Let’s Discuss: Why Does ZE:A Get So Little Love?

ZE:A is one of the best, most consistent idol groups out there today. The group has several amazing songs, and some duds, but since their debut in 2010, ZE:A has struggled to place in charts to reach the fans.

Even its recent song, Breathe, has gained little attention.

The group has filmed over 20 music videos since debuting, featured in countless songs. Four of the nine members: Kwanghee, Hyungsik, Siwan, and Dongjun, are pretty well known for their acting and variety skills. They’ve appeared in popular shows and movies like The Heirs, Star King, The Moon That Embraces The Sun, Real Men, We Got Married, To The Beautiful You, and A Company Man.

With individual members so popular and the group so prolific and talented, it’s always bothered me why ZE:A isn’t more well received. This past April, the group was ranked as having the 33rd largest fanclub in South Korea; that’s no small feat when there are so many idol groups. YG’s upcoming boy group, WINNER, ranked #26.

This could be a simple matter of larger companies filling up the idol scene and promoting their members better than a smaller company like ZE:A’s, but that’s not the case. Star Empire Entertainment was founded in 2000 and produced not only ZE:A and Nine Muses, but also popular groups Jewelry and V.O.S.

The group is popular enough to rank on the idol fanclub chart (it’s harder than it seems – JYJ, Secret, and SISTAR were at the bottom of the list, despite their popularity). People know the names of some of the members. Several of their albums ranked within the top ten charts, but the group has never won an award on one of the music shows like Inkigayo. They’ve debuted in Japan pretty successfully and have unit groups, but ZE:A still struggles.

So what’s going on?

 

I’ve also thought about it as the group doing too much, without being exceptional in any single way.

The group’s debut song, Mazeltov, was okay. That’s me being extremely nice — I rewatched it and thought that it was a bit of a mess. But the group made up for it with the follow up track, All Day Long. Songs like Here I Am, Heart For 2, Aftereffect, Phoenix, Step By Step, and my personal favorite, The Ghost of the Wind, have proved that the group can create great, catchy songs.

But not charttoppers.

Popular, but never popular enough. That seems to be ZE:A’s “claim to fame.”

The popular members are popular, but not popular enough to bring ZE:A into the spotlight as a group. The songs are good, but never can compete to be number one. The company is a good one, but doesn’t have the ability to promote ZE:A as much as a bigger company would be able to.

The group tries extremely hard, but it’s like ZE:A is climbing a never-ending staircase. ZE:A’s almost reached the top, but when it pauses for a moment or two to catch it’s breath, another idol group comes out with something that slips ZE:A up.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to be changing. Every time a new ZE:A song comes out, I, and other ZE:A fans, get excited. Ghost of the Wind really should have been “the” song for ZE:A. But it wasn’t, primarily thanks to too much competition – EXO, B.A.P, f(X), and BEAST were all promoting at the time of Ghost Of The Wind’s release.

Based on the fact that it hasn’t happened in four years, it’s unlikely that ZE:A will produce a song that gains enough attention. The songs are catchy, the vocals are good, but they seem to be missing that special thing that makes certain releases from less popular idol groups shoot to popularity.

Considering this, it’s sad that ZE:A’s debut song wasn’t all that great – some groups debut with such a great concept that fans can’t help but pay attention, like B.A.P. Groups like VIXX and INFINITE debuted with strong songs, and then gained momentum to propel them to become current front-runners of K-POP.

But ZE:A’s first song was, as I said, less than exciting, and the group has been around for so long that people know that they’re there, but just don’t really care.

It must be incredibly hard for ZE:A to work so hard day after day, knowing that there will always be more groups to compete with. ZE:A lost it’s chance for a solid debut back in 2010, and it seems that no matter how hard the group tries, it all seems futile.

Rather than saying the flooded idol market or something like lack of talent or a small company is to blame for ZE:A’s failure to gain attention, I think that apathy is ZE:A’s biggest enemy.

We know it, but we don’t love ZE:A. We listen to the songs, watch them entertain us, but there’s no real connection. Something’s missing in the relationship between ZE:A and fans, and until the group does something to change that, it will always lag behind other, newer, K-Pop acts.

