Shinhwa: Music and Video

Shinhwa

By Crystal S. Anderson, PhD

Associate Professor of English, Longwood University

Shinhwa’s longevity is in part due to the quality and consistency of their music production seen in their comeback releases.

The Return is Shinhwa’s highly anticipated release following a four-year hiatus. Overall, critics note a  dual nature to the album, juxtaposing the classic sound of the group with more contemporary flourishes. Many praise “Venus” as the title track.  “On the Road” elicited positive reviews as well. Jung Bae (hellokpop) notes that the track “is an unexpected Brit-rock track, courtesy of Shin Hye-sung; while he rightfully takes control of the track, the other members join in and do their parts.” Nicole Rivera (Pop Reviews Now) notes the simplicity of the track, “with soft drum rolls laced with a pretty piano line and some cymbals here and there, before a very low-key verse that just spirals into this tear-jerkingly stunning chorus.” Testamentvm‘s (McRoth’s Residence) description of “Red Carpet” focuses on “its clubby supersaw lead and progressive house anthem,” while Rivera focuses on “the presence of a melody, and how the vocals deliver it in relation to the rest of the song.”  Jung Bae was impressed with “Let It Go,” which breaks “ballad molds and instead opting for a deceptively uptempo melody powered by electric guitar.”

Reviews of We are mixed. There was no critical consensus on the best tracks on the album aside from “Sniper,” the title track. Pakman (allkpop) identifies musical key elements:  “The whistle by itself is enough to pique anyone’s interest. The pre-chorus and chorus is what make you stay. Those impassioned vocals, the smooth, high-pitched turns accompanied by that lean-back dance move just scream all kinds of cool. The beatboxing interwoven in the instrumentals is a total bonus and a complete throwback to the 90’s.” Tam Huynh notes the centrality of Eric, Jun Jin and Andy, the rappers of the group, on “Give It 2 Me. Guest critics for seoulbeats points out “I Gave You” as an unusual track, with its acoustic instrumentation and harmony.

Shinhwa also brings a sophistication to their music videos.  In “Sniper,” Vincenlya Susanto (The AU Review) points to how Shinhwa “is again experimental in incorporating a classic and contemporary structure not only in their sound but also in their music video settings and wardrobe choice. The music video contrasts Junjin’s typical destroyed underground set with Hyesung’s chic white maze and contemporary framed art display Eric inhabits.” Maria Hunt (Ppcorn) points to experimentation in the choreography: “The seventh and final scene is a group scene of SHINHWA accompanied by backup dancers. With the set designed as an empty dark room with a center square-raised stage, the members and dancers perform the choreography. SHINHWA is known for usually having bold and energetic dance routines, but the last couple of years have seen SHINHWA experimenting with their dance style.” Minnimonmon (Kpop On My Mind) points to the choreography for “This Love“: “All of the movements were so crisp and well-rehearsed.  Whereas a lot of dance songs with fast, complicated dance moves often feel rushed, this dance was detailed, yet very refined.  I loved the hand movements in the first chorus and how the members looked like they were tapping piano keys in their dance moves during the piano parts.”

For more commentary on Shinhwa’s music and video, see Shinhwa: Unchanging

Sources

Guest. “Shinhwa’s Comeback: The Legend and ‘The Classic’ .” seoulbeats. 23 May 2013. (28 Mar 2016)

Jung Bae. “Album Review: Shinhwa – The Return.” hellokpop. 15 April 2012. (9 Apr 2016)

Maria Hunt.”Shinhwa: ‘Sniper’ Music Video Review.”   Ppcorn.  16 Mar 2015. (28 Mar 2016)

Minnimonmon. “Shinhwa ‘This Love’ Music Video Review.” Kpop On My Mind. 2 Jun 2013.

Nicole Rivera, “Shinhwa – ‘The Return.” Pop Reviews Now. 23 Mar 2012. (9 Apr 2016).

Pakman. “[Album and MV Review] Shinhwa – ‘WE’ .” allkpop. 4 Mar 2015. (9 Apr 2016)

SHINHWA OFFICIAL. “그룹 신화 (SHINHWA) – 표적 (Sniper) _Official Music Video.”: YouTube. 25 Feb 2015. https://youtu.be/y_VJHT6y-NI (12 Jun 2017).

