Following a ten-month long hiatus, BgA, otherwise known as Boys Generally Asian, have finally graced us with their new release, “Who’s It Gonna Be.” After a stunning debut that generated all the monster rookie hype last year, BgA at long last makes their much anticipated comeback. But does it live up to the masterpiece that was their debut? Yes and no.
It’s no secret that I was a big fan of BgA right from the start and thought that their debut singlehandedly raised the bar for all rookies. That’s why I can’t help but feel slightly disappointed in their sophomore effort due to the extremely high standard this group set with their debut single, “Dong Saya Dae.” It may be a matter of personal taste but I really grabbed on to the angst and became lost in the dark makeup, the tense gazes, and the glorious over-the-top autotune of their first release.
With the glory of their debut permanently embedded in my mind, “Who’s It Gonna Be” came as a bit of a surprise. While there are some glimpses of the hard-boiled, emotionally burdened boys I initially fell in love with, the tone felt drastically different. I wouldn’t call it a complete 180, however, as certain elements remained. Their humor and ability to poke fun at themselves and at the industry remains at the core of the group. Aside from their breathtaking synchronization, avant garde sound, and my bias Jun’s dopey personality, it’s their adherence to a meta concept which truly defines this group.
Whereas “Dong Saya Dae” largely picked apart the fine details in K-pop’s marketing and production, “Who’s It Gonna Be” ups the ante by focusing its commentary predominantly on fan culture and group dynamics. And did they get it right? Boy, did they ever.
1. Fandom Name
The ten-minute MV starts with an overly dramatic scene of an unknown figure seeing a manager, foreshadowing the possibility of a BgA member leaving the group and going solo. It then cuts to our five members meeting about, of all things, a new fandom name. What’s wrong with their original fandom name, BgA Army, you say? Well, apparently it sounds too similar to the fandom name of some nobody group that nobody knows that calls themselves Behind The Scenes (BTS) or something.
But is Kpoopers really the best name for a fandom? Absolutely. Taking a page out of the AOA playbook, BgA’s fandom name draws a direct connection to their debut song. With the many concept changes K-pop groups undergo throughout their career, it’s touching when groups pay tribute to their humble roots, and having a fandom name that references their debut is just another way of rewarding and connecting with fans who were there since the very beginning, like myself.
Plus, Kpoopers totally speaks to me because I enjoy watching them while I’m on the toilet!
2. Fandom Color
The boys move on to deciding a fandom color and it turns out that the colors they chose are actually loaded with meaning. As David points out, silver represents second and gold represents first. By going with both colors, BgA has effectively declared that they are second to none. The silver indicates that they started from somewhere not at the top and literally came out of nowhere in a meteoric climb to the top. The gold symbolizes where they are now, perched atop the highest tier, literally the gold standard of K-pop groups. Gold and silver are also precious metals, just like how the BgA members are precious commodities to their fans.
3. Line Distribution
I’m really glad the BgA members addressed the issue of line distribution for this comeback, especially how unfair it was that Ryan got literally all the lines in their debut. In a world where K-pop fans have quantified line distribution down to the millisecond, how refreshing is it that a K-pop group is so openly transparent about their line distribution? This shows that BgA is the only K-pop group that actually cares about what the fans want. They took the time to read our comments and have addressed our concerns accordingly. As a result, the parts are divvied up much more equally in “Who’s It Gonna Be” and the numbers don’t lie.
4. Bias Wrecking
Like everyone else, I chose Ryan as my initial bias due to his sensitive bad boy image and immense amount of screen time but, as time went by, I gradually started to stray towards Jun. There’s nothing outwardly remarkable about Jun other than the fact that he’s shy, indecisive, and plays the violin really well. Nonetheless, I’m happy that the rest of the fandom has finally caught on. It’s no surprise that Jun has bias wrecked everybody and has become the new face of the group.
That’s all fine with me, of course. There’s more than enough Jun to go around. I totally don’t care whatsoever. No, that’s not true. I liked him first. He’s all mine. Stay back you latecomers!
