So, I’m bored for the better part of my weekend (not counting the hours spent with my mom, Ate and Anne). I was here alone in my room, just sitting, alone with my thoughts and feelings, and just allowing myself to be idle. Truth of the matter is, I don’t like to be bored. In case that wasn’t obvious by my frenzied social media activity, I’m not the one to sit around and twiddle my thumbs. Being bored the entire day with nothing to do freaks me out and makes me feel lonely. Whenever this happens to me, I watch any stupid videos in Youtube and just laugh it all out. But today was different. I happened to stumble upon a page dedicated solely in hating kpop. Normally, whenever I would read something like those hate blogs about kpop, I won’t really budge, unless of course, a random netizen took the extra mile to give me a hard shove in my hindquarters. Now, that’s a totally different story!
I felt the need to post this blog because I also have to defend the music scene that I have been following since time immemorial by debunking those discussions made by those ignorant people who would just randomly bash kpop. I mean, c’mon people! This entire kpop hate discussion is already a huge flamebait so you don’t have to use Ad Hominem and curses in your language, or what you randomly call, “POV”. I’ve already read a lot of them so for the sake of argument, don’t use it because I really find it illogical in all sorts of angles known to mankind.
Okay. So since there’s just too much going on about the hurled insults thrown to the music, let’s start off with the most basic reason why they hate the music, which practically bought me a ticket to hell because I laughed too much whenever they would bring this up, which by the way is: KPOP fans do not understand the lyrics. Well dude… wait, what?
This has to be the most pathetic assault on KPOP. For the sake of argument, I must say that I can’t really follow the English lyrics of Paramore (Or songs with growling in it). Now, people might say “Well, you just suck at understanding English lyrics”. Although this argument does not justify the inability of Filipinos to understand Korean, it illustrates that people can enjoy music without really understanding the lyrics.
Setting that point aside, let me just say that we “true” KPOP fans are willing to go the extra mile to understand the idols. Not only that, true fans will usually take the effort to learn the basics of the Korean culture because it is impossible to fully grasp the context of the songs without such understanding of the Korean society. Also, most fans that I know can read Hangeul (I said read, not understand. :D ) so, suit yourself with your baseless accusations. :)
Second, Korean group members are NOT talented. This really reaaaaaaaaaaally makes me mad. I have a friend before at school (yep, you guessed it right, she’s a she) who always insists that Girl’s Generation (SNSD) is not talented in terms of singing and dancing. I mean., W.T.F., she even compared SNSD to Sexbomb! Blasphemy!!!
According to her, SNSD members are not talented singers because they are producing “synthesized” music (or music that is heavy on the usage of Synthesizers). Okay, she might have forgotten that SNSD is a POP GROUP performing a pop song. I may not be an expert on music but pop music rely heavily on Synthesizers. I mean, I don’t even understand how the use of synthesizers undermines the singer’s vocal capabilities. Another issue that she pointed out is that SNSD is always lip syncing during performances… My response to that is that, SNSD performances are not concentrated on just “singing”, they also do a lot of powerful dances with cute poses together with the performance. Singing is just a part of the performance. If the performance is just singing, then they will always sing live. Local artists are more pathetic, the number are just singing and yet they are lip syncing.
Another colleague of mine has a girlfriend with innate hate towards SNSD. She criticizes SNSD’s dance routine. According to her, the dance moves are just cutesy and not even hard (she even showed us how “easy” it is for her to dance Gee. I will just leave the imagination to you on how it turned out, hahahaha!). Adding insult to injury, she said that the “Pussycat Dolls” is a lot better than SNSD when it comes to dancing just because their dance routine involves breaking your bones in 17 different places. (I’m serious!)
This is what I want these people to understand. SNSD (and other KPOP idol groups for that matter) is a POP GROUP. Their total entertainment value does not rely solely on just dancing or singing. It’s an entire package. They are, what I call, entertainers. Allow me to explain.
In Korea, there are big entertainment companies (like conglomerates: YGEnt, SMEnt, and JYPEnt, among all others) that control the Korean media. These entertainment companies hold audition all over the country to recruit (more like hoard) really young talents (like 9 years old). After they recruit talents, they will put them on a crazy “Training Academy” in where they will be trained in areas of singing, dancing, modeling, acting, rapping, foreign languages, asian poses, looking at the camera (projection), fashion, etc (all of the needed skills to be successful in the entertainment industry). The average training period is 6 years… during this time, they do not have any exposure to the public (If you’ve watched Batang-X, it is somewhat like this :D ). Now, when the company decides “Okay, we need a new group”, they will select from this pool of well-trained entertainers to create the group and they will let them sign unfair contracts that span 10 years (and then perform plastic surgery! Kidding! :D ).
