The Double Standard of Guns & Murder in K-Pop

The latest netizen outrage out of the K-Pop world surrounds rapper Swings’ perceived insensitivity for posting a video recreating an execution just for fun. The internet critics say it is reminiscent of the recent executions of American journalists by the terrorist group ISIS, and that the timing is disrespectful towards Ladies’ Code’s tragic accident. Netizens have a reputation of blowing things out of proportion, and this is not an exemption. Was the video in poor taste? Yes. Should Swings be scrutinized for it? Probably not if you condone and/or disregard murder and guns in music videos by your favorite artists. The truth is, the whole incident and the exaggeration of it is one big double standard for K-Pop fans.

In the controversial video in question, Just Music rappers C Jamm and Swings kneel at the edge of a swimming pool while Giriboy stands over them and mimics pulling gunshots to their heads, making C Jamm and Swings fall into the pool, and floating face down as if dead. Netizens claim that the execution-like prank is similar to those actually carried out by ISIS recently and done too soon since people are still mourning RiSe and EunB’s deaths. Had this video happened at another time where it couldn’t be contrasted with these two events, netizens probably wouldn’t have said a thing. But alas, it did.

swing execution guns

So following these netizens’ logic, executions, guns, and murder are tasteless, and for doing that, those involved are apathetic, immature, and —what was that other thing they were spouting on the comments? –oh yeah, psychotic. And while the term psycho was probably just thrown in there for emphasis, the only true demented thing behind this ordeal is the undeniable double standard most of these netizens have.

Again, following the logic, murder and guns are not acceptable only in cases following a tragic episode in the world’s history. But if murder and guns are not making headlines worldwide, then, by all means, it’s fair game. Because acting out murder and executions are only distasteful if a major incident happened recently, right? Kind of like when Infinite took out the plane crash scene in their Destiny music video because it was too soon to the Asiana Airlines crash. If that version would’ve been released a month prior, it would have been totally fine, right? But I digress… Netizens nitpick which idol and situation they blow out of proportion, since violence has never stopped in the world… ever (just now, think Syria or Gaza)…

Adding insult to injury, another problem here is the normalization and glamorization of murder and guns in pop culture. Opposite to the United States, Korean civilians can’t bare arms. It’s a common thing in American culture and music to hype up firearms and feature them in videos as if they were one more accessory on set. In Korean music videos, the use of guns generally follows spy or gangster plotlines. But then we have the was that really necessary? instances. No one linked BTS’ No More Dream choreography when Suga symbolically blows V’s brains out to any school shootings anywhere, even if the song is about not wanting to follow the path your parents set up for you and the setting is, well, in a school.

However, at least BTS was playing the typical teenager who hates life and their parents in their music video. 2NE1 with their video for I Am the Best, on the other hand, is one big question mark. These ladies are synonymous with fierceness within K-Pop, and the song is about being better than everyone else and no one measuring up to you. Apparently, being the best equates power which, it seems, also equates guns. What exactly was the purpose of this scene? Nothing. Just everyday glamorization of guns in a country where they could not have done that outside the set.

Was there any outrage? No, because this is normal for everyone and is also seen as cool…

But the double standard goes beyond just netizens and reaches the heads of television companies. Entertainment companies bend over backwards to accommodate the guidelines set by the TV companies so their artists can promote on their music shows. The raunchier songs on a given album are generally pushed to the b-sides, never being singles so the same TV companies won’t ban them. But you know what the crazy thing about this is? Companies that are so invested in protecting youth from seeing U-Kiss have implied threesomes or Trouble Maker grind on each other are ok with them seeing murder.

B.A.P doesn’t just wave guns in the air for their One Shot music video, it actually follows the gangster plotline. However, there’s a scene where we actually see thugs shoot and kill Youngjae. There’s blood everywhere, there are guns being used unsafely, you can see they guy’s face as he dies of gunshot –but no, that doesn’t corrupt a child’s mind like sex does… TV companies also didn’t ban One Shot or asked for the choreography involving a gunshot à la BTS be readjusted.

However, the point is not to ban these types of scenes and behaviors, for censorship is never the answer. The point is for netizens to stop nitpicking particular incidents and judging them under extraneous standards if you’re not going to do so with e-very-thing out there. Remember, separate is not equal. Swings’ video was indeed unnecessary, but it didn’t deserve the outrage it got from people who would probably have let it slide if done by bigger artists.

What’s your take on Swings’ video? Be sure to share your thoughts and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Bloglovin’ so you can keep up with all our posts.

What’s Wrong With A.KOR’s Kemy Dissing Park Bom?

One of the most recent scandals involves A.KOR member Kemy and her controversial “diss rap” on 2NE1‘s Park Bom, and wow, has it brought up a lot of conflict. For the most part, fans and friends alike have stood up for Bom, whose drug scandal prompted a personal letter from YG regarding her need for the medicine. However, is that all to the story? Is Kemy truly the bad guy in this issue, or does she have some truth in her rap?