Hopefully something will happen that will propel ZE:A into the spotlight that they deserve, or at least allow people to acknowledge the talented, hard-working  group.

What are your thoughts on ZE:A’s lack of popularity? 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.

The Soccer Idols: Doojoon, Junsu, & Minho

In light of the 2014 World Cup starting next week, I’m going to look into a few of our favorites male idols who cannot live without soccer (football). Being a soccer fan myself, it’s fun to watch idols play with each other and see a different side to them compared to their singing and dancing. Soccer brings out the competitor in those who play it and show each person in a new and attractive light.

The first idol I want to talk about is BEAST’s very own Yoon Doojoon. There’s no question that Doojoon loves soccer. He was even dubbed Soccer-dol in the idol world. His thick thighs are evidence enough that he loves to play the sport as often as possible. It is even said that he carries around a fold-able goal post, so when he and his members have some free time, they can have matches verses the staff and managers.

Doojoon helped his team score at the 2013 Idol Athletic Championships and displayed an array of skills and knowledge of the game. He is currently on Cool Kiz on the Block with fellow BEAST member Gikwang. They are only two episodes into the soccer episodes, but from these two episodes alone, it’s clear that his reputation as the Soccer-dol is known throughout the entertainment business and is a just title. It wasn’t until the second episode that he had a chance to find the back of the net when he was put on offense as a forward.

Doojoon’s love of the game is evident every time you watch him play soccer or talk about it. With this type of passion for the game, it’s no wonder Doojoon was recently named honorary ambassador for the Korea Professional Football League, or the K-League. He will help promote soccer in Korea while promoting the K-League with a series of events and online and mobile channels.

Doojoon Juggling Skills

Another idol I want to mention is Kim Junsu of JYJ. Junsu is actually the captain of the celebrity men’s team FC Men (of which Doojoon also plays on), which is made up of actors, singers, and models. That title of captain alone tells us that Junsu genuinely loves the game as well as understands the various aspects of soccer. Not only is he knowledgeable of the game, but his teammates look up to him as someone who will lead them during each game and each practice to enhance their skills and teamwork. Junsu’s skills, persistence, and thirst for competition, are only a few of the attributes that make him a great player and leader.

Finally, we have SHINee‘s Choi Minho. Anyone who is familiar with SHINee knows that Minho loves soccer. With a soccer coach as a father, why wouldn’t he? Minho is a very competitive individual in any sport he plays. Just watch some of the Idol Competitions and it’s clear he is there to win.

But soccer is a sport that Minho always goes back to and loves. I’m sure many of you remember SHINee’s reality show, Wonderful Day (One Fine Day), where each member chose to go anywhere they wanted for a mini vacation. Without hesitation, Minho chose England so he could watch the pros in the Premier League. From the response of his members, it’s clear that soccer is always on his mind. He even goes as far as to try to change the start date of his trip in order to watch a game.

In this episode, Minho looks like a kid in a candy store. He cannot contain his excitement leading up to the match. But the most memorable part for him was getting a high five from Queens Park Rangers player Park Ji Sung. Minho’s pure joy as he recounts the match clearly shows how much he loves soccer, whether he’s playing it or watching it.

I only touched on a few idols who are massive soccer fans and I know there are many more out there. Who is your favorite soccer-loving idol? Make sure to cheer for Korea during the World Cup as they take on the best teams in the world and 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.

The Hot Women of “Roommate”

Move over last week’s article of the hot male cast of SBS’ show Roommate for it’s the girls’ turn now. As we previously explained in said article, the show’s 11 hot women and men cast members have made us fall for their charms and quirks every week.

But even if you can’t stop swooning over Seo Kang Joon’s heart-melting smile or Lee Dong Wook’s steamy chocolate abs, you can’t forget about the ever fierce and elegant female cast consisting of model Lee So Ra, 2NE1’s Park Bom, After School’s Nana, actress Hong Soo Hyun, and MMA fighter Song Ga Yeon. And even though they’re all different and have found similar interests of traits in order to bond, it’s safe to say the female cast of the show is equally if not hotter than the male. Let’s take a look at the sexy female roommates:

Aside from EXO’s Chanyeol, the person who made me want to watch this show was none other than 30-year-old Bom. We all know her for her role as 2NE1’s main vocalist and her love for corn (or maybe that’s just a Blackjack known thing?).

