“Mandatory Military Service” are probably the three most despised words in a Kpop fan’s vocabulary. The very mention of the term, immediately invokes a cringe and causes fans to cry, wail, and panic. Why? As we all know, Kpop fans are one of the most dedicated and die-hard groups of fans in the world, so when their favorite artist has to serve his military service, naturally they become quite upset. Two years without new albums, tours, or seeing them perform on music shows can be quite traumatic for some fans. But still, the purpose of the conscription is important and meaningful to the Koreans; for the defense of the country and largely seems as a transition stage of manhood from a boy to a man.
As a Kpop artist embarks on his journey into the Korean military, fans go to every length and distance to show their support by starting support campaigns and even “Countdown Till Release” time clock sites. “Who’s in” and “who’s getting out soon” are very hot topics among the fan community, so we at hellokpop set out to compile a release-date list for our readers. Currently there are twenty-two Korean celebrities serving in the military who are set to be discharged within the 2013-2014 cycle.
Check out the following list to see if your favorite artist will be discharged, and when.
*Note: All dates are estimated based on enlistment date and branch of service enlistment time requirements. This list is categorized by month of enlistment date.
[January - April ]
Kim Jang Hyun (Sunny Hill)
- Enlistment date: January 31, 2012
- Estimated discharge date: February/March 2014
- Enlistment date: April 25, 2011
- Estimated release date: March 2013
[May - August ]
Kim Kyu Jong (SS501)
- Enlistment date: July 23, 2012
- Estimated release date: May 2014
[ September - December ]
Kim Jun (T-MAX)
- Enlistment date: September 29, 2011
- Estimated release date: July 2013
Jung Yunhak (Supernova)
- Enlistment date: October 25, 2011
– Estimated release date: June 25, 2013
Leetuk (Super Junior)
- Enlistment date: October 30, 2012
- Estimated release date: August 2014
- Enlistment date: December 5, 2012
– Estimated release date: October/November 2014
Did you see your favorite artist mentioned here? Who’s release are you looking forward to the most? Did we miss anyone? Let us know in the comments!
The Wonder Girls have acquired the number one spot on the Billboard K-Pop Hot 100 for the week of June 30th with their song Like This.
They took the top spot from BIGBANG, whose Monster was extremely popular, but which has now dropped to third place. f(x)‘s Electric Shock won second place. The entire Top 50 ranking can be found below:
01. Wonder Girls – Like This
02. f(x) – Electric Shock
03. Big Bang – Monster
04. Ulala Session – Goodbye Day
05. Shin Bora – Cry Because I Miss You
06. Hyungdon and Daejoon – The Gloomy Song
07. Verbal Jint – Good Morning
08. 8eight’s Lee Hyun – My Head Hurts
09. Big Bang – Still Alive
10. IU – Every End of the Day
11. Younha – Did We Change? ft. John Park
12. G.NA – 2HOT
13. Baek Jiyoung – Good Boy ft. BEAST’s Junhyung
14. Teen Top – To You
15. Kim Taewoo – High High
16. SG Wannabe’s Lee Seokhoon – Beginning of Love
17. BEAST – Hated Person
18. Baek Jiyoung – Voice ft. Leessang’s Gary
19. SISTAR – Alone
20. Infinite – The Chaser
21. Davichi – Because It’s You
22. B1A4 – Baby I’m Sorry
23. Noel – If It’s Love
24. Girls’ Generation Taetiseo – Twinkle
25. Big Bang – Ego
26. Wonder Girls – Girlfriend
27. December – She’s Gone
28. Brave Guys – I Don’t Care ft. Seo Sumin PD
29. One – The Words I Love You
30. Ulala Session – Beautiful NIght
31. Jang Yoonjeong – First Marriage
32. Bobby Kim – In My Dream
33. K.Will – Never Go Alone
34. Busker Busker – Cherry Blossom Ending
35. Na Yoonkon & MC Sniper & Deo Chi Eol Seu – Like The First Day
36. Hwayobi – I Live Like This
37. Mighty Mouth – Bad Boy ft. Soya
38. JUNIEL – Stupid ft. CNBLUE’s Yonghwa
39. JUNIEL – illa illa
40. Big Bang – Bingle Bingle
41. Primary – Position Arrangement
42. 10cm – Only U
43. Lena Park – I’m Sorry
44. A Pink – HUSH
45. Big Bang – Feeling
46. Boyfriend – Love Style
47. Dal Shabet – Mr. Bang Bang
48. Zia – Would That Person Come?
49. Epitone Project – Around Dawn
50. Yoo Saeyoon – That Is Art
Congratulations to the Wonder Girls from everyone here at hellokpop!
Release: May 9, 2011
Distributor: Loen Entertainment
I still remember the first time I saw Lim Jung-Hee on TV. It was 2005, and she was a fearless rookie. Singing her heart out with explosive melisma as she rocked out to debut single Music Is My Life, the “Diva of the Streets” took over the stage with seasoned charisma. After that memorable debut album (which produced a whopping four single cuts–you just don’t see that stuff anymore), J.Lim, as she is also called, embarked on a bumpy journey: a commercially successful sophomore album, a promising but ultimately disappointing venture in America with OutKast, and a number of albums and singles later, here she is. All things considered, it’s probably safe to say that J.Lim didn’t quite pan out completely according to her potential in the first six years since her debut. Still, that potential is enough to have people check back in every time she has a new release, in hopes that maybe this time will be the time.
