SKpop’s TOP 5: September 2010


Guess which GQMF I saw gracing the walls of some Korean restaurant I randomly decided to try last weekend? ❤

And of course Yong-sama was there too in the corner. There was also a horrible and horribly grainy picture of young Rain that I didn’t bother to include.

Whoo, September was a busy month for everyone, and I gotta say Kpop’s really beginning to pick up. I’m now excited to watch shows every week, where I’ll be excited to watch not only the idol acts but also the amazing power vocalist acts that are popping out. The fail this month has been so fail that I had to divide the Top 5 post into two parts. Expect the other half tomorrow.

5. Oh Jong Hyuk – Heart is Beating
Less idol music, more singers who really know how to sing. Usually angsty ballads are my cup of tea, but this song is too infectiously happy to not include. Go forth, then, and put a stupid grin on your face and melt for three minutes – it’s more soothing than any amount of replay of Hello.

Credit: 79798282

TRAX – Oh! My Goddess!
I just had to include this in here as a tie for 5th considering I had my little TRAX binge last month (mostly with their older stuff, however). Since TRAX has now been reduced to just Jay and Jungmo, they’ve opted for a more pop-oriented sound, akin to what FT Island and CN Blue are doing. But if I have to say, if TRAX will ever unite (No Minwoo + drums = ugggh I am so helplessly attracted to this fine piece of flesh) and if bands can ever play live regularly on shows, it’d be a music revolution with the TRAX at the top. Jay’s voice is like the V.O.S. of bands, and what he said during an interview, that if bands were able to play live, dancing groups have no chance, is completely correct – there’s nothing matching a live band atmosphere. But until then, we will live, listen, and dream of No Minwoo.

Credit: sment

4. Seung Si Kyung ft. IU – It’s You
Prince of ballads is back, fresh from his army release in May. And does he pick up the trend quickly, duetting with IU, possibly the hottest non-idol act right now. IU has the midas touch right now, with every collaboration/OST she participates in shooting to the top of the charts. It’s You is just a gorgeous, gorgeous peaceful duet – you take IU from the cutesy Marshmellow concept her company tries to jam down her throat and plop her next to an outstanding duet partner, and it’s magic.

Credit: hjhandy1

3. BoA – Copy and Paste
We’re gonna hit Ctrl-C for copy, and then we’re gonna hit Ctrl-V for pasting, and create. The man. Of my desires. *evil laughter*
Have I ever revealed that I have a taste for the dramatic? BoA’s lines may have played off to some as cheesy, but it tickled me pink. A lot of people were disappointed and thought Hurricane Venus was better. I thought the contrary – this seems more along the lines of the natural, flowy BoA with the floaty choruses than the OMG HBIC FANFARE APPLAUSE SM tried to paint with Hurricane Venus, which I felt was too ostentatious in presentation than what the song was capable of displaying. The choreo isn’t zomg amazing compared to her best, but it feels natural and professional. I was really surprised by how high some of the notes went, especially in the bridge, but it’s BoA – like it or not it’s always been her style.

Credit: sment

2. Beast – SOOM
Please read here as to why I love this song so much. Well done angsty songs with hints of piano are my weakness :3

Credit: Beastoffical

1. 2NE1 – Go Away, Clap Your Hands, Can’t Nobody <–in order of my preference
Ah fml, I’m behind on my 2NE1 review. But it will be full of 2NE1TV gifs to make up for the delay. What can I say, this was probably the most anticipated comeback of late 2010, and I honestly believed they didn’t disappoint. Of course, I also had realistic expectations – this wasn’t going to be on the level of Mirotic-epic nor was this going to generate another surprise hit like I Don’t Care. The expectations and suspense was ridiculous, not aided by YG deciding to make us all poop our pants with three songs/MVs. I think how impacting this comeback was can only be fairly analyzed at least half a year into the future, so we’ll save this for a Retrospect post. The autotune really bugged me initially but faded from issue after the 5th album repeat. Go Away in a sense comes off as I Don’t Care’s slightly less successful sibling with a slightly overdone MV. Clap Your Hands is hands down the most live performance oriented song and is just pure fun, though not a chart-topper. Can’t Nobody is that song that’s awkward to perform but for some reason the public digs it and currently my ringtone. All in all, 2NE1 more or less owned September.


