With K-pop groups’ infectious popularity and dominance in recent years, a growing number of Asian countries are reviving the “group” phenomenon in their own music industries. And who’s leading the charge? C-pop. It’s obvious with 1.6 billion people, China would have the biggest surge of groups, but when I speak of leading the charge I’m talking about innovative and/or competitive groups that have real potential. Like Japan’s famous breakthrough in the automobile industry, C-pop had to first learn to replicate K-music industry’s processes in developing groups, before they could innovate with their own structures and styles.
C-pop now possess a dozen or so boy and girl groups debuting within the last 3 years. Some of them were/are unoriginal shadows of Kpop groups, trying valiantly to copy the music, images, styles, and/or even MV filming concepts of their Korean counterparts. Many of them lack the stage training and musical talent required for a successful group in the long-term, or I should say they debuted before they were ready. Perhaps this is harsh criticism, but entertainment industries are no longer bound by countries or regions. Therefore, the competition is also no longer just within the walls of your own country. To compete, and last, in an industry inundated with better developed groups, backed by more experienced foreign companies, these C-pop groups have to be prepared.
Does this mean that there aren’t any great groups out there in C-pop? No. Below are a few that I think possess the talents and/or innovation needed to compete with not only their peers but globally as well. C-pop may not have K-pop’s notorious work/training schedules (S. Korea maintains the world’s record for average work hours per capita), nor the marketing/image prowess that K-pop companies have expertise in, but here are a few hopefuls.
What I’m most impressed with this group was how ready they were when they debuted. Unlike many of the their C-pop competitors, this group trained rigorously for 3 years in secret, while emphasizing individual development, before making their public appearance. Not only were they the most impressive of all the boy-groups in their live stages, but they were also the most individually compelling group. Each member had a definite role, whether it was dance choreography, song/lyric composing, rapping, etc., and yet when they performed as a group, it was like parts of a well-oiled machine coming together.
MIC – Rockstar
MIC does possess weaknesses. One of which lie in their vocal uniqueness. With the rise of so many boy bands, it is important to have tones that are instantly recognizable and/or distinctive as a group. Unfortunately, vocal tones are normally given to you by your parents, and isn’t something you can acquire non-genetically, at least not easily. They’ll have to practice their vocal/music range in order to compete with groups like Hit-5, Top Combine, etc. But if the below collaboration with SME’s F(x) is any indication, this group has the real potential to make it out of their home sweet home.
F(x) & MIC – Lollipop
F(x) & MIC – LG Lollipop Making Of MV
Riding on the trend of androgynous, if not outright LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender) celebrities in the past decade, this new girl group is definitely breaking the mold in it’s concept. Even though MISSTER debuted only last month, this group is by far the most innovative, refreshing, and bold female debutees out there in C-pop. What is interesting about this group is that they have the advantage of displaying both boy-group dance songs and girl-group sensitivities. What is also intriguing is that many of the girls in MISSTER have feminine tastes albeit tomboyish dispositions, i.e. Hello Kitty fetishes. This conflicting image is great in attracting the heavily female-weighted asian-pop fan scene, especially when they have good songs and well-filmed MVs.
MISSTER – Super Lover
MISSTER – Stay
The GM *I know it’s been over a year since I posted, but I’m going to try really hard, I mean really hard, to update this blog…or someone may turn into Queen of Hearts and have me “Off with her head!” one of these days. lols*