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. Well, originally I tried to find the videos on youtube and watched the wrong AKMU video (give love), so I voted for Lee Hi, but after watching the video here, I’d say it’s really close. Immediately when I started listening to Rose, I turned up the volume on my brand new vacuum tube headphone amp. I like the sound overall (how it was mixed) and the smoothness of Lee Hi’s voice. AKMU, however, tries to go over a wider vocal range. As far as the music video goes, AKMU was more active in theirs, but I thought that Lee Hi’s Rose had a bit more of a cool factor. Do I change my vote? I’d say yes, because AKMU covers more of the vocal range, though Lee Hi’s rose is a tad bit more dynamic in the power presented by the singer’s voice. Yes, I’d say I narrowly change my vote to AKMU.

  2. I really can’t choose between Lee Hi and Akdong Musician because I seriously love them both. And I think they both have talents, even though Lee Hi tends to be a little expressionless and bland. Lee Hi’s voice is powerful and unique and Akdong’s Musician is like a breath of fresh air. Both are talented.

  3. For me it was a hard decision but I ended up choosing Akdong Musician. It’s really catchy! :3

  4. Kate Plogstedt

    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…

  5. I’ve listened a little bit to their entire album and while I’m not in live with all of the tracks, melted and 200% , are amazing. Wasn’t much of a fan during kpopstar so I was a bit surprised.

    And the videos were cute and really fresh.

    As for fans being obsessed with groups and already super mega fans before they hear a song I will never understand. Like I do follow groups relatively well. But generally only groups that released more than one song that I actually like. I just can’t wrap my head around the idea of loving a song you haven’t heard yet or that down right stinks. Sure an artist might of worked hard, but so does all the many others in the industry. And I’m not going to purchase an album that sucks just for a group to win a trophy.

    I’ve always been a bit iffy about k pop songs released because often times I dislike many of them. And I guess my tastes lean more towards k-indie which I sort of want to push akmu into. There really isn’t anything “pop”y about their songs. It’s a wave of freshness that they are sweeping charts instead of them being dominated by songs that sound similar.

  6. i really like the kmm and i totally agree with martian. spread the genes! but i wish you talked about the melted video. i completely agree about what you said about the industry. i like happy and pumped up kpop songs but i haven’t heard many slow emotional songs that i like from idol groups and i think one of the reasons is idols not being involved with the songs. and since it looks like self composing groups are getting more popular, it makes me wonder if groups being more involved is just another way for the company to advertise them and they may not be as involved as we think they are or it’s just another part of their job. i don’t think that’s the case with akmu though.

  7. pierrotinlove

    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!

  8. leelandluver

    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.

  9. somehow i think this video is going to give spoiler alert then you will tell us how the story in the video goes along with the lyrics
    well hope you best of health ^^

  10. After viewing both AKMU’s “Give Love” and “200%” and Lee Hi’s “Rose” I see it is a hard choice. While both groups are visually appealing, I was drawn to the artistic “white monochromatic with splashes of vibrant magenta, and pinks” of the M/V Rose, but was also drawn to the mini story and cute acting in “Give Love” and “200%”. Both have an easy listening and pleasant sound as well. But ultimately AKMU won out for me. I will say that Lee Hi is gorgeous in this video and has a spectacular beautiful voice to boot, and I even “got” the lyrical version of “don’t like me, I’ll only hurt you” , but it just didn’t flow as well since she gives us no background as to why she is so thorny, why love and emotion is just an extravagance to her. Are we supposed to already be away of her baggage or past heartbreak? It definitely matched the theme, and I think it was beautiful, but I think they tried to be deep here, and it was a beautiful song, but I really gravitated towards the fun indie-pop sound and visuals (could I even say “gently steering us to see it’s deeper story??) of the sibling duo, even though the message of the songs is slightly similar, hmmmm. One giving love that the other won’t take??? Too cute! Love it!

