BLACKPINK (블랙핑크) – How You Like That: MV Review

As part of getting back on track, we will now review BLACKPINK’s first (and only?) song for this year, How You Like That.

Given YG’s tendencies, expect that this will be BP’s only song for 2020. As this is the second time reviewing the MV as a Blink, how will the author rate it?

Review proper

With respect to appearance, Lisa for the first time donned her short hair. Also, Jennie and Rosé changed their hair colors to white.

Let’s talk about visuals. Primarily, Jennie is being shown in a blue background with moving lights, as if she is swimming. On the other hand, Rosé made an effort to “dance” with the nature, as shown in her swaying inside the forest.

How about the Trojan horse shown at near-end? This they ask how do we like being betrayed and being fooled around. As to the oilrigs under the snow, we have to look yet for the deeper meaning behind it.

The chorus of the song is highly noted for its heavy but subtle beats. This is being also mixed with Lisa’s rap lines. Equally notable is on usage of Arabic tunes on second verse.

As compared to their previous comebacks, the music was simplified to the point that they don’t need heaver drops. It’s as if they’re telling us, “No need to make it fabulous or grand, as we will make up for it.”

Overall, How You Like That was quite fascinating. This also holds proof that while the group is taking on mature concepts, they are quite flexible in branching out to other song approaches.

Final Words

It’s good that YG decided to make a change by installing its new CEO. However, it remains to be seen if this will reduce longstanding complaints arising from delays and hiatus of its groups. Simply put, we’ll see if this change will translate to major improvements.

Meanwhile, due to BLACKPINK’s outstanding attitudes, we have to give five extra points in their favor. Also, Jisoo and Rosé will be added to the author’s bias list starting today, rendering all members as my biases.

Further readings: TheBiasList | KPopReviewed

TweetNewscaster’s Overall Rating: 88.00%
Grade: B+
Assessment: Good

Scoreboard

Aspect Points Base
Storyline 3 5
Appearance 10 10
Music 4 5
Dance 4 5
Entertainment 18 25
Outstanding attitudes 5

iKON – Dive (뛰어들게): MV Review

For the first time we will review iKON in their lead track Dive. This recent comeback is their first since Hanbin left the group.

Earlier, we ranked various groups under hiatus for at least six months, the group included. In fact, it has been 395 days since their last release I’m OK. Would iKON’s comeback be worth all the lost time and B.I.’s departure? We’ll see here.

As explained, the album title “i DECIDE” sets the small “I” apart from the rest of seven letters.

More symbolisms can be linked with the title, particularly on picture frames, staying inside a door, broken bridges, and arrows. Summing up:

As we are venturing on our new chapter/new discoveries, we have to dive. We have to take risks and plunge on it, even if the cost is great.

The group illustrated a man breaking a wall, and them in stage with fire. This is to tell us that they are now ready to push on with newer concepts.

I find this song satisfying, even if it somewhat was wanting compared to other songs. Harmonica tune sets the song right, and is heard in most parts of the song (at first verse and at near-end). While not getting used to iKON and its songs, I liked it being calm and refreshing.

Final notes

This only needs proper promotions to make it stand out.

Even with its shortcomings, YG Entertainment managed to retain what B.I. crafted before leaving. This will be an added positive point for them as we review agencies at year-end.

Further readings: TheBiasList | KPopReviewed

TweetNewscaster’s Overall Rating: 86.32%
Grade: B-
Assessment: Satisfactory

Scoreboard

Aspect Points Base
Storyline 9 10
Appearance 30 30
Music 9 10
Dance 10 10
Lessons 7 10
Entertainment 17 25
Other Factors

Rating K-Pop Groups 2019: Big 3 and YG Groups (TWICE, ITZY, BLACKPINK, BTS, TXT, GFRIEND)

(Side Note: In rating select groups, primary objective is to assess the groups’ responses and attitude of its members. These are crucial also for their survival, profitability, and reputation.

Groups who are not mentioned here and in related articles are presumed to garner 85.00% rating, or “Satisfactory”, unless otherwise stated.)


TWICE

The most impressive attitude of TWICE is on giving their best to Onces. They’ve shown this in their recent Manila concert. Despite having health issues, especially Mina and Jihyo, they managed to make PH Onces happy by having complete attendance. PH being sorely deprived of visits, they make it up by giving their best shot.

