There has been a lot going this K-Pop year; we got comebacks galore, tweets about cats, and GD getting “High High”. This year the Korean entertainment industry
vomited out blessed us with 23 male groups and 35 female groups. As all of you might have hypothesized using scientific analysis, I have the task of picking out the best and worst of the debuts.
Our readers at Seoulbeats crowned jail-baiting-noona-killers Boyfriend as the best debut this year with 22% with sexy Rania coming in second with 18%, even the country-dolls B1A4 managed to snag 3rd place with an impressive 17%. Since the opinions of our readers have been voiced, it is only fair to bestow you with my thought provoking opinions on the best and worst of 2011.
I know that all the rookie groups worked hard but if you cannot handle criticism of your favorite bands (Taken, N-Sonic, A-Peace, Stellar, and New F.O.) the back button is on the upper left hand corner, with an arrow pointing to the left. Feel free to click on it.
Worst Female Debuts
The first on this list is Taken. This six member boy band debuted with “Young Boy” and have been “taking” the hearts of adolescent girls. Now why were they bad? For one, their song was annoying. The whole song was auto-tuned. No, I do not mind the use of auto-tune but you should treat it like candy. It should be eaten in moderation because if you eat too much you will get a stomach-ache or in this case a headache. I can listen to a couple seconds of auto-tuned voices but when its over 3 minutes long? Forget it. Their music video was unimaginative and generic. You had your six attractive guys with guy-liner, dancing in a grimy, grey alleyway with black and grey clothing with unnecessary face-touching. The live performances were in-cohesive and, quite honestly, all over the place. “Hold Up” was the same auto-tuned mess Young boy was and “Only One” was only marginally better.
The second would be N-Sonic who debuted with “Super Boy”. They too like Taken did not have anything new to offer to the table other than a pretty face and abs, but I’ll get to that later. Their song did not really stand out to me. It’s another dance video–at least it is not in a box–and reminded me of 2pm’s “Without You”, complete with the rain and industrial set. There have been 23 boy groups to debut this year, you have got to step up your game. Take a couple of risks and taking of your shirts two minutes into the video is not how you do it. I see what you tried to do there, don’t try to distract me from the song by showing me your abs even if Park Jonguk is a pretty little ginger.
The third worst debut this year would be A-Peace with “Lover Boy.” This group debuted with 21 members, and it is composed of three teams of seven. The large size of the group was not what what bothered me. AKB48 currently has 59 members so this 21 member group isn’t some revolutionary concept. What bothers me is that it is so homogeneous. It is so hard to distinguish anyone, they are all wearing the same outfit. The dance sketch version of Lover Boy was visually jarring because they’re wearing white…against a white background. Really? White on white? And the fact that 20 of the boys look the same from hairstyle down to the clothes, it’s kind of boring. The song itself had nothing new to offer and the vocals are not that great. A lot of the boy bands this year have decent vocals, you need an extra pizzaz which this group did not have.
If you managed to get through all my criticisms I’m giving you an imaginary brownie, cherish the fictitious chocolatey goodness. As critical as I may be, there were some groups that managed to sneak its way into the empty and bleak space doctors refer to as my heart.
Best Female Debuts
Best Male Debuts
The best debut so far has been Phantom. I first encountered this hip-hop trio with their rendition of SNSD “The Boys” complete with a Freddie Mercury doppleganger. They released “Young people Should Not Hear a Love Song(19Song)” showcasing the groups vocals and their rebellious manner, the song is a giant “Screw You” to MOGEF. They are the best male artist this year by far, their songs are good, their singing is good, their rapping is good, and they are just straight up awesome.
The KR/NZ/JP Tripartite Conference was a good rap song, and I loved how Hanhae was in a shopping cart for half the song. I wouldn’t mind being pushed around in a shopping cart by Sanchez, who has also been creeping up my bias list and secured a spot at number 2. Oh you attractive talented man. I suggest looking at their tags, it’s hilarious. “Hole In Your Face” is also a great music video and it messes with your mind a la Inception and well taken. Though they are older than your average noona-baiting rookie group, their talent and swag is something you cannot ignore.
The second is AA. There is something about this group that catches your attention. They are a boy group, they dance, and they sing. But their title track “So Crazy” is a good, catchy song with great vocals. The rapping was not phenomenal but it was not bad either. The dancing was…unique, barring the plethora of body rolls, it is rather effeminate but eye-catching dance. Woosang, the leader, is known for being the choreography director for groups like Super Junior and CSJH The Grace. He and Aoora are the main dancers of the group and they are good. Hoik looks a lot like
my soulmate Hyun Bin and has a lovely voice. The visual maknae, Kimchi, is absolutely precious; all I want to do is pinch his cheeks and feed him kimchi all day. But if their fan club is called Battery, I will dropkick a kitten.
The third best this year would be Block B with their debut “Freeze.” I have thoroughly enjoyed all their songs; Freeze is my current jam and I have been gracing my family with impromptu performances of Wanna B in the kitchen. The group has a balance of good rappers and good vocalists which is hard to find in the K-Pop scene. They have been mentored by talented rap artists like Verbal Jint and Skull, in fact Cho PD produced the boy band. Their roots are in hip hop and the members look comfortable doing that genre and are good at it too. They have good performances and their songs are fun to listen to. It’s a group to look out for in the future.
Did you agree or disagree? Which groups do you think were the best and worst of 2011?
(OnlyOneTaken, LOENENT, Golden Goose Entertainment,brandnewmusickorea, aaboyband)