’re busy dancing their fucking faces off. We made Janna watch one of their videos and she was like, “Whoa, look how sweaty they are!” YES JANNA IT’S BECAUSE THEY ARE WORKING HARD TO GIVE US THEIR ABSOLUTE BEST BECAUSE THAT’S HOW DEDICATED THEY ARE TO THEIR ART, GOD!

This song is EVERYTHING to me. Watching Taemin sing so joyfully, so close to us, it just sent me over the edge. I had the vapors. Pass me my fainting couch, thanks.

Next was 2 Fast, and then Ten and Taeyong performed their NCT U duet, “Baby Don’t Stop,” which I totally called months ago when this tour was announced! The one thing I also called that I’m really shocked didn’t happen and really think SM slept on a golden opportunity, was to have Taemin perform “Pretty Boy,” one of his solos which features Kai! WHY, SM?!!?

Mark got to take the stage next with his brand new solo “Talk About” and Chooch went nuts because Mark is his bias. Mark is so talented! SM had him in every NCT subunit and there was this joke when it was announced that there would be a Chinese unit that they asked Mark to say hello in Mandarin, and that was enough for them to put him in WayV, lol. Shockingly though he’s not actually in WayV!

Kai also got a brand new solo to perform, “Confession,” and when he coyly lifted his shirt at one point, I was like, “OH DAMN HENRY IS REALLY MISSING OUT!” I did get a short clip to send him though and he was like, “Wow, thanks” afterward. He won’t own up to the fact that Kai is his bias but I think it’s cute because TAEMIN AND KAI ARE BFFs.

“No Manners” was next and I died because they performed this on our part of the stage and prior to the concert, it was my favorite song on the SuperM release!

AGAIN, CAN I PAUSE TO SCREAM MY FAT FACE OFF???

Ugh, these boys! My heart! They have it! They took it back to Korea! OH WELL, GUESS I’LL HAVE TO GO BACK AND FETCH IT.

Another new song was next, they were really blessing us hard with the new-new. This one was called “With You” and it was so uplifting and light-hearted! During this song, they each had a basket full of balls that they were tossing out into the crowd and I wanted one SO HARD. Here’s Chooch’s instavid of this song and it’s hilarious how fast he put his phone away once he realized it was the FREE SHIT portion of the night:

WHEN TAEMIN DOES THAT CUTE HIP SWIVEL OMGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG.

Breathe, Erin. You can do this. You made it this far! One more song!

The finale of the show was obviously a performance of their big single, “Jopping,” which I will admit I wasn’t SUPER BLOWN AWAY WITH when I first heard it but goddamn if that song didn’t grow on me faster than the 11th toe I picked up from that one time I accidentally dipped my foot into the Trump supporter gene pool.

This isn’t the greatest, but here’s someone’s recording of the big screen during “Jopping.” I just can’t enough of this choreo….and Taemin in those plaid pants. There was this girl who came over before the show started to talk to the girl next to my new friend and she had recreated his outfit from this song sooooo perfectly. I complimented her on it and in hindsight I wish I had asked to take a picture of her because it was pretty impressive.

That’s some dedication!

And that was it – an hour and a half of pure Korean bliss. My whole body was buzzing and Chooch and I were smiling so big by the time we met up with Henry at the car that we probably looked like our faces were splitting. I can only imagine how deranged we looked!

I wish that I had been able to also go to the NYC show,  or that any of the shows on their second leg of the tour were close enough for me to attend. I would just get cheap seats! I don’t care! I just want to be there again! I heard that they slipped during the NYC show and said something about seeing us again in the spring….so maybe there’s hope after all?!

Oh my motherfucking sweetly-spanked Mussolini, I can’t believe that I saw Lee Taemin. I saw him in real life, his precious angel baby face, and I heard his smoky vocals and saw him dance like the devil himself had stepped into his body. Holy fucking shit, I will never stop being grateful of this moment in my life.

“I was trying to get Taemin to wave to me just so I could say ‘haha Taemin waved to me and not you,'” Chooch said at one point on the way home and I was like fuck off, nerd alert.

