This post was originally posted on LiveJournal.
Though I am probably the last person I’d peg to fall into the K-pop fandom, in so many ways, K-pop is the perfect fandom for me. I love fanfic. I hoard information. I obsess. I like boys. K-pop has a lot of boys. A lot of them are smoking hot. Last time I showed you some of the bad boys I got into, and this time we take on the sexy sexxiness and the cutie cutie-cles and also some princely manliness of some of these boy bands. Oh, there are also boys in bands. *wiggles pervy noona brows*
*cue the opening riffs of Air’s “Sexy Boy”*
Beast is one group whose overall vibe is different from the rest of the B-pack as their concepts are closer to bondage-lite rather than b-boy. For their 2013 comeback: leather, mesh shirts, eyeliner, chains, tats, the color black, and some “gothic” imagery make up a sexxy shadow shadow shadow…
Outside of EXO, I find myself stanning (to “stan” an idol means to be a dedicated fan of that idol. The term was taken from Eminem’s song, “Stan”.) VIXX’s Leo because he is incredibly pretty. Whenever I see him, I want to spread butter on his cheeks and just bite. Despite his intense and bordering on demonic gaze, this boy is a super shy sweetheart and for a while I was obsessed with fancams of him interacting with fans at events (he’s especially very kind to children!) Around the time I was starting with M! Countdown, this song was on the charts and VIXX was promoting “Hyde”. Just can’t control…! Just can’t control!
Yes, this was the group Jay Park was once part of. Their sound is on the side of R&B-ish dance. (A side story: my first ever legit K-pop feature for Sparkling Magazine was on 2PM’s Nichkhun!)
The only three things I know about Mblaq:
1. Sandara Park of 2NE1 has a kid brother whose stage name is Thunder and he’s in this group.
2. Mblaq had a concert schedule in the Philippines in 2012 that they ended up not fulfilling (this was after tickets had already been sold.)
3. One its members, Lee Joon was in a film called “Rough Play” that contained a full-on sex scene.
Troublemaker is not a boy band. It is a duo- a side project/sub-unit made up of members of two groups – Hyuna of girl group 4Minute and Hyunseung of Beast. I think their concept is supposed to be like a Sid and Nancy of K-pop because their MV’s are pretty racy and they want to appear all bad-ass. I like the equal-opportunity lechery the duo presents, but they don’t have much of a physical chemistry together, unforch.
“Cuties” to me are neither bad-boy edgy nor S&M host club seductive, but instead have a playful cuteness that is not unlike wriggling puppies inside a large basket. I would definitely put my boys from EXO in this category, though the following groups have also inspired similar feels and emotions.
Speaking of my biases outside of EXO, I also like Niel from Teen Top because for an idol, he looks really unusual. He looks like a Bratz doll – huge lips, ridic hair and bulgy eyes. I saw a few clips of Teen Top playing a Paper Kiss (or, Suck n’ Blow) game for one of the variety shows in Korea and I really enjoyed how the group would get physically violent with each other for fun. I thought they were hilarious.
I enjoy their brand of sunshiney, cute, highschool crush pop music. Baro was cast in the hit drama “Reply 1994” in 2013, but my B1A4 crush is CNU.
Sometime in the middle of 2013, SM Entertainment released teasers of a new solo male debut, and it turned out to be Henry Lau, from Super Junior-M. Henry turned out to be a revelation. A wildly talented performer and musician, Henry has been unfairly put in the so-called “dungeons” of SMe (a.k.a limbo, what happens to a group or idol when management is not quite sure of how to package /promote them/him/her.)He put out a decent solo mini-album in 2013 that got a lot of repeat plays on my iTunes. Henry is a skilled violinist and actor, but the singular most important piece of info about him is that he has HEART-SHAPED NOSTRILS.
There’s also an acoustic version of this track, featuring Chanyeol of EXO on guitar!
There was something very distinctly 80’s about the riffs of Infinite’s songs that I liked right away. They came to Manila in November and to my regret, had to skip the show because having gone to three K-pop concerts in five months really did a number on my finances.
Boys in Bands
Like CNBlue, some bands are still considered part of the K-pop universe and its members considered idols. Here are a couple I liked:
These guys are from the States, but flew in to the motherland to try to make it in K-pop. They uploaded a bunch of awesome K-pop covers on Youtube as a duo made up of drums and guitar. I was introduced to one of the biggest K-pop hits via their cover.
Royal Pirates are now a 3-piece made up of Moon Chul on guitar and vocals, Soo Yoon on drums and James on bass. Royal Pirates are relative rookies in K-pop, but they have a considerable fanbase for a group that only debuted last year.
Its singer, Hanbyul also hosts Arirang Channel’s “After School Club” (which I love) and uploads his own versions of popular American Top 40 songs on Youtube under his “Music Note” webisodes. He has a great set of pipes.
His version of “Wrecking Ball” made the song listenable for me.
I didn’t listen to as much LedApple in 2013 as I should have. Mostly I included them here as an excuse to pimp out Hanbyul. *✧･ﾟ:* \(◕ω◕✿)/ *:･ﾟ✧*:･ﾟ✧
I missed Luna Fly when they came over to Manila in December 2013 for the K-pop Convention and 😦
A lot of praise has surrounded the group Busker Busker. In the K-pop fandom, the group’s name has become a verb that is synonymous with getting beaten in a race by a dark horse because of what went down at the 2012 MAMA Music Awards. Busker Busker was nominated alongside B.A.P and EXO for the Best New Male Artist Award. B.A.P and EXO were strong contenders and their fandoms were at each other’s throats voting to get their bias groups to win only to be “Busker Busker’ed” when the band won. I make mention of them here because they are favorites in the K-pop fandom, but personally, they’re not my cup of tea. Too sad bastard for me.
I think even those with the barest awareness about K-pop has at least heard of this boyband juggernaut. In a past life I was briefly introduced to Super Junior by a post-production supplier; his pitch was that the group had an abnormal number of members and that there was a Super Junior member for every taste and inclination: “…there’s a gay guy, there’s a fat guy…”
It took awhile for me to absorb Super Junior because of the bigness of the group (please refer to my arbitrary criteria for getting into a K-pop boy band here , and of course one of my prouder moments in the K-pop fandom was when I finally was able to identify all 13 active members.
I also attended Super Show 5 when it hit Manila in October 2013, and even though I was not an ELF (the official fandom name is Ever Lasting Friends), it was the most fun I had at a K-pop show (so far!)
So. Finally we have reached the end of my 2013 Media Map for Music. It was a big year for musical discoveries. I listened to more groups than the ones I actually included in all seven parts of this map but chose not to include them so we will have more to talk about when they make bigger comebacks this year. I thought of cutting Part 7 into at least two more parts but screw brevity! We are already two weeks into the new year – I should already be looking to the new stuff that’s been coming out since the first week! My predictions for music consumption this year? Lots more from these groups and idols that I have gotten to know and love, plus a few surprises from nugu (rookie) groups both female and male! Looking forward to being wow’ed and delighted by what Hallyu has to offer, as well as deepening my knowledge and appreciation of this amazing musical genre. I got into the fandom pretty deep in 2013, but I’m sensing there’s a whole lot more to be explored in the coming year. I’m not done with you yet, K-pop.
Missed the previous media maps for music? Catch up here: