Sunday, October 19, 2014

NOW KPOPPING: State of Affairs with Girls' Generation, EXO, Super Junior, & 2NE1

L to R: CL, Sungmin, Jessica, Luhan

Dear KPOP, the wheels appear to be coming off a bit and it scares me. It scares me a lot. It scares me because of some of the "fans" that reside in "fandom" with me. 

I like to think we're all sane folks who just love cute kids who sing catchy songs but its times like these that remind me -- teen pop music (regardless of where it's crafted) brings out the crazies. For all the good that happens, there is an equal and unfortunate negative (or at least that's how it's feeling, right now), and particularly for fans who live in SM Town, the struggle has been real the past few weeks.

All I know is, if some ish comes out about SHINee, I might spontaneously combust.

Where should I begin?...


Oh, hey, Mel - you remember that English 2NE1 album you've been waiting literally years for? Yeah, that's probably not gonna happen. (I'm still gonna blame I don't care.)

But the good news is -- as I sort of predicted -- leader and my homegirl CL is officially spreading her wings and taking the US! It has been confirmed that a CL solo album in English is happening with Justin Bieber's/Ariana Grande's manager Scooter Braun at the helm. Let's all keep our fingers crossed that this doesn't sound ratchet as eff.


Hey, guys -- TaeTiSeo is back! "Twinkle" was my jam so I was so stoked to hear this sub-unit featuring the group's unequivocal "best voices" (leader TaeYeon, American-born Tiffany, and baby Seohyun) was coming back to the scene with new tunes. "Holler" is great little piece of glitzy fluff and is exactly the kind of stuff that Girls' Generation OG should be hammering out. It has just enough sass and goes easy on the cheese.

And then the group's requisite Ice Princess proved just how icy it could be. SM Entertainment and Jessica herself announced she would be leaving the group -- a group that is literally pillared on the marketing ploy of "Divine Nine" -- to focus more on her fashion line. She's already being credited as a "former Girls' Generation member".

I am a casual fan of Girls' Generation and Jessica's attitude never thrilled me, but the thought of Girls' Generation being down a member legit feels like KPOP itself has gone through a terrible ordeal. It's almost unfathomable. Jessica in particular really gets you where it hurts as her face is quite synonymous with SNSD.

As someone who's gone through group divide situations before (cough::TVXQ!/JYJ::cough::cough), I want to urge SONEs to not take sides. You do not have the full story and you probably never will. Jessica is a grown woman, she's allowed to make her own decisions. It's quite telling that SME was willing to let her go at all with no lawsuit bloodshed on either side of the coin. 

You and I both want to believe in the sisterhood of solidarity that is Girls' Generation. But, as has been said, nothing gold can stay...


Because bias is as bias does.

Riding high off the return of Leeteuk and Heechul and the success of "MAMACITA", rumors and hints of a repackaged album with even more new tunes to spazz to began to hit the net. The repackage, dubbed THIS IS LOVE (most likely after the song of the same name that appears on the previous version of the album), is out October 27th in Korea, and a music video has apparently already been shot.

With that good news, comes "bad". This past week, more rumors began to fly that member Lee Sungmin was not only in a relationship (with actress Kim Sa Eun), but he was engaged. In true SM in 2014 form, Sungmin himself confirmed the rumors were in fact true. Oh, did you hear that? That was the sound of a thousand or so ELF hearts breaking. (Just kidding -- kind of.) He and Kim will be wed in December. THIS IS LOVE, indeed.

I didn't expect this news to go over well because...well, many KPOP fans are crazy and many ELFs are legally batsh*t insane (Only13 ring a bell to anyone?). What I didn't expect was for many Korean Super Junior fans to go to Twitter to vent their frustration with Sungmin for having the audacity to have a mature, serious relationship and for wanting to -- I don't know, I'm just spitballing -- want to get married and have a family. I know he looks like a baby pumpkin, guys, but he's almost 30 years old! However, certain fans could not be calmed and managed to trend #SungminOUT on Twitter, a blatant statement that they want Sungmin "kicked out" of Super Junior (or at least for the upcoming repackage promotions).

I have no words. And for those of you who are saying that these Korean "fans" deserve clemency for their selfish remarks, here's what I have to say about that: #nope. Sungmin deserves happiness and yes, there is a divide between his obligations to Super Junior and his obligations to his own private life. Do you really think these grown men will be "everybody's oppa" forever? Sungmin getting married will not change one little thing about his relationship to fandom -- he will remain his adorable sunny self! Or at least, he would have if these crazy chicks could just cool it.

Also -- there's a lot of dudes in KPOP and this will mark the first time a "still popular" male idol is tying the knot (to my knowledge). The only other person who's attempted to marry whilst still an idol was Sunye of Wonder Girls...and then she promptly got pregnant and fell off the face of the earth (well, you know what I mean). It's not an easy line to walk and no doubt Sungmin has already done the math. He's not stupid, guys -- he knows what's at risk. By acting crazy, you're only making it harder 1) on Sungmin, 2) on Super Junior as a group, 3) on the rest of Super Junior as grown men who will likely also want to get married at some point, 4) male KPOP idols on the whole.

I've said it once and I'll say it again -- how fandoms of established acts like Super Junior react to "controversy" will set the tone for younger fandoms. Take a cue from Elsa and Let. It. Go. I promise, Sungmin and SuJu will still love you if you're supportive. In fact, I'm pretty sure they will love you more.


And another one bites the dust. 

Following on the heels of former member Kris's departure from the mega-boy band, fellow Chinese member Luhan (also of EXO-M), has filed a lawsuit to nullify his contract with SM Entertainment. This now leaves only four members in the Chinese sub-group EXO-M.

Luhan, Kris, and also former Super Junior member Hangeng (also Chinese) are/were all represented by the same law firm, which is starting to paint a different picture -- suggesting that SM artists (particularly of Chinese descent) are being "lured" away from the Korean media mecca. A fresh rumour is teasing that Luhan may not even be the last of the EXO boys to be "seduced" away from Korea and the group that birthed them.

As I said with Girls' Generation, take everything you read with a grain of salt. While I like to poke fun at EXO itself, there's nothing funny at all about a group you stan falling apart piece by piece -- trust me, I get it. Two members leaving the group (allegedly "separately") is a really big deal, regardless of how large the group is to begin with. 


Meanwhile, still no word from f(x)'s Sulli. Sigh.

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