Overall Review of 2012: K-Pop


2012 was an extremely busy year in K-Pop, full of long-awaited comebacks, debuts, scandals and fashion, with plenty of hits and misses. Here’s our sum up of the entire year.

Music Videos

For the entirety of 2011 a plethora of music videos came out through the means of, not only major comebacks (such as those of TVXQ, Big Bang, Super Junior, B.E.G, SNSD, 2ne1, and Wonder Girls), but also through a god-awful amount of both male and female debuts.

As per comebacks, some were great, some were good, and others were awful. As just a “summary overview”, for the sake of space, here we will only be reviewing who we felt dominated in terms of comebacks, out of the Big 3.

This year we really cannot dictate a clear best of the Big 3. YG was fantastic, but we felt that especially in comparison to last year YG was sort of underwhelming. And if anybody has read our other posts concerning SM this year they know how disappointed we are. While JYP is equally as unimportant as ever.

YG has had __ Music Videos, but this year almost all of their artists new and old had a comeback of some sort.

  • Se7en- “When I Can’t Sing”
  • Se7en- “Somebody Else”
  • Big Bang- “Blue”
  • Big Bang- “Bad Boy”
  • Big Bang- “Fantastic Baby”
  • Big Bang- “Moster”
  • 2ne1- “I Love You”
  • PSY- “Gangnam Style”
  • G-Dragon- “One of A Kind”
  • G-Dragon- “That XX”
  • G-Dragon- “Crayon”
  • Lee Hi- “1.2.3.4.” (Debut)

Big BangWe can’t say that we are completely in love with all of YG’s works this year. They are good, but they lack the sophistication of 2011’s videos. We adored “Bad Boy”, 2ne1’s “I Love You”, and of course PSY’s “Gangnam Style”. But we personally do not count “Gangnam Style” as part of YG because PSY was the person who thought of everything. He is outside of the realm of K-Pop.

We also enjoyed GD’s refreshing solo activities. The lack of 2ne1 this year left a lot of fans high and dry. Lee Hi’s debut was a nice breath of fresh air from YG Entertianment.

But what really needs some serious loving is Big Bang’s “Bad Boy” we could say this is the best K-Pop song ever. Fans of any genre can so easily love this song. It is our jam, your jam, everybody’s. G-Dragon has reached that status of “Artist” he has always aspired for with “Bad Boy”, for this song is so well produced and written language really is not a factor in how beautiful it is. “Bad Boy” is the perfect song, the freshly arranged Reggae and R&B influences mixed with that classic Big Bang style is exactly what K-Pop needed. This song is unconventional and young, and uses all of Big Bang’s talents appropriately. This songs immense amount of marvelousness gives it more than enough leeway for the just plain bizarre clothing in the video. This mini-album is really what Big Bang needed to get out of that nasty 2011 funk.

SM Entertainment really turned it out this year. They actually out produced YG in quantity of Music Videos.

  • EXO Planet- “What Is Love”
  • EXO Planet- “History”
  • Shinee- “Sherlock”
  • EXO Planet- “MAMA”
  • TaeTiSeo- “Twinkle”
  • f(x)- “Electric Shock”
  • Super Junior- “Sexy, Free, & Single”
  • Super Junior- “Spy”
  • BoA- “Only One”
  • BoA- “The Shadow”
  • J-Min- “Stand Up”
  • TVXQ- “Catch Me”
  • Younique Unit- “Maxstep”
  • TVXQ- “Humanoids”
  • SNSD- “Dancing Queen”

OT12

SM just attacked the world with this onslaught of videos, we were very skeptical about EXO before their real debut. Between the billions of cryptic teasers and fairly lack luster pre-debut music videos we felt like they would not even be able to create a decent hype. But with the debut of “MAMA”, SM proved once again they are truly dominant in entertainment value. This unique concept was perfectly balanced by the movie like music video. “MAMA” was geniusly produced, not being too long as to bore an audience but not so short that we as an audience could not really get a good look at all of the members. This video was so beautifully made and probably has the best CGI in K-Pop, it was Hollywood blockbuster level graphics. This is what Avatar the Last Airbender the movie should have been, it is a work of art. We are still blown away from the majesty of the entire thing.

Although “MAMA” blew our minds we cannot say anything else really was anything near that spectacular. But our major source of outrage stems from Super Junior’s comeback. This is potentially their last major work, and just looking at it lack of views it is obvious “Sexy, Free, & Single” was pretty much a flop. We always have hoped for the best from Super Junior, but especially after this last year, their sparkle is fading they just don’t have all those glitters like they did when they were young men. They look like they have lost passion and youth. If they do continue they really need to move onto more mature material, because they can no longer compete with children that are now half their ages.

