Apr 142021
 

You guys, SHINee is back again and I am IN LAHHHHHHHHHVE with this video and song and the outfits and the dancing and Onew’s sweet smile Taemin’s lavender hair and Key’s Prince-esque purple sequined get-up and Minho’s signature swagger, and and and….how is SHINee so consistently this good?? I shared it with my friend Nate yesterday at work and he said he reminded him of the underwater levels of Super Mario Bros which made me like it even more and then he made the fatal mistake of asking me what it means that this song is from the 7th full length repackage album which sent me spiraling into the abyss of Kpop facts and I’m sure he was sorry he asked but he *did* say that he was going to listen to more SHINee so I think it’s safe to say that we will be calling Nate a Shawol any day now.

This new song is also on the repackage and I really think it’s my new current favorite SHINee song – that Onew falsetto!!!! I have said before that if it wasn’t for Taemin, Onew would be my SHINee bias. His voice is not talked about enough:

Area brings me to tears. This is so signature SHINee, my eyes are actually burning right now help me. I keep saying “Alexa, play it again” like I’m in a trance.

In semi-related news, Henry and I went to get a new car last night. We have been a one-car family for, well, forever because pretty much right after Henry moved in with me a million years ago, he totaled his car and then we just always had one which actually hasn’t been too much of an inconvenience since we were always either working opposite shifts and then I was able to easily commute to my current job, plus we live in an area where most things are super accessible by walking. However, our current car is nearly paid off so we felt it was time to add a second and the next logical step to my transitioning lifestyle was clearly to go Korean.

So we chose a Hyundai Kona!

Henry and I had to go to the dealer last night to make it official, and before we left, I mused in half-seriousness that I needed to choose a purse that made me look more “mature” and Henry literally scoffed at this. I guess he didn’t notice what I had chosen, because when we got out of the car at the dealership, he said, “Really? That’s the one you went with?” I mean, considering my options are anything from souvenir theme park popcorn carriers, sparkly animal purses from the little girls section at Target, and bloody butcher knives, I think this was a pretty good choice!

It was between this one and my NCT127 Cherry Bomb purse that has the see-through window to show off my NCT enamel pins. Who has time for bland grown-up purses?!

Anyway, we already had the car picked out and did the financial stuff online beforehand, so it was mostly just a lot of sitting around and waiting for the finance guy to be ready. I was more than happy to let Henry do all the talking to the sales guy up until then because B-O-R-I-N-G but I got irrationally up in arms when it came to the point where the dude was setting up our Bluelink and needed a pin. He asked HENRY even though it had been stated numerous times that I was going to be the primary owner/driver of this car. I shot Henry an icy look that he completely failed to read, and he proceeded to give the guy the last 4 digits of his phone number to use. I sat there with my mouth hanging open and glared at Henry.

“What?” he mouthed to me.

The sales guy turned to his computer to start adding the info and I LITERALLY PUT MY FINGER IN THE AIR, leaned in, and said, “Actually? Can we use *-*-*-* instead?” The sales guy was like, “Oh, certainly!” while Henry groaned and said, “We could have changed it ourselves later!”

“Yeah but I want it to be this RIGHT NOW,” I sat back smugly. A small victory, but a victory nonetheless. Sometimes we don’t always the have big mallet on hand when smashing the patriarchy, and have to make due with taking out small gouges with a grapefruit spoon instead.

What does that even mean. I didn’t sleep well and have a headache.

Henry said he was bracing himself for me to blurt out my Ode to Korea when the finance guy asked us what made us choose a Hyundai, but I was too tired. We had been there for like 3 hours by then and I just wanted to stop scribbling my name everywhere (usually I LOVE TO WRITE MY NAME) and go home where Chooch was pouting because of course I texted him while we were there and told him we wee actually unable to get a new car after all because having a kid mean fucking with their emotions constantly (oh no, is someone going to call CPS on me again??).

Anyway, after being the last fucking people left in that place, we drove home with two cars. And because this happened smack in the middle of a new SHINee comeback, I decided to name my new car Jinki, after Onew. (Onew is his stage name, Lee Jin-ki is his actual Korean name.)

We are tentatively going to venture back into the world of road trips here soon, once we’re fully vaccinated so we will definitely be getting a lot of use out of Jinki! Also, I haven’t had a white car since my very first car – my beloved Eagle Talon, Cassie Lane!