Credit: 2NE1

Advertisements

SKpop’s TOP 5: August 2010

So starting this month, I’m going to pick my favorite songs from the month and put in some comments! Anything goes, so that means they don’t have to be title songs, from idol groups, etc. but it will stay Korean fo sho. I stole this idea from a YouTube video I saw – five seems like a reasonable number, since no one pays attention past number 4 on a top 10 list anyway. Plus, this will allow me to spew thoughts on songs I probably wouldn’t have time to address.

And of course, it’d be so boring if this was just a regular top 5 list. So I’m adding a WTF!Panda Top 5 as well, for miscellaneous songs I want to comment on that don’t belong in the top 5 because 1.) I hate instead of love them, 2.) they’re way old, but I just have to comment, 3.) something about the song/lyrics/mv was just exceptional…ly weird.

#5 FT Island – Love Love Love
Yeah ok, I complained and moaned about FT Island’s emo music again and again, but I couldn’t help but fall back in love with their music. Sure, Hongki’s “pushing” motions get repetitive, but FT Island’s songs are so emotional, well-written, and well-song. And yes, I still do love angsty music. So for now, the FT Island boys are again back on my good side. And Hongki’s wine-colored Beethoven hair didn’t even bother me much – I thought it looked good.


Credit: AsianMusicWorldHD

#4 Shady Girl – Sistar

Hyorin is perfect. In all honestly, the girl is a fantastic live singer and has such a positive personality that simultaneously make me feel happier and depressed that I in comparison seem like a hardcore emo. Shady Girl is such an improvement over Push Push, especially because Boram, and to a slightly less extent Bora (the rapper), finally shows the world that omg, she has a voice. Dasom, unfortunately, is still a bit lost in the background, and come on, she even dyed her hair a horrible shade of hooker blonde. It’s another solid song that will help build up this rising rookie group’s resume. And Heechul ❤


Credit: iAznSamManMV

#3 I'll Be There – Taeyang
In Korea/Japan, G-Dragon and TOP are by far the most popular Big Bang members. However, overseas, especially in North America, Taeyang rules. He is so freaking popular here I don't even pretend to try to understand – we kind of see him as the Asian Usher/Ne-Yo, and though I don't see it/think he gets a bit overrated at times, there's no denying that more people from the U.S. watch Taeyang videos than any other Kpop act.

I more or less expected something like this from Taeyang – I Need a Girl was so not his style (because, surprise! It was supposed to be Se7en's song, nice to see how YG mix-and-match like that…), and though I enjoyed happy Taeyang, I know he loves his emo songs more – what set I'll Be There apart from Where U At and Wedding Dress, however, is that it is much more pop feeling. Yes, Where U At had enough Teddy-synths to blow the moon up, but it was at its base very R&B. I enjoy I'll Be There a lot, I like the dance, the MV, the dark concept, etc. It's very good, and the best I've seen from Taeyang yet.


Credit: YGTaeyang

#2 Hurricane Venus – BoA
BoA's epic mega comeback yielded her 6th Korean album that I didn't care for at all. It's always been like that, though, hit or miss. I love Valenti but Hurricane Venus was blah. Oddly, I didn't hate Game like everyone else (until Nikki from PRN revealed it was f(x)'s Ice Cream 2.0), but Hurricane Venus totally did not float my boat at first. However, it started growing on me, and I even used it at a recent party. For me to change my opinions on a BoA song is quite an accomplishment. Plus, she racked up the music show wins/album sales. My hat off to you, and welcome back!


Credit: sment

#1 Madonna – Secret
My blog, my choice 😛 MADONNA DONNA. I'm so happy that they moved out of their craphole basement apartment with the foil window. That was a huge no no. I've anticipated their comeback since Sunhwa's teaser pic was released, and loved them enough to even review their minialbum. The song is so catchy and fun, and most importantly stays true to the Secret style – they may be aiming to sell, but they aren't going to abandon their classy identity to do it. My last hopes against autotune-mania. Plus, I thought the MV was gorgeous. Remember that week when every girl group in existence seemingly came back? One had to stand at the top. Congrats, Secret!


Credit: iAznSamManMV

…and now

WTF Kpop?
WTF!Panda Top 5!

#5 Homme – I was Able to Eat Well

So I’ll keep this short since I’ve already written about this, but wut, I love 2AM and 8eight but please keep my Kpop superficial and country free. I’ll go home and listen to the radio if I really wanted to hear country. Actually, I’m just really surprised at how popular this song became – Cyworld Song of the Month? Okkkkkay Korea, it’s your call.

