This week we’re talking about Akdong Musician, and we’re really excited to talk about them because they’re totally a breath of fresh air. Check out their video for 200% if you haven’t seen it yet:


Now, for this week’s Kpop Music Monday we didn’t focus on one of their videos in particular. We thought it’d be best to talk about all three, in a way, but with more focus on AKMU as a band rather than just on their individual videos. Though, yes, talking about their videos individually would have been fun, I think talking about what AKMU bring to the table is more interesting for us.

For starters, they’re 18 and 15 years old. Question: what the hell were you doing with your life at that age? Huh?!? Ok, that’s not a fair question; I’m just saying that to emphasize how impressed I am by AKMU, for not only being musicians at that age, but also because they produced the entire album themselves. Holy snap!

Now, I usually wouldn’t be that impressed by someone making their own music. When it comes to the non-Kpop music I like, most of it is all made by the artists themselves, but I don’t hold Kpop to those standards. As many of us know, a Kpop song’s genesis more often than not resembles an assembly line with many different workers, rather than the brain-seed of an artist or group.

A lot about AKMU, for me, flies in the face of Kpop’s overproduced machinery. Two kids, brother and sister, just get together and sing songs beautifully. They know each other because they grew up together, not because they were grouped together with other random coworkers at their company. They’re not trained to dance. They’re not given songs to sing from Scandinavian writers. They’re so…they’re so much more…real. Can I use that word? They’re so much more real than what we’re used to in Kpop. There’s so much more spirit and soul in them in the traditional sense that the two of us are used to. Maybe we’re just old fashioned, but I like my music having some kinda authenticity to it. I willfully close my eyes to it in Kpop, and most of the time just say “ok, whatever: it’s just fun!” but when I see something like Busker Busker or Akdong Musician come along, and see how greatly successful they are, I get really excited, and hope that others follow suit.

And I know there will be rebuttals from other people. It’s Pop music. It’s not meant to be taken seriously. Stop holding it to standards of artistry. It’s bubble gum, yada yada. I hear you. I don’t want to be confused, though, for disliking Kpop for being so ultra-manufactured. It doesn’t get in the way of me liking it. But, I will say, when I see a musician that’s more organic, that doesn’t just fill the role given to them like dutiful workers, I’ll like them more than I normally would.

If you disagree with me, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter. How do you feel about AKMU? Does their backstory matter to you? Does it impact the way you perceive their music? Or are you just not as impressed because their music doesn’t do it for you? I see that they’re being voted rather highly on our KpopCharts, so we’re assuming that you like them as much as we do, no?

Let us know, also, what you think of them compared to Lee Hi:

Also, sorry if this Music Monday was a bit short. We’ve both got a cold at the moment, and our energy levels are just byyuuuuuuuuuuu powering down. You might see some of that if you check out this week’s bloopers, with the coughing and the sneezing. Check em out here!


And don’t forget to click on this pretty button below, which prevents you from getting colds. Did you know? It prevents you from getting colds. Quite important to click, I’d say:

  1. I’m 8 months late, but I’m hoping someone can tell me who was behind the music video? The EYK Awards revealing ZanyBros being the masterminds behind the works of majority of the MVs I see makes me really curious as to who was behind the making of AKMU’s MVs. I especially love the Play In Jeju video. As someone who takes great interest in film making, I’m practically dying to know!

  2. Does anyone else think that the girl in 200% and give love that plays the guy’s girlfriend, looks a lot like soo zee? Or is it just me…

  3. I guess it’s because I’ve been part of the kpop world for so long, but I no longer feel attracted to self-composition nor do I turn away from “manufactured content. If it sounds good then it sounds good. However, I have to agree with you that kpop nowdays actually sounds like a formula. There isn’t much originality, or special charisma that one group has over the other. And that’s why I love AKMU, Lim Kim, Busker Busker, Urban Zakapa. They feel fresh (and their songs are good).

    However, I’m noticing that it’s often only title songs that are like this! Take EXO’s Overdose for example. The title track is kinda mmeh (good but really formulaic) but the other album tracks have an amazing r&b feel and have that breath of fresh air!

  4. I looove Akdong Musician! I’ve been watching them since Kpop Star and I really enjoy their musical style and authenticity. They are ridiculously talented as well as very good performers/actors, and their relationship with each other is adorable and fun. When their album finally came out I was like “Whoa! This is amazing.” :D I was especially pleased with the beauty and complexity of “Melted”, both the song and the video. I actually really like Give Love, but Melted is my favorite. I wasn’t that into 200% at first, but it grew on me. I think it is important to note that the siblings write and deliver their songs with great artistry. Their voices build and sink, ebb and flow. They incorporate interesting harmonies and rhythms, and their songs never feel boring, stale, or redundant.

