WARNING: Even though these topics have bullet points on them, if you are lazy and do not want to read much, I suggest you skip to the Overall part and also answer the questions at the bottom. Thank you! ^_^
Looks like we have reached the end of an eventful year in J-Pop and especially, K-Pop. I would like to say, despite my lack of knowledge of the J-Pop World for 3 years, I can say the world of J-Pop and K-Pop seemed more calmer at the start of the year compared to the drama that later unfolding in the following months. Let’s recap what happened in the year of 2009 of J-Pop and K-Pop, from my standards and choices, of course.
Best Things of J-Pop:
- Getting into Perfume: I never thought I would get into Perfume because honestly, they can’t sing live and it’s all auto-tuned but honestly this October, their songs Polyrhythm (ポリリズム) and Secret Secret (シークレットシークレット) got in my head and I decided to get to know the group slowly. Now I’ve also got into Chocolate Disco (チョコレイト ディスコ) and Baby cruising Love. Since there are only three members, it can’t be hard right?
- Kusumi Koharu graduates Morning Musume: You can read my delightful news here.
- Japan Award Ceremonies: Unfortuantely, I cannot write about the Annual Japan Record Awards or Kōhaku Uta Gassen (紅白歌合戦) as for one, I have no subscriptions on J-Pop music and have no good sources for Japanese music unfortuantely. But I’m sure they are usually hold some of the best performances in J-Pop.
- YA-KYIM and May J. new albums and change of companies: Despite the treading that YA-KYIM have changed to more J-Pop, I am glad that they and one of my favourite solo artists, May J. have at least shown that they still exist in the J-Pop world. I’m still disappointed with YA-KYIM’s style despite moving to Utada Hikaru’s label (Warner Music Japan) but I’m more happy that May J. is back after 2 years moving to Avex Trax, Rythmn Zone (the best company for Japanese music) with a new album that charted at #4 (#46 more than her last album) and at least keeping the J-R&B style she started off with like her songs, DO tha ‘DO tha’.
Worst Things of J-Pop:
- Arihana Kanna and Umeda Erika graduating from Hello!Project: I was so pissed that Arihana left on my birthday because of her injury and her unhappiness in the company and Erika to become a model, they along with Okai Chisato (thank goodness she is still in the group) are my favourites in ℃-ute and to see them leave was a disappointment.
- Dismiss of one of the Queens of J-Pop: Despite Namie Amuro, Ayumi Hamasaki and Koda Kumi still release an album and a single or two this year, Utada Hikaru was trying her hand at the Asian Domination with the other K-Pop Artists in America, I was a bit disappointed that for the second half of 2009 that she didn’t even put out a single because from what I heard, she was sick. Now unless, it was swine flu, she has no excuse in my opinion. Next year has got to be better.
- Hello!Project booted the best out: On February 1, 2009, Hello! Project held its largest concert ever—the “Hello Pro Award ’09 ~Elder Club Sotsugyō Kinen Special~ now I think that all was going well until Yuko Nakazawa, passed her leadership position to Morning Musume member and leader Ai Takahashi meaning that everyone who was doing nothing in Hello!Project before (or was old and probably forgotten due to the groups who are still promoting) were graduated a.k.a had terminated contracts in Hello!Project (especially Melon Kinebi, leaving Morning Musume, Berryz Koubou ℃-ute and Buono!). Instead of creating groups for them, Tsunku kicked them out literally. How great is that guy? I hardly respect him now.
Best things of K-Pop:
- Girl Group Craze: Despite a few debuts and comeback from male artists and groups, you have to admit that this year was really, Girl Group Domination. In my opinion, it’s a good thing that a lot of these girl groups debuted this year because if not, then I would only have the Wonder Girls as one of my favourite girl groups. Now my list is: 4minute, Wonder Girls, T-ara, 2NE1, f(x), After School and Secret. Sorry it’s taken me a year to get into KARA and I still haven’t got into them, along with Brown Eyed Girls. And So Nyeo Shi Dae…well, good songs this year but see ‘Taeyeon Racist Comment’ below.
- Fashion Trends: I’ve become into Korea (and Japan)’s style of fashion especially 4minute during their Hot Issue days and trying to wear bright clothes instead of the usual black and blue.
- End of year Boy Groups Takeover: U-Kiss, SHINee, Beast, MBLAQ, 2PM…I don’t think I’m the only one who was very glad. From October to November, you have to admit. This was a great month indeed. From Ring Ding Dong to Heartbeat, I enjoyed every song that these 29 boys put out. Except for SS501′s Love Like This, sorry they are a reserve group and have yet to prove to me that they have a good enough song to listen too. And that’s why my list is now: 2PM, SHINee, Beast, MBLAQ, DBSK, Big Bang, Super Junior.
- Award Ceremonies and Music Shows: They are always full of great performances and unexpectedly surprises that lay in store. Like the Golden Disk Awards for awarding 4minute and T-ara the Newcomer Award, no offense to you Blackjacks but I feel that the hype surrounding 2NE1 was just too great and annoyed me shortly afterwards, 2PM and 4minute’s performance were amazing. The Melon Music Awards was decent and acceptable but I was disappointed at the Girl Group Extravaganza because I thought it was going to be an all-out dance battle between the groups, oh well, 2PM’s performance was good, was it not? And Gayo Daejun which is my #1 favourite was absolutely superb especially MBLAQ vs. BEAST, 2PM performing 5 steps, f(x) and KARA doing RING DING DONG, all of YG Family’s performances and Girl’s Hot Dance doing Heartbeat (OMG!). Also, 2PM’s version of You’re Beautiful was great but is it me or were some of their expressions when they were sleeping perverted (e.g Nichkhun was thinking, “Un. I’d tap that Wooyoung.” and the Junbrothers, “OMG what if Wooyoung came in the room and into my bed”
Worst things of K-Pop:
- Swine flu: It hit Korea hard and some of my most favourite idols including Jo Kwon, Onew, Jonghyun, Taemin, Sulli etc. Let’s just hope that not as many catch it as they did in the last few months of the cold winter we’ve had in 2009. Although, at least in London we’ve had snow three times this year; once in February (closed down school, wohoo!) and twice in December (almost near the 25th but instead on the 23rd, damn!)
