상상은 여권이 필요없는 여행이다
I would like to talk about one of my favorite girl groups: GLAM. They only debuted last year, haven’t released anything in a while, and seem to be struggling to build up a strong fanbase, but these girls quickly stamped their mark on my heart. They may not be the best singers or dancers, but they’re talented enough and so far all of their promoted songs have been creative, socially conscious, and always always permeated with their peculiar character. Because I like them so much, I decided not to wait until their next release to summarize what they’ve done so far.
Their first single may have actually been rescued by the fact that it didn’t make much of a splash. I think if it had been more popular, MOGEF would have slapped a ban on it SO FAST. As evidenced by its title, “Party (XXO)” is a lighthearted song about partying and being in love, and features such lyrics as
“네가 남자? 여자?
(“You’re a boy? Girl?
It doesn’t matter to me.”)
“누구라도 나의 Romeo
A touch of your lips, XXO
설레인다면 다 Juliet, Juliet.”
(“Anyone is my Romeo
A touch of your lips, XXO
If your heart is fluttering, you’re Juliet, Juliet.”)
While these lyrics might seem completely innocuous to a Katy Perry “I kissed a girl and I liked it” Western culture, these lyrics really stick out in Korea’s highly homophobic atmosphere. This is followed by lyrics about breaking rules and walls (“우린 규칙을 벗어나 / rule들을 비껴가 / Got the right to break the wall”) which suggest that, yeah, they’re actually talking about what you think they’re talking about. +1 to Glam for being socially conscious on an issue I care about. Another +1 for handling it in a light, fun, unobtrusive way (and even more points for sticking it to uptight MOGEF).
Also, the energetic sensory overload of the music video helps you forget that… they vaporize the planet at the end o.O
“I Like That”
This is quite likely my favorite Glam song. It’s a song about simply living on after you break up; that it’s ok to not have a boyfriend, it’s ok (and enjoyable!) to be alone… eating 2 servings of BBQ by yourself, having a karaoke recital without friends, getting home ok alone when drunk, and best of all: eliminating cockroaches without help.
But I don’t just dig the (yet again) socially conscious message; it’s reinforced by the choreography, which is not only NOT stereotypical for a girl group, but the “horror” portion at 1:33 is absolutely hilarious. That is where the cockroach part comes in, and 1:39 is a cute play-by-play of the invisible cockroach skittering across the floor. And once again, Glam’s unique personality permeates the entire production. They’re more playful than 2NE1, but they’re obviously not trying to be badass like every other “tough-image” girl group… they just ARE badass and very secure in themselves. It’s not a concept they put on in an attempt to cash in, they’re just being who they are. I find that truly refreshing.
A further example of their endearing personalities is their own spoof of “I Like That,” based on their love for Air Jordans:
I struggle over their most recent promoted song, “In Front of the Mirror.” It seems like it’s attempting to do what 2NE1’s “Ugly” does: critiquing superficiality and standards of beauty for women by ostensibly buying into it. But I don’t think Glam are nearly as successful in making their point as 2NE1. The ending is just… nothing. No point made, no summation, just… “Hey, I hate what I see in the mirror! I try to make myself feel better, but…” You get the sense of where Glam is going with the song, but they never actually go there.
I did find it enjoyable that they wove aspects of the trot genre into a modern style… or, that was what they were attempting to do, anyway. It isn’t a strong presence, and it certainly isn’t Ulala Session’s “Fonky,” which uses straight-up unadulterated trot, but there certainly are elements of the trot genre while still leaving the overall sound accessible to today’s audience.
Like I said, Glam is fairly new and thus hasn’t had the opportunity to release a great amount of material (not every group is B.A.P). But I like what they’ve released so far, and I truly do feel they are a bit of freshness in the kpop scene. I’m really hoping they can start to accumulate more fans with their coming releases.