****

We were supposed to spend the night in Fairfax and hang out in DC the next day, but dumb Chooch told us a few days earlier that he had PSATs on Monday and that nerd was actually crestfallen when I reminded him  that we weren’t going to be home, so that is why we ended up canceling the hotel, making a quick stop at the local Fairfax H-Mart for makgeolli and other Korean goods, and then driving straight home through the night.

Henry ended up going to work that next day, but I kept my day off and spent it lying around wistfully with an arm slung across my forehead, watching videos from the concert and sobbing to the point where I had to take my contacts out. It was a bad scene.

Then Chooch came home from school and screamed, “OMG THE PSATs WAS THREE HOURS LONG! IT WAS SO MUCH FUN!”

Get the fuck out of here.

No really, you can go now. Until next time!

Nov 272019
 

Image result for SUPERM GROUP PICTURE WITH NAMES

Before I post my review of the SuperM concert, I think it would be beneficial to do a quick explanatory post because I’m in teacher mode and you know how I love to drag shit out. A normal blogger: goes to a concert, recaps it that night/the next day in 500 words. Maybe includes a video.

A hyper Erin blogger: goes to a concert, dwells on it, drops little teasers that no one cares about for 3 days, makes a post crying about how she misses the concert, spends a day YouTubing concert footage, starts to sort through the pictures on her phone, takes a break to look for enamel pins from whatever kpop group she just saw, starts to finally write about it, gets distracted by FEELINGS, exercises instead, forgets half of the things she was going to write so just types out a bunch of CAPSLOCK sentences to convey excitement but instead succeeds in annoying the two people left reading this shitty site.

I guess right now I’m at the point where I finally started uploading my pictures to WordPress, so…progress. But then EXO had their comeback today and I got sucked into that and I decided to do a breakdown of the SuperM composition instead.

OK, let’s pretend Thanksgiving came early and DIG THE FUCK IN.

SuperM is a super group comprised of various members of boy groups from the kpop agency SM. SM is HUGE, one of the biggest, and their groups are powerhouses in the genre. They’ve contributed a lot to Korean tourism, and even have this interactive museum of sorts called SM Town where you can see awards won by the artists, costumes, photos, eat at the SM-themed cafe, etc etc. Yes, we visited both times we went to Korea and I have no regrets!

SM carefully selected members of four groups and curated an elite conglomeration of talent, and then gave it the “meh” name of SuperM. Yeah, it’s not the greatest name and I was a bit underwhelmed about it, but let’s be real: it’s about the music. And they delivered.

The members are:

  • TAEMIN (SHINee)
  • BAEKHYUN (EXO)
  • KAI (EXO)
  • MARK [NCT127/NCT U/NCT Dream (formerly)]
  • TAEYONG (NCT127/NCT U)
  • TEN (NCT U/WayV)
  • LUCAS (NCT U/WayV)

Related image

l. to r.: Lucas, Mark, Taeyong, Taemin, Kai, Baekhyun, Ten

You know it’s Taemin that brought this girl to the yard, but in all honesty, I’d be here for SuperM even if that lineup didn’t include Taemin, because SM produces quality jams and all of those guys up there are beasts. Ten is my favorite, second to Taemin!

So, let’s dip into some videos of each member’s groups, shall we? I already posted a whole damn post last week dedicated to Taemin’s oeuvre so here we’ll enjoy him with SHINee instead!

SHINee is an iconic kpop group, and it pains me every day to think about how I have never seen them perform live. Out of all the groups that the members of SuperM belong to, SHINee is the elder.

Next, let’s talk about Baekhyun and Kai’s group, EXO, which come next in order of seniority. I personally think that they deserve international fame more than BTS does, but I digress! They have what I can only describe as a more “mature” sound, more r&b and soulful than a lot of the boy groups out there. They’ve also had several members leave, one who is still considered part of EXO but hasn’t been involved in the last several promotions, and they also have several members in the military right now, so their lineup is always in flux. Anytime I make EXO cards for my shop, I never know who to put on it!

