Friday, October 7, 2011

Review: Clover–“An Oppa I Know”

Clover become Wild Wild West outlaws in their new music video.

Did you like the song?
Everyone keeps referring to Clover (or Cl♣ver if you want to be clever) as a “project group.” I have no idea what that means. (Sometimes with Kpop news in English, it just seems like there’s one phrase and everybody repeats it without really understanding, but I digress.) Whatever “project group” means, it’s allowed the group to produce some very musically interesting tracks, by which I mean: I’ve concluded that Clover must have the trumpet section of a mariachi band on retainer, and those trumpeters are working their lungs off.

Clover mariachi band

Slaving away day and night (and especially at sunset).

Both “An Oppa I Know” and Clover’s debut song, “La Vida Loca” use traditional Mexican trumpeting as the main riff, then Clover raps and sings over it, and the result of both songs is pretty cool, especially for coming out of Korea, which is not a place you traditionally associate with Latin music. It’s a mix of mariachi, flamenco, and reggaeton with a hip-hop beat and some powerful singing. (Also, Gilme’s rapping kind of reminds me of Nicki Minaj’s.)

What was your favorite part of the song?
Usually, I hate in Kpop songs where the music drops and there’s a spoken line. Most of the time, I feel like it kills the momentum and just kind of leaves listeners hanging. But this spoken phrase and the lines Gilme belts out after it were the highlight of the song for me. I thought the interaction there between Tyfoon and Gilme was really funny. (“Who?” / “Just some guy I know.”)

Clover members

Tyfoon (Yang Tae Eung), Gilme (Hyun Gil Mi), and G.One (Eun Jiwon).

Does the English make you want to rip your eardrums out?
(So in case you were wondering, “oppa” in the title is the word Korean girls use when addressing older guys as friends, and I think the song is about how a guy wants to date a girl, but she just thinks of him as a brother.) Wow, there’s a lot of English in this song, and most of it is grammatically sound (Jiwon even mentions emoticons!) but could be pronounced better. The only exceptions to this were Gilme’s “You meet the evil piggy in the middle” rap (because I don’t know what that means) and Tyfoon’s “Yes, yes, I’m playboy,” which is a poor English phrase that’s immediately followed by some actual Spanish (“Yo no soy,” or “I’m not”)! So that was a sweet surprise.

Did you like the video?
“An Oppa I Know” and Clover’s previously released song “La Vida Loca” are both musically similar, but the “La Vida Loca” music video had anachronistic shiny motorcycles with a vintage filter, whereas the “Oppa I Know” music video actually goes really well with the music. There’s a fun and creative Wild Wild West storyline, and man, the sets here are beyond gorgeous.

Clover An Oppa I Know set

Just the local dive.

Was there a storyline? If so, did it make sense?
Darts guru Jiwon and bar playboy Tyfoon (who is slapped twice in about as many seconds) are just chilling in their local saloon when Korea Mexico Clover Town’s Most Wanted Criminal walks in on her sky-high heeled boots to have a drink (no, I’m not kidding about “Clover Town”).

Clover burning gif

And there's a reward of $800,000, dead or alive! Wow!

Unfortunately, she’s shortly followed by the (admittedly shifty-looking) sheriff, whom Gilme tells to literally take a number.

Clover sheriff

Your number is 153.

Because justice and fair trials are hard to come by in the Wild West, he drags her out to be immediately hanged…

Clover hanging

What a picturesque hanging.

But fortunately (after some quick rock-paper-scissors to decide who will save her), Jiwon and Tyfoon come to save the day. Since Jiwon wins (or perhaps loses?), he is able to snap the noose because he has magical darts. I assume if playboy Tyfoon had won the game, he would have attempted to save her by seducing the sheriff.

Clover sheriff

...All in all it’s probably best that Jiwon was the one to win.

The sheriff is predictably displeased by this turn of events and decides to have a shootout, which Jiwon wins by the power of his magical darts.

Clover Jiwon darts

Magical darts!

The only thing I don’t get in this storyline is the gas pump. Why is there a gas pump in the middle of the desert? Aren’t they usually near stations of some kind?

Was the dance cool and distinctive?
The official dance is pretty simple, just some hip swaying, hair flipping, and waving the arms back and forth. But it suits the music well.

Do the members look good?
Gilme is gorgeous, Jiwon is cute, and Tyfoon has some pretty cool facial hair going, which makes him distinctive, along with his sunglasses and shaved head.

Clover An Oppa I Know

Jiwon, Gilme, and Tyfoon all looking a-OK at the OK Corral!

Let’s learn more about Clover! So Eun Jiwon was the leader of SechsKies (6kies), a former boyband (1997-2000) that apparently used to be rivals of H.O.T; he’s now the CEO of GYM Entertainment, which Clover is under. Gilme was a solo artist before joining Clover (she even did a MV with super-fast rapper Outsider!) and filmed this MV directly after having an emergency appendicitis (stitches still in and everything, wow). There’s not much info on Tyfoon (who sometimes goes by Mr. Tyfoon?), but I think he was also a solo artist before joining Clover.

Which member stood out the most?
I have to give this to Gilme; she’s just so beautiful, and it didn’t hurt that she was often in the middle of the two guys.

Clover An Oppa I Know Gilme


Do you like it enough to buy the song?
For some reason, I didn’t end up buying “La Vida Loca,” so I will rectify that and buy this one. I also think I like this song better than that one.

Any ending thoughts?
I really like the idea of a co-ed group (for example, I love Co-ed School). The concept of powerful female singer + male rappers has been done before (i.e. the Black Eyed Peas, and let us never speak of them again), but Clover brings strong individual talents and maybe a bit of nostalgia to the mix, creating tracks that manage to sound both old-timey and fresh.

Boyfriend’s one-liner:
“Note to self: rock-paper-scissors is best used after the girl is rescued, not before.”

Clover kai bai bo


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  1. The term "project group" means that it's not a true group--all 3 of them are solo artists still. Basically, they got together, decided they'd make some good music together, and thought they had the potential to do a lot of great songs, so they decided to name themselves as a group instead of just doing Gilme ft. Tyfoon and Eun Jiwon or whatever. Sunzoo and SM the Ballad are other examples of project groups--i'm expecting more from SM the Ballad perhaps later on, but you never know with project groups. It's usually a group involving artists from different groups and/or companies, and it's not a very long-term commitment usually, tho it does last longer than a simple collaboration.

  2. Thank you so much for explaining this to me! This was so helpful--and I like SM the Ballad! So Clover might never make another album together? Oh nooo, now I'm sad. :( I hope they do or that they turn into a...non-project group, I guess. (That's possible, right?) Well, I guess since they've already made two music videos together, I can hope for more. :)

  3. I'm with you, i love Clover. But if you like this latin style, look at other things Eun Jiwon has worked on--a friend said that he does this latin feel thing a lot. (Not necessarily in the songs that he performs, but the ones that he writes and produces.)

  4. Ooh, interesting. I'll check out some of his other stuff, then, because this style is awesome.