Welcome to this week’s Roundtable, aka the vanity edition! Reader itsmysunshine asked the editors this in the “Ask Seoulbeats” post, and we’ve decided to get everyone in on the fun!
So, writers: Out of all the posts in the SB library, which ones are your most inspirational, most influential, and/or most memorable?
Mark: Wow, fantastic baby! I’ve been waiting so long for this roundtable. Before I became a part of the team, I was an avid reader of Seoulbeats and there were definitely many articles which piqued my interest and facilitated my budding love for K-pop. I wish I could remember which ones they were now, but here are a few from recent memory.
Nabeela, I thought your article on smut was very brave and I learned about a whole new side of K-pop fandom that I never knew existed. I’m not sure if I like what I learned, but I certainly appreciate it.
Ambika, I like how you introduce us to the work of idol rappers in their pre-debut stage. I especially like how you somehow scooped out the work of Evol‘s Jucy. Do you think you can find something on LE of EXID?
Nicholas, you’re great at dissecting music and I especially enjoyed your spotlights on Yoo Young-jin and Park Jin-young. These pieces inspired me to look into the true movers of the industry, the hit-makers.
Young-ji, I thought your piece on the death of Jo Sung-min was very touching. I had no idea who he was but just reading your words gave me an insightful understanding on the man and his circumstances.
Patricia, your focus on Chinese-Americans in K-pop was very intricate, complex, and really hit home for me. Who knew you could pull apart so much from just a couple of tweets?
Gaya, your review of “I Got a Boy” was spot on and I still can’t get that last line out of my head: “same dolls, different packaging.”
Cynthia, you let them know.
Amy, you too.
Jasper, thanks for dropping some knowledge on how idols should be promoting in Japan using concrete examples.
Sophie, you made a very compelling argument for K-pop’s lack of success the Western market. When’s part 2?
Lindsay, your article on “The Not-So-Golden Proportions of K-pop” introduced me to the fundamentals of K-media’s perceived beauty standard. It has since become iconic due to the number of times other writers have cited it.
Dana, I enjoy everything that you write! I found your piece on “Why Ga-in Gets a Pass, But HyunA Doesn’t” especially powerful.
Gaya: Mark, I also love your own MV review on SHINee’s “1000 Years, Always By Your Side;” it was really interesting to read about SHINee from a newcomer’s perspective, as well as how the theme of death was presented in the MV. And I second Patricia’s article on Chinese-American idols, it was a really insightful piece.
The first article that sprang to my mind, though, has to be “Sexual Hyuna Fighting.” I know Hyuna’s last comeback with “Ice Cream” caused a big stir, but Maria said all the things I was thinking. I generally enjoy all the counterpoint articles on Seoulbeats, but this one has to be my favourite of them all.
Another point-counterpoint pair I liked were discussed whether or not MR removed was a suitable criteria on which to judge idol talent. I’d never even heard of MR until then, so that was an eye-(and ear)-opener for me. I also learnt more about Immortal Song 2 thanks to Ree’s article on the hubbub surrounding Taemin‘s then-impending stint on the show.
And I can’t go without mentioning Subi, the first writer of whom I became aware when I started reading this site. I remember seeing her showdown between Kim Hyun-joong and Jang Geun-suk. I remember thinking “who are these guys?” but the image for it was kind of pretty, so I clicked on it and ended up learning quite a lot! I also loved her review of Brown Eyed Girls‘ “Cleansing Cream.”
Fannie: There are just TOO many good articles I’ve read over the years that I really can’t list them all. But off the top of my head (excluding articles that overlap with Mark’s suggestions), here are some of my favorites:
I’m a total sucker for socio-cultural articles, so I really enjoyed both Gaya and Ree’s perspectives on K-pop in South and South-East Asia respectively, Gaya’s post on skin color and K-pop, on Maria’s post on guilty pleasures as well as her post on Korean racism, Paloma’s article on Confucianism in relation to female roles in K-dramas, Patricia’s article on international fan elitism, and Dana’s entire Korean Culture Through K-pop series.
Nabeela: Oh, oh, oh, throwback time!
So I don’t know if anyone knows this, not even her, but I’ve always been a huge closet Patricia fangirl–she was the writer that got me hooked to this site! But if I had to pick a favorite, I loved, loved, loved her endearing open letter to Henry back in 2011. I also though your commentary on the HyukU drama was absolutely on point.
