Big Bang SE Mini-album + Inkigayo

Hang on a sec, I need to collect myself.  *hyperventilates*

So I’m a huge HUGE Big Bang fan and I adored their mini album TONIGHT (check out my review here). Obviously, I was super excited for their special edition mini-album and I was blown away (I mean BLOWN AWAY!!) by “Stupid Liar” and “Love Song.”  (To be fair, I liked Daesung’s solo “Baby Don’t Cry” too except for the weird whirly sound effects randomly in the song).

And then… I saw their second comeback stage on SBS Inkigayo last night.

I have tears in my eyes.  I’m not kidding.  “Awesome” can’t even begin to describe how truly awesome the performances were.  It’s not even the performance itself per se; what’s incredible is how much Big Bang has grown over the years as musicians and performers.  Since I’ve only been a hardcore fan for a year (the longest I’ve ever fangirled over an idol group), through YouTube, I’ve seen their past four years in a very short time span.  In terms of music, they’ve gone from traditional hip hop and R&B, to electro-pop, and now to pop-rock while never losing their identity.  In terms of performance, who can forget their crazy outfits, their choreography, their inexhaustible energy?  Big Bang has an unmatched charisma that makes up for the fact that they sometimes slip up during their live performances.

That being said, their comeback stage last night might be the BEST live performance I have seen from them.  There is a sense of maturity, both in the songs and in the choreography and vocally, all of the members did very well.  Without further ado:


Source: 4everKPOPgirl01

The first word that comes to mind is – whimsical.  Everything from GD walking around like he’s drunk on stage, to the accusatory yet somehow still teasing chorus (which GD sings – how much do I love that!).  This is a really fun, upbeat song.  The melody seems to be at odds with the lyrics (it’s about a guy who’s been deceived by a girl?) but that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable for me.  Supposedly, “Tonight” won out over this song for the title track and, while I think “Stupid Liar” is the better song (in terms of composition, creativity, lyrics, AND personal enjoyment), I can understand why “Tonight” was chosen.  “Stupid Liar” and “Love Song” both have a very different sound; “Stupid Liar” would not have meshed well with the overall sound of TONIGHT.  Personally I think it might have been better to package “Tonight,” “What is Right,” and “Somebody to Love” as one EP and “Cafe,” “Stupid Liar,” and “Love Song” in another, based on musical style.  (And, oh yeah, excuse the fangirling but TOP is looking so adorable in this performance!!  LOVE the hair.)


Source: 4everKPOPgirl01

I adore “Stupid Liar” but I think “Love Song” wins as my favorite.  There’s just something so fresh about the whole sound of this song.  Soompi’s review mentioned undertones of U2 and I have to agree; I actually thought it sounded more like OneRepublic (their style is also influenced by U2).  The pop-rock thing works well for them and, surprisingly none of the members, not even the rappers, got left out.  (Still bitter over the fact that Daesung got 1 LINE in “Tonight”).  In fact, TOP and GD’s mellow raps were probably my favorite parts of the song.  In some of their older songs (take “Goodbye baby” and “I Don’t Undesrstand” for example), I felt that the rap failed to blend in with the rest of the melody and just ended up sounding forced and awkward.  But in this song, the rap worked perfectly; I think it even held it together.  Of course, TOP’s intro was surprising and lovely – I never knew his voice could be so soft.  This performance was good (GD GD GD!!!! looked/sounded so FINE!  ahem) but there were some pitch problems… and I’m not going to say who, but I was surprised.  Hm.  Well, it didn’t stop me from replaying the video like a million times!

BIGBANG 화이팅! ^^

My penpal

Compared with my reading and listening comprehension skills, my Korean composition skills are pretty much laughable.  I tried to translate a relatively simple English song into Korean and while I think I got the grammar right, I managed to suck all the emotion out of the lyrics.  Sigh.  Anyway, I’ve been trying to improve my writing ability by commenting on TTMIK, tweeting some native Korean speakers, and emailing my Korean penpal, Dina.

Dina (her Korean name is 도희) and I have been penpals for about a year now.  She was actually my younger sister’s friend back when they were both in the 1st and 2nd grade here in the States, but she moved back to Korea at the end of 2nd grade.  She’d been in touch with my sister and when my sister mentioned my interest in the Korean language, she immediately said she wanted to be penpals with me.  So we’ve been emailing back and forth since then and it’s amazing how my emails have progressed from being half in English, half in Korean to almost 100% Korean.

