• goldengluvsk2

    with miryo being my bias from BEG i was a bit taken aback with her debut since i thought she would do better but i was glad she had the opportunity to experiment and create her own music because, lets face it, some companies still dont even place the member’s songs inthe albums or make them title tracks so its refreshing to see actual solo stages.

  • http://www.facebook.com/taraterrrific Tara Carroway

    people always say how much they dislike pop music because the artist performing the song is not the writer, however is poetry not still beautiful when read by anyone but the poet? What if the poet had a disability and wasn’t able to read his poetry aloud? would that mean it should never be read? or, instead, he could find someone with a pleasing voice and eloquent speech to read it for him. That way people can hear and enjoy his words in a way they were meant to be heard. The same can be said for a song, for isn’t a song just poetry with music? Not all people are born with the talent to sing or dance, just like how not all people are born with the talent to create beautiful music. While I do have great respect for artist like G-Dragon, B1A4’s JinYoung, and B2ST’s Yong JunHyung who are responsible for a lot of their groups best songs, I have an equal respect for artist who are capable of finding and expressing the emotion of a song and making it their own. An artist isn’t just someone who can express their feelings in writing, an artist is anyone who can express their feelings in any way that connects to another person; whether by voice, writing, dance, art, laughter, etc. it is not something you can just limit and its not something you can look down upon just because it is done differently. Art is different for every person who experiences it, just like how every artist expresses themselves differently. It is all beautiful, and it is all worthy of my respect.

    • pg13247

      I agree about disliking idols for not producing their own music. Not everyone has the talent for composing and writing lyrics. It isn’t fair if some mediocre self-produced work from an idol would get more attention than a well written song from a producer. Idols who don’t have the knack for producing their own material should focus on what they can do: Singing, Dancing and selling their song. If some idols cannot manage even that then what is their purpose?

    • sherbet_lemon

      I agree with you. As have been constantly addressed here in SB, idols are expected to be good in singing, dancing, variety, and even acting. I think expecting them to be producers/composers too is a bit of an overstretch. People have different talents and we can’t expect everyone to be really well-rounded. While I don’t just call any idol “artist”, I don’t base my judgment as just them being able to make music. Artists express themselves and there are different ways to express one’s self other than creating something.

      For me what’s important is that the idols themselves believe in the music and image that they have. Take 2ne1 for instance. Teddy may be named as the composer and producer of their songs but 2ne1 works with him too, they’re a team. YG gives 2ne1 the freedom to communicate what they want to sing, to wear and where to go in their career. I genuinely believe that 2ne1 LOVES their own music and every song that they release. They’re not forced to do these things; it’s not just a job or task to be done. So the words and notes of their songs may not come directly from them, but 2ne1’s music and image are also the music and image of CL, Bom, Minzy and Dara. So yes, I think they are artists.

      I can’t say the same thing to a lot of other idols. Some of them even express their own distaste with their concepts (eg Taeyeon re: Gee). Personally, I find it hard to relate to idols who do not like what they’re doing themselves. I know they’re just doing their jobs because it’s what their company wants, but that’s what inhibits me from taking them as artists. I have nothing against them though, I like SNSD as a group and Taeyeon as a singer. Neither am I questioning their talents as entertainers. It’s just, to me, they’re more like employees whose job description is to sing and dance rather than artists expressing themselves through music.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Nate-Broadus/100003245734823 Nate Broadus

      I get what you are trying to say in your post, but feel I should point out a big difference between producers writing songs sung by K-pop singers, and a poem read by someone other than the original poet.

      When someone reads a poem, they generally don’t make recordings of themselves reading it and then mass market it in order to make money. They also don’t book arenas so thousands of people can hear them reciting poems that they had no hand in creating, to my knowledge.

      One reason I dislike the artificiality of (some) K-pop is that the songwriters generally get a fraction of the credit they deserve for actually creating the music and lyrics that we hear on a regular basis. Meanwhile, artists are getting praised for interpreting a song in which they had no true emotional investment. There is something very wrong there.

