Radio Quarantine -언니네이발관 – 비둘기는 하늘의 쥐 (1996)

Okay, so the name of the band translated is SISTER’S BARBERSHOP. That may have a cultural connotation or connection beyond my understanding. Maybe’s it’s where they formed the band? There isn’t a lot of information and even the site linked in the name above is someone’s K-pop blog. A lot is going to be lost in translation, or lack of translation, when cruising through Asian bands. The lyrics, for example… so I just go for where I connect to the vibe. These songs are kind of wistful and breezy and yes, that’s just about where things are at this morning. Things aren’t perfect but you take it lightly and ride it out. It’s not that big a deal.

So the album title translates to Pigeons Are Rats in the Sky… bah dum dum! Yes, I connect to that sentiment for sure. Anyway, there isn’t much I can tell you about the music, except that it’s pretty sweet. It wouldn’t be here if I didn’t at least like it an awful lot (except in rare cases where something is so fucking hateful that it deserves mention).

The person who wrote the K-pop blog mentioned that the songs are about the sense of loneliness and heartache and loss living in a crowded, continually changing world that moves along faster than our ability to keep up with it… the failed promises of the modern world, if you were. Yup, relatable, and it’s not exactly a comfort to know that the emotions and experience transcend culture and borders. We’ll let that rest there for now though. That’s another discussion altogether for another time. Suffice to say that we’re all feeling that absence of connection… skepticism… cynicism… etc.

I’ve lived the last year or so on a steady diet of Korean television shows and movies. There is a running theme that I always identify with and that’s the abuses of power connected to duties of honor and loyalty to family, friends, jobs and country. There is continual pressure on the protagonists to put responsibility to all these outside entities ahead of personal responsibility, but also continual gaslighting and manipulation and abuses of these cultural pressures. I can’t think of a single show in 12 months where this hasn’t been a major factor in the plot. That includes contemporary dramas and period pieces and everything in-between. Parents first, family first, job first, country first… or living in the shame of failing to put everyone and everything else first. That leaves an awful lot of vulnerability, doesn’t it? If you know that someone already feels pressure to “do the right thing” then it’s got to make it very easy to abuse that pressure to meet your own selfish ends. And it’s not that these aren’t regular themes in Western TV and film and arts in general, but they’re rarely played upon they way they are in K-drama.

Anyway, more to explore at a later time. I’m sure that it plays into music as well, and to the sense of alienation that’s so very clear in the music, despite the language barrier.

One day I’ll sit down with a clear head and form a coherent thesis on all this. The ideas aren’t served well by my state of mind during these half-caffeinated, hazy mornings.

For now.

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