  5. I first became interested in AKMU when their song ‘Crescendo’ was topping the Korean charts. Seriously, every time I opened the chart they were there, so I decided to listen to the song, if was topping charts it had to be good…
    AND IT WAS REALLY GOOD, DAMN IT. It was love at first hearing (?). After that I started digging their performances, and in no time I was already a fan.
    When YG finally announced their debut I started to count the days. The marketing behind their debut was really good, the photos, the teasers, that video “Play in Jeju”, that was like a medley of the album songs (not all of them) but sang by the siblings, seriously, well done YG, well done.
    And Martina, YES, Chan Hyuk’s rap resembles a lot G-dragon, specially in the music “Your own place”. And in ‘Hi’ (Annyeong) his rap reminds me B2ST’s Junhyung, a lot.
    I’m not really a crazy fan of specifics groups, I don’t watch BTS videos, or all the lives, but AKMU is becoming an exception, a good one.

  6. I also feel… Slightly uncomfortable with the way you talk about hardcore fans. First of all, there’s nothing wrong with what you described. Secondly, the great majority of us aren’t like that! I never get into a group in the two years after their debut, even if I like it, because I want to see how they evolve in the long term. Until now, the only groups I consider myself a fan of are groups that have wowed me with their live performances, be it their vocals, dancing, playfulness, or simply their stage presence and dedication. If I like songs and MVs, I will still enjoy them, but for me to say I like the group, I need to be impressed by their talent, not the talent of their producers.
    I do watch their TV appearances… But come on, it’s funny as hell. And I do like getting to know the real people behind the voices and charisma. That is, as real as it gets. But, as a fan, I like to think I’m somehow part of their world, you know? And I support them. I buy their songs and go to their concerts. And if I don’t like a song, I won’t listen to it. It’s still first and foremost about the music (and the dancing! I do love the dancing)
    Anyway, I know you didn’t mean to offend anyone, I just wanted to put that out there.
    To finish on a lighter note: Martina, your outfit rocks!

  7. Looks like I am in the minority on the poll. I really like Lee Hi’s voice and even after listening to Akmu I still prefer Lee Hi.

    Also, I agree with you that music made with the heart of the one performing it is better. There are often layers in the lyrics and melody that you can peel away which makes continuous listening fun ans interesting.

    Of course I also like my fun music and actually listen to that a lot more.

    Thanks for always being there to show off new artists!

  8. I’m 16 and I can say with utter honesty that I can’t even make a nice tasting sandwich, hence my respect for these two XD

  9. Guys, as a suggestion – if you are getting bored by the repetitive selections coming up in the KMM Charts, you might want to implement a rotational selection process for each Monday of the month to permit a wider variety of music/videos from which to choose.

    So for example – The 1st Monday of the month is “Simon and Martina’s pick” where you guys pick ANY song that interests and excites you to review. The 2nd Monday of the month is “Boy Band/Male Solo Artist Monday” where you pick from the top 3 chart selections. The 3rd Monday of the month is “Girl Group/Female Solo Artist Monday” where again you pick from the top 3 vote getters. And then lastly the 4th Monday of the month is “Rookie Group Monday” since frankly…when was the last time a rookie group got a KMM review?

    In this way, you broaden the selections, get a wider variety to choose from and give exposure to other groups or artists that may not have gotten a chance in the past.

  10. It’s okay Simon and Martina I feel the same way and I think so does Korea.
    Just in my experience with kpop I feel like artists like Hip Hop Indie artists like Beenzino, Leessang, MFBTY, and bands like Peppertones, Nell, Busker Busker, and now Akdong Musician have a very special place in Koreans’ hearts.
    Their songs are a lot more relatable and some of the artists release fun sing-a-long tunes that anyone can get into especially with Busker Busker and Akdong Musician.

    I love pop music but I love different genres too. I started out with BoA and TVXQ but nowadays I just branched off once I started discovering artists like Peppertones, no reply, Leessang, Nell, Epik High etc.

    I love kpop but songs like Nell’s Boy X, MFBTY’s Beautiful Life, Tablo’s Airbag, and Beenzino’s Relation and so much other songs are so relatable to my life. Songs about being aegyo, breaking up, being a bad boy, falling in love and so on so forth are fun to listen to once in a while. But there is a limit to songs like, “Oppa Saranghae” and “I love you so much I can die take my heart from me!”