  11. i think they are popular because the aready have fanbase or familiar with public in korea since they came from audition show when people watch it l
    just like busker-busker but both of their song is awesome, they already have an ost before, so they already known to public
    not to mention they are not talented but this show is just like showing a rookie, winner from wg did that,debut of new group is like that,it just they debut on the show, it’s like saying prolog song to exo even though that also 1st single
    they have a natural talent,yes one of the best, but i wanted to defend that it doesn’t wrong to be trainee at young age
    and especially if you are good looking and did’t know what your best at
    people who’s good at something will never know unless their tried and if you no better at school or you still don’t know what best at you, you must try something different, being a trainee is like an academy of music
    who knows you are great at teaching dance that dancing itself,or you are great at managing a performer
    as i see,kpop group from trainee is just looking for an opportunity, they debut so people can know them so they will have a chance to do other things on tv
    i find they also admirable because not all born with natural talent or have a unique voice to win an audition show, but there’s a people who is good at singing but not great but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t sing
    good looking people is not at fault, they need to maximize their potential, kind of sad when a person is so beautiful people tend to judge them not talented because their appearance,
    all people have talent but not everyone have blessing to know it earlier
    so have a good day sir.

  12. I wuv your shirt, Martina!!!

  13. Oh no! I wish you could’ve talked about their “Melted” single :(
    The music video was pretty good too.

  14. Simon, Martina, and Eat Your Kimchi crew!
    I would like to let you know I hold you all responsible for my inability to listen to anything other than Kpop music! My ipod is full of kpop of all kinds. I have to listen to it when I drive and before I go to sleep! If I forget my IPod and have to listen to anything else in the car, I get so mad and have to turn off the radio right away! I hope you all eat moldy kimchi and get sick.

    Okay joking about everything above, but my friends are really annoyed when I put on my music and start singing along. I do want to thank you for the musicians you have introduced to me, I feel cultured when I listen to kpop and watch you videos. Please continue your hard work and future videos, lots of love from Minnesota!

  15. I love how they could make their own music, arrange their songs and also blend their voices when they sing. Them being siblings, give them the upper hand chemistry wise. And yes they have that YG swag but because YG lets them keep their style, their sound is really fresh to hear! It is summer here in the Philippines (yes, we only have two seasons, but April and May are the hottest months of the year so we call it summer) and AKMU’s 200% and Give Love just fit the vibe of chilling by the beach or sound trippin’ while in a road trip.

  16. 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.

  17. wow…..i just thought on asking you guys to do reviews on their mv…i really love them since their l love you mv (they are not under YG yet i think at that moment)

    i’m actually 100% agree with you guys… they are totally different with others and listening to them are like giving me a breather from all other kpop groups…they are just very refreshing… in the midst of all those heavy songs, music, smoky make-up (i don’t really know kpop groups besides YG but i really get the feeling that everyone is trying to be cool and dark…dunno..maybe?) AKMU comes out with the innocent image and fluffy-like music…?is it fluffy?bubble gum?err…. so either way, for me they really stand out from the rest… innocently stand out?

    i love Lee Hi..her voice is just breath-taking..i mean don’t you think that her voice is very amazingly powerful? and depending on the song, her voice manages to send chills down my spine…very good and good…what else could i say? but Akdong Musician makes me happy (aside from melted…melted makes me cry T_T)…listening to them makes me happy…their facial expressions in the mv makes me happy….they have this positive aura around them…and added with the fact that i don’t even understand what they are singing and i don’t even have any idea what they say, they still managed to make me happy. Lee Hi???not quite….even cute song like it’s over doesn’t leave this kind of impact to me…

    hm….the brother really does sounds like GD…but that maybe because the brother has a quite nasally voice?or he does not?i do think he do have that kind of voice though….and GD always use that kind of voice in his rap….or he does not?hahaha…now i’m the one who is confused…

  18. 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!

    • Meh, I think it’s because most of the haters are hardcore fans who think their ‘oppas’ can do no wrong, should never be criticized or made fun of, since they are perfect and fart out rainbows! etc, etc.

  19. WHAT?!?! YOU DONT LIKE DISNEY SONGS?!?!1?!1?1?? heheheh thats okay, even though theyre my favorite, I hate showtunes and broadway songs and those are equally cheesy so I guess we’re even :P

    Also, can I choose both AKMU and Lee Hi because I love them botttttthhhhh~~~

  20. 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!