#4 Beside You – BoA

Yeah. See why I made this poll? This song came off her million-copy selling Valenti Japanese album in 2003, and it’s not even the title track. However, I only got around to listening to it about 7 years later. Have you heard it? Read the lyrics? OMFG IT’S SO MAGICAL. I love this song.


Credit: diando

#3 2Me – Kara

2Me, Me2, whatever it is, it’s another case of “Nicole refuses to proofread anything English for Kara” as one Omona! post so helpfully wrote 😉 I actually kind of like the song – it represents the ideal equilibrium of Kara cuteness with some electropop in there to prevent me from gagging at the sheer amount of sugar, spice, and everything nice present in certain other Kara songs (Rock U, Pretty Girl…-__- I’m judging you. I’ll forgive Pretty Girl for its positive message, however). But WTF. The LYRICS. I could not take the LYRICS. I’m willing to tolerate a lot lyrically, considering my own Korean is so damn broken, but they even have to make it sound like some adult phone service in ENGLISH. Touch me, hold me, teach me, take me… It’s the worst Kara-gedy since the AWESOME BEST NIKCUF FIVE shirts…

The only reason wankfest isn’t occurring is because they are singing it so happily and innocently. Can you imagine of After School rocked some of those lyrics? Let’s just say I know how Micky Yoochun bagged Kahi as his hot noona.

Your Engrish are belong to us

#2 First Round – Dalmatian

Yeah. Was not expecting that. Did you know that I actually was about to dedicate a post to them? Inati’s life story is so touching, plus I’m so happy that a non-Bieber age group debuted, plus I was willing to overlook their name because of their looks, and most importantly they seemed really well-trained and had previous experience. I expected…well…a MC Mong sounding song, since he is the  “seon saeng-nim,” or at least something catchy like Joosuc’s Pop and Drop, but First Round was so out of the blue. It’s not a bad song, but…er…WHERE ARE MY BAD BOYS T__T. The MR removed sounded good, though, so kudos to the boys.

#1 Utada Hikaru goes on 2+infinity hiatus and I want her album
See how major this news is? It’s Jpop but it made it on my blog. T__T Ok Hikki is a lazy cow for the slow rate she releases but OMG I cannot bear 2 years without her. I think I will shell out money to buy her Best of album. OMG so upset. Rest of you Kpoppers, go back to work.

…And ok, let’s add a third section of “Notable Kpop News”

#5 Park Gyuri went kumquat blonde. WTF. At least she looked better in subsequent pictures taken.

#4 Kara shakes booty in Japan, sells Lupin EP x2 amount of CDs in a month.

#3 SMTOWN 2010 in LA. I hate my UCLA friends. Tiffany, I can’t recognize you no more TT

#2 Eru – Tae Jin Ah – Choi Hee Jin conflicted often psychotic yet tragic but mostly confusing circle of accusations, blackmail, abortion, and sabotage.

#1 Tablo has some major problems with 130k+ netizens. I honestly think that they are attacking him due to his outspokeness on “controversial” topics like depression and lack of tolerance and understanding for psychotherapy in Korea/Asia in general. The man is very smart – I was watching his CNN interview yesterday, and I got to thinking. Here’s a guy who doesn’t just make music – he is intelligent enough that he actually observes the world and contemplates weighty issues. While other idols rub off as very materialistic and commercial (it’s all about their music or their sales), Tablo emanates the aura of a conflicted, contemplating soul. That’s why he’s so susceptible to these netizen attacks – his strength lies in his brilliance in the intake of ideas and the complex churning and processing that goes on in his mind to create cutting lyrics and profound writing. This is also his weakness – he takes in everything, even the baseless derision and accusations, and contemplates over them too much. All we can do now is pray the courts shut the netizens up and hope Tablo stays strong 😦

Back to the 2NE1 album – gotta get at least 3 more repeats before I can start reviewing.

8/28/10 Mubank Recap

It’s either my new headphones are allowing me to hear so many dimensions I’ve never heard previously, or that Music Bank revamped their whole sound system, cause EVERYONE sounded phenomenal tonight. Or maybe I’m just so braindead from the first week of school, because the listening experience was beyond enjoyable. Though most people will not feel like it, right now is the height of excitement in Kpop 2010.

