I became a fan of Korean pop music in October 2012, but in the year prior to my induction, the music that leads to an almost-twisted ankle sprint toward any space wide enough to dance was born. I’ve gracefully shoved people out of the way for years, just to switch my hips or roll my shoulders in a choreographic fever to this song.
“Geeze, Ashley!” No, geeze you for not falling into a four-count fast enough. I’ve basically risked flat-lining from excitement as soon as I hear the first note. It’s such an iconic moment in K-pop that it was parodied five years after its release on Family Guy and is featured on Just Dance 2018.
On July 5, 2011, HyunA released an EP entitled, “Bubble Pop!” and the title song was … is …my weakness. I didn’t know of 4Minute just yet, but I knew that this little lady could strut her entire existence off in front of a Hummer in hot pants and heels and I LIVED! How did this rapture occur? It was all because of Lee Joon, formerly of boy band MBLAQ.
In the same vein as how I got into all this entertainment to begin with — following any artist who also appeared in a drama or film I was watching — I watched a film with Lee Joon in it, found his group, and then watched everything that I could on YouTube with him in it. Thus, “Bubble Pop!” eventually came into my recommendations. The thumbnail was simple enough, just a woman with a great blowout hairstyle, caught in a pose. Good for you, lady-person. I’m stopping by because there’s Essence of Joon™ somewhere in this video that I must see.
The song starts with a catchy beat and HyunA’s trademark tone shouting “Bubble pop,” giving away no sign of the 808 that’s about to push you in the face in a matter of seconds. The song and lyrics were written and produced by Shinsadong Tiger and Choi Kyusung, who apparently knew that putting HyunA’s huffy-puffy-breathing at the front of the song was the tease of that summer and every summer until the sun dies out.
The video wasn’t even at its 10-second mark before I was screaming in girl power support. And although I can admit that it is youthful in the classic way that only K-pop can deliver, HyunA commanded attention from the first stomp in front of the truck prop until the very last second of the video. It’s just a whole 3:34 of H.B.I.C. energy that I lacked when I was 19 — her age when she filmed the video! Likewise, there are tones reminiscent of Beyonce‘s “Baby Boy” video, further promoting the young-and-confident woman vibe.
I’ve outgrown the same enthusiasm for the simple lyrics, but I’m still going to gently elbow you out of my way if it comes on in a public setting. Needless to say, I’m #Hooked.