Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Kpopalypse K-pop Press Release Decoder

Today's post is all about fun, entertainment and the hidden language of k-pop press releases!

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Every day thousands of press releases for artists big and small get sent out into the cybersphere, and many more are attached to physical copies of music product and sent to radio stations, TV stations, and media outlets by hopeful artists and record labels looking for that big break.  Everyone hates these fucking shits, but with careful decoding, the hidden entertainment value of these shrieking payloads of concentrated boredom can be carefully extracted and utilised.  This blog post will show you how.


I know all about the dullsville of press releases because I work in a radio station and I see press releases all the time - hundreds of them arrive in my email inbox each week.  Here's a completely random one that I copy-pasted straight from my email inbox to here, with names of the guilty parties deleted:
We're excited and proud to announce [album name], the debut album from [band name]!
[band members] are the [band name] and they've been around for a few years now, wistfully harmonising at all the classy joints in [home town] and surrounds, spreading the word with their earnest, understated tales of newfound crushes and stifled relationships.
Wrapped up in gentle guitar strums, 'sixties bass tones and primary school percussion, [album name] was expertly produced by [producer] ([list of other artists the producer has produced for]) and emits a slow-burning warm glow that belies its debut album status.
Pre-order [album name] on CD and/or vinyl and it will be shipped to you much earlier than the release date of Friday May 2. Customers in the US and Europe, please visit [record label website] if you're in New Zealand, drop [a different record label website] a line!
If this writing format looks familiar - it should.  You've all seen press releases like this, because record labels will dump them into the YouTube description when uploading their artists' videos onto their official channels.  The appearance of the carefully-worded always-glowing press release in a YouTube description instead of "OMGGGG THIS SONG RULZ YOU GUISE ITS THA BEST EVER [insert fandom name here] FIGHTING" or similar is one very reliable way to tell an official channel from a fanmade channel.

Another place that you'll always see press releases is on k-pop news sites.  Most k-pop news sites are so fucking incredibly gobsmackingly lazy and shithouse that they will often just take the record label's press release and copy-and-paste it almost word-for-word into an article, and that literally becomes the article.  It's just cheaper and faster than coming up with original content, and since k-pop record labels will constantly distribute press releases about absolutely fucking anything at all, they end up saving the news sites a lot of work, and the result is that everything has a nice positive spin that the labels enjoy.  It's a win-win for everybody... except you of course, because you're stuck reading all these aimless repetitive sugar-coated press releases masquerading as "news".

minnewy

Of course, there's no such thing as a negative press release, which begs the question - what if the thing that the label is promoting is very obviously a complete pile of stinking unwashed ass?

alpa

To get our answer, it's worth mentioning an industry equally as shady as the music business - the wonderful world of real estate.

tangenttime

If you've ever been in the property market or purchased your own home (as I have, and it wasn't much fun) you will know that all advertising for real estate is full of inscrutable jargon, and seemingly benevolent words and phrases often have hidden double-meanings.  In real-estate language, "cozy" is code for "not enough room to swing a cat", anything that's hideously decrepit and falling apart is called a "renovator's dream", and on and on it goes. Why can't they just be honest and straightforward?

It's all because real estate agents have a similar dilemma to music marketeers.  Your real estate agent can't change the fact that the property they're duty-bound to sell you is not much more than a glorified tin shack with a semi-functioning sewerage system, just like whoever's writing press releases for YG also can't change the fact that 2NE1 haven't put out a genuinely good song since "Scream", but they still have to get you to buy it somehow.  To combat this challenge, the music industry also has its own wonderful set of press release jargon.  In this blog, I'm going to pull down some press releases for some k-pop songs (some I like, some I dislike) from YouTube videos and other places, decode them in the same way that I used to have to decode real estate advertising back when I was searching for a property, and you can learn something about the language of k-pop press releases.  Or, just have a laugh.  Or a cry.

GIRLS' GENERATION - I GOT A BOY

(source: YouTube)
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Girls' Generation Starts 2013 for the Music World!

The title song 'I Got a Boy' is an electronic dance song that mixes pop, retro (we shamelessly copied a song from years ago, we hope you don't pick which one), and urban genres (inspired by black street culture but we don't want to say this because even if you're a racist we still want your money). The addictive (repetitive) melody in the chorus is impressive (well, we liked it), and the lyric doubles the fun of listening, which is mainly written based on the 'chatter' that girls have about everything every day (we dumbed it right down to your level for you, but feel free to read more into it if you must).

