Saturday, February 8, 2014

Rant: KPop Comebacks

Even though I've involved myself in kpop, there's still a few things I don't understand. I could probably make a list, but there's not much to add in list form. According to the title, I'm going to question comebacks. I bet you're wondering what there is to be confused about when it comes to comebacks. Well, there's plenty to be confused about such as the word, the meaning, and the hype.

When I think of a "comeback" I assume that an artist/group went away for whatever reason. Maybe they were on hiatus, had a major event or scandal occur, or had an injury or sickness. In kpop's case, someone went off to the military and finished their service time. Majority of "comebacks" do not fit any of these categories. Another definition I thought of is an old one which is a response to someone or something. This also doesn't fit kpop's definition.

For the longest time, comebacks frustrated me because I didn't understand the purpose of them. Fans get all hyped about SHINee and B.A.P, for example. They do a promotion for a song for a few months, then the "comeback" shortly after with a new song to promote. So, I realized a "comeback" is just a new release...which is stupid! Why would they call it that!? All this time of complaining about fans getting excited about a group's comeback and it's simply a new release. Seriously, I've yelled at the screen, "Comeback? They haven't gone anywhere!"

Aside from the questionable wording and definition of "comeback", another thing that confuses me is all the hype put into it. I'm sure companies spend thousands upon thousands of dollars for promotional materials and gimmicks, but it seems so excessive. They hype up new and supposedly different concepts, but usually it's nothing. How many times are companies going to push this "brand new" sexy concept that just reflects previous sexy concepts like Sistar's "Alone", Girls Day's "Something" and AOA's "Miniskirt". Perhaps my whole deal with concepts will be for another post. The point is everyone goes crazy over these "comebacks" even though the group just finished promoting something off the same CD. I guess all this comes from growing up with the American music industry and even later Japan's industry.

Despite America being more dependent on albums, there's not too much beforehand. Once the first single or music video is released, there is a gradual build up of hype and promotions through labels, management, critics, and fans simultaneously. Usually hype comes if the artist has been inactive in the music scene for a long period of time like Beyonce and Justin Timberlake. Or the initial single or video has caused major conversation among the public like Rihanna's "Pour It Up" and Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines". Nonetheless, I wish I could change the whole meaning of "comeback", but you won't see me saying or writing about a comeback if the group doesn't fit my standards. They will be called new releases because that's what they are, like VIXX's "VOODOO DOLL" is a new release while Rain's "30Sexy" is a comeback. So, don't try to correct me or anything when I mention new kpop material.

On a sidenote, for kpop fans who complain about so and so having too many comebacks, I think if enough fans "protest" it, then maybe the industry will change its ways. My guess behind these multiple "comebacks" is the assumption that fans are fickle and lack dedication to some extent. If a group doesn't release something after a certain amount of time, then it is assumed that the group will be forgotten and abandoned by fans or in danger of disbandment. I think this factor says a lot about kpop fanbases, companies, and marketing teams, if that's the case when it comes to "comebacks". I suppose I could elaborate a little more on this theory, but I think that's a different post completely.

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