In the first article of this series we once again touched upon the Hallyu Wave attempting to crash upon American shores in the form of SM Entertainment’s popular female idol group Girl’s Generation. There was a brief discussion about how their entry into the market differs from SM’s previous attempt with BoA and mention of the questionable decision to go with Teddy Riley as the producer for their American debut.
Continuing with this topic let’s move on to talking about expectations. As always the following is my own opinion and does not necessarily reflect those of the other Selective Hearing staff.
In an ideal world…
As of this writing the English version of The Boys has been out for about a week and already it’s getting varied reaction from both sides of the Girls’ Generation fandom. There are the SONE’s who vehemently proclaim the song as the best thing ever and vow to get it to the top of the radio & video charts. Then there is the backlash from those who don’t blindly follow the SONE’s into forcing themselves into liking the song out of some sense of loyalty, wanting for something that will help show the group as one that should be taken seriously.
Seoulbeats wrote a piece on fan apathy that applies to the scenario above. Are fans that desperate to have a K-Pop act break the glass ceiling of American pop stardom that they will accept mediocrity to reach that goal? Does it matter that their favorite artist(s) are shilling inferior product when they are capable of so much better? Many simply take what they are spoon fed without question and push it to the top regardless of quality. Those who don’t agree that everything is all ponies and sunshine are immediately ex-communicated to the “haters” category.
Of course it’s not really up to the artist but the label when it comes to how they are presented. As it was mentioned in the previous article in this series, there has been some questionable decision making when bringing these acts across the pond to America. It makes me wonder if any detailed research is done before investing the
money into trying to take on what some (arguably) consider to be the holy grail of music markets in terms of credibility. Right now it’s like these K-Pop acts are going to a gun fight with a big wooden stick and a make-up bag.
When these groups debut with sub-par material that fails to captivate the American public is it really that much of a surprise? Is the uproar of lack of enough support by the West and their closed-minded, unwashed masses really justified? Were those countless hours bothering program directors, DJs and any radio station staff with endless requests for some unknown group of Asian girls or effeminate looking dudes a total waste of time?
Perhaps those of you who expect these crossover acts to take over like they do in their homeland should lower your expectations. You all act like every K-Pop artist who hits American shores is like the second coming of Jesus in Korean form with a headset mic, mascara and bleached hair here to save us all from the disappoint that passes for Pop music.
It sounds like I’m picking on the Hallyu wave exclusively but that’s only because it appears to be the closest to having someone (or anyone) successfully be more than a passing fad in America. I would like to think that maybe J-Pop would be the same but none of the major labels are actively promoting their popular acts overseas.
If you want to count the major idol conglomerates like AKB & Hello! Project who are actively promoting their artists you can see those are not exactly promising prospects for mainstream appeal like K-Pop with its plethora of sound-a-like groups. Sorry to burst your bubble J-Pop fans.
I, like many of you who are K-Pop or Asian Pop fans in general would love to see someone become major players in America. It would mean less expensive trips to see them and maybe a fresh influx of talent to offset the Hip-Pop and add a bit of flavor to the Electronic Club music that dominates the musical landscape.
Unlike the majority of fans, I set the bar real low for when the inevitable failure comes around. Why keep your hopes up when history has shown nothing to prove that things will change?
Coming up in part 3. Who may have the best chance of success in America.