Tuesday, September 3, 2013

[Concert Review] 4Minute in Sydney 1 September 2013

True confessions time: I've never been to a k-pop concert before... and it's not for a lack of trying.  I had tickets to Super Show 67.3 and that was cancelled at the last minute because the guy who changes the filter in the coffee machine at head office stubbed a toenail or something.  Then I had tickets to K-pop Heart (a big arena event featuring After School, Block B, Ailee, Son Dambi, Teen Top among others) and that was cancelled because the organisers were like "contracts are overrated" and then Block B pissed their label off by demanding three meals a day and pocket money for butter to put on their bread so there went half the lineup.  Both times I flew over especially for that shit and just spent the whole time shopping instead.

So when I heard about 4Minute coming, I was ready to give up on live k-pop in disgust if it didn't happen.


Fortunately, it did happen, so now I finally have a live concert to blog about.  Whether I give up on live k-pop in disgust anyway remains to be seen.

I got to the venue nice and early just to scope things out and see if I could spot any fangirl insanity, and here's a photo I took at about 2pm:

4minq1

Here's another picture taken just a little bit later, this time from the rear of the same queue:

4minq2

The hardcore 4nias were already queueing up 5 hours before the event (I've blanked out identifiable faces because I'm a nice guy, but if you were there, you know who you are anyway), maybe even longer.  I didn't see the point of standing in a queue for half a day for a show that was standing room up the front anyway so I fucked off to do some eating and shopping, and to check out some of Sydney's lesser-known "cultural artifacts":

rkb

Yes, I felt them and they seemed real.

I also saw this guy in the Chinatown mall:

sku

The puppeteer was making the skeleton dance and sing to PSY's "Gangnam Style" - however I noticed the song was not the original, but the Hyuna "Oppa Is Just My Style" version.  "Strange choice" I thought at the time... but it would all make sense later.

I turned up back at the venue at about ten minutes before doors-open time to find out that the doors had already been opened early (clearly the venue owners couldn't be bothered managing the queue outside and felt it would just be easier to let people in to stand around in front of an empty stage instead).  Happy about not having to queue up, I made my way up the stairs to the stage, and got instantly accosted by several young girls in the entrance way screaming "two for $5!!!!!" at me, all at once.  After a brief moment of confusion I worked out they were talking not about themselves but the lightsticks they had on the table, which weren't even official 4nia lightsticks but your cheap generic glowstick variety... sorry not interested.  I wanted to save my money for the official 4Minute merchandise that I knew would be on sale, and maybe pick myself up an official 4minute shirt or stick or hula hoop or shamwow... oh wait, there wasn't any, no merch at all.  First fail of the night.  Bemused by the venue organisers' apparent lack of ability to milk the fans for every last dollar, I took a position near the front of the stage off to one side a bit, and waited.  I didn't have to wait long - as it was an all-ages show, the venue probably wanted to get things moving quickly.

Before 4Minute, we had the "special guest" denoted on the flyer.

chingas

I don't know the DJ's name, but he came on solo first and did a 10 minute set of pop mashups that included snippets of PSY's "Gentleman", 2NE1's "I Am The Best", Crayon Pop's "Bar Bar Bar", GD&TOP's "High High" and a bunch of western pop songs nobody reading this gives a shit about.  His mixing skills were pretty decent and he was also good in the performance aspect, visibly getting into it and even abandoning the decks completely to dance at one point, the only downside was the fucking annoying strobe lights in my face the whole time - why does every fucking gig these days have to have harsh strobes.  Then he was joined by the rapper you see on the left, who is a Korean-born rapper raised in New Zealand called The Chinga Style aka M.C. YoYo aka Newko aka whatever his mother called him when he slid out of the vag.  I couldn't find any fancams of him at this show so here's one of his songs from his own YouTube:


I'm in no position to judge his Korean rapping ability as I can't speak it, but I can tell you that he did a pretty good job of keeping people excited at the show, his tunes were at worst acceptable, and even better, the sound quality was actually decent too.  Too many times I've been to rap shows and the vocals are mixed way too high compared to the backings and it sounds like anus - not here, the mixing was in fact really good and the only time the sound faltered was when he cupped his microphone the wrong way like a noob and generated a bit of feedback like so many rappers do (I'll cover this in another blog one day).

