Posts

(G)I-DLE’s ‘LATATA’ song review

Longtime fans of K-pop girl groups have, in recent years, lamented the absence of fierce, powerful girl groups. As the onslaught of cute and innocent concepts among newer groups like TWICE, GFRIEND, WJSN, and more continues, girl groups with stronger concepts have become a fading minority in the K-pop world.

But not if (G)I-DLE can help it. On May 2, the six-member girl group debuted with house-pop track “LATATA,” employing fierce dance-pop instrumentals, extensive rap verses, and onstage pyrotechnics in tow. Formed by Cube Entertainment, the girl group’s name effectively translates to Girl Children from Korean to English, among a host of other complicated double entendres.

Despite the group’s strangely infantilizing name, “LATATA” is about a steamy dance-floor encounter, beginning with a fast percussive bang followed by a bouncy tropical house beat that underlies the verses. Main rapper Jeon Soyeon, riding her Produce 101 and Unpretty Rapstar fame to the frontwoman position of the group, begins the song atop this rhythm, soon passing the verse to the group’s main dancer Soojin, who asks “What’s there to be scared about?” as she engages with her lover.


Also on KultScene: Amber Liu’s ‘Rogue Rouge’ Album Review

A surprising moment of distortion in synths and tempo, member Minnie’s “Uh oh” at the beginning of the pre-chorus is the song’s definitive vocal highlight. She slurs her words and holds her notes through her parts, capturing a hypnotic, snake charmer-esque sound that contrasts with that of the incoming faster-paced section sung by deeper-voiced Yuqi. “We can burn it up even more/There’s no tomorrow,” she declares. The percussive bang sounds again, and vocalist Miyeon sings her seduction in the chorus: “I’m singing for you, so you can fall deeper.” Visual member Shuhua’s repeated “Latata” chants—her only solo lines in the song—are a call for the lover to “sing for me, so I’ll never forget you.”

The chorus is followed by a dance break carried by a repeating synth line that resembles an electric guitar riff. When the group performs this live on weekly music shows, the choreography is tight, the members sporting strong, sensual facial expressions as they quickly shift formations.

Contrasting with other girl groups’ shyness around lovers, Soyeon encourages the one-night stand in her post-chorus rap break. As the tempo quickens, she spits, “Don’t be lazy, come to me baby,” asking her mysterious hookup to “go in deeper, swallow me up.” Her confidence is both audible on the track and visible in performances—a demonstration of the prowess she’s developed over the course of two survival shows and a solo debut since her first TV appearances in early 2016.

Returning to the pre-chorus, the song repeats the previous sequence until it reaches a slower-tempo bridge, backed by a stripped tropical house instrumental featuring an occasional tabla. After a final lengthened dance break, the song ends as Soyeon says, “Every day, every night, Latata.”


Also on KultScene: Eric Nam Talks “Honestly…” & Aspirations in Fanmeet in Singapore

While “LATATA” itself doesn’t deviate too much from the typical K-pop song structure of verses, pre-choruses, and choruses followed by dance and rap breaks, it is a welcome change in sound from current chart-topping girl groups with more demure concepts. Rather than attempting to emulate the success of cutesy girl groups like TWICE or Oh My Girl, (G)I-DLE seeks to revive the sounds and stylings of older girl groups like those of past Cube labelmate 4MINUTE, and widen the fierce girl group niche that is rapidly decreasing in size. And as “LATATA” enters the Top 30 of Korean music charts and tops iTunes K-pop charts around the world, it is becoming clear that the absence of powerful girl groups has been felt by K-pop fans old and new alike.

Of course, (G)I-DLE’s debut immediately calls into question the future of labelmate girl group CLC, whose songs have repeatedly failed to chart for three years now (likely due to the group’s constant flip-flopping between innocent and strong concepts across different releases). It also brings up the possibility of a rivalry between (G)I-DLE and BLACKPINK—one of K-pop’s only other powerful girl groups of the moment.

Whatever the answers to these questions are, one verdict is clear: (G)I-DLE is, in its infancy, reigniting the age-old tug-of-war of girl group concepts, an industry-wide debate whose point of equilibrium is finally beginning to shift. In the oversaturated girl group market, such a noticeable effect on the bigger K-pop narrative is more than enough to deem this debut a success.

What do you think of (G)I-DLE’s debut track? Share your thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

The new evolution lives on: 2NE1’s disbandment through a Blackjack’s eyes

I woke up yesterday morning with no knowledge that breaking K-Pop news had transpired overnight. Like most millennials, I immediately grabbed my phone upon waking, laying in bed and scrolling through Facebook and Messenger.