Tam Huynh. “Shinhwa ‘We’ Album Review.” KultScene. 4 Mar 2015. (9 Apr 2016)

Testamenvm. “[Review][Album] Shinhwa – “The Return.” McRoth’s Residence. 2 Apr 2012. (18 Jul 2012)

Vincenlya Susanto. “Music Video Review: Shinhwa ‘Sniper’ (South Korea, 2015).” The AU Review. 5 Mar 2015. (28 Mar 2015)

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Shinhwa: Music and Video by Crystal S. Anderson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Global Promotional Strategies in K-pop

Credit: Pixabay

by Crystal S. Anderson, PhD

Globalization remains key to K-pop’s spread around the world, but it is not one size fits all. As time goes on, Korean agencies adopt a range of promotional strategies to spread K-pop throughout the world.

It is not secret that K-pop utilizes globalization. Writers have sought to identify singular strategies and apply them to the entire K-pop world. In the article “The Globalization of K-pop: Korea’s Place in the Global Music Industry,” Ingyu Oh focuses on the “L” component in what she describes as the G-L-G globalization process:  “K-pop’s differentiation strategy to make the ‘L’ process attractive to a global audience is roughly threefold: (1) numbers; (2) physique; and (3) voice-dance coordination” (400).  Patrick St. Michel argues in his Atlantic article, “How Korean Pop Conquered Japan,” that “K-Pop stars out-sex their J-Pop counterparts. The members of Girls’ Generation show a fair amount of skin in their music videos, while many fans were drawn to KARA by a chunk of choreography Wikipedia dubs “the butt dance.”  He mentions BoA, but doesn’t apply this theory to explain her longtime success in Japan. His argument also does not explain the success of male groups in Japan, including TVXQ, SHINee, BigBang and 2PM.

Instead, Korean agencies use a range of strategies to promote their groups globally.

Language and Training

Oh does a good job of summarizing the training process for Korean “idol” stars: “Trainees go through vocal, dancing, language, and theatrical acting lessons for at least five hours a day in the evening after school” (402). While the results of vocal and dance training is evident in performances, language acquisition is key to appealing to global audiences because of the appearances where fans can see the group.  For example, Key from the K-pop group SHINee shows off his multi-lingual skills, sharing the group’s greeting in Chinese, Korean, English and Japanese:

Increasingly, members of K-pop groups are learning different languages. GOT7‘s member Jackson speaks Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean and English. Rookie group Varsity features members who speak Korean, Chinese, English, Arab, and French. The choice of languages that K-pop members speak is not random. They reflect areas of the world to which K-pop agencies seek to spread. While the acquisition of Chinese and Japanese would allow the group to engage with potential fans in China and Japan( the largest music markets closest to Korea), the acquisition of English, Arabic and French belie aspirations that go beyond East Asia.

Releasing tracks in Korean another language

Korean artists will debut in various countries in addition to debuting in Korea. BoA debuted in Korea, but developed a substantial career in Japan. More recent groups tend to debut in multiple countries. UP10TION debuted in Korea, China and Japan.  SF9 debuted in Korea and Japan.  UKISS also debuted in Japan after debuting in Korea. Such debuts increasingly involve releasing their  Korean tracks in other languages.  EXO releases entire albums in both Korean and Chinese. SHINee rereleased some of their most popular early Korean hits in Japanese as part of their debut in Japan, including “Juliette,” “Lucifer,” and “Replay.”

Releasing original tracks in another language

Another promotional strategy is when groups release new material solely in a different language. TVXQ have a long track record of releasing singles as well as entire albums in Japanese without a Korean counterpart, including Tense, Tone, Time and Tree. 

Foreign members of groups

Increasingly, K-pop groups are featuring foreign members. Super Junior paved the way by including Chinese member Zhou Mi and Chinese-Canadian member Henry in their subgroup, Super Junior M. Since that time, Korean agencies have been trying to gain foreign fans with the inclusion of foreign members. Rookie group Pentagon has members from other countries, including Yuto, who was born in Japan, and Yan An, who was born in China. Groups will also have Japanese stage names to reach out to foreign fans, such as Hoshi in Seventeen and Wei in UP10TION.