Another best attitude is on thinking of fellow member. They dedicate their awards to Minari, and allotted space for her. Not to mention Jihyo finding a way to include her despite absence, and comforting her (together with Nayeon). In fact, they realized how even one member can make difference to the group.

As to Jihyo, she expressed her desire to recover quickly from neck strains. This is the kind of attitude the author appreciates much. But she must take a rest for now, and take time. Also for Minari, who always take time to attend on activities even if ailing, she really needs to rest.

A point for improvement is for Dahyun to be a camera spotter, which they missed. Talk about caring for others’ privacy. If one remembers, Dispatch sneaked into Jihyo and Kang Daniel’s privacy, since Tofu was not included in their roundabouts. Take Dahyun in the picture, and surely Dispatch won’t “invade” into the couple.

Rating: 92.00%
Grade: A-
Assessment: Very Good

Scoreboard

  Criterion Points
1 Health issues 5
2 Dating issues 5
3 Other issues (internal) 5
4 Attitude 10
5 Attendance in concerts, meet-ups, and overseas TV shows. 10
6 Review as whole 5
7 Dubu being a camera spotter for Jihyo 1
Giving the best for Onces 5

ITZY

So far, no issues related to the rookie group were encountered. What’s outstanding was that Chaeryeong helped Stray KidsBangchan during the athletics. To add, their staff recalled how kind and generous the group was by treating them with foodstuffs.

Rating: 95.00%
Grade: A+
Assessment: Excellent

  Criterion Points
1 Health issues 5
2 Dating issues 5
3 Other issues (internal) 5
4 Attitude 9
5 Attendance in concerts, meet-ups, and overseas TV shows. 10
6 Review as whole 4
7 Other factors

BLACKPINK

Even with minimal engagements, BLACKPINK still hits the charts and sales. Part of success lies on their attitude.

The most conspicuous attitude was of Jennie, especially in their recent PH visit. Despite enduring pains, she maintained her composure and greeted PH and Macanese Blinks who are waiting for her last June. If this is lingering, she has to take a rest.

Another attitude worth commending was of Rosé. It can be remembered that she was not given solo debuts for this year. Upon learning of this issue, Rosé immediately responded by telling fans of that event. She assuaged fans, and told them not to worry about her. To add, she tried to communicate with some fans using sign language.

Jisoo showed her concern with Jendeukie, as she hugged and comforted her all the way at the airport.

Finally was that of Lisa, being humble, polite, and approachable in facing the press and other people. Most notable is on donating money to help flood victims in Thailand.

So far, no other negative issues re attitude were encountered with BLACKPINK.

Rating: 95.56%
Grade: A+
Assessment: Excellent

Scoreboard

  Criterion Points
1 Health issues 5
2 Dating issues 5
3 Other issues (internal) 5
4 Attitude 10
5 Attendance in concerts, meet-ups, and overseas TV shows. 10
6 Review as whole 3
7 Responding to issues 5

BTS

The attitude played by BTS for this year is very outstanding. So, it’s not a surprise if they still are in the top.

First of all is on being genuine, sincere, humble and “good-natured”. This humility is expressed in their song Boy With Luv and Make It Right, where they go down to be with ARMYs. This they also do when dealing with some people. These acts will take them to greater heights.

Second aspect is on being responsible for actions. This is noted with Jungkook who was involved in car accident. Upon happening, he apologized and took responsibility for the incident.

Most of all, they are in complete attendance. Name any overseas event this year, and we’ll see that they haven’t missed attendance to these. Even in the US, where K-Pop is quite new, they managed to be complete on various shows. Not to mention being complete in virtually all concerts and engagements.

Charity works have to be also noted. Suga donated 100 million won to Korea Pediatric Cancer Foundation. RM later gave already the same amount to a deaf school. The group also donated a huge sum to continue the Love Yourself campaign.

Another positive note is on influencing ARMYs to be socially responsible, like awareness campaign on Amazon and other environmental projects. For instance, Vietnamese ARMYs opened a school and named it after V (Taehyung), in addition to forest project named after RM. ARMYs even went far to help fellow fans who can’t afford the Saudi concert.

A point for improvement would be on toning down intense moves. Otherwise, this might pose danger to their health. This time, they have to take things easy and consider safety first.

Rating: 94.00%
Grade: A+
Assessment: Excellent

Scoreboard

  Criterion Points
1 Health issues 5
2 Dating issues 5
3 Other issues (internal) 5
4 Attitude 10
5 Attendance in concerts, meet-ups, and overseas TV shows. 10
6 Review as whole 5
7 Health considerations 2
Showing good influence to its fans 5

TXT

Health issues are still underway, such that the group’s supposed recent fanmeet was cancelled. But this has no negative effect at all. In fact, despite this, they managed to name their own fandom and greet their fans in live chat.