“Why is 2NE1 trending?” I thought as I clicked through the mobile Facebook app. I assumed it was news of another CL English release, or could it be something related to Dara? Tragically naive, I continued to believe the news would be minor and only related to one member of the group. That is, until I saw the words “2NE1 Disbandment” come up across my screen. In disbelief, my fingers immediately closed the app. Is it actually happening? I raced to check major K-Pop news outlets for answers.

“YG Announces 2NE1’s Disbandment and Nam Tae Hyun’s Departure from WINNER,” the headlines read, and my heart sunk. Don’t get me wrong. As a Blackjack who felt the heartbreak of Minzy leaving a few months ago, the frustration of Bom’s scandal, and YG consistently delaying comebacks — as well as the sobering dread of consecutive disbandments and member leaves come out of this year — I was aware that 2NE1’s untimely breakup wasn’t too far off. As a result, I think my K-Pop fanboy emotional turmoil has been spread out across this year, so the blow of 2NE1’s disbandment was small in magnitude, but still sharp, painful, and cold.

Unlike many other dedicated K-Pop fans, my story with 2NE1 didn’t begin with their debut. I wasn’t actually made aware of 2NE1 until December of 2011, when I still thought K-Pop was over-autotuned garbage (sorry, I was a bratty middle-schooler). My friend Alice, insistent on proving me wrong, sat me down in front a computer screen at our town’s public library. I watched, skeptical and stubborn, as she pulled up “I Am the Best” and jammed her headphones in my ears. She pressed “play,” and my life was instantly changed.

i-really-am-the-best

To say I was absolutely amazed is more than an understatement. From the dazzling lights to the metallic outfits and shiny sets, I saw 2NE1 take music videos to a level that American pop stars rarely have. And the song — full of bombastic confidence, strong vocals, and unparalleled power — redefined my understanding of music. Until then, I was listening to the conventional mainstream American pop artists and, not to say that those artists aren’t talented or deserving of their fame, I wasn’t entirely satisfied with my music options. In my search for a musical identity, 2NE1 filled a large, gaping void with a more refined sound and visual than I believed Western music could offer. From that one, fateful day, I ran forward into the world of K-Pop and I haven’t looked back since.


Also on KultScene: Shopping for the K-Obsessed: KultScene’s 2016 Gift Guide [GIVEAWAYS]

Yes, I believe I missed out on being a Blackjack during 2NE1’s formative years. That didn’t stop me, however, from watching all of their old music videos and performances, getting to know each member, and watching the entirety of 2NE1TV as an optimistic grade-schooler. And I was not only amazed by their music and performance ability, but also by their style, by their confidence, by their boldness. I was amazed by the stunning music videos, by the colors and designs they wore in their clothes and hair, by the choreography they seamlessly danced through in beautiful, eye-catching sets. 2NE1 was sharp and powerful, but still beautiful and evocative. Something about them was so fresh and refined, like they had completely reinvented pop culture and fashion to support their own extraordinary style and swag.

No, 2NE1 was not K-Pop’s first “edgy” girl group — the most frequently cited counterargument to that claim is simply the existence and legacy of Brown Eyed Girls, another girl group I deeply respect. But 2NE1 had a lot to do with breaking the girl group standard. They mixed hard-hitting sounds with loud personalities and fun performances to make themselves visibly and audibly infectious. I was pulled in by 2NE1 because they gave off an an aura of their own, creating a certain vibe that was entirely unique to them in the competitive world of K-Pop girl groups.

Now, I’m not saying they ignored every rule of the girl group world. For one, they definitely capitalized on the hook song trend — while Girls’ Generation sang the words “gee” and “baby” in rapid repetition and Wonder Girls did the same with “Nobody,” 2NE1 followed a similar formula with their songs “Fire” and “I Don’t Care.” But unlike other K-Pop groups, 2NE1 stood for more than wooing the boy.

