What a Difference 3 Months Can Make

All the people born, all the people dead…..

RIP Chester Bennington.

I’ve written about Kpop many times here, only occasionally about English-language music, and one of the bands that made the deepest impression on me after I’d been introduced to Kpop was Linkin Park and their debut album Hybrid Theory at the turn of the 21st century.  Je suis tres triste maintenant.

Linkin Park released a new album in May; their new single, “Heavy,” is really good.

My favorite LP song is probably “Pushing Me Away.”

 

Bruce Cumings on the Korean War

I finished reading Bruce Cumings’s book on the Korean War — finally.

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There’s an excerpt in the final chapter that will likely inspire me to read more military history books on Asia (already his book has sparked my interest in reading about the Vietnam War and likely vis-a-vis modern Asian military history or post-war/Cold War context; anyone have any recommendations?).

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In the new century Americans have once again replicated their Korean experience — this time in Iraq. Without forethought, due consideration, or self-knowledge, the United States barged into a political, social, and cultural thicket without knowing what it was doing, and now finds it cannot get out. A great civilization arose and flourished at the intersection of the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers, but American leaders know almost nothing about it. Somehow they thought they could invade a sovereign country, crush Saddam Hussein’s army, and find the road to Baghdad strewn with flowers. Shortly after the occupation began in 2003, a New York Times reporter asked a professor at Baghdad University how he thought things were going: the scholar’s first comment was “You Americans know nothing about my country.” (232).

Here are some YT audiovisual accompaniments:

 

 

Find a Way Home

The boy with the faded, teal low-top Chuck Taylors leaned against the wall next to the back door of the Irish pub.  His wavy, dark brown hair made contact with the damp brick behind his head and what was intended to be five minutes of leaning soon turned into a sliding down and slump onto the ground.  He’d been walking for four hours off-and-on and only had a tuna sandwich and a couple bottles of water over the course of that time.

The boy wanted to rest, not just take a cat nap, but he had no place to stay, no home in this city.  He shifted uncomfortably on the asphalt and covered his face with his hands.  He wasn’t sure how long he stayed in that position when he felt moderate weight on his left thigh as though someone had set the Oxford Dictionary into his lap.  He opened his eyes and was face-to-face with a pair of brown eyes, a round, wet nose, and a pink tongue.

The boy blinked, rubbed his eyes, but the furry pup was still there.  The weight he felt was the dog’s front paws, and in his lap was a football.  It was brand new, shiny, and smelled like bacon.  The boy’s stomach groaned.  The dog started licking him, then barked at him and trotted in the direction of the street.  The dog waited by the post office box for the boy to stand up before proceeding a couple blocks to the right.  The boy did his best to keep up with the sandy colored canine.  He was so tired by the time he’d entered the purple door that he didn’t notice the corgi curled up on the sofa where the boy passed out.

When he woke up two hours later, the sandy dog was sitting by his feet and the corgi was in a sploot on his chest.  The football was on the floor and still smelled like bacon.

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The above story was inspired by an early evening rain shower.

All Eyez on ALiEN Dance Studio

I’ve written about the Kinjaz but I haven’t yet about ALiEN Dance Studio.  In my many YouTube travels, I came across this choreography video of Tinashe‘s song “2 On” and was entranced.  I’ve seen several male-only and mixed-gender dance crew videos on YT with much admiration and excitement, but ALiEN Dance Studio brings a bold and sensually precise dimension to the dance moves.


Their videos of Bruno Mars and Britney Spears songs leave me speechless.

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While we’re on the subject of grooving tunes, I watched All Eyez on Me (Benny Boom, 2017) over the weekend.  While I enjoyed the film and loved the music, I agree with many of the criticisms of the film discussed here on Reddit.  When Tupac Shakur was successfully navigating the rap scene in the 1990s, I was listening to The Cranberries, Cake, Dishwalla, Live, Bjork, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, TLC, En Vogue — basically lots of alternative rock and top 40s pop/rock and r&b.  While I knew who Tupac was and had come across his music by virtue of being a teenager of the 90s and immersed in pop-cultural media, it wasn’t until I saw the music video for “Gangsta Party” (aka “2 of Amerikaz’s Most Wanted”) featuring Snoop Dogg that I paid (more) attention to his voice and presence. I liked the rhythm of the song.

During the late 90s through the mid-2000s, I listened primarily to Asian pop music (Japanese, Korean and Chinese (Mandarin).  Given the way Korean pop, hip-hop, and hip-pop have evolved in the last few years, I feel as though I owe my taste for Tupac’s music to Korean hip-pop. *  Specifically, these kinds of tunes:

 

There is no soundtrack for All Eyez on Me, but Tupac’s albums are available to own.  After YouTubing a few of the songs on his album of the same name, I went to Best Buy and got it.  Let me tell you, driving while listening to “All About You” has been so much fun.  Snoop Dogg’s narration at the end is hilarious.  It’s also interesting to realize that “Recipe” by Kpop girl group Brown Eyed Girls lyrically samples “How Do You Want It.”

 

So why would I watch a movie about a rapper whom I didn’t really listen to when he was still alive?  I saw Notorious (George Tillman Jr., 2009) in theatres out of curiosity and not too long ago watched Straight Outta Compton (F. Gary Gray, 2015).  I figured I’d have to watch the Tupac biopic for symmetry.

* I am aware that American hip-hop heavily influenced Korean hip-pop.