We talk about random things.  Mostly about things like school, food, and the weather.  I also learn a lot of interesting words and slang and emoticons from her as well.  For example “바2” and “빠빠이” are both cute ways to say “bye.”  Once I tried to fangirl about boybands (i.e. Big Bang) with her but clearly she’s more mature than I am because she said:

나는 boyband에 관심은 없지만, 빅뱅이 좋아~~ 언니는 멤버 중에서 누가 제일 좋아?? 한국 친구들은 빅뱅 중에서 g-dragon을 제일많이 좋아해!

관심 없다고?!  How is that possible?  Haha.

I love being an 언니 to my Korean penpal and I hope we can stay friends for a very long time!

Learning Korean Through Translation

I’m a huge proponent of learning a language through translation.  In fact, most of the vocabulary and grammar structures I know now are thanks to my attempts to learn Korean by “translating” K-pop songs.  Not only did I learn new things, I also figured out what the song meant!  But, please note, these are all still amateur translations.  A successful translation captures both the meaning and style of a work and if you use translation as a means to learn a language, you can only hope to master one aspect at the beginner level (meaning).  Once you’ve mastered the language (if there is such a thing), you can learn to capture the style of the original work as well.

Continue reading “Learning Korean Through Translation”


I am currently SUPER EXCITED because the Korean novels that I bought online last week just arrived in the mail a few days ago!  On Shanna’s recommendation, I bought Big Bang’s biography 세상에 너를 소리쳐! I’ve already paged through a bit of it and I’m surprised how much I can understand.  It’s awesome getting to know more about my favorite K-pop boys AND learn some new Korean words while I’m at it.  Obviously reading prose like this is more complicated than reading 만화 so it’s sometimes a challenge getting through long, dependent-clause heavy sentences.  But for a beginner, this can be great reading practice.  I also bought 성균관 유생들의 나날 volume 1 – the novel that inspired one of my most favorite dramas ever Sungkyunkwan Scandal (KBS 2010). I’ve read a couple pages of this novel and I already know it’s WAY beyond my reading level.  I’m usually okay with the dialogue bits but in the prose, I have to literally look up every other word.  But it’s okay.  I’m sure it’ll get better as my Korean improves.

I bought both of these books from HanBooks, a division of AladinUS which is the largest online Korean bookstore in the U.S., catering to Korean Americans who want to purchase products in their native language.  The only issue with AladinUS is that the entire website is in Korean which may be difficult for some people to navigate.  The HanBooks site, on the other hand, is entirely in English.  You can find a variety of products – everything from popular Korean novels (written in Korean of course), 만화책, dramas, music, electronic dictionaries (like the iRiver Dicple), and even Korean language learning material.  This site is a dream come true for people like me who aren’t willing to drive two hours to get to their nearest Koreatown bookstore.  And although the pricing is in USD, it is possible for them to ship outside of the U.S. as well.  More info:


  • You can purchase pretty much any book, CD, DVD, etc. sold in Korea.
  • If they don’t have it, you can get them to import it for you.
  • Great customer service!
  • FAST (if you live in the U.S.).  Although it states on the website that your order ships between 5-10 days, my order was shipped in 3 days and I received it 2 days later.
  • I was really excited about this:  You can buy individual books from a book set.  For example, 성균관 유생들의 나날 was actually packaged as a 2 volume set.  I only wanted one volume so I just stated that in the “comments” section of the order form and the cost and S&H were adjusted accordingly.
  • Products arrived in great condition.  They were even bubble-wrapped even though they were just books.


  • Pricey.  The products are a bit more expensive than what they would originally cost in Korea and the shipping and handling cost is a bit high too.
  • The website is outdated.  Sometimes it’s hard to tell if certain products are in stock or not.

Overall, I give this store 4.9/5 stars!!  It’s really great.  I was so impressed with the speed of their delivery and the quality of the products.  I’m looking forward to buying more from them in the future.

Big Bang – 4th Mini Album

This post isn’t directly related to Korean learning but since other seasoned language learners have said that fangirling plays an important (and necessary) part of foreign language study, I have no qualms about dedicating this entire post to my biggest K-pop bias – Big Bang.  Specifically, Big Bang’s 4th EP, which released a few days ago.  I don’t think I’ve ever been this excited for ANY album release – Korean or otherwise – and let me tell you, the EP is WELL worth all the excitement.

Continue reading “Big Bang – 4th Mini Album”