      Also, not all songs are “poetry with music” — unless Lil’ John’s Saltshaker and Jay-Z’s Big Pimpin’ had deeper philosophical meanings hidden deep under the surface. 

      The same can be said of a lot of K-pop songs. 

      Truly artistic K-pop songs are not easy to find. 

      In my own personal opinion, art is something that comes from some place deep inside. Dark places, hidden places full of emotions and lessons learned that most people have to struggle with themselves to get to the point of sharing those things with others. 

      A K-pop artist popping and locking to a song that they didn’t write does not equate to art for me. That is just my own view. I respect their hard work in toning their body, and in how they work to learn the choreography and lyrics to the songs they sing — like I respect bridge builders for doing the grunt work necessary to complete a project. However, I don’t see a bridge builder and attribute the bridge’s inspirational design to him — the bridge is a result of the architect’s vision, not the workman. 

      In architecture, the architect is rightfully praised for his work. This doesn’t work the same in pop music. That is from where a lot of the disappointment I have in K-pop derives.

      That said, I agree with the point of the article: there is something to be praised about giving idols a chance to create an aural identity. Sometimes, we learn their success probably had a lot to do with their production teams and entertainment companies. There is no shame in that. Not everyone is meant to be a genius songwriter, or even a good one. Still, some idols do have more substance than you would first assume beneath the shiny veneer — substance that goes unseen unless/until the company decides to give them a chance to branch out and experiment.

      When an idol gets an opportunity to express some opinion that comes from themselves — something organic, something personal — I truly believe what they are creating can and should be classified as art. 

      Until then, it is karaoke.

      • http://twitter.com/fah2ma Fatouma

         Whoa, this is a beautiful comment. I’ve been seeing you comment a lot lately on articles. Glad to have you around. ^___^

      • QuynhThaoDinh

        When analyzing both your post and the one prior to yours, I personally feel that both of you have great arguments and poitns that should be taken under consideration. In yours, I agreed that if idols are to perform compositions and tracks produced by professional composer, then the composer himself (or herself) deserved to be credited for their beautiful artwork. Afterall, it was their idea and efforts that truly structured the hits sung by idols. Therefore, composer should be regconized for the input they contribute in the production of tracks.

        Thus I also agree with the article’s main claim about the benefits of showcasing idol’s original artistic impute, whether it be in their music or in the concept the groups (or solo artists) use for their comeback. In addition to the points mentioned (favorable to fans, showing idol genuine self…), it also allows idols to produce tracks that really fit their own unique music taste and cannot be cover by other artists without losing its feel (something SME fail to do, for they follow a rigid and formulaic criteria when selecting title tracks; I have to admit that even if I’m an SM bias), songs that enable their talents to shine, that define the performer’s aural identity. This way, Idols can related authentically to these compositions, thus enabling them to translate their connection of the song through their performances. (usually anyway)

        However, sometime, that is not the case, at least not musically. Sometime, even with those connections to the songs and involvement with the musical production, many artist sill failed to showcase that in their performance (vocals and dance). On the contrary, many vocalists have succeeded in doing so, showing the emotions and authenticity underlined behind the track, with songs that they had connections with (meaning no involvement with the musical production). Take the constestants (well some of them) of the “Immortal Song” as an example. Or Yesung’s take of ‘the more I love you’ in ep 3 of the Immortal Song 2. These performances is not with songs that have personal or professional connections to them musically, yet these artists still succeeded brilliantly in expressing the emotions the songs aimed to translate through their vocals. So I personally think that the authenticity and artistic value of a song is not shown by its reflection of someone’s personal venture, but rather through vocal experience and the artist’s ability to portrait emotions with voice or performance.

        In my opinion, I believe that something can only be classified as art when it invoked emotions from the audience, when the emotions and experience underlined behind it is truly translated to touch the public heart, no matter how it is delivered, or if it is personal or not.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/M2DD2NLBZYOVW4UAVUH3ZLEYPY perplexedplum

    thank you for introducing me to jinwoon’s solo stuff. it’s beautiful and suits his voice incredibly. leaves me wanting to listen to more!