They weren’t ‘cute,’ and they didn’t try to be likable or visually charming with their music. Instead, they came to make a statement, something K-Pop groups rarely do. Their refusal to follow the typical girl group formula of the time and ability to set their own trends has, no doubt, contributed to the empowerment of women, both Korean and international and growing confidence among all of their fans around the world. Watching their facial expressions, choreography and vocal color develop throughout various performances, I began to see that 2NE1 had created their own unique sense of femininity, one that wasn’t so focused on being delicate, innocent, and pretty. Even though each of these girls are visually stunning, they weren’t popular for their looks, as many groups are — they were popular for relatable and exciting music, and for carrying themselves with so much prowess and fierceness. Fans found solace in not only their confidence and unapologetic badassery, but also their ability to connect with listeners. I was captivated by every performance — I grew an attachment to their vibrant stages, high-quality music, and colorful visuals over time.

concert

And while they opted not to maintain the conventional charm that other girl groups did, CL, Dara, Bom, and Minzy showed that they were funny, loveable, and caring through 2NE1TV. From shopping trips to MV shoots, it was clear that they were hardcore onstage, but real, down-to-earth people offstage. I learned to admire them for both sides — I wanted to be just as confident, commanding, stylish and refined as they were when they performed, but also as loveable, friendly, and funny as they were when they weren’t on stage.

love-them-sm

In terms of the grand scheme of K-Pop success, I think it’s easy to forget just how successful as a group they were due to their lengthy absence and limited discography. The girls are considered digital queens for a reason — with only four major Korean album releases, they’ve had 12 number-one songs and many more within the top five of digital charts. To this day, none of their Korean singles have ever charted below #4 on weekly charts, something that no other Korean girl group has been able to accomplish. With the exception of their final album Crush,, 2NE1’s Korean albums have also sold in excess of 100,000 copies, making them one of the only girl groups in the modern K-Pop era to achieve both digital and physical success. During their most active years, 2009 through 2011, they were the most nominated and most awarded artist at the Mnet Asian Music Awards. Within only three years, 2NE1 had won four MAMA daesang awards, the highest of any artist in history (including legends like Rain, BoA, Girls’ Generation, TVXQ, etc.), until BIGBANG overtook them in 2015. And despite not having been awarded since 2011, 2NE1 is still tied for most awarded artist at MAMA for non-daesang awards. To anyone who watches the charts or award shows closely, 2NE1 is legendary for being able to command such popularity and success in such a short amount of time. Along metrics of public impact and numerical success, along with style and music, there is no other K-Pop artist like them.

mama

But as we all know, that success didn’t last forever. YG’s poor management steered them into a downward spiral, one that started with some delays, saw a drug scandal in between, and ended with a member leave before announcing their disbandment. To this day, I’m sad that I never got to see 2NE1 at their prime, performing daily on music shows or taking awards at MAMA. But the positives definitely outweigh the negatives.

2NE1 effectively changed my life. As an impressionable student watching their videos and performances, I was inspired, and my ambitions shifted. I was now more immersed in the 2NE1 aura that was so beautiful, strong, talent-oriented, and well-presented. I worked to emulate it in my own, not-as-glamorous life — from buying some nicer clothes and working harder at my own singing, to doing better in school and becoming a leader in my school community. 2NE1 had and still does give me motivation to be the best version of myself, and that passion has permeated all aspects of my life. Watching 2NE1 on- and offstage has given me the determination to achieve the same level of quality and success in my life that they brought to every project they worked on.

Not to mention, 2NE1 is what started me on my journey as a K-Pop fan — from them, I hopped over to videos from f(x), Girls’ Generation, BIGBANG, SHINee, 4Minute, KARA, and more, each of whom modified my worldview and intensified my ambition. As an Indian-American, learning more about K-Pop exposed me to aspects of Asian culture I was unaware of as well. I owe all of that to 2NE1, and I’m eternally grateful. As they became less and less active, I watched their videos with love and a heavy heart, embracing the lighthearted nature of “Can’t Nobody” and “Fire,” and admiring the fierceness of “I Am the Best” and “Come Back Home.” I’ve fallen in love with all of their songs over the years, and I’ll never stop listening to them. That’s right, the New Evolution of the 21st Century (the core meaning of 2NE1’s name) does not end here. Whether it’s in Blackjacks’ hearts or ears, 2NE1 lives on.


