Doo Doom Chit – Crayon Pop


Doo Doom Chit…Doom Chit…Shake It! Shake It!

Ever since I heard Crayon Pop’s Bar Bar Bar cut through the dance music in a nightclub in Hongdae, I’ve been one of their fans. They’ve always been an exception in the Kpop world, succeeding in ways that more moneyed Kpop groups and companies can only dream of. They shot to fame with Bar Bar Bar and their shoestring budget performances, then went on to be personally picked by Lady Gaga to open her concerts, giving them arguably the best US success of any Kpop group so far. Now Crayon Pop continues to chug along, sticking true to their characters with Doo Doom Chit.

A big part of Crayon Pop’s success comes down to their addictive sound, which lies somewhere between T-ara’s club bangers and Orange Caramel’s infectiously fun tracks¹. Commercial success in Kpop relies on being super catchy, the kind of catchy that sticks in your head and you find yourself mindlessly humming while you open the fridge looking for something to snack on because its that awkward period before dinner where you can’t really eat a full meal but you’re hungry. And Doo Doom Chit has all the mind sticky elements there for that: it’s upbeat and energetic, it has a catchy hook (“Oh baby woah oooh woah ooh woah“), a simple and repeatable chorus (“Doo Doom Chit…Doo Doom Chit Doom Chit Doom Chit!”), and a saxophone, something the world has sorely been lacking since the 80s.

To add to all of that catchiness of it all, Crayon Pop have also jumped on an ASCII cat meme to base their choreography and MV off of:

c_\ \
   \  \  ^_^
    \  (' ? ')
     >       ? )
     /      ~ \
    /      /\  \
    \     /   )_?
     /  /
    /  / \
   (  ( \ \
   |  |  \ \
   |  |   \ ? )
   )__)    ?_)

I can’t exactly explain what this meme is or what its used or its appeal in South Korea is, but it does fit the simple, if not almost childlike, choreography that Crayon Pop excels at. They’ve also stuck to their cheap production values, which has become their shtick, by being more hands on with each of the members being in charge of different parts of the comeback: Ellin and Gummi choosing the outfits, Choa handling the makeup and hairstyling, Soyul designing the album cover and Way in charge of marketing direction. While they continue to do unconventional things in kpop, it all contributes to their goofy character and remains essentially Crayon Pop.

Overall, the comeback is a little more reminiscent of their catchy, fad songs like Uh-ee or Bar Bar Bar, rather than their more musical songs like FM, Bing Bing and Dancing Queen, songs that I think tend to have more shelf life than the others², but its really hard to not get caught up with this song. The girls seem to be having a blast making this MV and you can’t help but have fun as well.


¹ Like a lot of kpop groups, they share some of the same producers, like Shinsadong Tiger between T-ara and Crayon Pop.

² Vroom Vroom, the pre-release song for this album, fills that gap for me, so all is good.

Bleach: Style over Substance

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In a past life, I was a big anime fan. While the whole anime scene and I have drifted away from each other, there are still remnants of that older time, but even they are starting to fade. Bleach is the latest of the Big 3 Shounen manga to end (Naruto ended last year, leaving only One Piece left), and while I haven’t been following that series for a long time, the news has got me waxing nostalgia about the series.

I first started reading/watching Bleach when I was in high school, and being a Naruto fan, Bleach was a natural progression. My brother, a uni student at the time, got the anime off of a friend and binge watched it while I was at school. It would take me a while to get into the series though, but the brief glimpses of the anime my brother was watching seemed so different from the initial episodes I was watching. The anime I was watching had a group of friends fighting ghost monsters, the series he was watching had shinigami fighting each other with crazy swords, if you could even call them swords.

Continue reading “Bleach: Style over Substance”

BEAMS Arts Festival

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The BEAMS Art Festival in Chippendale was on again last weekend and I made the trip down to Central Park for what is now the third time I’ve made it to the festival. The BEAMS festival is a street festival that stretches from Central Park to Balfour St, filling the alleyways inbetween with installations, performances and food vendors in a collaboration between the local galleries, residents and businesses, and is something I look forward to every year.

Chippendale is an area that I might always have a soft spot for it after all the years I spent in its galleries, cafes, bars or streets while avoiding being at university. It’s changed a lot in recent years, with the redevelopment of the old Carlton Brewery site into the shipping/eating district of Central Park, but its backstreets still have the same character that shines through during the BEAMS festival.

Unlike the crowded Central Park/Spice Alley area, filled with restaurants and crowd, the quieter back alleys give the space for more genuine and interesting art and interactions to play out. Whether it’s a breakdancing competition, or a woman cracking jokes in between her opera number (“Sing along, it’s the easy part!”), or just sitting on the curb with strangers watching an animation projected on the wall, it all has that charm that comes about from a community driven event.

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This year’s festival felt less crowded than last year’s, which my friend attributed to the festival spreading out more across Central Park, which made walking around a much easier task than last year. The art installations were also more accessible for the non-artsy types, with a few more interactive displays (utilising iPads or Kinects).

So while I had my doubts about where the festival was headed last year, this year’s festival turned out quite well, proving its one of the better festivals in Sydney, and I’m looking forward to going again next year.

Commonplace Books

Commonplace books (or commonplaces) are a way to compile knowledge, usually by writing information into books. Such books are essentially scrapbooks filled with items of every kind: recipes, quotes, letters, poems, tables of weights and measures, proverbs, prayers, legal formulas. Commonplaces are used by readers, writers, students, and scholars as an aid for remembering useful concepts or facts they have learned. Each commonplace book is unique to its creator’s particular interests.

A little while ago I found an empty Moleskine book that I had forgotten about in some dark corner of my room. I think I had originally bought the book with the intention to write some kind of travel diary as I galavanted across the world, but I guess I got too caught up in that world to spend time writing about it. So now I had an empty notebook with no purpose, and I felt a little bad about that. I have a bad habit of buying notebooks with the intention to fill them, use them for a few weeks, and then leave them to gather dust. But this book hadn’t even been written in, so I felt that I had to do something with it.

I had been reading Ron Chernow’s Alexander Hamilton biography (the book that inspired the musical, which if you haven’t heard, stop reading and go listen to the cast album now), and one of the notable similarities between Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson was the sheer amount of writings they created in their lives, with Jefferson’s commonplace books offering a great deal on insight into the complex (and often contradictory) man himself. Meanwhile, I had been playing around with the idea of using EverNote as a kind of personal knowledge repository (I used to use a similar program in high school), and they had run a series of article on their blog about commonplace books as well. The fates seemed to be conspiring to have me start a commonplace book, and so I did.

In the few months I’ve been using it for, I’ve been filling it with quotations from the various books and articles that I read online, so the topics can vary wildly from photography to writing to issues of race, with the only real thread connecting them is that they offer some little gem of wisdom that appeals to me. I’ve been using post-its to mark passages for entry while reading (which you can see in the picture here), and then I’ll spend some time to process each of the passages into the book at once. Since it’s a book, which requires actual handwriting, writing passages into the book is a slow process, but it’s one that forces reflection and thinking and that’s the entire point of a commonplace book in the end. Usually entries include the quote, who said it, and then if needed, a little passage with my thoughts on it.

But this is the digital age after all and if something isn’t shared then it may as well not exist anymore, right? So I made a quick tumblr blog as a backup commonplace, where I can slowly re-review the entries I put in and hopefully glean more from them, while at the same time sharing it to the world. I think it might be a bit of an interesting experiment to do as well, because much in the same way that Jefferson’s books offer insight into him, mine may show the seeds of my inspirations and the context they grow in.