Best of all, he didn't overstay his welcome, he knew we weren't there to see him and fortunately he respected that - an all-too-rare quality in opening acts.  Bless him.  About 5 songs and he was gone, and then we only had a few minutes wait and a (very) short introduction video before 4Minute came onto the stage and blinded everyone with more fucking strobe lights while people predictably went apeshit:

4m1

If you're annoyed because you can't see anything in this picture, don't worry, neither could I and I was there.

As you would expect, 4Minute started their set with their horrid new songs "What's Your Name?" and "Is It Poppin'?", and diligently began shakin' dat ass:

4m2

The new songs actually went across pretty well live, because those annoying computer fart noises tend to get a bit lost in the ambience of the venue, and the screams from fangirls drowned them out too.  The fans also drowned out a lot of the rest of the music too, but oh well.  Now I know how all those Beatles fans felt in the 60s who just wanted to hear the fucking show.


Then, the group went through a few of their better older songs, including a couple of their written-while-taking-a-shit ballads, which was good because both the girls and the lighting were still for that so it allowed me to get some clearer photos:

4m4
4m5

 Then a couple more songs, a bit of audience chat, some ass-shaking, and they were gone.

4m3

 Observations:
  • I didn't time it, but if I've got one big criticism of the show, it was that it was just way, way too fucking short.  Their set was easily under an hour, in fact it felt like it barely scraped 45 minutes.  Of course, they came back for an encore, but they may as well not have bothered, because they just played "What's Your Name?" and "Hot Issue" again - two songs that they'd already done in the main set (what's with k-pop and the stupid repetitive encores?).  And that was it - $139 plus booking fee thank you very much.  And it's not like they didn't have the material to go longer if they wanted - there's no reason why they couldn't have thrown in some album tracks, or a Hyuna solo or a 2Yoon song to mix things up a bit and give the other girls a break, and they didn't even do "Volume Up". 
  • Their live singing is fine, the fancams don't convey it but the reason why sometimes vocals don't come out clearly for some singers has more to do with mixing and microphone technique rather than singing and vocal technique.  They're also really good performers when it comes to encouraging audience participation and engaging with the crowd.  Believe it or not it's actually their live dancing that sucks.  They may as well not have bothered with most of the routines, it's not like any more than the front row would have been able to see what was going on anyway - but there wasn't much to see.
  • I'm convinced that the puppeteer in the Chinatown mall picked the skeleton to represent Hyuna because he's concerned about her health, I think it was some kind of social statement.  Her face looked gaunt and bony as fuck, it was actually a little bit frightening when she got close enough for me to see her face in detail.  I don't know if it's weight loss, surgery or just too much BB Cream in the wrong places but in any case it wasn't a good look.
  • Speaking of which, all the girls were careful to do that "break from the routine to wave and smile at a random audience member so they get to go away saying OMG SHE LOOKED RIGHT AT ME" thing that I've heard so much about and which seems to be standard practice in k-pop.  I had Jihyun and Sohyun look right at me at various points and smile and wave like they had just seen an old friend they hadn't seen in 6 months but the obvious emotional manipulation of it felt distasteful and each time my knee-jerk reaction was "don't stare at what you can't afford, girls" and I just raised my eyebrows at them a bit.  Neither of them tried that shit a second time on me.
  • "Heart To Heart" was the best song and the highlight of the night, the chorus was a bit screechy (although perhaps that was the fangirls' screechy audience participation blending in with the actual vocals) but it still came off best.  The remix of "Huh" (rejigged into some sort of techno thing) was also decent.  Worst song was probably "Hot Issue" simply because most of the details of the song were a bit lost in the mix, turning it into a melody/harmony-less chant fest.  Other songs mostly came off pretty good.

Am I glad I went?  Yes.  Did I enjoy it?  Yes, but maybe not as much as I should have given what I paid for it.  Would I go again?  No, not for that price - unless they were billed with some other stuff I also wanted to see, or the promoters promised a much longer running time, at least double what I experienced that night.

