♫♪  Tablo x Taeyang - “눈, 코, 입 (Eyes, Nose, Lips)”

There are by now a healthy handful of competing theories — mostly in my head — about what it might take for Korean pop to light up the west in a way that doesn’t hinge upon equine dance voodoo. Anyone sharp enough to know the answer also knows better than to blog it on out there uncompensated, but today we’ve found occasion for a sneak peek. Bear in mind, “Gangnam Style” was a fantastical, rainbow fluke assemblage of perfectly complementary ship model debris inside a needle-sized, hay-submerged soju bottle, and it would take a weekend summit of former Bridgewater employees simply to describe it to Psy himself. In other words, no 95% Korean-language global conquest hit about a specific class stereotype in a specific neighborhood of Seoul is ever going to naturally occur again.

The solution? Let’s just say it probably involves English. Fluent-like. And — pains me to say it, but — it probably doesn’t involve accents; or Konglish; or bilingual ad-libs, even, if we’re really playing it safe (which, if my math is correct, we maybe should) [Editor’s note: people gettin’ all math in Choco today, y’all!!!!]. Conveniently, as of just now, we have ourselves a working template: Korean emcee Tablo’s Taeyang-featuring cover of Taeyang’s “눈, 코, 입 (Eyes Nose Lips).” It’s an arresting performance, the two vocalists fashioning a fresh set of hooks over DJ Tukutz’s elegant restatement of the original harmony. But the real K-pop milestone here is all that flawless pop esperanto, driven home by the acerbic wit of Stanford-certified creative writer Tablo — somewhere in the orbit of emo-mode Eminem and Drake at his filter-swept saddest. (This take marks the third official version of “눈, 코, 입” released in the past three weeks alone, following triumphs by KoreaRnB god Taeyang and teen folk dyad Akdong Musician.)

Theirs may not be the tune that starts the American K-craze proper, but Tablo and Taeyang have broken new linguistic ground in the industry. A major piece of the puzzle lies herein, should K-pop’s executive cabal care to use it.

• Tablo: http://instagram.com/blobyblo
• Taeyang: http://www.ygfamily.com/artist/Main.asp?LANGDIV=K&ATYPE=2&ARTIDX=18

Chocolate Grinder

CHOCOLATE GRINDER is our audio/visual section, with an emphasis on the lesser heard and lesser known. We aim to dig deep, but we’ll post any song or video we find interesting, big or small.

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