Tuesday Tunes

Tuesday Tunes #20: Barefooted Youth

I’ve been watching Korean dramas again–taking a break from binging Riverdale–and I fell upon one that surprised me with how fantastic it is.  I’ll probably binge the rest of the series tonight and talk about it for tomorrow’s Watch Wednesday, but for today I want to talk about the music of the series.

Titled Go Back Couple, this 2017 show (which just recently played its final episode on November 18) follows a divorced couple who wakes up to find themselves their 20-year-old bodies back in 1999.  The best thing about these sorts of throwback shows is getting to see all the craziness of the past, but it was very interesting to see that from a Korean standpoint versus an American one.  One of the best lines from the first episode is, “Denim on denim!  Nice!”  Yep, gotta love 90s fashion.

As great as the fashion was in the show, we’re going to discuss the music.  Actually, one song, in particular, that’s played in multiple episodes of the show, something that was fun to discover.

Barefooted Youth

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Buck performing on MBC Top Music on April 5, 1997.

Barefooted Youth” is a song by popular by Korean hip-hop duo Buck.  A top song of 1997, Buck performed “Barefooted Youth” repeatedly on television, including on the show MBC Top Music (Korea’s MTV Top 20 Countdown) multiple times in April of that year.  Their iconic performance includes a small clip of Toni Basil’s one-hit wonder, “Hey Mickey” before they bust out into their well-known dance routine.  Seriously, this song is SO catchy.

Twenty years later, this song is favorite for Korean karaoke and it, along with Buck’s memorable choreography, seems to have lived to the to the modern age.  UP10TION is a ten-member Korean boy band that debuted mid-2015 and eventually began to follow a “cute concept” where band members acted and dressed overly cutesy.

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UP10TION’s original “cute concept”.

While the look got them through their first year, it wasn’t ideal.  Late 2016, UP10TION decided to keep their lighthearted feel but go for a much manlier look.  Their performance at the MBC Music Festival in December of that year reflected that as they did a cover of “Barefooted Youth”–all the way down to the dance moves.  And it’s just awesome.

And hey, Koreans do covers of old 90s songs, too!  It’s not just us!  Good to know.  I know that this should’ve been obvious, but it’s funny the things that you don’t think about that transcend cultures, like song covers.

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Manlier but still oh-so-Korean styling for UP10TION during their 2016 “Barefoot Youth” performance at the MBC Music Festival.

UP10TION’s version is just too awesome of a tribute to the original to be ignored, but while their live performance was excellent, for some reason their video posted of their mirrored practice (a common thing for K-pop groups to do) is just so freaking entertaining.  Maybe it’s because they look like they’re having so much fun, maybe it’s because they’re so much better looking in not-neon-suits, but for whatever reason, this is the version I want to share with you of UP10TION’s performance.

This modern rendition of “Barefoot Youth” is a perfect rendition full of pretty boys.  Enjoy.

So, which do you enjoy the most–the original or the update?

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