5.5 kangaroo scrotums out of 10.

(and don't ask me why it was called "Party Rock", I have no fucking idea, that shit was never explained)

69 comments:

  1. https://www.googledrive.com/host/0B4yvIzGi9y2jWC13OE5RMUhYYTg/sohyun12.gif

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    1. Saved for "later use". Cheers!

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    2. how do you host images on google drive properly btw without having all the weird 'yo u can't see this' shit cause i mostly just reduce file size and go to minus or use dropbox

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    3. she look like 이준기 with a tittie

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  2. This was more enjoyable than any other fanaccounts I've ever read, omg.

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    1. That's probably because most fans are biased as shit and have trouble looking at things objectively.

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  3. I am not a fan of remixed songs, it's always either gonna turn out good or really bad, there's no grey area to me.

    $139++ for that? I would be pretty disappointed with it, especially that I know they are going to rape my ears with 'Watchoname', and no 'Volume Up'????? It's like their best song. What's the total cost?

    I actually would be pretty happy if Hyuna saw me and smiled at me, even with the known intentional mind-fuck, since I'm a Hyuna-fag.

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  4. why no volume up? that is their best song by quite a margin [although i really like h2h as well]


    and wow i would not pay 139 of any currency for a kpop concert. is there a reason you were so keen on seeing any artist you could get tickets for?

    oh wait you didn't even try for the shinee one did you hahaha

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    1. Why no Volume Up - good question.

      I didn't try for SHINee, no. I also passed on CNBlue who played here recently so it's not like I'm going to anything and everything.

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    2. I like Volume Up a lot too.
      Btw Popalypsie, PLS DO MORE LIVE SHOW REVIEWS kthb.
      Niwae it'd be good to have more of such concert reviews on AKF, oh yes.

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    3. I'll review anything you want as long as you pay my tickets and flights.

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    4. How much is a plane ticket from Sydney to Mongolia?

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qhBi0DNdMAY

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    5. Hahahaha. A fuckin' lot. In fact for me it'd probably have to be Adelaide -> Melbourne -> Singapore -> Ulan Bator which would cost something like $2500. But I'd definitely go if you paid!

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    6. Come to singapore via stowaway and I'll pay for your deportation.

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    7. god damn u shitty mongorians

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    8. Sounds like a plan, nothing could go wrong here.

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    9. also @kpopalypse curious as to why you tried for SS4 bc although it's a fairly long show with a lot of theatrics and ~special stages, it's almost totally lip synced and the talks and member interactions aren't really that fun if you don't speak kolean. not to mention there are too many screaming girls to fully enjoy anything; i've always preferred watching this stuff on yt

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    10. Well, it's a fairly long show with a lot of theatrics and special stages. I'd want to attend something like that just from an anthropological perspective. Lip-syncing would only make it more interesting again for the same reason.

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    11. Wait what you mean by Anthropological perspective? Legit curious here.

      Also nice fan account, a bit short though :l

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    12. Anthropology = the study of culture. I've been to plenty of rock shows big and small, but I've never been to a big-ass arena gig by ANY artist where the performances were largely synced and it was all about amazing staging and spectacle. It would be interesting to see fans in that context and how they react, also interesting to see it from a staging perspective and also how the technical side varies etc.

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    13. The reason I ask is because I study Anthropology, so I was wondering what you were thinking when you mentioned it :p

      Although from basically all accounts, you are far, far, far, far, far more qualified to judge the technical aspects than I ever will.

      Whore your way to a ticket to Tokyo when T-ara hits Budokan again at the end of the month, and you'll see sunced amazing staging and spectacling!

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    14. Tokyo's a bit more expensive than Sydney, I think I'll pass. Mind you at least T-ara would do a proper length concert if the 2012 Budokan DVD I've got is anything to go by.

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    15. The onhe in July lasted two hours, considerably longer than the one you attended.

      I do hear the ones for September are more expensive but hell, I ended up writing a 7½ page long fan account of the July concerts, fun times.

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    16. And keep in mind, in both cases I am talking about 2013 Budokan, and not 2012 Budokan.

