K-Pop Catch-Up: January 2016

Happy New Year! I hope you all are having a wonderful start to the new year. How are all of those new year resolutions coming? 😉

It looks like it has become an unofficial habit of mine to disappear from this blog during the month of January. After the intensity of putting together and posting those Top 50 posts at the end of December, my brain, body, and blogging motivation become so drained that I need a few weeks to recuperate.

But I am back and excited to be starting another year with you all! Let’s start by going over the recent happenings in the K-pop world.

The Tzuyu Controversy (SOURCE 1) (SOURCE 2) (SOURCE 3)

When a girl became the target for political controversy. This whole situation is so sad. Long story short: TWICE’s Tzuyu said on a show that she was Taiwanese and held a Taiwanese flag, and because of the tensions between Taiwan and China, Tzuyu, TWICE, and all of JYP have since been under attack from Chinese media. TWICE and JYP artists have been forbidden from appearing in any Chinese media and a few weeks later a video was released on Tzuyu giving a formal apology.

Okay. Obviously, I think it’s ridiculous of China to think it’s their business to scrutinize the innocent actions of a sixteen year old girl, but I – and all international fans – have to remember that I was born and raised in the US, with a completely different value set and political system from China. I get why the Chinese government feels they have to react so strongly to someone who implies support for Taiwanese independence, so I won’t comment on that.

januarytzuyuWhat makes me the most uncomfortable is JYP’s response to the whole situation. Making Tzuyu stand in front of the camera to apologize by herself was not right. Park Jin Young should have taken full responsibility. She is a minor and he and her manager are essentially acting as her guardians by housing her and giving her work. Most of these shows are scripted in some way, so the fact that she described her nationality when prompted next to all of the other participants on the show who did the exact same thing should not be solely her fault. JYP later explained that it was Tzuyu’s choice to give the apology, but as responsible adults, he or her parents should have spoken on her behalf or at least stood with her rather than let her be humiliated all by herself.

To be quite honest, the real messed up person in all of this is the Taiwanese singer who called attention to Tzuyu in the first place. She is a sixteen year old girl. He totally took advantage of her vulnerability and distance to defame her and promote his own political agenda. That is low and messed up and I hope he faces backlash from his actions.

SM Entertainment Unveils Plans for “New Culture Technology” (SOURCE)

From what I understand, SM will be promoting 40 members across the world in various groups and subunits, giving more music more frequently to more places.

This is a cop out. That’s all I can say. This is a way for SM to make as much money as januarynctpossible without having to invest in keeping any one person on board. If a member doesn’t like their terms or wants to leave, there will be a whole plethora of people to take that member’s spot.

Of course there is the ongoing fear when it comes to SM about what will happen to their current artists. SM has a tendency to put 80% of their energy in their newest projects and leave all the rest of their artists on the sidelines, and that is what I am afraid will happen to TVXQ!, Super Junior, Girls’ Geneneration, SHINee, f(X), EXO, and Red Velvet. It happened when EXO debuted. I am actually pretty surprised that SM isn’t letting EXO reign as their top-seller for a little bit longer before starting this new project.

KARA Disbands (SOURCE)

This is the last negative one, I promise.

januarykara

I’m sad. 😦 KARA has never been one of my favorite girl groups, but they have had some of the catchiest songs in all of K-pop. Back when I was a newbie K-popper, “Step” and “Mr.” were songs I just could not get out of my head. Ugh, they just have so many amazing hits. Maybe I’ll make a separate post saying goodbye to their era.

Poor Youngji. She just joined the group and they are already disbanding. I really hope she is able to be successful as a soloist. This must be such a frustrating situation for her, but hopefully it will turn out to be in her favor. She was in the group long enough to get some popularity, and now has the freedom to really shine in songs of her own.

Ladies’ Code to Have A Comeback (SOURCE)

januaryladiescodeMy heart hurts every time I hear of Ladies’ Code, but I am happy to hear this. I sincerely hope that this means Ashley, Sojung, and Zuny are ready to perform again. It has been nearly a year and a half since the accident in which we lost EunB and RiSe, which is not long enough to completely be over the death of a loved one, but it is long enough for some people to move past the shock and grief. Even I was not a fan of Ladies’ Code before their tragedy, I will definitely be keeping my eyes out for their newest single in support of the bravery and hard work of the three remaining members.

NU’EST to Have a Comeback (SOURCE)

januarynuestFINALLY! It has been a year and a half since NU’EST’s last comeback, out of only five in total since their debut four years ago. To put that in perspective, VIXX debuted two months after NU’EST, but has had double the amount of comebacks. NU’EST is a group whom I have been a fan of since their debut, and they used to be part of my top 10 groups. However, they have since fallen off of that list simply because I just don’t know them anymore. No one does, because they haven’t been around in over a year! Now that they are finally coming back this year, I am just beside myself with excitement. I have been waiting for this since 2014. I’m ready.

Jack Black Guest Stars on Infinity Challenge (WATCH HERE)

jackblackThis definitely came as a shock to me. To be quite honest, I am not a fan of Jack Black. I never have been. However, I was curious, so I watched a little bit of his episode, and I came to a startling realization: Jack Black is actually quite perfect for Korean variety. He can do slapstick. He can make fun of himself and others. He doesn’t really have any shame when it comes to sacrificing his physical appearance for the sake of comedy. I may not like him, but he blends in really well with Korean comedians. Yoo Jae Suk and HaHa seemed to love him.

iKON

ikonwelcomebac

This final bit of news isn’t really anything going on with them, but something that is going on with me. Lately, I have really been digging iKON. Initially, I did not want to like them. As with Winner, and even EXO, I have always had a distaste for groups who become popular before they even debut. I need groups to prove to me with their debut music video and performances that they are worth appreciating, and when groups seem to bypass that phase because of their company or predebut show, it just irritates me.

Despite all of that, I can’t seem to stop playing iKON’s Welcome Back album. It is just so good. I even fangirled a little bit when watching their MAMA performance. And now I find myself starting to notice which members of the group are better-looking than others and I can see the fan in me very slowly starting to form. I don’t like it, but at the same time I do. It’s a hard thing to describe, but if you’ve experienced this, you know exactly what I’m talking about.


 

So, update for anyone who was wondering: I’m not going to EXO’s Chicago concert. I thought long and hard about this, but the tickets are crazy expensive and I can’t spend that money to see a show without my bias present. Also, B.A.P may possibly come back to Chicago, and between the two I would rather spend my money on B.A.P anyway. That doesn’t mean I’m not still pretty sad about missing the show. EXO’luxion looks amazing, but I had to make a sacrifice. 😦

That’s it for January. I have a couple of posts scheduled for the upcoming couple of weeks, and then we go from there. Welcome to 2016!


Question of the Day:

What are your thoughts on SM’s new plans? Was Tzuyu’s apology an appropriate response to the situation? Any other LOㅅE’s out there?


#NowPlaying: 2HOT by G.Na. Kara put me in a nostalgic mood, so I found myself listening to this classic by G.Na. She is another one who I was never explicitly a fan of, but I always loved her songs.


Wanna talk K-pop? Follow me on Twitter @mystification86!

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