  21. i always feel like my soul die a little whenever Martina mention she doesn’t like musical. LOL

  22. 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

  23. I’ve been feeling the same thing about Kpop recently. Everything feels too… “perfect”. Personally, I feel like music should make you feel something and this era of Kpop has reached the point where a majority of songs coming out lack that certain quality. Not to be disrespectful of all the hard work the artists put into making that song, it’s just that I feel like the majority of entertainment companies only focus on making money (it’s their job after all) and in the process of trying to make something “perfect”, it just becomes mechanical.

    On the flip side of the argument however, I believe that more and more groups are putting their *own* music out there. They’re getting more involved in the music making process. It could just be a rapper writing his/her own lyrics or a talented producer mixing the whole track. It’s a slow trend but I hope that it’ll grow to that point where that mechanical feel is just a thing of the past.

    BTW it’s just my opinion and obviously doesn’t apply to every kpop group out there.

    Side note: Has anyone listened to AKMU’s whole album? :) It’s amazing how they can capture everyday things (like sitting in the subway) and turn it into music.

  24. One thing I noticed about these two was that it was a boy and girl promoting together. Other then special subunits, DOES THIS EVER HAPPEN IN KPOP?! Seriously, this is an endangered species right here haha. I recently read an article about why there were barely any co-ed groups out there that gave lots of good reasons, but I’m really happy to see these two defining those norms!

  25. hi my comment is short xD
    i think AKMU are very refreshing, i mean their sound. When i first hear them i was like…. this is soo smooth (can i use to describe a song??… ) anyway. The groups that i know that joins a female and a male voice are pretty so underrated, or the group that came with a formula didn’t make it, but like you say their so much natural even when their looking each other.

    I love your reviews but i think that you should talk about their videos, for example MELTED. Great video, nice vocals, a history very good told and just a little english.

    Thanks Martina and Simon i hope i meet you some day. Greetings from Chile.

  26. Jack Stachowicz

    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.

  27. I am so glad you guys went with AKMU this week! I was really surprised by them- in a good way! “Melted” was probably the first KPOP video that made me cry- although Lee Michelle’s “Without You” gave it a run for it’s money.

    I really would have loved a breakdown on “Melted” from your perspective. There is just so much going on in that video, and I love hearing your opinions on symbolism and other fancy sounding things. However, I totally understand why you chose not to. For one, I bet it’s pretty hard to get all analytical over a video when you’re nursing a cold. Feel better!

    Plus, it gave you a nice platform to go over AKMU as a whole, and not just focus on one video. As for your perspective on the KPOP industry- I definitely agree with you. On all points. I guess I just don’t understand the huge influence of the Company over the Artist. The company should support an artist they believe in- not the other way around. I mean, of course a big entertainment company wants to make cash, but I feel like they’ve forgotten why they got into the music business in the first place. Somewhere in the beginning, the guy who launched it all had to come from a place of loving music.

    And while I have my favorites amongst the Shinees and Super Juniors and Girls Generations of the KPOP world, it is indeed nice to hear something that is a bit more, as you said, organic.

    Keep up the good work you two!

    • I agree! I just finally got to watch the Melted MV and now I really wish there was a full KMM on the video! Simon and Martina I hope you will go back and review it sometime!

      That said, I didn’t have a problem with the industry analysis. I do feel that Kpop has sort of become a mishmash of whatever’s trendy at times and that reputation is what is keeping a lot of these groups management companies going. I agree with many others that 2007-2009 were amazing years and since that time it hasn’t been quite the same — though there are exceptions of course.

      What doesn’t make sense to me is that if AKMU, Busker Busker and the like are killing it on the charts why the companies don’t realize like “Hm…maybe we should stop trying to cram in trends and be true to the artist and their style…”

      That said, while I agree with the premise that organic > manufactured is ideal in most cases and I think the organic style of AKMU is very much needed; I think one should consider that even manufactured groups and the people within them can grow over time. TVXQ is a great example of this; their earlier stuff was sort of eehhh to me, but I felt they really hit their stride with Mirotic, Wrong Number and their later tracks. And even though they are no longer together, I feel that the members of JYJ/TVXQ! have grown in different ways. (It makes me wish SM would let them co-exist rather than try to stifle their ex/competition).

