This Week in Kpop: July 27-August 2, 2014

HyunA Red Cage

Welcome to Scandal Week! With the world of Kpop pummeled with one scandal after another, we decided to take a closer look at the mechanics of the business, media, and fandom. We don't have all the answers, but we hope we asked some intriguing questions. And of course, the scandals kept coming this week. Red Velvet, Hello Venus, and HyunA's return all made this week one of the most explosive of the year. So let's get started!

MV of the Month: HyunA, "Red"
How appropriate is it that HyunA came back this week? She has had her share of media scrutiny. With "Red" she proves that she stands atop as the undisputed Queen of Kpop. You want to know why? Read here.

Scandal Week 

Sulli f(x) scandal

End of an Era: New Media is Destroying the Old Agency System

In the wake of Sulli taking a break from f(x) and fan backlash over the group ending promotions early, we took a look at the whole Agency System and how it's failing. How can a system that was modeled after 50's Hollywood survive in the age of social media? Simple. It can't. See what we're talking about here.

Kpop Fans: Wear a Button, Blame a Victim! 

And no, fans, many of you aren't innocent here, either. Especially those that are blaming Sulli for being hounded by the media. Maybe these commemorative buttons will satisfy your many needs?

Ten Future Scandals that Will Rock the Kpop World 

Gyuri Kara

In observance of Scandal Week, we looked into our crystal ball and brought you ten news stories...from the future. Okay, it's a little ridiculous. But so are Kpop scandals, right? Check them out here.

Red Velvet's "Happiness" 

What a great song and debut! SM does it again! Wait, what? There are news clippings about Hiroshima with racist anti-Japanese slogans? Wait, there's a picture clipped in of the TWIN TOWERS, circa 9/11? SM does it again! And no, this is not one of our imagined scandals, and we can't believe this actually happened. While some fans are defending the move by pointing out the that song decries the old ways of power and money, one must see how this can be a problem. Even if it was done to make a message, and SM says it was just a mistake that they'll edit out, it's still completely jarring when placed against the simple cheeriness of the rest of the video. The dancing gummy bear makes it seem like a video for kids. And then you have a WWII atrocity thrown in the background? Mistake or not, this was a MAJOR miscalculation in a time when SM couldn't afford another scandal. And now there's another scandal.   

HA:TFELT's "Ain't Nobody"

Yenny (or is it HA:TFELT?), of Wonder Girls fame, had her solo debut this week and we were impressed by the song and her ferocious dancing. There's something about this video that's very sophisticated and mature too, which was nice to see. We think she can have a long, powerful career as a solo artist. This has really turned out to be a big summer for the women of Kpop! Check this video out!  

JYJ's "Backseat" 

JYJ came back this week, and again, it's appropriate, on Scandal Week, that this returning group was born from scandal with their departure from TVXQ and SM Entertainment. Some conspiracy theorists think that Red Velvet's woes were deliberate to steal attention to JYJ's comeback, but that seems both too complicated and damaging to SM. Even without the history and rumors, this is a strong song and video. Check it out!

High4 (with Lim Kim)'s "A Little Close" 

We're loving what we're seeing from High4 - teamed this time with Lim Kim, her soothing vocals mixing effortlessly with the group's charisma. High4 will be releasing a mini-album soon and we're excited to hear it. And Lim Kim? It's about time she came back, isn't it?

Sunny Hill's "Once in Summer" 

We were less impressed, sadly, with Sunny Hill's latest, "Once in Summer." It's not that the song is bad, their vocals alone could carry a mediocre melody. But the social commentary seems to have been stripped from the group's core. Here, we're given another love song, a forgettable ballad. It's like Sunny Hill is losing their way. We hope to see them return to their roots, and soon.

Bestie's "Hot Baby" 

Bestie is having a good roll and continues to impress, this time with "Hot Baby." While we don't think this will be the song that shoots them to the top of the charts, they're building a pretty strong resume that, barring a scandal, will ensure a lasting future! For now, check out "Hot Baby," so it won't be lost in the shuffle!

Pledis Says Goodbye to Hello Venus

Hello Venus Members Leaving

The scandal of the week for Scandal Week may just have been Yoo ARa and Yoonji's departure from Hello Venus. But then, Red Velvet. Still, it looks as though this has more to do with Pledis breaking ties in this joint venture with Fantagio, and that the group will continue under that agency with four members. Still, it's sad news. We have high hopes for Hello Venus, and think that they'll be a major girl group someday. But we're not understanding Pledis lately. It seems like the only thing they have going for them lately is Orange Caramel. We're going to keep our eyes on this troubled agency.

July 27-August 2, 2014

Wow! What a week! Hopefully next week will slow down a bit, we can't take another Scandal Week right away! Thanks for reading, and keep with Critical Kpop for a closer look at the crazy world of Kpop! 


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