Unnecessarily Strong Opinions About Music You Probably Don’t Listen To
Here we go, it's nerd time. You guys know I'm a nerd overall, I mean, why try to deny it.
It's just a part of my charm, right? Sure. Let's go with that. Anyway, I've always had the tendency to go all in for something I like. Most of the time, the things I delve into are musically related. Like a group or a genre or what have you.
I've liked a variety of music over the years, I'm sure you have, too. Somebody can sit here and say, "Oh, no, I only listen to loud rock music", but I bet there's a Johnny Cash song you like. That counts. For me, I've liked classic rock, hip hop, pop, country, whatever, it's been around the shop. But over the last two years (actually probably coming up close to the actual month it started) I've been listening to and following Korean pop music.
And not just one group. Several. Blackpink, EXO, Monsta X, Twice, NCT-127, Red Velvet, Stray Kids, Seventeen, GOT7 (and Jackson's solo stuff) and of course, BTS.
I know, it's annoying and you probably don't care, but I care and it's my blog - sorry, article - and I gotta write about SOMETHING, so it might as well be about what's on my mind. I don't have kids, the house is paid off, so why not enjoy some music? ANYWAY. Earlier today, a new song came out from a group called SuperM.
Unpopular opinion alert: I don't like SuperM. There's something about the whole thing that rubs me the wrong way. I'll unpack that. So basically, this group was formed from other already existing groups in the same record label/company. There's members from EXO, Shinee, WayV, NCT-127. Don't get me wrong, I like Lucas, I like Mark, I like Baekhyun. And this song was certainly better than the last one. The video? Fun. I don't love the cowboy hat, but then I also don't love the cowboy hat pretty much anywhere.
There's just something about how the company formed this group, how they're marketing the group, and what they're trying to achieve that bugs me. Here's the thing. The K-Pop thing has gotten huge over the world for a few years now. Heck, it got to me in the middle of small town Missouri. And some groups do better in the US than others. I think SuperM is a calculated attempt to have a group that will become more famous in the US than a certain other K-Pop group. That's why they were trying to market them on their last comeback as "The Avengers of K-Pop". In my opinion, it's an attempt to connect specifically to American culture. And our money.
That's just a deliberate thing that me as a listener will buck against, you know? And to me, it's kind of saying, "Well, the other groups aren't important, let's just pull the ones that are the most popular and start over". And trying to focus on this project is just pulling away from the other group's stuff, and their solo stuff. Example.
Last time SuperM had a comeback, they were everywhere. They were on Ellen, they were on the Disney Channel, they were doing a pretty good job of representing themselves globally. Because of that, the EXO comeback kind of got pushed to the side, and that was a darn shame because that record was good. EXO didn't get to do the promotion and tour that they deserved (they did some dates, but they weren't on the big TV shows here), because two of their most popular members were off touring and doing promotion for SuperM. In fact, the company has kind of put the kibosh on EXO for a while, which kind of makes sense, but didn't have to happen right now. Two of the members are in military service, one got married (which is apparently a scandal). So I guess they just didn't see what they could do with EXO? I don't know. I do know the new sub group of EXO SC is something I can subscribe to. I do like that. So if something good came out of this, it would be that.
And the way they're trying to get attention also says to me that they're competing for our favor. Last comeback, they did a thing when the record came out called bundling. Now I'm not saying they're the only ones that have done it - even singers and bands do it here in the states - but that kind of thing rubs me the wrong way. What's bundling? It's when a group or artist will give you an added incentive to buy an album. Like, if you buy this album, you'll get a t-shirt with it. It's a way to make a bigger impact chart wise, to get more attention. So you'll sell more albums than you would if just put out the music, and the charts are measuring album sales, not merchandise. So it's kind of.... well, in my opinion, doctoring sales. Making it look like you're selling more than you actually are. So the company can say that their artist was #1 here, even if it was just for a week. There's just something about that that sits wrong with me.
It's like they're trying too hard to get to specifically the US. I know the US is a big market for music, and because of that, every international artist wants to make it here. But to focus just on us when there are literally millions of fans all over the world who also like this music, seems a bit greedy.
I wouldn't have as much of a problem with this if the music was good. Admittedly, "100" is better than the last few tunes I heard, but it's still not great. I don't want to listen to it more than once. I played it out of curiosity, I gave it a chance. But I didn't like it. I just get the vibe that the company (and I do mean the company, not the members, the members have nothing to do with it) is competing for our attention just because they don't want a specific group to get it. Not necessarily because this is the best music or the best move for anybody, it's just to shove it in the face of another company. "NO, WE are the best, not you! We've been around much longer than you, we have more groups than you do, WE should be at the top, not you!"
When really, for me, it should be about how good your music is. It's really kind of their own fault, for not seeing the global potential to begin with. As recent as four years ago, they weren't providing closed captions on their videos at all, assuming that only people who understand Korean would be watching it. Or that the population of people who don't speak Korean would be small enough to ignore. Whereas the group/company they're trying to compete with, has been reaching out all over the world since 2014, and it's paying off. It just seems like this is too calculated, too tacked on for me. You can't just slap a group together and expect instant success.
But, hey, maybe they'll prove me wrong. New record isn't out til September. I'll listen to the next single and give it a try. I'm willing to be proven wrong.
And that was the conclusion to this month's edition of Random Opinions You Don't Need!