While for the first time ever f(x) kind of had a hit, “Electric Shock” had the potential to be the summers run away hit, if not for the all consuming tidal wave of awesome that was “Gangnam Style”. f(x) is almost famous for underwhelming songs, but this year shockingly enough this is probably the one of the best SM songs of the year. This video was a rather pleasant surprise. Shinee’s “Sherlock” was also not an awful song, but the PV was not exactly good. They are end of mediocrity in SM, everything else was actually awful!

BOA’s comeback was okay, but only for the dance in “Only One”, while “The Shadow” was much more interesting visually and musically. But let us seriously talk about DBSK and Super Junior… Why did that happen? “SFS” and “Spy” are so cheap and disgusting that we are actually repulsed. SuJu is a better group than that. While “Catch Me” was catchy, but not special like “Keep Your Head Down”. We expect something far more gaudy from DBSK. And almost as if cued “Humanoids” did not live up to its possible potential. It could have been robot themed obviously, yet what is the outcome? An uneventful dance video. Where Maxstep is the musical equivalent of vomit. Since SM’s 2 main male acts broke our hearts, and SNSD only returned a week before years end we felt SM left allot to be desired this year.

And JYP closing out with:

Miss A

  • Wonder Girls- “The DJ is Mine”
  • Miss A- “Touch”
  • G.NA- “2Hot”
  • Wonder Girls- “Like This”
  • Jo Kwon- “I’m Da One”
  • Wooyoung- “Sexy Lady”
  • Wonder Girls- “Like Money”
  • 15&- “I Dream”
  • Miss A- “I Don’t Need A Man”

We have nothing really to say about JYP this year, “I Don’t Need A Man” was a good song but not memorable, while Jo Kwon’s “I’m Da One” was disgustingly amazing, we would have loved to see other songs from his solo album turned into MV’s. JYP this year as every year was so tacky it hurt. There is almost no taste within all of the MV’s they released this entire year. The Wonder Girls song “Like This” was catchy, but their “American” stuff was truly pathetic. They got out shined by a whole bunch of ghetto girls and then seriously any person who has seen an Akon video before must think “Like Money” is a joke. The song is not bad but the Wonder Girls are not the kind of ladies that star in a rap video. When we as Americans are in the mood for some dirty ghetto rap music we expect, nay we demand to see some skanks. It is just the culture, and a skinny delicate Asian girl is not appropriate.

Rookie Debuts

In 2012 every company big and small wanted their slice of the pie. We attempted to keep track of all of the debuts but alas the sheer number of them overwhelmed us, we watched at the very minimum 50 debuts.

And in addition to the monsters of the industry, there were a few notable newcomers, in no particular order:

Notable Male Debuts

EXO Planet

EXO (8)

We have been as transparent as possible when speaking of EXO. To be frank we love them, but cannot even really explain why. Talent and looks aside they really are just fascinating, and something about their debut just left us in a state of awe. “MAMA” was incredible, and while the song may have not been the freshest or musically advanced, it was definitely powerful and interesting. The boys themselves have that SM charm that seems to be the basis for their growing fanbase. We understand why SM created such a fuss over these young men, because with all seriousness we strongly believe EXO has the potential to become the next “big” thing. We also believe that EXO is SM’s ticket to huge money making in America. Not necessarily because EXO is western-appealing (in fact their music hardly is) but upon examination, for some inexplicable reason, we have found that EXO has an extraordinarily large fanbase in America, and is only growing by the day. Chinese members Kris and Luhan have somehow cast their spell on Americans and really draw a positive response to EXO-M in particular.

We witnessed the craziness at K-Con in Irvine, CA October 13th: Out of the half dozen groups that attended none had more fans nor more Ravenous fans than did EXO-M. We talked with people from all over the country and saw people from all over the world there purely for EXO-M, and we estimate 80% of the fans there went mainly to see EXO-M. EXO-M had the longest fan signing, performed the second most songs at the concert, and was the only group that had an actual talk segment during the concert. The old and young gathered to see these rising stars and their mere presence was enough to send every girl in attendance into a tizzy. We’re happy to say now that EXO has proved our original skeptical attitude wrong as they continue to impress us.

B.A.P.

Bap  Along with EXO, B.A.P. was the other incredibly popular debut. While EXO is known as the “Good-looking” new SM group, B.A.P. are those “super talented underdog rookies”. Their debut with “Warrior” was admittedly awesome. One of the things most exclaimed by fans was the fact that B.A.P. didn’t look like “rookies”; their impressive debut stages, powerful debut music video, and great raw talent stood out to many. We also have to give it to TS Entertainment: their strategy of promoting B.A.P., like SM’s for EXO, was uniquely new. B.A.P. introduced the members to the public through previous solo/duet stages, and was the first company to try the whole “alien” deal with B.A.P. B.A.P.’s Matoki concept is adorable to many, and definitely gives the group a boost in recognition. While we do like B.A.P., and definitely think they’re talented, TS Entertainment has got to slow down with this group. Among other things, B.A.P. is hilariously known for their consistent comebacks, having made about 5 throughout the year (we lost count to be honest). B.A.P.’s music, as much as we hate to admit it, had deteriorated considerably by their 5th or so comeback, and we know these guys are capable of much better quality. Hopefully TS isn’t as rushed this year, and takes their time producing great music for B.A.P.

