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Call me old-fashioned, but although music videos can have a huge effect on my enjoyment of songs, I still try to judge them on their own merits.
By that criteria, all of Girls’ Generation’s hits have fallen flat for me, no matter how photogenic the girls are. But then I found a remix of their latest hit Oh! by the Greek trance DJ “Areia”, and I immediately fell in love with it.
Like he says on his blog, he put a lot of work into it. And it shows.
True, it’s actually the only one of his K-pop remixes that I like, that of Abracadabra (아브라카다브라) by the Brown Eyed Girls being particularly disappointing. But I’ve only listened to a handful so far, and his abilities are definitely improving over time. To any other Korea-based trance fans out there, frequently lamenting at how something so popular in Japan could be so completely absent from the cultural radar here, I’m sure you’ll be just as happy as I was to have found him!
For the lyrics (and a translation) to the song, see Yeeun2Grace here, and if you’re interested and haven’t seen it already, then this video (via Extra! Korea) makes a pretty compelling case that the song has been plagiarized from U.S./Barbadian singer Rihanna’s Shut Up and Drive. If you’re disappointed in my not providing my usual critical analysis on this occasion though, then I apologize(!), and by all means read precisely that at Appears.
But if you’d still like to watch the original video, albeit now with the trance remix, then I do understand:
Click on the video itself to be taken to Ariea’s YouTube page, which has a playlist of his other K-pop remixes.
Update: There’s been a lot of speculation in the comments as to why the video’s concept is of cheerleaders hoping to get the attention of American footballers, simply bizarre considering that the sport has virtually no following here. So I posed the question to my two classes earlier today, and the combination of their explanations proves to be quite compelling.
First, my morning class mentioned the success of the movie Bring it On in 2000, particularly the song Hey Mickey from the soundtrack, and this struck a chord with me because men who would have been in their late-teens and early-twenties back then were precisely the demographic that SM Entertainment created Girls’ Generation for (indeed, Girls’ Generation has performed the song many times). While that may just be coincidence though, they also said that high school footballers dating cheerleaders have been a staple of American movies and dramas they’ve watched ever since, and they were at a loss for an equivalent in Korean pop culture.
My afternoon class disagreed that Bring It On was popular however, and this is borne out by the box office figures for that year. Instead, they pointed out that all Korean cheerleaders are adults, and so although the youngest members of the group are in fact turning 20 this year, to have presented them as Korean cheerleaders pining after Korean baseball or basketball players would have clashed with their image of being precocious teenagers. Recall that the song itself is about unrequited love for an older male too, which the exaggerated youth of the women singing it would help to emphasize.
In short, cheerleaders for high school American footballers were the only possibility because there are no teenage cheerleaders in Korea.
But my two classes’ explanations are not mutually exclusive of course, nor with some of the alternative explanations posted in the comments section here either. While I would like to corroborate them though, unfortunately analysis like that is severely lacking on the Korean internet, so that might have to wait until I investigate next month’s music magazines.
Meanwhile, I’m quite convinced personally, but what do you think? Please let me know, and perhaps I can get a dialogue going with my students!
Update 2: Despite 1 billion won (US$860,000) being spent on Girls’ Generations stage costumes last year, apparently there was little money available for making some props for this music video, so some store-bought ones with the Iowa Hawkeyes logo were used instead. You can just imagine the reaction of Hawkeyes fans…