Especially, this new style of song (there's a tempo change) was created for Girls' Generation by a dream team (we outsource our songwriting heavily because it's less effort and we need the time we'd otherwise spend songwriting to count your money) comprised of 'Dsign music', the a group of famous composers (they'll be famous if we mention their name enough) that composed the hit song, 'Genie', as well as the top composers of Europe (we're working on their fame too) including Will Simms and Sarah Lundback, and the composer representing Korea, Young-Jin Yoo, that it is expected to receive explosive responses (whether you like or hate it, you'll fucking talk about it) around the world

CL - THE BADDEST FEMALE

(source: Soompi)
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CL of 2NE1 has released the music video for her first solo single, “The Baddest Female.”

The song is written, composed, and arranged by Teddy (it's Teddy's song, not CL's) and CL also contributed to the lyrics (Teddy may have let her write a word or two here and there, what a gent). According to YG Entertainment, the slow BPM 70 (funeral tempo) beat of the song is accented with dubstep (trendy bullshit), creating a powerful (potentially irritating) song that “will bring everyone to an unexpected (you won't believe that we dared to release it in this state) hip-hop (CL is wearing a cap in some scenes) world.”  “The Baddest Female” portrays CL’s unique (weird, we hope you like that sort of thing) color and style, apart from 2NE1 (anyone expecting the quality of early 2NE1 better be prepared to be let down).

YG Entertainment also added, “You will be able to understand the meaning of what CL has been describing as “bad” for years (they're not kidding) when the beat stops after you have been mesmerized (morbidly fascinated) by CL’s rapping.” The agency continued, “Please pay attention (you're a k-pop fan so we think you're a stupid cunt and we will talk down to you wherever possible) to whether she is simply talking about bad girls or if she is talking about transformed women in a changed society (pseudo-feminist tripe that a male wrote 95% of, now give us your money girls).”

CL is also said to have changed outfits 15 times (we had a lot of clothing endorsements) for the music video.

T-ARA - YAYAYA

(source: Daily K-pop News)
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Girl group T-ara, who recently switched from 6 members to 7 (we're hoping you'll take sympathy on them if we mention their lineup issues), will be making their comeback with the help of the famous composer (they'll be famous if we mention their name enough) E-TRIBE (Girl's Generation 'Gee', Lee Hyori 'U-Go-Girl) (if you bought those songs maybe you should buy this one) and announced their title song to be "yayaya.'

At 10AM on December 1st (we're being very specific so you have our full permission to behave like a creepy stalker about this), the song will be released along with the music video. With the news (that we created) of T-ara's second mini album, there has already been 7,000 (round numbers sound impressive) pre-orders (stores and online retailers have pre-ordered it, not customers).

'yayaya' has an addictive (repetitive) melody and lyric, and has a fresh and unique (weird, we hope you like that sort of thing) arrangement proving to be an impressive (well, we liked it) dance-pop track. T-ara has a total of 6 tracks on the album and with a variety of composers (we outsource our songwriting heavily because it's less effort and we need the time we'd otherwise spend songwriting to count your money) including Kim Dohoon, Lee Sangho, Shinsadong Tiger and Choi Kyusung.

T-ara will return on the December 3rd episode of KBS2 'Music Bank', starting full-fledged activities (2 hours sleep per night and no holidays or days off).

STELLAR - MARIONETTE

(source: Allkpop)
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The girls of Stellar are ending their hiatus (they're not nugus scrounging for cash, they just "took a break", we promise) with their interest-piquing (prurient) MV that will surely raise some eyebrows (genitals) in the Kpop world as the girls fully embrace (we didn't force them - they like money just as much as we do) a 19+ rated (fap material) concept and choreography for their comeback (they're not nugus!  Please believe us!) with their first mini album!

The mini album is called 'Marionette', and its title song by the same name is a retro (we shamelessly copied a song from years ago, we hope you don't pick which one) dance song with a rock (there is a little guitar) rhythm and a guitar sound. Its sad (depressing) lyrics and the title "Marionette" refers to a woman who is being pulled around like a puppet because she is still hung up on a man who's already left (we went about as deep as k-pop gets with symbolism and shit).

The girls, under Top Class Entertainment, will hold their comeback (for the love of god they're not nugus, now please buy this) stage on February 13th through Mnet's 'M! Countdown' (we got the girls on a TV show, they're not nugus, they're k-pop stars see?  See?), so until then, check out Stellar's transformation (we changed the concept to hopefully motivate you to buy posters and merch) into sexy vixens (fap material) in the MV and listen to the tune (we'd better say this or you might be so busy perving that you forget that there is a tune) produced by Sweetune (look, a composer that you've heard of... not nugus... just saying...) above!

RAIN - 30SEXY

(source: YouTube)
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'30 Sexy' is the title song of Rain, letting us know he is back (all you old fans please give your money to us). And this is the upgrade title that shows the classical qualities (sorry ladies, no abs) of him as well. it will show the 'sexiness' that only people in their 30s can show (expensive clothes). The trendy synthesizer has the repetitive line that goes along with the simple (basic and unimaginative) hip-hop (Rain has been known to wear a cap on occasion) drum beat, will make the listener feel excited (it's not a crappy ballad). Also the vocal of Rain that goes from falsetto (Michael Jackson impersonation) to his own voice and the lyrics gives people the comfort (boredom) from the powerful (potentially irritating) songs we've been hearing.

