JYJ…Oy

To the JYJ fans that may read this post and get the wrong idea: I am not bashing/hating on JYJ. I am simply stating my opinions on one of their latest singles/videos that I believe has done them more harm than good.

Check out the official music video to one JYJ’s latest singles “Ayy Girl”.

Now, if I’m not mistaken, my understanding is that this was supposed to be the song that broke JYJ into the U.S. market. But sadly, this song/video leaves me with more questions and answers. Namely, who in JYJ’s creative camp thought this would be a benefit?? Its no secret that Asian entertainers (whether singers, actors, etc) have been trying to break into the U.S. market for a long time. It is also no secret that it hasn’t really happened for any particular Asian artist (except Bruce Lee, arguably). So no doubt, the wise and discerning creative team should not underestimate the daunting task ahead in preparing their foreign artist for the U.S. market.

Breaking into the U.S. market can’t be an easy thing. If it were, our boy Bi would’ve done it by now, and even though he’s much more well known in the States after the release of Ninja Assassin, I still think its safe to say that only about half of the movie-going U.S. population even really know who he is. That is a much smaller number in relativity to his native South Korea, and the neighboring Asian countries in which he is often compared to Michael Jackson, the undeniable King of Pop. Back to breaking into the U.S. market: its not easy, likely because, 1) there are tons of talented U.S. natives trying to do that very thing. So a lot of the attention and priority in the U.S. music industry usually goes to our own. 2) The music industry has an annoying little habit (or audacity, depending on how you look at it) of telling us what/who we’re going to like, and so they sign artists that are mediocre at best, and who push their agendas (I’m not going to go any deeper into that because its off point, but I’m sure there are folks out there that get my drift). I also think that 3) JYJ isn’t being taken seriously by the U.S. music industry. If so, why would Kanye West and Malik Yusef not appear in their video? I don’t think its fair that they spent a lot of money on the video, but couldn’t even convince Kanye to show his face?? Also, why would JYJ’s stylists for the video don Junsu in a halter top/apron/whatever that thing is?? Why would the makeup team paint their faces in overly noticeable makeup? Over-the-top makeup and fashion may work on men in Korea and Asia (think Mblaq “Cry” video) and maybe goth rock or punk bands in the U.S., but on Asian pop artists looking to break into the Western music scene?? Not so much, methinks.

The process of marketing an Asian artist to the U.S. is a very meticulous one, so all caution should be taken. That formula of success is a delicate balance between image, material and timing. Now is a great time for Asian artists to break into the U.S., however, their image and the music material/projects they choose are incredibly crucial to their success. I don’t want to say this is the end of the JYJ in the U.S., but I hope that their creative team is rethinking their approach and investing in some serious damage control.

That said, I hope JYJ is successful. Yes, I want them to succeed. One small step for a K-pop group/artist, one giant leap for Asian artists everywhere!

P.S. – I’d love to hear from someone with a differing opinion and who thinks this song and video was a plus to JYJ entrance into the U.S. market.

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About bitofabelly81

Who I am Bitofabelly81 aka boab81, founder of Black Women Love Bi (BWLB): An Asian Men Appreciation Blog Why Because I love Bi/Rain/비/Jung Jihoon. I have never been inspired to start a blog/site for any celebrity/public figure, until I learned about Bi. He is the whole reason this blog exists. If it weren't for him, I would know nothing about the world of K-pop (which I adore), nor would I care. I am also a big fan of Japan and all things Japanese. I strive to feature men of all Asian ethnicities on the blog, but since K-pop and Hallyu are very popular, this blog has a tendency to lean more towards features on Korean men. Follow me on Twitter blackwomenloveb Find BWLB on Facebook here Wanna drop me a tip? Wanna say hi? Wanna say anything? Email me at bitofabelly81@gmail.com

12 thoughts on “JYJ…Oy

  1. I agree, I just knew the collab video would be epic and boy was I wrong. Great Kanye did it, I like his stuff. It was just another example of group getting pulled into the overhype of a fellow artist and having them “feat.” on their track.

    I want great singers to come over but they have to leave the “korean idol formula” behind. It will not work, not one bit. Who cares if fans that are based in the states are excited and sell out shows, you will never get NEW fans that will help you BREAK the market. Coming over and working the US needs to be about vocals. A long long promotion period for the artists, as it goes now they don’t have the time/money to give for that type of push. It all sounds good but I think we will have to settle for in and out concert stops until Korea is really ready to give the time and creative force it takes to last more than a minute.

  2. Somebody should have told JYJ’s music team to ask past and present entertainers for advice about breaking into the music scene.

    It is said that the United States has the harshest entertainment critics in the world. Many North American artists have gotten their starts in the entertainment industry in countries like Europe, because to them, their audiences seemed more appreciative of their music. Like you said, there are many potential American singers who are also trying to break into the music industry,but haven’t quite made it there yet.

