Tell me how to do this dance.
January 31, 2008 8:49 PM   Subscribe

The Wonder Girls a Korean pop girl-group, got people in Korea wanting to learn themoves for their hit song "Tell Me." Everyone's doing it, girls (in the snow and in classrooms), boys (at a wedding, and, er...abandoned auditorium?)...

...the list goes on with Flight attendants, traffic police and even those serving in the army. Tae kwon do kids, cops and servicemembers even join forces to perform for an awards ceremony.

If you want to learn the dance, learn it from the girls themselves.

It's no surprise both song and dance swept the country, considering the fact that the producer behind them is Park Jin Young (Myspace and watch him perform the “Tell Me” dance himself). A pop star and singer/songwriter famous for his own infectious pop dance hits influenced by soul and R&B, Park is also well known for his chereography for his hits such as “She was Pretty” (the song/video referenced at the beginning of the Wonder Girls’ own music video for “Tell Me”), “I Have a Girl”. He also drew his share of controversy from media watch dogs who deemed him too "sexually charged" and as someone attempting to pervert young people with what they deemed lascivious music and dancing (“Inside the Elevator”). And his outspoken ideas sometimes rubbing folks the wrong way. Even though he's been on the US Billboard Charts before, he wants to further enter the American market and garner legitimate recognition for the young stable of artists he has under his wing separate from the gimmicky "Hallyu" wave. One of the American responses to his ambitious management of young stars is bemusement. Considering some of the negative aspects of the Korean pop music scene, it’s time to see if its grown up enough to thrive on foreign shores.
posted by kkokkodalk (33 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Bah, I always mess up at least one link. "In the snow" should link here.
posted by kkokkodalk at 8:54 PM on January 31, 2008

Nice post! (but I tell ya, if I hear that goddamn cutesy song one more time, I'm climbing the clock tower with a sniper rifle and shooting some K-pop motherfuckers right square in the face)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:57 PM on January 31, 2008

I'm amused that they seem to be taking their female-empowerment icon from an arguably outdated All-American source, instead of (say) Power Rangers. Also, are perverts hiding inside lockers actually a big problem over there? (Don't they all use wireless pinhole cams now?)
posted by dhartung at 9:00 PM on January 31, 2008

I'm having a hard time not hating everything about The Wonder Girls.
posted by ryanhealy at 9:01 PM on January 31, 2008

Great post! That guy on our left in the traffic police one kept on making mistakes. He's so gonna get fired. I wish the NYPD would do this.
posted by spec80 at 9:06 PM on January 31, 2008

Good post. Park Jin Young is definitely a story.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 9:32 PM on January 31, 2008

I've IDed Posh, Baby and Sporty but which one of them is the Scary Spice equivalent?
posted by jacquilynne at 9:33 PM on January 31, 2008

I think the rapper.
posted by spec80 at 9:39 PM on January 31, 2008

Ugh. This is so bad it's just bad.

/insert lawn, kids, gettoutaism
posted by Iosephus at 9:48 PM on January 31, 2008

@dhartung, the kids out in Korea have grown up with old American television shows so it has the same sense of nostalgia and kitsch as it would for Americans. (My relatives love MacGuyver!)

And the Power Rangers, which has its roots in Japanese television probably wouldn't have been watched in Korea because of the ban on Japanese pop culture that lasted from the end of the war 1945 to 1998. This was of course a result of post colonialism in Korea.
posted by cazoo at 9:51 PM on January 31, 2008

Great. Now I've got "Teh-el me, Teh-el me, dadadadadaada" stuck in my head. My subconscious keeps going back to the beginning of the song, and I can't get out of the loop because I don't understand Korean and can't move on to the next line.
posted by JDHarper at 9:58 PM on January 31, 2008

Yea, what cazoo said. Korean cultural lexicon has a lot of American cultural references, especially superheroes.

Sure, I used to watch Flashman when I was a kid and still remember the theme song as well as many of my friends. Some kids were in the Bio Man camp, so yea there were dubbed Japanese mask men type shows in the late 80s-early 90s, but it wouldn't make sense in this context of "female superhero" since Koreans are familiar with American superheroes. Wonder Woman would be the obvious choice. Also, it's a pun! They're the Wonder Girls, so of course it'd be Wonder Woman.

