Archive for March, 2011

Announcement- Expect Good Things

I’m really too busy to post now (I have to do a week’s worth of homework overnight so I can go pick up my friend in Seoul who I haven’t seen for a year and a half!!!), but I will soon, I promise!

I’ll review first the MOVIE VERSION of DBSK’s “Before U Leave”, since that CLEARS EVERYTHING UP, then I’ll review 4 Minute’s new song “Heart to Heart”

Both reviews, just warning you, will be highly positive!

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Rant #21: JYJ and Hangeng

I’ve been watching both of these issues since the news of them first broke, and I’ve been thinking through them to try and see both sides of the argument and figure out where I want to stand as a fan of both DBSK and Super Junior on this issue.

My point here will make a lot of you mad, but let me explain first. I think the lawsuit of JYJ and Hangeng was in the clear. I don’t know their contracts with SM Entertainment, and don’t pretend to, but regardless of who was in the right, the lawsuits have forced the Korean Government to look more deeply into entertainment companies and force them to give artists more fair contracts. Some companies were forced to improve their contracts before the government got involved in order to save face, SM Entertainment was doubly pressured, and I think that was a good thing. Some companies have been found to have outrageous contracts that can only be defined as “Slave Contracts”.

So I believe it was good that they drew attention to this issue. They helped to improve the lives of many celebrities in Korea.

OK, here is where my rant will probably piss off the fans.

However in the clear I believe JYJ and Hangeng were when they filed their lawsuits, I think they’ve overstepped their bounds now. I’ll explain on a case-by-case basis.

 

DBSK vs JYJ

When JYJ first filed lawsuit they stayed with DBSK up until SM Entertainment finally stopped allowing the group to promote. This fostered a lot of bad press and tension between the members and the company must have been extreme. After they broke away the two groups went quiet for a while, before JYJ announced they were grouping together under a new company to return to the music scene.

You can set time by what happened.

1) They file a lawsuit that set off a huge bomb in the K-Pop world and fans vs Entertainment companies

2) Things start to quiet down

3) They suddenly announce they are re-grouping under a new company, fans go crazy

4) Things start to quiet down

5) They do a big US tour, gaining lots of popularity

6) Things start to quiet down

7) They release a big CD about how mean SM Entertainment was to them and how sad they were

8] Things start to quiet down

9) They freak out over “Keep Your Head Down”

10) Things Start to Quiet Down

Anyone else starting to see the pattern? It seems like whenever they fall out of the spotlight  JYJ comes back to talk about how hard their lives were and how much they suffered, as if they were the only people in the world to feel so. However true their words may be, what they’re doing surprised me. From an outside point of view (I’m not a huge Cassiopea, I think DBSK is funny and hard working, but their music isn’t my style 89% of the time) it just looks like they are using Cassiopea to make money. Whenever people stop paying attention to them they find some new way to dredge up the past. They don’t seem interested in moving on and making their own way, when they keep bringing up the topic like this they seem only interested in milking the media for all the album sales they can get.

Not that they’re totally in the black here. I think “Keep Your Head Down” was a bad move on the part of SM Entertainment. There is no way they should have been so surprised that fans took the song wrong. The ambiguous lyrics are definitely intended to have double meanings, they did their own share of turning the controversy into a profit-margin. But JYJ seems to have made it their mission to make Yunho and Changmin, the two remaining members, and SM Entertainment out to be the bad guys.

Hangeng

Here’s another timeline for you:

1) Lawsuit filed, fans explode

2) Kyuhyun fires back, fans explode even more (within the same day as #1)

3) Things quiet down

3) Hangeng makes a sudden, unannounced TV appearance, fans explode

4) Things quiet down

5) Hangeng suddenly announces his comeback as a solo singer

6) Things quiet down

7) Hangeng holds concert in Beijing, invites all SJ members, goes all sad-face when they don’t come

8] Things quiet down

9) Hangeng talks about how he talks to the members how Heechul visited him on the set of his MV shooting in Korea

10) SJ says he’s lying

11) Hangeng changes his statement to say he’s talking to 2 members regularly

12) Members deny this too

12) Things quiet down

13) Hangeng talks about how hard life was with Super Junior

14) Things quiet down

Honestly, just wait, I’m willing to bet he’ll make another statement about how hard his life was before. Hangeng is more shameless than JYJ about the statement’s he’s making. He’s being more obvious- in case anyone didn’t see his pattern. It really feels like he’s using ELF for all he can. He for sure is not ready to move on, and he seems determined to grab all the fame and attention he can.