To add, Taehyun cared for MOAs by having a coffee truck, loaded with foodstuffs. This shows how special fans are for him and the group.

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Rating: 95.00%
Grade: A+
Assessment: Excellent

Scoreboard

  Criterion Points
1 Health issues 4
2 Dating issues 5
3 Other issues (internal) 5
4 Attitude 10
5 Attendance in concerts, meet-ups, and overseas TV shows. 9
6 Review as whole 5
7 Other factors

GFRIEND

GFRIEND’s attitude, and attendance during Manila tour, convinced me to include them as one of three most favorite groups.

They performed in their Manila tour as a complete group. They even appeared complete in a PH music show. As such, extra five points will be given in favor of them in their next comebacks.

So far, there were no major issues on their attitude. If there’s any, they respond very well.

We’ll explain some positive attitudes here. For instance, Sowon just shrugged off the dating issue with Cha Eunwoo as if nothing happened. Another example is Yerin, who sent a coffee truck for Apink’s Hayoung and Red Velvet’s Joy as support for their own activities.

As for SinB, she immediately responded to allegations that she is a difficult person, while it clearly tells otherwise. This was amidst her words taken out of context during Produce X 101. Finally, the group itself in a snap clarified their being focused on phones during live radio broadcast. These responses, like what we will discuss later with CLC, are very important to avoid misunderstandings and issues.

Rating: 97.50%
Grade: A+
Assessment: Excellent

Scoreboard

  Criterion Points
1 Health issues 5
2 Dating issues 5
3 Other issues (internal) 5
4 Attitude 10
5 Attendance in concerts, meet-ups, and overseas TV shows. 10
6 Review as whole 4
7 Other factors

We will review in next article other groups, particularly CLC, AOA, MAMAMOO, Momoland, and SATURDAY.

Rating K-Pop Agencies 2019: YG Entertainment

(Side Note: In rating agencies, primary objective is to evaluate agencies’ responses to various issues. Responses are a crucial ingredient for agencies’ and groups’ survival, fame, and profitability.

To a lesser extent, financial aspects might be tackled, but will not be a major factor in rating them.)

YGE has been instrumental in bringing K-Pop to the world for many years. But while 2018 has been a stable year for YG, it was an unfortunate one for 2019. First was Seungri on sex scandal, and then it was B.I. over drug use. The negative impact on K-Pop was great, such that Obsessed and Assessed stopped doing MV Reviews for whole of March (only to go indefinite hiatus this year).

The way how YG (company) is not responding has major effects, as we will discuss later.

Bad points

First of all, they should’ve issued strong statements condemning major offenses, which they failed to do.

Another faulty response is on their peddled “quality over quantity” slogan, to the point that artists themselves suffer from lack of exposure. And here comes the habit of not frequently releasing music. This usually sidesteps its various artists among other promotion-packed and stage-packed agencies. Worse, this hampers full potential for them to stand out.

Most obvious is on BLACKPINK, which could’ve slayed more charts had they been given several tracks. Another case lies on AKMU’s Suhyun, where the agency did not give her solo debut during the two-year hiatus till September. They wasted time and opportunity for her to shine. As for Lee Hi, this was the cause behind deterioration of her mental health.

Speaking of lower sales, this actually happened in terms of albums. In fact, YG is still being pushed aside by Big 3 now (and Pledis). Not surprising, as they are still going stingy in terms of releases.

Consider too what happened to Treasure13 members. They are supposed to debut last July, but are still not as of this writing due to scandals. And as the saying goes, these trainees are leaving the “pharmacy,” looking for somewhere who manages them better.

Another negative point is on not giving iKON a break from several concerts, especially during the Holidays. While the intent was to entertain fans during the holiday, they should’ve considered the immense toll it will bring to the group.

While BLACKPINK served as YG’s flagship group, its status has not yet changed for the better. And till 2019 comes to near-end, still no solo debuts for Lisa, Rosé, and Jisoo, not to mention want of long-term planning on BP.

If Blinks are getting impatient on lack of comebacks, and the group is still sad on their status, we have a serious problem. It shows how inefficient YG is in handling talents as whole. Plus, owing to lack of protection afforded when 2NE1 disbanded, it’s not surprising if it also happens to the new girl group, albeit on different case.

