Alright, I’m going to just come out of the gate and admit it: I have a Wonder Girls bias. I’m not a full-blown “Wonderful” but I have a soft spot for the girls that really grew upon their comeback last year. So I tend be more relenting on issues about them that may bother others, like Sohee’s voice, their retro sound, personalities, etc. However, I will say that I agree with a lot of the points Ree brought up in her article; they are all very valid.
But, where we differ is the amount of concern I have in how this will affect the Wonder Girls in the long run. It’s as if people are expecting a less-than-desirable outcome from the get-go, a bunch of Chicken Littles looking up into the sky, waiting for the inevitable disaster to come. Also, being that this is for their much-anticipated American debut everyone’s critic meter is set to high.
Yes, the girls released an English song on iTunes and have trailers airing for the movie, but they haven’t properly driven their stake into America yet. I have confidence that someone as savvy as JYP knows that when the girls are officially ready to promote, it will be full throttle. Not a second-tier song that is being used primarily to promote a TV movie on a cable network.
At the very least, I’m going to be positive and assume that when the time officially comes, JYP Entertainment will spare no expense in introducing the girls to the U.S. audience properly — American MTV, Jay Leno, Jimmy Fallon, Glee, an official national promotional single – you get the picture.
I agree with Ree, that if this was the sum of what I was expecting, I would be worried. But logic should tell JYP, Wonder Girls and everyone that has worked hard on their debut that relying on a TV movie on a channel that isn’t even in my cable package is not going to cut it. If that is truly their sentiment after about three years in America, I would suggest a career change for everyone involved.
That said, there can be important things learned from the video, or at least cautionary anecdotes to be gleaned from this:
- Don’t rely on Sohee for solos – ‘Be My Baby’ proved that in the right song, Sohee’s voice can be an asset, and ‘Wonder World’ generally did a good job of utilizing it to the fullest. However, I would hesitate to give her too many verses of an English song, at least until she improves. In ‘The DJ is Mine’ Sohee’s voice is auto-tuned to hell and back, and in addition to her weak vocals, her pronunciation can be a bit off, making her difficult to understand. These things can improve, of course, but should be kept in mind, especially when dealing with American competition (School Gyrls).
- I’m not too worried from the music side of things. OSTs for teen movies on any network tend to lack a great deal of substance. I don’t think the song is that bad, but it is certainly not a leading single for a new artist. Yes, it’s the Wonder Girls’ song, but in this case, I think promoting the movie is a bigger priority here.
- More Yoobin! The dubstep is the best part of the song, and of course it gets used for the rap sequence, which in my book automatically makes it the best part of the song. Again, it may be bias talking, but Yoobin always delivers, and she generally has impressive rapping skills. When the Wonder Girls were testing the waters with ‘Nobody’ in the U.S., every televised performance I witnessed had the audience finally wake up for Yoobin’s part of the song. Opinions on pop music in the West are iffy, but rap music does not have nearly the same stigma attached. It’s a good opportunity for the audience gain familiarity with a foreign act.
Perhaps I’m too positive, maybe I should take off the rose-colored glasses, etc., but I am always willing to wait and examine the full scope of something before I make a verdict or declaration of success or failure on anything. I thought it was absurd when the Wonder Girls first came to the U.S. and people were already labeling them “failures.” It was clear to me at least that they were testing out the market and making networking opportunities for themselves for a good chunk of their time here.
Of course, the time for “testing the waters” is over and that is why people are nervous and doubtful. However, change never happens if you predict doom and gloom from the beginning. So I think fans should just enjoy the song and video for what it is – promotional Teen Nick fluff — and be willing to reserve judgement until the so-called big guns are brought out.