Se7en – I’m sad his comeback wasn’t as commercially successful as other comeback artists. His performances are always so tight and engaging (not to mention his live singing is fantastic, and he’s really improved vocally during his overseas ventures) and new artists should take note – after one performance of Better Together, the difference in skills becomes so apparent. I’m also a bit confused why he switched back to promoting Digital Bounce – it’s not a vocal showcase piece, and no TOP. I hear rumors that he’s releasing a full album early 2011, though, so the Digital Bounce minialbum might just be a fanservice.

Once upon a time, I was the biggest FT Island stan in the world – I discovered their music one depressing, snowy winter day, and they were the first group whose music made me cry. The emotional magic just slowly wore off. As great as Hongki’s singing is, I prefer Jaejin’s? *ducks crazy Primadonnas* But as a concession, Hongki sounds fantastic live, much better than recorded, and Jaejin’s always flat *gets bricked again*

Basically, Love Love Love is just another FTI song – it’s good, as are all their songs, but you have to grow to love FTI songs, not the other way around.

Wheesung! I love him, the song sounds like a G.Na sound though.

BoA’s costume is finally fixed today – the grandma flower shit last week pissed me off.

OMG today Secret sounds FIERCE. Even softvoiced Sunhwa sounds loud and confident, and that performance gets me going everytime. It’s so energetic (and they’re #4! I predict a win next week on M!Countdown). Adlibs were spot on.

G.Na – that was hot. I thought her debut song of the thousand word titles (a friend told me it’s closer to I’ll Piss off, have a Nice Life than what it actually translates to, poor Doo Joon lol) was nice, but she’s always emo-faced, had her share of rookie slipups, and that blond hair was not doing it for me. But now Supa Solo comes out – I don’t LOVE the song, but I love her performance. G.Na’s voice, as nice as it is, is still a bit too high and shrill for my tastes – I’d prefer it if a slightly stronger voiced singer sang this (like JeA). However, the hair change, the costuming (I want those boot s NOW), the peek of fun charisma she’s now slowly showing – I’m going to keep an eye on her now. Call it a long stretch, but she could totally be the next BoA – whose voice I don’t totally like either.

Rainbow’s costuming must be pretty economical – all they wear is a different tank top and some booty shorts. Jaekyung is growing on me.

Mamma Mia, Narsha’s back with Sunny Hill – thank God, cause her BRBB totally had me concerned that she was going to spend more than her mini-album will make. Hand mic today, too! There’s a lot more live singing in this one, and as Nikki or PRN would say, OMG I HEAR HARMONIES. That was an excellent treat, and I’m still amazed at how fast Narsha spits out the syllables in the verses – no wonder she collabed with Outsider.

Time to go watch Mucore…

But in 2010, New > Old

So I just wrote about how 2010 = 2009 in terms of ‘quality of songs’ (you know we don’t listen to Kpop for quality). However, 2010 really should’ve been bigger than 2009.

As I look back at who came back in 2010, I’m utterly amazed that Kpop is NOT exploding in sheer awesomeness right now. So many big name, legendary artists emerged from the woodworks after spending years AWOL, and your standard top-of-the-pack groups almost all came back, and the sheer anticipation was on the verge of nuclear holocaust. But then, what happened?

Wonder Girls came back! Finally, the first ‘current generation’ girl group to reach superstardom returns from the U.S.! But 2 Different Tears was a hot mess of overanticipation of something better than TellSoNo, short promotion time, wtfbbq only a single?!?, and Sunmi’s departure.

U-Go-Hyori, the queen bee herself! It’s been 2 years! I actually thought Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was pretty good, but the plagiarism thing completely tanked her.

Rain! Hot abs ninja assassin looked to shock all with something better than Rainism. But he really should’ve put out a full album, because Love Song was just meh for me at least. The sales were ok, but not explosive like Rainism.

Gummy! The soul-voice of YG had been gone since FOREVER, and suddenly she emerges with her Loveless minialbum. Actually, I loved it. But sadly, idols are all the hype these days, and poor Gummy didn’t get the popular reception she really should have received (come on, flower boy Kim Hyunjoong was even in the freaking mv, what more strings was she supposed to pull?!?). The sales were actually ok, but it could and should have been bigger. My Gummy bias 😛

Se7en. Legend. Passion. Returns from the U.S. Again, should have had a full album, and despite his brilliant live performances (Better Together was actually a decent song), his sales are bad, and his fanbase, very weakened.

