Like most everyone in the world right now, I’ve suddenly found myself with a surplus of indoor time. Too much indoor time, if I’m being honest. I could be spending that time churning out blog post after blog post, but it’s funny how the upending of a schedule also upends productivity.
So instead, I’m mostly whittling away the days watching and listening to music. I won’t bore you with the obscure 90’s J-pop binge I’ve been on for the past week, except to say that you’ve probably never heard of also-ran Johnny’s group Ninja, and if you like 80’s/90’s high energy disco pop you should definitely hear a couple of their songs on either one of these illicit youtube channels.
Mostly, I’m curious to hear what all of you are doing to pass the time. If you’re as bored as I am, let me present three options for your K-pop and J-pop consumption:
1. Golden Child – Past & Future Concert
Woollim Entertainment was nice enough to stream Golden Child’s first concert (performed right before the start of the Covid outbreak in Korea) and subsequently post every song on their youtube channel. Of course it’s all well-worth watching – especially if you want to get to know the group’s music before their upcoming stint in Road To Kingdom. Unsurprisingly, the guys kill each and every stage, exuding energy as they perform with a live band in true Woollim family tradition.
Playlist of the twenty-three tracks below (I especially recommend the electrifying No Matter What, as well as live performances of personal favorite b-sides I’m Falling and Lately):
2. Johnny’s World Happy LIVE with YOU
I mean, come on… the title alone! The effusive capitalizations of “LIVE” and “YOU!” But don’t let all the cheese fool you. This is actually a historic youtube broadcast. Johnny’s Entertainment has been notoriously protective when it comes to digital media, and up to this point it was impossible to watch any of their acts’ performances legally on a platform like youtube.
Happy LIVE is the first time content like this has been widely available, and the results are just as bonkers as you would expect. Most of the agency’s artists (and a few of its juniors) take the stage in front of an empty, silent arena and perform 5-6 song sets without the kind of razzle dazzle stagecraft we’re used to from Johnny’s. The end product is occasionally cringeworthy, incredibly surreal, but always entertaining. If nothing else, stay for the maddeningly catchy “Wash Your Hands” interstitial song (and mask-making demos). Just bizarre.
Special digest video of all the artists below (you can find each artists’ full sets by clicking on the Johnny’s Official youtube channel):
3. Idol Cast Podcast
I listen to a lot of podcasts already, many of them K-pop focused. But, I finally discovered Filmi Girl’s Idol Cast early this year and I am completely smitten. Listen from the very beginning to get a comprehensive history of both the K-pop and J-pop industries – at least parts of them. Girl group devotees be wary, for this podcast is 99.9% focused on male idol groups – mostly from Johnny’s, SM, YG, etc. I consider myself pretty up-to-date with idol history, but I’ve already learned quite a bit just from listening. Filmi Girl herself is an absolute delight – well-researched, funny and clearly passionate about the subjects she speaks on. My only (slight) gripe is that there has been absolutely no mention of Infinite anywhere… at least so far! 🙂
Listen to the first episode below, or subscribe on any podcast app: