Welcome to another Comments of the Week!
As for socio-cultural topics, our writers tackled Psy and the faceless Asian, dating and K-pop, idols we feel empathy for, sibling pairs in K-pop, Sunye‘s engagement, authenticity, and Nabeela’s voracious appetite for smut.
While our writers had a lot to say this week, our readers had just as much to say in return!
Here are five of my favorite comments from this week:
animasaurus on “60 Seconds” of Kim Sung-gyu (and Co.):
I love the mv, it has a gorgeous tone and the storyline is very thoughtful. Personally I like the fact that Sunggyu wasn’t featured as much in the mv because it allows for the song to speak for itself and for people to take him more seriously than simply as an idol who makes a typical mv where he is the star and it’s all about him. It really made it easier to focus more on what the mv and song was trying to portray. Sunggyu is probably my least favorite infinite member (not to say I don’t like him, I actually happen to respect him much more than the other members) but I really think everything about his solo efforts has been really well done.
A lot of people think Sunggyu should be the main because it’s his song but in so many mv’s the singer is not even in the mv and yet the video is just as memorable and beautiful. BEG‘s “cleansing cream” and Nell‘s “the day before” come to mind.
Anna Downs on Will You Luv D-Unit?:
This mv is pretty popular on the Chinese site yinyuetai– getting as many views as more mainstream releases. I think this group has a lot of appeal in China because they love androgyny. The Taiwanese group S.H.E. had popular member Ella Chen who was completely boyish, and the popular tv show super girl (a singing contest like American Idol) had multiple androgynous girls win the competition. If D-unit can continue with this concept and grow in it, they could become really popular in Taiwan and China.
(just look at Amber– she is such an anomaly in k-pop, but she is actually pretty mainstream when it comes to her native Taiwan)
There is this contemporary school of thought in art which explains that, ‘when we appreciate art we are in fact trying to understand the artist.’ Whether it is a painter, a writer, a dancer or singer, we seek to decipher their every brush stroke, word, act or note because at our core we are very lonely. Even though we might lead full lives, socialize and marry the vast majority of us might never meet our soulmate. A person that we connect to upon an intimate level. It may not be a human need but it is a very strong desire that affects us deeply so that no matter where we are in our lives, we still seek that companion. Sometimes even in the fictional world. We convince ourselves that this person ‘might’ be our soulmate because it just makes us feel better, less alone in an increasingly cold and harsh world.
A large part of the entertainment business, including Kpop, seek to gain entrance to our pockets not just through lust but via this loneliness. Beauty alone might attract us for a while but if we connect to a person, a personality or in truth a persona, their hold upon us is much stronger. Their allure lies in the possibility from the enigma that they are perceived to be coupled with eligibility. Dating (or marriage) is the death of that dream because we lose our right to know them upon that level. They have become someone else’s mystery to discover and riddle to solve.
Is it fair to ask ‘Oppa’ to choose between love or success? Though it isn’t wrong to enjoy the success earned by this method, ultimately there is a price to be paid. A lot of idols do prepare for ‘retirement’ by seeking success through their art rather than ‘an image of the artist.’ As for the bleeding hearts I would say that don’t give up on searching for your soulmate, not even from the world of Kpop but understand that truly you never really knew them at all. The hope that they were your soulmate has died but NOT your actual soulmate.
Streby on Roundtable: I Feel Ya:
I feel bad for the amount of times idols have to change their hair colour, it must burn like hell and their hair must be falling out in clumps; that coupled with the lack of sleep and nutritious meals, their bodies must be a doctor’s nightmare (or dream for the amount of expenses on fixing it?)
Srilatha Rajamani on Authenticity, K-pop and the West: Part 1:
Yes – Western pop is more successful. It is just more successful in hiding its derivativeness. The reason for this is because of the cultural element. I will just talk about the American culture because it seems to define the Western pop at this time. American culture values the individual more than the group, competition more than cooperation, presentation at the front end rather than preparation at the back end, end result rather than effort. This is prevalent across all areas of life including school and work. In the East, there is more hierarchical structure, where age, position in life, and relationships play a greater role in determining an individual’s actions and behavior. The community is more important than the individual. Idols in the West and the East personify these cultural traits and very often, the American idol’s actions appear to be more free, and organically generated than the manufactured confines of the K-POP idol’s world. But this perception of freedom is only a shell. At the core, there are equal measures of creative constraints, pressure, and compromise. Idols in the West and the East go through rigorous training, are backed by similar corporate interest, and are subject to limiting oversight in their music.
(Images via Cosmopolitan Magazine, 1st Look Magazine, Nylon Magazine, SPAO, SBS, KBS2, Nate)