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Take Me Back To The Old Oasis

Oasis - "Wonderwall" - Creation Records

First, I realize this site is generally for Asian pop culture, but as my About page states, there will also be a “sprinkling of other topics” that I cover.

Something that you don’t know about me is that in the mid-’90s I was a HUGE alternative rock, grunge rock fan.  In my opinion, the mid-’90s was the best time period for music in general – R&B, Pop, Rock and of course, JPop and KPop.

In fact, I went to a couple of compilation alternative rock concerts and also was absolutely thrilled to experience Bush in concert in 1996 in DC.

But when it comes to my absolute favorite alternative rock band, without question, that honor goes to Oasis.  The time in which Oasis “took over” America and declared that they were the biggest band in the world was the best time of their career.  Not because it was when they got the most notoriety (good and bad) but because their music was fantastic.  Noel Gallagher is a musical genius.

Oasis - "D'You Know What I Mean?" - Creation Records

Now, I know, you’re saying, “Whoa, ‘genius’? That’s a bit much, don’t you think?”  Perhaps, but I’ve never owned an album where I’m transported somewhere with every.single.song.  That’s the case with both their first album, “Definitely Maybe” and their second, “What’s the Story (Morning Glory)”.  To be able to compose such different songs that still contain the same overall vibe, giving off different feelings with each is true talent in my opinion.

And, yes, I had a thing for front man Liam Gallagher – unibrow and all.  I’m not the bad boy type of gal nor am I one to fall for the rock band guy but Liam has a swagger about him that I like.  Even with all the drinking, swearing and at times unintelligible speech, I was crushing on him hard.

I remember at the height of my admiration, watching the debut of their video for “D’You Know What I Mean?”, the first single off of their third album, “Be Here Now”.  The man was all clean-shaven, rockin’ shades and as “Martin Payne” would say, “Looking as good as [he wanted] to look”.  I was like, (*o*).  Yeah, I was crushing hard.

Oasis - "D'You Know What I Mean?" - Creation Records

Then, in 1998, my closest friend at the time who absolutely HATED the band bought tickets for me to go and see them perform live in DC.  Having monitored their tour schedule when I was away in college, I called my friend and informed her about it numerous times and then, well, let’s just say, she took the hint.  Talk about a friend:  she sat there the whole 2 hours or so as I screamed my head off, clapped and sang along with Liam in the most epic live performance I had ever attended.  I’m not quite sure I could have done the same if the roles were reversed.  A purely selfless act, indeed.

Back to the music.  Each Oasis song has such a unique flavor to it that I can’t pick out my favorites.  I could start rattling off  song titles of the tracks that I absolutely love, but then, that would be an insanely long list.  I can’t even begin to try and rate them.  Top 5? Top 10? Sorry, can’t do it.

Unfortunately, the Gallagher brotherly squabbles finally proved too much for the group and Noel left in 2009.  He’s now gone solo with Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds and Liam has moved on with the band Beady Eye and runs a clothing line called Pretty Green.

After all this time I can’t help but wonder how a 2012 Oasis would sound.  Would I still be moved by Noel’s musical artistry? I can only wonder.

But at least, I have the classics.

Oasis - "Wonderwall" - Creation Records

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Take Me Back To The Old Wheesung 휘성

I remember when I first saw KPop star Wheesung 휘성.  It was in his video, “With Me”.  The guy had a cane, blond hair and was walking around Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – from a big mansion, to a fountain, in the car with the top down and eventually ending at a pool party.

I was like, “WHO is this poser??”  He was trying a bit too hard in my opinion.  I was turned off right away.  Even still, I loved the song but I was too distracted by what he was trying to be in the video.

Then, one day, I simply listened to his voice.

Wheesung, or “RealSlow” to which he is also referred, has one of the smoothest, melodic, soulful and powerful voices that I’ve ever heard.  He seems to channel Maxwell when he utters his “oohs” and his range is extremely impressive.

What I loved about Wheesung was simply this:  When he sang, I felt.  When I listen to KPop R&B songs and ballads today, I’m not touched as deeply as is the case with Wheesung.   There’s actually a bit of sorrow in his voice that compels you to feel for him.

I always felt that Wheesung’s videos take away from his voice because, as I mentioned earlier, he has a tendency to overact and it distracts me from appreciating his voice.  I prefer to just close my eyes and listen.

There are two albums in Wheesung’s discography that I believe are his best.  “For the Moment” which was released in 2004 and “Love… Love…? Love…!” released in 2005 – spurring  hits like, “Good-Bye Luv” , 불치병 and many others.   I could listen to these albums over and over again.  Especially the ballads – and I am not a ballad girl.  But the way Wheesung interprets a song really draws me in.  I highly recommend checking out these albums.

Ever since Wheesung left YG Entertainment in 2006, his music style has changed.  It’s more pop, less R&B.  It doesn’t have the soulfulness that Wheesung was known for and the songs don’t linger with you like before.  He claimed at the time that he left in order to pursue a different style of music.  He even stated that he was disappointed in today’s KPop and contemplated retiring.

I’m sure his departure from YG is a reason why it’s difficult to find videos on Youtube of the songs that he released with the company.

