August 7, 2012
B2ST is finally back with an awesome song and a video that – to us – at first seemed fun, but then turned out to be quite disturbing. If you haven’t seen it yet, here it is:
Ok, so we’re worried with this week’s Music Monday that we might come across as angry, so we want to clarify that, indeed, we are not angry. We are just passionate when it comes to expressing our opinions. We’re not name calling anyone here; we’re trying to present our points in a logical and – hopefully – convincing manner. We’re also quite disappointed. Simon and I have talked about this video a lot. We’ve tried to figure out why we feel so disappointed with it and we’ve come to the realization that are several factors contributing to our sense of disappointment.
To begin with, let’s talk about our personal experiences with Kpop, and then maybe you’ll get a sense of why we’re so let down by this video. we got into kpop only once we started living in Korea, before the hallyu wave really hit the overseas shores of our hometown. Having been in Korea for over four years now, and now fully converted to Kpop evangelists, we’re excited whenever kpop makes its presence felt in North America. It’s something we had no clue existed beforehand, so when we see it now in North America, we’re quite happy about it, not only because it shows that Kpop is doing pretty well, but also because it reveals all the hidden kpop fans and the special subcultures that comes with it. When we went to California for the Google Kpop Concert we were just BLOWN away by all the people waiting in line before the show and all the fans cheering at the concert. It was like, “OMG! Look at all these like-minded people that are into kpop! OMG! They know the dance to this song! OMG! They know the lyrics! The fan chants! The names of the idols!!!”
Moments of connection like this, for us, are rare. Even though we live in Korea, it might be surprising to people to hear that only ONE of our friends actually likes kpop. The rest are either indifferent to it, or absolutely hate it. And we’re talking here about both our foreign friends AND our Korean friends. In turn, if it wasn’t for you guise visiting our website, we wouldn’t really have anyone to talk to about Kpop besides each other.
So, we were really excited that B2ST was going to film in NYC, because we felt like this was a great opportunity to show kpop outside of the boxes in music videos in Korea, to show that it’s not only present in other parts of the world, but quite big there as well. It seems like every time I tried to introduce kpop to my friends back home, I found that every group with more then six members failed to impress them immediately. Bad English lost their focus, too much makeup on guys brought grimaces, and synchronized dancing for too much of the video was alienating…arghhh!!! SO FRUSTRATING!!) while I feel like groups like B2ST, SHINee, Girls Generation, Boyfriend, B1A4, Girls Day, Super Junior (and I could name more) are more difficult to introduce to people who aren’t already interested in Asian culture or Korea in general. I find that people who have zero interest and connection to Asian culture are really quick to judge a band by the way they look or the English they butcher. I’m sure you guise have experienced your non-kpop friends saying your favourite band “looks like they’re all gay” or “has way too many members” or “looks weird with those contact lenses”. B2ST in New York City would show them that, yes, you might not like them that much, but they’re quite big in the U.S. Give them another chance, maybe!
This video would be that chance! This video could have shown that Kpop is cool! And it could have been done, easily, with your help. I have a strong feeling that B2ST has tons of fans living in NYC. I JUST KNOW IT. These fans may not chat with each other on a regular basis or be even aware of each other’s existence, but if B2ST put out a message saying that they needed B2ST fans for their video in New York City, B2ST would be flooded with throngs of genuinely excited kpop fans. Instead – and this is not blame we’re placing on the members of B2ST because they are just following the orders of their company – we get this awkward sham of a music video which just reeks of fake fake fake. Yes, kpop is cool, but – come on – no one believes it’s as cool as this video makes it out to be. Graffiti artists, BMX bikers, people with low riders – they’re not the ones that listen to Kpop, and all of you know it. Sure, there may be SOME who do, but generally Korean Pop music is not a part of that culture. In trying to make B2ST and Kpop look cool by hiring a bunch of actors that represent another cool culture, they just made B2ST look like posers. Awkward, awkward posers. Such a frickin’ waste of a great opportunity.
It’s usually our friends who cringe at kpop music videos, not us. So, we sent this video to some of our friends who we mentioned above, and asked them what they thought. They most notably laughed at B2ST clothing, they called B2ST posers for singing pop music in low riders, they wanted to know why there was a DJ spinning when there was clearly no scratching present in the song, and overall they thought that the video looked like it was trying too hard to be “cool”. They found it awkward, just as we found it awkward.
Kpop companies are trying soooo hard to be successful overseas, but they will ALWAYS be successful for those of us that are already kpop fans. Breaking into the non-initiated kpop crowd should be their goal, but it feels like their marketing strategies are so poorly conceived. You can’t trick a North American audience into listening to B2ST because you hired a bunch of actors to pretend that they like B2ST. You could interest them, though, by showing some of the genuine hype surrounding Kpop. This video wasn’t for the world to watch, though. It was for Korean people to watch, so that they can say “Wow! Look at all the beautiful white and black people who like B2ST!” Seriously: where are the Asian people in this video? Are they not both a significant part of A) The Kpop Crowd and B) New York City?!?! Why were there no Asian people in the crowds in this video? Was that accidental or intentional? And, if you think it was intentional, what do you think it says about how B2ST and Kpop are marketed?
ARGHHH!!!!! *Martina collapses in frustration* I’ve had it. Guise, what do you think? Are we totally wrong? Did the B2ST video look great to you? Have you shown any of your non-kpop friends? All I know is that I need a cupcake. *mumbles while eating imaginary cupcake*
Anyhow, we’ve got nothing against this song or B2ST as a whole. We just really dislike this video both in execution and in principle. But, that doesn’t change the fact that this is still an awesome song. We’d like to give away a new B2ST Midnight Sun album, in support of the band itself. We’ll be hearing their song played outside everywhere. Fortunately, we won’t have to watch their video anymore. So, if you’d like to get a B2ST CD or a TOTALLY AWESOME BATOOST SHIRT, here’s what you gotta do:
Let us know what your favourite outfit was in this video and why. Oh boy. Some of the outfits were…special. We barely even got a chance to talk about them! If you’re gonna leave a comment here, rather than on YouTube, let us know your YouTube username as well, so we can make sure you’re subscribed. Yeah!
That’s it! We’ll pick two winners next week, and the first to contact us gets first choice in either CD or T-Shirt. If you’d like to get the CD yourself, you can pick it up at YesAsia. Not sure why it’s not on iTunes yet! And, lastly, though this was a bit of a serious Music Monday, we do have some bloopers that make us seem less serious. Our friend, Brendon, who you might remember from our Gangnam Style video, isn’t really the best actor. We’re working on it, though. Soon, he’ll be as Oscar worthy as we are :D Also, add a scene in there that we cut out from the main video: our comparison of B2ST’s video to Big Bang’s “Bad Boy” and Sistar’s “Loving You”. So, it’s not all jokes in the bloopers as well.