I know some ARMY want J-Hope to release a mixtape like Suga and Rap Monster, but I think if he were going to release more music it would be through singles like with 1Verse. I see him just releasing singles every now and then rather than just making a full mixtape and it seems more fitting for him to do so in my opinion.
Let me begin with my feelings about NU’EST before I began Produce 101 Season 2.
I still remember their debut in 2012. Back then I was utter kpop trash and I really really really enjoyed their debut. (Also, can I mention how young they were?? The four of them, Ren, Minhyun, Baekho, & JR were 17 for crying out loud) It was promising and I quickly learned their names and felt inclined to be their fan going forward. Their next release after “Face”, “Action”, wasn’t all that great to me, so my interest for them died just a little bit. As they kept releasing more music, their songs were either a hit or a miss for me. Some personal favorites would definitely include “여보세요(Hello)”, “I’m Bad”, and “여왕의 기사(Overcome)”. They also have a few albums tracks that are really good, too. But clearly, the majority of their music did not appeal to me as time passed. And it’s not like I found this to be an issue. I knew that when they did release good music, it’d be exceptional. And if they didn’t, well, maybe next time then. Regardless, I always felt like I was a decent follower of their’s. And so, when it was announced that they would be participating in Produce 101, I was quite baffled above anything else. I thought that maybe this was some kind of publicity stunt. Why else would they have any reason to do this?
Upon reading some articles and posts, it has been stated that the members’ decision to participate in the show was one that was made purely on their own. I have no way of measuring the validity of this, but let’s just take it as so. Before NU’EST even walked in, it started to pique me, to imagine their presence among these, excuse my language but… these noobs. Once they really did enter, their vibes were already so different; they definitely carried themselves with more…dignity?? Upon sitting down, Minhyun even whispered quietly to the members, “Humble, we must stay humble”.
Before they began their ranking performance, trainees within the crowd kept repeating “it’s unfair. this is unfair, they have a fanbase, they have experience. it’s so unfair for us”. And then the program proceeded to show us why exactly NU’EST is in the show to begin with. And let me tell you, my heart broke into millions of pieces.
They called themselves failures. They said they wanted to be like “Seventeen ae-deul”. They said they could see the end, the point where they disband and NU’EST ceases to exist. They said that this is their last chance to succeed.
So may I mention a few prying thoughts, fellow trainees? Do you know what’s unfair?
The fact that these boys debuted 5 years ago, with countless albums to call their own, yet they are deemed a failure, by their very own company, too.
The fact that they have to go to this extent, competing against nameless trainees, being compared to boys with questionable skills, just to get another shot at success.
The fact that since they debuted 5 years ago, they carry on their backs an extremely heavy burden to be really really really good.
And if they’re not good enough? Well, then they’re looked down upon. And pitied. And devalued. Other trainees, they have a fresh start. Zero expectations. Plenty of space to blow the crowd away. NU’EST? I didn’t think so.
I couldn’t stand it. Watching everyone give them such pitiful looks, watching their cruel story unfold. Was this the same group that released a mini album a mere 7 months ago? And yes, it was. That’s the larger problem here.
For the longest time I was extremely perturbed about the stubborn infatuation the new kpop generation has for MV views, music show votes, album sales, and more. Comments sections were always laced with these repetitive, obnoxious, pushy demands for increasing numbers of any sort related to a group. But now I feel I kinda get why.
Because these numbers measure success. And clearly, NU’EST, despite being 5-year idols, never had these numbers in their favor. I always appreciate the lesser known artists, the ones with small numbers, the underrated ones. I have an extra profound love for them because they are such beautiful gems hidden under a layer of mainstream music. But I never realized the risk of being such a gem. The vulnerability that these artists face goes beyond not enough sales or not enough recognition, but it comes down to existence. Without strength in numbers, these artists will cease to exist. And that kind of reality is too harsh. For kpop to set such standards, I shun it. If anything, this has already given me further reason to fall out of love with kpop. The underrated groups can be underappreciated to an extent where a company no longer sees them as profitable, and cuts them off. Plain and simple. Because everything in kpop, everything, comes down to money. That’s a fact.
And so, going back to NU’EST, their story is crucial to me because it shows this process to the public. It whisks the tarp off this dusty, but dangerous relic of problems, and forces viewers to think. This goes beyond the unfortunate events of a single group, but tackles the industry as a whole. These boys, have been mistreated and miserable to this extent. And it’s not okay.
What I fear the most is that, people will assume that with the existence of NU’EST’s fanbase, they won’t need to vote. But that gives all the more reason to vote. For the first time since watching this show (including season 1), I really actually wanted to vote. Just for NU’EST. Unfortunately, foreign fans have no power in this season. Which means all I can do is watch uneasily as the weeks go by. And hope the Korean viewers can save these boys before it’s too late.
Like I mentioned before, this group isn’t my all-time favorite group or anything. But I do have pieces of my heart attached to them. And so, very frankly, watching this unfold was too much for me. I can’t imagine what it would be like for actual fans, for the real fans, to see their favorite group in this state. I was exactly like Kahi. I am so very sorry that they have to face this. My heart shatters a million times for them.
