Maybe this comes from having to monitor Tumblr for my Block B fan page, but….
One thing that totally baffles me about K-Pop fans (fine: those K-Pop fans who are on Tumblr and post in English) is this whole, you know, thing about groups collaborating. They get very, very excited about the idea of different idol groups collaborating.
The weird thing is, very recently Zico posted a picture of him working in the studio, making music in actual collaboration with Jay Park.
Here’s the picture:
The only text was the hashtag #AMOG (AMOG is Jay Park’s label).
So, you might expect an actual collaboration–you know, they are apparently writing (and presumably recording) music together–to generate some excitement among the collaboration-philes?
Or maybe this picture would:
Showing the various musicians Zico was making music with this very week?
Of course not!
I mean, I suppose that if you were some lame old lady who liked the music of these various musicians, then you might feel some joy at the idea that they were making music together. And if you were, say, a former business reporter with a bone to pick about the way artists are often treated, it might delight you further, because Zico and Jay Park are a couple of musicians who have suffered at the hands of the K-Pop industry. They both have decided to take their business into their own hands, and now they are joining forces (strains of “La Marseillaise” start playing in the background here) to end the oppression of artists everywhere!!!
But apparently this does not capture the imagination of the average K-Pop fan as much as fantasy “collaborations” between:
1. Groups that have nothing in common musically.
Yeah. Block B + Boyfriend! or any other group whose music is totally unlike Block B’s. If you are in a K-Pop group, and you are hot, and the music you perform is not remotely connected to hip-hop and R&B in any way, rest assured there’s some fan out there who WILL NOT BE HAPPY UNTIL (that’s how the Tumblr posts read: I WILL NOT BE HAPPY UNTIL) you “collaborate” with Block B. Hopefully with your pants off.
Since Zico once applied to be a trainee with the label that produces the group Shinee, there are lots and LOTS of people who wish they could travel back in time and make Zico a member of Shinee.
That would work great, right? This guy:
Joins these guys:
Is the hope here that Zico would have committed suicide by now? Because after, say, his fifth plastic surgery and the 50th time he’s told that he may not write music for the group, that’s pretty much the outcome I would be expecting.
2. WAAAAAAY too many people.
Block B + BTS + B.A.P. + Exo + [Insert Random K-Pop Group HERE] = like, a few dozen people? How is that supposed to work, exactly? The only time this sort of thing is ever done is to raise money for a charity, and the result, while lauded for its good intentions, is usually extremely forgettable musically and quite disappointing to anyone who wanted to see their favorite musician do anything more than sing three notes before getting cut off because they have fulfilled their time allotment.
There was an idol-group “collaboration” with Drunken Tiger recently.
Yes, it wasn’t really one, which JK Tiger readily admitted. But what did people focus on? Oh, see how they looked at each other! Did one loooong for the other? Was there cock-blocking? (Did Yoon Mi-Rae kick CL’s ass all around the town? Yes, yes, she did. Learn to rap, CL–you are officially part of the problem.)
This focus on relationships I find truly unsettling–I mean, it’s kind of the logical extension of the whole mania for fan service, so of course it fosters delusion, because peddling a sexual fantasy is what fan service is all about.
But this particular delusion isn’t simply based on fantasies about boy-on-boy action–it’s based on (far more pernicious) fantasies about the work conditions of K-Pop artists.
I mean, go to the 20:29 mark of this video:
Yeah, that’s probably how most of your idol “collaborations” go–a 1-second hug, followed by a wistful look. “We never get to talk any more!” they’re both probably thinking. “There’s never time!”
Or, you know, the 3:14 mark here:
Where a lady performer (I have no idea who that is) fantasizes about having the time to hang out with her friends! Like she did back when she was 23! Wouldn’t that be marvelous!?! Imagine a world (if you dare!) where such a thing was remotely possible!!!