Melbourne MC Joelistics draws on a lot of influences, (many of which we mentioned when writing about his video to ‘Everyone Everything’ earlier this year) including ‘80s-era English post punk and ‘90s grunge through to hip hop.
But who knew the MC, producer, and singer was a huge fan of Asian pop? Well e didn’t until he put together this list on the five ‘Asian Pop Songs That Are Weirder Than Acid’. They’re pretty nuts, check them out before you check Joelistics out, as he’s hitting the road for the ‘Blue Volume tour’ this month.
“Asian pop music is a visual beast. Appreciating it is a lot like taking acid, one needs to relax one’s grip on reality, let the hooks get in there, embrace the multiple costume changes, get lost in the genre mashing, roll with the strategic marketing and let the ultimately ridiculous, manufactured, colour saturated weirdness of it all wash over you.
Let me hold your hand and walk you through five of my all time favourites.
Pro tip – Come at these songs using the same part of your brain stem that appreciates Mr Bungle, Destiny’s Child, Drake and The Yeah Yeah Yeah’s (and if you don’t like those artists, I can’t do nothing for ya man).”
Baby Metal – ‘Gimme Chocolate (live)’
“This is the best thing that’s ever happened in the history of the world. A Japanese girl pop group with a metal backing band.
The musical equivalent of an irradiated pirahna Pokemon. The crazed masterstroke of a musical Dr Moreau. What must their rehearsals be like?
If Nabakov had written Lolita as a Manga film based in Neo Tokyo and imbued his femme protagonist with psychopathic wide eyed enthusiasm, Baby Metal would be the soundtrack.
And the girls play their part cute but they don’t play it sexy, in fact the all too common disturbing fascination of hyper sexualised barely pubescent teen girls (a cornerstone of pop music world wide) is subverted by the brutal menace of metal riffage. All hail Baby Metal.”
Girls Generation – ‘I Gotta Boy’
“Imagine walking through a world made of malls where the whole population is perpetually sixteen years old and everything ugly has been eradicated, emotional states have become brand name products for the populace to consume and everywhere you go your brain melts in to the hyper bright colours that saturate reality.
Now take that concept and make a dance routine from it.
This song is custom built for an audience who view the world through a phone screen and need a new hook to come in every 30 seconds, like a hit of Soma. This song and the film clip is what our grand kids will grow up to live.
It may sound like I dislike the song, but I love it…and I for one welcome our new insect overlords and look forward to a bright and happy future.”
O Ankhaa – ‘Gulag’
“Just so you know – “Asian Hitler chic” is a real thing. It’s a youth subculture fashion movement throughout different parts of Asia that incorporates Gestapo cosplay and swastika imagery. It’s apolitical, so you can bet the kids who are dressing up as Nazi’s and fetishising over the pomp and glamour of the uniforms are grossly uneducated about what they’re fucking with. This is troubling on a number of levels but still, from “Asian Hitler chic” you get this song ‘Gulag’ and its jaw droppingly weird clip.
O Ankhaa hail from Mongolia, which has a very decent hiphop, scene of which this track is not representative.
This song is kind of what I imagine the Cat Empire would sound like if they were a lot shittier at their instruments and unintentionally ultra racist. It’s not really my cup of alcoholic horse milk but if Jazzy Nazi pop rap with nose bleed dance music breakdowns, extended Carpenters samples and a Sinatra Christmas song outro are your thing, you just struck gold my friend.”
G Dragon – ‘Crooked’
G Dragon is the biz and this is why – How many Asian male pop stars can you name? How many Asian male actors? Too often the Asian male has been de-sexualised by popular culture.
Here we have an effeminate elfish K-pop punk fashionista trading on images that defy all that. In this clip G Dragon is like some peroxide demon child unleashed on the streets of London (or some generic European city – itself a comment)
Images of him staring down white boys, picking fights with bouncers and bum rushing indie bands to play drums, although staged, are still subversive, right down to the emotional break down in a toilet cubicle. Admittedly this version of punk is more in line with the airbrushed photo shoot of a GQ mag than The Clash but still G Dragon comes off as kind of weirdly dangerous and sexy and all up in a media territory the invisible Asian male doesn’t get to inhabit too often.
Queen Sea Big Shark – ‘Bling Bling Bling’
This song is like a sedated lullaby for the opiated dreams of modern China from the perspective of disaffected single child policy youth riding motor cycles through empty tunnels on neo metropolitan highways through a slow motion night scape. When I was living in China I found a punk and indie scene thriving in the city and Queen Sea Big Shark were on the cusp of hitting it big. The whistle hook and reverb drenched atmosphere in this track perfectly capture the furry delights of a night spent in aching wonder exploring the washed out dystopian glory of industrial China. And the singer has Orange hair. Props.
Friday 17 October – Sydney, Newtown Social Club
Saturday 18 October – Newcastle, Cambridge Hotel
Friday 24 October – Melbourne, Northcote Social Club
Saturday 25 October – Hobart, Republic Bar
Saturday 1 November – Perth, Rosemount
Sunday 2 November – Fremantle, Mojos
Friday 7 November – Maroochydore, Sol Bar
Saturday 8 November – Brisbane, Alhambra Lounge
For more info visit www.joelistics.com