Also on KultScene: You Too Can Be a K-Pop Producer Thanks to Makestar

In many ways, this disbandment could mean we might actually see more of them, now that the members are no longer under the group’s constraining framework that, given logistical problems and YG’s subpar management, just wasn’t working. CL is still working on English music, and while succeeding in the American music market is hard, it isn’t impossible, and I have faith in CL to give us some good music over the next few months. Dara is still signed to YG, and I’m excited to see her as an actress soon in her upcoming movie One Step. Minzy is now under Music Works, and her solo debut is hopefully only months away. And that leaves Bom, whose future is currently being called into question after it was announced that her contract with YG was not renewed. But I have faith — her recent Instagram post shows her “working on a song to sing” for us all soon. We can only wait, and hope that, in due time, Bom will regain the strength to come back and give us something new. While we probably won’t see them together anytime soon, the fact that each of them may have a future available to them in the entertainment industry says a lot about each member’s power, talent, and versatility. And as a Blackjack, that’s something I’m proud of.

beauty

Thank you, 2NE1, for inspiring me to remain open-minded and receptive to different types of entertainment and music. Thank you, 2NE1, for giving a voice to the “Lonely” and “Ugly”, those of us who needed to be told that we are, in fact, more than what we see in the mirror. Thank you, 2NE1, for having such a transformative impact on my life. Thank you, 2NE1, for defining so much of my livelihood growing up.

Thank you for everything. Nolza forever!

How do you feel about 2NE1’s disbandment? Share your thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

The I.O.I Debacle: K-Pop’s Newest Conundrum

I.O.I DIA Gugudan

2016 has been a year of many changes for K-pop fans everywhere, particularly in the increasing size of groups. 12-member Cosmic Girls (WSJN), 42 quadrillion-member NCT, and most notably in the Korean spotlight, 11-member I.O.I from popular idol survival show “Produce 101,” which aired from January to April of this year.

For those of you who never watched the show, I’ll give you a quick summary [Spoiler alert!]. Mnet, one of the biggest entertainment networks in Korea, assembled a lineup of 101 female trainees from over 45 different companies to create the ultimate idol survival show. The girls were first ranked by skill level into levels A, B, C, D, or F classes. From there and on, the girls were organized into different units and tasked with performing with different songs, all while being subject to public vote.

In the end, the eleven trainees with the highest number of votes would debut as members of a temporary girl group under YMC Entertainment that would disband after one year of promotions. And this group was eventually called I.O.I, with members Somi (JYP), Nayoung (Pledis), Mina (Jellyfish), Sejeong (Jellyfish), Doyeon (Fantagio), Yoojung (Fantagio), Yeonjung (Starship), Chungha (M&H), Sohye (Redline), Chaeyeon (MBK), and Jieqiong (Pledis). Mnet made a few of the results very notable through editing and show structure — specifically, Somi placing first and being awarded the “center” position (as maknae, or youngest member, of the show’s entire 101-girl lineup), Sohye’s rise to fourth despite originally being an F trainee, and Yeonjung just making it by snagging 11th place.

Somi Sohye Yeonjung Produce 101 I.O.I

As a result, I.O.I started with incredible popularity, as all of the group’s members got tons of exposure from the show. Their first mini album “Chrysalis” sold approximately 60,000 copies and counting, demonstrating their fandom power only a month or two into their existence. And they’re not only notable in their number of fans — the group has also snagged many CFs and endorsement deals as well, showing that their popularity permeates the public itself. And while all of this is sweet and dandy, the group has also become incredibly controversial, opening up many ethical/philosophical/“is this even possible?”/“WTF?” K-pop questions for fans to ponder.


Also on KultScene: The Best K-Pop Girls of June

To begin, the group itself is entirely an experiment, because it was crafted exclusively by public vote. And considering how visual-oriented entertainment culture can be, this group has weaknesses when it comes to raw talent. Among the entire 11-member lineup, the only strong vocals are Sejeong and Yeonjung, forcing the group to pursue more rap-friendly, easy-singing songs instead of those that use stronger vocals to captivate the listener. And while all members definitely have their talents and charms as amazing and talented performers (some examples: Somi is a visual-singing-dance triple threat, Yoojung brings incredible stage presence, and Chungha is a truly gifted dancer), the group has essentially become about visuals and “pretty likeable qualities” instead of any sort of musical accomplishment. The question must be asked: is this the best way to form a girl group? Does opening up member selection to vote dilute the talent, and/or place excessive limits on the way the members use (or don’t use) their talents?

With the way I.O.I looks, I would argue that it does. The group’s image boasts talented performers, but doesn’t let them show off raw singing or dancing talent for the members that do possess those abilities. It puts incredible limits on the group’s musical abilities, and, depending on who you are, it can make the performance less exciting to watch. I don’t know about you, but I watched Yeonjung’s high notes in her “Into the New World” performance literally one hundred times before I.O.I’s debut. I was hoping for more of that in I.O.I’s repertoire, but Yeonjung’s high note in “Dream Girls” is much less impactful. With the vocal caliber, song quality, and immense size of the group, that kind of stuff seems to be less of a priority for the producers.

