We all navigate mid-life crises in a myriad of ways. Some might call my late arrival to the fangirl world of Korean entertainment a crisis of sorts because it gave me full license to return to that 15-year old fangirl who was bursting with enthusiasm and excitement over my favorite group’s next move. I am not going to argue, that’s 100% accurate. Then again, my mid-life has seen me do some truly crazy things. The kind of stuff that would probably make any one of my fangirl adventures pale in comparison. Take for example, the time I decided to take surfing lessons just because I lived a block from the beach. I am not a strong swimmer, but I dared to take on Pacific Ocean waves. It almost cost me my life but after the fact, I chalked it as being a character-building war story, you know, something that would help me take on any kind of wave life would splash in my face. I was wrong and own up to the fact that I was completely unprepared for an unlikely and new kind of wave: WayV.
Where do I begin? I am having a difficult time trying to pull it together long enough to talk about this lovely song, its thoughtful message, and the five talented and charming men behind it. I think if you give A.C.E a chance, you will agree that they bring something a little different to the K-pop table. Their latest, 편지를 써 (Stand By You), really feels like a love letter to their fans (Choice) who they clearly deem a sixth and integral member of the group.
Sometimes you have to step away from big agency K-pop and allow yourself to fall in love with something a little off the beaten path. I recently took a detour, found, and fell promptly in love with M.O.N.T. And oh my, they certainly turned out to be the mood-lifting breath of fresh air I have obviously been craving.
I know. I KNOW! It has been 8 years since Nu’est debuted. And I know I am coming to the party late. LATE! But the fact of the matter is, I am here and their latest release has my full attention. And once something catches my attention, the research begins and I travel back in time to become acquainted with something I probably should have checked out years prior. It’s how I roll lately. I guess I am a late K-pop bloomer but I am sure JR, Aron, Baekho, Minhyun, and Ren would be thrilled that I love the title track, I’m In Trouble off of their 8th mini-album, The Nocturne. It seems rather serendipitous don’t you think, that I am discovering Nu’est with such excited interest now in what is their 8th year with their 8th mini-album? The K-pop gods always have a plan!
I am a little late in posting news of Winner’s Lee Seunghoon’s enlistment on April 16, 2020 but part of me is still trying to wrap my brain around the fact that 50% of my beloved Winner is now enlisted. Fans knew it was inevitable but as with Jinu, news of Hoony also going still came as a shock.
“O, swear not by the moon, th’ inconstant moon,
That monthly changes in her circle orb,
Lest that thy love prove likewise variable.”
GOT7 is back and they are more romantic than ever. All I have to say to that is this: I would gladly be Juliet to any one of these seven Romeos and willingly surrender myself to the apothecary of music and visuals they are serving up in their latest release, Not By The Moon.
Being forced to shelter-in-place during what is perhaps turning into one of the most incredible and frightening situations I may see in my lifetime (yes, I am talking about the COVID-19 pandemic) has given me time to reflect on the tumultuous fangirl journey I have been on these past seven years. By the close of 2019, I realized that I had burst through a rather stringent guardrail when it came to Korean entertainment and in particular, Korean music. After my honey baby bias G.O of MBLAQ completed his military service, went from AfreecaTV BJ to YouTuber and yes, even became a husband, I kind of went on a bender. I wanted to write about my explorative fangirl year of 2019 before 2019 ended but failed to actually sit down and do so. Then, I pretty much abandoned the blog altogether. Now that I am in forced lockdown, I really feel the urge to return, show the blog some love, and write again. I have truly missed writing. So, humor me if you will, and let me tell you about my 2019 fangirl adventures (albeit a little late and wordy) and my hopes for 2020.
If you were to ask me one word to describe the Korean group, Winner, I would say FAMILY. I would challenge anyone to show me a closer-knit group. To me, Winner has elevated past the general colleague-based relationship most professional groups have. Moreover, this feeling of family is not exclusive to the group itself. No. I think the group’s fandom Inner Circle would agree that it not only encompasses the relationship Yoon, Jinu, Hoon and Mino have with each other but, that it also extends further to their fans. Winner’s latest, the title track Remember on their newly released full album, brings the family together, soothes my fangirl heart, and waxes nostalgic in a way only Winner can.
It is never easy to say good-bye to our favorite Korean entertainers when they leave to complete mandatory military service, even when we know it is temporary. Winner’s Jinu left for training camp on 2 April and for some reason, it was a lot more emotional than I expected.
When I said I was opening up to other artists, somehow I knew I would end up somewhere east of the eclectic highway. I never thought it would mean getting lost on Bang Yongguk’s Orange Drive, but indeed it was . . . and I am loving it.