First of all, let’s get everything straight: I am in no way saying that Kemy’s actions were right. To be honest, this was an extremely rude composition and an extremely bad decision in summary to even bring up a senior idol in such a bad light. Logically speaking, I don’t understand why she would record such a rap, given the fact that they’ve barely debuted and have yet to establish a reputation in the industry; was she intending to ruin their chances before they even had a chance?

In short, I don’t think so. Recent rookies have been aiming for more unique, interesting ways to gain fame, whether it’s eccentric fashion or music style. In my opinion, it seems like Kemy attempted to catch attention with this track, and she succeeded. Unfortunately, I’m just not so sure if she expected the backlash, although it would be ridiculously foolish if she didn’t. Speaking from a marketing perspective, this was a wild card that played out less in her favor, and that’s just one of the things that happen when you go down the dissing route.

But what if this wasn’t an attempt to bring attention to herself? What if it was to bring attention to the suspicious drug scandal fiasco that YG managed to cover up? Am I saying that I don’t trust YG’s explanation? Of course not. I’m just trying to speak from Kemy’s perspective.

When you think about it, South Korea has quite a large stigma attached to mental illness and drugs, so I did understand this negativity in regards to Bom being let go in a simple manner. Also, let’s not forget that celebrities seem to always be treated differently when it comes to crimes, no matter the country, so why wouldn’t someone be angry with this?

Kemy definitely wasn’t wrong for stating her opinion on this scandal, but it was not a smart move in rapping about it and directly addressing Bom in the piece. The fault in this diss is purely a matter of respect and professionalism for me, personally. And before anyone says that Kemy should suffer or be boycotted, let’s keep a rational mindset and understand that A.KOR has already stopped their promotions prematurely as a response to this controversy. Isn’t that enough?

Yes, Bom was wrong in bringing illegal drugs in such a shady manner, but that case is settled, like it or not. Does it seem like she got special treatment? I’m not going to lie; it does seem like it. But just because it seems like she had the case handled in her favor doesn’t mean that releasing a public rap about telling her to do the right thing will help, right?

To put it shortly, I’m not really sure why Kemy thought it was a good idea to go through with this, but I’m not going to hate on the girl. The meaning behind the rap is rude and uncalled for, and it only managed to damage A.KOR’s image more than hurting Bom’s. There are things that don’t make sense with how quickly the case was solved, and she definitely did dish out some truth, albeit in a slightly distasteful manner.

On the other hand, just because the lyrics are negative doesn’t mean that Kemy has no talent nor potential. I have to admit that it bothers me when fans try to come to Bom’s aid by dissing Kemy in return; there’s no use in getting an eye for an eye, because all you end up with is a bunch of blind followers going in a variety of directions for no reason. In a musical sense, I really do feel like Kemy is a great rapper:

I just wish she would have thought this decision through.

What was your reaction to Do The Right Rap? Do you agree with what Kemy’s trying to say? Share your thoughts below and remember to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Bloglovin’ so you can keep up with all our posts.

What I Respect About K-Netizens

Every time a given idol has a scandal, K-Netizens are quick to jump in, hype it up, and take it to extreme levels, whether it’s T-ara, Baekhyun and Taeyeon, or Park Bom. If K-Netizens feel wronged or that the idols wronged someone else, they will make a big deal about it. And while most of the reasons behind the different backlashes seem outrageous and extreme to I-Fans (international fans), there’s no denying that these fangirls and boys have a sizable amount of power over the artists that ultimately affect their careers, which is respectable. But are they wrong for doing so? No, not really.

A few weeks ago, as I read K-Netizen’s hate comments recompiled by different news sources on the Baekhyun and Taeyeon dating scandal, I struggled to understand their rationale: they opened their IG accounts for the fans and instead used them to deceive us by sending hidden messages to each other. They made fools out of us and must apologize to us. Crazy, right? Well, if you look past the obvious façade of the argument (I mean, you’re really just mad they’re dating, don’t try to falsely rationalize it!), it does have truth in its roots. The K-Netizen’s actual rationale for this particular scandal is that they feel entitled to these people’s careers because they built them up and got them to where they stand. It’s grim to think that the same people who willingly turned a person into a star could finish them, but this is actually not delusional, as some I-Fans call K-Netizens.

Yes, fans shouldn’t have a say in an idol’s personal life –but that’s not the point. K-Netizens raise a good point in saying that they, the fans and thus the consumers, should take a stand when they don’t like something and have the industry accommodate them. The Baekhyun and Taeyeon ordeal was not the best example of this because netizens made a fuss about their personal lives (which shouldn’t be meddled with), so let’s take the T-ara bullying scandal of 2012.

After attending a prestigious concert in Japan, now former member (then current) Hwayoung only performed one song because of a hurt ankle. Allegedly, this caused several T-ara members to tweet passive aggressive messages about determination and loyalty, which seemed to be directed at Hwayoung, raising red flags about them bullying her. K-netizens then started policing all of T-ara’s TV appearances and pictures to uncover instances of bullying, and they found an overwhelming amount of them. Because of this, Core Contents Media held a press conference and denied the bullying allegations, which only made people believe it was a cover up. From then on, things just kept escalating until Hwayoung was kicked out of the group, which was not well received by fans.

