What’s a good K-pop discussion on here without a healthy dose of perspective? The comments sections of this site are precisely there for all of you to (respectfully) debate it out with each other on different aspects of K-pop. As long we all refrain from mindlessly lobbing Angry K-pop-Insult Birds™ at each other (Red = Anti bird, Blue = Bias bird, Yellow = Delusional bird, Black = Boom bird, Green = Troll bird) and are willing to give different perspectives a chance, we actually (readers and authors alike) can use these debates to our advantage as a learning experience to further develop our understanding of K-pop as a whole.

Here are our favorite comments from five article topics this week that contained particularly astute differences in opinion:

xxxtine disagreed with Gio on The Omnipotence of Orange Caramel:

Most people seriously miss the point of Orange Caramel – which for the most part is to NOT take them seriously at all.  I think they (Korean critics) referred to their style as a kind of old-style trot that was supposed to be fun and whimsical – something I would imagine Westerners would completely miss.

I think in a radio interview they asked them what they were trying to go for and Raina said that Lizzy and Nana were wanting to be the next Silver Bell Sisters (old trot duo).

Pinkmonkey92 disagreed with Patricia on Blood, Bullets, and Tears: MBLAQ’s “It’s War” MV:

I thought that this, as a MV with some semblance of a drama storyline, was done WAY better than DBSK‘s Before You Go. Both songs were good, but I think MBLAQ‘s did it for me because of its intense cinematography, and it was less pretentious than BYG, and I liked that it wasn’t all gray tones throughout like BYG was. Another thing that I really appreciate was that It’s War remembered that it was a MV and not a TV series, and kept the video at an acceptable length. BYG (and Cry Cry) was overkill, I’m not going to sit around for ten minutes watching a MV for poorly acted drama when I can simply turn on my TV to AMC or TNT for drama. There’s only so much that I can take of poor acting by people who really weren’t meant to be actors in the first place before I go jump off a cliff.

The only thing I wish was different about this video (and it seems that I’m not the only one) is that I wanted more of the choreography to be shown. The dance just looks amazing; the parts that I could see just really impressed me when combined with the song (which I love). I never really paid attention to MBLAQ before, but they caught my heart with Cry, and they’re reeling it in with It’s War. :) Best of luck to them in 2012! I really hope that they (and UKiss) win the awards and recognition that they deserve!

Music=Love disagreed with enraged K-pop fans on Reactions to “Kids React: K-pop Edition”:

I find it very hypocritical for some k-pop fans to bash these KIDS for disliking k-pop when I have seen way harsher comments on American music from k-pop fans. I can’t tell you how many times people have described the American music scene as a bunch of sluts and thugs just singing about money, sex, and drugs and it’s not fair when they haven’t seen all of what American music as to offer. I’m just saying that he who has not ever criticized anyone else shall cast the first stone.

taohuakai disagreed with Patricia on Counterpoint: “Kids React” and Cultural Ignorance in America:

I don’t usually comment here but feel the need to after all of this insanity over the kids react video.

I’m a 4th grade teacher but I work at a K-8 school, so the kids I see each day are all about the same age range as those in the video.  After seeing all of the negative comments that were made, I’m going to assume that 1) 90% of the people who are upset are teenagers themselves, and 2) the other 10% must have never had any interaction with children.

Kids say what they think.  When something is new and strange, they’ll say that.  When they see 10 people of the same race, dressed them same, doing a synchronized dance, they’re going to comment that “they’re all the same!”  They are going to alert you to the obvious (“they’re not speaking English, they look like Lady Gaga!”, etc etc etc).  This isn’t ignorant and malicious behavior this is child development 101.

The school I teach at is 80% Hispanic, 20% black, with one Asian person in the whole building (me!).  For children, everything is a learning experience.  We’re celebrating Chinese New Year next week, and my entire class is PUMPED.  Oh course, when I told them we were celebrating Chinese New Year they were making ridiculous comments (“I want Kung Pao chicken!  Ching ching chong!”), but if I got offended and went a cried in a corner about how people were discriminating against me and the ignorance of Americans and whatever other BS that would be ridiculous.  Two weeks later I now have a class of 30 nine year-olds who can write and say 恭喜发财 and probably know more about East Asian culture than 99% of Americans.  They’re kids guys, they’ll love anything if you present it right.

