After belatedly discovering Beast just a few weeks ago, I realized something very important about K-pop: sometimes the best music lies where we least expect it. Rookies often have great music in the beginning, but rookie music that is both great and of quality is still hard to come by. One reason for that is rookies don’t always make the splash they were expecting to. In the wake of more popular groups, rookies can easily get drowned out and, consequently, so can their music.
Today, I’m going to take a moment to reflect on a rookie group of 2011 who I think has a promising standing in the future of the K-pop music machine.
B1A4 is one of those typical pop boy quintets that is very easy to miss–they look like every other bunch bubble gum, powdered pretty boys, and they have yet to become infectiously popular or amass hoards of media attention. But they are all actually pretty damn talented singers, and are pretty enjoyable to watch on stage. B1A4 debuted back in April with their first mini-album Let’s Fly, and promoted their songs Ok! and Only Learnt Bad Things, both of which are fairly catchy pieces.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=839DdUWbeLw&version=3&hl=en_US&rel=0]
I’ll be honest; I happened to get addicted to Ok! the very first time I heard it, which was not too long after their debut *pats self on back*. But even though I thought B1A4’s promotional track was fun and download worthy, the group didn’t seem to be getting much press or any winnings from the weekly music shows. Maybe they weren’t as great as they were in my mind; I’ve always been a sucker for pretty-boy pop, simply because groups like Super Junior and DBSK used to do it during my newbie days in K-pop. But I figured, hey, whatever, these B1A4 kids are still new. They’ve got time.
Following the Let’s Fly mini-album came the It’s B1A4 mini-album. I couldn’t tell you why the second mini-album title is so uncreative, but alas, I think the promotional songs Beautiful Target and My Love make up for the crappy name. These two mini-albums are all the music B1A4 has out to date, however I must say they are pretty memorable songs for a rookie group. As Ree covered earlier this week, One Way’s Chance is actually going to be producing B1A4’s 2012 full length album, which is a reassuring sign that these boys will continue to have good music. Let’s hope Chance can give them a killer album that will attract more attention to them as a music group.
B1A4 is currently nominated for the Golden Disk Awards and Seoul Music Awards’ Newcomer Award, and I want to believe they have a fighting chance at winning some of that serious recognition. They were beaten out by A.Pink for the MAMA’s Newcomer Award just a few weeks ago, however, as the Korea-centric awards show begin, hopefully the boys are in for some shiny trophies. While the MAMA’s may think otherwise, I strongly believe B1A4 is one of the strongest rookie groups out there right now.
Psh, A.Pink who?
On a more off-putting note, B1A4 just held a showcase in Japan that yielded about 1000 attendees. In the world of K-pop, 1000 fans in attendance is pretty pathetic, but I think a number that small was to be expected. I have no idea why their company WM Entertainment is already thinking of a Japanese debut in 2012 when these boys have hardly enough exposure in Korea, but hey who knows. A lot of rookies flee to Japan and seek out success when they can’t find enough of it in Korea.
But at the same time, I really like B1A4. I want them to stay put and keep making their Korean music better and better so that they can create a sturdier standing in the K-pop industry. I want to see these boys be successful in Korea, but running away to Japan is obviously going to stagnate that success should B1A4 choose to differentiate.
For now, all I can hope for is that B1A4 shakes things up in 2012. Like I already said, I’m a sucker for stereotypical K-pop boy groups. Image aside though, the members of B1A4 are great vocal talents and constitue a group of great guys that know how to have fun on stage. B1A4 has the potential to be among the greatest in K-pop, but it all depends on how and if they play their cards right. Who B1A4 will be in the future, I’m not sure. But for now, keep you eyes peeled. They’re rookies to look out for.