      • You make a really good point about manufactured groups being able to grow. For instance, Spica is another great example to me. Their earlier stuff is very cookie-cutter, girl group cutesy-sexy image. But their more recent stuff (Tonight, You Don’t Love Me) is freaking awesome. I hope they continue to go with this more mature, vocal sound.

        Having never really seen any TVXQ stuff, I am going to have to check them out. I know they are a fan favorite- I am surprised I haven’t explored their music at all.

        I think the big companies aren’t taking a hint from Busker Busker and the like because, to be honest, they don’t have as much WORLDWIDE appeal compared to the idol groups. I mean, my first introduction to KPOP was through Super Junior and Girls Generation. These over the top idol groups are what get the attention of the world, not a more indie, organic style of group, like Urban Zakapa or Glen Check. They might be super popular in Korea and even have their international fans, but it’s nothing compared to, say, Big Bang or TVXQ.

        • I’ve only started exploring old TVXQ stuff pretty recently myself. Namely, I got exposed to JYJ through EYK’s reviews and then been watching them do dramas, so it made me curious about what they were like when they were part of TVXQ.

          If nothing else you will get a laugh at some of the hair/clothing getups that SM made them wear back in the day! JaeJoong’s hair in this video from 2004 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wndwZKjnFE) is WOAH (I would so kill to have that kind of volume!). Also, white satin pants, really? I can’t help but wonder if they look back at these old videos and laugh.

          That’s a good point about worldwide exposure. My first exposure too was through Wonder Girls, so you have a point there. Plus the big management companies can take these groups to do concerts in the U.S., Europe and elsewhere in the world, something that indie groups do not do.

  28. I understand that this is about AKMU, and while I love their sound. The only thing I kept noticing was in the background of the bloopers… there is Block-B on the laptop. Easter egg for next weeks Music Monday Perhaps?!?!?! I hope so!!!! ^_^

  29. DaYoung Yun

    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.

  30. Akira Miyashi

    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…

  31. Am I the only one who finds it weird that they’re acting out the love scenes?

  32. So basically…you’re bored with k-pop? Well, that makes a lot of sense, that’s why EYK just doesn’t have the same feels any more. I still think you guys are great people though – hopefully one day I’ll be able to visit your coffee shop!

  33. 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.

  34. Well, I have to agree with what some people are saying about this review. I was sooo thrilled that you guys were going to talk about 3 MVs of AKMU, but I was literally half-way in and you were still talking about the industry:( And you just barely mentioned anything about the MVs.

    I also find their songs very refreshing. Not only that, their MVs were sooo original compared to every other kpop group. I am just so happy with YG and him letting them do what they want. Some people don’t give YG credit, but it takes some courage to let brand new artists do whatever they want and pick a song title. Props to that.
    As for Lee HI and AKMU competition…..it’s close, but I would have to give it to AKMU. in terms of skill, for such a young age the brother knows what sounds good and knows how to uniquely form songs that can be listened to by everyone. Soohyun is also to be credited because she can act really good! and she can harmonize to the T. Lee Hi still doesn’t know how to create songs and is still kind of awkward, but I am sure it will change as she gets more used to the industry.

  35. 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.

  36. My personal opinion is that Lee Hi is more talented then Akdong Musician. I guess this is coming from a person who actually listens to kpop for it’s music. Sure, I do agree that Lee Hi could act a little bit more… less dead, but I don’t listen to the music because of the acting. *cough 2ne1 *cough. Anyway, Lee Hi’s voices just spectacular. In my head, I place her second, right after Ailee. Hey, I like Akdong Musician, but their voices are mediocre. They are cute though!!! So, Lee Hi everyone!!!!

  37. I like the Block B photo in the backround.

  38. I really like AKMU, and I’m totally happy that their charm and genuineness weren’t changed by the label under its regular standarts. and of cource there’s nothing more organic than brother and sister singing together and sharing their incredible talent with us, but at this point I really do feel pity for those k-pop bands that weren’t that lucky and were promoted and constructed according to the certain marketing standarts (that might probably get selled a lot, but like you guys, I am just getting bored of them). buuut it’s still all about music, isn’t it? even if we talk about some silly non-serious bubble-gum k-pop music.