Here is their newest MV, which just came out today! Kai is the one with blue hair and the bondage-y croptop, and Baekhyun has the white-ish hair:

And here’s an older one from one of the end of the year award shows, which I really like because it has some of their best choreos IN MY HUMBLE OPINION:

Baekhyun had a solo release over the summer, and what a great time to enjoy the video together:

Chooch and I have actually seen Mark and Taeyong twice since 2017, thanks to NCT127 playing back-to-back KCONs. I went from knowing nothing about them to immediately getting sucked in from the moment they took the stage. Mark and Taeyong are the rappers of the group, and Taeyong is also the leader. I swear, this group gets better and better with every comeback. Mark is Chooch’s favorite and he also happens to be Canadian so he did a lot of the speaking during the concert. Anyway, here are some NCT vids, but you should honestly just go on YouTube and put on an NCT playlist because these boys are a FUCKING DREAM.

 

NCT U is an NCT unit that has revolving members, which is an interesting concept. This particular song has Lucas, Mark, and Taeyong in it, but no Ten:

And here is an NCT U song that features the duo of Ten and Taeyong – and they performed this on the SuperM tour! I had a feeling they would and I shredded my throat when they started singing it!

Ten and Lucas were, I dunno, “drafted” I guess? into what is kind of like the Chinese sub-unit of NCT, except that it includes some rookies who aren’t affiliated with any of the other NCT groups. One of the members of NCT127, Winwin, was also chosen to be in this group, so it definitely as an NCT-feel. Anyway, I love WayV a lot and who knows if they will ever come to the US, so being able to see Ten and Lucas with SuperM was a real treat. Ten is SUCH A DISGUSTINGLY GOOD DANCER. Almost Taemin-levels, but his style is different.

OK, now I feel like I got this Kpop Lesson out of my system and can finally start to squirt from my heart all the flowery SCREAM-WORDS about the concert onto this blog.

Nov 262019
 

After lunch, I wanted to go back to the George Mason campus so we could walk around and digest which really just means I wanted to burn off all the nervous energy I had coiled around every last muscle in my body. YES EVEN MY TONGUE, YOU DON’T KNOW.

We were creeping near the basketball stadium where the concert was being held because we saw all the tour trucks. Look, I’m sure motherfucking Lee Taemin was not skulking around the loading dock, hauling amps out of the backs of the trucks, BUT YOU NEVER KNOW – maybe he wanted to step outside and breathe in the basic Virginia air!? Chooch got a bit too brave and one of the security guards was like YOU CAN’T CROSS OVER HERE YOU GOTTA GO AROUND and Chooch was like, “yeah, I knew that, I wasn’t trying to do anything funny MY MOM MADE ME DO IT I’M FUCKING SORRY OK.”

Whatever, there were gaggles of girls standing across the street being just as creepy as us, but at least they’re in the proper demographic I guess.

We had to walk over to this one pond—I guess it was like the “centerpiece” of the campus—just because there was duck floating in it. Just the one. But Chooch has to talk to any duck he sees, so there was no way around it.

Somewhere by the pond, Chooch found a stick and wtf is it with boys and their constant need for walking sticks!? Like, when does he outgrow it? I guess never because don’t grown men like sticks too!? Anyway, he was annoying me so badly with this jackass stick that when he eventually dropped it (this part is always inevitable) and it started to bounce down a set of steps, I raced him to it, got there first, and stomped on it with my foot.

The sound of splintering wood was so satisfying!

Would you believe me if I told you he made himself cry over this? Probably. You know he’s my son, after all.

He wanted to buy glue so he could repair it, LOL I love doing mean things to Chooch. I MEAN, LIGHT-HEARTED MEAN THINGS.

God. Whoever called CPS on me in 2011 probably has a publishable log kept on me at this point.

Chooch was obsessed with these adorable robot food deliverers. Some COLLEGE GIRL caught him chasing after one and waving, and she smiled at him which made him blush. The last time he was at a college was a few weeks ago with his school when they visited IUP and he said some college girl acted all disgusted and scoffed at him in the cafeteria when he exclaimed, “OOOH, PIZZA!”

I mean, I can only imagine how annoying he was being.

