Saturday, 4 April 2015

Currently listening to: MFBTY and Humbert Humbert

It’s Spring! Which means it’s time for a bunch of big name K-Pop stars to make their comeback. Or, as everyone else in the world calls it: release new material.

Despite my somewhat sarcastic opening, I am a little excited about this. For the past couple of months, I’ve been quite frustrated that I’ve haven’t found any new act that made me think “Hey, I want to know more about this!” so I’m kind of hoping that this new round of releases might change that.

Miss A have already released a good (but not great) mini-album, and BigBang and Girls’ Generation have new releases coming up soon. I have no idea what to expect from BigBang (and that’s a good thing) but the teaser for the new GG single sounds pretty awful. I didn’t like Mister Mister either, but at least it had a couple of good b-sides.

I’ll be honest (and I’m not proud of this) I didn’t like Girls’ Generation at first and the only reason I gave them a second chance was because they put the apostrophe in their name in the right place. I’m such a grammar geek that I thought, “Well, if they can do that, they can’t be all bad.” And so I gave “Gee” a few more listens, and the rest is history. But despite all that good feeling toward them, I have grave doubts about their new stuff.

But what I really want to talk about is MFBTY. Their new album, Wondaland, is out and in my mp3 player and it’s a bit special. Better that their debut The Cure, this is a great (frequently brilliant) collection of rap/dance tunes, with Angel coming out a clear favourite.

It made me wonder about the name, though. MFBTY is generally explained as My Fans Better Than Yours, but on the new album one song has the refrain “MF Bizzy TY.” This got me thinking: if B stands for Bizzy, then T must stand for Tiger JK and Y must mean Yoon Mi Rae: the three memebrs of the group. So what does MF stand for? Are there two more people in the band? Or does it actually stand for “Mother Fucking Bizzy, Tiger, Yoon Mi Rae”? Since I’m never going to meet them, I’ll never know, but I kind of hope so.

So, if that wasn’t enough to restore my faith in music, one day after I bought Wondaland I discovered a new band through the unlikely source of a YouTube recommendation. Humbert Humbert are a Japanese folk duo with an incredible ear for a chorus and some heart-breaking harmonies. Never more so than on their song “大宴会” (Daienkai) which is exactly the kind of song you’d expect to hear when you’re out hiking in a mountain forest in Japan, floating across a valley on a slight breeze. Somehow it feels like it comes from long ago but also could have been written yesterday: that’s how beautiful and universal it is.

But I don’t want to praise this song in favour of others. Most of their songs have that timeless quality. Unfortunately, they’re not the easiest band to search for. They’re on iTunes (along with two other bands also called Humbert Humbert) but I’ve found a fair amount of stuff on YouTube. Definitely worth the effort, though. They are one of those bands that sing songs that are so simple that you can hardly believe that no one has written them before.


  1. Oh man, if I'd seen this sooner (about 10hr sooner), we could've asked this. We got an interview with them coming up on the site xD

    1. Wow, that's quite a scoop. (And for those who don't know, Amy is talking about