Sleep is pretty awesome, isn’t it? As a freshman in college, even in my first week I’m starting to see how important it is to have a nice balance of work and rest. Too much or too little of either one is like adding too much or too little sugar to a cake: it’ll work, but it won’t come out as well as you’d like it. It can be hard to find that balance, especially when you’re juggling the responsibilities of work or school with your own relaxation time or time spent with loved ones. Work often tends to take priority, pulling at the strings of our lives as we dance to its unyielding tune. Sometimes it’s hard to slow down, to relax, to enjoy life. Our struggle against ourselves, the juxtaposition of work and rest is familiar to all of us, bringing us to today’s song: Eat by Zion T.

Continue Reading "Rest and Eat"
feat image - my story

Today I wanted to try something different on the Asian Music Friday (I seriously need to come up with a good name for that) feature here on Unsheathed. Analysis is fun, band introductions have their place, but I wanted to speak more directly to you all and share my personal journey into KPOP. How I got into the sphere of Asian music, and how I changed as an individual because of it. It’s a period of my life that I simultaneously love and yet kind of wish was different, for a few reasons. KPOP came into my life during a period of change, and yet that change didn’t begin at that particular point, nor has it really fully ended to this day. As much as it’s about KPOP…it’s about me growing up. So, take a seat, relax, and let’s talk.

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Celebrities. The rich and famous. As much as I stay away from them, citing the age-old “They’re all dumb and shallow!” argument, I have to admit that even I have a few celebs that I enjoy following every now and again. It’s not my fault that Robert Downey Jr. is a perfect Iron Man, okay? The celebs that I find myself the most interested in, however, are often in the Korean music scene. Loving the music of my favorite groups inevitably led me to picking my bias among the members, which led to me picking up news about them here and there where I could. One of my favorite Korean superstars has been CL, the leader of 2NE1; she’s a talented, strong, independent woman that I look up to. Or at least, I did.

Continue Reading "Expectation vs Reality?"

Welcome to the first ever Spotlight, a section of KPOP Fridays (which I’m thinking of renaming since I’ll be discussing more than Korean music) where we’ll take a closer look at different names in the Asian music scene. International fandoms are hard to join when you’re not sure where to start, so these posts will serve as a kind of beginner’s guide to each artist. Starting off today’s spotlight are the Kings of KPOP themselves, BIGBANG!

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People are like smells. The more you experience them, the more you get used to them, but when they’re gone, you notice an absence. Depending on the amount of time you’ve spent with them, their scent and feel may linger, sometimes more than others. Relationships are powerful things, which is why it is so important to choose people to spend your life with that will make worthwhile the time your pour into them, and won’t leave a bad scent in your nose. As broken people, though, can we truly create meaningful relationships? What happens when our feelings fade and our interactions go south? That’s a question I want to explore in today’s KPOP Friday post, as we take a look at On Your Body by VEN.

Continue Reading "I Don’t Love You"

What if I told you that looks are everything? You might recoil at that statement, and wonder why I just randomly came up to you and spouted that sentence, but if you think about it you’ll realize that it’s true. As humans, we place a lot of stock in outward appearance, whether that be physical, social, or academic. We put the accomplished, the beautiful, and the unusual on pedestals, gazing upon their magnificent beauty while the rest of us strive to live up to their ideals. I’m sure you understand what I’m talking about: one glance at a store’s checkout magazine rack will tell you all you need to know about people and the way we view other people.

Continue Reading "Am I Beautiful?"

I love love songs. They way that music conveys emotions so subtly and yet so effortlessly still surprises me with its potency, and this is especially true for love songs. From the euphoria of falling in love to the mellow sweetness of being in a committed relationship, songs have been used for generations to express the emotions associated with loving another person. As much as I love the cheery, feel-good side of love songs, personally I find more depth and worth in songs that explore the darker side of relationships. One learns more from sadness than one does from happiness, and I find that sad love songs tend to leave more life lessons than more joyful ones. So today, we’re going to finally take a long-awaited look at BIGBANG’s song “If You Do” and what it explores about human relationships.


Continue Reading "If You – Why I Love Sad Love Songs"

If art is an experience, what does that make the artist? A performer? An instructor? A mentor? Despite its many forms, art has a unique way of interacting with the human mind. Music serves as a universal language, all people groups have some form of dance, sculpture and painting are as much a part of cultural heritage as food and skin color are, and stories told in poetry or prose have been long part of the human tradition for centuries upon centuries. As humans made in the image of God, the expression of our inner ideas through art is a reflection of how He expresses His attributes through His creations. Where the rub lies, however, is in the realization that art, in and of itself, is subjective. Different people can read different meanings into the same art piece, and walk away affected differently. The artist may have a specific meaning in mind when they pieced together their work, but the experience that others undergo due to the art itself is entirely dependent on the individual. This is what makes art so intriguing, and yet so hard to define. When value is subjective, does value in fact exist? This is the question I want to explore in today’s post, and as we take a step back to look at Paradise Lost, a song by the artist GAIN (pronounced “gaa-inn”).

Continue Reading "Paradise Lost: Understanding the Value of Art"

Life is fun. Or at least, it is when you’re drunk on happiness, love, and alcohol. That’s what a lot of modern media likes to preach at its consumers, and that’s basically the message that BIGBANG seems to convey in the next three songs we’ll be considering. From the chaotic colorfulness of “BANG BANG BANG” that hearkens back to the group’s rise during the “Fantastic Baby” days, to the sensual undertones of “BAE BAE”, to the summer joy of “WE LIKE 2 PARTY”, this section of the MADE album seems to be a striking contrast to the more introspective nature of the rest of the songs. What’s going on in these songs? Why does BIGBANG seem to undermine the rest of their artistic vision with the poppy, almost generic vibe that comes off of these songs? All this and more will be covered in today’s post, so let’s get started!


Seungri becomes an Earthbender in BANG BANG BANG.

Continue Reading "Sober"