I gotta get some SHINee accoutrements for this pretty boy.

Awkward photos. HNC was outside and I wanted to hurry up before the obliggy “YINZ GIT A NEW CAR?” convo happened.

I’m fully prepared for our Cruze to shit the bed now because isn’t that how life always works?

Mar 262021
 

When I first started to listening to Kpop in 2015, I was surprised for several reasons:

  1. I don’t know what I was expecting Kpop to sound like, but my first impression was to think: “Holy shit this music is better than anything I’ve been hearing on American radio.” I was TOTALLY part of the problem, you guys. I had subconsciously written it off in my head as “lesser than” because the majority of white Americans, whether we know it or not, are programed to think this way unless presented with an opportunity to deviate from the racist norm of this damn country and come up with their own damn opinion. And as annoyed as I am when I share a Kpop MV with a work friend and they say “That’s actually good,” I can’t be too critical because I was once that person, too.
  2. There are a lot of Kpop idols who are actually Asian American. (Also: not all Kpop idols are Korean.)

In America, AAPI is invisible to the music industry. Think about it: how many Asian Americans can you name that are currently on rotation on Top 40 radio stations? Now go back several several decades and think about it. The more I started learning about Kpop and getting into different groups, I learned that the Asian American members left the US (Canada too) and moved to South Korea in an effort to have a better chance at a music career. And these artists, you guys, they have more talent than most of the shit we are being forcefed in car commercials, the grocery store aisles, etc.

Imagine, as a kid, knowing that you were born with this beautiful voice, or the body to dance like no other, and realizing at a certain point that your odds of breaking into the US whitebread market are pretty abysmal. So now you have to leave your family and home behind and move across the world to South Korea in hopes of building a career off your natural talent.

Imagine that.

When I first got into BIGBANG and realized how huge they are around the rest of the world, I was naively shocked that I had never heard of them before, and also perplexed at how they hadn’t managed to crossover to the US market like Psy had (btw Psy is not a one-hit wonder, and I always have to laugh when people here think that Gangnam Style was just some gimmicky one-off – Psy is insanely popular everywhere else and has his own label now). And when BTS’s ambitious fans aggressively pushed them into the ears of America, I was really excited at first but then realized, “Wait, this is America, this could be bad” and sure enough – the racists proved me right. The comments I’ve seen on articles or Instagram posts about them have been heartbreaking, infuriating, and just plain disgusting.

I was having a conversation once at work with my friend Regina about BTS, and when I said that they aren’t even the best Kpop group, just the ones who got lucky enough to make it big, she was like,  “I wonder why it hasn’t happened to more groups yet.” I looked her dead in the eye and said, “Because America only has room for one.”

So today, I want to put the spotlight on some of my favorite Asian American singers who deserve so much more recognition here in the US and I am BEGGING you to listen to at least one or two, please, show your support to these hardworking and talented people!!

  1. Jessi

Born in New York, Jessi is so goddamn badass. Not only is her music fierce, but her personality is HUGE! Henry and I love watching her on Korean TV shows, making everyone uncomfortable, lol

Why isn’t this on the radio here?

2. Amber Liu

Amber is probably my favorite from this list. Once a member of the beloved SM group f(x), she is now back in LA pursuing a solo career and we NEED TO SUPPORT HER. The CRJ vibes in this one, tho:

And if you’re looking for something to add to your Peloton playlist, this is one of her older solo songs, when she was still in Korea:

I believe f(x) was actually the first Kpop group to ever perform at SXSW, which is a fun Amber-related fact. (Yes – it was in 2013!)

3. Bobby

Bobby is a Korean rapper from Virginia. He moved to South Korea, won a bunch of music survival shows, and went on to become one of the most prominent rappers in the scene. He’s currently the rapper in Ikon, but he has some solo stuff as well:

I also want to include this track he did several year ago with a side project of his and Song Mino’s:

4. Eric Nam

Eric is from Atlanta, and before we get into his music, I want to leave you with a link to the Op Ed piece he wrote for Time in the wake of the Atlanta spa shootings. 

This is SUCH AN ICONIC SPRING JAM FOR ME.

