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Jaejoong's "Mine" and the merit of the self-made idol - A Comment
So, someone wrote an article about Kpop idols who happen to be singer-composers, how she thinks they "get off easier" because of the adulation of fans who would praise them for anything they do.

Jaejoong's "Mine" and the Merit of the Self-Made Idol - by Patricia on January 16, 2013

I agree to some of her points. It's true that fans are generally full of praise towards their idols who happen to be composing/writing their own songs. It's also true that if there's any song/costume/concept/whatever that the idols sang/wore that didn't sit well with the fans, usually it's the management company who would get the blame.

I even agreed when she said that In Heaven sounding "repetitive" and has "stylistic limitation". Compared to 2VXQ, indeed, JYJ's self-composed album sounded somewhat...amateurish. Which, if you consider the size of production team involved behind respective albums, made perfect sense.

What I want to address is her claims that despite all these things that JYJ did -writing, composing, producing, even SURVIVING while being in exile- it doesn't mean that "JYJ is any better than your typical KPop idol."

I'm sorry, but, are you even reading what you're writing?

Let's break that part down, shall we?

"The reason why K-pop works so well is because producers, composers, concept designers, choreographers and performers work closely together to ensure a quality product, and they do so by allowing each member of the process to play up his/her biggest strengths."

So, according to this statement, if we assume that this is the typical production team behind a KPop music, it would mean that idols just have to be good in doing what their "biggest strengths" are, which, if you negate all the elements involved above, would be: singing. And dancing. So, that would mean that the definition of "typical KPop idols" would mean someone who simply are very good in singing and dancing.

If you see the number of KPop groups right now and scrutinise the members of each group, I'm not even sure if that statement even holds.

Clearly, according to the "typical KPop idols" definition that she's referring to, for sure a group of singer-songwriter-producer are NOT included in the definition? Because if so, then JYJ would very well be a "typical KPop idols" group, and the article would be very redundant indeed.

The reason why this article could be written in the first place was because JYJ, as exiled idols, had managed to survive and continue their career despite being blocked by mainstream media. Considering that they are the first one, and remained the only one, group who had ever done this, it would be futile to raise an argument about how those "typical KPop idols" would fare if they're thrown in similar situation.

However, she also claimed that JYJ was in this position -being involved in the production of their own songs- because of "product of circumstance above all else". Which, if you add to the earlier claims that JYJ was not "any better than the typical KPop idols", really raised the issue: if your "typical KPop idols" were to be thrown into JYJ shoes, can they survive? At all?

Let's break it down, again, shall we?

According to her claims, the "typical KPop idols" are usually just playing to their "biggest strengths" (inferred singing and dancing), because the typical KPop music production are really "effective business model" that assumed "assembly-line style system" that "just makes sense". So, this inferred that the "typical KPop idols" do not usually take part in composing/writing/producing/choreographing/designing concept, because they're just supposed to sing and dance.

So, these "typical KPop idols" are inferred to have never taken part in the production of their own music, because there are people who are in better position to take care of that.

Then, she claimed that JYJ being forced to produce their own songs as the byproduct of circumstances, which would mean that she acknowledged a situation whereby JYJ did not have any song to sing (thus, forced to write/compose their own songs), did not have a producer to produce their songs (thus, they're forced to do it on their own), and did not have a director to direct their concept (thus, they're forced to define their own concept).

So, now bring those two things together.

If you take in your "typical KPop idols" who are really just just part of an "assembly line" whereby each "member of the process" just have to "play up his/her biggest strengths" (in other words they only have to sing and dance), if you put these people in a situation whereby they DO NOT have any song to sing, DO NOT have any producer to produce the songs (which they don't have in the first place), and DO NOT have any director to direct their concept, can they -these "typical KPop idols"- survive? At all?

I don't think so. If not, entertainment agencies would cease to exist because they wouldn't be bringing any values anymore and all idols would start doing their own music production.

While I agree with her statement that idols should not be complacent in the mediocrity of their self-composed works, I would like to interject and suggest that idols who are writing and composing their own songs are most likely trying to be more than what they currently are. Their compositions and writings are most likely an expressions of their desire to develop their artistic abilities and to be acknowledged, one day, as more than just mere "typical KPop idols".

After all, at the end of the day the definition of a "typical KPop idol" is one that only sings and dances. For people who believe that there are more to them than just their singing voice or their handsome faces, it can be understood that they would want to grow, they would want to be acknowledged as artists who have their own artistic direction and identities.

In the movie "Three Idiots", there was this quote: don't pursue after success; instead, pursue after excellence, then success will come running after you.

At the end of the day, what matters, I guess, is one's resolution and talent. If your "typical KPop idols" wish to venture into production, but there is no talent, then it would be difficult to sustain the fanbase. On the other hand, if your "typical KPop idol" does not even wish to get involved in the production of their own songs, they would never know whether or not they have any talent beyond their recognisable singing and dancing abilities, and thus they will never be considered beyond a "typical KPop idol".

So, to answer whether "idol composers deserve all that love just for writing their own material", I must say, it's up to you. For sure these people have already scored on the effort and courage to produce their own materials, because -at the very least- these people are the ones with the desire to attain more than just the title of a mere "typical KPop idols".

And, finally, with regards to JYJ being the dark horse in the entertainment industry, for composing, writing, producing and even PROMOTING their own music, and STILL survive, it should worth all the merits there could ever be.


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I love you for this. kpop the way is now kind of disappoints me. they are focusing more on looks and dancing. srsly, only few can sing well live. and as you said, I doubt any typical idols would survive if thrown in the same situation as jyj. jyj is breaking records of their own eventhough korean media don't report it. they break through south america and europe where no kpop act dared to. only after they saw the success of jyj in there that they followed suit. so yes. I agree with you. also, people outside the typical kpop box are recognizing jyj for their own talent as artists/singers and actor. they are breaking the prejudices of people regarding kpop idols. coz let's be honest, kpop is not by far the only thing in korea.

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