Rather than rely on one mode of globalization, K-pop continues to diversify its promotional strategies.

Sources

EMI Records Japan. “SHINee – JULIETTE[Japanese ver.] Music Video Full.” YouTube. 7 Apr 2011. https://youtu.be/lT-iBCuoNS4 (26 May 2017).

Kwon Yoo Shin. “TVXQ – Time Works Wonders.” YouTube. 27 Dec 2014. https://youtu.be/4vKKgAO6vBQ. (26 May 2017).

Oh, Ingyu. “The Globalization of K-pop: Korea’s Place in the Global Music Industry.” Korea Observer 44.3 (2013): 389-409.

PinkyGirlxoxo. “SHINee Key speaking in 3 languages.” YouTube. 4 Apr 2012. https://youtu.be/h0we-mNztdE (17 Apr 2017).

St. Michel, Patrick. “How Korean Pop Conquered Japan.” The Atlantic. 13 Sept 2011. https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2011/09/how-korean-pop-conquered-japan/244712/ (17 Apr 2017).

 

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Global Promotional Strategies in K-pop by Crystal S. Anderson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Not the Only One: Multi-Fandoms and K-pop

 

Crystal S. Anderson, PhD

Associate Professor of English, Longwood University

Can’t decide which K-pop group or artist is your favorite? You are not alone! Global fans of K-pop tend to support several groups and artists at the same time, while their Korean counterparts tend to support only one group or artist. But why? And which groups tend to be in a global fan’s multi-fandom? This study seeks to answer these questions in survey that uses open-ended and multiple-choice questions. Take the survey and tell your friends!

Link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/kpopmultifandom

REVISED Last Fans Standing: Veteran Fans of K-pop

Crystal S. Anderson, PhD

Associate Professor of English, Longwood University

One of the things that happens when conducting qualitative surveys is that they can raise more questions than they answer. This is what happened with the preliminary data from Last Fans Standing: Longtime and Adult Fans of Korean Popular Music (K-pop). Response rates were unusually low, which was unusual given the rising number of fans who have been fans for more than five years. I speculated that respondents may think that only adult fans who had also been fans for five years or more could take the survey. So, I revised the survey to focus solely on veteran fans of K-pop, individuals who had been fans for five years or more. This means all you fans of ZE:A, CN Blue, SISTAR, Infinite, Miss A, Teen Top, Nine Muses, T-ara, f(x), BEAST/Highlight, SHINee, UKISS, 2PM, IU, Wonder Girls, KARA, FT. Island, Girls’ Generation, SS501, Super Junior, BoA, Dynamic Duo, Epik High, Lee Hyori, Kangta, Se7en, TVXQ, K. Will, Big Bang, 2NE1, 4Minute, Fly to the Sky, g.o.d, H.O.T, Jinusean, S.E.S, Sechs Kies, Shinhwa, and any other group that debuted more than 5 years ago need to get on it!

The revised survey can be found here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/vetfans

Data Drop: Preliminary Results for Study on Longtime and Adult K-pop Fans

Image: Pixabay

Image: Pixabay

Crystal S. Anderson, PhD
Associate Professor of English, Longwood University

Preliminary results from an academic study on individuals who have been fans of K-pop five years or longer reveals the appeal of both new and veteran groups and a focus on vocals and choreography. 192 responses collected between September 9, 2016 and November 7, 2016 are in response to the  query, “Please list your bias (i.e. favorite) K-pop groups and solo artists and briefly explain why you like them.” The entire dataset can be accessed here.

Continue reading

Eru: Love Me Even If We Separate

Eru

Eru

Crystal S. Anderson, PhD

Associate Professor of English, Longwood University

Eru (Jo Sung Hyun) is a Korean-American male singer, the son of popular Korean trot singer, Tae Jin Ah. Debuted on September 5, 2005, Eru is the face of Hallyu in Indonesia, and “the first Korean singer to stage performance on eight different music programs in Indonesia and top the local music chart” (Global Indonesian Voices). He has also made inroads into China as a result of participating in K-drama series like Temptation, which “has become quite popular in China, which has lead to the soundtrack receiving just as much attention and love from Chinese fans. YouTube videos are being made with the Korean lyrics of the tracks being translated into Chinese” (Kpopstarz). His fandom is called Eru Fund.