    • http://twitter.com/fah2ma Fatouma

      You’re welcome :D!

  • piggy68gal

    Thank you for mentioning Jinwoon here! (: I feel that he is often forgotten among international kpop fans. Sure, 2AM is respected and all, but sometimes I feel that they are overlooked as compared to all the dancing pop groups around. Jinwoon is a talented guy but within 2AM he doesn’t enjoy as much recognition as his other members too. I think that Jinwoon’s solo endeavours are a step in the right direction and I really loved his solo tracks. Can’t wait for more of his songs to be released :D

    • rocketeer712

      he’s working on some new songs now, so the wait wont be long.

      • piggy68gal

        Really? OMG YAY :D

  • http://twitter.com/ericyumyum I’m with Beyonce

    I feel like YG gives their artists more creativity. I remember in an interview, 2NE1 stated they choose their own outfits and stuff..

  • crv2

    Heartbreaker is such a great album, difference between Heartbreaker and Butterfly makes me respect GD more.
    I will gladly anticipate Taeyeon’s solo (not OST) too.

  • http://www.michelle-chin.com/ Michelle Chin

    I really hope that entertainment companies can compromise with idols to produce their own music. Granted that it may be a risky investment but if it appeal to us fans and the idols, why not? It may not be necessarily be a bad thing because if it keeps the idols and fans happy, then the entertainment company will benefit in the long run for sure. 

    Because I cannot tolerate the fact that idols are clueless about the songs that they are singing. For example, f(x) and EXO seem to struggle to explain the meaning of the songs… I mean, it is like going for a job interview for a company and not knowing your job. How awkward can that be!

    Personally, I feel that entertainment companies should be more aware that the entertainment industry is not merely a business but a business that has creativity as part of its function…Unfortunately, most are just blinded by the dollar sign.

  • http://www.facebook.com/asha.bradford Asha Bradford

    I wish this article wouldn’t assume that everyone cares if singers sing music they’ve written themselves. I’ve really never cared about that in relation to western acts, and I care even less when it comes to k-pop. Seeing as I don’t understand Korean, I don’t care if the idols have a connection to the lyrics, because I don’t. I’m not disparaging pop music, but it is pop. I wouldn’t expect anything truly deep or touching from it since I’ve never once in my life been touched by pop lyrics (even when I could understand them). I enjoy pop for the general sound, and as long as that sound is good I could care less who created it.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/2MYVCMGXUOHXNRTOBNWWBG4SXI Alice

    don’t agree at all about miryo’s self produced songs being lackluster. revenger is song of the year for me so far, and, aside from dirty, all the songs are easily on par with narsha and ga-in’s albums. but that’s just my opinion. i know that a lot of people didn’t love it.

    what’s more interesting is that all of brown eyed girl’s group efforts and narsha an ga-in’s solos were released by their label nega network with loen ent (and ga-in’s next solo will be solely under loen). whereas miryo’s is nega network and some company called windmill media, whoever the f they are. so honestly i think the point from the start in making this album was not to be a huge commercial success, or an attempt to superficially expand her fanbase, but rather a genuine attempt to make some great music and…… reward the currents fans and maybe draw in some people who want a bit more depth of sound. and yes i know that there would be more factors than that, and it’s kinda naive to think that way in relation to any music industry, but i really do think that the album sold about as well as they expected it to.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/2MYVCMGXUOHXNRTOBNWWBG4SXI Alice

    don’t agree at all about miryo’s self produced songs being lackluster. revenger is song of the year for me so far, and, aside from dirty, all the songs are easily on par with narsha and ga-in’s albums. but that’s just my opinion. i know that a lot of people didn’t love it.

    what’s more interesting is that all of brown eyed girl’s group efforts and narsha an ga-in’s solos were released by their label nega network with loen ent (and ga-in’s next solo will be solely under loen). whereas miryo’s is nega network and some company called windmill media, whoever the f they are. so honestly i think the point from the start in making this album was not to be a huge commercial success, or an attempt to superficially expand her fanbase, but rather a genuine attempt to make some great music and…… reward the currents fans and maybe draw in some people who want a bit more depth of sound. and yes i know that there would be more factors than that, and it’s kinda naive to think that way in relation to any music industry, but i really do think that the album sold about as well as they expected it to.

