I think the influx of idol debuts, idol comebacks, and promotional activities has finally gotten to me. As we all like to believe, 2008 brought the good and the bad of Kpop, but recently, all I’ve noticed is the bad. It’s not one particular event, thing, or even person that’s ruined Kpop for me (for the time being). A healthy mix of all those things have driven me to the absolute edge.
First thing? Overproduction.
Companies are made to find talent to amuse the masses. Talent is trained, put to work, and finally brings home the bacon to the company. With all the money and time companies put into their “talent”, the least they could do is pay ’em back, right? So, in order to keep the company alive, the company must find talent and fast.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with a group or artists debuting under a company. Obviously, the amount of cash the artist brings in depends on just how successful the artist is. Let’s say a company debuts a group, but the group does not seem to have a very strong following. The money they earn is not enough to make the company happy, therefore, the company wants to make another group to make up for that. Now, let’s imagine that this new group goes above and beyond the company’s expectations. The money they earn is nonstop flowing into their pockets and they could not be any happier. What’s the company going to do? They’re most likely going to look into the success of the group and see what they did right, copy it, and produce another group accordingly, with a new/different image.
This mentality is probably what several other companies try to use when they’re producing new groups. I know I’m using this way too much, but take SM Entertainment. H.O.T. was the biggest boy group in the 90s and then like all idols groups, died away. To make up for it, SM makes DBSK. With the huge amount of success DBSK had, SM pushed his company to the limit by creating a female version of DBSK, The Grace. Then Super Junior had success, so SNSD was created to do the same. So on and so forth.
Left and right I’m finding a new group or artist and it’s getting terribly difficult to keep up. Some groups should not even be allowed to debut. Whether it’s due to lack of training or just plain lack of talent, it doesn’t really matter. Certain people should never become idols. But that does not stop the company from doing so anyway. It’s all for the profit, so hey, the more people they can find to get up on stage and bring home the bacon, the better. Overproduction is okay as long as the company gains something out of it in the end. However, what seems like a positive for the companies is clearly a negative for me. Really. It’s getting annoying finding another group or artist debuting, claiming they have something “different”. What are they trying to prove? Who do they think they’re fooling?
Second: Talent!…or lack thereof.
I feel that this goes hand in hand with the above. With the huge amount of groups out there, it’s getting harder to realize which ones are the ones that deserve the spotlight they are given and which ones are better off working at McDonalds. Yes, there are groups out there that have the talent and deserve being an idol group or artist, but then there are those idol groups that don’t. Ok, maybe calling out an entire group is unfair. Certain members of a group make people wonder why they were even chosen to be in the group to begin with. Why? They can’t sing, dance, or both! I guess the only thing they’re good for is looking “good” and wasting the air we breathe. Why don’t they just go into modeling or acting, instead of debuting in a group? Well, unless the company thinks it’s best for an artist to debut in a group, in addition to being an actor. I.E. Kim Kibum of Super Junior and Hwang Chansung of 2PM. (I’m not saying either don’t deserve to be in their respective idol groups =P I happen to like 2PM and well, not care much for Super Junior)
It’s not the company that suffers from their artists’ lack of talent. Oh no. It’s us: the fans. When those members that are not exactly the best singers or dancers of the group get bashed, it’s up to the fans to convince the rest of the world that that member or group unit in general does have talent. Isn’t that sad? Should someone decide to openly state that a specific member cannot sing or dance, with legit reasoning, it’s like the fans are offended and bring it upon themselves to defend the member. While yes it’s true that certain idiots out there bash for fun, some people have legit reasoning behind their bashing as well. Ignorant fans fuel the fire.
Then we’ve got the whole “over-exposed” thing.
Music shows are easy for anyone to take in. Artists are meant to show up on these shows to amuse the masses with their latest hits. But that’s not enough. They’re on radio shows, variety shows, some members appear on dramas and TV sitcoms, and CFs. Then, of course, there are the open concerts and college performances. Heck, idol groups are on the morning, afternoon, and evening news. Once a group/artist comes out with a song, they promote it till it’s just not worth the price to pay anymore. We, the fans, have heard the song everywhere and everyday, and you know what happens next. It’s a common tendency among non-die-hard fans to become turned off with a song when they have heard it way too much. It’s their job, so I suppose one should just shrug it off right?
Right. But do you want to know what I think about comeback stages in particular? With comebacks, fans are armed and ready with their latest fanchants, intense voting skills, creepy stalking skills, and die-hard loyalty. While I’m still convinced that it’s those psychotic fans that will ruin Kpop for me, I can’t do anything to get rid of them, or at least lessen their degree of rabidness. I really shouldn’t talk, as I am one of those rabid fans, but I like to believe that I have more composure and sense than others. Anyway, I veering off track.
I’d like to bring up a particular group: Big Bang. I love Big Bang! I mean yeah, I find G-Dragon beyond annoying and Seungri a little…er, but I’m still a fan. So this summer, the boys were promoting Haru Haru. Around late September, early October, the boys end their promotions and go to Japan to release their Number 1 album *I totally loved this album*. It’s just the beginning of November right now, and the boys are back with their 2nd album, Remember. Their comeback stage was just this week. Don’t call it a comeback, because it’s not. Well uh, yeah it is in terms of those stupid comeback stages, but yeah, the term “comeback” is so misleading as they never left. Seriously. I guess V.I.P.s are just suffering from intense withdrawal with their boys being away for like a day.
But with their practically monthly comebacks, I find myself slowly but surely getting turned off by Big Bang. Occasionally, I find a song I like. But with every mini album they come back with, I find more and more of their songs sounding the same or certain aspects of a song are similar to another. This leads to me believing their loss of credibility of being “original”, which is what I respected them for to begin with. I like my idol groups in moderation.
At this point, I’d like to address my brief hiatus these past few weeks. Boring news + work + laziness = me not coming here as often as I should. Sorry about that, loyal readers! I hope I manage to shake off my laziness and my *hopefully brief* beef with Kpop. Anyway, there’s MKMF 2008 to look forward to this upcoming weekend, so be prepared for some commentaries. Please, Kpop, be interesting for at least one day!
EDIT: Man, it really helps to proofread!