Monday, September 14, 2009

Songs Thai People Like: "Nobody," by Wonder Girls

I wanted to start what will hopefully be a series of posts--

--isn't it amazing how many failed blogs start this way? "This is the place where hopefully I will... [record my thoughts, write about this, write about that, make jokes about him, talk about them...]"--

--and then two days and one REALLY long post later--dead-----

---a series of posts about Songs Thai People Like, a category that I find fascinating for both academic and deeply-ironic reasons. These songs will be chiefly English language/Western, but there are some exceptions. Like Song 1, for example...

Anyone who has ever been in a Thailand dance club/bar/mall/restaurant/place with oxygen knows that this series can really only start with one song: "Nobody," by the Korean girl group Wonder Girls.

This is, I dare say, the most popular song in the history of Chiang Mai. It has saturated the market like really heavy rain falling down onto a market. Thai people go apeshit for this song. I go apeshit for this song, too. It is only a matter of time before it is covered by Local H.

What are the primary appeals of the song:
1. The hand-claps.

Thai people don't like "dancing," per se--the dance floors at most clubs are really just rooms with lots of tables where girls drink Whiskey and Coke, send text messages, bob up and down, and, occasionally, point at each other's faces. In Thai, this is called "Dan-SING." But because this song has clapping, Thai people can do something besides point at each other's faces: they can clap.
Nobody, nobody but-choo [CLAP CLAP, CLAP. CLAP. CLAP.]
Yes. Clap your hands say ใช่!

2. Good meaning.

When I ran my Thai hipster music experiment (see link above), I was constantly being told by students that songs that I liked had "good meaning." These usually correlated to songs whose lyrics were easy to understand.
This song is in Korean with one line in English repeated a thousand times. The line is easy to understand, and it is also conducive to pointing.

3. Conducive to pointing.

See above. Nobody but YOU! ::points at your face::

4. Happy, or At Least Seemingly So

Thai people love happy songs, or at least songs that sound happy, even though this one is like the "Reeling in the Years" of Korean Girl pop, a sugar-coated, deceptively-sad up-tempo song. The chorus, though--"I want nobody but-choo"--seems to indicate an acceptance and affirmation of love. Check those lyrics, though: the guy is totally not into her.

5. Really conducive to pointing

Listen to this song, bob up and down, and pretend that you are dancing across a table from someone. Then put up a really sassy finger and point at their face. Isn't this song good for that? Did you try pointing at someone while listening to this song? Do you have a webcam so that I can see you doing it?

IDEA: a worldwide video of people jamming to this song, clapping their hands, and occasionally pointing at their webcams. Globalization, web 2.0, going green.


That is the end of my presentation today. I have talked about the advantages of the song "Nobody" by Wonder Girls. These advantages are that it has a good meaning and it is conducive to pointing. I think that everyone should like this song, because it is good for your health and wielding a sassy pointer finger is a fun thing to do when listening to music (SEE VIDEO). Now is the time for your questions? Are there any questions? If there are no questions, then that is the end of my presentation today. Thank you for your kind attention.

NEXT TIME: I don't know, something by Black Eyed Peas probably.

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