Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Ke$ha Project: 'Run Devil Run' (From K-Dolla to K-Pop)

It's weird that people make such a thing about Ke$ha and AutoTune as though she was entirely devoid of singing ability when in fact she's done a good deal of background vocal and demo work, which requires an incredible amount of accuracy and cleanliness of vocals. One of the best demos she was asked to record is "Run Devil Run," a solid slice of prime pop merchandise with smoothly flowing verses, dramatic, supersized chorus and outro, and a glorious, very Ke$ha-esque spoken bridge.

Lyrically it's the strongest of non-violent girl power breakup kiss-off songs, directed at some fool who's been senseless enough to mess with the wrong girl. As is usually the case on Ke$ha's breakup anthems, the narrator is idealized as having no lingering vulnerabilities to grapple with, able to present an unquestioned strength that makes for easily appealing - and easily performed - girl pop.

Ke$ha - "Run Devil Run"

Of course, when Ke$ha says she means business there's no reason to doubt her, and no man would relish having the Ke$ha characterized in songs like this hunting him down. Now imagine instead of  one Ke$ha you've got nine South Korean chicks after your ass (not in a good way)...how's that for a Halloween frightfest? That's the terrifying ordeal faced by the titular (fictional) do-badder of "Run Devil Run," the 2010 single by the massive Korean pop group Girls Generation. Though most of the lyrics have been translated into Korean, the backing production is identical to Ke$ha's demo, and it sounds like her vocals have been preserved on the English parts of the chorus. Of course, this was nearly two years before the group released the single "The Boys" in Korean and English, the latter getting a release in the US in the wake of a bit of a surge of K-pop influence and interest here since this summer.

Though Girls' Generation has a ways still to go toward being able to play on this particular field, it should be note that as K-pop acts go these girls are the Spice Girls or the Backstreet Boys, major success stories of manufactured pop stardom. So they've already proven their mettle as pop stars. As the nine performers, now in their early 20s, broach the US market, the question is not whether or not these particular girls can find success in the United States, but whether K-pop can make it in the United States at all. And even if this doesn't catch on, don't feel too bad for the girls; they did perform at Madison Square Garden this Sunday, which is a hell of a lot further than most people make it.

Read more of The Ke$ha Project
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