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KpopCharts Update: Hush Hello Ulala

May 12, 2012

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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.

RANT OVER!!!

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

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KpopCharts Update: Hush Hello Ulala

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  1. Has anyone else noticed the seemingly forced tomboy image, too?  I love having short hair, but i can be very feminine, too, and when my hair is long, i can pull it into a ponytail and be rough and tumble–so is it just me, or is there a pattern of the “rapper” role of these girl groups always has super short (fun, but still) hair?  I feel like these girls are set up to have to fight to feel pretty like their bandmates?  just noticed with Venus for the umpteenth time…

    5 years ago
  2. I think I’m M-KF… I love knowing a lot about my idols and enjoy macros and fanfics, but I am always objective when hearing a new song both from my bias and from a group I don’t like, and would never post anything negative about anyone. But I think I’m spending too much time on watching funny YouTube clips of my biases…

    5 years ago
  3. I’m a M-KF, but only with two bands I know more details: SHINee (my favorite one) and DBSK (and who knows, maybe in a year with EXO too).

    Of course sometimes I just watch and like some songs/mvs of other groups, but then I’m just A-KF (but sometimes, when I’m too addicted to the song, I just try to memorize their names).

    But I don’t have the time to watch all of their interviews and shows and etc. Even if I had that time, well, I don’t live with those people, so I’ll never ever know so much things about them… they still have to not tell about many things because of what their managers says :P

    I usually step back from these fandoms and forums because like 80% of them are just too hardcore to me and I feel they’re kinda “alienated” hahaha (not judging, since I don’t know them too).

    Anyway, if I just don’t like a song about (for example) SHINee, that absolutely doesn’t mean I’ll stop supporting them.
    Actually, it may end up on that subject talked about S&M long time ago: the artists don’t actually have much control about what they’re going to sing next. So, even if we like the song (of course then we like how the artists performed and etc), part of it is “I like what [label] made”.
    This hardcore fan thing would be a little more “honest” (about the songs, not what we see of their personalities on tv shows) if the artists, like, were friends and decided to form a band together… (I don’t know if I’m clear here about what I’m trying to say hahaha please don’t wanna kill me if you may misunderstood :P)

    5 years ago
  4. ULALA just won my vote.

    5 years ago
  5. Korean ladies accept your Korean…ass. Copy Kats are not original artists. Embrace your worth, refuse to be exploited. Practice Taekwondo! Be the woman of your dreams. Having been around Koreans for 25 years there is nothing that annoys me most than those ladies that giggle and try to be cute. When I visited Korean, got married in Korea I was so annoyed by that false humility.

    5 years ago
  6. I am a EM-KF, according to this chart of wisdom of yours.

    5 years ago
  7. M-KF I believe i fall into this hehe ^^ But only for the grps i follow like DBSK and BEAST. for the rest of kpop probably i’m just a MA-KF. E-KF kind of fans are fans i can never understand… sigh… they sound like ssasaeng fans… ><

    5 years ago
  8. HAHAHA! The “creepy guy in the car” (HelloVenus video) was “ahjusshi” in Paradise Farm/Ranch. Also, am I the only one who noticed NU’EST dancing at the end of that video? (They’re all wearing pink suits, I reconized Ren first…) Oh yah, does anyone know for sure if the girl in “Beautiful Night” (ULALASESSION) is Uee, she looks familiar (You’re/He’s Beautiful) but I’m not 100% sure….anyone?

    5 years ago
    • She’s Park Han Byul, Se7en’s girlfriend….

      5 years ago
      •  I was torn between the two, I looked up Park Han Byul and it didn’t mention her in this mv, that’s why I wondered. Thanks for clearing that up, it’s been bugging me!

