Category Archives: The Collaboration

Watch your underwear!

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I always like M Countdown‘s “fan cams” a billion times more than their actual broadcasts–I think it’s because you can actually see the choreography.

And this time, if you’re curious, you can also see U-Kwon’s nipples! I guess he felt like it wasn’t fair that B-Bomb had all the fun last time.

But we focus on serious issues on this blog, so I’d like to take the conversation a little further south and discuss what’s going on with their underwear. It looks to me like B-Bomb and U-Kwon have, as I’d hoped, discovered the exciting world of undergarments designed especially for male dancers.

The thing about such underwear is that, if you have the standard male equipment, you typically have some positioning options: You can “tuck in” and use the undergarment to hold your junk up against your body, making it all less visible, or you can “tuck out,” which is what they did here.

The result is a far more supported look than, say, harem pants without underwear.

But such undergarments can act a bit, in Alan Cumming’s words, “like a Wonder Bra for the male junk.”

(P.O’s approach is a little different, because P.O learned long ago to just let The Whale do the talking.)

Anyway, needless to say we should admire this “tucking out” as it demonstrates our oppars’ selfless dedication to their “sleazy gangster” concept, because in real life they are totally pure virgins with no understanding of sex or sexuality.

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U-Kwon is asking because he does not know. B-Bomb is not answering because he doesn’t know, either.

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All right, enough fun. What’s been going on with My Zone and the Bastarz’ releases so far?

I keep complaining about the Japanese market being opaque and weird, and My Zone threw in another wrinkle, because it is an album, and apparently Japanese albums are very different creatures than Japanese CD singles. In particular they usually sell less, which is odd to me, because there’s more music on the albums. (Of course, if you were buying Block B’s Japanese CD singles all along, you already have most of the music on My Zone, so maybe that’s it.)

My Zone sold only about 17,500 copies its first week of release, which seems really bad compared to Block B’s earlier releases, but because it’s an album, it ranked well-enough on Oricon and just as well on Billboard Japan‘s album chart as Block B usually does. Plus Block B seems to be getting plenty of press, so I don’t think this went badly, but of course it’s hard to tell.

And I saw Welcome 2 Bastarz on iTunes Japan’s albums chart at #26 a couple of days ago, so once again the Japanese releases in Japan seem to be helping the Korean releases there as well. I don’t think it will hurt that My Zone was released internationally–for a while there “My Zone” was the top-selling Block B song on U.S. iTunes, although it’s not now.

There’s no Gaon numbers up for the Welcome 2 Bastarz album or “Make It Rain”–“Selfish & Beautiful Girl” was #16 on Gaon’s digital chart, which looks kind of bad, except that it was #3 on the download chart.

So, there is an audience, but as I think as one might expect for a pre-release from a sub-unit, the audience is a little more niche-y, especially since we’re not seeing the impact of promotions yet. Bastarz doesn’t have Zico’s brand working for them, so it makes sense that they’re not getting this HUGE immediate response. It’s not really anything to worry about–it’s not like they’re under some huge pressure to deliver enormous results today.

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Traffic to BlockB.com for the past 30 days.

Speaking of Zico: I’m finding the MAMA voting results to be pretty interesting, because he’s doing really well in the Top Male Artist category.

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And the biggest group of voters are from China.

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I think that’s The Collaboration at work there.

Of course, Zico’s already scheduled to perform in Seoul the day after the MAMAs, and the knock on them is that they’re like the Golden Globes–if you don’t show up, you ain’t gonna win. So we’ll see. (ETA: Hey, he’s a Top 10 artist for the Melon Music Awards–good for him!)

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More evidence that Netizenbuzz is not a newspaper

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Since business reporting is kind of my wheelhouse, I noticed a story on Netizenbuzz about YG Entertainment’s stock price, which hit an all! time! low!

But…why?

If you want an accurate answer to that question, it shouldn’t shock you that a single-line summary of an article, followed by a bunch of amazingly ignorant netizen comments, is perhaps not the best place to look.

There’s one thing that netizens and the original article do agree on: YG depends a lot on BigBang, and they’re starting to go into the military, so there’s certainly a challenge there.

But…several factors mentioned in that article never show up in the comments, which seem to be a lot more focused on how TWICE IZ GONNA KICK BLACK PINK’S AZZZ!!!!!!

For example: The entire Korean stock market is doing rather poorly right now, thanks to slowing economic growth, plus some large problems at some large companies.

YG’s stock price is doing worse than the market overall, though, and according to the original article, one big reason reason is China. Yup, China is still upset about U.S. military policy, so this time they’re taking it out on Chinese tourists who want to visit Korea, since those people influence the U.S. Department of Defense every bit as much as K-Pop idols do.

And YG bet big on China–hence The Collaboration–but that’s very obviously not going to pay off any time soon.

Take the uncertain economic and political environment, throw in BigBang potentially going on ice, and add a penalty for tax evasion, and the result is a lot of spooked investors. At least according to the original article.

Or, you could rely on the netizen analysis:

1. [+878, -51] The answer’s obvious when you look at the way Yang Hyun Suk’s been running the company. AkMu and Lee Hi are so talented, why haven’t they released anything in over two years?? Why is Winner left on the backburner, iKON too? And why does Black Pink get a new album just two months after their debut?…

Yeah. Call me crazy, but I doubt that actual investors are avoiding YG stock because they are butthurt over AkMu. I’m also betting that they aren’t too torn up that Black Pink is getting a new album just two months after their debut (OMFG, the injustice).

