Mini Note #2 - F*ck It All

Seventeen and KARD make me wonder why everyone's dropping F bombs

Read the first Mini Notes on K-pop here.

I feel like everyone’s cursing on K-pop lately. And by everyone, I mean Seventeen and KARD, both of whom have recent releases happily declaring the English curse word “fuck.”

On April 24, boy band Seventeen released their FML EP, fronted by the singles Super and F*ck My Life.

I am rather obsessed with how rough of a time the members had explaining in interviews what the “f” in the album title stood for, because typically K-pop acts don’t quite so blatantly reference swears — and you can be banned from Korean broadcast because of it —, though that seems to be changing, with acts giving two fucks within a month of each other being too much for me not to talk about.

Then on May 23, co-ed group KARD released their Icky EP, featuring a duet by female members Somin and Jiwoo, Fxxk you. I haven’t seen any memes yet, but I hope we get some live performances soon.

In general, it’s not like K-pop stars never curse, though sometimes it causes trouble, but it’s fairly rare in the music itself. We do sometimes see cursing in different ways, with puns playing a prominent role. When I was at Mamamoo’s concert recently, I learned that their L.I.E.C is likely not only a reference to “Like I Even Care,” but also to 에라이 씨(발) (eraee ssi(bal) an exclamation like “fuck dammit.

Post-email edit: Honorable mention to Xdinary Heroes’ Freakin' Bad, which I decided didn't make the cut but has some great wordplay a la Britney Spears’ If You Seek Amy: “If you seek it, why owe you?”

So I’m kind of curious about why we’re getting a bit of a wave of fuckery from K-pop acts. Is it a way for these groups to show their growth and maturity or edginess? Is it a reflection of a generation’s frustration? I’m not sure about that, since  Seventeen’s said they’re trying to turn the reactionary feeling of FML from something bad into something good. KARD’s whole vibe nowadays is pretty much pushing boundaries and doing it in a tongue, or rather tip, in cheek kind of way, but Seventeen’s use of the expression caught me off guard, not because it’s not one of my favorite acronyms and immensely relatable, but just because it feels like maybe we’ve entered a new era of K-pop stars expressing themselves.

It kind of feels like this swear word, which in earnest is just a crass way to say “sex,” is saying something about what’s going on with these two acts and how they’re using one of the most reactive English curse words. I don’t really know what that is that I’m imagining is going on, though, it’s just a hint of a feeling. If I knew what it was, this would be more than just a mini note, but here we are! It could just be, and likely is,  wishful thinking on my part and these are just arriving hot on each other’s heels by coincidence, but it’s something I’m thinking about this week.

What do you think? Leave a comment and let me know if I’m overthinking the two songs.