5. Tiffany Young

Tiffany was born and raised in California and moved to Seoul as a teenager to become a trainee at SM, where she subsequently became a member of one of THE MOST LEGENDARY KPOP GIRL GROUPS IN THE WORLD: Girl’s Generation. She opted to not renew her contract a few years ago and has since been working on her US solo career.

Every time I hear this song, I mourn the fact that it wasn’t around in the 80s for me to request at my rollerskating birthday parties:

You know what guys? Fuck Friday 5! Here are some more!

6. Ailee

HOLY FUCKING SHIT THIS GIRL’S VOICE COULD BE A WEAPON. Every time I listen to her, I lament the fact that she’s not rubbing elbows with Beyonce at the top of the charts. How!? This is a travesty.

I’m posting this but I can’t watch it because this song is from my favorite Korean drama, Goblin, and just hearing the opening notes guts me, but this is an excellent example of Ailee’s live vocals:

But yeah, keep putting Taylor Swift at the top, America.

7. Henry Lau

Henry is actually Canadian-born but I’m including him here because he’s Henry and this list would be remiss without him because he is a DELIGHT and also a classically trained violinist.

^^^^ This is from another FANTASTIC Korean drama: While You Were Sleeping, and now I’m crying lololol.

My Henry also loves Henry, lol.

8. Chungha

Chungha is another bonus/exception because she was born in South Korea and then spent a chunk of her childhood in Texas. But when she decided she wanted to pursue a career in entertainment, she moved back to South Korea. America, we could have had this:

You guys know she’s one of my faves so I had to fit her into this list!!

****

I know that sharing some music videos isn’t revolutionary or a game-changer in the grand scheme of things, but I really am trying to keep this #StopAsianHate conversation going. I’m saddened at how little I have been seeing across my social media on this topic. Where are all the white allies?! White influencers have also been suspiciously quiet (but you go ahead and post those photos of your Starbucks match latte!).

I hope that you will take some time to watch some of these. Maybe you will find something you like! It’s beyond time for the American music industry to start being more inclusive. I personally have had enough of Halsey and all the other girl singers that do that weird fake baby vocal fry. Let’s make room for the Ambers and Ailees of the world, thank you.

(I am also donating 100% of March sales over at Hello Hanguk to AAPI organizations, and Henry and I also signed up for a Bystander Intervention training webinar. There is so much more work to be done, so much more education we need to seek out, and so much more self-reflecting that we can do. Don’t be ashamed to admit that you need to work on adjusting the lens in which you see others, because I definitely have a long ways to go! I can’t, as a white person, sit here and say that I am 100% perfect because I clearly am discovering hidden biases within myself that I never knew existed until it had the opportunity to be exposed. (Case in point: my “shock” that Kpop music was “actually good.”)

Feb 222021
 

Sometimes I make a conscious effort to not coat this Internet space with fan girl vom, but I have no control over that today because it’s SHINee’s comeback, their first one since Onew, Key, and Minho have been discharged from the military!

The 7th album is every synonym of a chefs kiss. My favorite song is either Body Rhythm or Kiss Kiss, but the first single Don’t Call Me is also PERFECTION – they all look and sound so good. Ugh that ubiquitous SHINee sound!

Most of you know that they’re my second favorite Korean group but honestly, if BIGBANG’s hiatus lasts any longer, they might end up eclipsing them at some point here.

JUST PUTTING THAT OUT THERE.

Actual clothes worn by SHINee! This is from the SM Town museum in Seoul.

I have felt like I’ve been on the receiving end of the warmest, most familiar hug while listening to this new album and I hope it’s always like that for me.

THIS SONG TOO THO ugh I can’t pick a favorite but this song has THAT SHINEE SOUND that makes me feel this intensely strong pull to South Korea. It’s seriously like the biggest crush I’ve ever had.

I get some low-key 1980s-era Genesis vibes from the instrumentals on this track which obvi makes me love it more.

Today when Henry came home from work, I screamed DID U WATCH THE SHINEE VIDEO and he was like “of course I did, duh” and I think it really says so much that he also is into Kpop comebacks, when he never gave a single shit or reacted at all to any of the new releases from the Warped Tour-esque bands I used to love.

Laugh all you want but Kpop changed my life for the better and – I don’t want to say “saved” because we weren’t like on the skids or anything, but it gave Henry and me something to BOTH LIKE AT THE SAME TIME. Omg a shared interest?!

