2015: Kpop Wishes For the New Year
Ah, don’t you just love the smell of the new year? New chances and opportunities, and yet there will also be a lot of things ending and finishing up in 2015. Beginnings and endings; the flow of life. Like always, I’ve made a list of certain wishes for the new Kpop year, and I have added comments made by the hellokpop staff as like I did last year.
1. Minzy gets a solo
Yeah, I keep saying this EVERY year since I started this editorial series, but it still hasn’t happened yet. So I’ll keep saying it until she actually gets a solo.
I mean, come on YG! CL gets to go and venture overseas, she gets to have a solo debut in the USA, but Minzy still hasn’t gotten the chance to show off her vocals, her rapflow and her dancing abilities as a solo act? And it isn’t like the market isn’t right for solo acts, or that YG doesn’t let the groups under its wing split apart and let the members do their own things. Look at BIGBANG! They get to do it, so why can’t Minzy? Give the girl a stage and she will set it on fire, I guarantee it.
I’m not, by far, the only one wondering why our loveable maknae hasn’t gotten the chance to shine on her own. I’m sure many blackjacks agree with me. I know Minzy is studying hard at her university right now, and one could say she has a lot on her plate when it comes to 2NE1. But seriously, when was the last time 2NE1 put out new music? (And I’m not talking about CL’s solo.)
There’s plenty of opportunities for Minzy to put out some nice music; a mini album consisting of hip-hop, R&B and ballad tracks. She could show off her flexibility and range as an artist. So YG, please just give us a Minzy solo debut, damn it!
2. More solo ventures by idols in general (~suggested by multiple staff members)
It’s not a surprise that fans want their biases to venture out as a solo artist – without them leaving the group. We want to know what their musical colours and their musical styles are. We want to listen to lyrics they’ve penned down themselves, to know what is in their minds and in their hearts. It’s not just about bias, though. Sometimes people want to see the more underrated or under appreciated members of a group to put something ‘home-made’ out there. Just to see what those members are capable of.
Check out some of the wishes of the hellokpop staff below:
“I wish that Wonder Girls will finally make a comeback or let Yubin and Lim release an album.” – Park Sun Lee (Writer)
“I wish INFINITE’s Sunggyu will release his second solo album soon because while the first one wasn’t all that successful, the songs on the album were amazing. ” – Rachel Huang (Writer)
And our resident album reviewer, Jung Bae, added that he wishes for “Solo debuts continuing to become more musically ambitious (like those of SHINee’s Taemin and Wonder Girls’ Ye-eun this year).”
3. More insight into the darker corners of Kpop and being an idol
2014 was the year of K-pop scandals and groups either suing their companies together, like B.A.P., or being pulled apart as some members decided to sue their companies on their own, like EXO’s Kris and Luhan. Sometimes the members were even allegedly ‘forced out’ like SNSD’s Jessica.
Although these things are horrible from a fan’s viewpoint, these incidents help us gain a deeper insight into the workings of the K-pop world. We get to see that it can be a shady place backstage and that idols don’t have that fairy tale life some fans might think they have. Not to mention the fact that seeing people stand up for themselves, to demand they actually get to reap what they’ve so painstakingly sowed, is a great thing in as of itself.
K-pop is spreading across the globe and though we’ve mainly seen the good sides, we should also be aware of the bad sides. We need to whole picture, before we can judge. Before we can decide who to rally for and who to boycott. Of course, that’s not always easy to do and fandoms will probably be split because of this – need I remind you about what happened with the Cassies after JYJ sued SM? – but it’s necessary. The first step to solving a problem is admitting you have a problem. And the sooner the K-pop world starts to acknowledge that, the sooner they can come up with solutions.
“I hope that Entertainment companies, managers, and artists pull themselves together, collectively, and find a way to “do” Kpop without making artists sacrifice all that there is that makes them who they are. Too many artists suffer due to the whims, and the iron clad no-room-for-personal-freedom contracts, of their labels and their unhappiness of that fact has shown itself in full force this year. Groups come and go, its a sad fact but a fact nonetheless; but losing a group simply due to contract disputes and lack of remuneration is just heartbreaking. Treat artists like the people they are and make the Kpop world a place where the happy façade they show the fans its actually genuine -and not forced.” – Nicole “Nini” Lent (Head of US Public Relations)
4. More (variety) shows like Abnormal Summit
I’m going to be honest here: I love Abnormal Summit. I read about it on the internet one day and it sounded interesting, so I figured I’d give it a try. I was immediately hooked. Abnormal Summit is a debate show featuring a bunch of foreign men living in Korea, and three Korean hosts. What was interesting to me was the fact that they were all allowed to speak their minds about the topics and those topics were actually quite serious. (At least in the beginning, it’s been about love a few times now, and I’m hoping for more serious topics to be brought in.)
Why I hope for more shows like this is because these guys get to give their honest impressions and ideas about Korean culture and expand on how things are done ‘back home’. It’s a chance for the Korean public to learn about the outside world, with bit of humour on the side. Of course, there are always things to improve: there’s only one black person in the whole group and he’s usually presented as the clown of the bunch (though he does actually have interesting things to say), they’ve had their share of scandals and certain stereotypical jokes by the MCs are getting pretty old by now, but it’s still a great format.