K-netizens felt upset that the original T-ara members were bullying Hwayoung and, what’s more, made her leave the group, so they took matters into their own hands. Thousands of fans left T-ara’s fan club, and tickets for their first solo concert were returned. Their biggest fan cafe closed, and an online petition for the group to disband started circulating the web. Furthermore, because of the controversy, Eunjung was pulled from We Got Married and the drama Five Fingers dropped her before production even started. Advertisers also began dropping T-ara as a group, such as Tony Moly. All this resulted in T-ara laying low for a while, only to return a couple of months later with Day by Day, but it’s safe to say that they didn’t garnish as much popularity as they once had prior to the whole incident.

Conclusion: K-netizens almost successfully destroyed T-ara’s career, and that’s respectable. They took a stand over something they knew was wrong, organized effectively, and managed to affect their careers temporarily. Imagine if people in the West and the rest of the world would do the same with “badly behaving” artists like Chris Brown, or Justin Bieber? People tend to forget that, as consumers, our buys count. If we stop buying products from artists who do shady things, we’d have artists with better characters and thus better role models. K-netizens understand this, and that is why it’s not delusional of them to feel entitled to their idol’s career (again, but not their personal lives).

This, of course, doesn’t mean that everything that K-netizens do on all scandals is right. Recently, K-netizens targeted Park Bom for her defunct 2010 case of “drug smuggling,” as yellow journalists have called it. Even though police dismissed the case, netizens are making a big deal over it and have even caused Bom to go on hiatus from SBS’ variety program Roommate.

Nevertheless, in its basic essence –consumers taking matters into their own hands and holding suppliers accountable– K-netizens have it right. It’s a shame how netizens have turned into these monsters who regularly affect idols’ personal lives. But if they were to get it together and focus on their idols as public figures and not private ones, they would be in the right.

What’s your opinion on K-netizens? Be sure to share your thoughts and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Bloglovin’ so you can keep up with all our posts.

Why Hyomin’s ‘Nice Body’ is Offensive to Women

For the past few weeks, Core Contents Media hyped up T-ara member Hyomin’s solo debut with Nice Body like it would be the song of the summer. They said the music video would be rated 15+, while the dance version would be 19+, making fans and the general public’s anticipation grow. Articles on different news sites revealed teaser pictures of Hyomin in a fat suit with prosthetics on her face to look the part. With this, and the song’s title, the first red flag glared. However, everything was still pretty hush hush, so criticism couldn’t surface without knowing the music video’s plot and the song’s lyrics.

But then the video for Nice Body came out last Sunday, raising more red flags than anything else seen in K-Pop in a while. Realistically speaking, the only reason why Nice Body should be rated for people over 19, with its distasteful plot line to its objectifying costume and its absurd lyrics, is because no impressionable youngster should be sold such an offensive message towards women.

I know what you, as a fan, are thinking: You’re wrong, Hyomin unnie is singing about her nice body and not trying to impose hers as ideal. There’s nothing wrong with loving your body and being comfortable in it. If it were a man singing about his body, this wouldn’t be a problem… No, Hyomin singing about her body being ideal nor being comfortable in her skin nor with her sexuality are not the issues in question.

The problem starts with the lyrics. While I may not know Korean, I know how to use Google, and Google found for me this English translation of Hyomin’s Nice Body. But where do I even start? The beginning seems to be the best choice:

All girls want to show some skin
All girls go on a diet at least once
All girls want to be loved
A prince of my dreams will appear for sure

Ok, ok. This is true. It’s because of the beauty standards and gender roles set by the patriarchal society we live in, but ok, it’s reality.

(Not eating what I want to)
I will be strong
(I will endure through the pain)
I will become pretty
I will fall in love, I will show everyone
I will change
You do deserve it
My body is a nice nice body
Long legs, sexy waist
(Give me love, give me love, give me love)

Obesity is a real problem — I get that. There’s nothing wrong with wanting and trying to be healthy. What’s wrong is when you bring beauty into the equation and say that if you’re skinny, you’ll be pretty and thus, deserving of love. Yes, because gender roles have long established that women’s sole purpose in life is to appeal to men, get married, and have babies. To make matters worse, people glorify these notions by making it news out of what Hyomin ate or didn’t in order to have that nice body.

While I may be getting ahead of myself with this one, it’s important to spot even the littlest references to these sexist gender roles to understand the larger picture. It’s never just about saying skinny is pretty or just about whichever example is the ideal body type, it’s about reinforcing destructive ideas that “put women in their place.”

All guys want a girl like this
All guys like pretty girls
All guys think dirty thoughts at least once
I want that to be me, I want that…
It was so hard for me
You have no idea how much I worked for you
Good style, feel good, smile
I am confident now

As previously stated, women’s purpose in life is not to serve men. It’s 2014, people! We work, and not just as teachers or secretaries; we go to school, where we pursue different sciences. We raise children, sometimes on our own. We lead countries like Argentina, Germany, and, yes, South Korea, for crying out loud! Women should not conform to be a certain way based on what men want.