I’m just so stoked on this new SHINee right now and I would really love to have a Kpop party to brainwash all of my friends with it. Ugh fuck you Covid. Winter sucks in general but a winter after a year of semi-isolation sucks the most. I’m going to have so many imaginary friends by the time we’re in the clear, maybe even enough to start my own girl group.

In other news, I was super hyper because of SHINee and pretending to puke down Henry’s shirt but when I grabbed his collar to tug it, my cold hands touched his skin and he reflexively turned and we banged heads and now I think I have a concussion for a super dumb reason. This is almost as bad as when I wanted to see how hard I would have to squeeze a Milk-Bone to break it and when it snapped, it sliced me in that weird turkey-chin part of the hand between the thumb and pointer finger and my mom was like YOU BETTER PRAY YOU DONT NEED STITCHES BC I AM NOT TAKING YOU TO THE HOSPITAL FOR THAT.

Feb 012021
 

The other night, I was watching the episode of Schitt’s Creek where Stevie has a Sarah McLachlan poster in her apartment and I was reminded of the fact that I have not listened to Sarah McLachlan (accidentally catching a few notes of one of those depressing animal commercials soundtracked by Eyes of an Angel doesn’t count – that song will never be the same again) on purpose since I was probably 19 or 20. I was home alone for a bit on Sunday and decided to remedy that while having COZY BOOK TIME. So I put on Fumbling Towards Ecstasy and immediately felt like some other, long-repressed Erin had resurfaced and suddenly I wanted to put on a flow-y skirt with sandals and tuck a daisy behind my ear.

(Fun fact: I used to wear long skirts all the time, even when just hanging out at home, but then some of the guys I worked with at the meat place made low key rapey comments and would ya look at that, I’ve only worn pants for the last 20 years. Huh.)

My Sarah McLachlan obsession started accidentally when I was in high school, scamming Columbia House and BMG – you remember those ads where you could choose 10 CDs for a penny or whatever? I think eventually they upped it to “for the price of one CD” but I took advantage of this SO MANY TIMES. And if they didn’t have anything I wanted, I would just choose random stuff that looked cool. That’s how I ended up with Fumbling Toward Ecstasy and whatever album she had that came out before that one.

What stands out the most to me is that F.T.E. was that rare album in the 90s where it was 100% listenable the whole way through. Oh man, I can’t tell you how many times I bought a CD back in the day only to realize that the only good song was the radio single. I guess that’s why cassingles were so popular back then! But F.T.E. was like a deep tissue massage for my brain. My bedroom senior year of high school in 1996 was super cozy and vibe-y – I had all kinds of strands of lights, lava lamps, neon, a deep purple carpet and foiled wallpaper. Those TicToc kids don’t have SHIT on my 1990s boudoir! And goddamn, that album got a lot of play time back then. I was super depressed most of the time so this shouldn’t be too shocking.

Anyway, all of that is fine and dandy, but the one thing that pushed its way to the forefront of my mind yesterday while floating down this aural memory lane was that Psycho Mike made fun of me SO HARD for liking Sarah McLachlan. It was “so gay.” I have this strong image of us standing in the basement of my parent’s house, next to a spare dining room table, while he mocked me about it and I know what you’re thinking, “Wow, Erin this is the second time in less than a month that music has made you write about Psycho Mike sounds like SOMEONE is still hung up” and you know what, you’re right! I am not over that toxic relationship. I still have nightmares, for Christ’s sake! He did a real number on me and I probably still require several years of therapy!

But then, and this is the part of my memory that’s hazy, it was either the cheerleader he met at the juvenile psychiatric facility he was sent to in 1997 and temporarily dumped me for, or the girl he starting dated two years later after we had officially broken for good, but one of them also really like Sarah McLachlan so then he suddenly did too. Fuck you, Psycho Mike.

[I also went through a brief Jewel phase back then which I forgot about (purposely blacked out?) until last week when Chooch and I walked to 802 Cafe and “Foolish Games” was playing. Wow, I had a physical response to that one, that’s for sure.]

Later on, I heard the tail end of Duran Duran’s “Come Undone” wafting down the steps from the radio in my bedroom so I was like OH SHIT MY JAM and hurriedly put the video on YouTube while assisting Henry in Valentine Land. As soon as that ended though, I had Sade’s “No Ordinary Love” queued up to play.