Yeonjung Produce 101 I.O.I

Going off of that, the next larger K-pop question comes to mind — does a group as big as 11 members really work? In the case of groups like Super Junior, EXO, Seventeen, and more, the answer seems to be yes. But for a girl group like I.O.I, it isn’t. This group isn’t an innovative performance-oriented group like Super Junior; they’re not a dance-heavy pop group like EXO; they aren’t a unit-centric, talent-based group like Seventeen. Instead, they’re just a girl group with likeable and talented members that should all get a sizable amount of the spotlight. But instead, each member is left only one or two lines in the entire song, and barely anyone gets to shine at all. While I.O.I might be popularizing a larger group model for girl groups, they’re demonstrating that it doesn’t work well in terms of music and performance.

Music quality is another area where I.O.I suffers incredibly. And this is the fault of none other than their label, YMC Entertainment. The first song they released as a group, “Crush,” wasn’t entirely bad in the eyes of netizens and fans alike. The music video, however, created a lot of noise — why were they all in mismatched outfits, singing and dancing without coordination in a room that resembles the worst of K-pop’s “box music video” era? Obviously, it seems that the “Crush” music video was a quick production for fans to enjoy. But the enjoyment was limited, especially when editing and/or other management problems led to Yeonjung’s criticism for allegedly trying too hard to steal the spotlight from other members. The deletion and re-release of the video, consequently with less Yeonjung, demonstrated that the whole affair was sloppy and unprofessional from the start.

Their actual debut song “Dream Girls” was just as messy and controversial. The song combined many different styles, tempos, and rhythms, and in my honest opinion, not very well. While it is catchy, the song was very sloppy and fragmented, with main vocals getting very few lines, raps coming out of nowhere, and the center member’s mysterious absence from the front-and-center region of the stage during important parts of the song. While the song was very different in sound, the music video showed many similarities to that of Girls’ Generation’s debut song “Into the New World.” While a plagiarism suit never precipitated from the scandal, fans were left very angry. Why couldn’t a better and more unique music video have been made to complement such unique girls? Many fans were also angry about Somi’s position in the song, which, essentially wasn’t center like she was voted to be. While many argue that Somi doesn’t have to be center the whole time (and that is a legitimate argument), she was barely in the center at all. It seems like, in order for her to be the center, Chaeyeon’s “We are the Dream Girls” line at the beginning of the chorus should have gone to Somi, and some other lines could have been switched around to find a place for Chaeyeon. After all, Chaeyeon’s place at the front-and-center of the song’s tagline is essentially what the center position is for. Fan’s argued that Somi was voted to be center, so she should have been there and Chaeyeon should not have. This point actually kills two birds with one stone: demonstration of the group being mismanaged, and further evidence to show that groups probably shouldn’t be decided by vote.

Dream Girls I.O.I

To be completely honest, hearing that the group would be promoting under YMC was very surprising when it was first announced. The label doesn’t exactly have brand value, since their only real sustained claim-to-fame is Ailee. And while Ailee is very successful and incredibly talented, putting the group under YMC was bound to create problems. There have been several reports of mismanagement, whether it be scary managers or arriving late to events, and the label is essentially the only one to blame for these dilemmas. Trusting this slightly unknown label with some of K-pop’s future stars might have been the wrong decision.

Putting all of these scandals and problems aside, the biggest controversies remain. First of all, as far as I know, there has never before been a group of girls signed to one label with each girl simultaneously being signed to a completely different label. The only other remotely similar example of this anomaly is Gain of Brown Eyed Girls, who was signed to Nega Network for group promotions, while signing with LOEN and other labels for solo promotions (this was before the entire group, including Gain’s solo brand, switched over to Mystic Entertainment’s APOP sub label, of course). I.O.I’s label conflict creates a lot of problems, some of which most likely led to I.O.I’s unfortunate inability to perform on any music shows other than “M! Countdown” and “Music Bank (they were even edited out of the SBS Dream Concert 2016 broadcast).”