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  5. 139
    [HUH remix] -12 (127)
    [heart2heart] -30 (97)
    [hot issue] +50 (147)
    [volume up absent]-100 (47)
    [gayoon dance booty shake] +10000 (10047)
    [she wore pants] -100000 (N)
    [they were skinny jeans] +5000 (N)
    [gayoon solo and merch absent]-500 (N)
    this concert was worthless

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    1. By those calculations, they should have paid ME to attend. Which would have been good. You should show these numbers to JK Entertainment and let me know if you can get me a refund.

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    2. Why did you start at 139??

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    3. http://i.imgur.com/zEs1s8Y.png

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  6. I knew it. So it was a glorified fan meeting after all. I would be spewing if I had paid $140 and only getting 6 songs out of it. Save your money and come when Benzino and Dok2 arrive in October to open up some new club here.

    I went to the mini-concert at UNSW earlier in the day where they did What's Your Name and Hot Issue and that was completely free. Wasn't too impressed. Was more impressed by the Chinese Girls Day cover group Sprinklez (YouTube them).

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    1. Well, a few more than six. Songlist, from memory:

      What's Your Name
      Is It Poppin
      HUH (remixy version)
      Some written while taking a shit ballad
      I Me My Mine
      Heart To Heart
      Some other written while taking a shit ballad
      Musik
      Hot Issue

      Encore:
      WYN
      Hot Issue

      But yeah I get your drift. Wish I knew about the UNSW appearance.

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    2. They didn't even do Mirror Mirror, what the fuck?

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    3. OH wait - yeah they did that too. I thought I was forgetting one.

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    4. THANK GOD! It's not a 4Minute concert without Hyuna yelling, "Phominutesult, Phominuteslut ah ah!"

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    5. FUCK, MIRROR MIRROR MOST ICONIC 4MINUTE SONG OF ALL TIME
      FORGOT THE SONG EXISTED, THANK YOU DANIEL BUCKLEY, KPOPALYPSE, NOTYUNA, AND MOTHER SULLI

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  7. $140 doesn't seem that much. Nymston is from Australia and gets paid like $20/hour for a minimum wage job...

    But yeah, if I was spending $140 on seeing some Kpop act, I'd rather it be multiple groups or something instead of just one group performing the same five songs they've been promoting for the past 2-3 years.

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    1. Yeah depending on industry minimum wage here floats between $17-23 per hour I think. Although when dickhead Tony Abbott gets into office next week he'll try his hardest to make sure that plummets, the Liberal government in Australia is great at fucking poor people up the ass (note "Liberal" means something different over here to what it means in the US).

      I definitely still got shortchanged by pominit though. A pretty fuckin' rich minute if you ask me.

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    2. I got paid $19/hour in one subway and $17 in a different one

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    3. The cost of living and/or taxes must be insane there. Minimum wage where I live is under $8/hr, but then again, minimum wage is supposed to be entry level for teenagers in high school, not something to live off of.

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    4. Oh, so liberalism has the same definition in Australia as it had in America 200+ years ago.

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    5. Kpopalypse is voting for Clive Palmer though so there's nothing to worry about.

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    6. Fuck that I'm voting for the Sex Party. Finally a cause to believe in.

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    7. Isn't that the one with the "furious five" team which only consists of four members? Oh right, they have an invisible member, they really are super heroes!

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  8. Approximately how many people attended the mini concert? the venue looks pretty crammed up, based on the fancams..........

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    1. The Metro Theatre is a smallish venue that holds 1000. It didn't sell out (you could buy tickets at the door) but it did look reasonably close to capacity, I'd estimate 800-900.

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    3. And how do 4minutes look in real life? that is, apart from Hyuna (you already dish out the verdict on her). I am always under the impression that 4minutes sans Hyuna (who is so criminally over-promoted) is reasonably good looking.