2NE1 Bom Sexy

This girl definitely has an enviable body and always rocks the best tight dresses in K-Pop. And even though she’s a young adult, her ditzy personality full of cuteness captivates us, whether she’s eating bread while sleeping, fighting with the camera, or blushing when revealing her love interest within the Roommate house.

Next up is the eldest woman, 44-year-old model Lee So Ra. The Project Runway Korea host is without a doubt the most regal figure in the house. Maybe it’s her modeling training or just her personality and the way she carries herself, but she emulates a classy beauty you don’t see that much anymore with younger celebrities.

Lee So Ra Hot

Even though So Ra started as an outsider in the house, she has taken on the role as the top unnie in the house, taking care of all the other women and being their rock. It’s really nice to see a warmer side to her when preparing low calorie meals for the roommates or consoling her fellow dongsaengs.

But since we’re on the beauty route, let’s talk about the second most beautiful woman in the world, Nana. I suppose a picture speaks more than words, so let’s see:

Do I really need to spell it out? Where would I even begin?! This girl has a great body, a great face, great hair, and great dance moves and overall body movement. I mean, she only lost to French beauty Marion Cotillard on that list. But through the show, we’ve seen another side to Nana than the sexy one we normally see.

Nana, who’s 22-years-old, bonded on the Roommate house with pretty much all the female cast for her uniqueness. For example, she shares a 4D personality with Bom, and watching those two divas interact so cutely with each other exposes a whole other side to both women. Nana was very affectionate towards So Ra at the beginning of the show. Maybe they bonded for being national beauties. Moreover, she’s also cute and weird with Soo Hyun, as they dance in their room and talk for hours.

With two popular idols on the Roommate house, one would expect them to be the most popular among the male members, but this was shot down by none other than Soo Hyun. Fellow cast members Seo Kang Joon and Park Min Woo revealed that this 33-year-old noona was their ideal type.

Hong Soo Hyun Sexy

And who can blame them, I mean, Soo Hyun has a slender body and appears to be very feminine while also seeming down to earth. Plus, her love for wine made me think she’s probably very fun to be around when drinking or even sober.

And last but certainly not least we have the maknae of the house, 19-year-old Ga Yeon. She’s definitely the breakout star in the show since she’s an athlete and not a celebrity (or a celebrity athlete like Kim Yuna, for example).

Because she’s a professional athlete, I’ll say she’s probably the healthiest person in the house and thus has a pretty rocking body. You can often see her on the show waking up early to work out, even before most of the roommates are awake. She can wear shorts and tight clothing even better than her idol counter parts, I mean, have you seen her thighs? I want healthy, hot-looking thighs like that!

Song Ga Yeon Hot

But Ga Yeon’s appeal goes beyond her looks. Since she’s not that used to the spotlight, she lacks a pumped variety program personality, but rather than hurting her, it adds to her charm. She’s regularly shy and struggles to feel comfortable around her oppas, even when Min Woo tells her repeatedly (and even flicks her forehead for it) to feel at ease with him.

After reading this list on the hotties of Roommate, who’s your favorite female cast member? We want to know! 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.

Let’s Talk About: U-KISS’s Comeback & Its Member Changes

U-KISS has been around for several years, but it has gone through numerous member line-ups. As of today, only three original members are still part of U-KISS. But in spite of these line-up changes, the group still has a loyal fanbase. Let’s take a look:

Timeline

2008: U-KISS debuts with Soohyun, Kevin, Eli, Xander, Kibum, and Dongho.

not young

2009: Let’s add in Kiseop!

Man Man Ha Ni

2011: Bye Kibum and Xander. We’ll miss you!

2011: Oh, hi, AJ and Hoon. You guys seem pretty good!

Neverland

2012: AJ will randomly be going to Columbia University once in a while? Okay!

alone

2013: And now Dongho is leaving because of his health.

2014: But we have Jun joining now!

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So What’s Going On?

U-KISS debuted in 2008 with a goal of being the most approachable group for international fans, with members like Xander, Kevin, Dongho, Kibum, and Eli who spoke multiple languages.

