“Gee” is a pop classic, anywhere, anytime. Kim Tae-woo’s downtempo R&B take on it is pretty good.
You know it’s a classic when you can get a random crowd of people to join in: Sorea performed it at a cultural festival in New York, and on cue (like at Kim Tae-woo’s show, or SNSD concerts), right after “Keudae keudae pakk-e moreuneun”, people shout “Babo!”
Tablo’s now gone major-label, too (at YG), but who can blame him after Woollim didn’t back him up during the diploma scandal? I wouldn’t be surprised if all three members of Epik High ended up at YG after Tukutz (I think it is) gets out of the service.
And the song is versatile: there’s a very credible slow take commonly done by Kim Tae-woo, and a more traditionally-instrumented version done by Sorea (another non-mainstream but interesting group that makes modern music with traditional Korean instruments).
You might also check out the Mandarin version of “History” by EXO-M (the Korean is done by EXO-K). One thing the pop-factory system can produce is group concepts that wouldn’t grow organically, but are interesting nonetheless, like EXO, with 12 members in two 6-man teams, one performing in Korean, and the other performing the same songs in Mandarin.
My Mandarin being weak as it is, I still have yet to figure out exactly the reference to “Meiguo” in “History”. I noticed it because the Mandarin version is subtitled in Simplified Chinese.
No need to go to a store. Most of the mainstream releases (and quite a few not-so-mainstream ones) are on iTunes in most territories, but especially in Japan and the US.
Speaking of big-name producers, Teddy Riley produced “The Boys”, as well as EXO’s “What is Love”. As I’ve said often in many places, K-pop is American music, or at least what American music was before we forgot what we were doing.