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.