When I was asked to write this article on Super Junior, I was thrilled but immediately got nervous which was strange since I’ve written and published two books before….but I wanted to be sure that I could present Super Junior in a loving and respectful manner. Due to the enormous size of the group, I will try to keep this article as brief as possible.
I have to admit that SHINee has been and always will be my #1 favorite group of any genre, of all time, mainly for their superior vocal abilities, endearing personalities, beautiful bodies, and gorgeous faces. Whereas SHINee has been known for wearing brightly colored , skin-tight clothing….Super Junior has become known for their exquisite and mature sense of style. Whether they are headed to a fan meeting, an interview, a press conference, or singing a classic ballad on stage…the men of Super Junior dress as professional, charismatic gentlemen…often times in suits, button-down oxford shirts, and ties.
They first debuted in 2005 with 12 members and then added a 13th member in 2006. Due to different career paths, lawsuits, & mandatory military service….as of this moment there are now 10 active members. Some can be intimidated by the size of the group but to me it makes it easier to just focus on the four members of the group with talents that stand out: Lee Donghae (rapping & dancing), Kim Ryeowook (singing), Choi Siwon (fantastic acting abilities), and my personal favorite ….the y0ung man with the hauntingly powerful but velvety smooth voice, the “maknae” Cho Kyuhyun.
Super Junior has four sub-groups but the main one to focus on is their Mandarin-speaking group, Super Junior-M, which is made up of 6 members from Super Junior, plus two additional Mandarin-speaking Chinese members.
Super Junior has released five studio albums, three Korean single albums, and one Japanese album. Their megahits include “Sorry, Sorry”, “Bonamana”, Why I Like You”, and their recent #1 hit just released three weeks ago, “Mr. Simple”. I guess my main reason for writing this article is to highlight two reasons that make Super Junior so special to me.
First reason as mentioned earlier, is their classy sense of style which likely is a result of them being among the elder statesmen of this recent “Korean Wave”. Secondly, what sets Super Junior apart from other groups are the life events, some tragic, that some of the members have experienced that would ordinarily cause a group to break up.
In 2006, Lee Donghae lost his father to cancer and to this day it is difficult for him to speak on it since it was actually his father’s dream, not Donghae’s, to become a singer and Donghae and his father were very close.
In 2009, one of Super Junior’s original members and leader of its sub-group Super Junior-M, Han Geng, filed a lawsuit against Super Junior’s management company SM Entertainment for unlawfully locking him into a 13-year ‘slave contract’, misappropriating his earnings, and for refusals to give him a day off in over two years…which is believed to have contributed to his developing gastritis and kidney disease.
But in April of 2007, the tragedy that nearly broke the group up forever was when members Leeteuk, Shindong, Eunhyuk, Kyuhyun, & two of their managers were involved in a horrific car accident which nearly killed Kyuhyun and left Leeteuk critically injured. I tried to attach a YouTube video link of Kyuhyun speaking on the accident but it seems somehow YouTube has blocked it. ??? The most beautiful part of the video was the fact that Kyuhyun’s father, who was very much against him becoming a singer in the first place, was actually the one who ended up fighting the doctors by preventing them from performing a tracheotomy on Kyuhyun….which would’ve ended his career as a singer.
Please view the video at: YouTube.com …key word search: “Kyhyun Living a Second Life”
Lastly, I get enraged over the hurtful negativity, whether on TV or in print form, directed towards K-Pop music or trivializing its emerging popularity worldwide as being overrated. Sure, some of K-Pop music is cheesy and absolutely ridiculous and unfortunately there are some shady and underhanded things going on behind the scenes as with any industry but, which genre of music features artists that can actually sing in several different languages and still have #1 records? Just last week, mostly native Korean-speaking Super Junior-M released a Japanese version of their 2011 Mandarin-language album, “Perfection”. No, K-pop has not exploded here in the U.S. and probably won’t ever but we’ve already discussed on this blog how the U.S. in general can be prejudicial against accepting foreign artists….particularly non-English speaking ones.
Despite the ‘bumps and bruises’ and detours that Super Junior as a group has endured, one thing that has remained constant is their obvious love and support for one another through the bad times which has enabled them to savor the good times together such as having their fourth album “Bonamana” stay at #1 on the Taiwanese charts for 63 weeks straight! Beginning September 1st, member Heechul will report for his 23 months of mandatory military service and leader Leeteuk will also report in May of 2012. Member Kim Kibum is still on a self-imposed hiatus from the group in order to focus on his acting career. Regardless of these absences, in the end, the remaining active members of Super Junior will continue to take the lead in this “the Korean Wave” not just because they are super talented, but because they are “Super Men”.
By Choi Min Jung a.k.a Jessica Jackson http://twitter.com/#!/JacksonThePoet
List of Super Junior & Super Junior-M songs I personally recommend:
“Dead At Heart” – Super Junior
“In My Arms” – Super Junior-M
“My Love, My Kiss, My Heart” – Super Junior
“Super Girl” – Super Junior-M
“Perfection” – Super Junior-M
“Shake it Up” – Super Junior
“Marry U” – Super Junior
“Mr. Simple” – Super Junior
“Bonamana” – Super Junior
“The Whisper of the West Wind” – Super Junior-M
“You’re My Endless Love” – Super Junior
“A Man in Love “– (Remix version) – Super Junior