Criteria on Rating K-Pop Agencies and Groups (Republished)

With the recent passing of Sulli, plus other events, agencies need to respond better to various issues. Hence, this article being republished.


This time, we are going to rate K-Pop entertainment agencies and select groups. Why are we doing this? This is to recognize their hard work in promoting and caring their K-Pop artists, and to impart some things for improvement. Ultimately, an agency must be responsive and mindful of its talents. It also has to let the groups reach their fullest potential. These things will be our focus as we rate them.

(Side Note: We’ll publish this now to let the agencies prepare and respond to issues till November 30 this year, in which afterwards we will evaluate them.)

To a lesser extent, the author will tackle some financial aspects. However, this has no major effect on ratings, since generally, if agencies are responsive, fame and financial success will just follow.

How do we rate K-Pop entertainment agencies? This is based on another set of criteria, and each criterion is assigned 5 points (except for Criteria No. 5 to 7, 10 points each). In this regard, I also decided to follow that of TheBiasList, but this is an assessment of performance in another angle. They are as follows:

  1. Promotion of groups. This appraises the ability of the agency to promote its groups through fanmeetings, various comebacks, and concerts. It is important, especially that rookie groups are being formed, drowning many others in the sea of K-Pop.
  2. Rolling out of comebacks. Preferably, groups have to be given various quality comebacks, especially when many people tend to forget them and their performance. At a minimum, one comeback per group is enough. This is also anchored on the premise that “the more comebacks, the better.”

Comebacks, as defined here, exclude Japanese comebacks (as this is intended primarily for Japanese) and OSTs for K-Dramas, but include comebacks via commercials.

  1. Handling boy groups. The biases in favor of boy/girl groups over the other cannot be avoided. Hence, rating them separately helps in tracking the agency’s treatment of them.
  2. Handling girl groups. Same reason as of Criterion No. 3.
  3. Assessment as whole. The rating gives an overview of how the agency acts and performs. Assigned ten points to this to reflect how the author perceives the company as a whole. This shall be explained further when we are now ready to rate them.
  4. Longevity of groups. In general, agencies are to be responsible in keeping their groups’ permanence. Groups are ideally not to be given limited life, as is the case on some groups today. I see this also as very important, hence the greater weight assigned.
  5. Handling issues and responding to it. Greater weight is also assigned to it, as agencies need to be mindful of various issues and ways on resolving it. Otherwise, expect lower quality of performance, lesser sales, net loss, and other negative effects, plus angry/dismayed fans.
  6. Other factors. This shall be explained further in separate assessment.

But wait, there’s more! In grading the K-Pop agencies, there will be a twist:  A separate assessment for select groups will also be provided, each criterion with rating of 5 points (except for Criteria No. 4 and 5 with 10 points each). Here they are laid as follows:

  1. Health issues. This does not mean that the group must not have any health issues. Absences due solely to health issues are acceptable. But if this gravely affects the group’s performance, we have a problem.
  2. Dating issues. This also does not mean that groups are barred from dating or having a boyfriend/girlfriend. In fact, they are free to love and be loved. However, if this affects the group’s performance, we also have a problem.
  3. Other issues (Internal). This shall be further discussed, if there’s any.
  4. Attitude. Greater weight is assigned, as this focuses more on their behavior, like absenteeism, time management, handling other commitments, concern for fellow members, and quarrel between themselves. It also includes how they treat their fans, whether in Korea or overseas. Proper attitude sets the groups to right direction and fame.
  5. Attendance in concerts, meet-ups, and overseas TV shows. Greater weight is also given in this criterion. It is given that groups do have limited opportunity to hold various concerts every day. Members who are absent without justifiable reason do miss greater chances to meet, greet, and win over non-fans.
  6. Review as a whole. This shall be discussed in separate ratings.
  7. Other factors. This shall be explained further in separate assessment with them.

All agencies and groups not mentioned in various rating articles are presumed to have rating of 85.00% (B- or Satisfactory), unless otherwise stated.


Featured Image Credit: Logo of K-Pop agencies from aminoapps.com.

Super Junior (슈퍼주니어) – I Think I: MV Review

So far, if you’ll ask me on the longest-running groups, Super Junior (and TVXQ) will be the best answer.

I only knew them when they released first songs like Sorry Sorry and Bonamana, which were lead tracks for third and fourth album respectively.

Time flies so fast, and they’re still active for 14 years till now! I’ll share some possible tips on how to last like SuJu in a separate write-up.

To add, this is just an introductory song for their comeback reunion song Super Clap, which we will do a separate review for that. As an Elf also, how would the author review and rate the group? We’ll see it here:

Storyline as whole

The storyline starts with a member playing piano, with boys doing various things. Their moves were partly inspired by usual acts in airport like use of x-ray machines, luggage, and ticketing booth.

SuJu will take us back to the past, as it features old phone, and shows us the form of subways. What’s funny is that it features a sign expressed as 14st (at 1:48 and 1:50).

While the basis of I Think I borrows from Latino tunes, it did not dominate the whole song unlike previous comebacks. That’s okay. In essence they are veering away from Latin-based music that once defined them last year (as with Lo Siento and Otra Vez).

Visuals used were striking enough. They are using the picture-frame concept as special effects, which I really liked. They made a good deal also using cramped spaces. It can be noticed that they dance less, which is given considering that they are growing older.

Summing up the travel scenarios being featured (plus the title), here’s the message:

We go different places, but one thing is sure: I think I like you.

Reward for SuJu

Additional ten points will be given to Super Junior by virtue of being in K-Pop for more than ten years. This is to reward them (and their agency) for necessary measures made to last that long. Hope this pushes other agencies to do the same with their groups.

As of present we are being fed with various groups, some of them having short lives. Take the case of X1, 1THE9, Wanna One, and IZ*One.

