From Lady Gaga and Beyonce to Koda Kumi and Tohoshinki, musical collaborations happen all the time, between all sorts of artists, both in house and out of house. While they may not be the most hip and happening thing to do in Korean Entertainment, they are pretty commonplace elsewhere and have yielded some great songs. And even when K-Entertainment has tried its hand at collaborations, it too, has yielded some great results. Super Girl by Super Junior-M, Lollipop by Big Bang & 2NE1, Troublemaker by JS Hyunseung & Hyuna—these are all phenomenal songs that have left quite the mark and impact on K-Pop.
Troublemaker, the latest song to hit the brief but bomb list of collaborations in K-Pop, has been rocking everyone’ s socks. Hyunseung & Hyuna may be as awkward as married half siblings, they have the right idea. The song, the sex appeal, the overall concept—they’ve combined the charms of both idols to create a boss song.
K-Pop is known for being a self-efficient machine. K-Entertainment companies obtain talent, produce material, and distribute products and so on and so forth. The idea that a company is sufficient within itself at all facets of pre-production, production, and post-production, trickles down into the groups themselves. The manner in which groups are constructed, in the number of idols and what idols are placed alongside other idols, is so that the there are built in balances and oppositions of entertaining value. Think of Junsu‘s voice and Yoochun‘s voice in Dong Bang Shin Ki; think of Sulli‘s image and Amber‘s image in f(x). The roster of these groups are created so that the mix and match that you would get in a collaboration, is already there and provided for.
But companies often collect the same kind of talent, produce the same kind of material, and market everything and everyone the same way. And so, can we really assess the power of an idol in balance and/or opposition within an idol group ? In a group, that has one overarching concept, under one company–probably not. Companies should begin allowing their idols, both in house and (Dare I say it?) out of house, to collaborate with each other in order to show us what different mixes and matches idols can do and what, by doing so, different shapes and forms these idols can adopt.
And so, here are some the greatest collaborations in K-Pop that we will (probably) never see:
1. G-Dragon & SNSD:
“Cause I’m Gee, Gee, Gee, Gee baby, baby / GD, GD baby, baby” After a lyric like that, I’m sure a GD & SNSD collaboration has been on everyone’s mind. G-Dragon is the mad hatter of Korea. He samples music of all different flavors and brings them together into one track to create a sublimation of different musical genres with a signature funky edge. The girls of So Nyeo Shi Dae on the other hand, are the princesses of Korea. They sing bright, pop dance songs with a beautiful, elegant concept and image, providing a role model for all the growing girls of the ROK. Imagine the Princesses of Korea with the crazy G-Dragon. G-Dragon would give those girls a boss song with some wild and crazy energy, a powerful rap, and REAL bad ass, sex appeal; SNSD would polish GD up and rein him in, giving his eccentric compositions some class & composure, and provide him with some angelically dainty vocals. YG & SM, make it happen. If Snoop Dogg can have a go, G-Dragon should be able to as well. Both he and the rest of us have been waiting since 2009.
2. Epik High & Brown Eyed Girls
Since their debuts, both groups have succeeded in making indie music mainstream cool and it’s about time these two groups got together and made music that could be even cooler. Both groups are pretty diligent about creating musical hybrids, but they both stick to their guns for the most part. Epik High is all about alternative and hip hop; Brown Eyed Girls, soul and R&B. Why not have alternative and soulful, hip hop, R&B? Just thinking about it is making my ears bleed candy. I can just see Miryo and Mithra rapping against each other, while Jea‘s voice curls around Tablo‘s, with Narsha and Ga In grooving out alongside DJ Tukutz while he spins some cool beats. The best thing: Not only would it be entertaining, it would be very thoughtful and emotional as well. While both of these groups are good at making progressive music, they’re also good at making progressive statements as well. In order to combine and thus augment what they already do well by themselves, I say these cool cats get together and start making some music babies.
3. SHINee & Lee Hyori:
“Noona neomu yeppeo…” Yeah, yeah. I get it. We ALL get it. SHINee has been chasing Noonas for quite awhile now. Since their debut days, they have sported a boyish charm that older woman maybe might never in real life affectionately consider. But it’s about times you guys dropped a pair and started acting your age because women, including noonas, are not into little boys. They’re into men. And who better to see you through this walkabout then the most beautiful noona/unnie in K-Pop but Lee Hyori? She could do your boyish sound and image some good with her more seasoned voice and concept. And in turn, Hyori could come back to the scene (We’ve missed you!) with some of the freshest talent in the business and rejuvenate herself with the talented, fresh and funky boys of SHINee.
4. Amber & MBLAQ
Ever since photoshopped pictures of Amber with long tresses appeared on the internet, everyone has been wondering what a more feminine Amber would be like and if we would ever get the opportunity to witness this in the flesh. While I respect her image, concept, and style, I’d be very interested in seeing this myself and I feel as if tomboy Amber would need some masculine manly men to cajole it out of her. In comes MBLAQ. Now these are boys sweat pure, unfiltered testosterone. But they seem to be too comfortable with this. I think Amber’s image would complicate their ideas about men and women and ultimately throw them for a life changing loop. I can just see it now: the hidden beauty turning the beasts into princes. This could end up being a Coffee Prince Part 2 but hey, that’s not a bad thing now is it?
5. Dong Bang Shin Ki & JYJ
While both of these groups possess impressive vocals, dance, and performance, something seems to be missing. Dong Bang’s lacks a smooth, light vocal quality with genuine thought and emotion while JYJ lacks a deep, sturdy rhythm and dance that needs more polished packaging. If they both have what the other needs, why not get together and create what could be the greatest thing we’ve ever heard? Oh, wait. This actually happened. And they WERE the greatest thing ever. Time for me to go cry in a corner for the upteenth time. #bitterbitterfrankenmurmur
Collaborations are a good way to throw someone else in the mix and force a stasis to get moving. Some groups can go in a different, but intriguing direction, others can power through the current direction, and others can simply help each other get where they were already headed. It could definitely lead to music that is not only entertaining but unique, different, and above all, interesting. This isn’t commonplace or likely but maybe Hyunseung and Hyuna are the beginning of a sexy new trend?
P.S. Honorable mention goes to ZE:A and Rebecca Black. We’ll never forget the days of the week.