Unfortunately, due to a contract dispute with their mother company SM entertainment, they have no signs of continuing activities in Korea, and in Japan they are also pausing their group activities as well, though this doesn’t mean disbandment. The news of this activity suspension was apparently big enough that many newspapers and sites featured the news as prominent and noteworthy. So what is the effect of DBSK?
DBSK (in Korea) and TVXQ (as they are known in Japan) is a 5, all male idol group, and in Chinese characters is written 東方神起. The public and media label them as an idol group, but they are much more than that. Some call them a super dance singing group, in Japan for example (they hyperbolize everything anyway to make things sound interesting).
The initial turn-off point for liking an all male group as a male myself is because it is “gay”, or because it just isn’t cool. Or only little girls like them, which is what most Korean males would say. What, really? Well congratulations, it seems like I have managed to ostracize myself from the general public.
Stereotypes will be stereotypes. While the trend seems to favor groups such as Big Bang (especially Tae Yang… err Wedding Dress anyone?) or Super Junior (I admit Sorry Sorry is a pretty addictive tune when played at the right time), DBSK still has the largest official fanbase in the world of any group – Cassiopeia.
Now time to prepare my flameshield. I openly declare that most, or a very large percentage of DBSK’s official fans are what some term as “dykes” or “whales” or “pork chops.” I happen to have noticed that the occurrence of a hot girl screaming at the top of their lungs to express their undying love for DBSK is next to none, smaller than the value of e^(-infinity), which if you know Calculus, is treated as zero. For this reason, I think that is why people who have no interest in DBSK will say that only ugly girls like them. Which is quite true.
Which brings me to a short but valid point that I like to bring up once in a while. Why do ugly girls go crazy for idol groups? It is because that is the closest they will ever get to good looking alpha-men without risking their self-esteem or confidence, which would be completely shattered if they ever tried to approach one in public. These girls take comfort in the fact that these pretty-faced idols will always say “I love my fans, I hope you all take care of yourselves!” everytime they see a horde of crazy fan (ugly fat) girls scream their names with as much joy as the last time they received the recognition of a normal alpha-male… oops which has never happened.
Despite my hate about these fan girls, which I sincerely believe that not ALL of them are ugly (I know two girls who are above average looking who like them, but I know they would never be insane enough to go act like zombies from Left for Dead for them), my post today is going to talk about how I, a MALE, is a huge fan of them.
If you want to read the boring crap, go to Wikipedia. If you want a more vivid description of DBSK, then read on.
They’re basically 5 guys that were handpicked from auditions at a young age to become entertainers or artists or whatever you call them these days. They were all trained from a young age, have their own individual talents, and aren’t mere idols with a pretty face and nothing to back their profession up.
What is so special about DBSK?
They are undoubtedly the first foreigner group to have broken into Japan’s music market by having learned to fluently speak the language within a time frame of several years. They are immensely popular there, as well known as they are in Korea, despite being Koreans themselves (I seriously hate all the people on Youtube asking if they are Japanese or Korean. Christ, if you really wanted to know, just go read one sentence on Wikipedia. Takes 10 seconds…) When they first debuted in Japan, they barely spoke any Japanese. Now, they speak it quite fluently, and 2 of them are even acting in Japanese dramas soon (which IMO is a great feat, because I don’t think I’ve ever seen a non-Japanese-native act in a Japanese drama before and speak Japanese…). BoA has done the same, but I think DBSK is by far much more popular there at the moment – 5 beats 1. The other big feats are that they held concerts in Budokan and Tokyo Dome, which is no easy feat for a foreigner artist; as well as having many consecutive Oricon #1 singles (again, it is not easy for a foreigner artist to beat a local). In fact, their first few singles and albums barely passed the 10k mark, if not falling short; the recent few singles have all surpassed 200k, with their album somewhere near 500k… they are selling so well to the point that the Johnny’s are afraid of them (Japan’s most popular idol groups which appear in every media venue). They started out in much smaller arenas and stadiums when their popularity was very low, and have indeed grew in recognition. They appear on major magazine covers, and also have their ads in subway stations, billboards, and even the Shibuya 109 itself.
