It’s only too dangerous if you’re Muslim

I feel like I should start this off with a disclaimer (something which, now that I think about it, is sort of meta commentary in itself considered the state of current affairs. Heh.)

Uthman Badar is a very prominent figure in the Sydney/Australian Muslim community, and an extremely controversial one even amongst Muslim. It goes without saying that I disagree with about 90% of whatever he decides to blurt all over his public Facebook at any given time, and the 10% I do agree with is pretty much exclusively his views on ethnocentrism, Islamophobia and colonialism.

But see, this isn’t really about how I feel about Uthman Badar. Nor is it about what Uthman Badar’s radical viewpoints may be, misguided or not.

So today the Australian Media, and the mass of liberal advocates went completely bezerk in regards to Uthman Badar’s proposed topic at the Sydney Opera House for the “Dangerous Ideas” festical. The topic, “Honour Killings are Justified”, has, not surprisingly, rejoiced right-wing conservatives and liberal political activists in campaigning for one common goal. “Dangerous Minds” has responded to the criticism and outrage and has definitively pulled Uthman Badar’s talk from their programme.

I’m generally not inspired to write blog posts about every single hint of Islamophobia I see in the Australian media, because heh, who seriously has time for that? However, I wanted to write about this because I think this event CLEARLY illustrates how deep-rooted Islamophobia is. And most importantly, the fact you don’t have to be a conservative right-wing Christian nut like Fred Phelps, nor an anti-theist overly privileged white dude like Richard Dawkins, to be Islamophobic. Continue reading

Ryeowook & Sungmin: It’s about damn time

So when choosing which video to embed, it was a choice between good video or clear audio. I chose the audio ._.

So basically, I caught onto this solo a while after it was actually revealed, but that’s what happens when you blip out of the SJ fandom for even a second. To be honest, I wouldn’t even have known this existed had it not been for an anon on tumblr who asked me what my favourite bromance in Super Junior is — I promptly replied Sungmin and Ryeowook, and in my quest for a gif I found this and flailed.

This is basically what I have wanted for ages~

So the thing about Ryeowook and Sungmin and why I love them singing together leans more towards the Sungmin side of things obviously. Ryeowook, is obviously strong enough to sing whatever he damn well wants and make it sound absolutely amazing. Sungmin on the other hand, although he’s good enough and can hold his own, is obviously not an amazing singer, and can’t exactly sing whatever he wants. Another problem is that whenever he does a duet with someone, it never sounds… right, and the contrast between his timbre and generally everybody else’s is really drastic. Anyway, god bless that he’s in a group with Ryeowook, because when they harmonise it fits together so well.

Although I don’t think this is the best song choice, since there are times where Sungmin tends to stretch a bit thin, and Ryeowook sounds amazing, but he tends to sound a lot more amazing on faster paced songs, I’m just glad that it finally happened. And honestly, there are parts of this song that actually gave me chills, to be specific from 3:00 – 3:14, and just the structure of the chorus before that section, with alternating parts sounds so pretty. The contrast between Sungmin’s grainy timbre to Ryeowook’s clearer one is fantastic.

Something else I love is that no one is outshining no one else, they’re just singing as one. I feel like with them (okay, just Sungmin), it’s easy for them to be outshined (see the duet with Beige for proof), especially since their timbres aren’t the most conventionally upheld. Something about that fact makes them singing together really touching, for whatever reason.

But anyway, I really liked the idea of this. And I hope SM chooses to pursue this, hopefully not give them a ballad, but honestly, if Eunhyuk and Donghae get to be a duo, then so should Ryeowook and Sungmin!

Also, this is so much less contrived than the saturated fanservice that was the ‘Oppa Oppa’ performance. That hug at the end actually warmed my heart <3

[Exo Planet] YYJ Releases a New Single

Whatever. If I was to rank this against Yoo Young Jin’s RnB compositions, it’d be near the ‘meh’ end.

I always knew EXO-K would be more popular than EXO-M, but it sucks more now because EXO-M is obviously hotter.

Okay, snark aside. I’m going to make this short, because I’m really not impressed. I think this is more a teaser over anything, and if so then it’s one of the least impressive ones. Everything about this song is so obviously from YYJ’s womb, there’s nothing about it that makes it special to EXO. And I know you guys probably think I’m in over my head for saying this, since they haven’t debuted yet, but the audio I heard in the earlier teasers really made it sound like these guys had  a good style going on. But ‘What Is Love’ could be sang by any other SM power-vocal group, SM The Ballad, KRY, SHINee, DBSK, and I wouldn’t even blink an eye — but that’s that’s pretty much the deal with most of YYJ’s RnB creations. In fact, I think the latter four bands would do a better job of making it their own. Which although expected since they’re more experienced, is also not wanted because this is meant to be EXO’s song. HELLO? The fact YYJ is literally singing 80% of this doesn’t make anything any better.

