It’s time for another Comments of the Week!

This week, you guys discussed topics such as thoughts on SHINee‘s Sherlock MV, redundancy in K-pop, a recap of 4Minute, Ivy and Shinhwa‘s histories up until now, the success of sageuks, Tiffany and Sooyoung in fashion photo spreads, pretty boys of K-pop, an author’s new appreciation for Big Bang, WTF moments in MVs, Infinite‘s classy stage outfits, love for B1A4‘s Sandeul, a change of heart about “The Host,” our thoughts about C.N. Blue‘s new album and MV, the oft-forgotten legacy of CSJH The Grace, final thoughts on Eye Candy, maintaining a hip-hop image in a variety industry, a look under the “Rainbow,” favorite K-pop dances and bromances, songstress Han SoA, a closer look at SM artists becoming company stockholders, and last but not least, our personal million-dollar questions about the K-pop-iverse.

These are five of our favorite comments from articles this week!

FallingSnow on Why Are Sageuks Such Ratings Monsters?:

They are lush and epic. When I watch sageuks, I am transported to another time and another world. The setting is so removed from the 21st modern day that it’s very easy to settle into the story (whereas gaps in logic and storyline is much more glaringly obvious and jarring for a viewer in a modern-day drama). I’d say that in general, sagueks are also more likely to be better made than normal kdramas, which are filled with disappointing duds. When I start a saguek, I’m generally assured that the actors, director and writing will be at least adequate. Personally, though I’ve watched (or attempted to watch) more modern setting kdramas than sagueks, I’ve finished watching far more sageuks. And when I list my favorite Korean dramas, there are more sagueks than their modern setting counterparts.

I think sagueks are such rating monsters domestically simply because of their appeal to a wide demographic. One of the main gripes I have with Korean dramas is their shallow depth. It seems cotton candy rom-coms is the name of the game. That may be fine with the younger generation but it will not appeal to the older adults. Sagueks have not just romance, but politics, intrigue, history, action and more often than not, an ideological/moral conflict.

nonod on Pretty Boys Take Center Stage:

I don’t think the “pretty boy” thing is about catching attention as much is about appealing to the beauty standards in Asia. I got in to kpop in 2004 but before that (since 1998) I’ve been into the Japanese animes and one of the things I first noticed was the presence of drop dead gorgeous guys: slim figures, long hair and feminine features. First I thought that this style was just for the animes but when I first when to Japan I saw a few guys with pretty looks and they were popular among the girls. Just an example: one of the most popular animes in Japan is “Fruits Basket” in this anime most of the main characters are flower boys, especially Yuki, I’ve been in Japan many times but still amazes me how popular this character is, pretty much he still represents the ideal type of many girls (not only in Japan but also in the rest of Asia) even tho this anime is almost 11 years old.

When I first got into the kpop world was because of DBSK, what really caught my attention was Jaejoong but not only because he looked pretty, it was because he looked exactly like Yuki, my first reaction was: “OMG! This guy is the human version of Yuki” In this 8 years in the kpop world I’ve seen many flower guys that attract attention not only because they’re different, but because they are considered attractive (haven’t you heard the expression “he is so attractive/beautiful that he looks like a manga/anime character”?) Most international fans may not consider them attractive but I think that this is mostly because they’re not use to that kind of guys so they prefer the more masculine type, but the fact is that in Asia the flower boys are considered really attractive.

GracefulCassieShapley on K-pop Companies: Replay, Replay, Replay:

I see where your getting at, and I agree completely. Now that I think about it, we as consumers are cheated as much as the artists who must have a deja vu singing a carbon copy. Personally, I think entertainments do this on purpose. Its like a used a car. You buy it and it works perfectly until it expires. Then you drop it off at a dealership and all they do is make some slight modifications to sell it to the next person. Companies like SM think that by taking a similar structure of a previous hit and modifying it will….relive the past so to say. In that case, the better analogy would be to take someone else’s (or your own) assignment that originally got a 100% and making a few changes in hope of getting the same mark.

When EXO planet released their two prologues and after really looking at this group, they seemed to be a combination of three SM boy groups: DB5K + Super Junior + a little bit of SHINee. They have the “perfect” image like DB5K had and they harmonize way better then Super Junior. EXO is a large numbered group like Suju and have different members displaying different images yet they all blend in together, and EXO has the youth and prettiness that SHINee has.