And the trump card, even BoA returned after 5 FREAKING YEARS. It’s way to early to see her album sales, but to me, that album was extremely disappointing. I think I’m not alone in noticing her music deteriorating in style over the years–honestly, BoA had edgy songs, cool dance moves and music videos, but Hurricane Venus was so dull compared to say, Girls on Top, and I personally attribute it too overwork–Japan and especially the U.S. just drained her. Sometimes I wish artists would just stay in Korea like Hyori–she knows where her base is at and sticks to it, and that’s why she’s the “Nation’s Fairy.”

And to list other hype/disappointments, After School’s Bang! was so meh compared to Because of You, 2pm’s Without U just wasn’t up to par with what 2pm can dish out, Son Dambi barely made an impact with Queen, 4minute had pretty bad sales, f(x) got gypped out of an award, 2NE1 and Big Bang are MIA (yes yes I know BB is in Japan), Seo Taiji got beaten by Jay Park, etc. etc.

Why? Primarily, the fans’ expectation of come backs better than the best works of the artists’ careers was simply too unrealistic. Even if the songs were pretty good, it wasn’t better, so fans were disappointed. I know I was somewhat disappointed.

However, I have been surprised by handfuls of acts this year, and now I think about it, they all came from groups who never had overwhelming success previously or were new acts. 2AM’s Can’t Let You Go Even if I Die/I Did Wrong back-to-back wowed both the charts and myself (it was one of those hits where you’re like, oh, yeah that song was good but never gave it too much thought, then looked back and realized, holy crap, their minialbum did really well), Kara finally had a bit hit with Lupin without choosing the wrong title song, CN Blue’s Loner indirectly lured me on the path of full Kpop obsession, Beast finally overcame their ‘reject group’ label with Shock, miss A again proved to me rookies were worth paying attention to (then Girl’s Day quickly disproved that, oh man I should really stop hating on them, Control was actually really good), and most recently SHINee finally made my summer spectacular with the best album of the year. The fact that I feel more excited about Secret’s comeback than I felt about BoA’s just confirms the new/newish groups are the ones creating the drive in 2010—old names simply aren’t performing on par.

And people are getting overly annoyed that so many new groups are debuting this year. While I will probably put up subsequent posts that mirror the public opinion, I can’t help but feel that, well, it’s always been this way. New groups announce debuts. The crowd groans and rolls their eyes. If their debut sucks they get bashed mercilessly. If they were ok they still get bashed mercilessly. You get the idea. I was rummaging through some old news tidbits and stumbled upon some written about Davichi during their debut–omg Kang Minkyung isn’t an ulzzang, stick to R&B, 8282 sucks, and most hilariously, they need singing lessons zomg. Personally I think Davichi can sing quite well, tyvm, and if you put them next to the idol world, wow, give them a Nobel Peace Prize for actually having talent now please. Hopefully you get the idea–as Seo In Young said recently, “Anyone can debut. The important part comes after.” All new groups will get crap dumped in their face, but they should consider it a weird, cultish welcome. Should they pass the initiation, they will have lots of diehard fans willing to put their lives on the line to defend them and buy their cds, posters, socks, and whatever product their company puts out to milk the fans for all their won.

Japan, here we come!

So I’ve been waiting to write this article, and now that SNSD has finally announced that their debut single will be Genie, I can finally settle in and put in my two cents on the girl groups in Japan situation.

As you know, this summer/fall has marked Kpop’s girl groups’ inevitable migration into the land of the rising sun, which was bound to happen sooner or later after the success of their boy group sunbaes as DBSK and Big Bang. I’m actually surprised no one made the move sooner (other than the Grace, but that’s something I’ll cry about another time T__T). 4minute, Kara, and SNSD will lead the charge into Japan. 4minute has already debuted their single I My Me Mine and has traveled back and forth from Korea and Japan to perform on music shows; Kara will be releasing their Mister single August 11th and has performed their first show on Music Japan this past week; SNSD will be having a showcase August something and releasing their Genie single in September. In other words, three of the top Korean girl groups will be debuting in a very close period of time with translated versions of old, hit singles (minus IMMM which is relatively new).

One reason I waited to comment until now was because I seriously anticipated that SNSD will be debuting in Japan with an original, Japanese single, and past precedents set by DBSK and BoA gave possibilities of that happening. However, SM has completely changed their tactics regarding the marketing of their artists in Japan–first it was the change in label from Avex to UMJ, which I personally think is a good move since Avex has always been cheap on promotions, and second with the Genie single. I’m a little disappointed, admittedly, but I’m not overly surprised.