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    4. i like the one who has the rectangle-shaped smile

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    5. Sohyun is cute, the way she looks in the WYN video is pretty much what she looks like in real life, as opposed to some of the other videos where she's obviously got a ton of makeup and is being shot with just the right angle and lights. Jihyun looks way better in real life than in any of the MVs, has a super-pretty beach girl vibe. The Yoons have a more serious appearance with harder-edged features, like super hot librarians or something. Hyuna on the other hand has a photogenic look that is great on camera, and she even looks good on the fancams, but in real life... she's a "butterface". Mind you, Hyuna was the only one exposing abs on the night and damned if I could detect a single gram of excess flab - she is perfectly toned and perky, must spend hours in the gym daily. Between songs when Jiyoon said "we're very tired, but you fans give us energy" I thought "yeah I'll bet - I can tell from your bodies, I'll bet you girls get about as much rest as T-ara".

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    6. everyone secretly gets as much rest as t-ara it's just that other companies (eg woollim) try to bring a more homely vibe to slave-driving the artists

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    7. Yeah it's one of the great myths of k-pop that the record companies are different to each other in any significant way when it comes to how they treat their artists. People just notice it more from CCM because CCM have shitty PR so they have more trouble hiding it. The same shit happens at other labels. The only groups who don't get overworked as fuck are the ones that are flopping.

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  9. Goddamn, you paid $139 for a Volume Up-less set?? I feel bad for you oppa. But I must know, is Jihyun jjangbak af in real life?!

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    1. More so. I honestly didn't know she was so hot.

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  10. Nice write up, it's unfortunate their performance was only 45 minutes, if even that. I was going to say the "Oppa Is Just My Style" version was played since 4Minute was performing, but bone thin Hyuna works. Also, the two for $5 bit made me chuckle.

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    1. It did actually take a while for me to work out what was going on. When I finally said "no I don't want a lightstick" they laughed at me for taking so long to decide, but I was checking out the lightsticks closely to see if 4Minute was written on them in small print or anything, and also checking the rest of my surroundings for the magical mystery merch. They probably thought "who is this uncle fan dumbass he's too busy thinking about idol girls' asses he takes 30 seconds to respond to a simple question".

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  11. Did you fly to Sydney? If so, I assume this concert really cost you closer to $400 all-in (if not more).

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    1. Yes. Mind you there are other reasons that I like to go to Sydney besides the concert, so I wouldn't consider the flights a waste even if the group sucked.

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    2. That's true. At least you got to touch some nice hairy balls, as well.

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    3. The balls in Adelaide just don't have the same texture.

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  12. I don't know if it's worth comparing, but on an anecdote, I bought tickets for Porter Robinson and The M Machine (if you don't know who they are, Google them, they are electronic music artists) at the same venue in October. The price for them? $60. Half of what 4minute's half performance was.

    Ridiculous how supply and demand works. I guess it came to bite JK Entertainment in the ass in the end as they were desperate to sell it out at the door (they had promoters at UNSW handing out flyers to try and get people to come into the city after for it).

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    1. I saw people going up to randoms on the street outside the venue half an hour before start time handing out flyers too - a completely pointless exercise because as if anyone's going to go and see a group they've never heard of for $139 just on a whim because some girl handed them a flyer. I think JK Ent are a little bit unhinged... but hey at least they didn't cancel.

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  13. In Cambodia, you get a freaking signed album, a t-shirt, a VIP front seat and a backstage pass for like... 100 bucks. It's totally worth it. But it just makes me more mad about the fact that my mum won't let me go to concerts because she's never been interested in the same thing.

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  14. "Her face looked gaunt and bony as fuck, it was actually a little bit frightening when she got close enough for me to see her face in detail." - but did you fap ?

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    1. And since it would have ruined the post;
      Hyuna is really all about showin off her OK to good tits and ass, not so much about her face (which isn't ugly or anything like that, of course).

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    2. I tried to fap but the fangirl screams were offputting. And yes she does have quite a bod.

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  15. Ah, so happy I saw them last year in 2012. Hyuna looked so god damn fine back then, this was near the release of Volume Up when they came to England, and it was before Cube stopped feeding her.

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  16. Wow I actually read the entire article

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  17. Nice read, and well written article. Your article has convinced me to refer to this site over others like Allkpop. I am new to K-Pop,(since June this year) hailing from India, and i like Gayoon a lot, i dont like Hyuna... Some one mentioned Gayoon shaking her ass and all, dayum, was it really good @Kpopalypse

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