Category Archives: K-Pop

You can keep your tickets thanks, United Cube

Over the past couple of years, my interest in K-Pop has been growing. I won’t start with the K-Pop vs. J-Pop debate because for the most part it’s redundant.

I also love 4minute – their lead tracks are insanely catchy, so when I heard there was a possibility they would hold a gig in London, regardless of who they were coming with, I wanted to go.

Sadly, parent company Cube Entertainment have got everything wrong. Firstly they’ll be playing at Brixton. There’s nothing essentially wrong with Brixton, but let me just list a few acts I’ve seen there:

  • Tenacious D
  • Placebo
  • Less Than Jake
  • Blink-182
  • Billy Talent
  • Goo Goo Dolls

It’s a good “rock” venue, or raving venue, but for squeaky clean K-Pop… err it’s a bit of a dive! This being said, this hasn’t put me off going – Brixton has very good transport links and I can get a train directly to the venue.

The thing which has really been the deal breaker is a combination of the ticket prices and the relatively short performance each act was given. As InsaneLampshade has pointed out on twitter, the ticket prices are the same in the UK as they were in Korea – which works out as £65 before any additional charges are applied, e.g. booking fees, having the tickets posted… once you’ve added that on, the tickets climb to around £70-£75. That is a terrible price. Furthermore I’ve heard that the performance will be around the standard hour and a half for the 3 acts combined (4minute, Beast, G.NA) – although I can’t find this confirmed, this is usually how long J-Pop/Rock concerts are with one act.

To try and put the price into context, I paid £35 to see Paramore at the London O2, who were supported by B.o.B and some act I’d never heard of. That concert finished at 11. I paid £50 to see Gackt at the Islington O2, and despite the price, those tickets sold out within minutes. Demand + time frame does not equal the ticket price in this scenario. The ticket price should be half of what it is (at least!) and United Cube should concentrate more on selling merchandise, like most concerts do. Or they should have chosen a small venue.

Hopefully other K-Pop agencies wanting to bring acts to the UK will take more to the “when in the UK, use UK ticket prices” but until they do, it looks like the United Cube will be looking out into a pretty empty crowd on December 5th.

BoA – Hurricane Venus

Since BoA‘s career started in the early 00’s, K-Pop and J-Pop diverged in to two very different directions, where J-Pop didn’t change much from its late 90’s RnB influence, and K-Pop began to develop more in line with modern Western Pop and RnB. So over the last few years, it’s been difficult for BoA to translate her music over both industries as she did early in her career.

So if you’re a fan of her more mellow Japanese work, Hurricane Venus provides a stark contrast of electrified Korean Pop closer in line to the American album BoA put out last year. Although this album isn’t a dance-a-thon of semi-serious tracks, it follows the template of homogenous synthy RnB-dance-pop that has taken hold in Korea, with a large number of ballads thrown in for contrast. Some of the dance tracks are absolutely fantastic piece of pop (Hurricane Venus) with fantastic hooks, but unfortunately the rest mish-mash into an electro storm of forgettable songs.

Hurricane Venus also lacks direction or feeling as an album. One minute we’re being romanced by a sweet ballad, the next it sounds like a Nuclear apocalypse siren is starting up. It’s also very noticeable that the only musical area where K-Pop seems to be stuck in… well the early nineties, to be quite honest, is with the ballads, which really adds another level of oddness to the album make up. Don’t get me wrong, thank goodness BoA has figured out how to switch the vocalizer off – but her ballads sound so dated against her raunchy electro numbers. They also cover a variety styles, with Don’t know what to say having a distinct Motown vibe, and Romance sounding like a swing/easy listening classic.

Tracklist

  1. GAME
  2. Hurricane Venus
  3. DANGEROUS
  4. Stand By
  5. M.E.O (My Electric Piano)
  6. LET ME
  7. Implode
  8. ANDRENALINE
  9. Ordinary Day
  10. Don’t Know What To Say
  11. Romance

Deathloop: Hurricane Venus (an amazing piece of modern K-Pop), Implode (Probably the best Ballad I’ve heard BoA sing), M.E.P. (My Electric Piano) (really nice contrast to all the other songs)

Overal: B-

BoA, you have a lovely voice, we don’t need you to sound like a robot. Come back with some of this energy and attitude to Japan and release an album, then we’ll be talking!