Also, Power Rangers is really an amalgamation of many Japanese shows. They just cut out the action sequences and add in English speaking actors for the out of the suit parts. Or at least that's how they used to do it. I have no idea how they make those now. But it was weird when they'd show Power Rangers on Korean TV because it was like twice recycled.
posted by kkokkodalk at 10:10 PM on January 31, 2008

The video production is high, the dancing in great, the chicks are hawt, but the music is just awful. I think Mr. Park Jin Young has a bright future in American pop music.
posted by Foam Pants at 10:15 PM on January 31, 2008

Hahahahaha, this is awesome. Totally reminds me of the Hare Hare Yukai dance craze sweeping the anime world now. Seriously, watch the first and third link if nothing else. (Ending theme from Cult favourite "The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi")

But no, really. Thanks for posting this, totally need the pick-me-up.
posted by Phire at 10:28 PM on January 31, 2008

I watched a few moments of "Tell Me". I think the last time I had to smack a TV to make it work was, oh, 1968 or so...
posted by Tube at 10:37 PM on January 31, 2008

I sense some Stacey Q influence.
posted by Oriole Adams at 12:38 AM on February 1, 2008 [1 favorite]

Whenever I listen to American pop music, I like the beat but the crappy lyrics ruin it for me. Perhaps K-Pop youtube videos are the answer?

...Ew. The rap bit ruined it for me. Nevermind.
posted by ®@ at 3:53 AM on February 1, 2008

I sense some Stacey Q influence.

I'm'a go with Dead or Alive, actually; it's amazing how satisfying it is to shout, during the song's intro, "You spin me RIGHT ROUND baby RIGHT ROUND"
posted by Greg Nog at 4:03 AM on February 1, 2008

A better dance tutorial. They do a better job of breaking down the dance moves than the Wonder Girls themselves. You can kind of see in the Wonder Girls tutorial video that they've internalized the choreography to such an extent that they can do it but they can't really explain it to another person.

Great post! Does this mean I get out of doing the Kim Wan Sun one? ^__^
posted by needled at 4:52 AM on February 1, 2008

Which girl is the tough one?
posted by Cyrano at 6:02 AM on February 1, 2008

The essence of why pop music sucks.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:38 AM on February 1, 2008

This may be the catchiest pop dance sensation since "Mail Me".
posted by phooky at 6:58 AM on February 1, 2008 [2 favorites]

Ouch, fourcheesemac.

For some reason, I find myself wondering what Perpetua would say about this act. His pop chops appeal to me.
posted by cgc373 at 7:00 AM on February 1, 2008

I love K-pop and J-pop on occasion, but feel like a pervert (they all look 12, even when they're 30).

It seems like they mostly go the pop girl-group or Christina-Aguilera-wannabe route over there with varying levels of success. It would be terribly fun to go to a big concert there just to feel the crowd energy and see the reactions.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 7:32 AM on February 1, 2008

I'm gonna mess up this link - but "tell Me" is an outrageous, milksop rip-off of this, isn't it?

(The inevitably messed up link is the GREATEST teen-cheese-uncomfortably sexy dance nonsense ever created. It may originally have been a nickyskye pick...).

Play it loud and give yourself a Friday smile...
posted by Jody Tresidder at 7:36 AM on February 1, 2008

So best, Jody Tresidder: I linked "Lucky Lips" way back when. It's great to see it brought up again. (And thanks to the New Search Function, finding it was easy-peasy.)
posted by cgc373 at 7:55 AM on February 1, 2008

Needled: I fully expect a Kim Wan Sun post with commentary on how she looks either really mad or really stoned all the time. I promise to follow up with And since I mentioned hallyu, the onus is now upon you to create a Yonsama fpp (you know you want to!). I'd like that on my desk byyyy....Monday. kthxbai.
posted by kkokkodalk at 7:58 AM on February 1, 2008


That was such a - I dunno - charming thing to do. The link - and the much-needed info...Thank you.

(I really have an eclectic, fascinating and sophisticated taste in music - she said defensively & lying through her teeth...hitting "replay" again!).

Just - thanks.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 8:23 AM on February 1, 2008

Fun post. That song is fucking awful but I'm having a hard time getting it out of my head.
posted by sveskemus at 8:48 AM on February 1, 2008

omg! i'm sooo going to south korea! i loved the 1980s the first time around! mc hammer pants!
posted by eatdonuts at 10:24 AM on February 1, 2008

kkokkodalk, you are my favorite ethnomusicologist.
posted by billtron at 12:12 PM on February 1, 2008

Goddammit kkokkodalk. I've been listening to this song repeatedly since you posted it and the dance! It is stuck in my head! *cries*
posted by Phire at 9:58 AM on February 2, 2008

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