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Infinite: That was then, this is now.
Debut Showcase and album release-100609
Looking back now…you were all so cute and young :’) You must have been nervous and yet completely ecstatic to finally be debuting, right? To finally be standing on the stage as a singer, that moment you’d been waiting for arrived, there must have been that sense of “This is it! It’s finally happening!”…
The very next day was the debut stage on MCountdown. Woohyun’s pants even ripped during the intro but he couldn’t stop, poor kid was probably traumatized or something…but all the debut stages went well in the end, and I found out about this mind-blowingly in-sync group after their debut Music Core performance.
Looking back now, the results of your debut promotions were…unremarkable. I don’t know how you felt at the time. Was it above your expectations? Below your expectations? Maybe the realistic part of you said not to ask for more. 26 on K-Chart for a rookie is hardly bad. But the dreamer in you wished for more. CNBlue and miss A and Sistar all did so well that year. They were like meteors leaving a crater on earth, and comparatively you must have felt like a piece of hail making a dent in someone’s windshield.
100 Days & First Fanmeeting-100919
Woohyun and Sunggyu both sang, Hoya and Dongwoo did a dance collab stage and also each sang a song, Myungsoo (awkwardly) sang a song, Sungjong and Sungyeol did a trot song together. It was your first time performing like this for most of you (other than Sunggyu and Woohyun). Looking back from now it’s just a less mature and less developed preview to what you did later on at Second Invasion and Second Invasion Evolution. Look at how much you grew in the year and five months between! I can’t get over the pictures of all of you, I never remembered Hoya looking like this (sorry for the not-so-flattering photo…but this was as good as it got for news pics okay).
Evolution Showcase and album release-110106
This is what captured my attention. I couldn’t believe it when I saw the synchronized “scorpion dance” for the first time. I had seen the move done before many times, but only ever by individuals, never like this—seven people rising up in perfect synchronization. I was blown away. The image was strong, the choreography was perfectly executed, the music video was thought-provoking, the song was catchy and also a standout among the songs being promoted at the time. Never have I had such a strong sense of injustice and annoyance that a group could not win a music show. Even through February they had only sold maybe 5000 copies or so of Evolution and I wondered whether Korea was blind. In an interview they mentioned that Boss-nim had said if this album didn’t do well, then it would be their last. It was also then that it was first mentioned that they would get a new dorm if they hit the top 10 on K-chart. They peaked at 17.
Birthday for “Inspirit”-110120
FYI we have a birthday. The fanclub name was officially announced at 00:17 on the 20th of January after a vote via the official fancafe.
You didn’t even take three weeks off after BTD before you were back with Nothing’s Over. Album sales broke 10,000 copies for the first time, and you made it up to #10 on K-chart at last…but the bar was raised to #7 to get a new dorm. Nothing’s Over was the first MV to hit 1 million views. Maybe you felt a little more popular. Nothing’s Over’s charting certainly improved significantly from BTD. Still not a song-of-the-year type song, but slowly but surely you were gaining more popularity each comeback.
Can U Smile comeback 110509
Can U Smile was your first time promoting a ballad. Yes, a ballad. Who says dance groups can’t promote a ballad too? Sometimes Dongwoo sounded shaky and nervous, Sungyeol too, but with Myungsoo playing the guitar, Hoya showing off some vocals, magnae showing a more mature side after the cuteness of Nothing’s Over…somehow it felt like you all grew so much then even though these performances lasted only two weeks.
At the end of these promotions you were close to 1 year after debut and didn’t know where you were. It’s not like you had no fans, but the name “Infinite” was still relatively obscure; you certainly could not have said “Infinite is popular”. At that point did you even think you would have a second anniversary? You certainly could not have foreseen you would be where you are now.
Over the Top-110721 & 1st music show win-110901
I couldn’t believe it when I heard you were coming back after only two months. I though you would be taking a break at least as long as you did between She’s Back and BTD. But I guess Woollim decided that endless guerrilla promotions was the best way to keep you fresh in everyone’s memories.
It worked. Be Mine didn’t seem to be going anywhere at first. But after a few weeks, your K-chart rank hadn’t dropped off much at all. It went as high as #2, in it’s 6th week on the chart. I arrived in Korea August 29th and three days later, I watched you take your first win ever on MCountdown and cried with you. I had only been following you for what, 8 months? But I’ve never been that emotionally invested in a music show award before. A year before then, even a week before, who would have predicted you would reach this point?
You took one week off to go do a concert in Japan and then came back with a repackage. I was happy to be able to be there with you through these promotions. This was the first test of your popularity. Was Be Mine a watershed moment? Or was it going to be the highest point you saw in your careers?
1st Mutizen Song-111009
Sunday October 9th, there were about 300 or so Inspirit waiting around outside SBS watching the live on their phones and waiting for the postrecording, if only you had been outside to hear our reaction when you won. An ajuhssi walking by jumped at the noise. There was no shortage of tears outside to go with your own, no shortage of excitement and disbelief either. I still can’t watch this video without tearing up.
Golden Disk Awards-120110
Between Over the Top and Paradise, 87272 copies on Hanteo and 113576 copies on Gaon. The Golden Disk Award, considered the highest honor among Korea’s music awards, who would have ever thought you could get there?
Second Invasion-120211 & 120212
First solo concert…the most memorable thing to me was not the performances but your tears. Anyone who did not cry watching your ment has no heart. A year ago if anyone had said you’d be doing 4 sold-out concerts in Korea and Japan it would have seemed like a joke and an unattainable dream. But you did it, the server was overloaded and tickets were gone in a flash. I will never get over Myungsoo’s solo in particular, the amount of growth since Nothing’s Over that he showed ;w;
Infinitize Showcase: Mission Impossible-120515
Mission impossible? Apparently not because you did it. With the intention of showing a traditional Korean influence to a world that is falling for Kpop, you took a risk by shying from the hooks of your past songs. After six months of hiatus from promotions, once again you faced a test of the sustainability of your popularity.
1st K-Chart win-120601
Awards-wise, it has been your most successful promotion to date. The fancafe surpassed 100000 members, one of only about 10 cafes to do so. 인피니트 is consistently in the most popular search keywords for young people in Korea, and digital charting suggests you’ve captured a broader audience than that. 70000+ on Hanteo and counting, one more comeback and it’ll easily be 150K albums on the year. Last year it took 5 different albums to combine for 125K. You can stop doubting yourselves, you have truly made it to the top. All that’s left is to continue to surpass yourselves.
No matter where you go, how long you keep going, I’ll be there with you. The universe has no end and time has no limit, but since people’s time is limited, then infinitize it, keep on going to new heights in the time that you have. Inspirit will be your support, no matter when or where.
天涯海角, 不管多久我都會和你們走下去的. 宇宙是沒有盡頭的, 時間也是無止境的, 可是人的時間既然有限, 那就將它無限化, 在你們擁有的時間裡去繼續突破, Inspirit會給當你們的支柱, 不論何時何地.
Photo sources: News photos or my own caps...