    On top of that well at least for me, I like rooting for the underdog. Seeing them accomplish great feats within an industry with huge music companies is well…… DAMN AWESOME
    Furthermore, knowing a lot of these artists are in it for the love of craft is even more admirable. Not saying that idols don’t love music or they don’t work hard. They all work hard but it’s nice to listen to something out of the box.

  11. Love love love AKMU~~ :D Their songs are really really a breath of fresh air from the k-pop songs I usually hear. I also agree with @thisisforfun:disqus about wishing that you guise spoke more about the MV and AKMU since it is a KMM on them. So yea…

  12. This was a fun KMM! I’m definitely going to have to check these guys out. I’ll admit that I’ve gotten a bit tired of the same song/video from every single Kpop group ever. What drew me to Kpop initially was that it looked really different and unique. Not so much anymore, but I guess that just means there are other styles waiting to be found!

    Oh, and I mean this as a completely honest question so pleasepleaseplease don’t take this as a judge-y thing, I just would like to know what it is about the song “Let it Go” from Frozen that makes everyone seem to hate it so much. Disney makes music that I grew up loving and I still do, so I think I’m too close to the subject to look at this objectively. It just seems as though everywhere I go online, I’m running into people who will freak out about how much they *hate* “Let it Go” when literally no one else was even talking about it or the movie before they started their tirade.

    It’s got me kind of blue. I don’t care if people don’t like the same things I do, but it bums me out when they hate it so much that they have to tell the world. Is there something about the song that’s really so offensive to people that I’m missing? I know you didn’t flip out very much, but after every person I’ve run into who’s said the nastiest things about it, well, I guess I’m just looking for some reason behind it all.

  13. I really like their music, and I do have to agree on you (but not the GD part though, sorryyy). I really enjoy listening to k-pop, but there is A LOT of songs I can’t enjoy, because they are so similar and predictable! I’m actually really happy I discovered k-pop in the age of 24 and not 14, because I just think it would have been to intense for a young girl who fell in love with all kinds of artists all the time. I can’t speak for everyone as a teenager, but I was a emotional roller coaster, whoa. Now I can enjoy it, sometimes with some irony, and then I can get super thrilled when discovering (sometimes thanks to you two) new groups that is just fresh and different. I love Zion T, Epitone Project, Urban Zakapa and so on. But I also listen to squealing happy boom blasting k-pop music, because sometimes that is just the trick to start your day.

  14. T-shirt! Valar Morghulis!

  15. Speaking of Shinhwa, G.O.D, and (even though you didn’t mention them) Fly to the Sky (who are also making a comeback), wouldn’t this be a perfect time for a Soozee’s kpop throwback playlist type of video? *nudges Simon, Martina, and Soozee…………………. hard*

  16. I just loved 200%, and I think it’s because you can just feel that it’s real, like she isn’t faking being cute and trying so hard for fanservice, she’s just being herself, and my favorite parts are when they’re just dancing around which is also just them being them, you know? I think it’s fresh and I love it.

  17. I LOVE AKMU and I love Lee Hi as well BUT AKMU YOU HAVE WON MY HEART

  18. Yay AKMU! I fell in love with them during Kpop Star and oh how happy I am about their debut!

    That being said, I was quite unable to focus on anything but your eyebrows Martina! They’re completely fabulous! :O

  19. Uh, I have a lot to say, so I apologize in advance…

    First off, I TOTALLY AGREE! Man, I wrote a comment on FB before watching this saying “They’re so talented and real and YOUNG that they make me feel like I’m going to shrivel up and die of lack of achievement before I even graduate uni” and you guys said the same things! SNAP! Er, anyway, I LOVE Akdong Musician, ever since seeing their KpopStar performances, their light pop style with sweet vocals and smooth harmonies and cuteness really appealed to me. They are so original compared to most K-Pop acts, their “concept” as siblings, co-ed, a duo, singer-songwriters, non-conventional looks (but still cute) and teenagers is perfect, even more so because it’s not artificial! They’re natural! They’ve literally got talent dripping from their fingertips, her voice is very lovely and well-controlled given her age and experience and their songs are very genuine, fun-filled and light (mostly) without being fake or trashy and, you put it right, they’re so REAL!
    I am much more impressed with a group or artist that does great things “naturally” than with one that has been manufactured or at least mentored by a company; not to say companies don’t have an interesting and useful role but it does get old. It would be different if they were teaching idols how to write songs and lyrics and choreograph and produce and then letting them out into the world with free rein to use those unique skills and write their own legacy, but right now companies control way too much and the clash of lots of people trying to manage one band means that inconsistent quality and concepts with insincere and overly risky songs are rife.
    Just an example, I bought f(x)’s Pink Tape album, and while I love the album, I was looking through the booklet and what struck me most was that there were about a million names being credited, in like a 50-page booklet, with f(x)’s faces in the background, and yet you’d be stretched to see their own names anywhere in that mile-long movie-length credit list. I thought that was a little shocking to be honest. It’d be different if it was a movie and f(x) were just actors cast in roles where they’re told what to say and they’re judged on how well or how convincingly they can say it, because actors do not take responsibility for a movie; it’s as much the director’s as it is the producers’ and scriptwriter’s and actors’, and the critique from the audience gets split as such. But in K-Pop, these idols are the faces of their company and they take a lot of the rotten tomatoes that get thrown when their superiors are the ones who made the mistakes e.g. when girl groups do sexy concepts. Anyway, tangent.

