If I had to choose a theme song for January 2008 it would be a close call between Kylie's "Wow" and "Tell Me" by the Wonder Girls. While Dannii's sister and an obscure Korean girlband would initially appear to have little in common, both songs constitute a three and a half minute trip to pure pop heaven. I expect pop perfection from a Minogue but the magnificence of the Wonder Girls comes as a wonderful surprise.
I've always been slightly wary of Asian pop. As a general rule, I prefer my music in a language I can understand or at least vaguely follow. Then, there are the incredibly annoying J-Pop loons that pollute most music forums. As far as I'm concerned, anyone who can contribute to an Ayumi vs Utada debate most likely has an altar to the dark prince in their bedroom. Despite these considerable hurdles, I've found myself becoming increasingly fascinated by the Asian pop scene thanks to the expert guidance of my friend Nori, who has kindly introduced me to a cavalcade of fabulous acts - including the Wonder Girls.
A manufactured girlband with five members between the ages of 15 and 19, the Wonder Girls strike me as South Korea's answer to the Spice Girls - only with better hair and the ability to dance. The Wonder Girls hit it big with "Tell Me", an unfathomably catchy jam that topped the Korean sales chart for 7 weeks and went on to become the biggest hit of 2007. It's easy to see the appeal. "Tell Me" is undoubtedly a work of pop genius. From the clever sampling of Stacey Q's "Two Of Hearts" to the catchy chorus, the song stands out as an instant classic. Make sure you check out the fabulous video clip (below). The dance routine has become a phenomenon of its own in South Korea and the scene where the girls beat up a flasher belongs in the Pop Trash hall of fame!
Even if you usually steer well clear of foreign pop, take a chance on the Wonder Girls. "Tell Me" is one of those rare songs that transcends language.