But the problem is that U-KISS never really gained popularity in Korea before going to other countries, like how most groups do that. Even though U-KISS has loyal fans throughout the world, in Korea and outside of it, it isn’t considered to be one of the most popular K-Pop acts. Members may be in variety shows, dramas, movies, etc. but they, unfortunately, are simply just not gaining the love that they deserve.

Let’s go over the facts: The group may go around the world touring, but Korean fans didn’t love U-KISS automatically, and the group hasn’t won any major awards over the years. This means that something is a bit off, since U-KISS still isn’t appealing to the average Korean K-Pop fan. Even among international fans, U-KISS lacks the numbers of groups like EXO and INFINITE have.

So how do you fix something that’s a little bit wrong, but is still working to some degree? You try to change things up.

First, Kiseop was brought in, an ulzzang (best face), who was popular among ulzzang fans. It was an obvious attempt to gain Korean fans, since Kiseop was already pretty popular.

Furthermore, Kibum and Xander’s contracts were terminated, apparently because U-KISS’s company believed the two of them to be lacking.  Fans were disappointed and worried that U-KISS may be dissolved.

Instead, two new members, Hoon and AJ, replaced the two positions. Both Hoon and AJ had already debuted, one as a solo artist and the other as a member of former idol group Paran. Like Kiseop, this also seems to be an attempt to bring in an already-built fanbase for U-KISS.

When Dongho left, fans all over the world were really sad, considering that Dongho left due to health issues. But because Dongho was not only a rapper but also the youngest member (and AJ is away at school for half of each year,) U-KISS had a void- every group needs a resident maknae (youngest member). So Jun came in. He’s still a wild card, but there’s some speculation that it’s U-KISS’s attempt at once again reaching out to a new fanbase.

Hopefully U-KISS will get all of the attention that they deserve not only because of Jun but also because of:

The Amazing, Sexy Concept!

Yup, I love it and everyone else should too. My first reaction when I saw the Mono Scandal video teaser was: Wow. U-KISS is really trying hard this time, coming out with a sexy concept that’s a bit different from what we’ve always seen from them in the past.

The group has definitely done sexy, but their song style has generally been the same, synthopop, dance sound. 0330 was a sharp change for them, and gained a generally good response, but since then the group returned to the type of sound that has treated them best.

But Mono Scandal seems to be a song that incorporates flamenco-style elements, opening up a whole new variety of music for U-KISS. Considering that the group has an extremely large Latino fanbase, and was the first K-Pop group to tour South America, this may be a conscious decision.

The music video will also be rated 19+ for it’s sexy concept, hinting to U-KISS’s maturity as an artist. And, of course, the members. Moreover, the group released extremely sexy teaser images, showing off the member’s bodies and not a single fan around the world is disappointed.

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I, for one, love the sound and can’t wait for the full video. This may be able to turn around everything for the group, launching them to stardom in their own country!

U-KISS is an extremely hard-working group that has persevered despite the fact that it’s not gaining the recognition that it’s worked so hard for.

What do you think? Does Mono Scandal suit U-KISS? Or should they go back to synthopop? 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.

The Hot Men Of “Roommate”

SBS’s newest reality show Roommate is full of eye-candy. If you are currently addicted to it, you will definitely agree with me.The cast includes 11 hot men and women. Here at KPOPme we want to emphasize this time on the men. Shall we take a look? The male cast for Roommate consists of EXO’s Chanyeol, actors Seo Kang Joon, Lee Dong Wook, Park Min Woo, Shin Sung Woo, and comedian Jo Se Ho.  There are tastes for everyone, from flower boys to the non-conventional handsome type. The Roommate house truly has it all.

Lets start with the youngest male member of the house: Seo Kang Joon, a member of actor/idol group 5urprise. He got inmense recognition with his role in the drama Cunning Single Lady, and after living with his fellow members he decided to move in to the Roommate house.

With only 20 years of age, this rising star is capturing everyone’s hearts.  His hazel eyes make us want to stare into them all day. I can’t talk for everyone, but every time his face appears on screen, he takes my breath away. Even if he is not the smartest member of the house, his clumsiness is very appealing. And who can forget his amazing piano skills? It was so Romantic! He definitely is the perfect flower boy.