“What’s making you listen to Sade?” Henry asked, probably confused by the sudden deluge of music with English lyrics.

“Well, because I just listened to ‘Come Undone’ by Duran Duran and that will always be connected with ‘No Ordinary Love’ in my head because they were both popular around the same time and it reminds me of when my bedroom was arranged in a certain way that I loved.”

Henry gave me that “…ok” smirk so I continued to explain. “Actually I hated it at first because my mom waited until I was on vacation with my grandparents to rearrange it and then I came home from Europe, jet-lagged, to a strange room!” I cried incredulously.

“Yeah, that doesn’t make me feel sorry for you,” Henry sighed.

I need to learn to read the room.

And then I went back to my Sarah McLachlan loop which made Henry ponder about Lilith Fair.

“Didn’t you go to Lilith Fair?” he asked.

“Nope.”

“Are you sure?” he pressed, looking so fucking sure of himself.

“Pretty sure I would remember attending Lilith Fair,” I said in that teenaged tone spiced with the perfect amount of derision and condescension that I reserve just for him.

“Hmm,” Henry sighed, staring into space. “….did go to Lilith Fair…?”

And then we spent the next 35 minutes trying to remember Ani DiFranco’s name and had a huge fight because I put on “Uninvited” by Alanis Morrisette and HE DIDN’T KNOW WHO IT WAS.

“HOW DO YOU NOT RECOGNIZE HER VOICE,” I screamed, like this was a personal affront, equivalent to not knowing my middle name or Kpop bias.

“WELL IF I DIDN’T KNOW THIS SONG BEFORE, I SURE KNOW IT NOW!” he yelled after the 4th different live version of it played on YouTube.

I really wish I had more pictures of my old bedroom, is my main takeaway of the weekend’s music memories. Oh, and that I need therapy to work through the Psycho Mike stuff. (“I don’t think I’m over the stuff Psycho Mike did to me” I said to Henry and his response was a very dry, “wow, no shit.” LOLZ.)

Jan 262021
 

Are you sick of seeing the dumb shit we’ve been doing around the house? Sorry, but there is NOTHING ELSE GOING ON IN MY LIFE RIGHT NOW. Work. Read. Exercise. Think of shit to change around the house.

That’s it. That’s my life.

Anyway, I wanted to show the new addition to the Cure sitting area that literally no one will be using anytime soon!

We had this ugly side table from Goodwill – I can’t remember why we bought it but I guess at some point I really had to have it. We originally had it painted black with a red glitter top which was never actually finished so the top got all shitty and it was impossible to clean.

Henry sanded it down and we painted it red with a pink top and I knew from the get go that I wanted the top to have lips on it to match the Robert Smith lips theme. Originally I was going to try and find some type of scrapbook paper, and then I moved on to looking for lip confetti. But then!

I found!

The most glorious!

Sequined!

Lip!

Patches!

OH BABY. These patches turned out to be exactly what I didn’t know I needed. I ordered several sets, Henry fucked everything up several times, but then eventually we got to the epoxy-pouring part. This is Henry’s least favorite DIY thing. He’s worked with epoxy before, back when we used to make pendants for my defunct art shop on Etsy. He pretty much hates epoxy. And it wasn’t his friend this time, either but he persevered (in between long nights of making serial killer Valentines – what even is our life, I have no idea).

It’s not perfect, but it’s level and works as a functioning table top, and that’s all that really matters!

The space that the table is living in is so dimly lit that you can’t even see the imperfections, anyway, but I did want to be up front about the fact that this project was not 100% perfect. Epoxy is no fucking joke. Henry suggested doing one pour to try and even out the swirls from where the plastic covering dropped on it and I screamed, “NO!” because with our luck, it will just make it worse! You literally can’t even see (or feel) the swirls unless you move the table into a brightly lit room. We always have the hall light set on pink in this area so it’s fine.

It’s the perfect table to display my copy of Charlotte Sometimes, gifted to me several years for my birthday by Sandy! (If you know the Cure, you know that they wrote their song “Charlotte Sometimes” about this book. If Chooch would have been a girl, his name was going to be Charlotte, and I was of course fighting for his middle name to be Sometimes, and I’m sure I eventually would have won that battle and 14-year-old Charlotte would probably really fucking hate me right now.)