Things are changing, boys and girls. Through my extensive forum stalking, I’ve read lots of comments along the lines of “omg, XXX is going to go to Japan and fail, and I hope they disappear.” Obviously the work of antis, but it paints a rather accurate picture of the hopes of haters and the worst nightmare of fans. However, such a scenario happening to 4SoKa (ok I’m going to leave the abbreviation as that) will be near impossibility.

Does anyone realize how much companies are holding the hands of these groups and looking out for them? Take SM–contrasting their treatment of throwing the Grace into Japan while their fanbase in Korea was just growing, leading to abysmal overseas failure and their virtual disappearance from the Kpop map, they have now gone to pouring everything into the successful promotion of SNSD even before they land in Japan. Heck, they even did an entire photobook in Japan, and trust me, it was not just for the view.

SNSD has built up their fanbase these past three years to where I’m stupid gawking at the ridiculous gifts Soshified got for their 3rd anniversary. They are at their peak Korea wise, and I think it’s as good as a time as SM could’ve picked for their Japanese debut–honestly, their 2010 songs have not been as strong as the 2009 ones, but the steady sales and mid-year domination just showed that SNSD has reached what I like to call a commercial equilibrium in Korea–it doesn’t matter how fantastic or crappy their music is, it will sell like hotcakes regardless.

What I’m totally confused about is how permanent SM is making this debut seem. The girls have been completely pulled from their shows except for Seohyun, and their recent SendVoice messages made it seem like they aren’t coming back, with lots of “don’t forget us!” and “wait loyally for our return!” sprinkled in. Didn’t they learn from BoA, DBSK, heck even Se7en and WG, that the fanbase will slip if the groups are gone for an extended period of time?

4minute has already started promotions but are still performing on Inkigayo. That could just be that they don’t feel pain, but it doesn’t seem they will stay long term. As an aside, I think Cube is steady winning my vote as managing company of the year, which will make for an awesome future post, not spoiling anything at all. Kara’s already made it clear they’d stay for 20 days only, but 1.) DSP has never been good at planning, or choosing good title songs until 2010, or at giving their artists good living/practicing conditions, now that I get started. However, since they’re now under UMJ’s management, this might be part of an actual plan of a series of waves of promotions, especially since fluent Japanese is apparently no longer a prerequisite in attempting to break into Japan, and the artists would never leave Korea long enough to weaken their presence there, which would be pretty smart.

So let’s quickly digress to the songs. Repackaged Japanese versions of hit songs, I guess, creates more chances the song will be a success if we consider the Korean version a test trial period. Kara’s Mister is a fantastic choice in my opinion–it finally becomes the title song it should have been during Revolution promotions, it has a fantastic butt dance, and translated really nicely into Japanese. Personally I believe it was too early for 4minute to enter Japan, but I can see now that this part of Cube’s larger plan to train their artists to adapt to the international market, so I don’t see current long term promotion.

Lastly, here’s what the CEO of UMJ had to say about promotion plans for Kara/SNSD in Japan:

Universal Music Japan’s CEO Koike Kazuhiko discusses his promotion plan for KARA and SNSD in Weekly Toyo Keizai (A Business Journal).

“They have good looks and great singing abilities. It’s a waste to keep them just in Korea, so they should sell in Japan as well.“ Major record company Universal Music’s CEO Koike Kazuhiko, in addition to being the company president, he praises Korean girl groups KARA and SNSD in this way. He seems confident in giving both of these girls from his company success through full-blown promotions, which will begin this summer.

(omitted)

(Traditionally), for foreign artists to succeed in Japan a moderate level of Japanese skill was essential, unless they were top class artists. However, that’s not really the case now.

Speaking frankly President Koike said, we’ll decide which promotion method to use depending on the artists’ characters. Whether that means mainly doing activities in the Japanese market, or using a similar promotion method to the one we use for artists from Western countries doing activities mainly outside Japan. Discussed above, KARA has looks like Japanese idols and their Japanese songs should be easily accepted. Japanese was studied enough for them to be active in the center of Japan.

He explains that, SNSD and KARA are completely different, their appeal as “real-deal artists” is a profitable plan, and that Japanese ability isn’t really necessary when using the same promotion techniques as western music.