        5 years ago
  9. i’m EM-KF!! i LOVE my SHINee but i don’t ‘worship’ them!!! and when i see bad comments about them i don’t go all berserk and expect everyone to love them like i do cos i realise everyone has their own taste!! and i will truthfully say if there is something i didn’t like about one of their songs or styles!!

    these are the others in Kpop i love!!
    SuJu, Big Bang, 2ne1, F(x), TVXQ, MBLAQ, BoA, EXO, Jay Park!!! on a M-KF level!!
    i like some Girls Generation music too!!
    and i’m not one of those kpoppers who just completely hate on a group!! like i don’t even get the point of that!! if you don’t like their music just don’t listen but you don’t have to HATE and be mean!!

    …….also if anyone here is N-K, then i worry about them!!

    5 years ago
  10. I believe APink fans are called Pandas hahaha!!!

    5 years ago
  11. In the Ulala Session video I saw the girl with the Jeffrey Campbell shoes and I remember a bunch of other kpop MV they often have very exclusive/expensive shoes; this makes me wonder if this shoes/brands are common in Korea or, just like the chinese market, this are copies?Another intriguing thing is why the girls in kpop culture are not wearing stockings? I saw fishnets or Cuban heels and the like but I’m thinking the regular stockings are not seen in the MV.

    5 years ago
  12. I’m a M-KF for some groups (2NE1 and Big Bang) but I’d think I’m able to drop down to MA-KF why I get my bias out of the way.
    I agree with you on rookie groups. Companies are really making it hard on us more and more groups have a cutie concept and un-unique music videos. If they could at least make them stand out groups could be a lot more successful.

    5 years ago
  13. I think I fall under A-KF :)

    5 years ago
  14. I’m a M-KF with Big Bang, MA-KF with 2NE1 and a A-KF with other bands I like. I don’t worship BB like a religion, but I do tend to get a lil’ obsessive with catching up with their latest news and stuffs. The others, I just listen to their new songs and watch their music videos and not much else. I was once a EM-KF for TVXQ before they came out with Mirotic, but sadly, I really disliked them after Mirotic. Their sound changed and I didn’t like it. So yea, it’s Big Bang for me right now~ :3

    5 years ago
  15. I am M-KF!Maybe because i like multiple of band so yeah..I am M-KF

    5 years ago
  16. I dont particularly like cute bands too, especially if their concept is being cute in every video! anyways, I didn’t mind the cuteness in Hello Venus, but I hope they change their image up. Though I might not have minded this video bc of all the guys, I can tell you I was very distracted by them. 

    What i do like though, is occasional cutsey videos. Then I totally digg them. Did anyone see Black B’s video where the guys are so cute? Never thought they will do that, plus they actually pulled it off well. 

    Oh and on the chart I might be M-KF? I’m like this with suju, Big Bang and DBSK. Not so much with the others. 

    5 years ago
  17. Hi guise;
    Glad to hear your voice slowly coming back Martina, I lost my voice over the week too and I’m the same boat. Although without the need to talk on videos! Rest up :)

    Anywho, I can appreciate the arguments you make about aegio/cutsey girl bands. I’m relatively new to Kpop and probably a MA-KFan only because of Big Bang but otherwise more average fandom. As a result I find the whole aegio/cutsey thing still a novelty although i can see it’s turned up to 11 in these videos. At this point i still just see them as cute :P  However I could totally see how that could get old very quickly especially if i was surrounded by it. 

    I’m already over seeing so many female characters in Kdramas doing the aegio thing C’mon! It’s a real shame that women in Korean entertainment have such restricted images to choose from. It’s pretty sexist really :p Anyways looking forward to the coming week!

    5 years ago
  18. Thank God for this rant!!! I was like… agreeing, checking my imaginary WTF Kpop things. I can handle aegyo, but not all the time. I can only bear Bilasa type of aegyo. And to some extent, Girls’ Generation. Glad they toned it down.

