[kpop] SHINee’s Japanese “Replay” teaser released! Rem Koolhaas & Britney Spears relate to this.. somehow..

Please click here to view, because embedding has been disabled. I watched it around five times (these teasers pass by so quickly! I have slow eyes), and these are the first questions that raced through my mind:

  1. What’s their concept?
    In the original Replay video, the dance stage was black with yellow theater lights– this time they went for this:
    Which then immediately reminded me of: 


    The clothes, the background. Yes, they are pumping their cute image again. Since this is SHINee’s first foray into Japan, and they already have built up a sizable repertoire, I suppose they wanted a conglomeration of SHINee style, so they mixed some of their similar concepts–Replay, Juliette, and Hello. Hello influence is more evident in the urban setting of the music video, and the smooth cinematography.
  2. Where did they film this?
    I was pretty sure it was Japan.


    Then, I had a moment of panic thinking that it was filmed in the West Kowloon cultural district in Hong Kong, which is yet to be built:

    If it was filmed in Hong Kong, I would have been so jealous! And I would never doubt the power of SM again (still a doubter). The new cultural center will be designed by Mr. Norman Foster, who designed the amazing-stupendous-this-is-why-I-bank-with-HSBC-flabbergasting HSBC building in Hong Kong. However, while accepting Mr. Norman Foster, Hong Kong turned down Mr. Rem Koolhaas, who had this amazing barcode concept for the M+ contemporary museum. Plus, Mr. Koolhaas is the ridiculous architect of the CCTV building in Beijing. Well, whatever Hong Kong chose, they’d be getting some serious architect love. $2.8 billion worth.

  3. When is Britney going to release her next single?
    Replay is just a repackage, tailored slightly for Japan and their new, more mature image. Therefore, I’m not that excited. I’m excited to see more of SHINee, but this theme has already been exhausted for me. So when is Britney going to release her music video for I Wanna Go?

another screenshot for your troubles! Also, this shot bothered me because that Mac is an older model. On a related note, Onew received at least 3 MacBook Airs from fans for his birthday.. ><""" I want one! Me! Me!

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[lifestyle/kpop] proposed New Year’s Resolutions 2011 for SHINee.. and me

For those of you who have already seen the New Year pass, Happy 2011! For those of us still stuck in 2010.. let’s get busy thinking about our resolutions–
SHINee’s resolutions:
  1. Onew
    –find something other than chicken for SHINee World to obsess over. Like a new girlfriend.
    –star in ‘Rock of Ages’ in Boston so I can come see you
  2. Jonghyun
    keep dating! hwaiting!
    –control your wailing during live performances. You have a unique timbre, but that doesn’t mean that everything you do is good-sounding all the time.
    –we’ve seen your muscled back and huge biceps in Lucifer.. now.. what about those abs?!
  3. Key
    –work with a better vocal coach, because in live performances, your voice rasps too much when it needs to be smooth
    –please do a real cover of Ke$ha. You are perfect for Tik Tok.
    –for SHINee’s debut in Japan, please also come up with a kickass, wtf hairstyle like you did for Lucifer. Absolutely shocking, absolutely genius, and oddly, very couture.
  4. Minho
    –stop looking absolutely gorgeous in one photo and then a complete dork with big ears in the next
    –strangle SM to let you have credits for the rap you write
    show those abs more and force other members to do ab exercises with you
  5. Taemin
    –work on increasing range and inflection on singing voice
    –argue with the hair stylists for another hairstyle other than a bowl cut
    –practice in front of the mirror obsessively to learn the best way to unleash Sex-Taemin, not Awkward-Sex-Taemin
Michelle’s Resolutions:
  1. Wake up at 9:00AM or earlier every day.
    Michelle woke up at 12:02PM today. This must change, because I like eating food, so I like breakfast.
  2. Sleep by 12:00AM or earlier every day.
    Michelle slept at 2:10AM last night playing Professor Layton.
  3. Learn elementary Korean.
    My brain is going into an intellectual black hole when I watch kdramas and listen to kpop, so I need to recoup some of that brainpower by actually applying myself and learning Korean. I really hate this, because I look like such a fangirl, but what I’m concerned with is a dead brain, not a dead heart..
  4. Play piano everyday, for at least an hour.
    Heck yes Michelle is going to master a Bach’s Prelude and Fugue, and hopefully one Chopin etude.
  5. Apply to a bajillion scholarships and internships.
    So I won’t be a total failure and money drain in my parents’ eyes.
  6. Practice my tai chi sequence at least two times every day.
    I admit, this is more like ‘Michelle needs to move around other than fidgeting in her sleep.’
  7. Finish my 2010 reading list, and the whole box set of Roald Dahl I gave my brother for Christmas.
    Okay, I’ve come to terms that I will not be able to finish by 2010. So, I’ll just pretend it was a 2010-January 2011 reading list. OKAY!

Thank you for reading my blog this year, and I hope that I will continue to merit your support.

