I really have not paid much attention to any other groups except SHINee this year (add a dash of Big Bang and Tohoshinki). However, I think it is nigh-time to catch up on 2011’s debuts and cull which ones seem the most promising.
(1) Rania, Dr. Feel Good: really sex-driven, and also a bit of Sweet Dreams Are Made of This plagiarism. This all adds up to sort of catchy. Teddy Riley, the composer behind SNSD’s The Boys, also wrote this debut track– it shows because of the heavy sex beat (!). I think Rania is interesting because they are probably the most trashy/sexy kpop group right now, and I wonder if they will continue with that. Plus, there have been rumors of an American debut as well, which I do not think is actually too far-fetched because they would just be familiarly analogous to Asian Pussycat Dolls. They can definitely get by on the kpop scene without being too talented and working the sex image, it just depends on their company being able to get them good tracks to record.
(2) Block B, Freeze: I hesitate putting them on here, but I can totally see them filling the space that U-Kiss fills right now. Block B will develop their own niche; they are not exactly the best kpop out there but people like them anyway because they are cute-looking and barely-legal. The music itself really has nothing to do with it, rather the total conglomeration of their package that secures them the niche. I look forward to seeing them on the fringes of popularity like U-Kiss is, but that is about it.
(3) B1A4, OK: They are really fresh-faced, something that is missing in boy groups nowadays (time for another SHINee-esque debut?). Even Block B is a little mature despite all that jailbait. The chorus is not half-bad, though when they all pretend to play their instruments and rock out, it is a little sad because it is so obvious none of them know how to play them. They probably can capitalize on their fresh image for about two years; they remind me a bit of SHINee’s debut days.
(4) Kim Hyun Joong, Break Down: Got some Rain vibes. I am also hesitant about putting him here, because if 2011 is any indicator, 2012 will be the year of the groups, and solo artists like Hyun Joong will have it tough. Even Rain’s 2010 comeback was heavily lackluster (the easiest way to tell is to see if there is a Wikipedia article on that mini-album. There isn’t). The best solo comeback was probably BoA with Hurricane Venus, and even then, it was still small compared to the days where Rain, Se7en, Lee Hyori and BoA were all duking it on the dance floor for myriad holiday specials. So while Hyun Joong has talent, he just might be outgunned because he is simply a solo artist.
That was terrible. I cannot believe I sat through the whole thing thinking that I would discover some hidden gem like DNT’s debut, Crazily Pretty. Even though I listed four performers to watch out for, I have not downloaded any of their tracks to my music library. They have potential, but they did not really break it into the mainstream with their debuts.
S.M.’s EXO, hurry up and debut already. My socks are still waiting to be rocked off.
other groups, other little quips:
- Dal Shabet, Supa Dupa Diva: are they channeling f(x) or what? And what is up with their name? It’s very Jewish.
- Piggy Dolls, Trend: automatic fail because then they turned around and crapped on their initial strong image and lost weight.
- Park Jungmin, Not Alone: SS501’s Love Me much? Violins and orchestra and emo people?
- 5Dolls, Lip Stains: should be named, Jay Park ft. —. Their skirts are so short in the school uniform, unbelievable.
- Coin Jackson, Feedback: the name is unfortunate!
- Bella, Don’t Let Go: Whoa, the beginning, they really do have singing chops. Nonetheless, this is a remake of a 90s song. Bad direction to start in, coupled with corny ballad choreo for trio.
- Jay Park, Abandoned: half-coherent. I grant him that. It picks up at 1.24s. The MV is rather slick but stock. He is rather new to the solo business, so he does have potential. In retrospect, maybe I should have put him up there with the others.
- APink, I Don’t Know: so clearly modeled on SNSD. People keep saying they are the next SNSD, and I think it is way too early to say that. They look like SNSD but proving they have the meteoric star quality of SNSD is an entirely different matter.
- Boyfriend, Boyfriend: so idiotic, “will you be my girlfriend?” As if anyone will say no to all that jailbait. Terrible.