LABEL MATES

?

COLLABORATIONS

  1. Eru X Yong Jun Hyung (BEAST): I Hate You | 2. Eru X Sule: Saranghaeyo | 3. Eru X Bae Seul Ki X Kim Hyun Joong: Black Glasses | 4. Eru X J Yo: Garosugil(가로수길)

RELEVANT SOURCES

Image: 1

Videos

Eru X Yong Jun Hyung (BEAST): I Hate You. 1theK. “Eru(이루) _ I Hate You(미워요) (feat. Junhyung of BEAST) MV.” YouTube. 7 Aug 2012. https://youtu.be/TtTJbd2mM0I, (9 Dec 2016).

Eru X Sule: Saranghaeyo. FalconMusicIndonesia. “Eru 이루 Ft Sule – Saranghaeyo.” YouTube. 16 Mar 2013. https://youtu.be/kQllwjfRqPE, (9 Dec 2016).

Eru X Bae Seul Ki X Kim Hyun Joong: Black Glasses. MBCkpop. “Eru – Black Glasses(feat.Bae Seul-ki, Kim Hyun-joong), 이루 – 까만 안경(feat.배슬기, 김.” YouTube. 17 Feb 2012. https://youtu.be/Sy2dFdyl2l0, (9 Dec 2016).

Eru X J Yo: Garosugil(가로수길). 1theK. “[MV] Eru(이루), J-Yo (Lucky J(럭키제이)) _ Garosu-gil(가로수길).” YouTube. 25 Feb 2015. https://youtu.be/7VHjqvCxIDU, (9 Dec 2016).  

Articles

Arvelia Yardhika Ong. “Korean Singer Eru Cast as Male Lead in Indonesian FTV.” Global Indonesian Voices. 14 Oct 2014. Evernote.

Diana Shin. “Eru’s Popularity Spreads from Indonesia to China with New Drama OST.” Kpopstarz. 18 Aug 2014. Evernote.

Wonder Girls: Nobody for Anybody

Wonder Girls

Wonder Girls

Crystal S. Anderson, PhD

Associate Professor of English, Longwood University

Wonder Girls debuted in 2007, the same year as Girls’ Generation, 8eight, Kara, T-Max, FT Island and Supernova. The group often makes the list of major female K-pop groups, along with 2NE1, S.E.S and Girls’ Generation.  Wonder Girls is credited with spearheading K-pop in the United States years before Psy (Billboard). The group also features a “signature retro sound and concept, which borrows from the 60s, 70s and 80s” (POPCRUSH).  The Wonder Girls announced their disbandment on January 26, 2017.

LABEL MATES

Park Jin Young | 2AM | 2PM | Miss A | Day6 | Twice | G.Soul | Got 7

COLLABORATIONS

  1. Wonder Girls X Big Bang: Tell Me | 2. Wonder Girls X BigBang: 2008 MBC Gayo DaeJun | 3. Wonder Girls X Dynamic Duo: Nobody/Anybody | 4. Wonder Girls X 2PM: Nobody Tango  | 5. Wonder Girls X JYP: Irony/Tell Me/She Was Pretty | 6. Wonder Girls X KARA X Black Pearl X Girls’ Generation: Battle of the Princess | 7. Yubin (Wonder Girls) X IVY: I Dance/Sonata of Temptation | 8. Yubin (Wonder Girls) X Jonghyun (SHINee): Deja-Boo | 9. Wonder Girls X 2PM X Miss A: Heartbeat

RELEVANT SOURCES

Image

Jubilantj. “Wonder Girls Take On Retro Style Fashion for ‘InStyle.” allkpop. 15 Jul 2016. http://www.allkpop.com/article/2016/07/wonder-girls-take-on-retro-style-fashion-for-instyle, (13 Dec 2016).

