There’s no hiding the fact that in K-Pop, like most music industries around the world, has certain standards of beauty that are perpetuated and generally accepted. Thin, pretty, and looking not a day over 28 are the basic guidelines for the lovely ladies in major music groups. So what happens when a 40-some year old comedian sings a song about macking on a 21 year old guy? Apparently, quality music.
Let’s listen to Age-Height by Two Song Place.
Here’s the music video with English lyrics:
This song is ultimately a sort of joke-song for comedian Song Eun Yi, teaming up with F.T. Island’s Song Seung Hyun. The lyrics talk about Eun Yi railing against the typical convention of men wanting a tall, younger woman, stating she has value too. Seung Hyun replies that he can’t help what he likes and ultimately rebuffing her advances, even if they do dance together at the end. It is a joke, as Eun Yi is 41 while Seung Hyun is 21 and is obviously not meant to be taken as a serious bid for affection but the song brings up a good point. K-Pop women (and most of the men) look similar, even though some have “better legs” or a “better S-curve.” In a world where those three qualities make up the majority of the popular music entertainment industry (and most entertainment to be frank) it’s easy to see how women could feel devalued in the face of perfect images on a screen. I don’t know if it’s serious in making this point, but it definitely gives the listener something to think about.
The video is filled to the brim with parodies — some I can name from sight alone are Miss A’s Hush, 2NE1’s Missing You, Trouble Maker’s Now — which only adds to the message about all the tall, thin, conventionally attractive women roaming around. It also helps that the majority of the parodied songs are about love, which wasn’t hard I imagine as 80% of K-Pop songs are about matters of the heart.
The overall effect of the video is great because we see Eun Yi in all these different roles as different women but ultimately as herself as she’s flirting with Seung Hyun, though it doesn’t come off as an cougar relationship at first. When I first saw the video, I didn’t believe she was 41 (I don’t think they’d lie to make her older on the single cover) but being that she doesn’t fit the other beauty standards the song’s point remains. In the end, he of course doesn’t accept her advances though instead of beating him up for being superficial and a jerk, she attacks the women he’s into (though one gets revenge with a football). It’s a bright, colorful video with a good (albeit very simple) dance, great editing and costuming design. Whoever thought up the overall theme and design was a genius, getting away from the sad lounging about everyone does this time of year.
The song itself is cute, fun, and disturbingly catchy. It does have the moments in verse which sound genuinely melancholic but there’s still that bubbly happiness brewing below the surface so it never feels too cliche or drab. Having Seung Hyun rap directly after the verse gives the song a conversation-like feel, which works for the theme they were going for. I’m glad they want with a more up-tempo pop song than a party song with heavy beats. The song itself is an ear worm — even the background vocals are going to get stuck in your head. Still, never has a song been more welcome to get stuck on repeat in my mind.
Age-Height proves that just because a song is created with a comedic undertone does not make it less than other songs. In fact, looking at other comedic-with-a-message-song Gangnam Style, maybe they tend to be better. It’s light-hearted, catchy and ingeniously uses K-Pops own image against. I recommend you at least give it a primary listen — it might be all it takes to get you as hooked as I am.
– Great song.
– Great video.
– Good dance.
– Muddling of the point (if they were even trying to make the point at all).
– Chemistry between the two is a little stiff (though that could be the intention).