  39. Hannah

    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.

  40. vannia

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

  41. I haven’t actually agreed with you guys in a long time (we usually just have different taste), but I was incredibly happy to see that you guys are also giving Akdong Muscisian some love. I first heard their song “ramyun” ages ago when they did it on Kpop Star, and I’m so happy to see that being under a label hasn’t changed their charm.

  42. 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

  43. 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??”

  44. probably not a good idea to watch this video right before bed, now I can’t get ACMU! – out of my head …thanks.

  45. Your eyebrows look so cool, Martina! love the color :)

  46. *T.O.P*BOOMshakalakalova<3*-*

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

  47. 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, 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 and teenagers is perfect, even more so because it’s not produced by a company! 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.
    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~

  48. This KMM feels more like a comparison between AkMu and other singers/groups. I was actually hoping to hear something about the scenes from the MV but since I didn’t see any, I am quite disappointed. Hope that when you guys review AkMu again, you’ll actually talk about their MV.

  49. Comparing AkMu to Lee Hi is like comparing apples to oranges because they’re quite different stuff. However… I say I’d have to go with AkMu.

  50. hapagirl

    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.

  51. I LOVE AKDONG. They’re so refreshing & real ♡♡♡ I seriously hope they don’t get ps or anything because I think a lot of young kids can look up to them and say “hey, I don’t have to be “pretty” according to social standards in order to be successful & loved”

  52. I kinda see your point on how people start to like a group even before debut. I start to like a group after they debut (which would be normal). But for example, I can say I kinda liked AKMU before they debuted but because I was exposed to them and their songs. I didn’t watch kpopstar, a friend told me about them on Kakao so I decided to check them out and fell in love with them. I’m a YG bias so I will always look forward for their new stuff and debuts but after I’m not exposed to them like I was with AKMU I remain neutral. Another good example would be DMTN (actually when I became a fan they were already a year old), I kept listening to them featuring with MC Mong until one day I became really curious and decided to check them out (little did I knew that I was going to find my favorite kpop boy group). I think there is a possibility to like a group (or solo singer) before they debut but if you have been (somehow) exposed to their music. I hope this makes sense.

  53. 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…

  54. earthmoonsun

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

  55. bigbangfosho

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

  56. 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…

  57. 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.

  58. 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! :)

    • leelandluver

      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.

  59. Oh Martina… You are so much stronger than I!!

  60. unicornsgalaxy

    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.

    • You’re right: we usually just listen to the title songs and what’s playing in the streets here in Korea, and we rarely sit down to give a full album a chance. I think that, if I’m not fully sold on the title track, then I often view that as an advertisement for the album. Like, “this is the best song that we have: check out the rest of the album if you like it!” you know?

      • unicornsgalaxy

        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. :/

        • I’m actually thinking: what if we did a Kpop Music Monday on some of the best non-title, non Music Video tracks? If there are lots of gems out there that didn’t get a good marketing push behind them, then maybe we should share those in a vid. Whaddaya think?

        • 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

        • Jase Aaron

          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

        • unicornsgalaxy

          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.

        • thisisjustforfunval

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

        • paulpederson

          Y E S ! Definitely do this. I’m surprised how often great songs are “buried” in an album.

          By the way… “PINK TAPE” by f(x) was an *outstanding* album that had the feeling of having been on a journey. Beautifully chosen set of songs.
          D-UNIT is a hugely talented group, strong vocals AND dance. I recommend 주말이 오기전에 (Before the Weekend), but check their other songs too!!

