Hey there Seoulmates!

It’s been a great week (more or less) for K-Pop, and as usual you guys debated and argued over a variety of topics including Dongwook hosting Strong Heart, the T-ARA crisis plaguing everyone’s minds, SHINee’s shining Sherlock album, why everyone is so overrated, the soulful boys of 2AM, the ever unfortunate variety images of K-Pop artists, GDTOP and Pixie Lott dancing on their own, the happenings at SxSW, SMTOWN’s latest project ‘I Am’, the lack of sisterhood in K-Dramas, SNSD’s need for a ‘Time Machine’, Taemin’s stint on Immortal Song, those instances when fashion goes pop, CN Blue’s side B gems, and SNSD’s best stage outfits ever!

So without further ado, here are five of our favorite comments left by you guys this week!

Fatouma on SB Exchange#12: 2AM is Ballad Time:

2AM haven’t really passed expectations lately. They’ve raised the bar in terms of idols based on singing and they’ve reached it consistently in terms of songs and albums, but releasing solid album after solid album gets humdrum and repetitive. What 2AM needs is some water, some flexibility, to show their versatility as artists. But I don’t think it means straying away from their ballad group formula. I think that is what 2AM is great at, singing ballads but ballads shouldn’t be limited to slow tearjerkers. I think 2AM should insert more flavours of music into their ballads, like rock, R&B, etc. Each member have such a distinct voice that could have push an unconventional type of ballad, Jo Kwon with his sweet voice, Seulong with his deeper tones, Changmin with his charming and unique voice with an amazing range, and Jinwoon somewhere in between. They have the talent to do so. However, when 2AM does try to push the envelope, such as I Did Wrong, despite it being a welcome change, most mainstream fans didn’t really respond to it as well as they did for I Can’t Let You Go Even If Die, which was one of their standby tear-jerking ballads.

I love 2AM, I really do. I’ve downloaded Saint o’ Clock in full, as well as their latest album, Fitzgerald’s Way of Love. Some songs are unconventional, like Mirage and I Love You, I Love You, and a few others that I can’t remember what they are titled in English (sorry),  but these are not their title tracks. I’m pretty sure that 2AM want to push the envelope much more, because nobody wants to pidgeonholed as an artist, especially as a sullen singer. 2AM is a great group, one of my favourites, but they really need to pump some new blood into their music, something fresh, and off-beat. If they do so, they can finally move from my “Sleepy Time” and ‘Sad Mood’ playlist, to my ‘Bad Mood’ and ‘In Need Of Cheering Up’ playlists.

AJ_Gee on Was SNSD’s Time Machine PV a Waste of Time?:

Dana, I know you’re a really huge SNSD fan, and I think that maybe you’re judging this video a bit too harshly. I agree with SM having the same formula in every music video with all their artists being a bit too contrived, having matrix cams and dance scene after dance scene with different backdrops, but honestly, an MV doesn’t have to have a complex 10-20 minute story line that actually, in my opinion, doesn’t really do justice for the song. Look at T-ara and their MV story lines for “Cry Cry” and “Lovey Dovey.” (I don’t hate them at all btw.) The songs themselves are good, but I felt that that MV didn’t do any justice for the song AT ALL. They completely butchered it with story lines that actually had NOTHING to do with the song.

I feel like with the “Time Machine” MV, the girls portrayed the emotions of regretting past mistakes without having to take up too much “time” itself. As fans, we can build our own stories for each of the girls’ scenes ourselves. The sadness and regretfulness can be felt just by the pensive look on their faces, the tears that are shed, the watery eyes. Yoona running in the snow with a wedding dress, for example, you can wonder what happened yourself and build your own storyline of her having to run away from her wedding day because the man she was with originally that left had come back again and is telling her to be with him again. And that the guy she’s marrying now, she’s not completely content with. Or Seohyun looking at a photo with sadness. The guy in the photo was possibly her childhood and close family friend that she wasn’t able to tell her true feelings too before he moved away. The very same guy and his family come back in to her life, but announces that he’s getting married to someone else and leaves Seohyun regretting not being able to tell him how she felt. Just things you can take from the MV as small as answering the phone with hesitance, or Tiffany walking in a park while it snows can be interpreted in several different ways that all relate to wanting a “Time Machine” to go back and undo past mistakes.

I think that’s what the director wanted to convey when he/she shot the video. Especially with the 1st MV Teaser that they release with an old man crying alone in an huge empty room. We’re wondering ourselves what happened and begin to fill that void with answers ourselves. I remember watching the Youtube comments and people we’re making things up like “he regretted being so strict and angry in the way he treated his children, to the point where his children want nothing to do with him being a grandfather to their own children, and now every time he looks at a photo of his kids, he starts to cry and drinks to his sadness.” SNSD pulled these emotions off very simply and subtly. I feel like the cliche “simple is better” fits in comfortably.

