Kpop Music Video: Day 22
History by EXO under SM Entertainment
Normally, I’d embed the video next, but the way this group is set up requires me to talk about the band before I post the video. EXO is a 12 member group that debuted one year ago. Their group is further divided into two subgroups, EXO-K and EXO-M. Each subgroup uses the same song, and the same dance for their music video, but the K subgroup sings the song in Korean, and the M subgroup sings the song in Mandarin Chinese. This way, SM entertainment can make a group that can simultaneously promote themselves in Korea and China (which like Japan, is becoming more receptive to Kpop style music), and only write one song and choreograph one dance for what in essence is 2 separate bands. So without further ado:
So this band is one of the three bands I think were substantial rookie bands to debut last year, the other two being Nu’est, and B.A.P. (I’m speaking from strictly an international perspective; I’m well aware that Busker Busker wrecked all three in terms of new bands debuting). However, I’m just getting on to the Exotic bandwagon of craziness, and with much trepidation. I didn’t want to touch EXO with a ten foot pole when they first debuted because I subscribed to their youtube channel (SM Entertainment) just before they started releasing teaser videos (30 second videos meant to pique your interest about a song being released) and SM flooded my feed with teasers. It’s like walking past a store with too many advertisements. Eventually you assume that its a dollar store and the merchandise is cheap, otherwise why would you need that many ads? Then to follow it up, Exotics themselves are a pretty crazy fanbase. I have always been the type of person that will try a band if it seems like a good number of people like them, but as soon as a fan base starts trashing other bands on THE OTHER BANDS videos, or seem super focused on how unbelievably awesome their group is, I stay away before I can get into them. I have dubbed this the Naruto/Bleach effect, since this is where my aversion to fan groups first arose. To be honest, I’m not really sure how I’ve made it through so many songs without completely dropping fandoms. All I can say is, I’m so glad I came upon SNSD’s videos first, otherwise some of the comments that are made in other groups’ videos would make me want to shun them FOREVER.
The other thing that makes me feel weird about EXO is that for the first time I get this feeling that the band is completely manufactured. My friend who is into Indie music describes this as the “made from money” effect, like they’re just a machine that’s meant to spit out songs and dance on stage. He’d call it souless pop, and while I know that these bands are created by companies, I feel like I’ve gotten to see so many stars go through so much work to make it on these stages that I can’t see it as being souless. But with EXO, I really don’t know. What is great about this factory type construction of using the same dance and song but having two different languages to choose from, is I get to pick which band I want to listen to over and over again. I chose to show you History because I really genuinely enjoy both renditions. I listen to MAMA in Korean because I like the singing better in Korean, and Wolf in Mandarin, because I feel that Mandarin lends itself better to rap. Oh and I only listen to What is Love in Korean, but I only listen to that song when I want to lose my pants in Rippito sippito flippin slow motion. Even though I listen to the bands about equally, I appreciate Exo-M better; I’ve just noticed I pay attention to the Mandarin videos more. Maybe I’m M biased. Who can tell?
Regardless of my reservations, EXO is a pretty talented group full of good singers, some good rappers, and a whole ton of good dancers. One of the best things about this group is the dancing, which seems to be spectacular in every song they do. And no matter how much the fan base can annoy me, I’ll still be humming this song at the end of the day.