And of course I needed a lip planter to really nature up the spot.

On the adjacent wall, there will eventually be a small shelf and at least two more The Cure pictures. I have this one screenprint from the Cure concert my brother Corey and I attended in Philly back in 2008, which still needs framed, but I think that would look really nice there too?!

I need a different rug for this space, though. I currently have my a red shag heart in my cart, but I JUST DON’T KNOW.

Jan 182021
 

We usually have a small clock-radio playing lightly in our bedroom at all times, dialed in on some inoffensive station that plays more “classic” Top 40 with the occasional current hit sprinkled in for good measure. Basically, it’s dentist office tunes, where one minute you might be blessed with some deeply nostalgic Depeche Mode track, and then just as quickly annoyed by some Miley Cyrus shit-song. I just like not knowing what I’m going to walk into each time I enter throughout the day (and sometimes I can even hear what’s playing from downstairs, prompting me to scream over the TV “ooh it’s my jam!” to which Henry scowls, “How can you HEAR that?!”).

All of this is to say that I was awoken one morning last week by the opening acapella pining of Tonic’s “If You Could Only See” and with tears spurting out of my eyes, I was suddenly drop-kicked back to 1997, the autumn after senior year, sitting in a lobby of the McKeesport YWCA waiting to take my GED test because yes, I was a high school drop out. There was only a month or so left of senior year, I was in a shitty relationship with a psychopath, I had zero support or understanding from my family, I had been grieving my grandfather’s death for over a year with no reprieve, and my mental state was largely ignored. Back then, as a 17-year-old brat, I chocked my decision up to rebelling, trying to get a rise from parents who didn’t pay attention to me. It wasn’t drugs, I wasn’t a teen mom, I wasn’t failing (I was on the fucking honor roll lol) – I just made a stupid, knee-jerk, stubborn decision to not get out of bed anymore because being in those halls made me feel like I was going to scream.  I would realize later on that I had a sort of mental breakdown and my ability to make “normal people” decisions had taken a back seat. I was literally lost.

Choices were made, amigos and chingus.

Fast forward a few months: my friend Christy, who knew that I was better than that, urged me to get my GED so that I could at least get a job. I had nothing else to do – all of my friends had gone away to college and I was just toiling around with Psycho Mike, on the verge of making the leap from rich suburban girl to legit white trash. So, why not? Let’s GED this bitch up.

And that’s how I wound up in the McKeesport YWCA, striking up conversation with a super cute and hilarious guy whom I felt SO STRONGLY was The One but now I can’t even remember his name. Dante? Damien?  All I remember is that he was super into computers (“I like taking them apart and putting them back together,” he said and I thought this was dumbest yet most interesting thing ever, like OMG can I watch?) and planned on going to school for that, and he lived in the nearby town of Dravosburg.

The GED test was spread out over two evenings, and we both arrived too early on each evening, hanging out in the lobby and talking before the doors to the testing room opened up. On both nights, we were the first to finish (I might have giddily rushed through it so that I would have more time to talk to him) and I remember distinctly sitting in this alcove/balcony area during the breaks we were allotted each night, and he even chivalrously sat with me while I waited for my ride after the testing was over, talking like we had known each other forever. He gave me his number, and when Psycho Mike picked me up after the second night of the testing was over, Mike was of course enraged to find me talking to another guy. I remember stopping at Firehouse Videos that night on the way home m to rent Dario Argento movies, and then having a huge argument in the basement of my parent’s house. I didn’t even care because meeting the new guy was a sign: I had incentive to dump Psycho Mike. Because in my stupid high school drop-out brain, having a rebound guy was better incentive than, I dunno, protecting myself from further abuse?! Teenagers are so FUCKING DUMB.

But then I couldn’t find GED dude’s number! And I hadn’t given him mine! I even called my friend Justin who also lived in Dravsoburg and asked him if he knew him, told him the whole Shakespearean dilemma, and could he locate this guy? Could he give him my number? Dravosburg is small, right?!

Justin said he would see what he could do, which was nothing because at the end of the day, we may have been “friends” but we were also “exes” and he wasn’t on board with pimping me out I guess.