Articles

Jeff Benjamin. “Top 10 K-pop Girl Groups You Need To Know.” Billboard. 30 Apr 2014. Evernote.

Jeff Benjamin. “Wonder Girls Are Back!” Billboard. 24 June 2015. Evernote.

Alexis Hodoyan-Gastelum. “Wonder Girls at Nine: The Ups and Downs of K-pop’s Enduring Girl Group.” POPCRUSH. 8 Feb 2016. Evernote.

Video

myspace.com/ippandaish. “[HQ]Big Bang & Wonder Girls – Tell Me.” YouTube. 25 Sept 2009. https://youtu.be/Y3d2AinyB9E, (12 Dec 2016).

yannaisVIP. “[123108]MBC Gayo DaeJun Big Bang & Wonder Girls.” YouTube. 5 Jul 2009. https://youtu.be/NjqAzEnuZo8, (12 Dec 2016).

Mneet K-POP. “Wondergirls & Dynamic Duo – Nobody/Anybody.” YouTube. 14 Jul 2009. https://youtu.be/dKrU_BsEmD8, (12 Dec 2016).

Anti SNSD 4ever. “[Vietsub] Nobody Tango – Wonder Girls ft 2PM.” YouTube. https://youtu.be/FBVrBirb4AQ, (12 Dec 2016).

 JYPGTeam02. “[Vietsub Kara] Irony + Tell me + She was pretty – Wonder Girls feat. JYP.” YouTube. 17 Feb 2013. https://youtu.be/3QyiZt3pzaY, (12 Dec 2016).

Viet Le. “HD Wonder Girls (원더걸스), KARA, Black Pearl, and Girls Generation-Battle of the Princess.” YouTube. 16 May 2009. https://youtu.be/1KmxJIDsXpg, (12 Dec 2016).     

 Lokyan69. “【1080P】IVY ft.Yubin(Wonder Girls)- I Dance & Sonata of Temptation (14 July,2013).’ YouTube. https://youtu.be/sQeQNFXK6Zw, (12 Dec 2016).   

DonghaeELFSuJu. 151227 JONGHYUN 종현 (SHINee 샤이니) (feat. Wonder Girls Yubin (원더걸스 유빈))- 데자-부 (Déjà-Boo) @ 가요대전 Live.” YouTube. https://youtu.be/JLMZgMswtRM, (12 Dec 2016).  

 jennifer cb. “2pm ft wondergirls miss a heartbeat 111 1 nhk bshi jyp nation in japan 2 11.” YouTube. 14 Dec 2011. https://youtu.be/uUx83wVZo4U, (12 Dec 2016).  

Mini Data Note: Why Fans Like B.A.P!

B.A.P

B.A.P

Crystal S. Anderson, PhD
Associate Professor of English, Longwood University

Survey results suggest that BABYs, fans of the male K-pop group B. A.P, like the group because of its uniqueness, music and the extramusical activities of the members. These results come from the FAVORITE ARTIST: KARTIST3YR DATASET, part of the 3Year Korean Popular Music Survey. This data note is based on a small sample of 11 respondents.

Uniqueness

Respondents point to the way that B.A.P differs from other K-pop “idol” groups.  One noted that “they have a different feeling to the Kpop industry” and another stated that “they don’t just have a pretty-boy sound.” This can be seen from their debut song, “Warrior.”

 

Music

Respondents also referred to the group’s musical ability. One stated, “They have a wide variety of types of songs (‘Coffee Shop’ is mellow, ‘Hurricane’ is dance and ‘Badman’ is just hard).” Another stated, “They clearly have a passion for music and the music they make, even sometimes getting involved with its creation.”

Extramusical Activities

Several respondents noted the activities of the members beyond music making. One respondent noted, “They’re having a concert because of their charity works. They have the heart of helping others despite . . . their busy schedules.” Another stated, “The leader participates in helping children and the fans also participate in actions [by] UNICEF.”

Image: 1

Sources

“FAVORITE ARTIST: KARTIST3YR DATASET,” KPOPCULTURE, accessed December 1, 2016, http://kpop.omeka.net/items/show/695.

