November & December 2021 Episode Guide
On 17 Carat K-Pop
A Year’s Worth of K-Pop News in Less Than 15 Minutes: This is a good episode to pause repeatedly and listen to with friends! Follow along as I ask what your favorite K-pop moments were this year and list your options! From whose disbandment was the most upsetting to which magazine cover was the most iconic, this is a chance to reflect on the highs and lows of K-pop in 2021!
SMCU Next Year!: In this final news roundup of 2021, I give my honest review of MONSTA X’s The Dreaming movie, revisit my K-pop predictions for 2021, recap the MAMAs, and much more!
Best K-Pop Music Videos of 2021: Over 150 K-pop music video recommendations, discussed by category (quirky plot, aesthetically beautiful, etc.)!
Best K-Pop Albums of 2021: A ranking and review of the fifty best K-pop albums released this year!
Best Songs of 2021: The 150 best K-pop, J-pop, and C-pop songs released this year, ranked!
Universe (NCT Talk, Vol. 12): From the poem Johnny is seen reading to the numbers that keep popping up, this episode is a thorough guide to all the meaningful details in NCT's Universe Era teaser images and videos! It also serves as a breakdown of the ways NCT's newest chapter continues telling the story of the broader SM Entertainment Cinematic Universe!
James and the KAIant Peach: A chance to meet MONSTA X, the best parts of the BTS concerts at SoFi Stadium, some MAJOR SEVENTEEN news, the blacklist that was recently made public, global Spotify Wrapped data, and more of the latest headlines.
Best K-Pop Moments of 2021: The seventeen most iconic moments in the world of K-pop in 2021!
New K-Pop and J-Pop: Best of November 2021: A ranking and review of the twenty best November K-pop and J-pop releases!
The Power of DestineaJ: The seventeen best parts of SEVENTEEN's "Power of Love" online concerts, eaJ's surprising comments in a new interview, Sorn's exit from CLC, the latest court ruling in Samuel's case, why Baekhyun's YouTube videos were taken down, a fun competition show coming soon, BTS's big night at the AMAs, and even more K-pop news!
The Psychology of Fandom: I summarize the findings from a variety of studies on the psychology of music preferences and the "fan economy." Why do some people love sad music? Are music tastes more biological or social? When do people "age out" of intentionally listening to new music? Which music preferences have been linked to vegetarianism?! I share the research that answers all of these questions and more!
Tour Choice: The "scammer-turned-millionaire" vying for a girl group member's attention, the new song drawing ire in China, the surprising rise of "Costco influencers" in Shanghai, the eye-popping profits from virtual merch sales, and more of the latest news related to K-pop, China, and the internet.
Seventeen Talk, Vol. 7: Choreography, spotlights, camera angle changes, makeup, clothes, color schemes, props, backgrounds, settings... these are just some of the many variables SEVENTEEN utilize to engage in effective “storyshowing,” as they put it. In this episode, I take a close look at some examples of "storyshowing" in their music videos, instances where every detail added to the delivery and impact of a message. From the perfect timing of a lipstick change to the text seen on the newspapers in one video, SEVENTEEN always manage to send messages through their music videos in new and intriguing ways.
The Noonday Demon (RM’s Recs, Ep. 4): Both Andrew Solomon’s The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression and its predecessor, his wildly popular article in The New Yorker, are outstanding examples of how to discuss a mental illness with the care and depth it deserves. Rather than focus solely on personal experiences or the science behind depression, Solomon explores both and then some. He covers the philosophical, biological, personal, social, and various other dimensions of what living with depression is truly like, all the while finding ways to articulate the struggles that words often fail to encapsulate. After a brief introduction to a similar story, The Midnight Library by Matt Haig, I focus on The Noonday Demon and Solomon’s most profound quotes.
K-Pop Music Show History: A timeline of significant changes to the six main K-pop music shows, TRL's parallel evolution, and memorable moments in K-pop music show history- for better and for worse!
Edward CulleNCT: I predict 2021 MAMA winners! Plus: the best Halloween costumes K-pop stars wore this year, all the major announcements made at HYBE’s and SM Entertainment’s latest briefings, the struggles KEY faced during his Bad Love comeback, and more coverage of the latest K-pop news.
New K-Pop & J-Pop: Best of October 2021: A ranking and review of the twenty best K-pop, J-pop, and J-rock releases from October!
On How to Stan
The Year in Review: The world of "true crime makeup," the latest example of an author revealed to have been an imposter, a new sense of vindication among UFO enthusiasts, the story behind the once-beloved Von Dutch brand, and even more updates on stories covered this year! This episode both summarizes what this year's episodes of How to Stan were all about and shares stories that previously did not make the final cut.
EJ Dickson on All Things Internet Culture: I talk with Rolling Stone culture reporter and Don’t Let This Flop podcast co-host EJ Dickson about TikTok, David Dobrik, and a host of other topics!
Britney is Free!!!: I start off this episode with a revised timeline of Britney Spears's conservatorship and the Free Britney Movement, including additions from new documentaries, reporting, and publicized documents from the past year. Then, listener discretion is advised as I cover the disturbing instances of financial malfeasance, neglect, and even deaths in the unregulated world of guardianships in the United States. Britney's story must stay in the public consciousness for more than a short news cycle; the conservatorship system at large needs attention and reform, so that those in Britney's situation can regain a sense of autonomy and truly have their needs met.
Sources and Further Reading
The “Nature Versus Nurture” debate about music preferences
Theories about the “Psychological Sense of Community” and its four main dimensions
Some thoughts on “symbolic consumption” that can be applied to merch sales
My Music: Explorations of Music in Daily Life by Charles Keil, Daniel Cavicchi, and Susan D. Crafts
The most scientifically calming song in the world
The Anthropology of Music by Alan P. Merriam
The context of the song “Fragile,” which is now censored in China
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
An excerpt from Solomon’s book that is discussed in the episode about his work
An investigation of the exploitative and largely unregulated world of conservatorships
A judiciary hearing, called “Toxic Conservatorships: The Need for Reform”
Legislation introduced to protect conservatees’ rights
Some of EJ Dickson’s pieces we discuss on the show
My full review of MONSTA X’s The Dreaming
My picks for the best songs, albums, and music videos of 2021!
A write-up about Honorable Mentions is on the way!
What I picked for No. 1 each month of the year