Seo Kang Joon So Handsome

Seo Kang Joon Smiling Shirtless

Seo Kang Joon Dreaming

 

Next up is EXO’s Chanyeol, the 21-year-old rapper who captures everyone with deep his voice. Not only can he drop amazing lines on EXO’s songs, but he is very talented with instruments. As we saw on the second episode, Chanyeol plays the guitar and piano. He is also interested in producing music. Who can say no to someone this talented? Chanyeol’s tall stature is the cherry on top. He could be a perfect model with his thin 6’1 statuesque figure. Moreover, I really love when he wears his hair up, since it shows his beautiful face. His charming smile and ears are to die for as well.

Chanyeol Smile and Ears Chanyeol Smiling Roomate Chanyeol overdose jacket Park Min Woo had his first acting gig on Flower Boy Ramen Shop. With 26 years of age, he graces our screens with his beautiful dimples and big smile. In the show, he shows a very caring side for his junior Seo Kang Joon. He looks very sexy when he wears his baseball cap backwards. His style is amazing; Min Woo looks like a really cool kid straight out of the ’90s.  It seems like he could be the man that will not only be your lover, but also your best friend. PARK MIN WOO DIMPLES PARK MIN WOO LAUGHS PARK MIN WOO ELLE Jo Se Ho is definitely a funny man; you might remember him from the drama You Who Came From the Stars. Although he is not the conventionally handsome type, he charms you with his sense of humor. He shows his gentleman side with all the ladies, and takes care of his fellow roommates. We fell in love with his charisma when he lip-synched Frozen‘s, “Love Is an Open Door” alongside Lee Dong Wook. He also showed how smart he was, and even his lip synch partner got jealous of how much he knew.   He’s so cute, he reminds me of a teddy bear. Jo Se Ho cute jo se ho photo Jo SeHO AND lee dong wook lip synch Lee Dong Wook gathers a lot of attention from the women of the house. Even 2NE1‘s Park Bom fell for this gorgeous man, for she asked a fortune teller if they where a match. Lee Dong Wook is one of the best actors in Korea and has appeared in many dramas since 1999. The 31-year-old actor likes to take care of his body. We have seen how sexy he looks without a shirt on and working out. He is currently on a very strict diet and hasn’t been able to enjoy all the meals that his roommates prepare. Lee dong wook charming lee dong wook shirtless lee dong wook working out Last but not least, is the oldest member of the house, rocker Shin Sung Woo. He has earned himself the nickname of Mama Shin, since he’s in charge of cooking. The 44 -year-old singer was forced by Park Bom to shave his facial hair. Shame on you Bom, he looked very handsome with his facial hair! He hadn’t shaved his facial hair since he started the musical “The Three Musketeers” five years ago. Shin Sun Woo is one of those men who looks really tough from the outside, but has a very soft and caring nature on the inside. He really takes care of all the members and has started a special connection with his roommate Chanyeol since they have similar tastes in music. Furthermore, who wouldn’t love to take a ride with him on his motorcycle? shin sung woo musketeer shin sung woo formal As you can see, there are many different types of men in the house, so there’s someone for everyone. We can’t wait what happens next with the members of Roommate. Let us know who your favorite male cast member is and why you like him. Share it with us on the comment section! 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.

K-Pop: Korean Music or Music From Korea?

K-Pop is definitely a distinct genre from Western music, but it’s not exactly Korean music either.

Obviously, K-Pop is created in Korea, but it’s not like there’s anything unique about it. It may not sound like mainstream Western music (meaning American music), but Western producers write many K-Pop songs. SM Entertainment in particular makes use of Western producers. There are even trial versions of Girls’ Generation and f(x) songs recorded by Ke$ha and Ariana Grande:

Most K-Pop songs incorporate lyrics in English or some other language. Numerous songs have English titles rather than the Korean ones, which new fans often get confused by,  so why does Korean music have English titles?

Mostly because K-Pop is now an international phenomenon, and while everyone may not be able to read Korean writing, just about everyone can read English. Another reason is because Koreans think that if someone speaks English they’re more educated and successful.