The new EP Golden Lady is a stylistic departure from Lim’s most recent work, 진짜일 리 없어 (It Can’t Be True). Whereas that EP was in itself a departure from Before I Go J-Lim‘s R&B-soul focus, instead opting for a revisionist spin on the archetypical Korean ballad, Golden Lady brings back some of the pomp and flair of old into a modern-pop mold. I’m not sure if Lim’s recent stint in tvN survival show Opera Star had an influence on her, but Golden Lady does show some signs of non-mainstream theatrics–quite audibly, in fact, in one track that we will discuss later.
For all the promising setup, though, the EP unfortunately gets off to a less-than-auspicious start. Opening track and lead single Golden Lady is an alternative pop ballad with an easygoing acoustic accompaniment and a clean, soaring melody. And… wait, does this sound familiar? The track is extremely similar to Beyoncé‘s 2006 hit Irreplaceable. It’s not just the music–in fact, that’s the forgivable part. There’s actually some effort there to make the track unique, like the addition of a more dramatic structure and a subtle electronic angle. Golden Lady‘s real failing is that it even copies Irreplaceable‘s lyrical themes. Take a look at the simple comparison below:
Beyoncé – Irreplaceable
Everything you own in the box to the left
In the closet that’s my stuff, yes
If I bought it please don’t touch
And keep talking that mess, that’s fine
But could you walk and talk at the same time?
And it’s my mine name that is on that tag
So remove your bags let me call you a cab
Lim Jung-Hee – Golden Lady
Leave the keys, in the bin by the foyer as always
Don’t even think about sneaking it out
Take your clothes, don’t leave anything
Even the stuff I bought you, I’ll just give them to you
Sweep it all up and take it please
You’re in the way, why don’t you step aside
Would you now exit my doorway?
As if you were never there
Standing in the front yard telling me
How I’m such a fool, talking about
How I’ll never ever find a man like you
You got me twisted
You must not know ’bout me
You must not know ’bout me
I could have another you in a minute
Matter of fact he’ll be here in a minute, baby
How I’ll live without you? Don’t be silly
I know men like you are a dime a dozen
Even if I don’t got you
There’s plenty of men, men that wait only for me
Who would come running here in a single phone call
Once we start breaking up the stanzas and orders, there are even more similarities. But even at this point, it’s clear that Golden Lady‘s theme of the independent woman who stands defiant and proud in the face of a breakup is patently plagiarized from Beyoncé’s work. Frankly, composer Bang Shi-Hyuk deserves all the flak he’s getting right now; coincidentally, “Hitman Bang” also composed the track 재 (Ashes) from J.Lim’s previous EP, which was noted for its structural similarity to Eminem‘s Love the Way You Lie. Lim isn’t free from blame, either; it’s difficult to believe that she really would not have noticed similarities to a song so well-known that Korean listeners picked them up on day one.
The sound direction takes a turn afterwards–both Stay, performed with 8eight‘s Baekchan, and 니가 떠나고 나도 (Even After You Leave), featuring San E and Basick, are toned-down R&B ballads. Stay benefits from attractive, well-engineered instrumentation and mainstream-friendly melody, while Even After You Leave offers a soulfully charged atmosphere along with the two rappers’ solid verses (it’s especially nice to listen to hear San E throw down a serious verse again–that crisp flow is not to be wasted).
Not satisfied, Lim goes and includes another genre to round out the four-track EP. Yes is that theatrically minded track that I mentioned earlier; the song sounds straight out of a Broadway musical. It’s somewhat retro, featuring an old-fashioned melody and technique with over-the-top grandiose orchestra and chorus team. It’s delightfully suspenseful, and it’s certainly a novel sound to hear out of a mainstream album. Some have drawn connections to Dreamgirls, although I can’t quite put a finger on that one for sure.
As you can probably imagine, this is a lot of diversity in a very short EP. Golden Lady falls into the predictable problem in cases like this: there’s no focus in this album. This is a classic situation of a bunch of individually outstanding tracks being thrown together into a concoction that doesn’t really mix. There’s no glue nor theme holding the four tracks together–not instrumental direction, nor attitude, nor style, nor anything. The individual songs might be good, but they’re not good enough to make the incoherence worth it. That’s why the proportion of recommended tracks that you see down below is potentially misleading.
One positive thing with Golden Lady: J.Lim’s performances. This is arguably the strong suit of any album of hers, but Lim is harnessing more and more of her enormous vocal talent as the years go by. Her performances in this EP are generally ‘unplugged’: she tones down the power somewhat. The love songs are done pretty flawlessly, and in Yes, the one track where she does let it go, the sweeping range and power are breathtaking. While I think she could be a little more emotive in the lead single and interpret its message better, it’s still interesting to hear parts where she intentionally clamps down.
Is it too much to ask for another Music Is My Life? I suppose that album had its host of issues, too, but it was a fresh shock that laid the foundations of Lim’s musical world. This EP is too scattered, too directionless to be even that. I hope she knows what direction she wants to go in. She’s never found a stable identity for her music and herself as a musician, which is a shame for an artist with such potential. The jury is still out on whether she will ever fulfill that potential. But it won’t happen if she, in her rush, pulls another dangerous stunt like Golden Lady.
Tracklist (recommended tracks listed in bold)
1. Golden Lady – Featuring Hyuna of 4Minute
2. Stay – Featuring Baekchan of 8eight
3. 니가 떠나고 나도 (Even After You Leave) – Featuring San E and Basick
Album reviews reflect the opinions of the writer and not Hellokpop as a whole.
Photo credit: maniadb