Nu’est

nu'est

Another group that caught the eye of many was Pledis Entertainment’s Nu’est. Nu’est’s charm seems to lie on members rather than music or talent though. Or should we say member. Or, even more specifically, Ren.

And thus begins our problem with this group and the poor boy. What is he, like 15 years old. Getting exploited, made to look like a tranny of all things. We feel your pain, Ren, being subject to so many fangirls’ horny fantasies about young, effeminate boys. Brilliant on Pledis’ part though; they know what K-pop fans want, and this play is obvious in Nu’est’s popularity.

JJ Project

JJ ProjectJYP’s interjection into 2012 JJ Project’s only music video “Bounce” was not exactly the best song but probably the most energetic video we have ever seen. The boy’s energy and spunk more than made up for the less than desirable song. We would have loved to see something allot less… JYP. Many parts of the song felt very 2PM as in awful excuses for singing but again the immense amounts of energy from the duo completely overshadows the icky song. That energy did not just explode throughout the video but their performances as well. Though the duo’s debut seemed a touch sketchy their fantastic attitudes make us excited to see what the group has for the future.

Notable Female Debuts

Ailee

aliee

This girl has an amazing voice. Period. But her company can maybe sorda step it up a bit. “Heaven” was a wonderful debut but her comeback song was whatever. Ailee is really talented and has a wonderful voice, and 2013 better be an awesome year for this girl.

 

 

 

 

D-Unit

d-unit

Obviously not the year for large girl groups, D-Unit is a compact little unit of three.  Their debut was impactful, and damn catchy.  They don’t really exude femininity or cuteness, but their is nothing wrong with this 2ne1 style of group. We know it is unfair to compare them to 2ne1, but they were the one’s who opened the gate for this “bad-ass” style. D-Unit has good vocals, and nice songs but we want to see some variety. Neither of their PV’s for 2012 had color or brightness.  They kind of fall in line with all the male debuts, that are completely grey washed.

 

Lee Hi

lee-hi-1st-single-1-2-3-4-lee-ha-yi-32677158-874-656

Great voice. Great new talent from YG. Great music. Just great.

 

 

 

 

Events/Scandals

Darling & Bana’s Fan-Wars- January 9th

Can be summed up with the simple phrase: Bitches be trippin’.

Hwayoung’s Nip Slip- January 29th

Why was she not wearing a bra!? Seriously if either of us were famous we would have that bandeau, a bra, pasties, and another bandeau. Like even a flat girl should wear a bra while dancing just for the sake of combating gravity alone.

Block B & 2PM- February 19th

This only made us a bit angry because Block B are really just children and though their comment did lack taste Nickhun really had no right to be so preachy and judgmental. It was just irritating that he could have ruined their career because he was being so superior, we bet he said his fair share of stupid insensitive things as a teenager.

Open World Entertainment CEO Charged with Rape- May 8th

This whole situation is very uncomfortable and we think that people who take advantage of their power are disgusting. We really do not wish to linger on such a dark subject.

T-ara & Hwayoung- July 30th

This is probably the stupidest thing we have ever heard of. It is such fabricated drama, we shall pay no attention to this garbage.

Seungri Sex Scandal- September 13th

We can just kind of laugh at this, the details of a sex scandal are always the funniest. That girl he banged was seriously pissed about getting treated badly, but listen honey if you don’t want to get treated like a 2-cent hoe don’t act like one. And be thankful he at least gave you a towel, we are sure most guys would not do that for a one night stand, while why should he kiss you? If you were so easy then just logically you could have mono or something on your mouth, and that ain’t clean. So we really don’t judge, we find it hilarious. But when we were thinking about the whole situation every leader of every group, every entertainment agency CEO, every mentor to these boys and men must say something along the lines of: “Do as you please just don’t get caught. Just be careful.” Yet this happens… and to more than one male idol…

Nickhun’s DUI- July 23rd

What in the world is wrong with you? Asia let alone Korea is a dangerous enough place to be with people driving and you would drink and drive. Nickhun you went to American high school and most likely did American driving classes, they focus almost excessively on what? Do not drink and drive!