    And regarding that scale, I think I fall in M-KF type. I love 2NE1 with all of my heart. I know a lot of details about them follow their activities, watched two and a half seasons of 2NE1 TV (I didn’t finish the last, I got tired), probably watched 90% of their performances, and pretty much stanned them. With that said, I compare and contrast their songs, music videos and performances. I love almost all their songs, but I won’t lie, I hated “I’m Busy” from To Anyone album. I think their pretty, but I wish Bom did not undergo that much surgery. I like their fashion, but sometimes I question it too. I love their personalities, but I wish they would try to get close with other people from other agencies too. They are not perfect, I know, and yet I still love them. And I don’t own any 2NE1 album, because I’m poor. T___T Same with BIGBANG. I love them to death, but GD’s marijuana scandal didn’t make me love him more. But he apologized and everything’s cool. lol

    With other groups that I like (B.A.P, BEG, WG, Secret, Infinite, SHINee, EXO, Sistar, miss A, Bilasa – yeah, I follow a lot of groups, lol), I’m a MA-KF.

    5 years ago
  19. Honestly don’t find A Pink’s new vid as aggressively cutesy as you do… Maybe it’s the overexposed pinkness that does it, and then just imagine that everything pink is actually black and I’m sure the vid will seem different… Cause personally, I just think they look really happy  rather than extremely cute (and especially not compared to Hello Venus)… And atleast they’re not as bad as they were last year…
    Or maybe it’s just me having built up an immunity to aegyo that I hardly even see it anymore…

    5 years ago
  20. Yay! For Spudgy’s hair!

    5 years ago
  21. Martina, I’m so happy to hear you speak again!!!
    Your voice is so SEXY HEY~~ xD

    I like your Kpop Fan Scale, although I’m surprised you didn’t come up with some more strange acronyms, lol. Or at least ones that sound like real words…how about something like…

    EXPONs
    MIDONs
    AVOs
    NKs
    lol I dunno. Anyway this leads to something I’ve been thinking about for a while. I’ve noticed many people saying they dislike Kpop not because of the music/bands, but because of its fans. You’ve expressed displeasure or made witty attacks at fans who don’t behave decently, which is usually taken pretty well by your fans here. So:
    Do you think it would be possible to make some kind of “The Kpop Fans’ Ten Commandments”? Perhaps make a Facebook Question or the like where we can put together ideas, of the most helpful/annoying things Kpop fans do, in order to create a more decent fan community? Bashing other groups is a pretty obvious one, but also things that people aren’t aware of, that can be rather offputting for NKs. Like saying how hot Korean guys are, in front of your guy friends. It’ll turn them off in 5 seconds, trust me. ;)

    Note:
    Personally, Korean is just one of the languages I listen to, along with English, Cantonese, Mandarin, Japanese, Thai, Indonesian, Malay, Vietnamese, Spanish, French, German, Tamil, Sinhalese, Italian, and several other languages I don’t know. I’ve traveled a lot, and lately I listen to the top 10 Youtube music videos from different countries everyday and collect the ones that sound nice. I only consider myself a fan of an artist if I’m willing to preorder/buy their CD without hearing it first; and to date there’s less than 5 bands/singers that fit into that category. One of them happens to be be Korean (guess who?). ;)

    5 years ago
    • I haven’t traveled the world but my playlist contains song in english, spanish, russian, greek, japanese, mandarin, cantonese, portuguese, turkish, french, korean, italian… mainly pop music, but I also enjoy country, electronic, techno, folk… My point is, I love music and I don’t care that much if the performer is hot or if the MV is expensive, I just like music for what it is.

      5 years ago
  22. I feel the same way about the cutesy stuff!  This is one of the reasons why I generally don’t follow girl groups (except 2NE1 because they aren’t your average cutesy group).  And Bilasa is also my exception.  What is this sorcery Bilasa?  How do you capture my heart so?  Also, Lee Joon’s aegyo is my other exception. ;)

    P.S. Your K pop fan culture scale is pretty interesting.  I think I would mostly fall into the M-KF category.

    5 years ago
    • Agree. There’s something about Bilasa’s aegyo that does not annoy me. lol

      And Fairy Princess Lee Joon’s aegyo is cute too, because he doesn’t do it all the time. lol. Only on very special occasions.