While it was strange to me at first about how a popular Korean group had trouble in Japan, it later occurred to me that Korean and Japanese media aren’t very well tied and synchronized together, perhaps of political issues… which I don’t know much about. So basically being popular in Japan as a Korean artist would take much, much more effort than being a popular Hong Kong singer in Taiwan (don’t even talk about the other way around, most Hong Kong people listen to Taiwanese artists just as much as they do to local artists…). Singers like Jay Chou had concerts in Japan before, and probably known to a certain extent, but compared to DBSK… well there is certainly no contest now.
I just find it pretty amazing for a foreign artist to assimilate completely into another country’s music market.
The chances of having 5 males that are as talented, as skillful, as good-looking, as humble as they are is a very rare occurrence. Look at Fahrenheit; they’re handsome but I don’t think their success and popularity is from talent, but from dramas mostly. Look at Big Bang; they’re good musically, but I think the only decent looker is TOP (G-Dragon, seriously? Any random scrawny honger on the street is as good looking as him, its only because he gets to wear weird-ass Mayan outfits in Vogue or something to stand out).
The probability is extremely low. There are a few boyband groups churned out by Korea recently, but they don’t have the talent, looks, or the charisma that DBSK possesses. In fact, why the probability is so low is because they happen to be so strong in each and every area. Though they aren’t god themselves as their group name implies (some of them can’t dance well, some of them can’t compose, some of them can’t sing well), they are certainly quite unbeatable.
Jaejoong and Yoochun have actually composed a few songs in their new albums that are well worth the recognition. They are actually worth listening to, and not some crap that they made just to make them look well-rounded. They’re no Jay Chous, but as a picky listener, I am still quite impressed.
They have astounding lives. Most of their live performances of their songs are better than their studio recordings. They seem to not run out of vocal power, and they treat each song as equally emotional and representable as it should be. I really admire their work ethic. I would probably half-ass some song after having performed it for the 30th time. But not them.
I am not a very skeptical person, but I think they have great personalities. I have watched enough of their interviews, talk shows to feel that they have a very unique, humble personality about them. They have their rage moments, but it never really shows anywhere on screen. I mean you hear a lot about how artists are playboys or sluts in their daily lives, sex tapes and whatever… But something makes me feel that they’re honest, down-to-earth people. Its just a combination of the some of the things they say, and lots of accounts of people who’ve met them in real life, praising about how they are still very respectful, polite people. Note that they are the most popular group in Asia at the moment in terms of revenue and fan numbers, so they have all the reasons to be cocky, but I’ve never even sensed a trace of it. I think it is fair to say that this is justified because of their sub-standard lives before they debuted: Junsu’s voice did not change completely during puberty, and the problem persisted until he was 17; Jaejoong was adopted and lived in poverty for a while before his audition; Yoochun’s parents had divorced and he flew back to Korea himself at the young age of 15 to receive training. I think none of them had it as smooth as me, just going to high school everyday, going home and not worrying about anything at all, so it is quite fair to say they deserve what they have achieved.
I think I’ve honestly become a fan because of their power to express emotions through music, and their respectable personality and ethics. Even if it is hyperbolized on-screen, I still can’t help but feel inspired sometimes.
DBSK often performs acapella, which is very pleasing to listen to. Acapella requires that each member sing a slightly different variation of the melody or harmony, sort of like a voice-only band. Anyhow, I’m not sure about the musical technicalities, but it is not easy to pull off and requires decent coordination. These guys obviously have the skills to do so, proving they’re much more than their visual appearances.
Japan’s boybands don’t compare to DBSK – the ones that have talent don’t have the looks, the ones that have the looks don’t have talent. And even if they did, it wouldn’t be all 5 of them.
Performances and songs worth listening to:
Love in the Ice – most powerful vocal ballad, and the live performance makes it even better.
Bolero – similar to above, a bit less powerful perhaps.
Purple Line – very powerful and upbeat dance song.
Rising Sun – unique upbeat dance song, a bit old but worth the watch
Mirotic – powerful dance song, the main song for their 4th Korean album.
Heart, Mind and Soul – really shows their slow, emotional ballad side. (also in video above)
Begin – my first/second favorite song from them, the live makes it even better.
^can’t seem to find a video of this one that doesn’t have the audio taken off 😦