Saturday, January 4, 2014

Most Shocking/Disappointing/WTF Asian Music Moments of 2013

Promising J-Indies Favorites Disband
I thought it would be excessive to give each of these bands their own entry as there's not much to say other than I'm sad I won't be seeing much of them, if anything, in 2014. Some were bands I've followed in the beginning and sad to see their journey end when they were reaching their peak: otogadead, cocklobin, and Eat You Alive. Some were new discoveries, but sadly faced their end when I was about to jump on the bandwagon of greatness: Called≠Plan and 2the DISCOLAND. I hope at least they find something else to join and continue on their musical journey.

Angeline Jolie Casts Miyavi
If you haven't heard the news, then I'll let you know that this isn't a rumor or a typo. I couldn't believe it myself, but apparently it's true. Angeline Jolie is directing a movie and Miyavi auditioned for it. I have no idea how his acting abilities have changed since Oresama, but I really hope he doesn't try to overwhelm himself with outside work like his pal Gackt. To make the situation even more amusing was his appearance in a tabloid claiming that Brad Pitt was jealous of Miyavi because he resembled a former lesbian lover his wife had. Don't you love tabloids~

Gisho and Hakuei Reunite
I must admit that this whole Litchi Hikari Club thing is a bit hit and miss and a little confusing to me. I don't understand its purpose anymore, unless there's an epic anime series coming out soon based on the manga. Anyway, as a casual listener of Penicillin, I was surprised to see Gisho reemerge to join Hakuei's side for the project. I don't know if it's a permanent addition, but whatever. Hakuei's way of working has always confused me.

Rubik's Kei Fired
Normally I would leave news like this off, especially since I'm not super into this band nor do I know enough people that even know of their existence, but I couldn't resist the vagueness of the news. I do like this band and they make good music too. Among all the band member departures, I think this one won the best of the best. Kei was apparently fired for "inhumane acts". What does that mean? No one knows and I doubt anyone will tell what those "inhumane acts" may be, but it was amusing to see what other people come up with as to what it may be.

ALSDEAD's Setsua's Departure
I think these member departures hit me harder after seeing them live and interacting with each other offstage. It's really weird. You believe everything is well and then bam! member departure or disbandment. It makes you wonder what happened between then and now to make someone leave or decide to break up the band. Anyway, I hope Setsua gets to fulfill everything he wants musically.

Signal's Controversial Disbandment
I thought about adding Signal to the disbandment entry, but there was something more going on with their story. I'm not sure how many people are familiar with them, but they are another talent j-indies band that sadly ended before they reached their peak. I was saddened by their shorten journey and disappointed to find out that their bassist embezzled money before their final live. I never understood the reasoning behind a member betraying their band, especially financially. Fyi, these visual kei bands don't really make much and most have to pick up another job or two to support themselves.

KARA Member Departure(s)
I'm not really a KARA fan, but I do like a couple or so of their songs and my favorite member is Nicole. I was aware that the group, or at least 3 members, had some contract issues with their label DSP Entertainment. Fortunately, things got settled and KARA has been one of the most successful kpop groups in Japan. Toward the end half of the year, Nicole and Jiyoung contemplated letting their contracts expire and leave KARA behind. Nicole made up her mind without hesitation and decided to let her contract expire, while Jiyoung takes the remaining few months at the beginning of the year to think things over. I think KARA is one those brave kpop groups that has a firm grasp of their individual futures and how business works in some way. Since I only have a bit of an attachment to Nicole, I hope this isn't the last I see of her in the public eye, but I want her to be happy with her freedom as well as whatever Jiyoung's decision may be on her own future.

Wonder Girls Hiatus
It all started when Sunye announced that she was getting married and it kinda seemed out of the blue. Of course, a lot of people assumed that she had a bun in the oven and worried about the future of Wonder Girls. Well, she did give birth and probably extended the group's hiatus as she adjusts to motherhood and married life. There was hope, but then Sohee decided to let her contract expire to pursue acting and modeling. I'm curious as to what is going to become of the Wonder Girls now. Will they pick up another member? Form a sub-unit or conduct solo careers in the mean time? I suppose we'll find out eventually.

SE7EN Scandal
Rain had a rocky check out of the military and SE7EN decided that he was continuing the celebrity military scandals when he began his 2 year service. Normally I would make fun of how big of deal South Korea made of SE7EN's trip to the massage parlor, but I can understand the fuss. Aside from ruining his dignity as a South Korean citizen serving his time, he also committed infidelity on his long time girlfriend. The interesting thing is that this scandal may change the system for male celebrities serving their mandatory military time. I guess something about it causes their hormones to go crazy.

BORN Accused of Starting Bizarre "Trend"
Overseas media love picking up bizarre "trends" that aren't really trends at all. Sure, Japan can be weird, but most things westerners think is weird they think is weird too. Eyeball licking happens to be one of those things. Although this viral "epidemic" was proven to be a hoax on CNET, BORN gained some views for "Spiral Lie" and of course some humorous commentary on the situation. Most long time fans of jrock are familiar with the late hide and Zi:Kill's TUSK's short film Seth et Holth and mentioned that, if anything, they would be the ones to start the "trend" of eyeball licking among visual kei. Nonetheless, everyone had a good laugh while it lasted.