    I’m sorry you didn’t really give Melted much of a mention really, both song and MV, because they were both some of the best this year personally. Grey colourless videos don’t usually grab me but this was perfectly done and added a whole new dimension to the already-fantastic song, especially as I don’t understand the lyrics. Favourite song on the album by far, even from first listen, it’s so mature and considered that I can’t believe it came from an 18 year old. As for Give Love, I agree that the album version is a little too sweet and cutesy production-wise, I personally preferred the just-guitar version they played as an audition on KPopStar, that made me a fan right away. I’m also sorry some of their best songs from KPopStar aren’t on this album, are you really not going to give You Are Attractive a proper release? That is a tune and a half~
    I’ve recently fallen in love with the K-Indie / Natural Sound scene myself, I liked Busker Busker’s albums and Eddy Kim and just the last few days URBAN ZAKAPA have been spamming my CD player, I’m addicted to that sweet, acoustic, summery, gentle sound… It’s a lot less demanding than generic K-Pop, easier on the ears, less mental energy is required. I hope it does get more popular in the Korean music industry, as well as rock and hip-hop and other genres, maybe finally the Korean audience will branch out a bit in their genre consumption?
    As for AKMU vs Lee Hi, I have to vote AKMU. Lee Hi is incredibly talented with a great unique voice and skill and potential, but she’s 17 and actually seems it, whereas AKMU don’t. Personally, I don’t feel that much emotion or sincerity in her songs? If she wrote them I think it would be different, but YG have definitely had their way with her, I listened to First Love and from the get-go Turn It Up is so YG that I couldn’t even bring myself to like it, I was just a little horrified that they did that… That said, there are some good songs on that album, a great vocal performance and YG have a good idea of what suits Lee Hi, but AKMU beat her hands down in terms of creativity/originality, likeability, sincerity, respect-ability, musical ability… Lee Hi has a lot of potential though, I hope she won’t let YG just mould her into what they think is best but actually try and discover her own style and preferences. There were quite a lot of love songs on First Love and I just can’t bring myself to believe her when she sings them, it ruins the effect a little. AKMU on the other hand I believe their every word of, because they wrote the songs themselves and they sing it like they did and no-one else could give as convincing a performance. Perhaps Lee Hi just needs a group or a companion to work with or rub against musically?
    Sorry for the rant, hope you guys get well soon :)
    P.S. “…you watch all of their [videos], and all of their behind the scenes footage, and you follow all their personal social media accounts…”
    *looks at my YouTube history consisting of EYK videos* *watches the bloopers to everything* *buys merchandise* *shifty eyes*

    “…Er, well, I don’t know what colour underwear Simon is wearing, so I guess he’s not talking to me…right??”

  20. i love how you can always squeeze some T.O.P into your videos

  21. and T.O.P and gd were neighbors,and gd was the one to convince him to audition.

  22. I’m sorta just hearing about AKMU and I give them major props for doing their own thing. I do agree with that point about how kpop’s sorta been in a rut and how it’s wierd how a group can have so many fans before they debut. I mean I was personally hyped when I heard about Double JC, but I didn’t call myself a fan until I got into them. You have to win me over and have me dedicate some time for me to call myself a fan of yours. I do think that Kpop isn’t as personable as it could be. Like all the groups I like all show off them being themselves and they do have creative control over their music. I am also not surprised that people are tired of the kpop formula. Even I can end up instantly liking something when it’s a different sound than kpop. Like they can stop all the dubstep breakdowns. But at the end of the day, music is music. If I like it, I like it. If I don’t, I’ll listen to something I do like.

  23. Yes!! Smaller, oriental eyes, and the “Hello Kitty nose” XD She’s adorable. Granted, having professionals do makeup and hair do hide some features, but they let the traditional beauty shine through.