On a side rant, having lived in both China and Korea I will guarantee you that both kids and adults over there say and do WAY more racially/culturally insensitive things than any of the stuff that was said in the video.

But anyway, getting off my soapbox.  Buttsore youtube commenters… children themselves?  Probably.

ilovessantokki disagreed with Ree on The DJ Is Underwhelming:

I was pleasantly surprised, actually. Considering their target audience, I think it’s pretty good. It’s definitely stuck in my head and it’s better than most other English songs other kpop acts have put out.

I do agree that they were outperformed by the School Gyrls but I think that’s simply because the School Gyrls did Sohee and Lim‘s verses and, obviously, they’re not that great vocally – especially Sohee. Yenny, Sunye, and Yubin were very good in it, though I think the second part of Yubin’s rap is a little awkward.

The video does seem a bit low-budget, but I don’t think it’s horrible either. I’ve seen worse on Nick.

I’m really impressed at how much personality the Wonder Girls were able to put into this video and song. Their English is almost spot on (save for Sohee and the ‘arr night’), but with Sohee it isn’t so much the pronounciation but the flow of how she sings it. It’s obvious she just memorized the sounds with syllables and things like that. It doesn’t sound natural.

I think if other Kpop girl groups tried to pull off a video like this, they wouldn’t be able to. I think the girls’ years in the U.S. weren’t fruitless. They’re able to imbue their performances with more charisma and personality than most other groups. I mean, that’s what performers are SUPPOSE to do, but most kpop acts lack that.

If any of the kpop acts aiming for US debuts, namely SNSD, 2NE1, and Wonder Girls, were to hit it big first, I’d be happy if it were the Wonder Girls since they’ve been going at it for so long.

So, good luck to them. I wasn’t underwhelmed at all, but maybe that’s because my expectations weren’t all that high in the first place.

Jenny disagreed with Subi on Losing the Star Effect:

Yes, it’s true variety shows bring you to a heightened level of intimacy with idols that can remove some screens from your eyes and make you see more facets of their personality… but that isn’t necessarily detrimental to the business, as you suggested. Variety shows are one of the key differences between the western (pop) music industry and the kpop industry. They are a major part of what makes idols in kpop “idols” and not just “artists” or “musicians.” In kpop idols are selling more than the music of their group, they are selling their personalities and images. What you buy into isn’t necessarily just the quality of music (do I even need to make a sarcastic comment in parentheses here?) but rather the idols as people you want to support. Their career is as entertainers, not simply musicians.

The aloofness and glitz and glamor of MVs and the luxury life idols appear to lead creates the same distance between celebrity and fan that exists in American pop. I wouldn’t feel confident suggesting anything about my favorite western celebrity’s personalities, because interviews in America hardly ever give you the same insight (or perception of insight) into a celebrity’s character as variety shows can (and I’m talking about beyond what’s scripted, but the subtleties and nuances you can pick up as a dedicated watcher). When you bridge the gap with variety shows that showcase idols as human beings, it becomes even easier to feel your heart swell with affection and sympathy and delight with their actions. And once the heart is sold, you are a goner. That is what inspires the level of fanaticism some kpop fans can achieve. Looks aren’t enough to power that, it is the sense that your idol is a good and worthy person who works hard and deserves love. Yes, you might lose the star-struck sensation, but isn’t that sort of the point? To make the idols feel like they are people personally close to you? Admittedly no longer being able to buy into the concept probably isn’t intentional and might just be a personal reaction (even after extensive perusal of all variety shows involving my favorite idols I am still easily sold on their sexy BAMF concepts), but the level of intimacy is. To use your analogy, I am more inclined to spend money to ensure my kid brother’s happiness than Enrique Inglesias‘, even if he does have washboard abs.

… and that wraps it up for this week’s Comments of the Week!