LEE MICHELLE - WITHOUT YOU

(source: YouTube)
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On 2012, Lee Michelle became Top 5 (didn't win) on SBS K-pop star season 1 (but at least she got on a fucking TV show, do you know how hard that is?) with her powerful (potentially irritating) singing skills (showoff vocal wank and unnecessary overdubs) and her soulful (lacking in subtlety) voice. After two years of waiting (you doing other things and completely forgetting that this artist existed), she is back (all you old fans please give your money to us) with her first digital single 'Without you'.

The title song 'Without you' is a song where Lee Michelle's soulful (lacking in subtlety) and sentimental (sappy enough to make you puke) voice works well with the strong (loud) beat. The amazing (well, we liked it) melody line also has restrained sadness and feelings (a vague sense that you could be doing something better with your time than listening to this emotionally manipulative crap) to it. Also, the story talks about a couple broke up, and the story comes to us in a very different (pretentious) way with the memorable (we spent a lot of money) music video.

EXO - GROWL

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EXO fans can get excited (it's not a crappy ballad) not just for a repackaged album, but a new single. On July 25, EXO’s entertainment agency SM Entertainment released a press release (talking about our press release in the third-person within the press release itself might hopefully make you not realise that you're actually reading the press release right now) stating that songs from the boys' first studio album XOXO, which just came out on June 3, will be re-released on the repackaged album (we like your money so we'll make you buy all the same songs twice if we give you some extras), as well as three additional tracks, including "Growl."

EXO originally debuted last year as two groups, EXO-K and EXO-M, one singing in Korean and the other in Mandarin. When their full-lengh album XOXO released, the two groups joined together to promote the release (our previous marketing strategy didn't work as well as we'd hoped, so we changed it), which sold over 380,000 copies (round numbers sound impressive). XOXO was even on Billboard’s World Albums chart for some time (a high-budget pop act competed against some guys with sticks in a hut and did reasonably well, who would've thought?). Their single "Wolf" has also been doing very well on the charts (if something is popular it must therefore be good).

On August 1, the group will perform on Mnet MCountdown and continue promoting “Growl” (2 hours sleep per night and no holidays or days off) on various music shows. EXO will also be at KCON 2013, which is taking place on August 24 and 25 in Los Angeles (we want you to believe that we are a big thing over there).

SUNMI - FULL MOON

(source: Kpopstarz)
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Previously Sunmi showed off her barefoot dancing (foot fetish fap material), and this time she's captivated the public with (enabled us to write articles about) her vampire transformation (we changed the concept to hopefully motivate you to buy posters and merch).

Sunmi released her new album Full Moon on the 17th and took the number 1 spot (if something is popular it must therefore be good) on real-time music charts on Naver, Daum, Soribada, and Bugs.
Her title song "Full Moon" was produced by hitmaker Brave Brothers (will be k-pop strictly by the book, no surprises here folks), and brings to life the sexy atmosphere (he gave her a song he was planning to give to Sistar) with brass, leading guitar sounds, and Sunmi's voice. The lyrics speak of love (are generic), and Sunmi has come back with an even sexier look (you will fap more) than "24 Hours".

Fellow Wonder Girls member Yubin is featured (needs employment, wasn't busy) in the song "Who Am I" as a rapper, and Yenny gifted (got a terrible royalty-sharing deal for) her self-composed song "If That Was You" for Sunmi's album.  "Frozen In Time" features (needs employment, wasn't busy) GOT7 member Jackson as the rapper.

Sunmi will be beginning her comeback activities (2 hours sleep per night and no holidays or days off) with her performance on Mnet's "M Countdown" on the 20th.

SPEED - LOOK AT ME NOW

(source: Kpopstarz)
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Group SPEED released their new song, "Look At Me Now" music video today. SPEED worked with (he told them what to do and they said "okay") producer Shinsadong Tiger (song might actually not be complete shit, cross your fingers) for their new song, who also produced their debut song as well.

This repackaged album's (we like your money so we'll make you buy all the same songs twice if we give you some extras) title song, "Look At Me Now," features a strong (loud) drum beat and TRAP (nu-school) sound that makes it quite an addictive (repetitive) song.

This song features a message (annoyingly preaches) of wanting their loved one to turn around and look at them one more time. The sad (depressing) lyrics and rap show off a more emotional (whiny and self-obsessed) song.

SPEED, who has been known (they're not nugus, we promise) for their advanced dance skills (being driven like slave hounds in the practice gym) since debut, will feature an urban (inspired by black street culture but we don't want to say this because even if you're a racist we still want your money) dance style with fast and slow motion (there's like, different dance steps, and stuff) for their new song.

