A decade or more ago, it was commonplace to walk into an Asian place and see the girls watching videos of recent Korean television shows they’d rented from the local Korean video store. In fact, several of these commercial establishments profited from Korean transplants’ desire to see media from back home.
I was amazed by what I was seeing. Granted, American tv is mostly crap. But the Koreans had us smoked. Quiz shows with contestants getting doused by vats of jello when they answered incorrectly? Bubble gum pop tarts preening for the delight of Korean audiences? Check on both. I wondered if Korea had anything like Sixty Minutes or Meet the Press. Or maybe it was just that the girls didn’t give a shit about anything but mindless fluff! And that’s what they rented at the store.
Anyway, while what I saw was clearly lacking in intellectual content, there is no doubt that when it comes to Korean pop music (or K-pop as it’s currently known), those who would produce, write and play in the genre really do create meaningful fluff (if you will). I’m a big fan of K-pop. From the standpoint of melodies, songwriting, and video and audio production, it’s simply better than American pop.
Of course, what’s good music is entirely subjective. It moves or appeals to your soul – or it doesn’t. But as somebody who can read, write and play music – and who knows exactly what each instrument is playing – I can tell you that for what K-pop is (commercial fluff), it’s really well done.
I write about this today because Late For the Party Bill discovered a K-pop hit from 8 years ago that from the songwriting standpoint is the perfect pop song. Ask any of the trio Holland, Dozier and Holland (who wrote almost all the early Motown hits) what they think of the following tune and trust me, they’ll tell you how good it is.
So today I’m going to share my discovery. First you’ll get the “official” version. And then, a second with the lyrics. So promising was this song that a writer was commissioned to pen an English version – and the girls moved to New York to tour with the Jonas Brothers in an attempt to conquer the States. It didn’t happen – which is why I never heard the song before stumbling upon the video a few days ago. You might want to start at 2:00 of the official version to avoid the meaningless plot that so many videos incorporate into the presentation.
So here we go. NOBODY by the WONDER GIRLS. Enjoy.