Being an American, I am used to having super-stardom like Lady Gaga and Beyonce, who can rule the charts and capture the hearts of millions upon millions for a very long time. Lady Gaga doesn’t last for a couple of weeks, she lasts for months. She doesn’t let you forget her.
In South Korea, I’m beginning to doubt super-stardom possibilities. There are stars, to be sure, but they never last for more than a few weeks. Take SHINee for example; everyone was so psyched for their Lucifer comeback, and they only won a Mutizen for two weeks and then slowly faded into the background of the music chart as they politely bowed back and let someone else take the stage, which I think is some idiot called Secret and “Madonna.” If that is the extent of the SHINee comeback, that’s a disappointment. Lady Gaga would have ripped out another track already. And DOMINATED. Rain, Se7en, and BoA came back, and if they’re not the super-stars of kpop, I don’t know who is, and their songs were so forgettable, and I hardly see them in the news at all now, except when they’re doing variety shows.
Another gripe about the kpop industry is the ridiculous amounts of variety shows you have to be put through. It just really heightens how manufactured these stars are, to laugh, to appear something they aren’t. These stars have to go through training to be successful at these shows, just like Minho from SHINee demonstrated.
The kpop industry is so cutthroat, but at the same time, it seems weirdly polite. “OK, we’ve hogged the comeback stage for two weeks, now it’s your turn!” It’s such a high turnover rate. However, this time I might be complaining because I love SHINee and they can’t be thrown away so lightly, but I realize this goes for all kpop artists, not just a group with a terribly cute leader.
I also recognize the fact that the lead single from SHINee’s new album, is quite horrible to serve the purpose of.. well.. being a lead single! The lead single in kpop must always be (a) catchy (b) swoon-worthy (c) easy to remember and sing to. Lucifer fails miserably at (c), because though it is catchy, who can sing all those repeated A’s and E’s without feeling a little weird about it? Replay (probably their best single ever) was absolute genius, because it was so catchy, so smooth, and so easy to sing along with. Singing is one of the most social things on earth, and to have that ability to connect with your audience is essential.