It makes one think and it’s very educational; even if those guys don’t ‘accurately’ represent their countries – and how accurate can they be, truly? – it’s great getting different views on topics. I find myself thinking about arguments and counterarguments while I watch this show, raising my hands when they’re voting and sometimes even getting quite angry or happy about certain comments. And that’s what a debate show should be about: encouraging people to think on subjects, to form an opinion and to show how arguments should or shouldn’t be presented. All that with a nice dose of humour on top.
5. No more big break ups (~suggested by writer/editor Timea Baksa)
So, even though I’ve argued two points up that we need to expose the darker corners of the K-pop world, break-ups are never easy. Nor are they fun. It can shatter the fans’ hearts, can cause fandoms to be ripped apart by fighting factions and it’s generally just not a thing any K-pop fan wants to hear. Even if it’s not a group they actually follow.
I can remember how my heart was torn asunder and how I couldn’t believe the reports when the news about Jaejoong, Yoochun and Junsu suing SM first came out. I remember feeling so shocked and numb. And I don’t ever want to feel like that again. I don’t want any fan or even casual listener to feel like that. I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy, if I had one. Especially with the drawn out lawsuits and mudslinging back and forth that sometimes go along with it.
Of course, it’s not always like that; there are amicable break-ups. Take MBLAQ: Lee Joon and Thunder will no longer be a part of the group, but there’s no bad feelings on either side. They’ve just decided to move on. And if a group should break up, that’s the way it should go, in a perfect world. Well, in a perfect world those groups wouldn’t split up at all.
6. Road safety (~suggested by Timea & Sun Lee)
None of us can say we weren’t shocked when EunB and RiSe of Ladies’ Code passed away after a car accident. There’d been accounts of car accidents before, but not many of those ever resulted in an idol’s death. This was a rude awakening for fans and idols alike. Voices were raised to ask for changes in the industry, and for road safety. These are both valid concerns, but it’s a shame that it took the lives of two women, who were just starting out, to make people realize that things needed to change.
“I wish 2015 will be a year in Kpop wherein there’s no accident will happen.” – Sun Lee
And writer and editor Timea wishes, “[…] that every of our idols and their managers and helpers will be safe on the roads.“ We should all wish for that. Because let’s be honest: road safety is something that we all want and need, no matter if you’re a student or a celebrity.
7. Fan maturity (~suggested by Rachel & Timea)
I think everyone can agree that accounts of sasaeng fans stalking idols, or anti-fans trying to hurt those they actively dislike make us shudder in fear and displeasure. No one would ever wish that on their worst enemies, and yet Korean idols deal with this every day. They’re stalked, photographed without permission, hurt and sometimes even slandered, but it’s not taken seriously.
“ I wish fans would learn to respect their idols in 2015 and would not make scandalous comments on their private lives. ” – Timea
People always assume that if you’re a celebrity, you have to just accept people snooping and trying to get juicy information about your private life. But is this something they should just accept? Are they not people as well? Aren’t they human? Don’t they deserve some kind of privacy? Some kind of private life? Idols are people too and they deserve to go about their business like any other. They deserve to date whom they wish, to go get groceries or shop for underwear without people taking their pictures and plastering those on the internet. They deserve to live in peace and eventually maybe raise children, also in peace.
“I wish saesang fans will finally learn their lessons and leave the idols alone. I wish idols will not be afraid to admit they’re dating because fans will finally be mature and wish their idols the best.” – Rachel
I understand that fans want to know more and more about those they’re fans of, but there’s a limit, a threshold, that shouldn’t be crossed. Instead, it should be enough to get little titbits from the idols themselves via social media or fan meets. Yes, they are performers, celebrities, but they’re human too. That means they have things they don’t want to reveal to the public, no matter how much fans want them to. It also means they’ll make mistakes, and fans should be mature enough to not immediately jump to attack them, or to jump to their defence. We all know the infamous “Oppa didn’t mean it” comments, and while I do believe sometimes ‘oppa’ really didn’t mean it, most of the time ‘oppa’ did mean it, did do it and should be judged accordingly.
As much as it’s the fans’ job to learn more about the Korean culture and such, it’s also the job of the idols to dig deeper into the cultures and histories of the countries they visit. A faux pas is easily made and idols should have at least cursory knowledge of the international sections of their fans, as not to insult them. And fans should take their responsibility in this regard seriously as well. If an idol does something hurtful, like donning blackface, taking texts from religious scriptures or stereotyping an entire culture, fans should definitely point out that’s bad, instead of jumping to the idol’s defence in a respectful manner.
8. An overall good year
We could say that 2014 was the year of scandals, break-ups and lawsuits. Therefore, my final wish is that 2015 will be an overall good year. A year of wonders and achievements. A year of joy and laughter. A year of education and great musical releases. A year in which idols are allowed to be themselves, with fans appreciating what they dole out and not clamouring for more. I wish for a great 2015!
“I hope for a good year for the Kpop industry.” – Seckvoon Puyol (writer)
“No plagiarism controversies.” – Jung Bae
So what are your wishes for the Kpop year of 2015? Sound off in the comments below!