SM is set to debut a group codenamed M1 in 2012, supposedly “male-SNSD” with seven members. YG is set to debut a new girl and boy group. Cube is readying its guns with a seven-member boy group.
YG and Cube new groups? Who really cares (as much)?
If there is one thing SM is ridiculously good at, it’s aggregating people together together into groups that work, well, ridiculously well. Sure, you may not have the best music, you may not have the most talented members, but something magical happens, and you have groups like Super Junior, SNSD, SHINee, TVXQ*.
Someone interjects at this point and says, “Wait, what about BIGBANG?”
BIGBANG is a popular group, but it’s not a cohesive group. It’s not just me, but other reviewers have commented how individual the members of BIGBANG feel in their latest album together. Note that I do not mean ‘individual’ as ‘special’, but as ‘not working together as a group’. They’re individuals collaborating on an album, not a group pulling an album together. Of course, 2NE1 has a very good group dynamic, but the fact they are modeled as female BIGBANG feels somewhat of a cheat to me.
B2ST is just not popular enough. When I mean popular, I mean, Super Junior, TVXQ, BIGBANG popular. B2ST has not made it there yet, and neither has Cube. Cube is a formidable company, but since SM is the big gorilla in the room already, SM can afford and attract the better choreographers, better producers, better everything, than Cube can. So to some extent, Cube suffers a bit from the inferiority of the product it can make on average (though there can be exceptions) compared to what the 9000 kg gorilla can do.
Even S.M. The Ballad was a ridiculous exercise in how well SM can push people together and have it work amazingly– in the recorded tracks, the performance and in real life. Watching their interviews, it was so clear why they debuted Jino (supposed member of M1!) instead of including Ryeowook, Yesung, or Onew in S.M. The Ballad; someone needs to fulfill bashful cute maknae, and it works. Kyuhyun fit perfectly as a hyung (despite being maknae of Super Junior), Jonghyun settled into his virtuosic status, Jay was the ‘bad boy’ (I say this with reservations, because Jay naturally has an unsavory look about him). The result was magic. Magic in their two lead singles, magic in their interviews, magic, magic, magic– even though this was a very low-key debut right before Christmas. SM just has talent sitting in its closets, bursting out of their ears.
The interactions between their performers, as people, fit together so consistently well; that is why SM artists dominate the television waves and variety shows. They are entertaining. They are entertaining together. I can’t say anything to how the SM artists behave themselves in the dorm, but the balance in the outward personalities and their strengths always manages to astound me. SM groups are good at everything– they may individually not be much, but the sum of their parts is staggering. YG stays away from overexposure on variety shows to develop their artists’ talent, and I respect that, but you will never have a completely versatile group, and in that, SM reigns supreme.
So I’m sort of excited to see the blend SM has whipped up this time.
Also, I want to see Jino again!
*Though TVXQ has disbanded, it is because SM was idiotic in treating them as performers, not because SM did not form and aggregate the group properly. f(x), I think, represents a partial failure, because they have not had a huge mainstream hit, but SM’s placement of Amber in there is genius, melting, dripping genius.
Here is the Allkpop article that I read earlier today that inspired this quick post.
Before you comment angrily, the point of this post is not to disparage other agencies, not meant to criticize performers from other agencies. It’s more of a “ily SM” sort of thing. Right.