Piggy Dolls Revamped
Piggy Dolls was a group that not many people knew about that possessed massive vocal talent and charisma. They started off with a bit of controversy with their image and name, but they embraced it and joked about their appearance while delivering powerful and confident performances. They were silent for a while, but I was happy when they returned with their first album. Unfortunately, more weight controversy arose when the girls lost weight. Whether it was the label's decision or they really did work their asses off literally, no one will know. Piggy Dolls went silent once again and returned with another controversial comeback: the original members were replaced. This upset me as well as other Piggy Dolls fans. Something I enjoyed about the group was that they stood out from the stereotypical imagery of kpop, but most of all they had mesmerizing vocals. Their replacements were quite vanilla and their debut was very bland. In short, I gave the new girls a chance and decided to abandon this new direction.

T-ara Ruins CEO's Competitive Plan
It seems like the overflow of drama has made it to 2013 with Kim Kwang-soo's initial plan falling apart before his eyes. Although we'll never know the truth behind Hwayoung's departure and relationship with the other members, we do know that new addition Aerum left before any serious attachments formed, but is said to possibly have a solo career in future. We also know that Dani will probably never be part of the main group and remain in T-araN4 as long as that exists or until she follows the same path. Either way, the line-up remains as six as it should've been in the beginning.

-OZ-'s Disbandment
As mentioned in my entry about Setsua's departure, I had the same feeling toward the announcement of -OZ- disbanding. They were an indies band that I felt would be producing music for a long time as their quality seemed to improve with every release. The band had amazing chemistry on and off stage and they were very consistent with everything. I hope the members find some projects to participate in because they are very talented, but nothing will replace -OZ-'s powerful energy.

AYABIE Member Shuffle
I've gained some enjoyment from this band after a few releases and seeing them in person. I still might not get over the whole name thing, but I learned to look past it enough and simply enjoy the music. Some time passed and Taito was announced to be part of the band as keyboardist. Later, KENZO stated he was leaving the band and I was really surprised, but it was nice he was working with Nightmare's Hitsugi on a side project called GREMLINS. After releasing a new single after his departure, Yumehito and Intetsu announced that they would be departing at the end of year. It looks like the band will continue with a new set of members to the existing and I'm really curious how that's gonna go.

Koki Tanaka Gets Kicked Out
I've surprisingly enjoyed KAT-TUN more and more over the last year and I know my younger self would be surprised that I would pick them over Arashi now, but I still have a soft spot for MatsuJun. Even though I'm not a hardcore fan, I was shock to see that Koki was getting the boot from Johnny's for violating the rules. After leaving, he was rumored to be offered to write a book about the scandalous underbelly that goes on in Johnny's Entertainment, which caused Papa Johnny to make a move to silence him. It didn't seem like Koki cared either way and went about his busy conversing with his fans on Twitter and working on his restaurant.

Dir en grey's Kyo Becomes Super Active
After recovering from vocal issues...again, Kyo decided to be more interactive. He opened a Twitter and Facebook account, had his photos featured in a gallery, created a website for his solo endeavors including some fictional characters he drew up, and lastly put together a band called sukekiyo. As much as I worry about Kyo's health, it is exciting to him open up more to his fans and try new things. Unfortunately, you have to deal with these crazy fans who think Dir en grey is breaking up. To those people, please calm down and reevaluate everything.

Block B vs. Stardom Entertainment
Block B has been through a lot of ups and downs as a rookie group, well somewhere in between rookie and veteran. They recovered fairly well after the mistranslated Thailand incident and soon the contract dispute began. I really wish companies would stop taking advantage of young talent (and their parents). The struggle was over their contract and not being paid what was due to them. According to sources, their parents contributed to the group's funding as well and the group never received what was promised to them. Fortunately, Block B made a true comeback under Seven Seasons and a new mini-album.

Rain Returns
Some of you may know that Rain is my ultimate kpop bias and the reason I even know what the heck kpop is. I've already expressed my excitement when I watched MAMA 2013 and watching him perform on stage like a boss. I remember holding back just a little when I heard the announcement of a new album for 2014 and a documentary/reality show. The more Rain the better. I'm obviously not complaining and can't wait to hear and see and feel everything for this man.

Ailee vs. AllKPop
Some of you may know I really dislike AllKPop and that I don't understand why people rely on them for news because they're as poor, reliable, and unbiased as Fox News and CNN. Most people know the story, AllKPop posted some nude photos of Ailee and everyone went crazy over it. I never really voiced my opinion on the actual situation of who was right or wrong, except for a class assignment, but I don't think I will be changing that anytime soon. Although, I still thought the "boycott" was stupid. Fans will continue using the site and continue to bash Ailee.

Gackt Scandal Part 2
Congratulations, you made the list twice and stayed consistent with being the spotlight of scandal! I thought things would settle after the financial and possible illegitmate child news and then we would get new material. Well, Gackt has been super busy throughout 2013 as an actor, judge, and musician, but he didn't avoid the scandal boat. As much as I wanted to rant about the fan commentary presented on the matter, I didn't make the time for it and I kinda wanted to avoid certain aspects of it. In short, a woman went to a tabloid and exposed her sexual exploits with Gackt. She accused him of sexual assault and the story went all twisty turny. As I want to still maintain my opinion on the whole situation toward the comments a secret, I'm not surprised that Gackt continues on by gearing up with several singles for 2014 without a moment's hesitation.

Pay money To Pain's K Passes Away
Only a few days after posting 2012's list and mentioning K's mental health, it was announced that the vocalist passed away. I wasn't expecting such news to occur so quickly when there was so much hope for recovery and new material for the coming year. With two new songs on the compilation album to hold us over, they did a fine job honoring K's essence with their last album.

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