Monday, August 15th, 2011

HyunA – Bubble Pop

Slightly banned in Korea…


Jonathan Bogart: In which our heroine condenses the entirety of Femme Fatale into a single song, dubstep and apocalypse and silly production sounds and wide-eyed romantisexualitism all at once.

Anthony Easton: This really reminds me of Bardot’s “Comic Strip” in its love of the American argot and its pure joy, plus the sweet, sweet onomatopoeia.

Frank Kogan: Surely HyunA’s not the first singer to decide that bubblegum music should literally sound like bubbles popping, with oohs and aahs like actual bubbles, making the track sexy and silly. I can’t think of many others off hand. Gwen Stefani’s “Bubble Pop Electric” (usefully spun by Dave at’s Teenpop Friday) has vrooming engines, screeching tires, and scrapes and shuffles, though not so many actual pops. The subject of pop that pops is surprisingly absent from the chapter on onomatopoeia rock in Chuck’s The Accidental Evolution of Rock’n’Roll. Over on Rolling K-pop, some have denigrated the dubstep break in “Bubble Pop!” for messing with the mood, but it sounds appropriately grunty — and silly — to me.

Alfred Soto: What a title, and she means it! Shouting and signifying over a burbling, protean electro track, HyunA is every harajuku girl made flesh.

Iain Mew: This has my favourite out-of-place dubstep breakdown ever. You have this straightforwardly perky, brassy pop song which relentlessly rams home all its huge hooks but is just about to start outstaying its welcome and then, all of a sudden, VWORP VWORP VWORP B-B-B-BUH. It’s a hilarious, joyous, disconcerting palate-cleanser before diving back into the business of bubbly bubble pop like nothing happened.

Katherine St Asaph: J-pop and K-pop don’t get much straightforward U.S. blog coverage as genres. If a song gets picked up, it’s because people think it’s novel and can be momentarily viral. The last one was that ever-alluring “Japan has robot pop stars!” story, one degree removed from those other robots the blogs tittered over. This time, it was for “Bubble Pop” sounding slightly like Britney’s “How I Roll,” which it doesn’t really, and being kerosene for the anti-pop commenters and Internet oglers, not to mention Google-bait for the people who actually search for K-pop news. The video went viral well outside Asia, which must have made a few PR people’s days. What got lost was that “Bubble Pop” is actually good. It’s got a dubstep breakdown, because of course it does, but otherwise it’s an exuberant replica of ’90s bubblegum pop as re-imagined by TV themes and edutainment games. The chords snap into place beneath their melodies, a few bubbly, wordless interludes letting air in. Problem is, the song’s slight enough for all its fake context to overwhelm it; one hopes future singles will be more arresting.

Brad Shoup: There are a lot of parallels to the structure of Britney Spears’ “How I Roll,” whose lack of single release is starting to become felonious. The most obvious would either be the chopped-up vocal sounds that precede each song, or the overall kitten vibe. In HyunA’s case, those exploding vowels and a dubstep breakdown (srsly) mostly account for the latter; when they’re out of the way, the song becomes a more standard affair. I think I detect an interpolation of the Temptations’ “Get Ready” that keeps cropping up. If it’s there, it’s sly: good work.

Jer Fairall: More innovative in its opening twenty seconds of “Ca Plane Pour Moi” riffage and lurching seizure of vocal sputters and coos than North American chart pop has managed over the course of this entire sorry summer, and that’s even before it delivers its giddy sugar rush of a chorus. Would rate even higher if it stopped at the 2:22 point, before that big, ugly electro bit intrudes and at which point we’ve probably gotten all the “Bubble Pop” we need anyway. 

Josh Langhoff: The beat is hard and severe like a row of brick walls, and HyunA’s job is either to squeeze between each pair of walls or, if she’s on a roll, to soar over the top of the walls and contain them, as though she’s being unfurled by Christo. Also there’s a dubstep interlude. None of this adds to the beat’s forward momentum, but all of it adds to the song’s energy, by turns invigorating and herky-jerkily frustrating, not unlike a real game of Bubble Pop! with a child who INSISTS on always being the bubble-blower and never the bubble-chaser. You know the contortions you gotta put yourself through to contend with one of those bubble guns? “OOH! AHH! OOH-ah-ooh-AH! ooh-AH! OOOOOOOHHHH” sounds pretty close.

7 Responses to “HyunA – Bubble Pop”

  1. Great, now I’m a blog.

  2. Oh, Frank – *NSYNC’s “Pop” is the only one I’m coming up with right now, but I’ve got the Bubblegum Music book on the couch, so maybe I can wrangle up some others.

  3. Frank, I think those scrapes and shuffles are supposed to be rapid-fire pops. Even if they aren’t, my deep, deep denial’s not going anywhere after seven years.

  4. I didn’t mean you! I meant P***z and the like.

  5. Dang it! I had trouble streaming this for some weird reason, and didn’t get my blurb in on time. Suffice it to say, mine would have been the extremely contrary opinion, as usual. 2NE1 has spoiled me horribly.

    That being said, I did have a grand time of, not surprisingly, playing SPOT THE REFERENCES (“Mickey”, Clueless, Gwen Stefani, etc.), though, urgh, I’m blanking on other bubble-popping jams, too.

  6. The opening couple of seconds of this promises pretty much the greatest song ever, and then it’s only okay.

    The dubstep breakdown trend really needs to stop now.

  7. Wish I got back from vacation an hour or two sooner so I could’ve given this an [8]! And mentioned how it would’ve been a [10] if that dubstep breakdown wasn’t SO deflating.