[kpop] best rookie groups 2012

This very biased selection is based on quality of members–mostly dance and singing, but looks are considered as well, debut track(s), and live performances.

EXO was easily the most anticipated group to debut this year. Though not of epic proportions, their tracks are slickly produced and the groups are well-balanced with many talented individuals in each. At any rate, their debut was more solid than f(x), Super Junior, and even, SNSD. If SM plays their cards right, 2013 could be a very large year for EXO.

NU-EST played their cards extremely well, despite holding a few weak cards. A well-written debut song, one of the first to capitalize on the ‘new’ europop invasion, and including one very intriguing member, Ren. Dancing and lives are unspectacular though, and the shock of a pretty face will not last forever.

Regarding true singing talent, Lunafly and Busker Busker, in this respect, are both promising.

I hesitate to include BAP, but I see way too many BAP fans around me to think of them as a minor rookie group. They did have a nice, unified concept in debut; but alas, their track to me was stuck in the 2005, way too brassy and heavy, trying out a 2PM concept that barely fit.

A.cian‘s whole debut album is a beautifully crafted imitation of europop. That’s about it. Due to the constantly changing nature of kpop, I doubt they will release a europop album like this next time– if there is a next time.

Like A.cian, Cross Gene delivered an amazingly crafted imitation of europop for their debut. The facts that they have Japanese, Chinese, and Korean members and released simultaneously in Japanese and Korean are very nice bonuses. Another great bonus? Their live singing is A-OK (but please hire another choreographer).

Rounding out the last of the europop imitators, we have A-JAX. Someone fetch them a new stylist.


[kpop] you probably knew this was coming. I like NU-EST’s “Face”

I have, on many occasions, displayed my fondness for europop. However, despite kpop’s increasing reliance on Swedish beatmasters, the sound of europop and its sibling, dubstep, has not really penetrated into the kpop market. Until we hit the debut of NU-EST, which is billing themselves as an ‘urban electro band.’


Their live performances have not been too spectacular, better than the average rookies. There is nothing too special– the singing is passable with no special moments, the choreography is not extra imaginative or tight.

And, actually, their debut song, “Face”, is not that good, either. Though perhaps new to the kpop stage, this sound reminds one of 2011 clubplay, especially of Ms. Britney Spears’ album Femme Fatale, which arguably brought dubstep to mainstream Western pop. In between September albums, I will take my europop wherever I can get it.

Plus, there are girly-looking males abound. Considering I am a diehard SHINee fangirl, it is no wonder I think Ren, the maknae, is absurdly cute.

When Pledis Entertainment decides to stop being lazy and have NU-EST drop an actual album, I will be looking forward it and all its 2011 unoriginal, dubsteppy, clubplay glory.

addition: I just realized I knew someone who caught the tail end of 2011 dubstep and made his own original interpretation: jpop’s Daichi Miura with Black Hole. So, so good.