So I never talked to that guy again, but I thought about him occasionally for the next several years, particularly anytime I would hear that Tonic song, which was popular at that time and for whatever reason, I associated it with him.

I did end up, obviously, dumping Psycho Mike but it wouldn’t be until another 6 months or so. And what would have happened if I hadn’t lost that guy’s number? How would that have changed the trajectory of my life? Would I have still met Henry? SO MANY QUESTIONS!

Hilariously (but not), several years later, now with Henry as my boyfriend, I had decided to go to college. In order to enroll at Pitt, I needed my high school transcript which made me so fucking nervous because I had never seen them and wasn’t really looking forward to taking that awkward and painful stroll down memory lane. I had to pick up the transcripts in person and I can remember bursting into tears in the parking lot afterward – I had actually graduated high school. After all of that, all of the passive-aggressive shaming my dad put me through, the childish bullying I endured any time I ran into enemies from high school*, the hassle of going to McKeesport and taking the GED exam, I had been a high school graduate that whole time. I remember back then, a friend telling me that there was a seat saved for me at commencements but I didn’t believe it then. I guess it was true.

*[Notably, the time I was at Denny’s with my friend Brian and that broad Cinn I mentioned recently, and two dumb bitches I hated more than anyone (I didn’t know about Trump yet) stood next to my booth in order and plunked quarters into the Claw Machine. “I’m really good at this,” Mindy said theatrically and extra-loud, as though her cunt friend Christine wasn’t standing RIGHT NEXT TO HER. “I went to college.” At this, they both collapsed into red neck chortles. OH BURN. So you went to college to learn a skill that requires you spend $1.00 on a 5 cent plushie? COOL!]

Anyway, both of those bitches are miserable and basic.

I was a mess in 1997: I was suicidal, directionless, hopeless, I saw no future for myself. So I chose some controversial paths, but those paths miraculously spilled me out into a pretty good spot in life. I made my own awesome family, I have a handful of loyal and amazing friends, and I have a decent job which maybe I’m not passionate about but that decent job affords me to focus my free time on things I AM passionate about. I dunno, I think I’ve done ok for myself in spite of some abysmal choices.

If I could only see all of that back in 1997.

LOL, see also: deep thoughts inspired by an ok song.

Jan 142021
 

GOT7 members to leave label JYP Entertainment: reports | ABS-CBN News

It was announced recently that GOT7 has parted ways with their OG label, JYP. It looks like they’re signing one by one to new labels, I read that Mark is coming back to LA to try his luck at a solo career here in racist America, and Jin-Young might be focusing solely on acting….while I will continue to support each member in their new, individual endeavors, it is going to take me a long time to mourn GOT7 as a whole! Each member posted the above picture on their individual IG accounts with #GOT7FOREVER and you better believe it was a “no mascara” day for me after that.

They were one of the first groups I grew to love through kpop cardio. They were/are Chooch’s bias group. They are CRITICALLY UNDERRATED. Please, I beg you, forget about BTS for one goddamn second (they are not the best there is!!) and give GOT7 some love. Their dancing is FIERY and their looks have always been stunning. Visuals always killing it. Vocals? Better than “your faves,” fight me.

Here are some of my favorites:

SarahKpop made one of my favorite kpop dance workouts to this song, which was how I first heard it!

When this song came out, it was seared into my brain for a full year.

THE COLORS, VOCALS, MOVES. ALL THOSE BOOKS?!!? (OK here come the tears lol.)

This makes me want to punch things!

I love their cute aegyo side,  too! Also, this song has such a sweet message.

This is one of my ALL TIME faves.

We (a/k/a me, myself, I) made the last minute decision in June 2019 to buy tickets to their Toronto show and I am so fucking relieved and grateful of that decision as it would end up being the one and only time Chooch and I got to see them perform live. 

The first time we were in Seoul, we even staked out JYP in hopes of catching a glimpse of them, like true Kpop sasaengs!

Walking Figure Eights in Gangnam: 3/28/18

Anyway, here also is what is supposedly their last performance as GOT7, from the Golden Disc Awards earlier this week; the second song they perform is my current favorite, which I posted about a few weeks ago:

I know that in the grand scheme of things, this is probably the best thing for them. They weren’t treated well by JYP and now they’re finally free of their contractual chains to pursue other avenues to happiness.