There are also K-Pop idols who aren’t Korean, and K-Pop groups that primarily promote in China or Japan, and yet those songs are still called K-Pop.

That’s not to say that every K-Pop song is created by foreign producers or even contains lyrics in another language, but the sound of most K-Pop songs don’t sound remotely Korean. There is a very distinct sound to traditional Korean music, but that is typically lost in K-Pop.

Anytime a K-Pop singer attempts to sing traditional Korean or trot songs, it’s almost like the singer must be joking. Only a few idols have attempted to incorporate traditional Korean elements into their songs, like Super Junior-T, a Super Junior subgroup where the members sang trot songs, and ToppDogg’s song Arario, which incorporated Korean pansori music.

Moreover, the real reason why I question whether K-Pop is truly Korean is because it doesn’t really appeal to the average Korean. K-Pop is aimed at teenagers and young adults, and is very popular abroad, but most Koreans don’t care about it half as much as international audiences do. Some K-Pop songs do become popular, because they’re catchy, but not because they are K-Pop songs.

The most popular songs in Korea are actually typically indie songs, like Busker Busker’s Cherry Blossom Ending, Junggigo X SoYou’s Some, etc. Coffee shop songs have a unique genre in Korea, and are generally more popular than K-Pop, since the calming style suits more people’s listening palate.

Urban Zakapa, Nell, and even IU are generally better accepted in Korea than K-Pop idols, since they’re generally considered to be unartistic pawns of entertainment companies. Also, calmer sounding songs are more attractive to older listeners. This is why Akdong Musicians, AKMU, is also increasingly popular in Korea. Although AKMU is run by an idol company, YG Entertainment, the duo doesn’t sound like typical idol acts.

Now, that’s not to say that Koreans aren’t proud of K-Pop and don’t listen to it –I have many Korean friends who like EXO, BIGBANG, Girls’ Generation, etc. But there’s very little in most K-Pop songs  that appeal to Koreans because it doesn’t evoke Korean values and culture.

What do you think? Is K-Pop Korean or just music in Korean? 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 Kris, EXO, & SM Entertainment

Ever since Kris, a member of EXO and the leader of EXO-M, moved to nullify his contract with SM Entertainment, there has been a lot of mixed feelings flying around. Hopefully, I’ll lay things out in a way that makes the entire situation simpler for fans to understand.

This is going to be long, so bear with me. Here is the timeline of facts:

On September 15th, it was revealed that Kris had his lawyer file a suit to terminate his contract with SM Entertainment. Within twenty-four hours, EXO’s leader Suho made a comment, calling Kris irresponsible and asking Kris publicly to apologize and return to SM Entertainment and EXO.

Other members also took to SNS and posted confusing messages, which many fans assumed were aimed at Kris’s departure. Other fans claimed that the members, including Suho, were being forced to say these things.

Netizens caused a storm, rallying support for Kris and accosting SM Entertainment, accusing the company of forcing EXO into a horrible situation. There were even calls for Kris to reach out to YG Entertainment, generally seen as the “good” agency in comparison to SM Entertainment, which is reviled because of its contract disputes and lack of artistic freedom.

There have also been rumors flying that Kris has heart issues that SM disregarded, or that Kris was offered an acting career in China. Kris’s legal representative has also reportedly said that Kris wants to end the situation quietly. So what’s going on?

The Difference Between SM & YG, and Why Fans Think What They Think

First, I just want to say: It is entirely unfair to request that YG pick up Kris, when YG may not even want Kris. He doesn’t have unique vocal or dance talent, and is just one rapper among many – YG picks extremely talented artists, so calling for YG to pick up Kris just because SM may have mistreated him is ridiculous. Kris is good enough to be an idol, yes, but he’s not really YG’s type. They go for unique, and while he’s definitely a unique, funny person, he’s not YG’s style.

Now back to SM, YG, and business. SM Entertainment has definitely been embroiled in more lawsuits than YG Entertainment. JYJ and Hangeng are the most prominent ones; JYJ’s was because of income and slave contracts, and Hangeng was because of both income and improper treatment, as SM Entertainment hadn’t prepared adequate arrangements for foreign artists (his contract was worse than the Korean members, and he originally wasn’t allowed to appear on television because of visa issues).