  24. Simon, I think you’re funny! I often laugh even when it’s not meant to be a joke. “It’s quite specific…” xD Exactly my humour. THANK YOU.
    More seriously, I’m actually really intrigued by what you said about the Korean audience yearning for music that is more organic. Wouldn’t it be awesome if it inspired kpop companies and groups to get more real?
    It exists already though. Groups like Big Bang write and produce some of heir stuff if I’m not mistaken. Infinite write lyrics, and some of their songs – as well as their entire concerts! – feature actual instruments like electric and acoustic guitar and drums. And many solo artists like Juniel, IU or more recently Roh Ji Hoon go for a more folk feel. Not to forget actual pop-rock groups like CN Blue and FT island who play their instruments.
    But I do think it would be awesome if more idols went for something fresh and natural like AKMU. That is how trends work though: it gets edgier and crazier until people tire and yearn for something more stripped down. I can’t wait to see how that would influence the kpop scene.
    I have my idea on what companies and groups will warm up to the idea easily and who won’t…

  25. I really enjoy Lee Hi & Akdong Musician’s music :) Both very unique and distinct musicians!

  26. I love them for their music. The fact they’re siblings, so young, and so fresh just adds to it.

  27. People who know better, please correct me if I’m wrong – but AKMU’s song “Galaxy” was used for a Samsung Galaxy commercial and other promotion stuff a year or two ago. At least Wikipedia says so…

  28. Firefox seems to have a problem with disqus lately, or disqus with firefox :/
    Now to Akdong Musician, honestly there aren’t many kpop albums I’ve listened to more than once in their entirety, there are maybe half a dozen that I’ve had on repeat. I’m happy to report that AKMU’s album is one of them. I especially love song number 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10, and 11 :D Sorry I can’t remember the titles, which is a good sign! if I know the title of a song I’ve probably read more about it than actually listened to it…
    I don’t want to judge groups for being “manufactured” but I just have more respect for people who write and produce their own music. Some groups are better for fangirling and some are better for listening to their music, I appreciate both.

  29. Sorry, I can’t choose between Lee Hi and Akmu! They’re both so awesome and fulfill my musical needs, but in different ways. Lee Hi’s voice is ah-may-zing and her songs are like food for my soul, while Akmu are more quirky and playful, which I also love.

    In the same way, the industrial kpop and the more organic musicians fulfill my needs in different ways. I love fangirling over idol groups, because I just need to feel that passion, as much as I need to breathe, and the music is great of course, when I want fun and happy and cool music. But I also need the raw, real, sincere music from indie (or non-kpop) artists, because… well no need to explain it really, I just need it all. And I think liking one kind doesn’t mean you can’t appreciate the other. Just like you say! :)

    • You said it! I have such diverse taste in music, and I can appreciate the talent and abilities of many different groups, styles, and genres. Liking one doesn’t mean you can’t like the other.

  30. I don’t know, I feel that you guys write off a lot of kpop groups with the whole “manufactured group” with their “assembly line” music. I don’t think it’s exactly your fault because as you said you are ‘casual’ fans so probably don’t look beyond the title songs of groups. I won’t argue about the “manufactured group” because, yeah, it’s completely true. Most of the groups didn’t know each other (or at least didn’t know each other well) before they were trainees.

    However, I would like to disagree with the “assembly line” comment. More and more groups are having a say in their albums and are composing, writing lyrics, and even producing their songs. Granted most of the time they are not the title songs, but usually they are better than the title songs. Since you are just ‘casual’ fans, I think you are sort of oblivious to this since you probably only listen to what is being promoted and marketed. So quite honestly, the whole “they’re so different because they write their own music, blah blah blah” spiel doesn’t really impress me much because many of the groups that I really like also writecomposeproduce some of their own songs.

    Having said all that, I will say that it’s very rare that a group that has just debuted would be able to composewriteproduce their own songsalbum, so I will say that AKMU doing so is impressive. And I agree, AKMU does seem to have a different sound than what is normally being dished out from title songs, but once again, I feel the need to point out that on the albums it’s not all dubstep breakdowns.

    • And that is perfectly understandable and acceptable (I do it too). Who has time to sit down and listen to every song on every album that ever came out. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Unfortunately, a lot of hidden gems get missed that way though and unless you know someone who is a huge fan and can persuade you to listen to the B side songs or you happen to stumble over them you will never know what you’re missing. :/

      • *cough, cough* Symptoms *cough, cough*
        I mean, there are sooo many wonderful kpop “B sides” out there.