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I could do more but this post has to end sometime, and I think by now you get the idea.  Now anybody in doubt will know how to properly read a k-pop press release!  Don't forget to use your new-found powers for good, not evil!

talktohand

22 comments:

  1. Wow SPEED's song is composed by SSD no wonder it's good.

    Also I'm pretty sure they rounded up all those numbers

    ReplyDelete
  2. i read the description on MIB's video after this and i noticed that they didn't even spell "the maginot line" correctly

    ReplyDelete
  3. I was hoping on a decode-guide on k-pop press statement phrases like:
    - watch over us fondly
    - are in a friendly relationship
    - were on car-dates
    - will show you a better [insert artist] in the future
    - will strive harder to show our fans
    - consider our mistakes
    - please expect us
    - bow in front of the public / our fans

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. a number of those are korean cultural things, not them being disingenuous

      Delete
    2. I'm pretty sure car dates means they're fucking in the back of a car, but I can't be 100% sure.

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    3. I was more interested in decoding general terms that describe music qualities rather than all that PR and dating shit that I really don't give a fuck about anyway.

      Delete
    4. - watch over us fondly (please pay attention to us and continue to buy our shit in the future)

      - are in a friendly relationship (are dating or have a casual sexual relationship at the least, have been dating for years and you didn't know it at the most)

      - were on car-dates (exactly what it sounds like, but with more fucking than you think)

      - will show you a better [insert artist] in the future (we are showing you our hard working attitude/our slave drivers are disappointed with us right now)

      - will strive harder to show our fans (we are showing you our hard working attitude/our slave drivers are disappointed with us right now)

      - consider our mistakes (our slave drivers are super pissed at us right now)

      - please expect us (please pay attention to us and continue to buy our shit in the future)

      - bow in front of the public / our fans (thank you for buying our shit)

      Delete
  4. Well, at least the house is renovateable, right?

    Also man, I had forgotten the wonderful and very relevant news there used to be about T-ara and everything they did at any point in time.

    ReplyDelete
  5. This post shows so perfectly why I just stopped reading press releases a long time ago. They are full of shit that is devoid of any meaning.
    After the third one I had to go back up and check if you didn't say anything about you just making them up. haha
    God, I hate press releases.

    Especially the first one you got via mail is soooo generic and could be made for a thousand bands.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not just that, they're also all pretty much the same and boring to read.

      Delete
  6. in my last job in the media department at a football club I both sent & received lots of these, oddly enough. as with many things in life it's often more complicated than it appears.

    for releases I sent out, initially it was featuring relevant information in bullet points. but then some recipients would complain that they just wanted some stuff to copy & paste. so i'd write a whole release myself and send it out, and others (the less lazy ones) say they just want the information to write their own thing. in the end you end up doing a hybrid of both ways, bullet points of short sentences that nevertheless play up what you want to promote. that way the lazy can cut & paste things into paragraphs, and the more active ones (who have the nous to filter out your embellished rubbish anyway) still have easy-to-skim information.

    but the real problem was being on the receiving end. the worst was from PR guys from the league's sponsors/partners; you'd get a press release (which was invariably cringeworthy in its language anyway), re-arrange it to suit the tone your pieces usually carry only for Cunto McMarketing to kick up a fuss because you had the temerity to alter his perfectly constructed copy. these guys have no de jure influence anyway, but they get what they want through sheer obstinance. the best you could hope for was to publish what they wanted and hope the audience could tell the difference between it & your typical work and disassociate you from it.

    so it could well be that these sites have little choice but to use the same old copy. PR in the entertainment industry is probably the worst for such insidiousness, like using allowing/disallowing interviews as a carrot & stick.

    or maybe they're just lazy, I dunno.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe if you had a blog post like this to read you may have enjoyed your old job a little more.

      Delete
  7. I hate it when they mention 'their various charms'. I mean, you could have at least tried ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hate the use of the word charms in Kpop in general, I don't know why but that shit makes me shudder.

      Delete
    2. maybe because 'charms' is sometimes how the word 'aegyo' is translated

      Delete
    3. -they will show you their various charms (they will be physically attractive and make predetermined gestures that allude to a tolerable personality)

      Delete
  8. "stores and online retailers have pre-ordered it, not customers"
    LOL why do I never realize this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Whenever a label hypes up the amount of pre-orders they have they're talking about retailers pre-ordering for expected demand of the product. This demand may or may not be met by retail sales!

      Delete
  9. But I liked yayaya... I want to be tied up and swooned all over by hot girls...

    ReplyDelete
  10. "round numbers sound impressive". Yes they do.
    When I started getting into kpop, I actually took time to read the press releases. Then, I felt stupid, and just waited for the picture/MV teaser.

    ReplyDelete
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