      • I agree with the feeling title should be an advertisement… but like I think it’s not the case a lot anymore… Like on 2NE1′s Crush album they made come back home the title… but Crush in my opinion was 50billion times better… But then again it’s hard to be like, well I don’t like this song, but let me check out the entire album/ep/mini album to see if there are hidden tracks of gold… Yay for AKMU though. I really loved them since they were on that show. It’s so great to have a full album :3

    • i’m not really sold on that. singles is how they introduce themselves to new fans and it’s all casual fans hear. i’m only a casual fan too so maybe it’s more common that i know of and I’m saying this about the artists i know have a similar case but writing a couple of songs in a album is not what made them successful or why fans like them in the first place. It’s more a like a bonus for the fans. especially when in a lot of cases those song can fit right in with other songs that are written for the singer and don’t have any special flavor or signature of the artist. that doesn’t make me like them any less but still i think it’s a lot harder to base your career on your own art and thoughts like most bands do.

  61. I agree with you guuuise…!!! K-pop is to me kind of a GUILTY PLEASURE, specially when I’m a classical music student LOL…anyways, AKMU is a group that I can actually listen without feeling that way, they are quite different from the others and YES the fact that the whole album was composed and produced by them is very impressive not only because of their age but also because of the enviorment they work at, I mean YG is not as awfull at creating new grups as SM or JYP or many other companies but at the end all of them make money out of gorgeous people that sing/dance/model/act sooo… AKMU ROCKS
    Also I would like to say that this akmu girl is so freaking pretty she has that asian beauty that many girls/women in kpop goups try to avoid…

    • Wishy

      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.

  62. oo u didnt mention melted!!! that one is just pure amazing!! i love 200% n give love but melted is just so good!!

  63. They’re really likeable and like you said, they’re a breath of fresh air. I’ve never really seen a brother+sister act in kpop before (minus the twins in Boyfriend)

  64. thisisjustforfunval

    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.

    • Is there enough space for two people under your desk? Because what you wrote is exactly how I feel about this KMM.

      • thisisjustforfunval

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

      • 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.

        • Cyber_3

          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.

        • Totally agree with you there! Sad that they are basically robots now, but hopefully it is something that they do want in the long run. I still love them though. My heart really goes out to them! I hate that everyone is giving Simon and Martina such a hard time about the criticism of the industry. Can no one take a damn joke anymore and sarcasm??! Hey, the most improvement that I’ve ever had in life has began because of some great constructive criticism. And hey, these two rag on each other and have jokes and pokes at those around them, they see it a comedy and entertainment. Wish everyone would get their undies out their crack and loosen up!!

    • Das Schafchen

      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.

      • Disclaimer: The following opinions do not reflect Simon and Martina’s opinions and are my own. Feel free to agree or disagree. I only ask that you read with an open mind and think not just about the content, but also the intent. This is important.

        I’m going to have to disagree with you on that. It’s much less feeling superior than it is the intent of driving home a message. It is a relevant message and will continue to be so for a long while because of their ongoing success and the issues lies more than just the machine-like workings of the industry. This is also about the people who are fans. There is nothing wrong with loving and appreciating a group, anticipating their next single or appearance, but it’s a concern how much effort and time is spent doing these things, to the point of obsession.

        You have to remember (or know, if you haven’t heard it yet) that both Simon and Martina are concerned with the younger audience and how they learn to view relationships, particularly of the romantic sort. In fact, you absolutely can view the message they are trying to convey to us about “KPOP love” to “romantic love”. Obsession does not equal love, or at the very least is a perverted form of it. As a fan, you (not directly you, but please allow the use as a general, collective “you”) are constantly watching their every move; you devote your life to studying and memorizing their activities and schedule, you call them unfaithful if they so much as glance at another person wrong (whether or not interpretation of this glance is even correct), and blame AND berate them for not meeting your expectations if they are any less than the image you made in your mind.

        Does this sound familiar to you at all?

        Even more, it’s unfair to the group. As an idol, they’ve essentially contracted away their humanity. They’ve become subjected for their physical appearances and images rather than their own self, and that can go two of many ways:

        1) You feel obligated to completely pull them down from the pedestal you yourself have put them on and then attack them as a way of hoping they learn (or in less honourable cases, wishing they die) when they do make mistakes, or

        2) You completely ignore their flaws and mistakes in favour of maintaining your image of them in your head. Because they’re just so cute/innocent/sexy/good-looking/etc. Yeah.