In this case though I think both SM Entertainment and Super Junior have shown incredible restraint (except for Kyuhyun, who showed his anger very early on, but has since been silent). When the lawsuit was filed SM did not make him continue his work with SJ, which prevented the tensions we saw with DBSK, and Super Junior made no statements except to say they would welcome him back and to refute things he’s said about them (and only when they are specifically asked).

And as far as Hangeng making a very public invitation to the members to come to his concert in Beijing, that was clearly just a press-thing to incite the fans. Kangta was having a concert in Beijing at the exact same time (Hangeng’s concert was over 3 days, Kangta’s was on the 2nd day). I have enough friends and family involved with the music industry to know that there is no possible way he was not aware of the Kangta concert and probably scheduled his for the same time on purpose. And as for acting all sad-face when SJ did not attend, again I know that the day before a concert anyone working the performance is involved in a painfully extensive dress rehearsal, during which every performance is done as it would be the day of, and scrutinized. Stage entrance and exit is rehearsed for hours on end and it is literally an all-day event. The day after the concert too the performer is either busy with the wind-down, reviewing their own performance on tape to spot imperfections or traveling to their home or to the next venue. The key here is that there is no way the members could have made it to his concert, even if they really wanted to go. So this, one of his major “Poor Hangeng” publications, was definitely not as simple as “If you come you like me, if not you hate me”.

Hangeng is really the area where I get annoyed, because he does this more than JYJ, who just seems unwilling to move on and start again as musicians. He seems determined to get as much press as humanly possible and use whatever means he has to in order to get it.

Hangeng and JYJ left SM Entertainment, if their reasons are good or not is for the fans to decide for themselves, but my opposition to the two is due to how they are using their old fan bases to shamelessly increase their own popularity early on. Neither seems willing to truly move on and start again. I don’t think I’ll be able to take either seriously until they actually try releasing an album without making tons of statements about how hard their lives were under their old groups. That’s old news, the fans get it, don’t use them to improve your own careers like that. The fans exist to be a support for their artists, a critic when need be, and a group to raise them up while also making sure they are keeping themselves grounded. They are NOT for the purpose of making a big commotion so you can get that 2nd home or luxury apartment you’ve been wanting.

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Rant #20- The Matrix Shot (Mini-Rant)

Anyone else notice that lately SM Entertainment has been pushing the Matrix cam? You can see it in:

TVXQ: Keep Your Head Down, Before You Let Go
Super Junior: No Other (Yesung’s scene)
BoA: Hurricane Venus
TRAX: Oh My Gooddess

I kind of doubt that all those MVs were the same director, they each have a distinct sense and feel that I can’t see just one person creating- directors tend to have a tell. A few of these probably have the same person working behind them, but certainly not all, this call has to be coming from SM directly.

Sometimes the Matrix cam has it’s uses, in “Oh My Goddess” and “No Other” it fits in smoothly. “Hurricane Venus” and “Keep Your Head Down” draw a little more attention to the shot, while “Before You Leave” is the one that really drew my attention to the degree that I went looking through MVs to find it in more and more places.

My point here is this: everything in moderation. Just because there is this great new style of shooting, it doesn’t mean you should over do it. Otherwise it will become as corny as “The Matrix” itself did.

The Offenders:

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Stay- M.BLAQ

M.BLAQ seems to have fallen into a rut- too many of their songs lately are about breaking up.

Lyrics: 3/5
The song is a plea for a girl who is walking away to stay. They ask her to both stay with them, and stay in their heart. The girl has been drifting away for a time, and now they are ordering her to come back. They also complain that they can’t forget her and that she’s hurt them. It’s unclear if she has already left or if she is in the process of leaving, they bounce back and forth a bit.
Oh baby stay with me/ stay by my side/ you were my everything/ ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah/ stay in my heart/ oh baby stay together/ only I am looking only at you like this/ i i i i i i i i / stay in my heart

Dance: 3/5
They do the dance well, but it doesn’t really seem to fit with the lyrics… And some members definately don’t seem to be as into it as the others. There also is some fighting between the maknae’s in the back row (Mir and Thunder) as to just how the dance is supposed to go. It needs to be a little more uniform and coordinated.

