Welcome to another Comments of the Week!
This week in music and idol news, we talked about “Classic” JYP, U-Kiss‘ latest mini, 100%, the one-of-a-kind G-Dragon, songs for every mood, Andamiro, giving entertainers second chances, miss A flying high, a review of DBSK‘s newest MV as well as Amy and Patricia’s thoughts on their comeback, and anticipation for other upcoming comebacks.
As for film, fashion, tv, and socio-cultural topics, we discussed some nice listens from To The Beautiful You, the best of last week’s music shows, 5 thinks Johnelle LOVED in K-pop last week, Tiffany for W Korea, what JYP can learn from PSY‘s success, KCON, and a lesson from Dana on Korean cuisine.
As usual, our readers had a lot to say, so with no further ado: here are five of my favorite comments from this week:
Veria on Some Nice Listens From “To The Beautiful You”:
I was seriously impressed by this drama’s soundtrack, especially being a huge SM Town fan. They made use of a good portion of their artist roster and it’s resulted in a wonderfully rounded OST which still has the SM-sound whilst also sounding a lot fresher than what their groups have put out this year.
Some of the singers who often don’t get to shine got some much deserved solos – where have they been hiding J-min all this time?! (plus Jungmo made an appearance in the MV / performance and omg I love Jungmo so much so I was so happy). I was also glad to see Dana getting a song too.
But what I especially loved were the duets. Sunny and Luna‘s duet was really nice; Sunny sounded especially nice and it makes me wish she sings more in SNSD‘s songs. My favourite though has to be Kyuhyun and Tiffany‘s duet. I was really surprised to hear Kyuhyun sing this song because it’s a (much welcome) departure from his normal ballad route and he sounds absolutely wonderful and perfect in it. I’ve never really thought much of Tiffany’s singing but she really proved me wrong with this song, she suits it perfectly. And the combination of their voices is just magical.
I wish they would put out more of this kind of music more often. This OST combines pretty much everything I love about SM’s music and artists.
happy_slip on Miss A Wants Us To All “Fly High”:
I don’t think they’re being criticized for lack of vocal talent, some people just find them bland sometimes because they’re too…even. That’s absolutely not a bad thing, but it would be a good idea if JYPE would add a bit more color to their songs, or at least add a bit more distinction imo.
Anyway, I’m excited for their fall comeback. I loved Touch.
Nate Broadus on A Few Things JYP Can Learn From PSY for Wonder Girls’ American Venture:
I wouldn’t consider Psy‘s success a YG victory. To have a victory, you have to actively compete. Psy’s sudden popularity, by all published accounts, took YG COMPLETELY by surprise. It was obvious even to borderline K-pop fans that YG was banking on 2NE1 and/or Big Bang to make an impact on the US scene. That Psy did it was completely unexpected. That would be like if you had a starting 5 basketball team, but the towel boy managed to wander onto the court and make the game winning shot (not meant as a slam on Psy, but even Psy acknowledged he was a bit of an afterthought in the company before this phenomenon). YG’s reluctance to jump into Psy’s spotlight is smart. If he tried to jump in there, it would just look — to me, at least — like that shameless guy who sticks his face in front of the camera simply because he was standing close by when something great happened.
You know how there is a link to that article on the side about Psy (possibly) not doing K-pop any favors? This falls under that category. The most horrific thing I can imagine is other entertainment companies seeing Gangnam Style and making the mistake of thinking it can be manufactured.
YG didn’t manufacture Psy’s success — pop culture manufactured Psy’s US success. Psy is about as far away from what you would normally see within YG as to be almost alien. Sure, GD does eccentric things, and other artists like 2NE1 wear loud fashions on occasion, but there is always a method to all the madness in there. At the end of the day, GD still wants to be taken seriously as a hip hop influenced artist. 2NE1 still stands behind their female empowerment concept. Sex appeal gets thrown around in all the videos wantonly. Psy? He knows he isn’t a sex symbol. He knows people don’t follow him for some wannabe thug image. He does what he does and doesn’t apologize; I can respect him for that.
If JYP is half as intelligent as he is made out to be, then he will realize Psy’s success should have no bearing on K-pop’s move into the west. Gangnam Style isn’t a calculated move by the K-entertainment world to infiltrate the west — it was an absolute lark that exploded into a phenomenon, no more, no less. These things happen on occasion. They are never indicators of some monumental shift in the status quo.
Turning K-pop into an endless stream of absurd internet-style memes just to appeal to the west is a horrid notion. Why should they become clown caricatures just to get their foot in the door? It isn’t as if there are not genuinely talented artists in K-pop. They don’t always do the kinds of concepts and songs that show off any real talent, but talent is there in the genre.