Likewise, I hope you had a great 2010. If you didn’t, well, there’s always 2011 to go save up money to see SHINee live, right? To meet the billionaire of your dreams who will fly SHINee in to perform at your wedding? Correct.

[kpop] best SHINee live performance outfits, 2010

Come on, guys, you know what a horrible fangirl I am, missing all the Gayo Daejuns to play Professor Layton and waking up at 12PM.

However, though I am a subpar fangirl, from the first Lucifer live performance, I have made myself watch and download every single live performance they’ve had since: Hello, Lucifer, and some Hot Times and Miss You for Jonghyunie! Though I’m not a terribly big fan of the leopard and solid colors S.M. stylists decided to outfit SHINee with in Hello, I’ve definitely had some eye-gasms with some outfits, or some clothing items (in chronological order):

100730 Lucifer, Onew:

Onew had those awful tie-dye pants on, but his shirt sort of took away from that. The shirt with a mesh back–the shirt in which we could see through! This fancam of Onew giving fan service (flexing his back and flashing his stomach.. yes it looks like he has some sort of abs! squee!) is adorable! Whoever was the stylist who thought of giving Onew a see through shirt was a genius. Fangirls appreciate.

100730 Onew; Onew was crying because of their Mubank win so he didn't show his face, but we see his back anyways. :D

100731 Lucifer, Jonghyun:

His shirt. Is just Pure Architecture. The white stripes on the right arm, and the triangular cut on the left bicep. I can’t get over the bicep that we see. Sure, Jonghyun does wear a lot of sleeveless shirts, but something about this angular cut makes us yearn to see more and it really highlights the injured feeling Lucifer is about. This is all strangely complemented by his poufy, straight hair. The white pants provide the right connection to the rest of his outfit.

100731 Jonghyun

100820 Lucifer, Taemin:

A manly style. Finally. The necklace really emphasizes the long torso and the lower neckline. Simple, but elegant. Simple, but elegantly manly. Tear. Little maknae is growing up. (He’s still younger than me, goddammit!)

100820 Taemin

100827 Lucifer, Jonghyun:

I’m usually not one for color (because I’m emo and depressed over paper grades all the time), but this one, nailed it. The white against a precious, low-cut apricot shirt. Fun, but also a little dangerous: white ripped jeans.

100827 Jonghyun

100911 Lucifer Goodbye Stage, Taemin:

He had amazing hair that day. Amazing eye makeup too.  The whole golden-black ensemble would have worked, if not for the clunky triangle necklace. Sigh.

100911 Taemin

101008 Hello, Jonghyun:

Just like Onew’s see through shirt. This very, very low v-neck, highlighted by the two necklaces, on Jonghyun shows his pecs without actually showing his pecs. The result is devastating. To fangirls, that is.

Moreover, it’s a triple cardigan. They’re so warm and make you feel fuzzy. Jonghyun is a heap of warm fuzzy niceness, of course. This is my favorite outfit of all.. it’s probably because as a kindergartner, I love cardigans!

101008 Jonghyun

In this whole list, I’ve had lots of Jonghyuns and no Minhos or Keys. Is this a Jonghyun bias? I wouldn’t say so, because of two reasons– Minho and Key are special in SHINee; Minho is the ‘manliest’ and Key is most fashionista, therefore, I believe the stylists go out of their way with unmemorable, ‘manly’ outfits for Minho and fantastically cutting-edge-wtf for Key. Next, Jonghyun has good combination of manly (big muscles) and girly (small waist, s-curve) that makes him any stylist’s darling, able to wear most anything with snazz.  If say, Taemin were to wear Jonghyun’s 101008 outfit, we’d be horrified to discover he has no pecs.

Happy 2011, kids. Play nice on the playground, now.

[kpop] SHINee biased analysis of Gayo Daejun

I completely forgot about Gayo Daejun last night. This is a fail, because I was planning to watch it. Instead, I got up at 12:20PM today. Major fail. Nevertheless, Youtube is forgiving.

SHINee appeared in three performances: Key and Onew singing trot, Taemin participating in the maknae performance of Britney Spears’ Circus, and Lucifer with f(x).

I advise you skip over the trot, unless you specifically like that genre. The corny sparkling black outfits of Key and Onew were kitschy, but their good-natured expressions made the whole 1:02 minutes bearable. Sort of.

Taemin as the ringleader in Circus was horrendous. Instead of being sexy, he was awkwardly-cute-trying-to-be-sexy. If you watch the beginning of the original music video, Britney Spears has an undeniable, overt sexuality: we see her curvy silhouette, and in another cut, she is dressed in a skin-tone, skin-tight outfit. Of course, some may argue that Taemin does not have to imitate Britney because they are, after all, different artists. In this case, given the lyrics and the music itself, it is sort of impossible not to channel sensuality. Moreover, they gave Taemin a whip. A whip. So yes. The producers knew that they wanted to channel Sex Taemin. Taemin has proved he can be Sex Taemin in Lucifer (see long hair and guyliner), though androgynously so.  In this performance, he looked like a lamb with his curly hair, and it didn’t help that his costume made him look like a Puritan on the way to Thanksgiving.

