Sunday, November 4, 2012

KOREAN MUSIC: KBS Bans Hot Potato's Music Video "Pillow"

Kim C is a South Korean folk rock musician, actor, TV personality, and author; he’s the lead vocalist, guitarist, and song-writer of Ddeugeo-un Gamja (뜨거운 감자, “Hot Potato”), a two-person folk rock band consisting of Go Beomjun (bass) and himself.  (His birth name is Kim Daewon.)  Hot Potato recently released their 5th full-length album “Who Doesn`t Like Sweet Things” after a 2+ year hiatus since their mini album “Seesaw”(2008).

Well, this post may belong to Zilly Talkz, not Korean Music, since the music video of their title track Palbegae (팔베개, “Pillow”) was recently banned by KBS for some stupendously ridiculous, "zilly" reasons and I dare you to guess why. Of course, I know you gotta watch the video first:

Hot Potato: Palbegae (Pillow, 2012)

So, can you tell why this vid was banned?  Now, scroll down to see if you guessed right.

Hot Potato (left to right): Go Beomjun and Kim C

The answer is "Misdemeanor": Kim C walks the wrong way down the moving sidewalk and also commits a littering in the video.  

Last Wednesday (10/31/2012), Kim C tweeted, “The funniest story of the year – the music video of “Pillow” was banned by KBS due to walking the wrong way down the moving sidewalk, a public facility, and throwing out the trash on it. Hahahaha.” (C@slykimc)

I would call it a comedy, a black comedy. The song is about sharing your love downward, i.e., with people who are worse off, which is a way of life against the tide of materialism, consumerism, and physical comfort.  Was there any human society where people didn’t “like sweet things?” But the narrator of the song chooses to live against human nature, which is symbolized by his walking the wrong way down the moving sidewalk in the video. As he says in the song, he might feel his arm is going numb while lending it to someone as a pillow, which means his life turns out to be bitter, but he still wants to go against the tide. And his “littering” is symbolic of his strong determination to pursue goods for others by giving up his belongings, favorite things, and habits. (Note that Kim C was a semi-professional high school baseball player.)

Are people on the censor board just ignorant, insensible, and unaesthetic or what? How come they didn't get it?  Or do they just hate the band ‘cause they are signed to Daeum Entertainment, home to such musicians/entertainers aware of social and political issues as Jeong Taechoon, Park Eunok, YB, or Kim Jedong?  Whatever the reason is, it’s really frustrating….. and funny. Stupendously, ridiculously funny.

BTW, even though Hot Potato is often considered a social commentary band, they also have a mellow side. So, here’s a bonus: Two other music videos of the band’s 2010 hits, “Confession” (featuring Bae Doona and Kim Taewoo) and “Seesaw.”  Hope you enjoy!

P.S. At the request of my blog reader a, I also subtitled the music video of Kim C's "Love," the title track from his first mini solo album released this year (2012). Actor Zo Insung, his old friend of 10 years, was featured in the video.  Please scroll down to watch it.

Hot Potato: Gobaek (Confession, 2010)
Featuring Actress Bae Doona & Actor Kim Taewoo

Hot Potato: Seesaw (2010)

Kim C: Love (2012)


  1. they should've shot it on treadmill? Gosh. LOL.

    They're really trying hard to find stuff aren't they

  2. If he had walked the wrong way on treadmill, then he would've broken his nose or something. lol

  3. Thank you for subbing the videos, Would you mind to sub Kimc's love also? it will be superb.

    And that misdemeanor thing is lol. trolling standarts.

  4. a, sure, I'll work on translating the vid. ;)

  5. a, the subtitled music video of Love was just posted. And here's the Youtube link just in case.

  6. (Hilee Enamored)

    That is moooost peculiar. Let me see if I understand this. It's okay for prime time dramas to show things like kidnappings, gangster violence, wild driving and so on. But a line has to be drawn when walking the wrong way on a moving sidewalk or littering. It's all about priorities I guess. ;o)

    (I really liked the song BTW.)

  7. Hilee Enamored, I think the KBS censor board made a fool of itself. haha.

  8. (Hilee Enamored)

    IIRC, KimC was in the "1 Night, 2Days" program with Hwang Ho-Dong, et al.

    I didn't know much about his music and didn't realize it was so cool.

    I'm definitely going to have to listen to more of his work. Thanks for bringing him to my attention.

    BTW, I'm kind of worried now. Several times this month I pushed on doors marked "pull" and pulled on doors marked "push." That could be considered even worse than walking the wrong way on a moving sidewalk. I'm going to have to clean up my act before I get into some big trouble. ;o)

  9. Thank you so much for subbing LOVE :D.
    I love the song, i was touched by the song. The one hot potato provided in their web is too dictionary weird. and jo insung did great job on the mv which makes me more and more curious about the lyrics. thank you again.

  10. a, I had fun subbing the vid 'cause I also love the band and their songs. I think Zo Insung did a great job of performing a monologue. :)

  11. tqvm!!...thanx for the wonderful sub despite the fact that pillow video have been banned T.T....anyway, i am a big fan of hot potato..thanx again!

  12. [~r@n~], I like hot potato and their songs, too. :)

  13. (Hilee Enamored)

    Thanks to your blogpost I went out and got the Hot Potato album. (And I'm really enjoying several of the songs.) I also recommended it to a few friends, so you may be directly and indirectly responsible for boosting HP's album sales. :o)

  14. Haha, I'm always happy to take such responsibility! :)


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