  • Ariel2003

    Most idol groups have a limited shelf life and for those who wants to remain in the industry as a solo artist then trying out their own music and trying to define who they want to be as musical artists would be a big advantage later on in the game. Kudos to those companies who lets their charges try their hand in producing their own music and giving them all out support. I never really notice Jin Woon before all I know is that 4am rocks the harmonies. Dream High 2 was where I really noticed him, his song You Walking Towards Me and his cover of Bye Bye Seas’ “Starlight is Falling” were wonderful. Too bad the show sucks because he was really great in his role, like this is who I really am a ROCKER.

  • Aaron Batker Pritzker

    Why is music “all about trial and error, and making improvements?” A long time ago, architecture was done by trial and error, but modern science and engineering methods have led to buildings being designed by specializsd architects, with sound scientific principles guiding their designs. Construction itself is done by someone else entirely – someone who could build any type of building if given the right plans. Moving away from a trial-and-error model hasn’t made all buildings look the same; it just means fewer fall down.

    Given the history of trial and error in architecture, along with most other creative fields including classical music (in fact music theory is a whole field dedicated to enabling the sound design of music), why is other music seen as inauthentic if it isn’t created by trial and error? Why is music more respectable – or even more enjoyable – if it’s written by a young and inexperienced idol than if it’s written by a professional composer?

    • http://twitter.com/fah2ma Fatouma

      Making music, like any art, is a craft, and like any craft, you have to practise, i.e. make mistakes and learn from them in order to improve and hone your craft. In that sense, making music is all about trial and error. If an idol is interested in making music and composition, they will need opportunity and time to practise and learn new ways to develop their own music and sound. To go from being unexperienced to being experienced.

      I didn’t intend for this article to sound like it’s about the quality of composition of idols versus the like of an experienced composer, I intended for it to be about idols showing a genuine, more authentic side to themselves through their self-produced music. It doesn’t make their music superior, it just makes it a lot more interesting and creates a sense of common ground with an idol.

  • http://twitter.com/jwalker_aleksie Rhys Aleksie

    I was hoping you’d mention Jay Park in this article. He used to be part of an idol group “manufactured” to portray the beastly idol image but now he’s working on his own songs – produces them with his friends, composes his own lyrics, choreographs some of his dances. Despite the ugly process of his transformation from being an idol member to a solo artist, he’s definitely one of those personalities who have shown a different side of himself after having complete creative control of his music.

    • http://twitter.com/fah2ma Fatouma

       I really wanted to focus on idols who had solo ventures but who are still part of their groups/don’t have a lot of opportunities to showcase their talents, hence why I also left JYJ (specifically Junsu) off this list. as well.

  • Stephanie Wang

    I like this article, because it’s definitely something I’ve noticed.

    At the same time, have you considered that some idols aren’t here for “artistry?” Okay, sure there are some passionate singers our there (Infinite’s Sunggyu/Woohyun, CN Blue’s Jonghyun… actually I can’t think of many). They obviously love music. I actually see them more as “singers” than “idols.” But honestly. I’d say a majority of idols, esp the newer ones, care more about popularity.

    Sounds terrible. But it’s kinda true.

  • ian

    I guess what I like about Big Bang is that they each have a strong liking for their craft. And they each have a distinct style of music that totally fits their personality and interests. YG handles his artists well in the sense that he lets them explore these styles and guides them. They won’t be able to really express who they are if they were in a different company whose priorities lies elsewhere other than music. Without full schedules that require them appearing in every variety show, they have the time to actually produce their own songs and choreograph their own dances.