      • I think that would be awesome… know what else would be awesome? (I’m am going to mention this as much as I can until it happens! *stubborn*) I think in your anniversary video for the studio it was mentioned that Soozee had pretty awesome ‘throwback’ kpop playlist… Just sayin that with G.O.D and Fly to the Sky reuniting, as well as Shinhwa and Lee Hyori doing well with their most recent comebacks, it might be a great time to do something like a “Soozee’s throwback videos”. I even thought of a few different ideas you can do.

        1.) A then and Now comparison. What they sounded like then and what they sound like now (I know probably most groups aren’t promoting now but most likely at least one member is still active)
        2.) You (S&M) pick your favorites of the list and present them and then Soozee can come in and shove you away and present her favorites and if Leigh is there, she can shove in and present her favs too. ^^

        Just thoughts, but this would be a pretty good time to do it.

      • That’s an awesome idea. If you’re looking for songs from any year, I’d totally suggest Miss A – Time’s Up , 2yoon – Why Not , and Fiestar – Wicked ft.Tiger JK

      • Yes! Do that! A lot of my favourite songs are B side tracks. Sadly I only listen to the albums of the groups that impress me the most, whose sound I like best. A perfect example is Super Junior; Mr Simple was a huge hit, but the album is awesome! I’m totally biased toward Infinite, but I also recommend their albums. I need to listen to albums of other groups I like, Shinee, Miss A, Orange Caramel, and even non Kpop Korean artists. But… Time!!!
        In fact, albums tend to show a different side of groups. Showcase the talents of the lesser known members that don’t get a chance to shine on the promoted title songs. They’re an excellent way to experience an artist as a whole.
        TL;DR Awesome idea, do it!
        A music-based Kpop fan

  31. I’m really enjoying the songs that I’ve heard so far from AKMU. It took me a little bit to adjust to Soohyun’s rapping but the same thing happened with me and GD. So it is very possible that you are correct that they have a similar sound. Their videos are so brilliantly written, acted and edited, especially Melted. I love that with 200% they really, really trolled us to the end when revealing that she was actually the third wheel. Well played YG, well played.

    On to the review, I appreciate you guys pointing out some of the artists that are similar to AKMU and how they are the top of what’s actually happening in the Korean music industry. Something very important I think for fans to know and see. However I wish there would have been more AKMU/MV review and less harping on the kpop manufactured industry. It’s just, this is like the third time you’ve given this shpeel this year and truthfully I almost stopped watching a few minutes into the review. I mean I get it, I haven’t really been into this year so far, things are becoming to inundated with new groups who all sound the same but when I find something that stands out I rave on what’s wonderful about it. What I’m trying to say is I hope this won’t become thet habit/trend for your reviews and that you’ll spend more time talking about the artist and their MV more (either positive or negative) without harping on what we already know is wrong with the industry. I’m going to go curl up under my desk now, it’s very hard for me to write negatively, especially towards you guys.

    • I agree with this totally, in quite a few of their reviews recently, there has been a greater discussion on the kpop industry as a whole instead of on the videos/music itself. I don’t know if it’s just me, but in this review and some others recently, I feel like I’m being lecturered on kpop and what’s wrong with it, and why I’m wrong for liking a group whole-heartedly. I know this probably isn’t simon and martina’s intention, but this is how I feel. Honestly, it feels as if they feel superior in how they approach the music than the majority of fans do.
      Sorry for being negative, but I was curious if others feel the same.

      • Thanks for replying, I think it is me misinterpreting your enthusiasm in expressing your opinion for something else…I hope that makes sense. I do love you guys and your work, so keep being yourselves! I don’t want a situation where you guys feel as if you have to sensor yourselves.

      • Well said, I agree. The one thing that really worries me about Uber-fandoms (the unhealthy ones…cough saesangs…cough) is the stalker quality of them. Having personal experience of the terror of one person stalking me, I can only imagine how much worse it is for idols on a daily basis. I totally understand supporting and rooting for your favorite artists and bands. What I don’t get is the obsession, anti-fans, saesangs, and fan wars, to the point that idols fear for their lives and are afraid to live and have normal relationships. First of all that’s just unhealthy for the fans, but that kind of obsession is at least as hard on the idols who have to meet impossible standards of behavior, yet have a difficult time meeting their own needs as people.

        • Yeah, I used to see a lot of these “fan clubs” of scariness in manga (still do but read less of those types of titles) and I always wondered if this cliche started based on real life behaviour or if it was such a useful invented cliche that it got over-used to the point that people now actually think it’s acceptable to do it in real life. Does anyone know? How much of this type of behaviour really happens in the average Korean/Japanese classroom? It’s scary either way. I, too, was stalked at one point and it was even by someone I knew and it freaked the crap out of me. I can’t imagine being stalked by *groups* of *strangers*……brrrrr…….or the need to be in an invisible cage for your own protections…..