      5 years ago
  23. It feels like A Pink have tried to make the transition from young super innocent fairy cute to that more knowing, “Oops was that sexy?!” kind of cute ie SNSD’s Oh and Gee and they’ve just completely missed the mark. All the cute bits look forced and all the “sexy” bits look forced and none of it gels together properly. Also I know there’s only so many dance moves but lots of them are just pulled straight out of other groups’ choreography which I found very off-putting (plus most of them were the “sexy” bands like Miss A and Sistar which added to my confusion). And both of the songs are pretty terrible.

    I feel like if I was 6 or 7 again (and Korean) that Ulala session song and video would be my current life’s obsession, it’s just so much fun!

    Also probably an MA-KF. Love Kpop, read a lot of “news”, watch interviews and TV shows but don’t really have an obsession with any particular band and could still that The Boys was absolutely atrocious!

    5 years ago
  24. i think i’m a  m-kf
    because even though i have bands i really love, i do have songs that i don’t particulairly like (like 2ne1 or snsd)
    and then i have songs that i really love by bands that i don’t particulairly like in general (like t-ara or wondergirls)

    btw, i quite like the song Venus.
     if you listen to it without the mv it actually doesn’t have a particularly cute sound,
     but i can’t really bear the mv :P

    5 years ago
  25. MA-KF representin’.

    5 years ago
  26. Ugh, agreed, none of the songs this week have been great. Couldn’t even get through any of them. Ulala Session wasn’t my thing either.

    And haha, the only cutesy boy image I like is Bilasa’s too! xD
    Lastly, omg the scaling LOL. I’m a M-KF, definitely. I kinda dislike those crazy fans; mainly the ones who set rules that every fan should be “this” or you’re not a true fan. >.<

    5 years ago
  27. I agree with your rant! sometimes a little bit of aegyo is nice, but many girl groups are so overdoing it….there are many girl groups whose members I can’t tell apart from the mv’s because they all act the same. why don’t they try to give the members different images? that would be much more interesting.
    and I also agree on your opinion on miss a, their debut was awesome! I would love to see more girl groups with a strong, fierce and confident appearance like them and 2ne1!

    according to your scale, I’m an M-KF XD
    there are some groups I really love and I want to know as much as possible about them, but I am still able to be objective and criticize them.
    those super extreme fans who just love everything about their group and can’t tolerate other opinions annoy me to hell >_<

    5 years ago
    •  Instead of giving each member a different image I think they should let the members be themselves a little bit. That would solve the whole different image thing without having to work so hard at it.

      5 years ago
      • okay, that sentence really didn’t sound right, so let me put it in a different way: the group members should be able to bring out their own personalities more. or be able to develop it if they don’t have much of a personality.

        5 years ago
    • I want just mention that almost all of that kind of fans (super extreme) are teenagers, who don’t have their opinion… YET. But don’t worry, they will grow up… eventually:)

      5 years ago
  28. I guess the best example… of a cutey girl group turning 360 from being super aeygo to somewhat badass is  Dal Shabet with “Hit U”. Some may think they changed to quickly though.

    5 years ago
  29. I belong to ”
    Middle Kpop Fan Culture” <3

    5 years ago
  30. I actually like cuteness and generally like it alot more in girl groups than in boy groups strangely enough. But that being said i think i learn towards disliking APink more in regards to their ‘cutesy’ image because it feels SOOOOSOOO forced to me (except for eunji because i’m biassed towards her ability to sing).
    I really want more bands like After School though, they are so underrated even though their concepts feel unique to me.