And while women and men alike are shallow; again, that is only the surface of the problem. The deeper, more embedded issue is when you put it into context, which, up until now, is: “I need to be skinny so guys like me and that way I’ll be worth something.” Do I really need to go into detail about how a woman’s worth is measured? It’s certainly not over how many men fancy you or how small your waistline is.

Speaking of waistlines, let’s address Hyomin’s leotard with different numbers on it. These numbers (34 at the bust, 24 at the waist, and 36 at the hips) are actually inches representing her measurements. Furthermore, at the chorus, she uses a measuring tape as a prop for her little dance. Again, look at the bigger picture; this does not represent Hyomin being comfortable in her body and being proud about it. As if packaging women and selling them in the name of pop wasn’t enough, Hyomin is now reduced to three numbers –to an object — perpetuating the notion that women are sub-human and thus not equal to men.

Hyomin Nice Body MV

But things get worse with the music video. Hyomin has a nice body, we know that; she makes it very clear. What’s not so clear is her fat suit costume whose sole purpose is to body-shame. Girl, you can have the best, hottest body, have all the guys at your feet telling you you’re beautiful, but how will body-shaming and ridiculing someone who doesn’t look like you serve you?

The scenes were packaged as a joke, something cute and funny, imagine if Hyomin, who has a great body because her only job is to look hot all the time, were to look fat? Omo! That would be funny because she’s not really fat, and fat is funny… I feel like I’m reiterating myself over and over again, but here goes: Look at the bigger picture. A girl whose body meets the beauty standards set by society in a fat-suit singing about a woman’s worth depending on how good she looks like is offensive, to women and men alike.   

Hyomin Nice Body MV Fat

And then we have this little gem. Does the girl in the top picture seem familiar to you? That’s because she starred in the music video for the rape culture appreciation anthem known as Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke. I would say this little tribute is the cherry on top of the sundae, one blatantly offensive music video and song to another.

Hyomin Nice Body Blurred Lines MV

In a world where idols are ostracized over who they date, how sexy their concept is, or if they left their company and bandmates hanging, it’s really fascinating how a song, music video, and concept that offends women and their struggle against sexism goes unnoticed. If netizens have proved something time and time again, it’s that they have the power of taking an idol down; even though I am not calling for this fate for Hyomin, I do wonder where the outcry is for something that actually matters.

Lastly, to take that sour taste out of your mouth, here’s a song by Sunny Hill with a message completely opposite to Hyomin’s. Please enjoy and pick better K-Pop songs.

What did you think about Hyomin’s Nice Body? Share your opinion with us! Make sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Bloglovin’ so you can keep up with all our posts.

Idols & Personal Lives: There’s a Connection?

Privacy in South Korea for K-Pop idols has become a growing issue in the entertainment industry. Some argue that, as celebrities whose lives are always observed, idols shouldn’t be surprised at the attention; however, do they have a right to have personal lives?

Too many times have I seen and heard of horror stories about sasaeng fans stepping out of boundaries in order to pursue their unhealthy obsessions, but even some seemingly “normal” fans have developed an overbearing presence on their favorite idols. In comparison to the United States, in which privacy is a given to celebrities (and lawsuits be easily pursued against violators), it’s a shocker to international fans who find out about the lack of such an important human right in the South Korean entertainment business.

For those of you who see every “privacy infringement” case as sasaeng-exclusive, I have to disagree.

True, some instances of sasaeng activity seem a bit difficult to prevent, like fans getting ahold of idols’ private phone numbers and bombarding them with calls nonstop. Should celebrities have to face such harrassment? No. Is it still going to happen? Unfortunately, due to the high levels of fans paying large amounts of money to get such information, this practice will not disappear forever.

However, other problematic situations can and should be prevented. Last year, EXO’s Tao was recorded singing in the shower, in his private hotel room; the audio clip was then uploaded online and led to an angry Weibo response from the star. What’s worse? I witnessed so many international fans spreading around this audio clip on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and other social media, attaching such comments like “his voice is so cute,” “this is so wrong but it’s too funny to ignore,” and other disturbing reactions to a creepy incident. We can spend all the time in the world talking about what could have been done, but that would never change the fact that this never should have happened.

What’s wrong with this scenario? Well, what isn’t wrong with it? If you were in Tao’s situation, how would you feel? Having a complete stranger somehow bugging your private hotel room is not only a scene from a horror movie, but it increases your anxiety and paranoia. If they managed to do this, what would stop them from doing something worse?

In the current society with unstable “fans,” the answer is simple: absolutely nothing. And that’s why this article exists. This unhealthy desire to control your bias needs to stop.

These situations are just once-in-a-while types, you say? Well, how about something that hits closer to home: the Baekhyun and Taeyeon dating “scandal.”

Is it immoral to ship your favorite idol with another? No. Is it strange to ship yourself with your favorite idol? No. What’s completely wrong is expecting that reality will follow through with a fantasy.

