Wasn't always very indie, though

"You must like this girl if you're willing to give a Korean pop girl group 45 of your precious indie seconds, no?"

Dexter tweeted me that after I teased a blog entry that Rainy would be writing on earthings! - she just got on board by then. Girls' Generation just released a new single and she was going to write about it.

"Well, the blog wasn't always very indie, though, Dex," I told him.

"I wasn't talking about the blog, though," he answered. "No, really. I'm just kidding."

Yeah, and I wasn't telling him that Rainy and I have been going out for a month at that point.

Less than a month later I'd use the whole K-pop angle to blog, for the first time, publicly, about our relationship. I think you're better off going there to see my take on the whole thing. I don't feel like repeating myself, about how I never really understood why a huge chunk of the population like songs sung in a language they don't even understand - and that's different from being a "hater", whatever that means to whoever. I don't feel like repeating how I'm, ultimately, open about other genres more than I think, but am a sucker for songs not sticking out like a zit on the otherwise immaculate face of a girl in a Pond's ad. Oh, wait. I think... never mind.

Anyway, this story begins with me just arriving at the office after lunch, and her at home, doing whatever. I was listening to Monocle 24 - yep, the magazine I've written about a bunch of times has a radio station, and I decided to listen to them at work today because, well, I felt like it. They were playing a K-pop song.

"Now they're playing 4minute," I tell Rainy.

"Anong song?" she replied. "'What's Your Name?'"

"Wachornem, temewachornem."

"Ah, ayun nga."

"'Yun lang ba kilala? Surprised ako you cite that first."

"Pinaka-latest na release."

"Ahh. It's good, ah."

"Ay, bastos. Nagustuhan mo? Ako, 'di masyado."

"It's catchy."

I'm not really a K-pop fan. I don't think I will be. But here's what happens when your girlfriend likes one thing: you tend to, at least, appreciate it. Well, I won't appreciate the fangirling, and how far it goes, (and, as Rainy explained, how easy it is to begin), but the rigid structure of the management companies, and the interesting arrangements (half of which are naff), and the seeming trend towards really, really, really suggestive music videos - that I can appreciate, more or less.

I don't want to mention how this is an example of compromises struck when you're in a relationship, but there it is. I appreciate K-pop more now - defending it to my brother, even, when he caught a clip off Myx and pretended to puke - while she... hm, I can't think of an example. Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Bob's Burgers count, right?

A second song comes on, and I'm pretty sure it's Korean. I've heard it on the station before, but I've forgotten who sung it, but I am pretty sure it's Korean. At the very least, it sounds Korean.

"I forgot who nga lang," I told Rainy. "Basta 'shadow, shadow, shadow'. Shallow? 'Because I'm shallow'?"

"Korean din?" she asks.

"Oo, Korean din."


"'Di pa nag-uupdate tracklist, eh."

"Girl o boy?"

"Boy group."

"Ah. Malabong alam ko 'yan."

She isn't into boy groups. She'd always come to me with a new song from a girl group. I think that's why it went down better with me: Rainy isn't the type of guy who fawns over the very pretty boys in K-pop groups. Unless it's Siwon from Super Junior. He's her exception, and he's my nemesis.

"SuJu yata 'to, eh." I realize I'm not guessing out of my ass; I'm actually making a bit of an educated guess. "Parang SuJu nga! Sabi ko nga, nasa dulo ng dila ko. Mag-update ka na, tracklisting!"

"Malamang alam ko 'yan," Rainy said. Of course. If it is SuJu, she would know.

The track list never updates, which is weird, but the announcer comes on with the answer to my question.

"From Japan, certainly one of the catchiest songs I've ever heard..."

"Ah, Japanese pala," I said. "Okay. I am lame."

"Pero anong title?" Rainy asked.

"'Shadow'. Beast 'ata 'yung group."

"Korean group."

At that moment, I realized that I have, indeed, identified a K-pop song correctly. And that the guy on the radio was completely wrong when he said it's from Japan. Cue me semi-ranting on the chat window about how Monocle claims to be cosmopolitan but get that one detail very wrong, and then, me amazed that, yes, I have, indeed, identified a K-pop song correctly. Eh. I wasn't always very indie, though.

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