There’s also funny comments comparing YG unfavorably to labels the commenter clearly likes better–labels that, I guess, will magically be unaffected by the larger economic and political problems that so trouble YG these days.

But I think my favorite comment is this one, which blames YG’s problems on nationalism in…China? No, don’t be silly–Japan.

4. [+44, -13] I guess the glory days of making money off of druggies and car accident criminals are over. With Korean-Japanese relations worsening, their new rookies won’t have that Hallyu buff to rely on while Big Bang is headed off to the army one by one….

You know the person who wrote that comment not only didn’t read the article itself, but probably also hasn’t read any articles about Korea’s relations with its Asian neighbors in the past year.

I mean, of course there have been issues between Korea and Japan, and I’m not going to pretend that any country is devoid of ultra-nationalist assholes. But the political traditions in Japan and China are very different, and the Japanese government is considerably less likely to stomp all over citizens who want to buy a certain kind of music or take a vacation in a certain place.

So, while a very popular show in China was recently canceled because it featured Korean musicians, it’s totally possible for Korean musicians to do just dandy in Japan. If you look at the first six months of 2016 on Oricon, BigBang sold 194,992 physical copies of Made, putting it at #10 on that chart–a chart, I remind you, that only counts sales made at certain Japanese retailers in Japan itself.

And it’s not like BigBang is the only Korean group on that chart, either. Block B is represented in Japan by one of the country’s largest Japanese-owned record labels, and nobody would waste their time on that arrangement if the Japanese public was unwilling to support a Korean music group.

Plus, seriously: How fucked up is it to hope and pray that a neighboring country will become hostile to your own country in order to cause problems for a K-Pop label you don’t like? Scary, scary netizens….

This is really a shame

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In spite of the fact that it’s been really popular in China, The Collaboration has been canceled halfway through its scheduled 10-episode run. (Because you know who has a ton of influence over U.S. military policy? Korean pop idols, that’s who.)

So watch the last Zico/Hu Xia performance here and get bummed out. It looks like subbed episodes are here, so you could watch them, witness of the full glory of what was a highly entertaining and fun show featuring a bevy of delightful and talented individuals, and get even more bummed out.

But they will never take away the memories…or the dorkitude.

ETA: Man, I hope the live show in Busan isn’t affected–ugh, this sucks!

EATA: Fuck me–it’s off the schedule. Shit!

Europe is definitely excited!

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That’s 546 unique visitors so far today on BlockB.com–and it’s only 1 pm here. That beats what was presumably the record of 446 visitors when “Toy” came out. (ETA: Traffic for the day: 848 visitors. Whoa.)

Of course, I can’t really put anything on the Schedule page, because there’s no actual schedule yet! Just “early October” and maybe another city or two will be added, which would be awesome–I’m making do with a header on the Home page for now.

(Helsinki is already on the docket, of course, because Block B + Finland = True Love Always! And what pretty cities they’ll be at…I’m definitely feeling tempted.)

If another city or two were added, that would make it a six or seven-city tour! Wow. Given the response last time (plus K-Con France sold out in a heartbeat), I’m not too surprised, but that’s definitely good news.

Schedule-wise, all of October is kind of like this: Block B is slated to be part of the Busan One Asia Festival, but no date yet. The Collaboration cast is supposed to appear October 20th, but they don’t know where. Zico is supposed to appear at the Spectrum Dance Music Festival, but they don’t know which day (and hopefully it won’t conflict with Busan). Things will settle down when the dates get closer, but the vagueness always bothers my compulsive self….

P.S. I’m going to link back to an old post about how simply having votes isn’t necessarily enough to get the group to your city. Helsinki and Paris weren’t initially on the docket last tour, but they were able to get Block B there, so you can too!

Another cool “Collaboration”

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Stuff is getting yanked from YouTube again (the third episode is here for as long as that will last), but you can watch Zico & Hu Xia on the third episode of The Collaboration here. And it’s reeeeally cool.

ETA: It’s on their Facebook, too. And here you can see more of the shared dorkitude that allow Zico and Hu Xia to work so well together despite barriers of language and culture. It’s so touching….

EATA: I’m finally getting a chance to watch the other performances, and once again I’m really liking the Seungyoon/Yu Tian combination. They just really seem to jibe together. (Subs are up!)

ETA: Oh, and I can get the Live Line broadcast of yesterday’s Block B concert to play here! Kewl!

I Am You, You Are Many Songs

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This is cool: First Zico played with “I Am You, You Are Me” for The Collaboration to make it a jazzy/rock kind of thing with Hu Xia:

Then he did something similar but a bit different with Babylon at the Jisan Rock Festival:

It’s cool–I like that he can play with his songs and mix them up for different occasions, it keeps things fresh.

Watch it while you can!

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(Quite the day for short, random updates, isn’t it?)

So, the English sub of the first episode of The Collaboration got yanked, but episode 2 is up now–I’m 13 minutes in, and it’s pretty freaking hilarious. (They may sing softer music, but the Chinese idols are VERY sarcastic and funny.) Watch it before the copyright police bring the hammer down for no comprehensible reason!

And yes,

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You are watching the pan-Asian remake of Revenge of the Nerds.