Because of these prominent legal suits, SM Entertainment has earned a reputation as a company that treats its artists badly. It puts money before idols, and that upsets fans, who see YG Entertainment as a friendlier, more open company — the idols have some ability to create their own music, they have their own personality, and are generally able to say whatever they want.

The difference may be because SM has a more business-like organization, which leads to the idols being simply employees rather than artists; therefore, they are bound entirely by their contracts. As a large company, it is not in SM Entertainment’s benefit to sign contracts that will overly favor the idol trainees.

Idols are invested in, and then they have to earn back their money to pay back the company; this is not very different than companies in the United States that hire people and help pay for their graduate degrees, taking the payment out of the employee’s paycheck.

YG Entertainment does the same thing, but on a smaller scale – SM has 12 acts to manage under the SM Entertainment label alone, but numerous other acts including actors and Woollim artists. At the same time, YG Entertainment currently has 6 acts to manage, with WINNER rumored to debut any day now.

With more acts, SM Entertainment makes more money than YG, each entertainer on average is worth less because there is a wider distribution of wealth – if one idol group is making less money, SM is able to still allow them to promote since other groups are bringing more money to the company. With fewer acts at YG Entertainment, the highly successful acts bring in enough revenue for the entire company- at SM, even the most popular acts like Girls’ Generation don’t bring in enough to pay for the company’s expenses.

Disclaimer: I know nothing about the companies’ income, but this is common sense – the bigger a company, the more revenue you need each department to bring in. Departments that do poorly end up being cut.

Because SM Entertainment has more holdings than YG, it makes everything about the money – SM’s idols have often spoke about how grueling their life is, while at YG the idols generally don’t publicly address how difficult their company has made life for them.

This business-oriented company has generally garnered unfavorable impressions from the fans in comparison to a more artistic company. But at the end of the day, each company is aiming to make a profit – they are both companies and all idols suffer for their dream.

Speaking of Dreams, Let’s Get Back to Kris.

Kris has reportedly left EXO before. There were rumors that the delayed comeback after EXO’s debut (a year between MAMA and Wolf) was due to Kris leaving to Canada for a variety of reasons. Whether Kris left EXO for family issues, or because he didn’t want to be part of EXO, doesn’t matter – I’m not judging Kris, and nobody should either. That said, nobody should judge EXO’s members either. But I’ll get back to that in a minute.

Kris filed his lawsuit for any number of reasons – time will tell if he continues his career as an idol in some capacity (either as a singer, actor, or whatnot), or if he returns to Canada and to a normal life. Idol life may have worn Kris down, or he felt that SM wasn’t offering him the right opportunities, or some other crazy reason that I can’t think up.

But why are so many fans sure that SM treated him horribly? The general consensus is that SM practically tortures its idols during training and their career. But if you step back, and realize that K-Pop idols have been around for long enough that trainees know what’s in store – JYJ and Hangeng’s contract issues were in 2009, but H.O.T and Shinhwa’s issues with SM were several years before then.

I do not know Kris personally, but at the time he started down the path towards idol-dom, he probably thought it was what he wanted. It may still be what he wants. But if he ducks out of the industry, how is that any different from someone else who thinks they want one career and then, after getting their dream job, they discover that it’s not for them?

Anybody who wants to be a doctor knows that the path will be hard, and that it won’t be an easy job. Even so, they do well in college, taking the hardest science classes so that they can go to medical school. After passing four years of college with top marks, fighting their way into a medical school, and then going through three years of medical school, they finally become doctors. But being a student who wants to be a doctor and being a doctor are two very different things. While rare, it’s not unheard of for doctors to leave their medical career and pursue something else.

Kris may very well be interested in pursuing something else, and his exclusivity clause with SM Entertainment may be stopping that so he moved to terminate his contract.

There are also rumors, as mentioned earlier, that Kris has a heart condition. If that’s the case and SM is disregarding his health, then he is definitely in the right. Idol companies often put promotional activities before the health of idols, because of how rigorous the lifestyle already is, and how much companies invest in these idols.

If that’s the case, then SM is definitely in the wrong – heart conditions are not to be taken lightly. However, it is also unlikely that SM would want one of EXO’s members to drop dead on stage from a heart problem.

