Ga-In (the No. 2 most flawless member of the No. 1 most flawless K-pop girl group, Brown Eyed Girls) dropped her third solo album last week. I planned to write something about this monumental mini-album right after its release, but have been too busy disciplining my stupid new cat and working over at Popdust to get around to it until now.
In the week that’s passed since Ga-In’s comeback, I’ve noticed two things: 1) K-pop fans seem to be a little disappointed with the Truth or Dare album, and 2) “Truth Or Dare,” the single, is tanking on the digital charts compared to her past efforts. (Although, pre-release single, “Fxxk U,” is performing quite well.)
Like T-ara N4 before her, Ga-In takes aim at gossipmongers and netizens in “Truth or Dare,” but with a flirty wink instead of an angry middle finger. T-ara wanted to flee to the countryside to escape the endless rumours and vitriol thrown their way, but Ga-In wants you to talk about her — in her mind, the people that do the talking only hurt themselves, while the ones that are talked about just grow bigger from all the attention.
Of course, nobody really talks about Ga-In in a negative way. As far as K-pop stars go, she’s well-loved with a nice reputation, so Ga-In gives the people something to gossip about by completely plagiarizing Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” production — which, in itself, was plagiarized from Marvin Gaye’s “Got To Give It Up.”
It’s a song that serves as its own catalyst for the very thing that it’s espousing. It subverts the casual listener, forcing one to participate in the very activity you mistakenly think it’s against, thus playing right into Ga-In’s hands. It’s the biggest ‘fxxk u’ of all time.
Ga-In slyly acknowledges the sneaky snatch at the end of the “Truth or Dare” video by posing next to balloons that spell out the song’s title — the same balloons Thicke used to boast about his manhood in “Blurred Lines.” It’s a huge meta plagiarism-within-plagiarism explosion, and it’s fxxking brilliant.
Of course, there’s also the mockumentary part of Ga-In’s video in which a string of celebrities jokingly talk bad about her behind her back, but that’s the obvious bit — the heart of the concept is the “Blurred Lines” swipe.
By the way, I’m sure we can all agree that “Truth or Dare” is a better song than Thicke’s surprise hit, right? “Blurred Lines” bored me for the entire 12 weeks it reigned at the top of the Billboard Hot 100, but “Truth or Dare” is deceptively addictive. Beyond the biting lyrics and subversive core, Lee Min Soo’s musical arrangement shines — it’s looser and more dissonant than “Blurred Lines” for the better, like the arty European original to Thicke’s trashy American remake.
If “Truth or Dare” still doesn’t do it for you, then “Fxxk U” –otherwise known as the obligatory envelope-pushing single that Ga-In must now release every era– should do the trick.
Over demented bossanova, Ga-In cusses about being pressured into sex by a destructive boyfriend that she can’t seem to stay away from, no matter how hard she tries — and then acts it all out in the accompanying 19+ music video.
If someone asked me to briefly describe “Fxxk U,” I’d tell them that it’s the Silent Hill nightmare version of IU’s Modern Times. You know, like when you’re playing Silent Hill and it descends into hell mode and Pyramid Head comes out and tries to cut you? That’s “Fxxk U.”
The rest of the album is great, as expected from any Brown Eyed Girls release. It’s especially solid by K-pop standards, where singles are the main currency and everything else just serves as filler. Ga-In channels Lee Hyori on the Lee Hyori-produced “Black & White,” reunites with Jo-Kwon for a beautiful power ballad that thankfully avoids the generic pitfalls of Korean OST balladry, and serves straight-up sex on “Exposed.”
Brown Eyed Girls, whether solo or a group, haven’t disappointed us since they debuted, and Truth or Dare is no different. If anything, both Ga-In and BEG are just getting sharper with time, which is more proof that they’re head and shoulders above every other idol act in K-pop today.
Just don’t bring up M&N, okay? That unit never happened in my mind.