Fans frequently forget that their idols are manufactured, that they are trained to behave and look a certain way in order to bring about attention and build a fanbase. Outside of fame, idols have personal lives. Whether or not they choose to date someone should NOT be of any issue, because they are capable adults and have the right to seek companionship. It’s unreasonable to believe that they will maintain their single or “pure” status forever, and it’s also unreasonable to believe that they should only date someone that is approved by fans. If you were forced into such a box, you wouldn’t be happy; why would you force someone else to be unhappy, then?

What idols choose to do in their personal lives is their choice, not yours. Disapprove of their decisions, but do not set up petitions and rally to push them off a ladder that they’ve tried so hard to climb. Fans have no right to infringe on an idol’s private business, because that right belongs solely to that idol.

Should overzealous fans be the only ones to be blamed? Maybe not; many SM Entertainment artists have come across this obstacle, from Heechul‘s avoidance of public bathrooms because of fantaken pictures to a camera being installed in Luhan‘s room. This brings another complication to light: what exactly are the security measures being taken because of these instances?

Is it because SM artists are just too popular? Do they attract too many psychopaths? Or is the company choosing to stand by in order not to lose fans and, consequently, their income?

I can’t assume that it’s the company’s fault, but it’s a thought that comes into mind when I keep seeing such behavior. What remains imperative is that many fans need to keep their delusions in check.

Do you share the same opinion on this matter? Or do you disagree with some points brought up in this article? Be sure to share your thoughts and follow us on FacebookTwitterInstagramTumblr, and Bloglovin’ so you can keep up with all our posts.

Can History reach success with “Psycho”?

Loen Entertainment has made a name for itself by distributing music videos of famous Korean groups and artists. Aside from assisting with the distribution of new music, the company houses a few artists as well, under their artist label, Loen Tree. Sunny Hill and IU are under Loen Tree, along with label mate History.

Initially, in 2008, IU did not have much success when she debuted. It wasn’t until her follow-up album, Growing Up, that her name became known, and she became popular. Her third full-length album, Modern Times, was a hit from release, topping several music charts and programs. Although IU did not instantly become a huge sensation, she has developed into a great singer-songwriter; people absolutely adore her! Now it’s History’s time…

Let’s be honest, how many of you knew that History’s comeback will be their 3rd mini album? Anyone? I sincerely hope that this is the mini album that will make History popular among mainstream music. Granted, they are competing with BEAST‘s recent comeback and many other well-known artists, but people just need to give History a chance. I thought their debut song, Dreamer was a phenomenal piece, but, unfortunately, it did not receive much commercial success.

From their debut, it feels as if History is a group that was together for a while, based on how well their voices compliment each other and how mature they all sound. These boys slay all harmonies; they are just so amazing! Their voices all suit each other so well and sound so smooth together. Their sound isn’t really mainstream at the moment, but that’s part of what gives History their pop. Their music sounds familiar, yet modern and new. I can’t quite describe it, but I know that I love it.

    History is back again with their upcoming 3rd mini album Desire. It consists of five tracks and displays elements of funk, jazz, swing, and other genres that are appealing to listeners. Hopefully, this will be the album where people recognize History’s talent so that their popularity could grow

    Their title track, Psycho sounds like an ’80s anthem with the synths and bass. Let me tell you: I love me some ’80s anthems. There are only two teasers out, but I can already tell that this song is going to be on repeat for a while. As I mentioned before, History’s harmonies are impeccable, as are their high notes. There’s literally only 20 seconds of singing in each of their teasers, and the majority of the it is laced with harmonies. And that ending, with the creepy smile… This is going to be good.

    The second teaser gives us a little more insight into the choreography and setting of the music video. It’s clear that the boys are in an asylum, because their love has turned into an obsession. The choreography looks like it will be pretty good. There wasn’t much given away in terms of dance, but there is a lot of touching each other on the neck and head area, as well as pushing each other away. There were a lot of scenes done in black and white, which I love for its artistic value in any video. Sometimes the simplicity of black and white just adds so much more feel and emotion.

    History will release their Desire album on June 23rd, along with their title track, Psycho. Just like IU, I hope that History’s popularity will rise. There are a lot of talented artists out there, but there are some who are just under the radar. History is one of those groups. Psycho could be the catalyst that catapults them into mainstream popularity. No matter the outcome, I will always be a fan of History.Are you guys excited for History’s comeback? Do you think they’ll gain the following they need to make an impact in the mainstream Kpop scene? Don’t forget to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, TwitterInstagram, Tumblr, and Bloglovin’ so you can keep up with all our posts.

    Did SM Entertainment Treat Kris & EXO-M Unfairly?

    Unless you’ve been living in an underground bunker, you’ve probably been keeping up with all the drama surrounding SM Entertainment and EXO-M’s former member, Kris. Was Kris selfish, perhaps wanting to pursue a solo career in China? Did SM mistreat him, his health, and his career? Whether you’re #TeamKris or #TeamEXO, everyone seems to question what exactly made Kris leave the group and company. With recent news of Kris’ new movie deal in China, the former questions seem to arise anew.

