I came across a post on theoneshots.com on “Five of K-pop’s Biggest Struggle Groups” (you can read it here: http://www.theoneshots.com/2014/04/five-of-k-pops-biggest-struggle-groups/).
Here’s what they wrote about B.A.P, “They’ve yet to crack the top 10 in any of the sites that matter, whereas their supposed rival group is literally dominating in every single way.”
Okay, firstly, why is B.A.P even on the list?
The title reads “Kpop’s Biggest Struggle Groups”. How is B.A.P even struggling when their Live On Earth concerts are more or less sold out in minutes, and that they have won 3 awards on music shows for 1004’s comeback, and that they are immensely popular in foreign countries?
Here’s another quote from The OneShots, “My advice to B.A.P? Stay home, make fans miss you, make better title song choices, and make it so that more than one of your vocalists is actually capable of performing live.”
While I have to admit that EXO is doing really well in Korea, having one of the largest fanbase, and sweeping almost all awards in Korea, and yes “literally dominating in every single way” but (sorrynotsorry) only in Korea/China. I can’t say much about their international popularity since I’m not a fan of them and I do not know much about their international popularity (neither do I care about it), but it is definitely clear that B.A.P is more popular in foreign countries (and fyi, the scale of foreign countries is much larger than korea /coughs/).
On the topic of popularity, here’s another thing. EXO comes from a HUGE company called SM, where their labelmates (or sunbae-nims) have already opened a clear path for them. Well, you can’t deny that you’ve been anticipating this boyband ever since they appeared in DBSK’s HaHaHa CF. Yes, so people have been giving their attention to them and anticipating this upcoming rookie boyband since their predebut, just like how people are anticipating the debut of SM Rookies now. On the other hand, B.A.P had to begin from scratch. Their label-mates are Untouchable and Secret, who are honestly not as popular as DBSK, Suju, Shinee and SNSD. In other words, on a scale of 1 to 10 on popularity, EXO began with a 5, while B.A.P began with a 1.
I know the korean music industry is about money, this is after all, business. Companies need their groups to be popular, they need their groups to earn money, because this is BUSINESS. However, what I think is that some groups place too much emphasis on business and the quality of music that they produced is somehow compromised. I liked EXO’s Mama, I loved that song although I couldn’t get the English lyrics at the beginning (curious, curious, shoot anonymous, anonymous —- whuttt?), but there were so many versions of Mama before they came back with Growl, that I stopped following them. And sorry, I have to say this although I’m a fan of TVXQ, SM’s songs sound pretty similar to me. Probably because they keep using the same composer, and same dubstep tunes.
What I like about B.A.P is that they dare to try out different genres. Some genre might not be popular among kpop fans but I think this side of B.A.P defines what B.A.P actually is. That is, B.A.P is a group who dares to do what they like and love what they do, regardless of whether they will do well or not. I feel that what they have in mind is to make the music they enjoy, and enjoy the music that they make, and introduce their fans to different genres of music and hope that they will enjoy them too. And this is what I call the essence of making music.
It’s inevitable that people will compare EXO and BAP since they debuted around the same time. But let me just say this one last time, both groups have their own style, both group need to be appreciated as who they are, and not “B.A.P should follow EXO’s steps” or whatever. BAP is BAP, EXO is EXO. Nuff’ said.
That having said, advising BAP to “stay home, make fans miss you, make better title song choices, and make it so that more than one of your vocalists is actually capable of performing live” is just not right.
First off, why should BAP “stay home” and make fans miss them when they’re doing really well overseas? This comeback has proven that BAP is getting more popular in Korea, most likely because 1004 sounds like a song that most Koreans prefer. Besides, I feel that it would be even more difficult to thrive in Korea since the korean music scene is pretty much dominated by big companies like SM, YG and JYP, frankly speaking, TS would really have a hard time if it were to compete with these companies. So, the smartest choice is to branch out their business overseas, which is what BAP is doing now, conquering the other parts of the world first. Now that they have a huge and stable pool of international fans, I don’t see why it is necessary to “stay home”.
Secondly, what do you mean by “make better title song choices”? While I have to admit that I usually love BAP’s non-title-songs more than their title tracks, I feel that the title songs they choose are more representative of their music styles, and each title track conveys a hidden message. Badman is about crime and societal issues, and these are issues not commonly mentioned in Kpop songs, thus making the song more meaningful than other tracks in the album. “Title song” isn’t the same as “Most-catchy song” in the album though.
Thirdly, both DaeJae are capable of performing live, so what do you mean by “make it so that more than one of your vocalists is actually capable of performing live”? BAP doesn’t lip-sync during concerts, I’ve been to their concert before, and I can guarantee they don’t lip-sync during concerts. To be honest, as a music student, I can say that Youngjae went off-pitch a few times, but overall, he’s still a pretty good singer. Daehyun’s voice is pretty much flawless, so I have nothing to comment about that. Furthermore, the other members can sing well too, not as well as DaeJae, but they’re in tune most of the time and they are improving. Just take a look at how Jongup belts out his high note in his solo part in Body and Soul.
I don’t think BAP is actually struggling when they’re quite successful based on their album sales and concert attendance. And there is nothing wrong with having multiple comebacks… isn’t this the norm for kpop groups now? Besides, I think they’re becoming more successful each comeback, with better songs than before, so I would say that I’m always anticipating their comebacks. And Yongguk’s lyrics. I feel like I’ve been enlightened each time I read his lyrics.
Just because EXO is successful, doesn’t mean that BAP isn’t, and it doesn’t mean that BAP has to follow how EXO promotes in Korea. Perhaps TS could let BAP participate in more variety shows to expose them to more Korean fans, but other than that, I feel that TS knows how to manage BAP better than us, so let’s just let them do whatever they deem fit. I don’t think it is fair to judge a kpop-group based on its popularity in korea, or the number of fans they have. Music is subjective. BAP’s music might not be popular among Kpop fans who love “catchy mainstream kpop songs” but they are definitely popular among fans who love hip-hop or fans who like “fresh music”.
For the answer to The OneShot’s opinion, I would recommend them to take a look at the lyrics of BAP’s Excuse Me.