OK I have to go now that I have thoroughly depressed myself. If you watched any of these and liked one or whatever, let me know since I am sad and need friendly banter. LE SIGH!!!!!!!!!

 

Dec 232020
 

How you doing today, Lucy? You good, Mary? OK cool because I got a fun pandemic decorating tale for you today so if you wanna just go ahead and fluff your tuffet – go on, I’ll wait.

I think I mentioned in here recently that I really wanted to clean up the little hallway area upstairs (when I say little, I MEAN little – there’s just two bedrooms and a bathroom up there so the hallway is basically a rectangular block). There used to be this big, wavy metal shelf at the top which was fine when I lived alone but then HENRY moved in and started leaving random tools and other masculine sundry on the shelves, and then I accidentally put too many photo albums and journals on it and it always kind of looked like it was one hard gust of air away from toppling. Plus, Drew kept jumping on it and it was just a crisis waiting to happen.

Then I got the idea to make it the Cure corner, because with that Seoul subway sign’s impending arrival to the wall behind the couch, my Robert Smith self portrait was going to need a new home and it wasn’t going to be tucked away in the attic, believe me! This was one of my first eBay wins in 1999 and I paid too much for it to rot away under a pound of cobwebs.

So then it turned into, “Hey Henry, what if…” and this is the one thing I always say that makes him visibly clench, well, that and “I have an idea.” That one probably gives him angina though.

I think that Henry is really just in some weird Bob Vila groove now though because not only has he been tinkering away at my projects, but he’s also been fixing things on his own, too. Like things that I didn’t even realize were broken because I’m not an adult. He like, put in new plugs and stuff. In the walls. I don’t know, but he was doing stuff OK?!

All I did was tell him that I wanted to do this and he was like “OK” and took down the shelf and then asked what color the wall will be (at this point it’s more like “what shade of pink will this wall be?” and then he went to Lowe’s and got the paint and then, like, actually painted straight away and then when the first several panels of faux-plants arrived, HE HUNG THEM. Like, without me even having to nag! Has he finally realized that this is all it takes to keep the whine away?!

The first phase, it looked like this, and even then I was enamored! But I had a firm, clear vision of what I wanted the end result to look like, so we pressed on. First, I knew that I wouldn’t be happy with the picture hanging up there as it was. I should have reframed that thing years and years ago instead of leaving it in the plain metal frame it came in, but if ever there was a time…

We had recently bought a picture at Goodwill specifically for the frame because I planned to use it for a different project. It was too big for the Robert picture so we tried to find something comparable in a smaller size but we are still in the pandemic after all, and I’m extremely uneasy about being in stores, so after two tries, we quit. Then Henry was like, “You know, I could probably just cut down that frame you like and make it work” and I was like THIS IS WHY I STAY WITH YOU.

Literally, what can’t Henry do!? (Aside from completing my Seoul subway sign.)

FUCKKKKKKKK it is so beautiful, like something that would ACTUALLY be at the top of the stairway to Heaven.

The view from below.

Then FINALLY last night we had everything else that was needed: three neon lips and a strand of LED lights, and Henry got to work.

YES. YES, HENRY, THIS WILL DO.

Haven’t decided which other of the myriad Cure memorabilia in my collection will go on the adjacent wall. I also have a small table that used to be downstairs, and I’m painting it cherry red with a pink top that has sequined lip patches adhered to it, so look forward to that, Mary.

I couldn’t have asked for anything more once Henry lit this bitch up, but then he went rogue and installed an LED bulb in the ceiling fixture. HE DID THIS OF HIS OWN ACCORD!!!!

So now the whole corner is awash in pink! I imagine him standing in an aisle in Lowe’s, looking at the bulbs and muttering, “she wants pink? Oh, I’ll give her pink.”

Like I said, I really think the man is broken.

I want to get some extra fake foliage from the craft store and make some drip off the bottom so it looks like less of a severe cut-off there.

The print has a portion of what would become the lyrics to A Letter To Elise, which would be released on the Wish album.

“Could you make it so that the Cure is constantly wafting out of a hidden speaker somewhere up here?”

“We’ll see,” Henry mumbled. So I guess we’ll see, Lucy!

(Sorry, I’ve been doing Paul Eugene workouts again and he’s always talking to some imaginary Mary and Lucy and now I’ve picked it up like a bad tick.)

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.