The dual label problem gets even larger (and even ethically confusing) when members are withdrawn from one group to be part of another. All of this begins with Chaeyeon, Heehyun, and Ng Sze Kai, who were all members of groups during their participation in “Produce 101.” Chaeyeon and Heehyun were members of MBK Entertainment’s DIA, but “temporarily withdrew” in order to participate in the show as trainees, while Ng Sze Kai (more commonly known as Shin) did the same as a member of Hong Kong girl group As One. While Heehyun and Shin didn’t make the I.O.I. lineup, Chaeyeon was voted in to join the group. It was expected by fans and netizens that Chaeyeon would remain “temporarily withdrawn” from DIA until I.O.I’s disbandment next year. It’s become pretty obvious, however, that this isn’t happening. Once “Dream Girls” promotions began to wind down, Chaeyeon was pulled from the lineup of I.O.I’s upcoming subunit lineup to promote with DIA. While she isn’t an actively promoting member of I.O.I at the moment, she’s still a member of both groups at the same time, under completely different labels. It goes even further with Jellyfish girls Sejeong and Mina, who were pulled from the subunit lineup to join their home label’s first girl group Gu9udan. Even Yeonjung was pulled from the lineup to go back to Starship Entertainment. While Starship originally said she was being pulled “to work on skills other than singing,” it’s probable that she’s coming out with her own project sometime soon, considering the label just opened a new Instagram account for a project called “Y Teen” set for release this month.

Sejeong Mina I.O.I Gugudan

The dual group membership concept creates many problems in this setting. To bring back another K-pop example, an instance that resembles the current I.O.I situation is Yeonkyung of MBK Entertainment, who was at one point a member of both The SeeYa and F-ve Dolls. We didn’t get to see many of the consequences of this arrangement, however, because both groups went inactive not too long after that announcement. Besides, both groups were under the same label, so the conflict is much less prevalent and plans can be made in accordance with both groups. Japanese record labels do this all the time — the main dancers of BABYMETAL were actually simultaneously part of another girl group under the same label (although they’ve recently withdrawn from the other group), and AKB48 constantly has concurrent members between itself and its many sister groups. The major difference is that, once again, they are all under the same management.

In Chaeyeon’s case, she finished “Dream Girls” promotions with only a few weeks before diving into DIA promotions, leaving her practically no time to rest. According to recent reports, she is even being considered for a drama, which is just astounding, if you ask me. She debuted only months ago and she is already a member of not one, but two girl groups, on top of acting in a drama?! Too much in too little time — her health must be seriously suffering. The same can be said of Sejeong and Mina, who joined Gu9udan promotions very soon after I.O.I took a break.

And there’s another conflict: neither of these groups’ releases has been successful. DIA’s “On the Road” barely managed to chart in the top fifty, and while Gu9udan’s physical sales are good (the Jellyfish trio from “Produce 101” has a pretty formidable fanbase), their track “Wonderland” keeps on falling only days after release, with negative reactions from many fans and netizens alike. The rushed nature of these releases is most likely in part responsible for their lackluster quality, crammed to coincide exactly with the time during which I.O.I goes into subunit mode.

I.O.I Subunit


Also on KultScene: Inside KCON 16 NY

So the questions must be asked: should one girl be in two groups at the same time? Does this become even more concerning when the girl is under two different record labels simultaneously? Not to mention the consequences — I.O.I’s subunit is missing both of its main vocals. While these positions are likely to be filled by Somi and Chungha, neither of these two has the vocal prowess and technical skill possessed by Sejeong and Yeonjung. And what about health? Not only are Chaeyeon, Sejeong, Mina, and Yeonjung being thrown between labels and groups, but the I.O.I members won’t get that much time to rest before subunit promotions begin, as it is.

And there’s also probably the biggest, most frustrating conflict of all for many Korean fans — if they voted and supported their fave through “Produce 101,” isn’t it only fair that their home label not pull them out of the group while they’re still claiming their year-long prize? Is that unfair to the fans who voted for them, or should fans simply remain supportive as their idol moves between groups and promotion cycles? In theory, I personally think there’s nothing wrong with one person being part of two groups. But when the concept is carried out the way it is in this situation, I disapprove, simply because of how music releases, promotion cycles, and most of all, the members themselves are being treated.

The dilemmas are endless; I.O.I truly is a K-pop conundrum. Despite my intense criticism, I am a huge I.O.I fan in all honesty. My critique is not for the group members themselves. It’s instead for whoever thought a publicly voted girl group would reach some sort of perfect “Ideal of Idol” (what the actual I.O.I acronym stands for). It’s for whoever is managing them, whether it be YMC or the home label they’re debuting under. It’s for whoever put these eleven talented, beautiful, and amazing girls in the crossfire of a label jurisdiction war. With only three more releases from I.O.I coming our way, and whether they’re in units or not, my only hope is that some of our many K-pop dilemmas are resolved before their untimely disbandment.

What do you think of I.O.I’s controversies? Share your thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.