        This relationship can be viewed as codependent, and while it sounds oh so passionate and glorious in fiction, it’s just that: fiction. In the real world, a relationship with any of the aspects listed above is neither ideal nor healthy. There would be no room for communication, which they (Simon and Martina) highly push for in ANY relationship, be it romantic or not. In fact, in the KPOP group case, there really isn’t any communication, seen for reasons below:

        The harsher truth is I have intentionally used “you” as a collective for a reason, because that’s what fans are to groups and to companies: a collective group. You are another face among many because to you, the group is also another face among many (as much as that face strikes your fancy). In most cases, that sums up your relationship with the KPOP group right there. It is superficial. That’s it.

        From where I stand, there are more repercussions to obsessive fangirling/boying (I stress on the word obsessive) than there are benefits, and some people fail to see what and why. For those that are worrying cases, it is a genuine concern that they will project this relationship they have with a KPOP group to their personal relationships. Usually, they don’t end well, if they end at all, and usually those that don’t end continue comparatively unhappily and/or unhealthily.

        Obsession =/= Love
        Codependence =/= Healthy
        You as a fan does not necessarily =/= centre of your group’s world, regardless of what they say

        P.S. Everyone is human, makes mistakes, and HAVE FEELINGS. Please treat them how you want to be treated, realistically. It’s concerning that I have to add that last word. And concerning it has to be said at all.

        • 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.

        • Cyber_3

          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

      • No, you’re right. We often talk about the industry as a whole, and how a specific artist or video play within that paradigm. However, I’m not sure where the “feels as if they feel superior” approach comes in. That’s a bit vague, and I’m not sure how we could say anything towards that claim.

        We try our best to state our opinions, but also ask others what they think. If we’re confident in our delivery, it’s because we’re just passionate people. It doesn’t mean that we think better of ourselves, or think less of others. We’re loud. That’s all :D

        • 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?

        • I think, when we first started doing KMMs, Kpop was very fresh and new to us, but we’ve been doing this for years now. There’s very little that’s new or original in Kpop, which is why whenever something different pops up – like Orange Caramel, Psy, Akdong Musician, etc – then we get really excited. I swear, I don’t know what I’m going to be able to say about another freaking box set video…

        • 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 :)

        • Das Schafchen
          Das Schafchen

          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.

    • No! Don’t apologize for your comment. I totally understand. There’s nothing wrong with you not liking a video we did :D

      Anyhow, I wouldn’t worry about this being a trend in our videos. Our Kpop Music Mondays are very…inconsistent? Some days we feel like talking about the industry. Some days we feel like talking about symbolism. Some days we feel like talking about what we work out to. Some days we feel like interviewing a moustache. Some days we feel like making a full parody. It just depends. Different weeks, different videos, different circumstances, all affect us in different ways.

      It’s like us with Kpop bands: we really like some of their songs, and other times we don’t like the songs. Doesn’t mean that we hate the band altogether, though. Hopefully, we can make more videos than you like rather than videos that you dislike, and we can still see you around the comment section :D

  65. 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.

    • They also have a bunch of really good songs that never were officially released. I really like Ugly (which was done on the show) and Ouch (which was done pre- Kpop Star 2)

    • leelandluver

      Yeah, I have several of their songs from Kpop star in my favorite songs playlist and I listen to them regularly. They were so good.

  66. I think its like that meme “…Cause _____ is too mainstream..” now that Kpop is taking over the world and that seems to be one of the only things Korea is known for now, the people are rebelling against it? Starting to… promote more indie sounds if you will? I wouldn’t blame them! But, thats my opinion anyways.

  67. I love melted so much. I might’ve gotten a little…. You know… Emotional while watching the mv.
    What’s your opinion on melted S&M?

  68. I really like AKMU. But I feel like it always people personal taste. I mean I like them because I really like how they sing and the style the music is. I do listen to other kpop artist ans grouos but personally this style of music is more of my taste it it goes for other indie style music. But I am glad you talk about the artist background and stuff. I didn’t know that about them. I’m a bad kpop fan because I listen to the music but I don’t put the time to learn the artist background and stuf, mainly because I focus more on the music then their life. I guess I just don’t want to be noisy on their lives unless they do a video interview and I feel like watching it haha. Anyway, it would be nice to see your videos on one of the music videos and talk about it because the stories in two of the videos seem intersting especially melting and 200%. Well that’s my input thanks! ! Shout out from USA NJ!

