Crayon Pop is not your average K-pop group. They’re rule-breaking rebels who broke into the most manufactured music business in the world with a grassroots approach and proved that being unconventional can still work in an industry where everybody else is the same.
The group’s new single, “FM,” is a celebration of the that kind of defiant individuality, as well as a mission statement to free those too fearful to follow in their fearless footsteps (or pogo jumps).
“FM” –which is slang for ‘field manual’ and is used to describe a stickler for rules and regulations– has Crayon Pop pulling an Along Came Polly by trying to liberate a conformist they’re crushing on. They do this by rattling off random chemicals, hormones, and formulas in the song’s lyrics, which is exactly the kind of quirky and unique approach you’d expect from a Crayon Pop song. (Don’t forget, Chrome Entertainment’s CEO originally wanted ‘bar’ to be the ONLY word in “Bar Bar Bar.”)
Moon Prism Power
Earth, fire, wind, all gather
Make sodium yellow
Make lithium red
I’ll color you with a pretty color
I’m your spirulina
I’ll stop the epinephrine
I will change you for sure
Any T-ara fan that hears “FM” is going to tell you that it sounds like the legendary Breaking Heart album, and they’d be right. “FM” is like “I’m Really Hurt” with a B12 shot, so it’s no surprise that both songs share the same producer: Shinsadong Tiger.
There’s a lot of stylistic similarities between the two groups, like the way the members’ voices are difficult to distinguish from each other and how there’s a strong sense of melancholy running through “FM” despite the impassive vocals and robotic electronica that blankets everything. How can something so artificial still feel so emotionally-charged?
It’s unlikely that the T-ara connection is a coincidence. Hwang Hyun Chang has admitted that he founded Chrome Entertainment and created Crayon Pop after being inspired by the way T-ara’s “Roly Poly” took over the nation in 2011, despite the fact that he’d never paid attention to pop music before that. (T-ara’s impact!!!)
As a hardcore stan of both T-ara and Crayon Pop, this obviously pleases me to no end.
The “FM” music video recreates both Sailor Moon and Super Sentai, and just like everything Crayon Pop does, it’s so much fucking fun. It also holds a deeper meaning as The Popes of Pop transform into warriors to battle all things conventional and liberate the sheeple of the world.
Crayon Pop are trying to free your mind, man!
A lot of people are saying that “FM” marks a more mature Crayon Pop, but Crayon Pop have always been more mature than most K-pop artists. There’s a reason that their fanbase is made up of 70% uncle fans, 29% twentysomethings, and 1% teenagers. It’s the younger K-pop consumers who get blinded by the big idols and fail to see past Slayon Pope’s silly costumes to recognize them as the subversive musical revolutionaries that they. Those are some of the poor people that “FM” is trying to help!
Anyway, “Bing Bing” still remains Crayon Pop’s finest moment and one of the best girl group singles of the past five years, but “FM” has a mighty shot at replacing “Bar Bar Bar” as runner-up.