Truth or Dare Feature
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.

  • png

    She did a shout-out to an old BEG song “L.O.V.E” to start the 2nd verse, and it makes me wonder if she was making fun of it. I’m not too sure. It was a surprise to hear it though.

    • I hated Truth or Dare on the first listen, and when I first heard it the L.O.V.E. shoutout was the only bit of the song I liked. But then it grew on me overall and now I love it and the whole album.

    • Nicole Naeun

      It’s more like a homage, L.O.V.E was the song that made BEG started to get recognized and the lyrics matches well with the whole song. If you watch her CSI video, she said her fave line from ToD was the starting line of the verses and the “made me hot” part.

  • Suzy Sooyoung

    Im slayed by the Silent Hill comparison LMFAO
    With that said I really love Fxxk U like everyone else, much more than ToD, but I think ToD is hot for what it is. And who doesn’t love when a kpop song blatantly rips off some western song but turns it 100 times better?

  • ICONI3

    TOD is the text book definition of a grower. Hated it with a passion at first, but it really creeps up on you and becomes quite addictive. Fxxk u is the superior track, but overall the album is pretty solid after you give it a chance.

    UMMMMMMMMMMMM “Tonight” is flawless!!! It’s my go to song to use while I’m prowling on jackd.

    • I love Tonight but it was frustrating that we all expected a real sub-unit like SISTAR19 and what we got was some rushed digital single that sounded like it was part of an OST or CF

  • twerkdol

    I don’t care what the uglies say this mini is FLAWLESS!!!

  • Laurence Nope

    The only thing I’m disappointed about is that the K-netizens haven’t yet played into Ga-in’s hands by starting up a plagiarism scandal. I was looking forward to Lee Min Soo’s snarky music-theory-filled response.

    • Yes you are so right. So far the ‘backlash’ is just i-netizens and Youtube commenters complaining that it sounds like Blurred Lines. I wish it had a plagiarism scandal so it could highlight how stupid people are, but I think Korean media is so focused on sexy concept backlash now that they didn’t bother turning this into a scandal.

  • Nicole Naeun

    I didn’t think of it this way, but I’m completely agree with you. I loved ToD from the start, and loving it more and more after each listen (though Fxxk U is def my fave track). I love everything about this album!

    I just wish she’s perform “Fxxk U” live or at least promote it on special occasions. I always believe she meant it to be the title track (she teased it more than ToD and the video had much bigger budget) but since it’s too controversial, she can’t. It’d be iconic if she perform it for her goodbye stages as a way of saying fxxk netizens for ignoring ToD lol.

  • 364Leinad

    Whilst TOD is an absolute piece of shit it is so infinitly superior to Blurred Lines that it’s not even funny. Mind you, when you take something as disasterous as Blurred Lines, up is really the only way you can go, same reason why whenever a k-pop girl group rips off Beyonce for the 80 millionth time they make the real deal look like an even bigger pile of shit.

  • i loved ToD from start. the moment i saw that crazy faux-BTS video as she played all nonsense diva she had grabbed so hard by the balls that i didn’t even notice the blurred lines similarity. [nah, i lie. i actually never gave a fuck about blurred lines to actually memorize in my head how it sounds like.]

    the beauty about gain’s mini-albums is that all of them feature music that SOUNDS REAL. the fillers sound fantastic because they feel like they were composed instead of put together through pop formulas like most of the k-pop album releases. that jo kwon duet feels so dreamy and earthy because throughout it you can actually imagine them together at the studio recording it.

    now IMO “black and white” is the real disappointment here. not that it’s bad, but it sounds EXACTLY like “bad girl”, which is a thumbs down to lee hyori’s skills as a producer [considering that spica’s “you don’t love me” is also the imitation of another song from monochrome].

    but well, it’s just me being a brat since every other producer in the world does the very same.

    • Josh Chinnery

      “now IMO “black and white” is the real disappointment here. not that it’s bad, but it sounds EXACTLY like “bad girl”, which is a thumbs down to lee hyori’s skills as a producer [considering that spica’s “you don’t love me” is also the imitation of another song from monochrome].”

      I wouldn’t say that it sounds exactly like Bad Girls, but it definitely sounds like a Monochrome left over; same with You Don’t Love Me. And despite that, I can’t help but be slayed for both :3

      • lol the “oh oh ohs” are the same! on a differente tempo, but the same. i love the song, but it’s not my favorite from gain’s album.

        however, i gotta contradict myself here and admit that despite flopping hard on the overall 2013 album chart, it’s good to see “monochrome” still lingering and a trending sound throughout k-pop. that was a marvelous near-to-perfect album so unfairly underappreciated.

        • Josh Chinnery

          “it’s good to see “monochrome” still lingering and a trending sound throughout k-pop. that was a marvelous near-to-perfect album so unfairly underappreciated.”

          Not to say that Lee Hyori isn’t a real kween or boss ass bitch (because she is), but I felt like she did the material on Monochrome a disservice by putting her voice on it. Songs like those need someone with actual vocal talent that can carry them better and Hyori just wasn’t the the woman for the job. Production-wise, that album slayed errbody, but her sorry vocal game ruined it.

          “lol the “oh oh ohs” are the same! on a differente tempo, but the same. i love the song, but it’s not my favorite from gain’s album.”

          I think it’s awesome (and a lil funny) when people pick this kind of stuff up, because I so wouldn’t be the one to notice it. I kind of listen to (and compose /shameless plug) music in a vacuum (as in, my mind is only focused on that *one* song I’m listening to), so it’s gotta be extremely obvious for me to pick up on it. However!! I will light a bitch on fire if they come around me screaming plagiarism like those damn K-netz did with the IU’s the Red Shoes >_>

    • Laurence Nope

      Hyori didn’t even compose Bad Girls though. It was Dsign Music. The only track on Monochrome she composed was Miss Korea, though she wrote lyrics for most of the songs. Black and White and YDLM are songs she both composed and wrote lyrics for, and honestly I think they’re both better than most of the songs on Monochrome, even though that album is great.

      • i get your point, although i don’t agree BaW and YDLM are better tracks. if only we knew they’re ACTUAL monochrome rejects… but don’t mind me, i love everything about hyori from last year to now.

  • William Love

    as soon as i heard truth or dare the first time… i was surprised how the song was like the most blatant rip off of blurred lines ever. i’m also surprised that k-netizens aren’t foaming at the mouth over that, cause if there was ever a time that the original artist had grounds for a lawsuit, it would be this lol. mind you, the tweaks make this a song all her own, and frankly i like it better. sultry, sexy, and classy. stellar can go jiggle their buttcheeks at the viper room for robin antin, i’ll take ga-in any day :)

  • O.

    I probably need to give the mini another listen, I just remember being underwhelmed by it. Nothing’s really topped step 2/4 for me.

  • vander

    But but but isn’t it also a play at the Madonna documentary in title, aesthetic, and concept?

  • KingBeaArthur

    I tried watching Blurred Lines after ToD was released and I was bored to tears. It didn’t help that I came to hate BL with a passion last year after it was played about 20 times an hour on the radio.

    I love every single thing about Ga-In and this era! While Fxxk U was so beautifully realized I’m glad ToD was released. Netizens need someone in their face who doesn’t give a good, hard fxxk.

  • SHUSH UP

    LOVE THOSE DANCERS THEY’RE GVING ME LIIIIFE EVERY NOW AND THE THE BACKUP DANCERS IN KPOP ARE AS AMAZING AS THE POPSTARS AND T WORKS SO WELL