The point of all of this is, you cannot manufacture what Gangnam Style achieved. Even Psy is going to realize that soon enough.
You don’t think Billy Ray Cyrus was hobnobbing with all the rich and famous folks for the few months-to-a-year that Achy Breaky Heart was popular? Was I the only one who saw the videos of politicians, actors, etc, doing the line dance all of a sudden? I think he might have even hosted SNL, too. That is just how these pop culture phenomenons work — they’re born, they burn bright for their short life cycle, then they die. Always.
The best thing JYP can do for the Wonder Girls is to let them be themselves. I agree that much with the article. But he should not be sitting in a dark room “flinging papers”, unless he is more out of touch with the American music scene than we realize.
intheshort on Catching Up With The Eastern Gods:
I think whatever you might say, the mere fact that DBSK, what with their legacy in the KPop world, is making a comeback will inspire legions of dance covers and whatnot.
To me, the whole music video seems centered around connectivity. Maybe I’ve taken too many neuro classes, but the montage at the beginning ends with a shot of a neuron, and the connectivity idea is reflected in those weird webby vests things they have on. Also, the first part when Yunho sings, then is “pulled” into the (cell?) group and then Changmin steps out…I thought that was a nice way to transition between the two members.
And of course, can’t forget the flashier parts with the “mirror” –> one member sings and then is flipped down while the other is flipped up, also a nice transition. And the arms were way cool. I don’t care how many times they did the light up arm thing, I loved it and will love it 50 performances later. But again, the arms emphasize connectivity. And the fact that the light traveled down the length of the giant “arm” reminded me of an action potential being passed from neuron to neuron…
Any other group with a MV setting like this, I would have tuned out during the 2:00 mark (and this includes other SM groups being subjected to the all-too-cliche SM MV). But I kept watching until the end. The song isn’t my favorite, but it’s solid and I love the choreo.
It’s no Mirotic, but it does a good job with utilizing the duo aspect. Can’t wait to see it live.
Haibara Christie on SB Chat Box #28: The one that was supposed to be on DBSK and U-Kiss…:
1. I think the biggest problem with the whole DBSK split is the fact that they split like a divorce. Most groups break up entirely into fragments, and that results in random solo ventures. DBSK literally cut themselves into two opposing sides, with JYJ on one side and SM/Homin on the other. Each tried to take advantage of that fact to spin the issue into a question of morality. Fans took sides to show their love and support who they believed was “suffering”more–and now we end up with a huge mess of things, where OT5 get bombarded by hate from the stans, and stans get bombarded by the OT5s telling them to appreciate how much better each group was in the past, and of course the current TVXQ stans and JYJ stans hate each other, just because they used to be associated with each other. Honestly, I take back my original words, this was not like a nasty divorce, it was worse than a nasty divorce that involved hundreds of thousands of people.
2. The dubstep problem began with the Japanese releases. Android had the same problem with useless dubstep that would have made the song much better without it. I don’t understand the fascination with dubstep the duo suddenly has, it just doesn’t work with them.
3. The choreographer I swear is the guy who did BoA‘s stuff, because I see the exact same style with the hand thing.
[Editor’s note: The choreography for DBSK’s “Catch Me” was done by Tony Testa while BoA’s “Only One” was choreographed by NappyTabs. But it’s true that similar arm formations have been showing up almost exclusively in SM artists’ comebacks this year, including SHINee‘s “Sherlock” (also done by Tony Testa). While it’s possible that SM is the one pushing this type or choreography, it may also be due the fact that the hip-hop dance community itself is constantly experiencing its own trends (a great example would be the rise of tutting over the past few years) — and this arm formation thing could just be the newest ‘thing’ hip-hop choreographers are experimenting with at the moment. But who knows?]
4. While DBSK tries too hard to stay mainstream, JYJ tries too hard to be non-mainstream. And the thing is, both are kind of wrong with what they’re doing. As much as I respect both groups, I can’t find myself liking either reincarnation of the original because the music changed so much. That doesn’t mean I dismiss the fans of the individual groups, because they chose to like that group of people because of the music they were putting out as that individual group, JYJ or TVXQ(2). For me, DBSK was good because of the kind of music they were putting out as 5, and now that I don’t have that anymore, I feel like my interest in them is waning.
Thanks for participating in our discussions, and as always, feel free to leave additional comments below.
(Images via Elle Magazine, EASY Magazine, NYLON Magazine, W Magazine Korea, Perez Hilton, YG Entertainment, SM Entertainment)