    So, did SM Entertainment really treat Kris or any of the other EXO-M members unfairly compared to their Korean counterparts? Let’s take a look…

    EXO-M was destined from its inception to focus its promotions in China, while EXO-K promoted in Korea. Both groups debuted with Mama on the same day in their respective countries and had great success on various music charts. However, they promoted together as 12 members throughout 2013 with Wolf, Growl, and Miracles in December, but were mostly split again for Overdose this year.

    They were derp-ishly adorable!

    It is news to no one who follows K-Pop that EXO’s popularity is rarely matched. Fans loved them through the teaser videos to the pre-debut songs to Mama and beyond. Their drama, CF, music video appearances, movies, emcee, and radio and variety show gigs were distributed mostly evenly for EXO-M members in Korea. EXO-K solo member’s activities far outnumbered their Chinese members because, as I said before, they were the ones geared to promote in Korea, not EXO-M. SM Entertainment has more leverage within Korea, so it makes sense that EXO-K had better accessibility to activities.

    But in order to get a better picture of how EXO-M’s appearances were distributed between the members, take a look at these infographs:

     [Disclaimer: Some appearances might be missing]

    EXO-M Activities Chart

    … And more specifically:

    exo-m graphics

    exo-m graphic

    As you can see, Xiumin has the lead, but let’s not forget he has an upper hand on because of his fluency in Korean, due to the fact that he is, of course, one of EXO-M’s Korean member. On the other hand, the other Korean member, Chen, had more appearances than Kris, Lay, and Tao, but fell behind Luhan, a Chinese member. So, were these assigned fairly? Yes, considering lots of these were done with other M and K members in Korea.

    Since those were individual appearances, let’s now take a look at the ones they did together as EXO-M:

    exo-m appearances graph

    The news about Kris terminating his contract with SM and thus leaving EXO broke in mid-May, a month after SM announced that Luhan would be starring in a Chinese movie. Among his alleged grievances for leaving the company, there was some mention of the EXO-M rapper wanting to pursue acting in China, and this request being denied by the company. Coincidentally, news broke yesterday that Kris will be working with Chinese director Guo Jingming on a “mysterious project.” Furthermore, news about Tao starring in Zhang Li Yin’s new music video with f(x)’s Victoria also broke today.

    It seems the question about who’s really to blame – Kris being selfish or SM mistreating him– seem to confuse us more than clarify the issue. Was Kris jealous of Luhan for having acting roles? Is SM giving Tao minor acting roles to appease rumors of inequality among the members? Geez, this plot is better than any K-Drama I’m watching right now…

    Whether Kris is in the right and SM in the wrong, like with Super Junior’s Hangeng and JYJ, or vice versa, one thing’s for sure: SM was not treating EXO-M’s appearances unfairly. They all seem to have had around the same number of gigs. As to why they weren’t as involved in China, I do not know, but SM is definitely trying to get the EXO-M guys out there more.

    What’s your take on the whole SM vs. Kris debacle; who’s in the right? Share your thoughts with me, and let’s talk about it! Don’t forget to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, TwitterInstagram, Tumblr, and Bloglovin’ so you can keep up with all our posts.

    Will WINNER Live Up to the Hype With its Debut?

    YG Entertainment is gearing up for WINNER’s debut. The hype has recently started again, and fans are really excited. WINNER will be YG’s newest idol boy band after eight years of debuting BIGBANG. The members consist of leader Kang Seung Yoon, Kim Jinwoo, Lee Seung Hoon, Song Minho, and Nam Tae Hyun.

    WINNER MEMBERS

    WINNER has had quite a journey. Competing as Team A, they battled Team B and won the reality competition, WIN: WHO IS NEXT?. They were scheduled to debut back in February of this year, but YG pushed back the date, to much disappointment from fans.

    After the show, the band started their ten-episode YouTube series, WINNER TV. The members made different missions and opened BIGBANG’s Japan dome concerts, along with writing and producing their own songs for their debut album. They also opened concerts for 2NE1’s ALL OR NOTHING World Tour and were part of the YG Family concert.

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    WINNER showcases their self-written and produced songs to Yang Hyun Suk on WINNER TV:

    YG really wants to make sure that their newest boy band will be successful. They created a lot of excitement (they already even have CFs with Niikorea! and Fanta) prior to their debut. But with talented members, perhaps that wasn’t necessary. Given their popularity, the band would had been successful at any rate. They have the looks and talents that are needed to be standout in the K-Pop industry.

    The group’s pre-debut popularity ultimately may or may have not inspired SM Entertainment to jump on the band wagon by creating a brand for their SM Rookies. And who could forget EXO prior to debut, releasing individual video teasers of each member, making them one of the most successful rookie bands in Korea? Creating a fan base before the debut of a group is slowly turning into a marketing strategy for more entertainment companies.

    WINNER FANTA CF WINNER NIIKORE CF

    WINNER’s debut seems imminent now that YG has started teasing us. They released their first teaser video named The Visitor, an artsy piece that reminds me of a video fashion editorial. We are not sure if that’s a teaser for a song, or a compilation of different ones, but it sounds very interesting.

