We’re all thankful for a lot of things in K-pop, including great coordis and body rolls; what are the top five things you are thankful for in K-pop, and Hallyu in general?
Lauren M.: I’m thankful that Rap Monster isn’t bald yet from all that bleach (and that he decided to bless us with his mixtape this year), that Hyuna‘s ‘Spring Breakers Gone Wild’ A+ album teaser exists, that the Wonder Girls and Brown Eyed Girls converted me to a girl group stan with their greatness, for Yezi destroying everyone on Unpretty Rapstar, and for TOP – he joined Instagram, became Ghost Top, and acted a fool in “Bae Bae“. Definitely this year’s most endearing weirdo.
Pat: This Thanksgiving, I would like to thank K-pop for 1) SHINee and f(x)‘s comeback albums, 2) for Yezi slaying everyone, may she bring Fiestar out of nugudom, 3) JYP giving us Twice with Momo included, 4) JYP bringing back the greatness that is Wonder Girls with an equally great album, and, 5) VIXX‘s stylist for letting Leo do his thing and perform without that vest he hates so much.
Honorable mention goes to Red Velvet for finding themselves in “Dumb Dumb,” Zico for producing “Fear,” Taeyeon‘s much deserved solo debut, and, because I’m absolute VIXX trash, Ravi‘s Instagram because it made Eeyore!Ravi happen again and Eeyore is my all-time favorite character.
I almost said I was thankful to CEO Yang for Big Bang‘s comeback because I loved “Loser,” “Let’s Not Fall in Love” and “We Like 2 Party,” but then I realized we still don’t have the MADE album, so never mind.
Willis: The five K-pop and Hallyu things I am thankful for are: 1) B.A.P being able to release music and perform as a group again, 2) Misaeng Season 2 is happening, 3) Gilme calling out Truedy on UPRS2, 4) Brown Eyed Girls changing labels and releasing great music, 5) Shameless plug — meeting Ailee & interviewing her.
Gaya: Don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, but I am still thankful for
1) Big Bang bringing their MADE tour to Melbourne, thus giving me the chance to see T.O.P in the flesh and meet Morgan!
2) The Mid-year Review Indie Panel for leading me to Risso and Hyukoh, two of my new favourite music acts.
3) Shinee’s “Married To The Music” AKA the best MV of 2015. Fight me, Ga-in, FIGHT ME.
4) Sassy Go Go, for introducing me to Lee Won-geun and Ji Soo. Kim Woo-bin and Lee Jong-who?
5) 2015 not being as horrible as 2014.
Madi: The top five things, in no particular order, I’m thankful for this year in the world of K-pop and Hallyu:
1. Big Bang keeping their promise from three years ago: they would return to the US for another tour/concert. Everything surrounding MADE has been nothing less than awesome, so I am a happy and very thankful VIP.
2. For VIXX finally screaming loud enough for me to pay attention to them. They’ve been in my radar since their debut, but I ignored and brushed them off. Now I’ve fallen and I can’t get up… no, I refuse to.
3. BTS for just being them. They’re so silly, relatable, and helped me through a rough spot earlier this year. They deserve all the recognition they’ve been receiving…and a lot more.
4. Mid-generation idols (Super Junior, SHINee, Wonder Girls, etc.) finally “growing up” and stepping into a more mature image. Your heart might be young, but you can’t keep the high school image forever.
5. The hidden gem of EXO, Xiumin, emerging from his wallflower shell and blessing us with his acting and his cute ridiculousness
Cjontai: K-pop in 2015 has brought on a number of blessings for which I’m thankful. 1) I’m glad that U-Kiss, BtoB, Got7 and BTS all got their first wins this year, especially since some shows appear ready to abolish the music trophy system. 2) Even though I couldn’t see them, I’m grateful for every K-pop group that traveled outside of Asia for a concert or fan meeting. It means a lot to international fans when they literally go the distance for us. It means a lot to international fans when they travel that far for us. 3) Seeing the public embrace more groups like Mamamoo and BtoB for their actual singing talent instead of focusing on visuals alone. While I don’t mind the eye candy, I need more than pretty faces to keep me from wincing at sour notes. Let’s not put the “hot” in front of “mess.” 4) Jonghyun’s solo album, Base. You have no idea how long I waited for him to release that. Got me singing, “Hallelujah!” 5) The V Broadcasting App. Bless all of the shenanigans that happen there.