On a more positive note, Lu Han is in the running for FAVOURITE. His voice reminds me of a less pitchy version of Ryeowook’s voice, which asdfghjkl, we all know how I feel about Wook’s voice right? It’s like a bell, so striking. Come on Tao, win back your place soon.

[General K-Pop] Kids React to K-Pop, I Grimace

Just so you know, I don’t like any of these kids react videos. Mostly because of the pretentious air that comes from most of them — whilst I don’t hate them for acting pretentious (being a former Queen of Pretentiousness myself) — it isn’t something I particularly like to watch. So basically I headed into this video expecting to be irked, and I got what I expected.

There seems to be two stances to this video. K-Pop fanboys/fangirls are butthurt, threatening the kids, deluded, can’t take criticism. And the rational K-Pop fans are supposedly laughing their asses off and rolling on the floor.

Well, I’ve always considered myself to be a rational K-Pop fan, but I’m not laughing.

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[Wonder Girls: Teasers] I Can Not Handle This

Oh, Wonder Girls. You have got to be one of the most boring KPop groups to ever make it big. This sounds really mean, I know. But here’s the thing; Wonder Girls have not released one interesting single. Most of their songs consist of one hook repeated over and over again, a minimalistic instrumental, they’re just bland to the max. I mean, ironically ‘Tell Me’ and the likes (Two Different Tears, So Hot) try to be preppy, but in the end they fall flat. And I can’t be bothered listening to them after the first two plays. The closest Wonder Girls have come to delivering a high-energy song is probably ‘Nobody’, which worked because it was safe. They brought nothing new to the table– and although one can argue Kpop never brings anything new to the table– with Wonder Girls there’s nothing. I feel like there’s something about Korean Pop music that makes it distinctively Korean Pop. Wonder Girls don’t have that. To me it sounds like they’re rehashing really boring western tunes.

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[110909 U-KISS] Someday + Neverland Live

I know most people seem to find ‘Someday’ nothing special at best, but I’m in love with it. It follows the formula that a lot of pretty ballads seem to follow, and the tune seems oddly familiar to me. And if I looked around hard enough I could probably find a song with the exact same melody and then precede to ruin U-KISS’ career. But I won’t- because I’m beginning to really like these boys.

U-KISS isn’t the most vocally refined boyband ever, but they aren’t the most vocally deprived either. And with a song like ‘Someday’ they don’t need to have outstanding vocals to carry it. The melody is pretty enough to hold the song on its own, and U-KISS’ vocals don’t have to be grand in order for the song to be worth listening to. In short, it isn’t one of those ballads (for examples of those ballads, see almost every ballad Super Junior + KRY has released. Or listen to the entirety of their 4jib.). The piano line caused butterflies to procreate in my stomach, it’s just so pretty. Not to mention THE BRIDGE! I love it so much, I can’t even find it in me to turn it into one of my troll songs- and do you know how hard it is for me not to obnoxiously yell ‘THE PAST, IS THE PAST, IS THE PAST!’ into my friend’s ears? (That’s a lie. I did it anyway.)

The live version is good enough, I don’t expect any of U-KISS’ lives to be exactly like the recorded versions. I wish they did something more creative with the stage production though. They could have really spiced things up, like there should have been artificial snow lathering the floor, and artificial snow falling down upon them slowly, heck put artificial snow in their hair. And it’d be pretty cool if they had a backdrop like this:

Though I’m less into Neverland than I was when it first came out, I still think it’s U-KISS’ strongest single so far. Typical dance track, but it has a strong melody, and it’s convincing enough.

I wish I could same about the live version.

See, the vocal treatment was fine recorded. But it doesn’t transfer well live. On several occasions I couldn’t distinguish their vocals from the back track, and then there were those awkward moments where their live vocals would be audible for two seconds and then quickly slip away. Not to mention I thought Dongho was about to collapse from exhaustion during his rap.

Also, I don’t get why I still feel like there are too many members on the stage. I thought I was immune to large idol groups (thank you AKB48), maybe it’s something about Neverland’s choreography…

Hopefully their lives of Neverland improve as the weeks go by, let them get comfortable with performing the song live. Still, pull up your socks soon U-KISS.

And I refuse to talk about my new found attraction for Kevin. Because it’s not happening. It’s not happening. It’s not happening…

not... happening...

Excuse me while I crawl into fetal position.