- AJ going into a group: Honestly it took me until I read the reason why Ki Kwang/AJ went into Beast that I accepted him into it. I really thought he had a chance of a good solo career and felt that he was being demoted but I guess when you are solo, you do get lonely, and he wanted to be with friends so I decided to give the group a chance and plus they work just as hard as any group and are just as funny. So I guess you can say, it’s not really a bad thing really!
- Taeyeon Racist Comment: Honestly, they make good songs but I’m not sure about the members especially the leader and her comment this year which may not affect many but goes to show how ignorant she is, “For a black person, she’s really pretty.” I honestly wish Alicia Keys heard and demanded an apology.
- Dong Bang Shin Ki JaeChuSu vs. SM Enertainment and YunMin lawsuit: July 31 saw the start of Jaejoong, Yoochun and Junsu (JaeChunSu)’s dispute with SM Entertainment, I can only hope they spent their 6th year together on the 26th as 5 members but I hardly doubt it. November 2007 is when I first found this amazing group on Koda Kumi’s Last Angel PV and it would be a shame to see them disband because of the lawsuit and the worse thing that they were supposed to make plans to comeback in Korea in Spring next year earlier in November has not been decided is not good. January 2008 – May 2009 saw my obsessive love for DBSK stop eventually as earlier this year, they started getting tired and instead, I found 2PM at the end of May. Apparently, I’m not the only one. ¬_¬
- Jaebeom’s leave: September was such a tragic month for us all. It’s been a little more than 100 days since Jaebeom has left Korea. Now, Sepetember 8th was a tragic day and I can only hope it does not go on for another 100 days (March 24th). I’m just hoping this show of him making his comeback to Korea will air and be subbed for next year but put aside that for next year, I’m just hoping he’s had a nice Christmas and finish the rest of the year with his family and friends (At this point, I wish I lived in Seattle and lived next door to him).
- Soyoung leaving After School: Honestly, even though After School have achieved their first #1 mutizen, I still miss After School as a 5 member group doing Ah! But I guess it’s for the better since she wasn’t feeling well, maybe we will see her in the future in a new group like Hyunah, Doojoon or even Hyunseung?
- Taemin bullied in school: How could they do that to him? I wish I was there to slap all the girls and stop all the bullies but I’m not a strong person. His “fans” or what I will call HATERS and STALKERS need a life and should leave him alone. And it doesn’t even seem like he has done anything in return. The thing is, he seems like a sweet boy as well, Taemin must hate going to school. He’s got enough on his hands without people at his school making it worse. SHINee have to miss hours of sleep (I heard K-Pop stars only get 3-4 hours), practise performances, going on talk shows etc.
Also, one that goes for both J-Pop and K-Pop is the Asian Domination Advance in America, although it didn’t last long including Utada Hikaru, Se7en, BoA and the Wonder Girls.
Overall, 2009 has proven to be an eventful year for both J-Pop and K-Pop. The calm beginning turned to an eventful year with amazingly changes and surprisingly unpleasant news for us all. Although most of my predictions were seemingly right for the last four months, the ones that have yet to unfold next year. Is it me or has Plendis, Cube, J.Tune been moving up in the ranks of enertainment companies like SM, JYP and YG always do? 2010 has yet to bring us many artists that were pushed back with many bringing forth new albums next year.
Despite the relationship change in one of Korea’s biggest idol groups, Dong Bang Shin Ki have released a new single for Japan, BREAKOUT next year January 27th and I have to say, the song is better than Survivor early in April. ℃-ute are releasing a single on the same day called SHOCK! however, I viewed the video and I am highly disappointed at the dominance of Airi’s lines and that the only members get to sing the chorus or “CHA”. Not only that but Koda Kumi is going to be releasing a Best of Hits album and her eigth album which should be amazing, I hope her next album will be just as better as Kingdom is. Big Bang may do their best of hits album in Korea too. Also full albums from Lee Hyori, 2NE1 and Taeyang are expected next year, the Wonder Girls are planning a Chinese album and hopefully a US album in February next year. Expect KARA, 2AM and Joo to make a comeback but I’m not quite sure if they will all make a mini album at all.
In my own rankings, this was the best for me:
- J-Pop Solo Artist: Koda Kumi (3rd year running)
- J-Pop Group: Morning Musume
- Best Album in J-Pop: This is the One – Utada Hikaru
- C-Pop Solo Artist: Elva Hsiao
- K-Pop Group: 2PM
- K-Pop Solo Artist: Son Dambi
- Best Album in K-Pop: 1:59PM – 2PM
Regarding my thoughts, I would like to ask you:
- Favourite month of the year?
- The song that came out in J-Pop and/or K-Pop you liked?
- If your a K-Pop fan, what group/solo artist did you enjoy seeing debut this year?
So, was this a good year for you? Or was it worse than 2008? I can only hope 2010 is better. And my only wish for the New Year is for Jaebeom to come back to 2PM – if not before January 8th, he’ll just take some time to come back on my 2PM list.
Anyways, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!