My point is, how dare you compare these well-trained entertainers to a group of On-the-Job trainee entertainers. No, sorry, that’s not my point. My point is, these people are “commercially” created in “talent factories” to entertain. They are performers that are “created” to suit the public taste. They do not write their own song, they don’t even choreograph their own dance. The company will decide on what “concept” (song, dance, fashion, etc) suits the current entertainment climate and they will hire armies of stylists, composers, choreographers to “train” the group. But that doesn’t mean they are not talented. Even before they “start” training, they are already talented. Remember the gruesome audition process? They are being picked against thousands of candidates. And right after that, they are even trained in all aspects of the entertainment business. How can you say they are not talented?
One argument that I always receive is this: “Local artists don’t even need years of training and yet they are performing okay”.
Seriously? I was a genius at birth but I still had to attend school and college to get a job. So don’t throw me that argument, it’s just stupid. And as a side effect of this “untrained” entertainers, just look at their performance on noon-time shows… its mediocrity at its best. They don’t know where the camera is, they don’t have any “emotions”, and they have that smile on their face that says “I don’t know what I’m doing but since I look good, I’ll just copy the backup dancers”. Your entertainers are not just “untalented” (incapable), they are also unskilled. Maybe it is best to put them in some “training academy”. :D
As I proceed, the next laughable reason about this whole fiasco on the kpop hate is really really pathetic (at least for me). Now, they’re including nationalism. Again, allow me to explain.
Growing up, I was not really fond of music. Okay, I take that back, let me rephrase. Growing up, I was not really fond of contemporary music. For me, contemporary music (both foreign and local) is just too “noisy”. Somehow, that all changed when I first heard the local band called Eraserheads from our neighbor’s loud boom box. The music of Eraserheads is what we call OPM (or Original Pilipino Music) and up to this day, their albums are still there on music shops. Sadly, as time passed by, the “O” in “OPM” is now long gone. It’s no longer “original”. It’s the same crappy, mediocre, cheap rip-off of whatever music is perceived “cool” by the masses (usually foreign songs).
My point? We, KPOP fans, will not support the local music industry just because “we need to support our own”. Sorry, it just doesn’t work that way. I would gladly buy a repackaged OPM album but I will NEVER EVER EVERY buy Sexbomb’s album or Sarah Geronimo’s album (Sorry SG fans, you don’t have the right to label “Right Here Waiting” as OPM). If local artists wants our support, they should first rid themselves with the mediocrity that is so common in the local music scene today.
One of the reasons why I am addicted to KPOP is because I can see “perfection” on everything they do. From the superior technicality of their music videos to the perfect execution of their dance routines, you can never see a hint of mediocrity on their performances. I was never able to detect the prevalent “PUWEDE NA YAN” (It will do) mentality on their products. It’s just perfection all around. Let me emphasize:
In terms of technicality: They have HD videos (720p at least) while we are still stuck with Standard Definition. The camera angles (close-ups) are just perfect, I can’t say the same to the camera angles on our noon-time show (I often end up puking out of dizziness).
In terms of dance routines: Synchronized. Just watch our local talents on noon time show to get your daily dose of mediocrity. (and hey, wardrobe malfunction anyone?)
In terms of “concept”: In Korea, they have this concept of debut, hiatus and comeback. When a certain KPOP idol group debut for the first time, they will promote their album using a certain concept (Sexy concept, cute concept, dark concept, etc). The concept covers fashion (Wardrobe), hairstyles and behavior (Yes! Each concept have a certain “feel” that the members of the group needs to emit, we’re talking about 2NE1 here right? Sorry, biased. XDDDD) among others. After promoting their albums on different shows for a couple of months, the group will then go into hiatus which will officially end their group activities and promotions. Using the hiatus time, the company and the group will then prepare the new concept and album for their comeback. Usually, the new concept is totally different from the previous concept and you will feel that its an entirely different group! My point? KPOP groups always deliver fresh material. Unlike our local talents who are just stuck on whatever image they started with (Uh sorry, I shall correct myself. When local artist reach the lowest point of their careers, they usually post nude/sexy on Men’s Magazine. Maybe that’s their new “concept” huh? :D)
I think I have the answer why the local music industry is suffering from mediocrity and its bad effects: Lack of competition and complacency. Big stars are complacent because there is no competition and somehow, new artists never seems to threaten the big stars. When was the last time Regine Velasquez or Christian Bautista came up with a new concept? It’s the same stuff and I’m sick and tired of it. Complacency kills competition and lack of competition kills innovation. Did you know that big stars such as Lee Hyori is never complacent because they are never guaranteed the top spot anytime they make a comeback, they need to fight for it. Anyone who took an Economy subject knows that market competition is a good thing and that applies in music, too.