    I agree with you and Melis. If JYJ or any other Korean-based singers wants to make it big in the states, it cannot always be about their styles. I remembered the Shuh Rukh Khan craze. To me, Shuh is one of the most coolest actors in Bollywood.With this guy’s talents, he had the potential to break into the American film industry. As a matter of fact, one of his movies was made in the States,but was predominately made for Bollywood audiences. It is amazing how India has more movies than the U.S, yet the world knows who we are.Once in a while, you may see Indian breakaway entertainers,models and singers( I don’t really listen to a lot of their music) like Aishwaryi Rai, but we all knew what happened with her when Richard Gere kissed her . In general, Bollywood has a lot of great talent,but their entertainment world is so insular that we barely know who the people are.

  3. You may be hard-pressed to find someone of a differing opinion.

    I do wish JYJ all the best,
    but I too am unable to come up with a valid argument
    in support of their current situation.
    I will say one thing; and I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.
    I am not an “anti-fan” of Kanye West; he is very talented;
    but, he did not do JYJ any favors.
    Perhaps he did not appear in the video,
    because he knew his contribution sucked.
    I have listened to the song several times,
    and find that I enjoy it best when my eyes are closed,
    and Kanye shuts up.

    When I think about all the earlier material
    the three put out as members of DBSK,
    much of it, in my opinion,
    primed and ready for some sort of US distribution even then,
    I can’t help but wish they were together again.
    I wonder if perhaps TVXQ!/ Tohoshinki’s latest
    is more ready for such than JYJ’s.

    It is unfortunate all the way around.
    It is unfortunate that someone, or some people, are not doing right by JYJ,
    and it is unfortunate that the things we worry about on their behalf,
    are things we should have to be worrying about at all.
    It is also a shame that it’s thought they need an American artist
    to make their music more palatable to us in the states.
    If Kanye’s contribution is going to be a reflection of most,
    then I say again, “Kanye, leave it alone.”
    If they are not going to take it seriously,
    or if they are even in some way threatened by
    the quality of production and presentation
    already being put forth by the Korean music industry,
    then leave it alone, please.

  4. The bottom line is if you want to break into a certain market, then you Really need to establish who the new demographic is you are going for in the first place. K-poppers already know they have the Asian demographic “sewed up” in their home countries and most likely in the States too, so to me, “breaking into” another market means you are trying to “sell your wares”, so to speak, to a new demographic. As an earlier commenter said, you want to establish a new fan base. In the U.S., effeminate hairdos, makeup and frilly stage costumes Will Not Work for a male artist (unless your are in the rock group KISS or Prince), I don’t care how many “hard core rappers” you have on your song. Unless you have talent/swagger that is “out of this world” LIKE Prince, then your effeminate appearance can’t be overlooked. In the States, you will need to be Definitively male in appearance. Women and teeny bop fangirls need to be able to “fantasize” about you in the way girls do. Guys who watch your videos need to be able to “see themselves” when they see you (so to speak). Boys-n-the-hood can’t get with lipstick and eyeliner, unless you are going for another demographic altogether (i.e., The RuPaul set) then not a problem.
    1) Establish who the new demographic will be that you are trying to reach in the States;
    2) Make subtle alterations to your image, so as to appeal to that new demographic you are trying to reach; while not completely offending your already established fan base. (I know it can be tough, but it can be done) When Bi accepted his Biggest Badass award he dressed very chic in classic black, but his appearance was definitively male and appealing to everyone on both sides of the ocean. Had he pulled his hair up in a ponytail, although the look would have been decidedly Asian a U.S. audience would have said….Hmmm…Ooook……..and nobody would have given two sh__ts about who Mr. Badass was beyond that award show.
    3) Yes, timing is also another very critically important factor, but also having that indescribable “IT factor.” There are so many people in the world who are talented, but just can’t get to the top no matter what they do. It’s that indescribable “Thing” that is unique to only you and some people have that “Thing” that appeals to people enmass. Every Megastar you have ever known in your life has IT. That’s another major part of the equation. To be completely honest I LOVE Bi, but I have heard other Korean singers that have better singing voices. However, they don’t COME CLOSE TO Bi in my world. Bi just HAS “IT!” He has a confidence and a Swagger that is not to be believed. He just makes you believe in what he is “selling” and while others are talented, I don’t want to buy what they are selling….Bi makes me want to buy and come back for more. I don’t know what the hell you call it, I’m sure some marketing exec out there knows, but I believe that is the Deciding factor on who will ultimately cross over to the U.S. market. Jackie Chan is the Comedic Action Hero, Jet Li is the Serious Action Hero now Bi can be the Romantic/Sexy Action Hero….rounding out the trio. I really believe Bi will establish himself in the U.S. in the movies first and I can’t wait. I will be a Bi fan “FA LIFE!”

    SORRY FOR THE LONG POST!