Most worrisome is on Dara, who is currently working with the agency. Maybe YG should give her also comebacks, as consideration of her still working despite what happened to 2NE1?

Good points

Meanwhile, some good points must be also taken into account. For instance, it still promotes its groups like BLACKPINK, iKON, and WINNER in several countries through concerts and meet-ups. Second, after fans complained of removing B.I. from the credits, they listened by crediting him again in his songworks.

They also give groups relative freedom, apparent on AKMU. This refers to freedom in producing songs while being funded. So far, no artist-related complaints have been heard with YG such as being underpaid. Add to that, rare to no instances of copyright issues were encountered. That’s another plus points for them.

YG also ensured that artists will have personal space. In fact, they warned fans not to get too close with iKON at an airport, and asks them not to visit Bigbang members on their military discharge.

Another good point is on handling dating issues with Jennie. While this would actually damage reputation of Jendeukie and her group, YG still let her perform in their only comeback. You know what happened to them later on.

Conclusion

The quality over quantity mindset demonstrates their lack of flexibility, especially in hard times like this. It posed disastrous results up to financial level: lower sales, opportunity costs, net loss, and potential loss of investors. It seems that no one, not even BP or Big Bang, could save YG from its sad state.

The responses, from kicking out delinquent stars, “quality over quantity”, and removing Yang Hyun Suk, are itself short term ones. Without long-term solutions (and purging), we doubt if YG would recover its leading status next year.

Group(s) Rated: BLACKPINK

Rating: 70.91%
Grade: F
Assessment: Failed

Scoreboard

  Criterion Points
1 Promotion of groups 3
2 Rolling of comebacks 2
3 Handling boy groups 3
4 Handling girl groups 4
5 Assessment as whole 8
6 Longevity of groups 8
7 Handling issues and responding 6
8 Rare copyright issues 5

What’s The Future of K-Pop?

We have seen rapid growth of K-Pop in the past ten years. Based on its present status, we can forecast what will happen to K-Pop as a whole in the coming years. These will be discussed in this article.


One major question:

What would K-Pop look like ten years from now?

I also discussed this in my previous article. However, with news on the change in K-Pop industry, I decided to talk further about it in a separate article.

New groups

With new groups sprouting, and with their various debut songs, multi-fandom people like me will be confused. Which one should be followed? We will end up selecting only groups that matter.

We have witnessed various groups formed this year. These include ITZY, ONEUS, Cherry Bullet, TXT, BVNDIT, AB6IX, 1the9, TARGET, and VeriVery. These groups will be added more in the coming years. As new groups are trying to be relevant, and competing for limited attention, many will end up with less views and underrated performances.

New approaches

More stars will collaborate with non-Korean artists, like Nicki Minaj, Dua Lipa, and Lauv. But owing to lack of promotions, popularity, and music videos, these kind of music will not last for long.

With various groups catering to international audiences, and adding more English lyrics, mainstream radio stations will feature their songs. But for TV stations, only few will make it, like BTS and BLACKPINK. And only few dance crazes wil also make it.

The battle in the next years would focus more on quantity and time. The battle now would be on number of views, streams, and likes. Some existing groups are on hiatus, giving other groups chance to stand out.

With intense competition, more new songs and concepts will be featured, focusing on modern side of music, instead of traditional music used by pioneers of K-Pop. In turn, K-Pop loses its distinct flavor and might sway with mainstream trends.

The genre will expand promotions, focusing more on US and Latin America. Expect some changes if this happens, which includes assimilating Latino music into the genre.

Fans will increase. Expect more distasteful remarks between fandoms, and more support in promoting each other’s music. Sasaengs will also increase, and expect more attacks toward artists. Expect also some fandoms turning tables around, as is the case with Monbebes today.

As a whole, K-Pop might feel a gradual downturn as it battles various issues, especially that more agencies are unresponsive to these. Plus its aversion to experiment on new styles of music, as what TheBiasList pointed out. It reached the apex, and going through declining stage is becoming inevitable.

New milestones

Existing and former groups made their mark on various aspects, from album sales, concerts, and ability to penetrate Western markets. New groups will usually find it hard surpassing milestones made by pioneers, like being featured in a Time Magazine or three billion views.

We will also see more stars from new groups rise to fame. This we see today with some members of ITZY and AB6IX, who were named as one of famous Korean personalities. Even if they debuted just months ago, they immediately caught attention from more people.