5. The Hyuna/Suzy Effect
As with any group, there’s always one member who stands out above the rest and eventually leaves the group to go solo. While the song references Justin Timberlake, Beyonce, Zayn Malik, and Gwen Stefani, I find it remiss it didn’t mention any K-pop examples. Hyuna is probably the first to come to mind, continuing her solo career after 4Minute’s disbandment and even having a hand in molding CLC into the new 4Minute.
However, I feel that the MV storyline of Jun is more closely modeled after that of Suzy. Suzy’s role in the film Architecture 101 shot her to fame when Miss A only had three promotion cycles under their belt. While she didn’t necessarily go solo right away, the disparity in fame between her and the other members became highly apparent. Like Jun, I don’t think she ever intended on getting so popular or becoming a soloist. She likely joined Miss A to open doors for her acting career. In fact, Suzy didn’t debut as a solo artist until earlier this year.
And of course the list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Lauryn Hill. Formerly of the Fugees, her one and only solo album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, won a Grammy.
6. The Music
I admit I was resistant at first but “Who’s It Gonna Be” is starting to grow on me. I had the same reaction when I listened to “Dong Saya Dae” but what initially started as a harmless earworm has turned into an unyielding virus that has attacked all of my body’s essential organs, disabling it from functioning properly whenever the song is played. I’m almost at the point where I’m starting to believe that their comeback is going to be better than their debut.
While the undying autotune, which I absolutely loved about the group’s debut, has been mostly phased out, I can’t help but fall in love with the smooth vocals and the catchy chorus of “Who’s It Gonna Be.” To top it all off, we get another heartfelt solo from David which is even more gut-wrenching and tear-inducing than before because this time his tender voice and soft piano are paired with Jun’s hypnotic violin. The emotional impact of this moment is magnified tenfold by the MV’s plot where the members are pining over the loss of Jun while his melodic violin plays alongside David’s longing vocals.
By comparison, this moment rivals the emotional intensity of Ryan Gosling’s rendition of “City of Stars” in the climactic scene from this year’s Best Picture, but not really, La La Land.
7. Reaction Shots
Let’s not forget the roughly seven minutes of K-drama we got on top of this three minute song, with the best moment being the shots of each member’s facial reaction — especially the priceless expressions of Ryan and Philip — in the scene where Jun tears up the contract. I live for that scene and all of its angst! All that I was missing and desperately craving from this comeback was suddenly fulfilled, and now I even know why they look so angsty. Not that I really cared to know. After all, angsty boys will be angsty boys, right?
8. Contract Disputes
Ok, this is something they actually did portray very accurately. Real life contract disputes are long and ugly. They range from the downright brutal to the outright petty. Having Jun rip up the contract does nothing to solve the problem. He’ll have to delete the one in his email too!
But perhaps I’m missing the point. Destroying a contract can mean more than just forgoing one’s contractual obligations. It can symbolize how the bond between the members goes well beyond what’s stated on paper. It shows that the relationships we’re seeing on screen aren’t just concocted by a business to manipulate fans into liking the group. It shows that the bond between the BgA members are authentic and no contract can ever tell me otherwise, regardless of how little those contracts provide them in terms of monetary compensation.
Yes, they went there. It’s so obvious that they’re trying to setup Jun and Justin as OTP but they had to throw in a wrench by inserting David into the picture. It’s so adorable to watch Justin constantly mess with Jun. The mocking, the verbal abuse, and even the borderline bullying is something I can indulge in all day, as I conjure elaborate stories in my mind on what I’m not seeing on screen. But of course they had to throw in the scene of Justin passionately dry humping David on the piano and now I don’t even know what to think anymore. Justin is definitely the feisty one but, despite his slight infidelity, I know that his heart truly belongs to Jun. I know this because of that one part with the…
Having a poop emoji on top of a lightstick is literally like having icing on top of the cake. Anyone who is a proud Kpooper will go out and buy one immediately. Support your K-pop overlords. Support your oppas. Support BgA. Download the song on iTunes too!
Don’t kill me just because I gave it a: 4.5/5