MBLAQ Lose Lee Joon and Thunder: Why the Show Must Go On

2014 swallows and spits out yet another Kpop group. The casualty this time is MBLAQ, who confirmed that Lee Joon and Thunder will both be departing. Curiously, J.Tune Camp took this opportunity to also confirm that the now three-member group will continue on, with plans to release a new album in early 2015. Sound familiar? It should. But here's why MBLAQ does not have the same problems as Exo.

It's difficult not to draw parallels to Exo's recent struggles, but we should remind ourselves that there are two very important differences with MBLAQ. First, there is no lawsuit, and that is a big deal. Exo's troubles are set to unfold in a very public way for a very long time. All that drama has the potential to alienate fans and to pit members of the group against one another and against their label. Whatever music Exo releases, their immediate future is set to be dominated by headlines of lawsuits and scandals.

MBLAQ, we hope, will soon be able to refocus on positive promotion. On moving forward. Yes, 40% of their group is leaving. But that 40% is not actively harming them on the way out. Don't get me wrong: I support Kris and Luhan, and their circumstances necessitated action. But their method of departure leaves an open wound for the rest of Exo. Conversely, Lee Joon and Thunder have left with a firm handshake and a bow. And for that, fans of MBLAQ should be extremely thankful.

Which brings us to the second reason why MBLAQ does not share Exo's troubles, and that is respect between the label and the outgoing artists.  The entire media campaign surrounding this recent news is marked by this one simple world. Respect. In a statement to the press, J.Tune confirmed that they have "decided to respect their opinions to go their separate ways." J.Tune further commented that they wish Lee Joon and Thunder success in future acting and music. And, here it is, the real kicker. Even after the contract has ended, J.Tune is classy enough to ask for fan support for Lee Joon and Thunder, stating that "they will continue to repay their fans with an even more improved and mature image in the future." 

This is far removed from the cloak and dagger stuff coming out of SM Entertainment. This sounds more like a label discussing their current artists. Some fans are even speculating that the outgoing members will continue to work with J.Tune as soloists, but that remains to be seen. Either way, there are clear signs of respect between parties, which minimizes the chance of ongoing scandal.

All of which is extremely positive news. Yes, we should put things into perspective: MBLAQ is losing two members. But Seungho, G.O and Mir are in good hands. There are plans for the next album release, and J.Tune has also hinted at more solo and collaborative work in the future. If you're an MBLAQ fan, this isn't the end. Nor is this the beginning of a slow and painful death. The recent news may remind you of what has happened to Exo, but make no mistake, this is very different. This is a new chapter, and there is hope for the future of MBLAQ.


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