Review by others

KPopReviewed noted that SuJu did not sprinkle much overlays into the music unlike their Latino tracks. Added to the appeal was on less use of this genre, making it a different one. The blogger liked the repetition of English lyrics, the interesting visuals, transitions, and subtle brass features. This makes him excited on return of them as K-Pop legends.

TheBiasList noted the group being incomplete, setting a template for boy groups as they undergo military training. As all members finish service, they are polishing the pre-release. Still it uses Latin sound but is fused with tunes that are distinctively SuJu. Strong points were on chorus and brasses. Not so good points were on instrumentals being specific instead of widening its base, and the “awful triplet-flow rap” at the bridge.

TweetNewscaster’s Overall Rating: 90.53%
Grade: A-
Assessment: Very Good

Scoreboard

Aspect   Criterion Points
Storyline 1 Storyline 4
Storyline 2 Consistent theme 5
Appearance 3 Colorful/color fits emotions 5
Appearance 4 Good taste 5
Appearance 5 No Halloween, Easter, etc. 5
Appearance 6 No astrology featured 5
Appearance 7 Less horror featured 5
Appearance 8 Not too revealing outfits 5
Music 9 Exciting/Expresses emotions 5
Music 10 Not too deafening 5
Dance 11 Learned easily even by beginners  
Dance 12 Not too sensual  
Lessons 13 Moral lesson clearly stated 4
Lessons 14 Impart something beneficial for viewers 5
Other Matters 15 Sense of humor/expresses emotions 6
Other Matters 16 Make it to mainstream media 3
Other Matters 17 Review by other sites 4
Other Matters 18 Review of MV as a whole 5
Other Matters 19 Longevity of Super Junior 10

SuperM – Jopping: MV Review

After being inactive out of respect to Sulli, we will now publish MV Reviews for October, alongside existing November releases. Please be patient as we release the articles one by one.

Expect surge of reviews. To prevent too many Pingbacks, some links are removed for reviewers’ convenience.


For a bit of info, SuperM is a supergroup composed of select members from different groups: Baekhyun and Kai (EXO), Taemin (SHINee), Mark and Taeyong (NCT), and Ten and Lucas (WayV).

I rarely do reviews on K-Pop MVs rendered in other language, if it caters to limited audience. In this case, we will review Jopping since it caters to wider audience – the West.

We are fortunate to experience this kind of setup. This is the first time in K-Pop that members from different groups merge to form a single supergroup. Let’s see how far this can go, as we go on reviewing them.

The storyline tells of them having different adventures like driving helicopters, cars, and heavy vehicles. As the story goes on, they have been met at the single stage, where they exert high efforts.

Likes

I appreciate that SuperM is bringing K-Pop near the West (and adjusting language preferences), something other groups and acts rarely do. Gleaning from the lyrics itself, it has a large chunk of English, with few Korean phrases unlike normal K-Pop songs.

Other positives need to be mentioned too. SuperM made a good deal introducing a new concept called Jopping. This is a combination of the words “jumping” and “popping”.

They also made good use of special effects. This can be seen at start of the video. Effects featured include long lines, moving lights, and sparking lights. Added to that, the dance steps at chorus is also easy to learn and energetic at the same time.

SuperM features Dubai and Burj Khalifa, where a member dances in the middle of Arabian desert. It features also a complete Colosseum, where ancient games were being held. In essence, they are telling us the message that like the gladiators, and amidst hardships they face, they will show something spectacular like this SuperM project.

Dislikes

The only problem is on repeating “Jopping”. Why? It reminds me of similarly sounded track Shopping (셔핑) by Ryan Bang (방현성). There the word “Shopping,” is also oft-repeated in the chorus.

Back to the unwitting mistake made, especially at 3:30, where the drone’s shadow is seen above the members. I don’t know if they included it by mistake, or it was intended.

Another particular thing that I dislike is on how they underlined the “U” in SuperM’s branding. If one might not be careful enough, some will interpret it as removing the U, and that would be awful. Actually, Kai made this true as he unwittingly misspelled it.

The breaking point is on the final chorus. I disliked some attaining high notes, since that is not the way to finish it with an impact. Aside from this, the final chorus do irritate with that sprinkle of high notes.

Review by others

KPopReviewed took on a different outlook on SuperM. The track provided an epic and superb performance as it progresses. A lot of tension can be seen, and special effects were fully used to highlight this. Beats were fast and energetic, and provided enough impact to make it more memorable for him.

SuperM’s concept raised eyebrows of TheBiasList, who preferred that fans come to K-Pop, rather than the other way around. But the blogger liked the track. On the positive side, it did not attempt to imitate what’s existing in American music. It uses wild tunes, with the intention of giving polarizing remarks. And it’s okay as it sprinkles more Korean lyrics in the music.

TweetNewscaster’s Overall Rating: 89.47%
Grade: B+
Assessment: Good

Scoreboard

Aspect   Criterion Points
Storyline 1 Storyline 4
Storyline 2 Consistent theme 5
Appearance 3 Colorful/color fits emotions 5
Appearance 4 Good taste 5
Appearance 5 No Halloween, Easter, etc. 5
Appearance 6 No astrology featured 5
Appearance 7 Less horror featured 5
Appearance 8 Not too revealing outfits 5
Music 9 Exciting/Expresses emotions 5
Music 10 Not too deafening 4
Dance 11 Learned easily even by beginners 5
Dance 12 Not too sensual 5
Lessons 13 Moral lesson clearly stated 3
Lessons 14 Impart something beneficial for viewers 5
Other Matters 15 Sense of humor/expresses emotions 6
Other Matters 16 Make it to mainstream media 5
Other Matters 17 Review by other sites 4
Other Matters 18 Review of MV as a whole 4
Other Matters 19