Story: NA
There is no story, the set is just a dark room, sometimes cement and sometimes steel. It’s a very dark MV and there is a large mechanical heart looking item behind them in several shots.

Other Things
I like that in this MV they put slightly less of a focus on Lee Joon. Thunder and G.O. share the spotlight here, and it’s about time. Nothing against Joon, but it was starting to feel less like a group and more like “Lee Joon featuring M.BLAQ”. I hope they pull other members into the light more and more, Joon could use a break from the camera.

Seungho (the leader) and Thunder win the Worst Hairstyles Competition. Just sayin’

All in all I wasn’t impressed with the MV. It kind of feels like an afterthought put together at the last minute before promotions. It doesn’t really stand out amongst their other MVs and the dance feels like something practiced for only a few days beforehand.

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Announcement: WOOT~!

I’m not posting any reviews today because I’ll be in Seoul!

^^ today I turn 20!!!!

PARTY~!!!!!!

(I’m not drunk~! )

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Before You Go- TVXQ

… what?

Lyrics: 4/5
The song is pretty simple. It’s about loosing someone you love and wanting to get one last word in before they leave. They worry about pressuring the girl too much and say they will leave if she asks them and that they will back down. They say that before she goes they just wanted to apologize for not protecting her right and letting a “stupid obsession” get in their way, but they don’t really expand on that. It sounds like the guy’s been drifting away, or realizes he’s been acting like his feelings have changed. He’s not asking her to stay, if anything it sounds like he’s breaking up with her. But he knows it was his fault and has no illusions about  that. “Keep Your Head Down” was an attack on an unfaithful woman, but this is more like a personal attack on the man.
Know this before you go/ I was a man that loved only you/ it’s so foolish, I couldn’t protect you/ I was a stupid idiot/ if I keep you by my side forever/ you might have a hard time and faint/ you did a very good job/ a person that will make you free will come to your side/ come to your side

Dance: NA
There is no dance in this one~

Story: …WTF?/5
OK, I’ve seen this like 5 times now and I’m still confused. This is set up as a movie-style story MV (think “Timeless”). But… I’m not even sure where to begin. I actually read another site’s review to try and figure out what it was about, and they had no better idea than I did. The story is about 4 friends, a guy, a girl, Changmin and Yunho. They all work for the NDI (like Korean FBI?). They work to take out gangsters, but one of their members is being controlled by the gangsters. They try to show him at a hospital and there are some clips of his wife talking after which he freaks out and does what the gangs tell him.

That’s the no-sense part, they never explain if the gangsters have his wife, or gave him money for surgery or something. It screws the whole story up. Anyways, he has a book from one of the gangsters and gets coded messages from them. The first you see is “Kill Witness”. So he kills the witness they caught in the raid at the beginning, also shooting Yunho in the leg. Changmin saw him and confronts him on the roof, but can’t kill him and just leaves him there. It never explains why or what the hell is going on…

Yunho looks through security footage and realizes the guy was the one who shot him, so he somehow breaks into the guys car or finds a book of his own (which is suddenly all burnt) that reveals his latest message was “Kill Changmin”, so he goes to save him. The guy doesn’t kill Changmin, but he has the gun to his head and would kill him if he could. Yunho doesn’t kill him either, just gets Changmin out and leaves him.

…so… yeah… um… what??? watch the MV, you’ll be just as confused. I think when he doesn’t kill Changmin the gangsters kill his wife, but it doesn’t make sense.

Other Things

Ah Changmin, we really need to work on your expressions and lip-sync…. at least we can all tell when you sing live.

I think this MV was interesting in that they were surely going for the big-budget look, but, as with a lot of SM Entertainment story MVs, it feels incomplete. You don’t get what is going on with his wife or what happens at the end, you never see how Yunho gets the coded book or really anything about what’s going on..

They featured two actors in this (Go Ara and the other guy whose name escapes me). I think Go Ara was just for name’s sake- she doesn’t play a significant role in the MV and it kind of feels like she was shoved into the background of the story.

All in all I didn’t like this MV. The story is incomplete and the song DOES NOT fit with it in any sense.

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Announcement: Please Wait~~~

I haven’t posted in over 10 days, I know, I’ve been busy with classes and getting ready for some new projects. But I haven’t been sleeping much and now I’m sick…

Oh well, the point is I aim to post within the next few days a full review for you, I am working on inventory of my collection, to see what I have and haven’t posted, so be patient please!

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