  69. lady_kire

    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.

  70. Yes/ no about company forming groups. Some of the KPOP groups that were formed have a greater chemistry and have stuck together through the ups and downs than most American rock groups that were formed “organically”. A good example is Shinwhah; G.O.D is coming back with an album, and even Epik High was formed by another hip-hop group (they barely knew each other before they started making their albums). Also, keep in mind that most of the people in the group have been training together for years. They have formed close bonds in their training days before they debuted (i.e. Gd and taeyang; they met as trainees in YG and they are best friends). I agree most groups that are formed fall off and don’t work well, but some groups that are formed are amazing what they do; they produces, compose and write their own music, they have been together for a very long time even through the worst of times, and they have made albums and songs that have influenced and change the music scene. I guess what i am trying to say is, if your good at what you do then i really don’t care if how you were organic or not.

  71. whatismynameagain

    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

  72. Personally speaking, I think that AKMU are highly talented individuals considering that they are also incredibly young compared to the majority of members in the kpop scene. I was exposed to them through a series of YouTube videos from the KPOPSTAR channel and loved their fresh sound. I kind of lost touch with them after a while due to many reasons, but after finding out that they were releasing a new album, I checked it out instantly. I loved the album as a whole and was even more impressed when I found out that the brother in AKMU wrote, composed, and produced the majority if not all of the songs on the album. Seriously though, YG is harboring so many talented people that I kind of wish artists in SM or JYP or other companies to step up and try to make their own music for a change. Well, here’s to hoping.

  73. Totally love their quirkiness! Dude, ChanHyuk worked that ass in Give Love xD
    I like that I can listen to AKMU’s album whilst doing my homework without being too distracted by it! FABULOUS! *0*

  74. Cyber_3

    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!

  75. Totally agree :) you gotta appreciate their talent. They got great songwriting talent and it’s great that they are not forced to be anything but them selves. At the end of the day, talent will be recognised and will be respected when it’s genuine.

  76. I’m LOVING AKMU! I listened to the previews of their album on iTunes once and bought the whole thing immediately; I NEVER ordinarily do that… I love how fresh their MVs are as well; the editing is really cool. And there’s maths in them!! And origami!! Woop! Also Martina; your hair looks great today ;)

  77. I love both, but i think Lee Hi deserved more. She is unappreciated in my opinion. So I vote for her.

  78. As much as I loved your Music Monday, I kinda wish you guys could have talked a bit about the actual videos and the story, because it was adorable for me, and I would have liked to know what you think about it. Keep up the nice work, and greetings from Monterrey, Mexico! ♡

  79. 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


  81. 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.

    • Perfectly valid point, and well stated. Thank you!

      • 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…..

    • whatismynameagain

      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

    • 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.

      • I hope it didn’t come across as me saying that only people who struggle can make good music. I don’t know what Akdong Musician’s upbringing is like. I’m not interested in them for the struggle they went through. I like them because they’re young, and they’re siblings, and they produce their own music :D

  82. 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!

  83. Aand I really like your skirt, Martina :) It reminds me of the pants of those Japanese shrine maidens if you know what I mean?

    • Cyber_3

      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 ;).

  84. Martina, I’ve been wondering what those straps around your shoulders were since you did your TL;DR! Now I finally now that they attach to your skirt.

  85. Martina… are you putting your mic cord up your sleeve?!!!

  86. I’m not a fan of AKMU though, but I like their fresh image. And I’m crying every single time I listen to and watch the Melted M/V, like, literally.

  87. I see Block B’s new video for Jackpot on the computer. IS THAT A HINT? Next week’s Kpop Music Monday? Or is a cruel prank???

  88. I really like AKMU, too… Hopefully, I’ll get to come to go to Korea and see them live soon =^-^=

  89. Melted was my absolute favourite!!

  90. I wasn’t a big fan of 200%, but I love both Melted and Give Love.

  91. I was just listening to them!

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