More groups will disband. This is apparently the case for new groups which will only exist for a limited time (instead of usual seven years). Also, other groups under indefinite hiatus will eventually disband.

Oldies

More and more oldies will face pressing issues, like drugs, sex, and crimes, regardless if proven or not. This we see from Seungri, Daesung, and B.I, and this is not farfetched. On the other side, some oldies will do solo debuts or collab, as was the case with 2NE1’s Park Bom or Sistar’s Soyou.

More and more stars will experience depression, especially among the oldies. Take the case of Sistar’s Dasom, and even Taeyeon from Girls’ Generation. Worse, this might lead to another death like that of Sulli.

If not involved in bad stuff, more oldies will go to drama, and some will go on a date and marry. They will prefer to stick on personal life. This we see now with 2NE1’s Dara, who is now dating with her longtime crush. Even SHINee’s Minho is now thinking of having a family. Take also the words of Jin and V (Taehyung), who want to live simple lives after ten years.

Specific Forecasts

YG Entertainment, while still taking the lead in bringing K-Pop to the world, will struggle to be relevant in the music industry, as it battles various issues from its talents.

Others like SM, BigHit, JYP, and even small entertainment agencies will still remain afloat. Meanwhile, new agencies like that of Daniel Kang and PSY will start showing their own talents, competing with the big ones.  As to 1theK, we see less and less MV uploads from other agencies to the channel.

K-Pop sees Japan as a very profitable and “critical” market. In fact, July 2019 was full of comebacks in Japanese. Some groups already have Japanese members (like IZ*ONE, TWICE, and Cherry Bullet). However, the ongoing trade war and racism against Japan will indirectly cripple K-Pop in terms of sales.

Military service

All of EXO, SHINee, and Super Junior members in the camp today will finish military service, in which case they will continue their careers together.

As to BTS, all members will be in active service, at which point their fame will be on a halt until their comeback. In the meantime, TXT will take the lead.

Other talents

Produce 101 will not air anymore owing to breach of trust with fans and future trainees. This vacuum will be filled by other shows, which more or less adopt the same format. On other cases, existing groups and members will venture on different shows like Queendom, as another way of promotions.

Few soloists will stand out, like IU, Chung Ha, Heize, Park Bom, and Eric Nam. Others like Mina (AOA), Sunha (SATURDAY), and other Pristin members who left their groups will battle for fame as soloists or venture on drama.

Opening doors to non-Korean talents are giving exciting prospects to K-Pop. Expect more agencies opening its doors to them. In fact, JYP Entertainment debuted its Chinese group Boy Story, and SM Ent did the same with WayV. An agency debuted SB19, an all-Filipino group, and Zenith Media formed Z-Boys and Z-Girls.

For Z-Boys and Z-Girls, though they are quite related/non-related to K-Pop, their boom in the future will inspire other agencies to follow their concepts, shifting K-Pop to become more global in approach. This also might push agencies to add more non-Koreans to their respective groups, which will force some Koreans to tone down their racist remarks.

Final Words

In general, the challenges K-Pop will face in the coming years include (1) ability to penetrate mainstream media, (2) maintaining the vibe it has amidst globalization, (3) agencies to respond to worst of issues, (4) handling of increase in new groups, (5) keeping and maintaining talents (as is the case with IZ*ONE), (6) surpass milestones made by pioneers, and (7) need to change negative attitudes of some Koreans.

WINNER (위너) – SOSO: MV Review

This will be the final review for all MV releases of October.


For our roll of reviews, we will feature again Winner, in their song Soso.

This recent comeback presented the newer side of the group. They’ve gone far, from being a “band-image” type to becoming a real group like other stars. Let’s see if they are catching up all the way despite being given limited releases. Let’s start!

Storyline

The story starts with them travelling in the desert just to attend a party. Being lost in direction, some of them gave up on finding sense of purpose, and others try to destroy some things like chandelier and artworks. The MV ends with them embarking on different journey.

Review as whole

The title might recall that of heartbreak, with a name that should’ve not been mentioned. He denies that they have a breakup, and he tries to feel not good or bad about it. Instead, he tried to be pokerfaced.

Some things are worth noticing. Member is being tied all the way to the top, extras are being blindfolded in a table, breaking artwork, shouting in a mirror, and trying to find a way as his other friends are in a party. These represent loss of focus and need for freedom.

