Kpop Music Mondays: 2NE1 “Come Back Home”
Now that I look at the final edit of the Music Monday, I’m not sure if I made my point clearly enough with 2NE1’s video. Doing videos on the internet means you have to compete with limited attention spans, so you gotta get to your point as soon as you can before people drift off. People have longer attention spans when they’re reading blog posts, though, so I can get a bit more in depth here, I think:
Here’s what I was trying to get at: 2NE1’s video poses a bit of a conundrum for me, and I’m not sure if it’s the core message that poses the conflict or if it’s just that they didn’t get enough time in their video to flesh out the argument. From what I saw, the video in a nutshell suggests “virtual world = bad, real world = good.” Connect more with the real world around you than the virtual world on your phone. My point, though, is this: 2NE1 exists in the virtual world. You view them on your phones and on your laptops and iPads. You don’t know them in real life. You’re lucky if you can see them in concert. There’s nothing real to you about 2NE1, by their definition of real vs virtual, that is.
2NE1’s virtual world is so much more colorful and vivid than Dara’s real monotonous world – both in color and pattern, so Dara’s boyfriend plugs into Virtual Paradise. But…but…real life is better, right? Is that what 2NE1’s getting at? If that’s the case, then isn’t the way the Virtual Paradise is described a lot like how Kpop is described? It’s so much more vivid and colorful. People look different. They speak a different language. They live in a different world. Their music sounds different. And gotdamn they’re so much prettier than we are. Kpop is the virtual paradise. Your life around you is the real world.
Kpop isn’t only a genre of music. I’d argue that it isn’t a genre to begin with, the way Rock and Folk and Electronica are genres, because Kpop has no consistent sound to it. Kpop is more of an aesthetic than a genre. Kpop is more often music for eyes than it is for ears. And the music for eyes that Kpop makes is, for many people outside of Korea, a version of Virtual Paradise.
So, I’m not really sure how 2NE1 can reconcile their video’s message with their careers. Are 2NE1 saying “don’t drink that poison! I just saved you! Here: drink OUR poison instead!” I don’t want to think that 2NE1’s saying that. It’s like us here at Eatyourkimchi saying “get off the internet! YouTube sucks!” when our careers are on the internet.
My basic argument is that I don’t agree with what 2NE1 are posing as opposites. The dichotomy between real world and virtual paradise doesn’t exist. Nothing is virtual. Everything around us is a part of our real lives, and seeking distractions is a part of human existence. If we don’t do it online, we do it in books. If we don’t do it in books we do it in play. If we don’t do it in play we do it in our minds as we walk and think. We do it when we listen to other people’s stories when they talk to us. It’s exceptionally challenging to be in the moment, when so much of what we do depends on things not in our immediate vicinity.
We’re built to think about things outside of us. We’re all escapists in one form or another. Sure, our current world makes it easier for us to do so, by giving us interesting pictures and videos to look at much more easily than it would be for us to conjure them up in the aether of our thoughts. To argue against distraction isn’t going to get us anywhere. I welcome distraction, and so I’m not really agreeing with 2NE1 here.
I will find a middle ground with them, though. Hey: maybe they’re not arguing against all distraction and “virtual paradises” altogether. They might not be arguing against the dichotomy; maybe they’re just arguing for moderation, which is something I can agree with. Don’t check your phone constantly when we’re talking face to face, please. Most people can’t carry on two conversations at once, and talking on your phone makes you suck at talking in person. Unless you’re the rare exception that can keep up with both conversations, in which I don’t mind, but I haven’t yet met someone who can do justice to both at once. Technology’s doing so much to help us connect with others away from us that we’re forgetting how to connect to people in front of us.
Aw hell. That’s too much to talk about in one blog post, but at least I could talk about it more here than I could in the video! I’ll leave it at this: I know we sometimes talk about deep stuff on Kpop Music Monday, like we did in the Cleansing Cream review, the Grasshopper Song review, and now, in a small way, this review. Can we do this for every Kpop Music Monday? No. A lot of kpop videos are very superficial and empty. Some videos use symbolism, but not in any ways that convey messages that interest us. I won’t care about love songs from people that have been singing about love for less time than I’ve been married, because I don’t think that their messages can contribute anything of value to me. Maybe they can be of interest to others. Sorry that we can’t help in that way. The same way some people can read illuminati symbolism into videos, we’re also not interested in those kinds of analyses, because they bore us.
This video, though, had a message that we found stimulating, so we dealt with it more than we did with other, personally less interesting videos. I hope you found this somewhat interesting as well, I hope! Let us know your thoughts and what you take away from it. Are 2NE1 raging against their own careers? Or is there another way to view their hostility towards Virtual Paradise?
Another opinion we need of you, to fan the flames of Fanwar (the Struggle is real!) let us know what comeback you liked more. We can’t agree amongst ourselves. Whose side do you agree with?
On a less serious note: here’s more footage of Spudgy and Meemers being freaking cute as hell!
Aaaand, just in case some people want the 2NEmum video on its own, we made a separate video for it as well. Check it out here if you’re interested :D
And, lastly, click on this pretty button here. It’ll give you a super sexy virtual lover, IN REAL LIFE! Just one click away!