5. The list begins and ends with DBSK in some way. Firstly, JYJ. I’m thankful for them as a group and as individuals for what they’ve given to their fans this year: Junsu‘s third full-length and his first mini-album; Jaejoong‘s fanmettings and how he’s literally got the ROK Army turnt! Yuchun swiping every award for a new actor they have in Asia. And most importantly, their recognition as the first male idol group to win the Prime Minister Award. They continue to make their fans proud.
4. I’m thankful for BTS, and most specifically Rap Monster, for actually flashing up on my radar. If it hadn’t been for the group at #3 giving Rap Mon a chance, I wouldn’t have even taken the time to check them out.
3. I’m thankful to MFBTY for their style, musicianship, and their grit. They live and die for their music and their family, and they definitely reestablished themselves as the artists that every other artist looks up to.
2.Odd/Eye is in my mind the best K-pop album in the past five years. I’m thankful to SHINee for bringing nuance and elegance to a genre that, as with every pop phenomenon just started sounding the same from every angle.
1. It always comes back to DBSK for me. They were what got me into K-pop and virtually saved my life (in more ways than one), and they continue to be the only group I perpetually come back to. Their release of Rise As God shocked the hell out of me. After being less than excited about their releases after “Keep Your Head Down,” I’d begun to think SM would never give them the quality music they deserve. Then they decided to drop their best album in the past six years just before they enlisted. It was vintage DBSK, but it was also DBSK as two–not an attempt at compensation, not an album with two or three songs that left a mark. A full album of absolute perfection. I’m yet again thankful to DBSK for creating absolute perfection
1) EXO’s newly acquired gym memberships and the faulty paper curtains that lead to Chen’s continued wardrobe malfunctions.
2) Hani’s sneeze, because it might be the most adorable thing ever. That goes hand-in-hand with the rise of EXID this past year.
3) Jonghyun’s solo album. More broadly, I’m thankful for SM’s willing venture into solo releases this past year. It was really nice to see Taeyeon and Amber also have a chance to do their own thing.
4) Am I allowed to be thankful for K-pop fanfiction? Because I am.
5) Finally, I’m thankful for what feels like the rebirth of JYP. Nearly all their groups (Miss A, 2PM, GOT7, Wonder Girls) had decent comebacks this year, and Twice had a super promising debut. Also, JYP brought us Jackson Wang, who is my new variety favorite.
Johnelle: My top 5 things to be thankful for in K-pop 2015:
That I was able to see Big Bang live in concert again because with their mandatory enlistment deadlines approaching who knows when we’ll see them all together again. It was so much fun and just a great concert.
For Yoo Jae-suk. The laughter and enjoyment that I get from watching his shows makes my day almost all the time.
For K-variety shows. They never fail to amuse me and educate me about all sorts of things through their shows about Korean life and culture. But what they made me realize the most is that no matter where we’re from there are always things about other cultures that are similar to our own.
For all the good K-dramas out there with love found and lost, hair pulling and screaming, friendships made and broken, crazy scary mother-in-laws, birth secrets, surprise chaebols, second lead syndromes, bromance, and gratuitous shower scenes (did y’all just see So Ji-sub in Oh My Venus?!).
And last, but not least, I’m thankful for our SB family for keeping me up to date with all the inner workings of K-pop, for continuously keeping me amused (you all wish you were in some of our email threads) and for the friendships I’ve made through being with Seoulbeats.
Readers, what are you thankful for K-pop this year?
(Images via Johnelle, Instagram, Cube Entertainment, SM Entertainment, Feel Ghood Music)