          BTW Sub(liminal)- I like the cut of your jib too XD

      • I worry that after doing KMM for so long means that they are a little burnt out on seeing the same thing from the Kpop industry and that shows in their vids. Especially when fans keep voting the same stuff to the top of the charts because its whats promoted outside Korea?

        • The reason I started watching your videos was because you pointed out the small funny things about the videos (like Siwon’s moustache). Also I came for the KMM but stay for the TL;DRs the FAPFAPs, WANKs and WTFs. Mostly what I love is the EYK Crew :) I’d love to see more Soooozeee in KMM for a Korean perspective :)

    • Make that for three. Sorry guise I love your KMMs and all but I have long accepted K-Pop’s mechanical and inorganic nature of music production for a while now. I do agree with you both that AKMU does bring a lot to the table and I love their music and their videos and I myself am a big fan of them. The sincerity and the emotion put into their lyrics and videos are conveyed almost effortlessly without me having to second-guess it at any point. However when the bigger groups like Shinee or Big Bang release new material I solely judge it, like you Simon, on the “how-much-do-I-like-it” factor over anything else.

      I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’ve accepted the artificial nature of K-Pop AND the growth of groups like AKMU and Busker Busker that are more honest and real. For me, both can totally coexist.

      • I slightly disagree with you/all. Maybe kpop has always had a formula (?) but I really am not feeling that it was always so……inorganic/sadistic in the past. Certainly it seems that the “training” is longer now, the schedules are crazier and the artificial feelings and sexy looks are at an all time high? I used to get the impression that the kpop artists were having some fun, now they all look so gaunt and sad……Isn’t it a sad state that you are vilified by your fans for announcing at age 30 that you might be dating someone? Also, you have to admit, the formula is broken with the large number of meh kpop releases in the last year so…. Are you saying that we should all just pretend that it isn’t and not say anything and let the labels trek down this road to doom? Or should we politely point out that “hey! maybe you should adjust your course a little kpop labels?” and then everyone benefits?

        • I totally agree with you. I’m more and more skeptical when it comes to Kpop. I still enjoy a lot of songs, and I have my favourites that I think are still truly enjoying themselves doing music, but a lot of is increasingly meh. I find myself more appealed to smaller labels than before… But even Woollim is sort of under SM now… Sigh. I’ll still love what I love and tune out when I’m less into it I guess.

    • Of course there is! Come huddle underneath my desk with me. I have room for three more if anyone else would like to join.

  32. I’ve been a fan of AKMU since day 1. There’s some song they’ve done for Kpop Star 2, orginal songs, that are SOOOOOO great (and funny) it’s hard to believe. I really like Melted and 200% as well, even though the first is a bit different from their usual bubly, quirky, funny stuff.

    So, I suggest everyone that is just starting to know them to go and check out those songs (that were also really highly ranked in Korean charts when they were “released” last year):
    – Is It Ramyun?
    – Crescendo
    – Bean Dduk Bing Soo [Bean Ice Flakes with Rice Cake] (aka Paris Baguette song)
    – I Love You
    There’s a MV for the 2 last one, and a perf video for the two first one. Oh, and also the song they did for their audition is quite good too.

    I would have like the MM to talk just a little bit more about Melted since it’s so popular and I was wondering what EYK had to say about the MV.

  33. I honestly don’t care about the backstory of singers. If your music sounds good to me, then I like it.

    I’m more or less indifferent of Akdong. I’m not becoming attached to their songs unfortunately. I think it just might be that I really don’t care too much about ballads (I think they sing ballads…). I like that singers put emotion and feelings to these ballads, but most of the time, I just feel bored with them. I do have some ballads in my iphone, but most have something that makes it interesting to listen to, like rock or a change in tune.

    It’s great that they are seen as more natural in the kpop scene along with other groups. I just wish there’d be something natural in kpop that isn’t a ballad. Maybe I’ll go lurk in the k-indie scene for a while to listen to hard rock.

  34. Hakama. Also worn by Japanese shrine monks/men as well. And in Aikido. They are back in the da styles these days both those straps make them somehow much more attractive than in the 90s ;).

  35. for me, akmu is not a group I would consider talented…if I wanted to listen to a talented singer,it is all the singers who release songs that are quite depressing if you don’t like ballads

  36. Even though it’s not exactly my style, I really like AKMU, both their sound and authenticity. I think that the whole “not manufactured” part of it attracts me more just because I find it more reliable. Reliable that the next/other songs that they put out will have some of the same flavour, most likely even the same genre, especially within an album. Most bands, even if I don’t like ALL of their songs, I can at least appreciate the ones that aren’t my favourite. With kpop, it’s so all-over-the-map in both genre and quality so that I really like and really hate two or more songs on the same album by the same group so I would find myself more likely to just pick up singles and not get excited about any new stuff on the way because I have absolutely no idea if I will like it or not.