Mark, your piece on manufactured girl power resonated with me quite a bit! It was a super eye-opening a piece and really took my fangirl head out of the clouds!
And those are just to name a few!
Ambika: Funny you should mention LE, Mark. I may or may not have one in the works already.
Like Fannie, I really enjoy the socio-cultural nuggets. There’s always something new to take away from them. In particular I liked (not including some of the ones that have already been mentioned) Maria’s look at women throughout history in Korea, Dana’s explanation of the iljin question, Gaya’s discussion of koreaboos, and Sophie’s rundown of AKB48‘s Minegishi Minami‘s situaiton. I’m also fond of Maria’s introduction to Kim Eana, of whom I had no idea.
On the more humorous side, I really liked Amy’s take on future SHINee songs.
Nicholas: I always enjoy reading what each of you bring to the site. I particularly enjoy Jasper’s take on all things variety, like Running Man, and Dana’s in-depth socio-cultural looks into Rain’s army woes and sex, as well as Nabeela fine blend of wit and snark talking about being the smart, slightly cynical fan-girl… or one in love-rage.
But if I am to be honest, my favourite posts are the exchanges and the roundtables. It’s amazing what happens when so many brains come together for a fun topic close to their hearts. My favourite include our discussion on the T-ara debacle and our latest Spring cleaning.
And I also respect anybody doing those weekly wraps (a shout out to Johnelle there). Not easy to follow so many things happening weekly, and even tougher to choose the great moments of the week.
Cynthia: You guys already mentioned some of my favorites, like Patricia’s article about international fan elitism and Gaya’s Koreaboo: Phase or Foe. I also really liked Natalie’s article on EXO fans’ inappropriate behavior because that really needed to be said by someone, and I’m glad Seoulbeats pointed it out. Another favorite of mine would definitely be Salima’s article on K-pop’s disconnect with authentic hip hop culture since it addressed an issue I could personally relate to that I know some of my fellow K-pop fans do not fully understand. And as a Super Junior fan, I have to say Ambika’s article about SuJu on SNL and the group’s future relevancy warmed my heart like no other.
On a more humorous note, I always look forward to Nabeela’s articles and fangirl confessions, and I especially enjoyed her list of K-pop showdowns that need to happen. Thanks to that article, I am now waiting for GD to somehow stage a battle against himself in a future performance – if Tupac could appear in hologram form at Coachella, GD can definitely duplicate himself.
Dana: Patricia’s article on butthurtism. Hands down one of my favorite pieces that anyone has ever written, ever. It’s so deliciously hilarious. I was also a huge, huge fan of Ree’s examination of idol rappers.
Lindsay: I agree with everything everyone has already said! We have so many interesting articles published weekly it is difficult to choose.
Before I began writing for Seoulbeats I remember being really interested in Dana’s Korean Through K-pop series as it gave me insight into Korean culture and language outside of a K-pop song. I also remember Gaya’s article on the meanings of calling a male idol a “Diva” leaving a distinct impression on me. Way to go, Gaya, with your ever hard-hitting analysis and opinions!
There are probably others, but those were the ones I instantly remember.
Johnelle: I was a fan of Seoulbeats not too long after its inception and then joined as a writer a while after that. There were a ton of articles that I loved in those early days, which led me to join the Seoulbeats family, but I think some of those older articles got eaten by an old server.
There were also some older stories that I can’t find that happened at the time of the K-popcalypse: when Jay left Korea and 2PM and DBSK broke up that were great discussions on what was going on at the time.
Some of the newer posts that I like include Fannie’s Side B on CN Blue in Japan; Nabeela’s Fan Girl Confessions and her piece on Homin that got fans and antis in a tizzy; and Patricia’s article on Sasaeng fans.
Subi: Having been around at Seoulbeats for awhile, I feel like there are so many I’ve liked over the years that it’s hard to get it down to even just a few. But I think of late, or maybe not so recently, I’ve really enjoyed the podcasts. We come to this site as writers but I think sometimes, we can get lost in the machine and hearing our voices and experiencing a real dialogue and conversation is refreshing. It also takes a writer out of the isolating process and you can see them interacting, see each person challenge each other and I think it can lead to engaging discussions. And let’s not forget, it’s more human, so we see more personality, get each writer’s quirks and quips. They were really fun to listen to and be a part of. I hope we get more soon and we get more of the writers involved.
(images via: SM Entertainment, Stardom Entertainment, tvN, SBS, TS Entertainment, JYP Co.Cube Entertainment)