    Being a fashion lover myself, I recognized a few terms in the video, like S/S (spring/summer). Designers release collections every two seasons, so this got me a little confused: are they releasing a fashion line or their debut album?

    When their Facebook page uploaded the launching promotion photo, which was the final piece of the puzzle:

    winner launching plan

    Once again, fashion seems to be taking big part in their debut album. They are making it seem like a fashion collection launch, following a Test Week, New York Week, and Winner Week and resembling the different Fashion Weeks all over the world.

    But what does that mean? These may be just my personal predictions, but I think that, during Test Week, they might start promoting a song, or preview their songs for the album to garner reactions.

    WINNER went to New York in May and were spotted filming something. So that would lead to New York Week, in which they might continue to release teasers, photos, or a video of their journey in New York.

    Then Winner Week would follow, during which I can clearly assume that they will release their first official single and music video. At this point, fans are really excited for the group to debut after so many teasers; their hard work will finally be compensated! We are really intrigued to know what their music and visuals will be like.

    Are you excited for WINNER’s release? What sound would you like WINNER to have? Don’t forget to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, TwitterInstagram, Tumblr, and Bloglovin’ so you can keep up with all our posts.

    Sexualization in K-Pop: The Bare Truth

    When asked about why they prefer K-Pop over Western music, many fans say that the former is less sexualized than the latter. But is that really true? For newer fans, they may be pulled in by bubble-gum pop groups; however, they don’t realize that there are many idols that show off their bodies and croon about sex in their songs.

    Am I saying that it’s wrong? Absolutely not! This just goes to show that sex sells, and it’s not just limited to Western music. Furthermore, it’s not like our favorite idols are an eyesore to look at!

    Some people feel as though female idols are more sexualized than their male counterparts, to which I respond:

    I’ve always had the unfortunate opportunity of coming across hostile comments towards girl groups about their skirts being too small, their cleavage being too exposed, or their dances being too risqué. But very few times have I seen a complaint about a guy taking off his shirt too many times, humping the ground too many times, or thrusting in their hands instead of keeping their legs closed. Are you getting what I mean? Like I said before, being sexy is not a crime. Sexualization in K-Pop should not be a crime, either, unless minors are involved (and I’ll talk about this in a bit).

    For a few large examples, let’s start off with Rain‘s Love Song. A classic, and the perfect beginning to this article.

    Okay, so everything looks fine for the first half of the music video, right? He’s got his fancy eyelashes on, trying to touch the memories of his ex-girlfriend. It’s actually pretty innocent and kind of touches your heart, as you can see how torn up he is about the failed relationship. And then, all of a sudden, BAM!

    There they are, shiny studded shoes (shiny studded everything, to be more precise), and whoa, look at those body rolls! Just when you think it’s going to stay at that level… Nope! The jacket gets off, the shirt gets off (most of it), and now he’s flaunting his refined pecs and abs.

    Let’s take a step back, shall we? What’s this song exactly about? He’s basically calling upon a deaf ear, as he tries to ask his former lover to come back to him. He believes that this song would convince her to return, so that they could be together again.

    Hm… Is there any reason why he should be stripping? Any reason for the seemingly suggestive body rolls? Of course, there’s always going to be people like me trying to find meaning in everything, but when you get down to the dirty business… You can’t really argue that his body is a large selling point of this, can you?

    Just to remind everyone: I find no issue with that. What. So. Ever. Just look at him!

    bi rain

    But moving on: the highly popular duo of HyunA and Hyunseung in Trouble Maker, formed in 2011, has been quite a spicy pair. With their sexually suggestive choreography for their debut, Trouble Maker, they are not shy in the field of sexiness. Their latest hit, Now (There Is No Tomorrow), showcases both of these idols’ looks and vocals.

    A personal favorite of mine, this music video hits you immediately with the act of love (or is it really love?), as Hyunseung wakes up with women strewn about him. Meanwhile, HyunA is avoiding unwanted attention at a club, gyrating by a wall, seemingly in deep thought and longing. From the closeups of their bodies to an intense lovemaking scene, it’s pretty obvious what their relationship is about. But there’s more, as fights break out, and Hyunseung seems to have issues with his own deranged sociopath. I ended up thinking, “Well… I’m glad I’m not a people person.”

    In addition to the video’s plotline, the choreography reflects the chemistry between the two. But, more importantly, let’s look closer at the meaning of the song.

    This couple have problems that they can only deal with together, so, despite a caustic, bipolar relationship, their only way of surviving is to stay with each other. Does the video represent that? Yes. Is the sexualization of the pair necessary? I’d like to think it sticks to the truth of many relationships in real life, so yeah, having them actually dealing with sexual needs, drug use, alcohol use, and physical abuse does help remind the viewers that life isn’t just bubble-gum pop.

    Last but definitely not least, I present you with Rania‘s Dr. Feel Good.

    Do I really need to say much about this? I’m actually a fan of this song and the intense choreography, albeit the lyrics being a bit cheesy at some points. Now, you might criticize me and say, “I don’t think it’s that hard to wiggle your butt around and hump the air, Thuc!”