Then Henry had to “go to the bathroom” and found the student union building, so Chooch and I sat on a couch and talked about how embarrassing Henry is, shitting at a college, and for some reason I was telling Chooch about the time that me, Janna, and our friend Wonka went to Buffalo, NY and Wonka and I tucked a phone book under Janna’s mattress while she was in the bathroom to see if she noticed and the verdict was:

SHE AIN’T NO PRINCESS YO.

I don’t know why, but Chooch and I got super giddy in this place and couldn’t stop laughing and then Chooch got the hiccups so by the time Henry was DONE, we were walking over to meet up with him and Chooch hiccuped SO LOUD and people were like, “the fuck. get out of our college.”

Anyway, I really want Chooch to go here now because guess where else they have a campus? OH, INCHEON, SOUTH KOREA, BOY.

By now, it was almost 3 so Chooch and I decided to walk back to EagleBank and get in line for check-in.

Thankfully, the line wasn’t too long, and we were entertained by chatting with the friendly people around us, including a woman even older than me who also loved Taemin! Every once in awhile, we would see people go running frantically through the courtyard because someone would appear and begin handing out freebies. I kept using Chooch as my runner so we wouldn’t lose our place in line. Once, he came back with a little package of Taemin stickers. I sent him back to get some for the lady behind us but they were all out by then; he said people were like mobbing the girl handing them out and screaming, “DO YOU HAVE BAEKHYUN! KAI! TAEMIN!” K-pop is a real scene, you guys.

Another time he came back with a homemade “SuperM” bead bracelet, which he said he was keeping for himself. Rude. We also got a banner for Baekhyun and Mark, made by their fan sites.

My other scene was not like this at all. Granted, we used to get a lot of free swag at Warped Tour, but that was mostly from local bands giving away samplers or clothing companies doing contests, etc. This is all stuff from fans, and it’s so awesome. I love how much the fans love each other and their idols. Especially in this case, with SuperM bringing together 4 different fan bases.

When he wasn’t being lackey, Chooch stood quietly in line, reading The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, which is a real uplifting read.

Anyway, the doors opened promptly at 3:30, which I loved, and we were inside at the check-in table in no time. I loved how organized it was! Once we claimed our VIP merch (a collectible VIP lanyard, canvas bag, bandana, hat, and a reallllly high-quality tour poster that I would classify more as a print and is going to get matted and framed here very soon), we got to go to a special merch booth to purchase additional goods without having to wait in line with the common folk, lol. Chooch really wanted the official SuperM lightstick and I really wanted him to have it because it just feels wrong going to a kpop concert without a lightstick, but it was $60! It pained me, but I bought it because, I don’t know, YOLO or whatever. We wanted to show our support for SuperM so it was worth it in the end!

On the way back to the car (Henry was like, “Fuck no, I’m not waiting out there with you”), soundcheck started and we were able to hear part of Can’t Stand the Rain and Jopping! This is Chooch’s “Hark, is that Mark’s part I hear?” expression. We were REALLY GETTING STOKED NOW!!

But…we still had two hours to kill. Henry suggested we walk across the street to Dunkin’ Donuts, so we hung out there for a little while with some other SuperM fans pre-gaming with Coolattas and breakfast sandwiches. I kept trying to get Henry to buy himself one of the single nosebleed seats that were still available, but even the $50 tickets came out to be almost $80 by the time Ticketmaster was done inflating it like a trendy unicorn pool float. I think he was beginning to feel a bit of FOMO because no matter what anyone thinks, Henry likes k-pop and SuperM and yes, Taemin singularly too.

By the time we got back to the EagleBank parking lot, I was ready to keel over with nerves. Chooch and I ended up getting in line around 5:30 and of course the dumbest duo of moms waddled over behind us and proceeded to say, “THEY NEED TO JUST OPEN THE DOORS” and “WHEN ARE THEY GOING TO LET US IN” and “THIS IS RIDICULOUS” back and forth to each other like some weird SNL skit that forgot to be funny and I was like, “Doors don’t open until 6, though?! It clearly stated that on the tickets? Why is this confusing?” I swear some people get off on complaining. We are such an angry nation.

