The second I found out that there were Korean members on the [EXO-]M team, my heart sank. It’s not because I assumed that they — the Korean members — would half-ass it like their Super Junior bros did. It’s because it’s just not right to do that. As a company, when you decide after the fact that you want to export your idols to another country for promotion, there’s obviously an adjustment period and your idols are gonna have to deal. But to know from the get-go, before the fact, that you want to export something to another country and then to try to FAKE IT like these Korean members are Chinese in order to more effectively market your product? That is awful.
I don’t really have any insight into SME’s promotions in China (besides a general feeling of “this isn’t right” when I see how bewildered the Korean EXO-M members look in Mandarin interviews, and a general feeling that all 12 EXO members debuted way before they were ready to), which is why I’m linking to someone who does.
-Exo-M at the Chinese awards show before their official debut (x)
Rule #1: Never ever underestimate the leader’s power
Rule #2: Use your common sense. *facepalms* They’re called ‘Exo-M’ for a reason
Rule #3: KRIS ♥
I’m definitely reading too much into this but I found it interesting that it’s Kris, the Canadian member (and the Chinese member with the weakest command of the language, if his handwriting is any indication), who responds right away to the MC’s comment, correcting her as to their ethnic identities. (She later apologized effusively.) He’s the group’s leader, so he’s speaking in that capacity, but this still gave me shades of Howie Mandel’s xenophobic gaffe with Tiffany two months ago. (If anything, this proves how important it is to me to find someone I can identify with, who does the things that I can’t or that I wish I could.)
@Famous_Jae: 이녀석들에게 좋은 관심 부탁드립니다! 빡센준비로@hydrayuge 황님 허리가 나가면서까지 다들 최선을 다해 열심히 준비한 친구들입니다!! 부족한 신인 친구들이지만 잠재력은 무한합니다!!!낼 첫무대!!!EXO!! pic.twitter.com/BEtjkB7T
100 days later, the revolution finally exists IRL. I’m going to miss the period where EXO was made up solely of a bunch of minute-long beats and some well-styled photoshoots, because at that point they were basically the platonic ideal of a boy band.
EXO-M, “What Is Love”. I’ve got a more pressing question that hasn’t already been examined by Haddaway: Why is K-pop so interesting-sounding this week? What is going on? B.A.P, Block B’s new single (to come), Miryo of Brown Eyed Girls’s solo EP, and now this.
Background: EXO is SM Entertainment’s latest experiment. Basically, they made a 12-member boy band, then split it into two subgroups, one to promote the songs in Korean and one to promote in Mandarin. (It’s a bit like JYP’s original concept for 2AM and 2PM, where a larger boy band called One Day was split into two groups, one for ballad and one for dance.) I posted the Mandarin version because I arbitrarily like the sound of it better; the Korean version is here. It’s mostly the same except for the lyrics and the vocals on the verses. Not sure if that’s going to be how their singles are going to go from now on. I kind of hope so because I love hearing alternate-language versions of the same song, but it’d be nice to see how they build each half of the franchise differently.
This is very obviously a Yoo Youngjin song (cf. “Sorry Sorry Answer”), and once you know that Teddy Riley co-wrote it it’s very obviously his song as well. There’s something off-kilter about that twangy riff (not sure of the instrument), and something not quite right in the pacing and syncopation of the vocals, but oh man is that chorus smooth. This song is just weird enough to be interesting, but not so much that it’s off-putting. As a debut single, I don’t think it does a very good job of exposing the boys - in the Korean version it’s hard to tell who’s singing what part, and in the Mandarin it seems like there are only two people singing at all. But this is apparently only a “prologue single” (what do you expect from a promotional strategy that includes 12 teaser videos, each with a different song?), and anyway I don’t think it’s that well-suited for a debut (or I could just still be reeling from B.A.P’s recent stages) - it’s a grower, and you’ll either really like it or find it uninteresting. It doesn’t inspire immediate devotion, nor immediate dislike. It’s just there.
Also, this video is really nice-looking. It looks like a fashion shoot. I wouldn’t mind a video of just the parts where they’re in a field or looking at rocks or looking up at an eclipse. I’m hoping this means that SME’s video aesthetic has finally caught up to their photo aesthetic.