From what I’m inferencing, Kara will be promoted as a Japanese group much like DBSK’s promotion, while SNSD will get more of the western-style “treat them like foreign artists” promotion. Smart since this will prevent the two groups from clashing in the market since they will be labeled differently, but there’s definitely a lot of questions to be asked, like if Kara’s Japanese proficiency is enough for their style of marketing, whether SNSD can have the influence of western artists even if promoted like one, and most importantly if consumers are willing to distinguish these two groups instead of lumping them together as “those two korean groups” (admittedly, they’re lumped together quite often in Korea).

So how will it all play out? To tell you the truth, I have absolutely no idea. In a sense, the existing Japanese market is an iron curtain–dominant female groups such as MoMu and AKB43904859384 and solo artists like Koda Kumi and Namie Amuro make it hard for newcomers to gain a solid foothold in the market. However, a similar story existed for the guys, where Johnny’s groups (Johnny & Associates is a company that produced Jpop powergroups like Arashi, KAT-KUN, and SMAP) made it nearly impossible for even other Japanese pop groups to survive, let alone foreign acts. But lo and behold, Tohoshinki/DBSK became one of maybe two non-Johnny groups to be able to have consecutive number ones and actually present competition.

Final tidbit of FYI. So SNSD is release their single September 8th…and guess when JYJ is releasing their The…minialbum? Yeah…so just coincidence or revenge? Will this affect CD sales at all? Johnny’s groups usually bring terrible sales to other artists releasing the same week, and Tohoshinki’s been known to outsell them, not to mention this is JYJ’s big return after their Tokyo Dome stint, so no doubt fans are angsty. We’ll see. And that rumored 5 minute long Mister mv complete with story better be hella good. I’ve waited so long.

Thanks to Soshified for the article translation from Weekly Toyo Keizai, a business magazine.

Predictions for the rest of 2010

So with 2010 more than half-ways behind us, I decided to make a little prediction on who’s coming back when.
Red = comeback confirmed, Purple = my guess only

August is going to be a fun month, with Se7en, SHINee, and BoA all actively promoting. I think this will be better than the Rain-Hyori-2pm clash during May (especially since I believe the August contenders are musically a little more standout at this point). T-ara is confirmed for an album (full album? But my prayers are never answered that well…) in September/October. Rainbow will be back September, hopefully with much improvement from Gossip Girl. Both Kahi and Gain have solo activities lined up for September, ironic that it’s yet another Pledis/NegaNetwork clash after Son Dambi/Narsha.

For my predictions, I see a 50/50 chance of 2NE1–rumors are they are already working on choreo/album, but for some reason I don’t feel a comeback. But they have to. So either they’ll come out early, say September or early October at the latest, or not at all.

Will the Wonder Girls return to Korea? Their summer was hella hectic, but I feel 2DT was too rushed and didn’t really make an impact. If they have plans, it’ll not be until 2011. Similarly, I think 2pm is going to be back either really late 2010 or early 2011. However, I feel the 2AM boys will be back in October/November. They only have one mini-album under their belts since debut, so a full album is due.

4minute is done for the year, especially with Japan promotions. MBLAQ is probably also done, but a late 2010 comeback is remotely possible. I feel BEAST will be back in November. They’ve more or less wrapped up overseas promotions and it’s been a while since Shock of the New Era.

I don’t predict anything from the Soshi girls in 2010 since I think they’re the only group preparing to enter Japan seriously (meaning long-term), but SM might have changed strategies after DBSK/BoA, so a late-year mini-album is possible. Big Bang seems to still be promoting in Japan, with their new single Beautiful Hangover soon to be released, so I don’t think we’ll see them until 2011. But do remember T.O.P. was working on an album before he started filming Into the Fire, so expect that to drop late 2010/early 2011 before any Big Bang comebacks.

Kara is sticking around in Japan for only about a month, so I predict they may pop out a mini-album in December (a third album would be nice, too). Some sixth sense (that does not see dead people, tyvm) tells me Brown Eyed Girls will be back in action in December. SIGN was so long ago. UKISS, too, has been missing, since Man Man Hani, so they might return in November/December. After School won’t return as a full group until their last subunit promotes, so it’s 2011 for them. f(x) needs a late year mini-album turnaround, but I just feel SM is semi-giving up.

The New Year will be interesting indeed. By that time, maybe miss A will release a second mini-album! Talk about time and progression–rookies don’t stay rookies for long, do they? Let’s check back on this in 2011 and see how many I got right.