Those who know me well know that I got into J-Pop first. Thanks to the appearance of Youtube around 2005 I was able to listen to the songs that I really loved as often as I wanted to and find slightly weirder videos. One of them was DJ Ozma’s “Drinkin’ Boys”, a video which had the entire group of naked men now doing the legendary ‘Fan Dance’. So I decided to delve further into the world of DJ Ozma and found a few good party/dance tracks. It got to the point that I got so obsessed with the group that I was lamenting the fact I would never actually see them perform live (they disbanded in 2009, though joined up again for a reunion concert in 2012).
After getting into the current wave of K-Pop a few years later, I decided to delve into the world of the older releases (as with most genres, the older tracks are the better ones with the bigger legacy) and then I stumbled on a track that sounded exactly like my favourite DJ Ozma track, “Ii yo ne!!”… but it was in Korean. You can understand how confused I was at this! Turned out that the group was DJ DOC, a hip hop/dance group that were incredibly popular in the 90s, to the point that probably 99% of the Korean population would recognise one of the their songs. The song was “Dance with DOC” and obviously it was the song that came out first.
Perplexed I carried on my research and found out that DJ Ozma covered quite a few DJ Doc songs (and others- it was only then that I realised that they were mainly a cover group who did a lot of remixes). Did I feel betrayed? A little bit. But my heart still has a place for the music of one of my favourite Jpop groups and it now meant that I was able to discover a new Kpop love to appreciate. So why this now? I was listening to some old DJ Doc songs and thought it would be fun to do some comparisons on two varieties of the song by two different artists. So lets go!
E.Yo.Ne vs Dance With DOC
Why not start with the song that made me realise that I was (sort of) living a lie? The video is set in a faux Western setting with a cute little dance that had me whilst I was at university dance spending time learning it and preparing to perform it for an anime convention (I never did in the end because no one wanted to do it with me) Production wise, Japan was very much ahead of South Korea (who felt like they were still in 1996 in 2007- you only have to look at Super Junior back then to get what I mean) so the whole concept was neatly packaged into something that what easily accessable and highly danceable.
Of course with the original, the sound is pretty much the same although the feel is certainly more 90s. And in a way, I think it works in its favour because now listening back to the DJ Ozma version, the production sounds a bit too polished. There is something about that 90s recording quality that makes it feel vintage and in turn makes it feel cooler. There isn’t a music video for this (unless you count what Baekhyun from EXO did for EXO90:2014 last year (and we wont count it) but regardless, the above video showcases the dance moves that are still popular up until this day, particularly the thumbs up by the eyes one.
Who wins? I chose Dance with DOC, but barely. The lack of an MV made it lose points but the old school feel it has won it back for them.
Age Age Every Night vs Run To You
Another great party song. And I love the PV for this song. The feel of this is reminiscent of the good old days of Para Para (which is fitting as DJ Ozma was based in Roppongi where Para Para was thought to have originated from) I will have to admit, it took me a while to get into this one (it was no Drinkin’ Boys or Spiderman) but I finally warmed to it’s feel and rhythm. Granted, now I know it was not originally their tune but actually, the song works well in Japanese
You kind of get the feeling that there is a whole generation of Koreans who grew up or went clubbing to this song. There has been many an anecdote that claims that there was a time if you went clubbing in the mid 90s in Seoul you would hear this at least twice a night- that was how popular it was (and still is!… just now all you hear in clubs is really bad EDM) Many variety shows make a point of mentioning the song or making a reference to it. My personal favourite had to be the Shinhwa Dance Party where there was a little bit too much butt shaking for men in their mid thirties!
Who wins? This was hard- there is no doubt that DJ DOC’s version is a classic, but this time it is a song where having a polished arrangement actually works in it’s favour. Again, it’s a hair’s victory but Age Age Every Knight is the one for me
One Night vs… One Night!
Time to confuse you! Same title, same song! There isn’t a PV for the DJ Ozma version but there is for DJ Doc, see below.
I have to admit… I am not really fond of this song. Either version of it, in fact. In face of both group’s other hits, it is rather boring. However if I were to pick one that was better, it would have to the be the DJ Doc version. It kind of wins by default as they have an MV for the song but it does improve the song by giving visuals to the discotheque feel and there is something entertaining about them all rocking afros!
So that is that! I have made this article way too long already but at least it gives a bit of an insight into a different era of music. I could make this into a regular thing- looking at Jpop and Kpop of the 90s/00s if this article is popular enough. But for now Wave Riders, I have to know who do you prefer? DJ DOC or DJ Ozma?