Lemonade Soapbox: Another Person’s Wise Words Regarding Jay Park

This is a bit of a late posting, but this was one of the most intelligent and rational articles I’ve read in a long time about anything Kpop related. I’ve been trying to write intelligently about my objective take on the JayEffect. Since I’m very much neutral about 2pm and Jay, I thought the writing would come easily. But hands down I have nothing on the writer of the quoted article. His explanation is clear, profound, and best of all, neutral/positive in feel and makes you think rather than get excited or angry after reading it.
It’s the best summary yet: Jay’s success is built so far upon fandom and sympathy. He has yet to show us his musical talents, but of course Count on Me was released purely as a thank you fanservice. I’m eagerly waiting for his first real album to judge him as an artist.

“Does this album sell well these days?”

I recently visited a record store near my home and asked that question to a 20-something year old employee. I knew that the album held in my hands was selling well and that it was ranked #1 since its release, pushing over Big Bang’s Taeyang and Seo Taiji. There’s no way I couldn’t have known.

I guess I was just embarrassed buying the album of a male idol since it’s been nearly 10 years since I’ve actually bought an album offline in a store. I held it in my hands, fidgeting a bit. Will people think I’m weird? I’m not a female high school student, not even a college student. I’m an old man that looks like he’s gone through life’s best and the worst, how will people view me holding this male idol’s album?

So I had no option but to reject the poster that they offered with my album purchase. I thought of accepting it and maybe gifting it to my younger sister but that, too, was too much for me. They might look at me weirdly. That’s why, I suppose. After I heard her say that it’s ‘selling well,’ I bought it and zipped out of the store.

The album in my hands was 2PM’s former member Park Jaebum’s solo EP.

His impressive return, Park Jaebum’s

The reason for this album purchase was a bit impulsive. I guess, speaking honestly, I didn’t really care.

I am definitely not speaking lowly of his musicality. It’s just that there are so many other Korean albums that are worth looking into besides Park Jaebum’s such as Oh Soyoung’s EP, ‘Nice Consolation, Choi Eunjin’s 1st album, ‘Street Singer Eunjin,’ or Park Jiman’s ‘To That Person.’ The reason why I bought Park Jaebum’s album out of those choices was because I was curious. I was curious of the ‘music’ that he put out after leaving with oh so many stories.

He was once tainted with unconfirmed rumors and has now released an album titled ‘Count On Me.’ It’s an album that has made critics see a new light in the disposition of idol fandoms. I’m not a fan but I was curious of what kind of story he would tell me through his music.

The album holds three tracks. The title track, ‘Count On Me,’ is originally by American hip hop musician B.o.B with an added melody by Park Geuntae. The rest of the two songs are an English version and a remix version. Basically, there’s only one song in this album.

I honestly couldn’t help but feel a bit empty. After taking a seat and turning on the audio, I was able to listen to the album in its entirety in less than 20 minutes. When the last track began playing, the cigarette that was lit in my mouth wasn’t even burnt halfway.

The album price is just a price but for me, as someone that bought the album with curiosity and anticipation as to what kind of music Park Jaebum has put out as his first step as an individual, I couldn’t help but feel a loss of strength. To put it simply, the album was too simple in comparison to his impressive comeback.

30,000 sold within 3 days of its release… what about its musicality?

However, as if the album is laughing at my thoughts, the album sold 27,000 copies within 3 days according to album research site Hanteo Informations. Going at this rate, he can easily cross the 30,000 line. It’s nothing less than a ‘daebak.’

The outstanding album sales was just enough to make headlines and create noise in the industry. It was also a confirmation of the strength of his fandom, something that stands above the strength of music. That’s mainstream. Unlike the mass public that listens to the mp3 and decides to buy the album once they like what they hear, they fall short to the efforts of idol fandoms and their power. Idol fandoms have the power to make an album with just one song reach 30,000 sales in not even four days.

It’s certainly difficult to say that such a phenomenon happened because they (those that purchased his album) have an outstanding sense of musicality. What’s actually scarier is that such a phenomenon is no longer unique. I assure you, ‘idol pop’ and ‘idol’ are perfect tools of the industry to us.

The music industry through the Jay Effect

There were no special promotions. He didn’t even roll around in variety shows in order to promote his album, nor did he come out on public music programs and sing his song. The album is closer to that of a single released for fan service. It’s hard to call it an album. Considering all of this, his sales record is surprising. That’s how strong the Jay Effect is.

Park Jaebum, as the mass public says, has done something extraordinary. But like stated before, what’s doubtful is whether ‘the album includes a strong sense of musicality that reflects the 30,000 in sales.’ The success of his album is due to the strength of his fandom, not his musicality. This is an important source of income for the music industry.

If there’s one thing we’ve realized by looking at the successes and failures of idol groups, it’s that their careers do not last forever. There was truth in the blue balloons held by the fandom but those singing and dancing on stage were subordinate to the music industry, one step off from any truth. It’s sad but it’s reality. It’s what we’ve seen all along and it’s what we will continue to see.

Then what’s left? Both the singer and the fandom won’t be forever and if it’s only the company that has made a bit of cash that is left forever, what’s left? Can we dare say that there is ‘music’ left? Can we dare say that the reason we went wild over the idol groups was because of their outstanding musicality?

As I anticipate the next album Park Jaebum will release

A termination from JYPE. Rumors. The unending support of his fans. A return through a large company, Sidus HQ. An ‘event album’ released as an answer to the belief of his fans. And 30,000 copies.

Although the time it took me to admire his music was less than 30 minutes, I don’t intend to let go of the tail I’ve grabbed on to. This might be a bit off topic but the life of one singer, Park Jaebum, has so many ups and downs.

I used to believe that a singer was able to mature on his own through good music. However, I no longer have confidence in that thought. It scares me now that the sound of music has disappeared and all that’s left now is the industry. That son of a… that we call the industry betrays the truthful fans and gives pain to the idols, not only Park Jaebum. It will do it again once more, I’m sure of it.

That’s why I anticipate and hope for that his and the next album of other idols is one full of impressive music that shows off their full capabilities as an artist. It is only then that they and their fans no longer have their lives held by the hands of the industry.

That is how ‘music’ will live on.

Original source: http://news.naver.com/main/read.nhn?mode=LSD&mid=sec&sid1=103&oid=047&aid=0001970484
Translated by 2OneDay (which admittedly has a Jay bias) and published by Dkpopnews

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One thought on “Lemonade Soapbox: Another Person’s Wise Words Regarding Jay Park

  1. I have to be honest, I can’t understand how it can be sold so well when literally, it’s the same single in two different languages and then remixed. ¬_¬ Makes nooooooooo sense, whatsoever.

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