can't help but feeling

exploring fandom and doing my spazzing exercises :) hope to the end

Fashion Follows Yoochun
Chaos Under Control
You Captured Me
Pretty Boy Power
Red Playground
Sapphire Pearls
One Pine Tree
Tokyo Bopper


Reading a lot of the analysis at Seoulbeats has gotten me thinking about the meaning of Kpop (or any pop really) to me. Especially 'The Five Most Overrated and Underrated in K-entertainment' was really interesting.

Since there's so many angles on this, right now I'll just discuss Dong Bang Shin Ki, perhaps even as the cardinal example. Putting DBSK on both 'most overrated' and 'most underrated' really nails the mixed feelings I have about the band. On the one hand, I'm a big fan and I certainly feel very loyal to them. However, what is it exactly that I'm loyal to?

I mentioned before that one of the elements leading me to DBSK fandom was the Bonjour Paris dvd. This, I think, illustrates the 'personality' part of their appeal: as people, they seem really likeable. Perhaps as with any fandom, the more you get to know them, the more you like them; their great group chemistry doesn't hurt either. However, liking a music group just on personality is like hiring your friends just because you're friends. Wrong merits.

The main element that tipped the scale for me was DBSK's comeback with Mirotic. So, luckily it wasn't all about the cult of personality *phew*. But I'll admit it had a lot to do with the whole image they presented at the time- personally I loved Micky Yoochun's (controversial?) hairstyle. In any case, all the elements of Mirotic, music/image/dance, are very important elements of fandom induction. And when I learned more about DBSK, it was their dedication and vulnerability that touched me most (Proud of course).

However, I'd already known about DBSK long before I became a fan. I knew their hits, videos and vaguely their names. And now, I only have the music from two of their albums although I follow their activities on a nearly daily basis. What part here does not equate?!

It was another article on Seoulbeats (Review: Mirotic) that really articulated for me what I have been mulling over but not been able to pinpoint: "I really like DBSK, but most of their music is not music that I enjoy listening to." *gulp* In comparison, I have all of Big Bang's (Korean) music and I have listened to it dozens more times than any of the DBSK albums. And I'm not even a VIP.

That's not to say I don't like DBSK's music. A commenter on Seoulbeats put it very well: "I don’t think DBSK are under or over rated. They either get it sooooo right (Love In The Ice, most live performances, their Korean album title tracks,etc.) or soooooo wrong (most Japanese singles, Korean album fillers, etc) so it balances out in the end." Well, it's maybe not that easy to pinpoint which of their music is good and which is regrettable, but the point is clear.

Without a doubt one of DBSK's most notable strengths (appeal, charm, whatever you want to call it) is their live performance. Perhaps you could even say this is where their personality, talent and interaction come together: many fans have admitted that such-and-such song did not appeal to them until they saw DBSK perform it live. I know for sure I'd rather watch a DBSK live than any mv.

I guess this finally addresses the problem of the DBSK equation, namely that their potential and star-quality is not matched every step by the material (the music) they are promoting. In other words it's no wonder they are underrated. Who can produce eight albums in five years and expect a consistently high standard? How can an artist expect longevity if they are too busy to develop themselves? Of course, DBSK haven't gotton to where they are in popularity by sitting back and taking it easy- but I hope they are a band who will match their progress with growth.

I love DBSK, because those 'golden moments' in their music definitely make it worth it. And I think they know what they want and how to get there, and it will certainly be an interesting journey for us fans too.

When asked what music meant to him, Hero Jaejoong said: "I am not sure. I don't know why I started singing. I don't know why I want to sing. Music has made me who I am today. I don't know why I work so hard to sing. But if there is a reason, it should be... This is because I am a member of Tohoshinki."

Labels: , , , ,