As for some lying on the floor and others kicking chandeliers, these tells of them losing sense of direction. From that point they deem light as being worthless.

Most conspicuous is on a member being naked. This is the first time we see a member on that state. This might represent naked truth on the heartbreak, which he did not accept.

The upbeats from the start till pre-chorus was their most upbeat of all the sounds I heard from Winner. These should’ve been added also to the rest of the song, just to maintain the momentum. After that part, it becomes slower for the rest of the song. Screeching tunes can be heard in the final chorus.

On a final note, the dances featured are very easy to learn.

A bit awkward

We wish to point out that Filipinos might find the title awkward. Why?

Some K-Pop songs unwittingly refer to private parts when played in Philippines. For instance:

TWICE: TT
CLC: Pepe

Both refer to genitals of man and woman, respectively.

As for YG Family, here’s a running joke referring all to breasts:

Review by others

Since TheBiasList started its reviews, he focused his critic on “song structure, energy, and momentum”, a requirement Soso somewhat failed to achieve. Positives lie on being experimental and having vocal effects on chorus. Instrumentals also give proper buildup to paint the bursts. On the downside, it was “lethargic,” and its refrain was dead. Worse, its unbalanced music fails to give a very outstanding performance.

KPopReviewed wrote that even if the set-up was promising, the performance didn’t go well due to the slowdown placed in chorus. This slowdown killed any momentum, and repeated “So So” made it worse. He meanwhile enjoyed the verses and the rest of track. In fact, Mino’s starting lines were the best.

TweetNewscaster’s Overall Rating: 82.11%
Grade: C-
Assessment: Needs Improvement

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 3
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 4
Other Matters 15 Sense of humor/expresses emotions 7
Other Matters 16 Make it to mainstream media 1
Other Matters 17 Review by other sites 3
Other Matters 18 Review of MV as a whole 4
Other Matters 19    

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.

Criteria on Rating K-Pop Agencies and Groups

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.

AKMU (악동뮤지션) – How Can I Love The Heartbreak, You’re The One I Love: MV Review

For the first time, we will review AKMU (Akdong Musician) in their newest release. While the original title is indeed long, we will call it Heartbreak for purpose of brevity.

It can be remembered that they weren’t active due to Chanhyuk being in military. While on hiatus, it’s quite disappointing that Suhyun hasn’t been given solo debuts during that two-year hiatus. Seems that the agency wastes time and talents like that of hers. We’ll deal with that further some time.

While YG comebacks like this are badly needed, it’s still intriguing to see how they perform after two years of hiatus. Hope this review (and fans) will also promote the duo more than YG does. (And congrats also for them topping the charts!) Anyway, let’s start!

Storyline

The story tells of a boy painting, and a girl scribbling. Even if they are on different ventures, they share the common goal of sailing amidst the vast ocean. Another side of story tells of her brainstorming, then finally gets bored.

Lesson of Heartbreak is on the title itself: Even if we encounter heartbreaks, this does not stop us from loving that person. On the other hand, viewers are being taught the value of arts and sea travel.

Review as whole

Various abstractions are employed to project the sadness. First is on abstract painting. The blue color and painting technique akin to Van Gogh’s Starry Night has the clearest message. Second is on the aimless journey amidst the open sea. Finally is on raining inside the house, at the end of the video. Summing up:

“Deep inside, heartbreaks can make us gloomy and sad. Despite these, we still love him/her. Even without sense of direction, we still find a way to his/her heart.”

Regarding musical aspects, Chanhyuk is relegated more to being a background voice, only to rejoin in the chorus. He also later steps up on the second half of finale. The tune mostly relies on echoing vocals of Suhyun.

Lastly, the first fifteen seconds closely resembles a Filipino rendition of I Believe by Joowon.

Review by others

TheBiasList was astonished that the duo still retains the usual style after a long time. It described the song as a timeless nautical masterpiece, opening with clarity and restraint. This act truly expresses the mostly-ignored concept that “Music is a universal language.”

KPopReviewed noted that Suhyun’s voice is very “airy” which fills in the mood of the song. This is coupled with instrumentals being toned down. And even if Changhyuk has limited lines, he managed to harmonize where he is needed.

TweetNewscaster’s Overall Rating: 92.22%
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 8
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 7
Other Matters 16 Make it to mainstream media 1
Other Matters 17 Review by other sites 4
Other Matters 18 Review of MV as a whole 5
Other Matters 19 Shares similarities/tunes with other songs 5