If the new sound that he has out now is what he was aspiring for when he left his former company, then more power to him.  But I feel that new sound stifles the powerful and unique voice that he so proudly displayed when he was under his previous label’s care.

Here’s hoping that at some point he’ll come out with a classic-sounding R&B track – just for old time’s sake.

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Take Me Back To The Old KAT-TUN

KAT-TUN

I was not a fan of KAT-TUN at the beginning of their popularity and right now am not quite the fan I once was.  That’s because I miss the old KAT-TUN.  I miss the way they were.  I like their old sound, their old shows and their old way of interacting.

Initially, I found them quite annoying and not so talented.  “Then how did you finally become a fan of theirs,” you ask? Well, through the power of the drama!

I started watching the 2006 Japanese drama “Sapuri” (「サプリ」) starring KAT-TUN frontman Kamenashi Kazuya (亀梨和也)and instantly loved the fresh, happy-go-lucky sound of the theme song.  Sure enough the theme was sung by KAT-TUN.  “Okay, fine”, I told myself, “Let me see what these guys are made of.”  And there it started.

2006 Japanese Drama "Sapuri" (「サプリ」) - Fuji TV

I ventured into their discography and liked what I saw – great songs, fun music videos and an exciting variety show called “Cartoon KAT-TUN” (again, no cartoons involved).

In the world of pop groups and biases (favorite members), it took me a while to really like any of them.  I liked Zamenashi Kazuya or “Kame” to which he is so affectionately referred, because I was watching him in the drama, but I had to learn the personalities of the others and it was going to take a while for me to appreciate them.

I once had a conversation with my Japanese language exchange partner discussing the obsession with pop groups who seemingly had no talent.  “Why are they so popular? Why do people like them so much?” I asked, “They really can’t sing!”  “People know that,” my language exchange partner admitted, “But when you watch them on variety shows and their personality shines through during the various interviews and games that they play, people make a connection with them so it makes them more likeable – whether they can really sing or not.  They’re entertaining to watch.”  He was so right.  Variety programs open up the performers and make them likeable and relatable.

KAT-TUN Variety Show - NTV

KAT-TUN Variety Show - NTV

During the first season of “Cartoon KAT-TUN”, KAT-TUN members interviewed celebrity guests by revealing the answers of a 100-questioned questionnaire.  This segment of the show was called “Hyaku Q” or “100Q”.  “Hyaku” meaning “100” in Japanese and the “Q” meaning “questions”.   The answers would scroll on the screen and they would stop the screen on any questions that were particularly interesting.  Further along in the questionnaire were questions specifically to KAT-TUN.

Cartoon KAT-TUN - NTV

I’ll use the “How would you like KAT-TUN to be related to you” question to describe how I liked each member back in the day:

“Which KAT-TUN member would you want as your best friend?” – Tanaka Koki (田中 聖) – I enjoyed Koki in a way that I would like to just hang out with him.  I think we would have a good time together and not get bored.  And I always preferred his bouzu (坊主) – shaved hairstyle.  That style fit his personality and style perfectly.

Tanaka Koki (田中 聖) - KAT-TUN

“What KAT-TUN member would you want as your brother?” – Ueda Tatsuya (上田 竜也) – Ueda is quiet and keeps to himself just enough that would be perfect for a sibling.  Plus, he’s a kick-ass boxer so he would protect me from ill-intending people.

Ueda Tatsuya (上田 竜也) - KAT-TUN

“What KAT-TUN member would you want as your pet?” – Nakamaru Yuichi (中丸 雄) – I don’t really care for this question but Nakamaru could make a fun beat-boxing pet.  Whenever I want to bust a move or just need a sweet beat – he’d be right there for me.

Nakamaru Yuichi (中丸 雄) - KAT-TUN

“What KAT-TUN member would you want as your cousin?” – Akanishi Jin (赤西 仁) – Everyone on the show always hates being picked as the cousin because it basically means that you want nothing to do with them.  However, I’m quite close with some of my cousins so it’s not necessarily a bad thing.  Having said that, though, I’m perfectly fine seeing Jin occasionally on major holidays and get-togethers.

Akanishi Jin (赤西 仁) - KAT-TUN

“What KAT-TUN member would you want as your boyfriend?” – Kamenashi “Kame” Kazuya (亀梨和也) – Kame is so into himself that being his girlfriend would be fun.  Planning extravagant dates just because he could and trying so hard to impress me in order to make himself look good would be simply entertaining to witness.

Kamenashi Kazuya (亀梨和也) - KAT-TUN

“What KAT-TUN member would you want as your husband?” – Taguchi “Junno” Junnosuke (田口 淳之介) – Taguchi is probably one of the sweetest and most genuine people that I’ve seen.  He would be the  most caring, faithful and loving person in a relationship.  I’ve always wanted good things for him now and in the future and I really wish he finds something in his career that makes him happy and gives him the recognition that he deserves.  He’s very talented.

Taguchi Junnosuke (田口 淳之介) - KAT-TUN

So that ‘s my look back on the back-in-the-day KAT-TUN.  Today’s KaT-TUN (without new husband and soon-to-be father, Jin), is just not my cup of tea.  Of course I’d love for them to surprise me by releasing a great single reminiscent of their old sound but I’m not holding my breath for that.

Thankfully there are always memories.

KAT-TUN Now