The story also is shady, since it came from a Chinese source, Sina, which has had sketchy reporting throughout the Kris affair – Sina reported that it interviewed Kris’s lawyer, but the law firm, Hankyul, denied giving Sina any statement. Again, I’m just an outside observer, and I know nothing of Kris’s thought process. This is all conjecture.

But fans should not immediately think that EXO has been treated poorly and Kris has been forced down this path – there are eleven other members of EXO, and they’re not filing contracts to leave.

EXO’s Members

They’ve expressed sadness and pain over Kris’s departure, and fans have claimed that this isn’t really what they’re feeling. Suho was forced to say what he did during the interview; the member’s Instagram and Weibo accounts were taken away and SM representatives posted instead. So what?

Idols are fake. As much as fans like to say that they know what idols are like, everything about idols is just about perception, not what they are actually like. Idols are molded to be idols – people to be worshipped because they’re perfect.

You should always assume that companies are, at the very least, okaying what idols are saying, Tweeting, posting, etc. Older idols may be freer with their words, but EXO only debuted two years ago; of course SM is going to keep the group under control and teach the members how to act.

SM is extremely successful – many of SM’s groups are some of the most popular acts in Asia. If people go to SM, accepting its standards of what idols are like because they want to be SM idols, then SM Entertainment will do whatever is in the company’s best interest – if the EXO members said that they understood Kris leaving, it would admit that SM’s methods, to some degree, are wrong.

But that’s going with the assumption that yes, EXO says things that SM wants them to – but why can’t EXO’s members be hurt and mad towards Kris? Working with a team is one of the hardest things in the world. Ask anyone who has ever had a group project at school or work. Getting everyone to do their job is so difficult, and then the different personalities come into play. It’s hard.

Not to mention that EXO had twelve members to deal with, some of whom hardly spoke the same languages. Even now, some of EXO-M’s members struggle with Korean. Yet they managed to work together, and debuted and promoted as one of the most popular groups in Korea and Asia.

Imagine working together, towards the same goal, sweating day and night, and then one of the team members ditches the project before the due date? Sure, idols don’t have “due dates,” par say, but EXO just released Overdose, and then the news broke that Kris was departing from the group. Suddenly, instead of six members for EXO-M’s performances, there are five; EXO is having a concert soon and now they’re missing one of the performers.

Other idol groups have lost members or added new ones, but it’s rare for something like this to happen at the start of a promotional period – maybe in the middle, or right after one, but Kris has now caused EXO and SM Entertainment to scramble to try to keep this promotional period active. If EXO stops promoting Overdose, it will cost the company a lot of money, and the members’ efforts will have gone to waste. So EXO is still promoting, and persevering, and I understand why the members would be upset.

So Why Are Fans Saying It’s Not Them Feeling This Way?

Like I said before, it may very well not be how they’re honestly feeling (remember, idols are fake). But it could be their honest opinions and fans won’t listen. Most fans are siding with Kris, saying that the other members should also follow suit. Everyone likes the little guy going up against the big man, and that is what this is. Kris’s lawsuit is about one person leaving a large company, so of course people want him to be in the right rather than the company. If EXO’s other members support the company, it means that there may be something wrong with what Kris is doing. I think that when it comes to right and wrong, you can’t really point fingers here. SM’s done bad things and Kris’s decision will affect all of EXO, having a ripple effect.

This situation may lead to EXO’s popularity in China to decrease because Chinese fans will most likely side with Kris, or the Chinese fans may say that Kris should have stayed so as to represent EXO-M. The EXO-M members may be seen less favorably in Korea, since they may be seen as less loyal than their Korean counterpart, as their leader left the group. Thousands of other scenarios may ensue, including EXO ending up as an eleven-member group rather than twelve, or even adding a new member. For all we know, Kris could come back, although that is highly unlikely.

Whatever it is, the fact that people are calling SM out as evil and calling for Kris to go to YG is ridiculous – they are both businesses, and this is a business matter. Until Kris finishes his business dealings with SM, namely the lawsuit, he will be unable to really do anything else in the entertainment industry.

What’s your take in this whole ordeal, is Kris in the right or wrong? What’s your theory? We want to know! 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.