TSENT 2008. “B.A.P – WARRIOR (워리어) M/V.” YouTube. 25 Jan 2012. https://youtu.be/5tLooPlf2Sw, *(9 Dec 2016).

Shinhwa: Perfect Men

shinhwa_changing_kpopstarz

Shinhwa

Crystal S. Anderson, PhD

Associate Professor of English, Longwood University

Shinhwa debut in 1998, the same year as 1TYM, 4MEN and Fin.K.L. The group is best known for being the oldest K-pop group that has maintained its original lineup, paving the way for longevity for other K-pop “idol” groups. Not only is the group one of the oldest “idol” groups, it has also pioneered promoting as a group while also supporting the individual careers of its members. One of the key factors in their longevity can be traced to the group’s constant presence in the public eye, before and after a four-year hiatus. In addition to consisting producing high-quality albums, “some members act, others make music, and some are even involved in helping others produce the next generation of idol groups” (The Altantic). Their long career can also be traced to their musical development:  “They may not have branched out and stretched the limits of pop, but they were always able to adapt to changes in pop music itself over the years. Their singles generally represent the sound of K-pop at the time they were released to the point w[h]ere you can basically start with “Resolver” and listen to their singles all the way up to “Venus” and have a history lesson along the way” (seoulbeats). 

Shinhwa chose the members of Battle, which debuted during Let’s Coke Play! Shinwha Battle. Eric initially produced Stellar. Eric founded TOP Media, which manages Teen Top, UP10TION and 100%.

LABEL MATES

None

COLLABORATIONS

None

RELEVANT SOURCES

Image

jasmooOnce. “Shinhwa Releases ‘Orange’ MV for Loyal Fans.” KpopStarz. 29 Nov 20016. http://www.kpopstarz.com/articles/275901/20161129/shinhwa-releases-orange-mv-loyal-fans.htm, (2 Dec 2016).

Articles

Amy He. “What the Backstreet Boys Could Learn from K-pop.” The Atlantic. 23 Jul 2013. Evernote.

Gaya. “SB Exchange #14: The Legend of Shinhwa.” seoulbeats. Evernote.

Mini Data Note: Why Fans Like Infinite!

Infinite

Infinite

Crystal S. Anderson, PhD

Associate Professor of English, Longwood University

Survey results suggests that Inspirits, fans of the male K-pop group Infinite, like the group because of its strong choreography, vocals and group dynamic.  These results come from the FAVORITE ARTIST: KARTIST3YR DATASET, part of the Hallyu Korean Popular Music Survey. This data note is based on a small sample of 13 respondents.

Choreography

Respondents repeatedly point to Infinite’s dance skills as a primary reason for the group’s appeal, noting their ability to dance in sync. One respondent stated that s/he liked the group because “they have one of the most dopest choreography ever; they are /nearly/synchronized.” Such dance skills can be seen in music videos like “Come Back Again.”

 

Vocals

Other respondents point to the group’s vocal talent. One respondent noted that “all of the members can sing, even the rappers.” Another noted the ability of the members to harmonize. This can be seen in their performance of “Diamond.”

Group Dynamic

Some respondents noted the dynamic between group members. One respondent described the members as “handsome and funny,” while another noted that “they’re serious on stage but down-to-earth off and funny/goofy.”

Sources

“FAVORITE ARTIST: KARTIST3YR DATASET,” KPOPCULTURE, accessed December 1, 2016, http://kpop.omeka.net/items/show/695.

Jeff Benjamin. “INFINITE’s ‘Destiny’ Music Video: Watch the EDM-Influenced Single’s Blockbuster Visual.” Billboard. 16 Jul 2013. http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/k-town/1764404/infinites-destiny-music-video-watch-the-edm-influenced-singles. (1 Dec 2016).

KBS World TV. “INFINITE – Back / Diamond [Music Bank COMEBACK / 2014.07.18].” YouTube. 12 Aug 2014. https://youtu.be/scg2UqfC15U, (1 Dec 2016).

wolliment. “인피니트 ‘다시돌아와’ 안무ver. 뮤직비디오.” YouTube. 27 Jun 2010. https://youtu.be/6NzVJYEcruw, (1 Dec 2016).