    Also i’m not really a fan of 2ne1 but i LOVED ‘go away’, the song and their live performances – have you seen it? it just looks like fun and i found the club dancethatsnotreallyadance + attitude cool, maybe cause i don’t mind autotune, but depends on the song~

    (E-KF) in regards to big bang, suju (MA-KF) for most others

    5 years ago
    • whoops meant (M-KF)* in regards to big bang and suju (i don’t think anyone would admit to being a (E-KF), they’re too busy flame/trolling/beingbutthurt

      5 years ago
  31. Is it just me or does the group of 5 school boys seen in HelloVenus’ video seem like a boy band being pre debuted for their debut in this video. Their presence seemed a bit too prominent for being back up dancers.

    5 years ago
    • Apparently, Pledis plan to debut a 17 (!!!!) member group this year so… probably. Plus with that many group members they probably don’t have many other guys on their books right now

      5 years ago
  32. I guess I am a M-KF.

    I do agree that the MV for APink’s “Hush” isnt very exciting… kinda makes me wonder if ACube is short of budget currently? Really love MVs for “I Don’t Know” and “My My” but “Hush” seems more like a dance version to me…

    Now i am hoping for a follow-up MV of either “Up To The Sky(feat.Joker)” or “Bubibu”. These two are great songs and would be a waste if they didnt perform them… 

    Good news is that they will perform “Bubibu” for their Inkigayo Comeback stage, so I’m looking forward to it.

    5 years ago
  33. —-Delete This Comment Thanks—

    5 years ago
  34. hey you forgot about IU’s new song!!

    5 years ago
    •  “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.” DID YOU READ?

      5 years ago
  35. Yeey Martina’s voice is coming back!! So happy to hear it again 
    o(≧▽≦)o

    Well, I do agree with the opinions. The musics are not that bad, but the music videos are incredibly boring @_____@ K-pop producers and directors and whatever should think in a more creative way, groups like that could never compete with the higher groups out there x_____x’ where creativity is key to success. I guess the only video I liked was Ulalasession, because is freaking funny ._.
    Others…. meh… Leave aegyo to the old SNSD 8D 

    5 years ago
  36. Hmm… I believe I’m in the MA-KF category as well unless of course the group in question is Big Bang then I fall into the EM-KF category.

    5 years ago
  37. Even though I love kpop (2NE1 & BIGBANG), I feel extremely awkward watching what’s been produced by rookie groups as of late. I’m a guy and I realise that this is meant to be directed at me- to lure me to my nearest kpop store and trade the cash for their circle lenses and fake aegyo.. but this is all too much. Major respect to simonandmartina for voicing their opinions about this side of kpop.. but we all gotta keep in mind- this is POP music- manufactured and fun tunes for the korean enthusiast. We can’t expect some Adele material being pumped from these teenage girls.

    5 years ago
    • Check out one of my favorites, Ali (알리), who sounds like no one I’ve heard in kpop. She has a real soulful jazz/blues-y voice and music. Some of her music also reminds me of Adele’s live/acoustic tracks. 

      5 years ago
    • Best hope for an Americanised deep sounding idol would be Ailee – check her cover of One Night Only. It’s amazing; truly a testament that Kpop idols can do so much more than the ‘OPPA HAJIMA HAJIMA!’ Also Lee Hayi from KPOPSTAR she’s only 15 but she has such a unique soulful voice like Duffy or Winehouse: Check her cover of Mercy :) 

      5 years ago
      • Ahhh, I love Ailee. She’s so talented.

        5 years ago
      • OMG, I already know Ailee and Lee Hayi. Ailee for me is more Beyonce than Adele though. Her song Heaven sounded Halo-ish, but I really like it and I can ignore the resemblance. And Lee Hayi is the bomb. She’s the closest to my dream of a Korean Adele/Amy Winehouse.

        5 years ago
  38. Ooh~ Martina’s voice is recovering now. Cheers to that! :>

    5 years ago
  39. i agree with ur rant btw, im a dead ass shinee fan …basically stalker status. however if i dont like their music , i just dont. 

    5 years ago
  40. i love hello venus song.. so fuck u!!

    5 years ago
    • They are just reviewing in an objective manner – you shall not take it to personal :)

      5 years ago