That’s not to say it only happens with guy to guy groups or girl to girl groups. Have you ever noticed the whole female–male counterpart system? Too many times I see a girl group and think of their possible male counterpart and vice-versa. For an example, F(x) and SHINee and Super Junior and SNSD.

hapacalgirl on Shinhwa: The Last Group Standing:

As a fellow longtime fan I am incredibly thankful that you wrote this article to introduce this group to newer fans that are wondering what the big deal about Shinhwa’s comeback is and why so many of the older fans are making such a big deal about it.  A lot of fans only hear of the first generation idols only through covers of their music by current idols which is sad because I stand by my belief that some of the best kpop came out of the period late 90s early 00s and you don’t really get the whole feeling of the song unless you hear it from the original. I have actually seen “The Solver” back in the day ( I mean how can I forget the rocking dance platform) but I personally got introduced to Shinhwa through T.O.P either late 1999 or early 2000 and have been a fan of them ever since.  All Your Dreams is and has always been one of my favorite kpop videos (and solidified Kim Dong Wan as my bias, what can I say the lifeguard scene sold me, I was a teenager so sue me) and I really wish SME made storyline videos like they did in the past.  I loved “Perfect Man”  for the same reasons that you listed and it is one of my faves by them but I would have to say that “I Pray for U” has got to be my all-time favorite song by them, its just a fun song and the video really encapsulates their personality, to this day the minute I hear the beginning I instantly smile.  Perfect Man has got to be my favorite album by them, in fact I liked the song so much I purchased the hard copy of the album (along with Baby Vox‘s Devotion special album, FTTS Sea of Love, and SES‘s Choose My Life, U albums) and have never regretted.

In regards to their departure of SME , a lot of newer fans don’t realize how much this group (specifically Min Woo and Eric) put on the line to keep this group together .  At the time of the contract being up Eric was the CF king (similar to Lee Seung Gi and Kim Soo Hyun right now) after a successful run in dramas and SME wanted to keep him and offered him one hefty contract to do so.  I think they offered a pretty hefty contract to keep Min Woo but nowhere near what they offered Eric. I think the other members [besides Dong Wan] were offered renewals  but I think they were not to the extent of what the two people SME really wanted to keep were offered (very similar to what SME did with HOT where they offered Kangta and HeeJun much better contracts than the other three).  SME knew that the time of idols were up soon (the writings on the wall were obvious) and had no intention of wanting to keep this group as a group in promotions. Eric spoke with the members and didn’t like what the others were offered and decided that it was better for them to find another company where the other members would get a better offer and so he gave up the hefty contract and left with the others.  But that wasn’t all he did, after their departure SME sued them to keep them from using the Shinhwa name and Eric once again showed how the true definition of a leader by using his own money that he had earned in his solo endeavors to help finance their lawsuit against their prior company for the rights to the name. I remember watching all of this unfold back then and worrying that I wouldn’t get to hear new Shinhwa music for awhile.

Another lesser known fact is that after the flop of “Resolver” SME almost disbanded Shinhwa to focus on HOT.  Since they weren’t as successful as they were presumed to be SME didin’t think they were worth any additional effort.  The reason why the group didn’t disband was because the members took it upon themselves to hunt down songwriters for songs and design their own choreography during that time.  I really wish I could find the video clip of where they discussed this but its been quite awhile since I have seen the clip.

I have only listened to a few tracks from the new album (my copy needs to arrive already T_T) but I like what I am hearing.

On another note, I am definitely guilty of watching “X-Man” religiously back in the day and will never forget the epic love triangle that was Yoon Eun Hye /Eric/ Kim Jong Kook.  Oh the Memories. These MEN are variety gold and I am just incredibly glad to have these men releasing music again.


cles on Sharing the Love: SM Artists Become Company Shareholders:

With roughly 0.1% of shares, the artists will not have any decision making influence. Because their stock percentage is so low, their voices wouldn’t really count for much in shareholder meetings and decisions made within the company. Also, if the stock worth ever drops or fluctuates – which it will and does occasionally – it directly affects that percentage as well. It also means that if an artist were to ever leave the company, they would be forced to sell their stock before they truly could break all connections.

In short – they are indeed shareholders and given that title now, but fiscally, it isn’t going to amount to very much. I doubt it would even amount to a small percentage of what they should be making (most of them don’t even make what they SHOULD be making annually as it is to begin with). If you want to truly take a look at exactly how screwed up SM and their money is, you should take into consideration that SM artists also occasionally write, compose, and produce their own music – but they rarely obtain the copyrights to their own work. The profit they *should* be seeing from doing these jobs is going to SM directly because they’re the ones holding the copyrights to it.

Artists see even less of a percentage in income from merchandise – if any at all – which is an even bigger selling point than the albums themselves for SM as a company because that’s where the majority of the revenue from artists comes from. The point is – by the end of it all – stocks or not – SM as a company is making a HELL of a lot more money for everything these artists do than the artists themselves will ever see in their lifetimes – and that’s only on the basis that they abide by a fair global market’s standards. They don’t.

The significance of these stocks doesn’t escape me, even Walmart employees hold stock given to them in their company – but it doesn’t mean they ever see anything from it. SM has been getting a reputation as a company who screws over their artists and low level employees (i.e. cutting jobs and salaries, while giving top executives bonuses). Giving stocks like this is what’s called a “publicity stunt.” It’s meant to look good to the general public who wouldn’t really understand how the entire process and industry works.

That’s it for this week’s comments! As always, feel free to share any additional comments you thought were great (but didn’t make it onto this week’s segment) in the comments section below!