Guess what time they opened the doors? 6:00. BOOM.

NEXT POST: THE ACTUAL CONCERT OMG HOLD MY HAND AND TELL ME IT’S GONNA BE OK.

Nov 222019
 

I woke up Sunday morning sick to my goddamn stomach. 100% pre-show, I’m-seeing-Taemin-today wad of electric nerves in the pit of my gut. The last time I felt this sick before a concert was in 2017 when I saw G-Dragon, and the time before that was in 2000 when I saw The Cure in Australia.

So, now you know.

The concert was in Fairfax, Virginia. I got ready, put my Taemin socks on, stuck my arrived-just-in-time Taemin “Jopping” pin on my sweater, and we were out the door by 7AM.

The pin is based on this frame from the “Jopping” video – Taemin’s signature King of Dance pose:

I always forget how close the DC area is to Pittsburgh, I guess because we typically find ourselves going east into New York or west into Ohio/Chicago for concerts or whatnot, and rarely south. I wish more Kpop concerts played DC because I would gladly choose those ones over fucking NEWARK, please Lord don’t give me any reasons to travel to Newark in the near future unless it’s something that I can’t deny, like a Taemin solo concert. I’d become a Newark resident if that’s what it took for me to see Taemin again, and that’s maybe a tiny bit hyperbolic, but YOU DON’T KNOW ME AND MY SNAP DECISIONS.

Step off!

Our drive was pretty uneventful. We ate a sleepy to-go breakfast from Sheetz, Chooch slept, and I kept chanting “omgomgomgomgomg” while Henry drove with glazed-over eyes.

I took a mirror selfie in some truck stop gas station so I could always remember what I wore when I saw TAEMIN FOR THE FIRST TIME HOLY SHIT. I’m not then type of person who gets all slutted up for concerts or wears band shirts or whatever. I wore the aforementioned Taemin socks and pin and felt that was sufficient, although I did have remorse for not making a Taemin headband like I had briefly considered, especially after we got to the venue and I saw so many various bias headbands and wow, I’m a terrible kpop stan.

Also, “stan” is such a fucking stupid word, isn’t it!?

We arrived in Fairfax, Virginia around 11, I think. Check-in for the VIP tickets was at 3:30 so we didn’t want to go to DC or do anything else too involved, in case something went awry BECAUSE YOU NEVER KNOW. So we went straight to the venue to scope it out (it was at the basketball arena on the George Mason University campus) – there were numerous parking lots and they were all free so Henry was extremely stoked about that.

I was so excited to see that some of my kpop brethren were already gathering around the arena gates and then the waves of acid in my stomach went from “baby splashing in the bathtub” to “FAT GUY JUST BELLY-FLOPPED IN THE POOL.” Look, it was really hard for me to enjoy any of the minutes preceding the concert because I was in this nervous haze, my heart rate was up (FitBit told me so), and I had the sweats. Maybe similar to the meat sweats? I DON’T KNOW, I DON’T DO MEAT.

Do you get like that before a concert, ever? I very rarely get THIS WORKED UP, but I would always accumulate moderate pre-show nerves, especially ones that I was going to solo. People will tell you that after you do it for awhile, you get used to it, but those people must be way more numb inside than me because I never got used to it, although I was always OK once I got inside the venue and staked out a spot. But man, those moments leading up to that were stressful and semi-sickening.

But this one…this was so different. I never thought I would get to see Taemin in real life, and I know I keep saying “Taemin Taemin Taemin” like he’s the Marsha of SuperM, and I do feel bad about that, because SuperM is dope for real and even if he wasn’t in it, I still would have got tickets to this show. But Taemin. I would pay the price I did even just to see him walk out on the stage and wave for a minute and leave. Just to know that I was in the same state as him, the same building, under the same roof, breathing the same air. He is just such a brilliant artist and I go on about him so much on here because I think everyone should know about him!

After scoping out the venue, we decided to get an early lunch even though food was the last thing on my mind which happens very rarely so you know I had it bad. Come back later for a LUNCH REVIEW. Annyeong.