So please, please, pleaseeee, by all means. Don’t stop showing support for NU’EST. Shower them with love. Show them appreciation. And don’t let another 2nd generation kpop group fade into darkness just because we were all too busy obsessing over newer groups. Please.
i just want to take a moment to reflect on the gravity of what we know about solo!harry so far.
as fans, we support him because we already know he is special. we have paid close enough attention that, over time, we have seen him command everything from one-on-one conversations to entire stadiums full of people. we have witnessed countless individuals – many of whom know little to nothing about him – have chance meetings with him and walk away from those encounters with stars in their eyes, in absolute awe of him, of that “something” about him that makes him harry. either we’ve met him ourselves, or we’ve been to concerts, or we’ve watched videos of concerts (or all of the above), and we’ve come to know that he’s just special. gemma – who would know better than any of us – said in her piece for another man that even as a child, harry “had that sort of magnetism that made people just want to watch him.”
i mention all of this to underscore that those of us who are already fans are fans for a reason. we already know he’s going to excel on his own; we’ve just been waiting patiently (or not so patiently) for him to get started.
but can we take a minute to talk about the people who are actually involved in this process? the entire team behind him that is currently revving up to launch him as a solo artist? those people are in a totally different position than we are. they aren’t interested in harry’s success because he brings them personal joy (although, let’s be honest, he surely does); they’re interested in his success because it will bring THEM success. that’s the bottom line here – big money.
if you, like i, have grown up in the rapidly-changing digital era, you may have noticed that the music industry runs differently than it used to. as a child, i would buy an entire album on cassette or cd because i’d heard one song on the radio and wanted to listen to that song over and over again. i bought many albums as a child that, to this day, i still haven’t listened to in their entirety. but the industry doesn’t work like that anymore. when music went digital, it became a lot easier for consumers to only buy the songs they cared about. as a byproduct of that, new artists these days are often given a very limited budget in the beginning – they’re only allowed, at first, to record one or two songs. those songs are released as singles, and then, if they do well, that artist goes back into the studio and records an entire album. it’s a smart decision on the part of record companies to avoid spending too much money on artists that end up “flopping.”
i keep thinking about harry in this context. i keep thinking about how he has had the ability to release solo music for more than a year now, about how easy it would have been for him – and columbia and everyone else involved – to record one single, release it quickly, do a bit of promotion, (likely) make a bunch of money and then go from there. coming off of 1d’s tremendous success, it would have made everyone a quick, easy buck.
but they didn’t do that. although harry and jeff signed together on january 1, 2016 – likely their first opportunity to do so – they still took their time. columbia, et al. agreed to invest $75-80 million worth of resources (at least) into harry as a solo artist without even requiring him to release a “test single” first. they’ve agreed to let him record his entire first album (and, seemingly, have started planning to release it) without even requiring him to release a test single first!
i won’t proclaim to be some kind of music industry genius because i’m far from it, but just based on what i’ve observed as a music fan in general over the last decade or so, this is HUGE to me. everyone behind harry appears to have so much faith in him already. i think it’s so important to recognize the personal/professional gamble that jeff is taking in this situation as well. here we have jeffrey azoff, eldest son of irving azoff – an absolute legend in the music industry – who is under a lot of pressure to live up to his dad’s name. he literally quit his job as a music agent to start a management company with harry as one of his first major clients. of course, he likely would have started his own management company eventually regardless of whether he ever met harry, but the fact that they timed this major event in their professional lives so they could “go solo together” speaks volumes about the faith he has in harry as an artist.
we’re on the outside looking in, and we know harry is amazing based on what we have seen him do as part of a group… but these people already know solo harry. they know what he is capable of, and they’re rallying behind him because they have total faith he will succeed. and that’s just really fucking awesome.
It makes no sense for any of them to skip the Brits. They are like the UK Grammy's. Louis & Niall have music out. Niall has an album supposedly coming out in the summer, Liam & Harry rumored this spring. Louis said he's going to release more music. 1D is up for two awards, both fan voted and one for best fan army or whatever. A great time to be seen & thank fans. I think they all should have been there, makes no sense on a professional level not to be. It feels like something is going on IMO.
When is something NOT going on with these boys? But yeah, I agree. It makes no logical sense for them to not attend, especially considering they’re all supposedly in London and they don’t have any scheduling conflicts that we know of, and yet here we are.
It’s finally the moment One Direction fans have all been waiting for: Harry Styles’ first solo single has arrived.
As promised in a sneaky teaser commercial during the U.K.’s X Factor on March 25 and the title and cover art reveal on March 31, Styles officially dropped “Sign of the Times” on Friday (April 7). And as expected, it’s pretty killer.
Although Styles never gave any hint about how his solo material would sound, he delivered a true spacey rock ballad in “Sign of the Times,” something that might fit in more with David Bowie’s catalog or perhaps even an epic ‘90s rock jam like Spacehog’s “In the Meantime” than it does with today’s top 40. Aside from the familiarity of Styles’ voice, this does not sound like a 1D song.
A video for the new single is seemingly on the way soon, as Styles was recently spotted hanging from a helicopter in what was reported as the video shoot for the song. Outside of the video, though, it’s unclear whether Styles will be releasing any more new music in the coming weeks/months. But he is slated to perform on Saturday Night Live on April 15, where artists typically perform two songs – so we may just be seeing another Styles single before we know it.