    Say, look at Seungri. For years, he’s been considered as the weakest link in Big Bang, the one who is on a lesser level than his hyungs. But if we actually think about it and he was put in a different KPop group under a different company, he would have been one of, if not the most, favorite member because of his vocals and dancing as well as his humor and acting. But since he’s in Big Bang, he gets shuffled behind GD, TOP and Taeyang, even Daesung. 

    However, if he wasn’t in YG, he wouldn’t have been able to come out with his mini album VVIP, wherein he composed and wrote 6/7 of the songs (together with other 3 YG producers) and choreographed the dance for his two title tracks, VVIP and What Can I Do. Because of the environment he is in, he learned the ropes and was able to actually develop a deeper understanding of the music he likes rather than just being handed a material and going with what the company wants from him.

    Which is why I am excited to hear what Daesung will come up with for his official solo endeavor. With GD and his blender of genres, TOP with hiphop/rock (mainly, but he also does house), Taeyang with RnB and Seungri Pop/RnB, I wonder what he’ll bring to the table.


    As for Infinite, I hope that when the right time comes and Woollim decides that Infinite is already ready for solo or unit promotions, they’ll get to do the genre that they also like. As of now, only 4 members have shown solid interests in their chosen genre of music.

    We all know Sunggyu and his rock-metal roots. He said he wants to pursue that genre if given the chance to go solo in the future.

    Woohyun’s dabbling in composing his own songs right now and is interested in rock-pop.

    We all know Hoya’s interest (slashobsession) with RnB and hip hop. He and Dongwoo has already participated as lyricists in some of their songs but it’s still nothing big. He also said he wants to pursue this genre when given a chance to go solo or do a unit promo.

    Last one is Myungsoo with his great interest for acoustic music. He’s said that he wants to pursue and put out acoustic songs when given the chance. He listens t a lot of acoustic bands and practices his guitar playing a lot.

    The other 3, while they have also expressed the type of music that they like and are interested in, haven’t really shown enough/strong initiative to move towards that style. Dongwoo right now, while he looks like he enjoys hip hop with Hoya, is yet to establish a footing in the type of music he wants to do. He said he’s into house music so maybe that?

    But yeah, they’re still young. Maybe a few more years, 1 or 2 and we’ll know.

  • http://1nspirit96.tumblr.com/ Mrs_KimSungGyu

    My biggest complaint would be that most idols seem to not care about the music they are made to perform. Even if they didn’t write the songs, they should at least try to form some kind of connection to them. 

    Infinite for example don’t take part in the compositions of their songs, but they at least work alongside the producers to get the optimum outcome. Dongwoo, for example, was working alongside the producers for their album Over The Top one day when they noted that there was an empty part in ‘Tic Toc’ which was originally going to be left alone, but after much discussion the two decided it would be best to add a rap and that’s how Dongwoo’s infamous “Charming Eyes” rap was created. And I quote: 

    “Honestly, I wanted to attempt something different from what we’ve always done before. I would ask this or that while sitting close to a composer and I would learn things that I never even knew before. I think that the groove and flow in my rap changed a little; I was able to convey deeper emotions. I was proud that as much effort I put into composing, the results reflected that and although it was difficult learning this and that while spending sleepless nights, it was fun. I had the goal of ‘attempt and change’ for this album. I tried changing the rap in a unique form through various attempts and tests. In our track ‘Tic Toc,’ we even tried putting synthesizers and were able to put out a lot of style into it. To be honest, that part wasn’t supposed to be a rap part but while talking with the composers, we put a rap in the empty part.”

    If you read some of their past interviews, you’d see that the group is very much in tune with the producers and Hoya and Dongwoo sometimes even take part in writing their own parts.

    Hopefully in time the group will be allowed more creative freedom, but if anything, there is already indication enough that that’s the direction the members want to take. Woohyun, as another example, is already writing his first piece and previously half of the group has expressed a strong desire for pursuing certain musical genres.

    So what I’m getting at is that we can’t be sure how much the idols are involved in the production of the songs they promote. If I hadn’t read those interviews, from the album track list alone I would have never known that the members actually contributed something.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/ESDPQZE4SLVP5N6WTSJ6PAGEUU Malone