    I also thought the “third wheel” part of the video (which one again?) was really really well done, I was surprised at the end. Top notch acting.

    As for KMM, another great jorb guise! I really liked your delivery of opinions on the group and videos together and Simon – perfect finger-pointing there – TOTALLY AGREE! Martina, I really like your pink eyebrows! Super nifty!

  37. I really like Melted. It make me cry every time i watch the MV. I like their freshness. I thought that they were really close to each other (like real good friend), but i didn’t know that they were siblings until you said it. I like that they are different from K-pop music without being Americanize (<- i don't know if that's a word).

    Too bad you didn't talk more about their MV

  38. I personally don’t usually like the singer/songwriter set. I blame YEARS of contact with my local music scene so I am pretty burned out on garage bands and coffee shop idols. The “struggle” does mean you’re better and it doesn’t mean you’re naturally more deserving of success.
    Now, I love AKMU. A lot. But because they’re really good. Like unreal good. I don’t put them in a different category than the other groups/singers I like. I just want quality music with at least semi-intelligent lyrics, dancing where appropriate and a good video. And for that y’all are SO right, AKMU is refreshing and talented.

    • I agree with you. I really don’t like this attitude of “you can’t be a good singer/songwriter/artist unless you’ve been through hell and back”. Struggle and pain don’t make you a better musician. Practice, training, and hard work do.

    • talented has a different definition for me tho…I like songs that have powerful vocals opposed to cheerful songs that akmu and most groups produce

    • You’re welcome? Lol!
      Simon, how much of that has to do with the hip-hop scene? There was such emphasis put on being real and having cred in the era of Biggie and Tupac and Nas etc that I feel like it skewed my view of talent and worth.

      • I’m not sure if I can talk about the hip hop scene that much. I was really into it growing up, but then I became a bit disenchanted by it when it started getting too commercial. I got into the underground scene a lot more, but then found that it was a bit too…grumpy and political. Then I dropped it altogether for a while. So I wouldn’t necessarily say my hip-hop-ness affects my views of talent and worth in Kpop, but it definitely does affect my distaste of bad rapping in Kpop :D

        Otherwise, I get back into hip hop from time to time. MF Doom really got my attention, and then Kendrick Lamar, but otherwise there’s few and far between that I’m really into for hip-hop lately.

        • That actually answers my question, lol! I quit listening when people quit having anything to say that was original. That was right around the time that the whole scene went mainstream and it stopped being about talent and started being about mass marketed shock value. I’d rather an honest rap about non-hood things that a forced one about whatever constitutes thug life these days.
          Excuse me, I need to find my walker and bowl of pureed prunes while I chase this whippersnappers off my lawn.
          Oh and I have to say that this issue is actually what led me to kpop in the first place. I was sick to death of misogyny being packaged and shoved at me like I’m supposed to be stupid enough to notice you’re advocating drugged date rape just because you’ve packaged it over mediocre beats. Psssshhh.

        • “I was sick to death of misogyny being packaged and shoved at me like I’m supposed to be stupid enough to notice you’re advocating drugged date rape just because you’ve packaged it over mediocre beats. ”

          Hell! I never thought of it in words like that. Daaaamn. I know now, though, when I listen to some of the older hip hop I grew up with, I feel kinda hesitant with singing along.

        • It makes me so sad that while we’re not far apart in age, the hip-hop of my youth was Dre, Snoop, DMX, Timbaland, Missy, Biggie, Jay-Z, and Tupac and throwback jams were Run DMC. I wish everyone had come up during that time. I do realize that the regional nature of the business means a lot as well (Timbaland, Missy and Blackstreet are from within 10 miles of my house) and I’m pretty sure that though Detroit has a hood, a lot of YOUR exposure was influenced by the Midwest where they have no ‘hood. Interestingly enough, Detroit was the loudest complainer about the Midwest having no “reason” to rap, no “culture” or “struggle” to back it up.
          Again, if my choice is k-pop or k-hip-hop and it’s lack of ‘hood but with good flow and speed and feel or, say Rick Ross, Plies or 2Chainz…..

  39. I really like them so far. I’ve been listening to them so much over the past few weeks. My favorite is 200% it’s just so fresh. Also I have so much fun singing along to it, it makes me feel bubbly happy!

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