May 12, 2012
It’s the Kpop Chart Update for the week of May 12th 2012! If you didn’t read that in a cheesy talk show host voice, go back and do so now.
We’ve got a lot of rookie-like bands in this update, Hello Venus, A Pink, and ULALA Session. The only exception is with IU who released a 26 minute long “music video” on May 10th which is more like a documentary, but we won’t be talking about it today, I just wanted to mention it so you know that it’s out and to take the time to watch it!
Hello Venus “Venus” – Vote for them here!
First up is Hello Venus, the newest female rookie group from Pledis Entertainment, the same label that brought us After School, Orange Caramel, NU’EST, and Son Dambi. When we saw the teaser photos, we were really excited about this group. They had crazy coloured hair and an interesting and quirky Alice in Wonderland feel to them, but it wasn’t too over the top. We thought – considering Orange Caramel – this group might be the middle ground between After School and Orange Caramel. They’d be quirky and unique, but not as extreme into role playing/cosplaying as Orange Caramel, and they’d be serious and strong females like After School, but with less Pussycat Doll sexy sass. I thought the name “Hello Venus” and the teaser photos suggested a liking to the famous Greek goddess, Venus aka Aphrodite, and she is a strong, powerful, yet beautiful woman. Then the name of the song is Venus! I’m like, “OH YEAH, here we go! Strong female band FTW!” However, after watching their debut music video, we got the worst case scenario: yet another cutey girl band making faces at the camera.
Warning! Incoming rant!
I really really really don’t get enjoyment out of this cutey girl/boy image. To begin with, it is really forced to me. We can all tell that they’re acting, especially with the girl in the coffee shop uniform, and it makes me feel irritated seeing them make these forced faces at the camera. I just don’t understand what’s wrong with letting a rookie group come out with a little strength and sass? There are three really good examples of fabulous debuts by girl groups, 2NE1, 4Minute, and Miss A. I feel like Miss A made the strongest debut for a rookie girl group to this day. “Bad Girl, Good Girl” blew my mind with both the choreography and their attitudes, and they didn’t try to hook people with extreme fashion or trendy blank blank. I was immediately drawn to them. I’ve really loved everything they’ve done ever since. Even their quirky and bizarre music video for “Breathe” set them apart from all the other groups. With the latest addition of new girl groups to the kpop world, and I’m talking about A Pink as well, I don’t see anything special or unique about them to set them apart from one another.
Now, of course, if you’re a dedicated fan who is following the group, there will be lots of special details you’ll know about these bands. But people need to acknowledge that there are different levels of kpop consumers, some who are extremely steeped in the fan base culture, watch all the shows and interviews and are up-to-date on information. Then there are those that really love kpop, listen to the music and watch the music videos but aren’t interested in learning the background culture of the groups they like. That’s where Simon and I fall in: we are very interested in the music and music videos and we take those at face value. Hence why we can openly admit to loving 90% of one bands’ songs (for example, 2NE1) and then frankly admit to disliking another 10% (I didn’t like the song Go Away or the music video for Ugly) . It’s possible for us to share this opinion because we aren’t steeped in the part of fan culture which dictates that we MUST LOVE EVERYTHING otherwise we’re betraying the band.
This is usually where we run into problems with people who are a part of the extreme fan culture and who can’t understand the perspective of an average kpop consumer. The main problem occurs when an Extreme Kpop Fan feels offended that something we’ve said is disrespectful because they themselves are steeped in Kpop Culture, and they’re unable to accept that some people just like the bands for their plain old music. When we say we don’t like a song or video, it has nothing to do with the band personally, we don’t even know them personally (and neither do the kpop fans)!
So, we come full circle to A Pink and Hello Venus. When we say we don’t like their songs and music videos, we don’t mean for some people to take this personally. We don’t like the image their company is giving them. There are two forms of “sex sells” in the Korean music industry, one is obvious sexy, like how Cube is marketing Hyuna, and then there is discreet sexy, which is the cutey girl aegyo image. Don’t be fooled, cutey overacting girls is still a sex sells method. There is only one Korean idol out right now that I think is the right amount of non-forced cute, and that’s IU. She doesn’t make too many faces at the camera, and she doesn’t super duper overact, she strikes me as genuinely classy cute.
Ah! Ok, that was a long rant …sorry we didn’t talk about the Ulala Session video, we just had to get this off our chests because watching those two videos in a row killed me. KILLLLLLLEEEDDD MEEEEE!!!!!!
PS: OH! ALSO! I’ve made a scale to understand our perspective of Kpop Consumption! Thoughts? Additions? Where do you fall in?
(E-KF) Extreme Kpop Fan Culture: I follow the band as if they are Idols in a religion to be worshipped. I respect everything they do, I don’t share any negative opinions (or else you are a “jealous hater”), I feel extreme offence when someone expresses that they don’t like my band, feels extreme offence when someone doesn’t know all the background information about their religion…I mean…band.
(EM-KF) Person in-between these two
(M-KF) Middle Kpop Fan Culture: I really respect this band, I know details about them, I might watch their TV shows, interviews and so on, but I can compare and contrast their songs and videos, and make preferences of one song over the other. For example: I don’t like this song as much as their last, I love his guy liner
(MA-KF) Person in-between these two (Martina falls in this category)
(A-KF) Average Kpop Fan Consumer: I will watch this video/listen to this song and form an opinion based on my impressions of this video, rather then with my research on this band
(AN-KC) Average-Non Kpop Consumer: not necessarily a fan of kpop, but they listen to it rarely
(N-K) Non-Kpop Consumer: WTF did I just watch, why are there so many people in this band, why are they wearing the same clothing, why is that guy wearing make up, is that a even a guy, what crappy English, haha now I will mock Asian pop music