  5. After catching up on some JYJ recently.
    I am beginning to feel that my words may have been a bit too harsh,
    and that my concern for how they might be excepted here,
    may in fact have been unnecessary;
    though warranted, because they
    tear people apart here, eat ’em up, and then spit ’em out.
    Little to no make-up, and very sharply (and masculine-ly) dressed.
    They performed well, interview well, and spoke of their desire
    to find success in the US market; and,
    I must say, Micky speaks English really well.

    I sincerely wish them all the best!

  6. Well I guess I must be the only of a different opinion lol I first saw them when they were part of DBSK/TVXQ. I liked them then, and I like them now. I enjoyed the video immensely, although I did think it strange Kanye didn’t put in an appearance. But I also like their other tracks. I agree Mickey speaks well. I would/will go see them perform when they are close to my location. I adore Bi, but I actually prefer Hero. Blasphemous I know lol! I wish them all the luck in world as they attempt to establish themselves here.

  7. Ima little late on this post. JYJ…. my poor boys. TBH I actually kind of like this song. LOL! Micky Yuchun has an oddball appeal to him. Plus he was good in SSK. Everyone keeps wanting TVXQ back together. Yeah they were good together and I support both groups.

    I’m really starting to feel bad about the idols not making it here. They are talented and can usually dance their asses off. Remember what happened to Se7en? I didn’t hear his song AT ALL in my market.

  8. i don’t care for the recorded version of this song…i don’t understand the poor voice quality on the record…sounds like they are straining to reach some notes or are just plain off tune…but i really liked when they performed it in concert on stage, per the youtube video…

    i read somewhere that micky’s family moved to VA when he was young, so he speaks english pretty well…

    the established artists here love and are inspired by music from around the world and want to expose the US market to other sounds and styles…for example, paul simon and lady blacksmith mambazo or gwen stefani and the harajuku girls… but artists also know how risky it is to back some of those projects no matter how badly they want to because of the fickleness of the US market…the harajuku girls can be gwen’s backup dancers and fashion muses, but i seriously doubt a harajuku girls’ album would have been successful even with gwen’s stamp of approval…after a little while, the fascination wore off, people had reached their saturation point and were even saying gwen should release the harajuku girls, like she was keeping them hostage…

    rain and his management team did a LOT of research and prep work for rain to break into the US market…apparently, they talked with a lot of producers and musicians, many of whom were very impressed with his entertainment skills and his status as one of, if not THE, top asian music star…but when it came down to going in the studio to record an english album or tour with other american musicians or his music promotions here, the results were the same…nothing much happened. a song with omarion got recorded, but the only way i heard it was on youtube. what happened the other artists who thought he was great? did they think it was just too risky to be openly associated with rain’s endeavors here? was it his accent? his mannerisms? his ethnicity? his swagger? whatever it was, it prevented him from making much headway musically here….

    i actually applaud kanye for rapping on this track…it might have put jyj’s name in minds and mouths that previously would never have given them the time of day…could the song have been written better? yup….sung better? yup…but the music and beat, methinks, were pretty good…hopefully they will take a lesson from this, learn and produce an even better album that has more of a chance to cross over here…

    i don’t know how good taeyang’s english is, but he’s got a seemingly good understanding of american hip-hop style and swagger that would be attractive to the younger US generation (and his cornrows were very cute)… my only fear would be that music styles might change here before he would have a chance to get a foothold in the market…

    it would be too much to hope the US market becomes less fickle…

  9. Ok, I really love that video, but on re-watching it, there are somethings that might have thrown me off if I’d seen it before I started watching KDramas:

    1) Eye makeup. Junsu’s was fine / unnoticeable. Jaejoong’s makes him look like an anime character, but a lot of Americans watch anime these days, so I don’t know. Maybe just light eyeliner so his eyes don’t blend in with his white white skin? Yoochun’s was the most jarring. I thought it looked damn good but I think the eyeshadow is probably too much for Americans watching an R&B video.

    2) Junsu’s shoulder feathers. In America, Man + feathers = drag, which is a shame ’cause they’re so pretty. The men and the feathers.

    3) Junsu’s white apron halter shirt. I like seeing the extra skin and the ties give it a nice texture to me, but the design reminds me of those girl shirts that were in style in the late 90’s I think. Remember those shirts that just looked like a bandanna folded into a triangle? Not a good association for a guy’s wardrobe. His arms were looking juicy though. I could have done with more arms & shoulders in that video!

    4) And the most important: My beautiful, beautiful Jaejoong-ah, I can barely understand a word you’re saying. 😥 I had to go read the lyrics to figure out your lines. That’s definitely a problem. Junsu’s accent is not too bad, Yoochun’s is barely noticeable. Most Asian accents (other than Japanese, *sometimes*) sound bad. I’m sorry but there it is. It’s hard to get radio play for a song with garbled lyrics. It isn’t the 70’s anymore, lol!

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