    In a normal situation, I’d agree. What makes this different is that the movements go along with the beat of the song, and they are synchronized. I don’t know if many of you have tried learning this choreography, but it is difficult. Being sexy takes a LOT of practice. Should I also add that the opening sequence looks like the awakening of sirens from the depths of… badness? In other words, it looks really cool.

    There’s not really much of a plot, as the music video focuses on their visual appeal. This is a song that reminds me of some kinky roleplay sequence that people usually try to keep behind closed doors. The meaning? Well, all that I get from this is that these “patients” would really like some pleasurable, alone time with their doctors. Once again, nothing wrong with that.

    Rania recieved some criticism for their racy attire and choreography, forcing them to change some aspects to be able to promote on music shows. I think it’s a bit unfair, considering that they’re showing just as much skin as many boy groups, and thrusting into their hands in a similar manner.

    Hey, if the guy groups can get away with singing about sex, why can’t the ladies? It’s a natural act, and, even if I may not be into the practice, it doesn’t mean that I should shun any type of sexiness in the media. Even U-KISS recently dropped quite the music video for Quit Playing, bringing up the topic of threesomes and showing off the members’ sculpted bodies.

    All in all, what I’m trying to say is that sexualization in K-Pop shouldn’t be seen as a rare occurrence or a sin. Why? Simply because it is not. As you can see, male and female groups, and even groups with both, use their bodies to the best of their abilities to provide a little boost to promotions.

    Sometimes it’s not very necessary, sometimes it helps develop a view on the world, or sometimes it’s just a straightforward message of “Hey, I’m into this kink, and I’m not ashamed of it.”

    Of course, putting minors into a sexualized role of being an idol does create issues not only for that minor, but for the public in general. Personally, I believe in giving the choice to people who are supposed to be mature enough to understand the workings of the industry, not forcing a role onto someone who may be too young to truly comprehend why they have to grind against their microphone stand.

    Do you have a different opinion on this matter? Should sexualization in K-Pop just not exist, or should it still remain in use? Don’t forget to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, TwitterInstagram, Tumblr, and Bloglovin’ so you can keep up with all our posts.

    Let’s Talk About: Psy, “Hangover,” & His ‘Craziness’

    We’ve all seen the music videos for “Gangnam Style” and “Gentleman,” and now Psy’s about to be back with “Hangover.

    The song features Snoop Dogg, and there’s no news about whether the song is in Korean or English. It’s probably in Korean, since none of the 2 billion people who watched “Gangnam Style” seemed to mind. And most of those people will probably, at least, take a glance at “Hangover,” so the song is probably going to be a major hit.

    Will it reach 2 billion views on YouTube? Probably not. Megahits can launch careers, but it’s hard to follow them up. Snoop Dogg’s appearance will probably make “Hangover” more successful to English-speaking audiences, but could also backfire—Snoop Dogg, also sometimes known as Snoop Lion (?!), is popular, but it may look like Psy is trying too hard to be a success.

    gangnam

    Which is funny, because Psy isn’t just about being funny and a global sensation. “Gangnam Style” makes fun of a type of the Gangnam lifestyle and “Gentleman” makes fun of dating in Korea and sexism in the country). I bet “Hangover” will have some deeper meaning also.

    Korea’s gained a lot of attention lately because Koreans drink more alcohol than almost any other culture, so perhaps he’ll be discussing that and the consequences of drinking too much? If that’s the case, “Hangover” will surely be ridiculous. Although, we all expect Psy’s craziness at this point.

    Psy Gentleman

    But is he actually that much of a Psy-cho?

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    Obviously, he’s not.  Psy’s in the music industry to make it big and he’s not going to go down without trying. But his music isn’t as goofy as we think, either.

    The Korean audience gets Psy’s satire, which often mocks Korean society, but most of the world just thinks, “Oh, he’s a funny fat man who doesn’t look like he should be famous.”

    But Psy isn’t just a comedian; his songs aren’t just meant to be funny. They’re meant to make you laugh, yes, but also to make you think about what exactly is Psy doing here?

    Why is he sitting on a toilet in “Gangnam Style” while wearing a suit? Why is he being disturbingly raunchy towards Ga-In in “Gentleman?” You’re supposed to laugh at how ridiculous it is because you’re supposed to recognize the absurdity of the situation in Korean society nowadays.

    Sadly, the meaning is lost on most foreign viewers since they don’t pay attention to the lyrics of the songs, but instead just watch the hilarity and get the chorus stuck in their head.

    But with Snoop Dogg singing in English on “Hangover,” it may be interesting to see how people react. Will Snoop Dogg’s part of the song be as crazy as Psy’s? Probably. But it will be understood by more listeners, and it may resonate with them.

    Then again, the song may just be a party song about drinking all night and getting a hangover.

    What do you think?  Will “Hangover” resonate with Psy’s fans? Or is this his last hurrah? Don’t forget to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, TwitterInstagram, Tumblr, and Bloglovin’ so you can keep up with all our posts.