You know when you love something so much that you are afraid to tell other people about it because it’s so precious to you that you don’t want people to shatter it into a thousand pieces. But it’s so good that you have to share it because your love is too big to handle on your own and you just have to talk about it…or you might explode. Actually, you will definitely explode. No? Well, that’s how I feel about the Korean television series Shut Up, Let’s Go (aka Shut Up Flower Boy Band). I gotta spread the love.
Where to even begin? I started watching this show the first night I moved to Boston. What began as the innocent thought “Hey, I’ll start a new show before I go to bed” turned into me staying up all night with my head under my covers and my nose to my computer screen. Yep, that’s right. I watched all 16 episodes in one go. I’m not proud of it but my binge watching is a testament to this show’s power (and not just my TV habits).
So what is this amazingness about anyway? Well imagine The Outsiders set in modern day Korea with rock bands thrown into the mix and you’ll have an oversimplified idea of the plot. It’s a series that evokes the romance of punk rock and youthful rebellion without straying away from the rawness of growing up. This series has all the elements of your typical drama: rivalry, fame, rebellion, adversity, and romance. So I thought I had a pretty good handle on where things were going. But no. I was so wrong. This show consistently breaks the stereotypes that it presents (just wait until episode 3 and you’ll know what I mean). The writers are so self aware that they often use side character’s dialogue (I’m looking at you Jo Deo-mi) to contrast typical drama tropes with this grittier but perfectly poised plot.
Storyline aside (cause I can’t talk about it too much without major spoilers) the real driving force of the show is the friendship of our main characters. It is their chemistry that pervades the show and lends it its ineffably addicting aura. Their friendship feels both unaffected and sincere. And it had me completely invested from the start. I wanted to hang out with them! All the characters face real adversity and the show doesn’t give fairytale answers. In fact I have never finished a show and felt so completely satisfied with the ending. It is so spot on that it still boggles my mind. I don’t understand how they manage to address every character so well in just 16 episodes. Ahhh its perfect.
I also have to mention that the music in the show is killer. Most of the main actors are also musicians and it really adds depth to their performance (I’m sure all ye kpop fans are aware that L from INFINITE is an actor but several other actors are also members of lesser known indie bands). All of the songs had me jamming in my seat. Once I looked up the translation of Jaywalking’s lyrics I loved the song even more.
I could go on forever about this show: the complex subtle strength of Su Ah’s character, men being able to cry, how to deal with social convention, Sung Joon’s fabulous micro-expressions, growing up with dignity, the philosophical implications of being an artist… so just take my word for it before I blather on ad nauseam. Watch this now. (Find it on Hulu and Dramafever.) Please? Then we can start our own indie rock band and live lives of heartfelt music and friendship.
I call guitar!
Get. Set. GO!
What are you still doing here? Get thee to the internets! Oh, you’re still not convinced? Try this. Scroll down. Look into Kim Myungsoo’s eyes. Take some deep breaths. Let all that doubt and tension go…You will watch this…This is an excellent show…You want to watch this…There…That’s better.
Jedi Mind Tricks
Part Step Up, part West Side Story, and part Jet Set Radio the traditional star crossed lovers storyline just got a dystopian update with the new animated series Urbance. Created by French Canadian company Steambot, Urbance gained massive support through Kickstarter (which is where my awesome brother found it and passed it along to me.) From the character design to the animation style this show lives and breathes the essence of cool. And makes me wonder…am I cool enough to watch this? Hopefully I am because between the visuals, the soundtrack, and the choreography I’ll definitely be keeping this one on my watch list.
Check out their slick official trailer and the story description below. Hopefully their pilot episode will be slated to come out soon!
In the crumbling inner city, sex kills. The urban landscape is split in two — men on one side, women on the other— opposing each other. COEVO seems to be the only hope: a government medical treatment developed to cure every single citizen except that those wearables haven’t produced the expected results yet… Born among this lost generation of frustrated gangs, Kenzell and Lesya live each day as their last, defying anyone who stands in the way of their union. Like modern avatars of Romeo and Juliet, they will have to choose between love or their kind, Passion VS Reason, Deadly Eves VS Neo Blasterz… In their flamboyant relationship lies the premises of a revolution against the authorities, the vicious Mediators and their mysterious separatist laws. Rebels can change the world…
Its that time of year when the cold weather starts to get me down and winter seems like it will last forever. Whenever I get the January doldrums watching these videos with a cup of tea perks me right back up. These songs are favorites of mine to listen to but their music videos always increase my smiles exponentially.
So if you need a shot of musical sunshine to combat the winter blues these videos will do the trick!
Elle Me Dit by Mika. The dance moves in this one always make my heart happy. They can move! Look at those hips! The practical jokes between family members also helps improve my mood.
Love Girl by CNBLUE. After this video doing the dishes always seems more appealing. Also I need to go buy some posters immediately.
Fascination by Alphabeat. I like to think of Alphabeat as the Danish cousins of Matt and Kim. It must be something in the smiles. Plus they’re so darn smiley its hard not to smile back.
Do you want
- new beats for that casual dance party?
- to kick up the soundtrack to your morning commute?
- to reminisce about R&B days gone by?
- to impress your friends by throwing out words like mandopop and Chinese neo-soul?
Well, have I got the artist for you! I stumbled upon Khalil Fong, the Hong Kong based artist also known as Soulboy, through one fateful click. When I came to three hours and multitudes of music videos later I knew it was love (I was also convinced I knew enough Mandarin to sing along.)
Khalil, Khalil, Khalil, you have filled a neo-soul shaped hole in my heart I didn’t even know was there. He melds the genres of soul, RB, pop, in a manner that is instantly relatable without sounding generic. Throw in an upbeat retro flourish and I was sold. While he may be news to me he actually released his first album in back in 2005 and has been consistently releasing music since then. With so much music to choose from there’s bound to be one song that catches your ear and has you tapping your feet.
Check out some my favorites (and music videos) below:
Romeo is the kind of song you want to hear at a party to get people up, on their feet, and smiling. Just try not to dance. I dare you. If you like this song check out Eric Nam’s song Ooh Ooh.
BB88 is more laid back than the other two songs shown here but just as catchy. I like to think of it as my boppin’ around town song.
Dangerous World has the most distinctive “pop sound” of these three as well as some electronic elements. I’ve had this song stuck in my head for the past three days.
There are so many more songs available by Khalil Fong! This is some of his later work but his early albums (like Soul boy) as well as his collaborations are also worth a listen. Check them out on Youtube and on iTunes!