Briconic on The T-ara Meltdown: Why Fix What Still Works?:

I agree wholeheartedly with your statement, especially your closing thoughts…this may very well do the group some good in the long run, but as a fan of the seven girls who comprise T-ara right now, I’m not sure that I could feel the same about the group if members were taken out and new members added in their place. If it were simply additions to the existing group, I would begrudgingly accept and would eventually grow to love the new girls; however, I wouldn’t be able to feel anything but resentment towards them if they were to replace any of the original seven. In my heart I would know that it wasn’t really their fault, but I just wouldn’t be able to get past the unfairness of the situation.

Your sentiments seem to echo the uneasiness that the entire fanbase is feeling right now…it’s common knowledge at this point that Kim Kwang-Soo seemingly has no idea what he’s doing when it comes to idols (or any other type of musical act, for that matter). Look at the long list of performers he’s run out of MNet/CCM over the past few years: Lee Hyori, SG Wannabe, Nam Gyuri of SeeYa, Jiae and Jiwon (two of the original members of T-ara)…three out of five on this list were highly successful entertainers/acts who brought great recognition to their parent label, but they ultimately chose to go elsewhere, and it’s quite telling that they have nothing flattering to say about the company that once housed them. KKS is known to be a bully, going so far as to say that idols should be blacklisted if they rebel against their parent company (he was making the statement in response to KARA during their legal troubles with DSP); he was as slanderous as he could possibly be when it was announced that Nam Gyuri was leaving his label, as well. He doesn’t play fair, and he obviously sees no reason to try and change his philosophy when it comes to T-ara.

Thankfully, I have a feeling that member swaps will probably not occur; as idiotic as KKS is, he’s still a businessman, and surely he must know that making profound changes to the group puts him at risk of alienating the existing fanbase. Still, I’m pretty sure that we will be seeing at least one new face in T-ara come April 7th; the effects of this possible addition may be far more wide-reaching than he believes. The whole After School fiasco goes to show that sometimes changing up the group’s dynamics too much only makes it more difficult to connect to the group due to the constant addition of new names to learn and new girls to remember; even the addition of ONE girl to the group can be polarizing as seen with Hwayoung, who to this day still gets flack from the fanbase.

In closing, I am just praying that on April 7th none of the fandom finds themselves saying goodbye to any of their favorites. True, some of the T-ara girls may not be as popular or profitable as others, but part of what makes them T-ara is the dynamic between them; they work well with each other, and each girl brings something to the table, whether it be through their talent or their personality. Regardless of what the outcome is, though, I see T-ara eventually breaking ties with CCM; the only questions to be asked are when, and if they will remain intact if it does happen.

Lydia Lin on The Could Have Should Have But Didn’t:

Oh, don’t get me started on A’st 1. I hate DSP to this day for their poor management. I wasn’t attracted by their promotional songs, but the one song that really drew me to them was the one in the OST of Boys Over Flowers, and I know for a fact that that song is pretty popular.

Too bad DSP didn’t know how to bank on a good song and the popularity of BOF to push A’st 1 into the limelight. This song was my introduction into K-pop and A’st 1 was my first boy band that I got into, so I’ll always have a soft stop for all of them, even though they may not be the most talented out there. To me, all of them had quite good vocals except the Chinese member as he never got more than one line, so he never had the chance to show his talent either. The rapper, In Kyu, had a really good flow. The lead vocalist, Han Byul, was beyond amazing, and most of them had pretty okay vocals too. The [Japanese] guy hit pretty high notes and sang way more than one line. It’s a pity when management doesn’t want to stick with the group that it forms and gives up after a year. It just feels so unfair that they put so much effort into grooming Kara and SS501 and gave up on them. And they even debuted Rainbow while A’st 1 was wasting away.

Obviously, DSP has gone down the drain in terms of management, as SS501 has already left and Kara almost sued them. A’st 1 weren’t the only victims of bad management, but the worst impact was definitely on them, as they weren’t even properly established as artists and didn’t even make much waves before they disbanded. Now, I wish them the best, and hope that they have better management in the future. For now, Han Byul has joined Monday Kiz, and I think Junjin is preparing to debut in Star Empire‘s new boyband. But I’m not too sure of the details as it’s pretty hard to keep track of people who never really had a fanbase. I would love the see the [Japanese] guy as well as the rapper debut again.

Jolly Roger on Why So Overrated?:

The problem is, people think talent, beauty, popularity, etc., is zero-sum, when it simply isn’t. There is no reason or rationale for antis and hating. The claims of being “over-rated” are based on this false belief. Yoona can be gorgeous without taking away from anyone else’s beauty. Thinking Taeyeon is an amazing vocal talent doesn’t mean nobody else is either. Hyeoyeon can be a great dancer, and so can others.Being a fan of one group or artist doesn’t preclude being a fan of others, and seeing someone as awesome doesn’t mean anyone else isn’t as well.

And that’s a wrap for this week, enjoy the rest of your weekend and stay fabulous!