music challenge

My Favorite Song At This Time Last Year

Day 30 of the music challenge. Last one!
It really depends on my current playlist. It changes very easily.

For me, 2012 was the golden year of EXO as well as its downfall. They hooked my interest the second SM released their very first of 23 teasers in late 2011. It was quite unconventional through my years of enjoying K-Pop. Usually, the practice in introducing a new band is image teasers of the band, followed by a couple of video teasers (cut from their upcoming music videos), followed by a number of news articles promoting the band. However, EXO took a different turn. They introduced the band members one by one through a series of video teasers specially made for the purpose of promotion. These 23 video teasers have their own concept, flaunting each of the members in their own unique way. In between these teasers (released from late 2011 up to the first trimester of 2012), SM released tons of image teasers through Facebook and Weibo (finally making use of the global social media, breaking out of their Korean shell). What’s more intriguing is, they released a couple of introductory singles too, “What Is Love?” and “History”. And no, they’re not considered as the debut single. They even introduced some of the band members through a live performance, which I believe, was something that never happened before. This is a very new approach in their conventional marketing, and yes, I was intrigued.

Through all this promotion, we learned that EXO would be divided into two sub-groups: EXO-K and EXO-M. EXO-K would be promoting mainly in Korea, while EXO-M would be in China. They have the same songs, but recorded in two languages: Korean tracks for EXO-K, and Mandarin tracks for EXO-M, and meanwhile not forgetting the main group as well, mixing both Korean and Mandarin in a song so that EXO the full band could perform it together. At the time, I thought it was a very brilliant move. Covering as many area as possible in one single blow. I’m sure the investment was not cheap, but I have a feeling it would be worth it.

In the beginning, it was my only reason to keep track of EXO: to find out what SM would do next. But then EXO introduced the band concept, and it was a science fiction one, and I gave up. God damn you, SM, I’m a sucker for all things space. EXO took a concept of twelve aliens from an exo planet that descended to Earth, each of the 12 members have their own unique abilities, represented by their individual symbols. I was like, SM you fucker, so fucking brilliant. Giving each of the band member an individual symbol made sure that each of the member would have their own followings and fanbases, because such symbols would represent exclusivity and sense of belonging. In other words, a mindfuckery of consumers’ behavior and psychology. This band was bound for a successful career.

So yeah, I was obsessed with EXO all through 2012. They debuted with double mini albums: Korean and Mandarin, and I was not disappointed. It’s amazing listening to the same exact tracks, but each with their own flavor. At the time, I was head over heels with this song, Machine.


Machine by EXO-K


Machine by EXO-M

If you notice the lyrics (hardsubbed to the video), you’ll see that the songs talk about the same premise: falling in love with a machine-like girl. Yet, if you take a closer look, the songs don’t necessarily talk about the same things. Here’s an example.

Is she not a doll? does she breathe?
Knowing or not, making a cold smile
She has a heart that beats, she must have a voice
I cannot believe it, look look
You are a cold machine
You are a ma, ma, ma, ma, ma, machine
You are a ma, ma, ma, ma, ma, machine
A beautiful and sharp goddess
You are a ma, ma, ma, ma, ma, machine
You are a ma, ma, ma, ma, ma, machine

Machine by EXO-K

She’s like a toy. Does she breathe? Is she able to sigh for anyone?
How come her tears don’t have any emotion?
Gray eyes like glass. I can’t tell if it is innocence or mystery buried inside them
If you don’t see it for yourself, there’s no way you would believe it
Loving you is like loving a cold machine
She’s a ma- ma- ma- ma- machine
She’s a ma- ma- ma- ma- machine
A soundless machine without a heart
She’s a ma- ma- ma- ma- machine
She’s a ma- ma- ma- ma- machine

Machine by EXO-M (translation by her)

See what I mean? Yes, they’re questioning if this girl is human or not, but then the songs take opposite turns from each other. While the other is madly in love and pursuing this girl, the other is in despair and about to give up. Shit, I was blown away by the brilliance of these two songs -hell- EXO concept in general. I’ve learned a lot just by these two songs, especially about how a single word can change the whole meaning of the passage. I thought SM had finally topped up their own game with all of this brilliance they’ve been doing with EXO. They must keep it up.

But apparently, that’s too much to ask of SM. Though EXO had taken the world by storm up to the middle of 2012, SM failed in keeping up with the audience’s expectation and interest. EXO didn’t release anything new until 2013, and boy, they lost a big amount of eager followers that they’d gained in the beginning. Shame. Even now that they’re back, I think SM is taking a general route for EXO despite all those things they’d done to make EXO one of a kind. EXO looks very generic now with their school uniforms and street jerseys. They don’t look any different from the next band. I am very much disappointed, if that’s not obvious enough.

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A Song From My Childhood

Day 29 of the music challenge.
It really depends on my current playlist. It changes very easily.


Emotionless by Good Charlotte

I used to fall asleep to this. Every night.

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A Song That Makes Me Feel Guilty

Day 28 of the music challenge.
It really depends on my current playlist. It changes very easily.


La La by Ashlee Simpson

I’m too embarrassed to explain the song.

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A Song I Wish I Could Play

Day 27 of the music challenge.
It really depends on my current playlist. It changes very easily.


Wanted by Vanessa Carlton

Anybody patient enough to teach me how to play this?

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A Song That I Can Play On An Instrument

Day 26 of the music challenge.
It really depends on my current playlist. It changes very easily.


The Motivation Proclamation by Good Charlotte

I taught myself how to play the guitar in junior high and this was the first, probably the only, song I could play (I still can). The chords are only G, C2, Am, and D. What’s to fret about? (Haha my pun is so funny haha)

The early days of Good Charlotte are gold, before whatever electronic shit they’re into right now. I know all the words to their songs up to The Chronicles of Life and Death. The rest of the albums are drowned under the heavy synth. I miss them a lot ♥ I used to be head over heels for Benji and his Vicious Sid’s pink patch xD I’m still waiting for my turn to watch them live. Their latest album kind of reminds me to their old sound, so there’s still hope.

Captivate me. I want good thoughts inside of my head.

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