Also, I don’t think that Taemin’s voice has achieved the amount of finesse necessary for Circus, it sounded all rather the same inflection: awkward-sexy. Looking closely, Taemin lip-synced most of the performance, so the track we heard was pre-recorded, which makes the result all the more disappointing. Sometimes I think we tend to take Britney’s recorded voice for granted—-she has an amazing range of breathy, raspy, nasal inflections that all culminate in a snappy and addictive song. This performance highlights how much Taemin has to grow as an artist and the questionable choices of the producers: Why the Puritan outfit? Why Circus? Why Britney Spears (that music video would probably be banned in South Korea!)? Why not cover another Lady Gaga like Just Dance in 2009? Or at least a Ke$ha?

Given the improvement Taemin’s shown as a singer in Lucifer and Hello, compared to their Love Like Oxygen days (where Taemin never nailed his high note in live performances), I am confident he will continue to develop in the right direction.

I completely loved the beginning of Lucifer with f(x), all of them chained and yelling. Jonghyun in the cage made me have a symbolism-orgasm; breaking free during his long note was also a neat trick. However, the music reinterpretation was a bit lacking: the remix was just the rock remix they previosly performed with TRAX. In addition, the f(x) cameo felt unnecessary and random: while f(x) was on stage, there was minimal interaction, and after f(x) was done singing, they disappeared. Honestly, I think that f(x) was just put out there, with their experienced sunbaes, to get more exposure and try on a harder and womanlier image.

All in all, Gayo Daejun 2010 was a glorified Music Bank or Inkigayo or Music Core, take your pick. I’m sort of glad that I decided to sleep 12 hours instead. (I lied. I slept for around seven hours, woke up to play Professor Layton and the Unwound Future on the DS and then went back to sleep.)

[kpop] why SHINee’s “Hello” music video scares me. A LOT.

edit: I know a lot of you guys are visiting from Twitter, via @TaeminMoments, and this is what I wrote back to her tweet which said that “THIS ARTICLE CRITICIZES HELLO,RIGHT?”– my reply from @mmichlle:

it might seem to you that it is a critique of Hello, but just because I’m a SHINee fangirl doesn’t mean I have to like everything that SHINee does. Moreover, the article deals with more of the kpop industry’s practices about fantasizing men rather than specifically targeted at SHINee. sadly, SHINee is one of the boy groups that is affected by this practice :( personally, I believe if they shed their idol image, they would be much stronger artists instead of a forgettable boy band, and I want them to do the best they can.

So. Suck it. Jonghyun is already taken, so stop being pathetic and eat an eggroll.

————–

I rushed back from Italian so I could change into interview clothes (I got the job!) and then I saw that SHINee’s Hello full music video, so I downloaded it and watched it as I walked downstairs to lunch.

Several things immediately struck me:

  1. Key and Taemin being blowfish in the opening
  2. Jonghyun’s random scene with girl blowing bubbles
  3. The superfluity of peace signs
  4. Minho wearing an Abercrombie sweater while rapping
  5. All of the ‘characters’ being bashful and sweet and shy when finally approaching the girl in the end

Let’s face it. SHINee is starting to get old, and cute doesn’t quite work for them anymore, no matter how many girls with bubbles you bring in.  Or peace signs you flash.  Or how many times you imitate blowfish.  Which brings me to another point, why was only Jonghyun graced with such a scene? Maybe it’s because Jonghyun is in need of an image softening, because he’s often seen as the ‘player.’

The reason why I say ‘characters’ is because none of SHINee are like this in real life (Taemin is definitely a player, isn’t it obvious?), they’re figments of imaginations created to sate the fangirl.  This is why this music video scares me.

Hello was created for the fangirls who dream about these men approaching them, completely struck with love, bashful.  With a ring.  A gigantic bear.  Sensitive and thoughtful and sweet and shy.  Best of all, metrosexual and handsome.  The ideal.

At times, I only hesitantly call myself a fangirl because I do not fantasize about them. I just really like their music and their personalities portrayed in the media– I never will be this way:

I will never wish Onew is my boyfriend or Key will propose to me.  However, this music video allows for me to easily do that.  Because there is no clear girl protagonist in this music video, any fangirl (or fanboy!) can insert themselves into the situation, and continue to elaborate and intensify their fantasies.

This I have a problem with.  This is what I’m scared of.  The fan culture is already intense, and the Korean entertainment industry chooses to exploit this rather than innovating the music.  Though Hello was not a cover, it was not original to SHINee.  For every few steps forward that SHINee took for Lucifer— developing their manly image, and staying on the cutting edge of music and fashion– Hello moves them back one, hearkening back to the cute, but novice, Replay days.

Lastly, leopard print and Abercrombie? The stylists really must be stuck in a rut.