Gangnam Style Takeover- July 15th-now

Cool and quirky at its very beginning, any American K-Pop fan must now be absolutely nauseous upon hearing “Ayyyeee Sexayy Ladayyy” all around town. Yes it is a truly artful video the world must be finally sick of this song. It is like we were force fed ice cream and then threw it all up, making us never ever want ice cream again. And then we thought oh lord! THIS can not happen ever again. It is actually annoying at this point. Yes it is a good song and an amazing video, but know when enough is enough. America is like a big crack addict, these people just do not know when to stop!

Leeteuk Enlists in the Military- October 30th

Not really a scandal or even news, it was bound to happen and every male idol will have to take their leave eventually.

Eunhyuk & IU Photo Leak- November 9th

WTF! Seriously after Seungri’s little spat with a woman, Eunhyuk is fool enough to let this shit happen. We also don’t really care that this happened, but our problem lies with the fact this problem happened with IU. He is like 26 and she like 19, that is to say this photo is from 2012. Ewh. She is not only a teenager, she looks like she is 12 making the situation all the creepier on his part. Then that pathetic excuse for an excuse did not even answer the question as to why he is shirtless she in a night gown and he is blushing so heavily, which that face is only a product of being shitfaced, baked, or partaking in the baby makin’ process (since he doesn’t drink, and therefore probably doesn’t do drugs…). It is all far too incriminating. Then if we were to speculate that far, why in the hell did they take a picture afterwards? Ewh. And how shady on IU’s part is it that this picture shows up right after she shows the nightgown that she was wearing in it on her account. Fans would not even know it was her nightgown if she had not posted a picture of it previously, where then we must all think why was it at all necessary to do so? No one cares you burned it… so let us all reach the conclusion this could very possibly been set up. Gasp! But again why does it matter? It doesn’t. It is their personal lives. Yet not really that personal if you show the whole world.

♥ P&B

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7 responses to “Overall Review of 2012: K-Pop

  1. I know it’s too late for BtoB, C-Clown, and 100% to be mentioned, but I’ll take the liberty to mention them because I truly think you guys will like them. Their debut songs were unoriginal but 2013 is what made me their fans.
    My reasonings:
    BtoB – Cube Entertainment
    Song Reccomendation- 2nd
    Confession
    They have 4 awesome singers, 2 charismatic rappers, and well, Peniel who raps in English and Korean well enough to not be a weak link. He also ships himself with Sungjae(maknae) so obviously that I laugh and cringe inside at their cheesy moments.
    C-Clown – Yedang Entertainment
    Song Reccomendation – Shaking Heart (you guys will love this song)
    2 great rappers(Rapper T.K. was supposed to be in BtoB, but left due to health problems), 2 great singers, and 2 dancing machines who rap and sing good enough to be in the band. But be careful, their maknae is 15, so don’t become pedos. I suspect that 1 or 2 or all of the members might have been yg trainees.
    100% – T.O.P Media (they have Teen Top)
    Song Recommendation (Want U Back)
    This group is the next SHINee, INFINITE, and Teen Top. Their dance is clean, cut, and 100% synchronized. With vocals and raps that truly impress.

  2. I appreciate the honesty you have in a lot of your comments! I disagree with a lot of it, too, to be completely honest, haha. I loved SJ’s SPY and that’s a matter of opinion. But you make me laugh a lot and I find your opinions very interesting! I’ll be keeping an eye out for more from y’all.

  3. “we bet he said his fair share of stupid insensitive things as a teenager.” As a teenager? That “How Khun sees natural tragedies” tweet about Japan was a pretty shitty thing to say.

  4. EXO’s sudden rise was really amazing. They’re doing great as a rookie, and their appeal to Asian fans [to all kpop fans, maybe] is really undeniable. And they’ve got guts and the talent. And NU’EST, i agree that it’s really Ren that made them interesting. I mean, i didn’t really like their debut song, but when i saw Ren, i waited for their next singles. I was really waiting for Ren’s new looks, specifically if they will make him look like a guy or a girl. Just kidding.it’s really surprising that they’re personalities are really adorable. And i just find Zelo’s love for cherry tomatoes to be really cute. And i just love NU’EST. I didn’t really like their debut song at first, but when i saw Ren, i started loving them. I always wait if Ren will look like a girl or a guy as time pass. LOL

    I also think BTOB should be mentioned too. I mean, that’s just my opinion. They also did great with their songs like ”Insane” and ”Wow”.

  5. I’m a huge BIGBANG/GD fan, and I could gush ad nausea over Bad Boy, but I think some of the credit should go to Choice37 for this song. He’s actually my favorite YG producer (A Boy, One of a Kind). :)

    Noticed there was no Cube in the 2012 review. I’m not a fan, but I thought B2st and Hyuna would deserve a mention. Dunno who else is from Cube.

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