It’s the beginning of 2012 everyone! 2011 was the first full year I was able to observe kpop. For the first time I watched groups debut, disappear, break-up, reassemble, or succeed. A few even worked their way into my heart and became groups that I will cherish forever. Who was your favorite group of 2011? Below I’ve listed some of the better known groups of 2011, if yours isn’t on there let me know who they are in the comments. If they are, vote in the poll below! In case you don’t know a group, I’ve included their debut performance and music videos as well as some member info.
-Groups are in alphabetical order with members in order of age-
I’ve been absent from this blog for a while because I just don’t have the time to do the kind of blogging I’d like. From now on, however, if something really impresses me I’ll post something about it.
As I stated in my last post Block B just came back!
Since their debut last year they’ve grown A LOT. I mean, A LOT! I’m gonna go through each member and kinda break down where I think they’ve improved or failed to improve. This is all my opinion and I’m not a professional anything so take everything I say with a grain of salt.
Zico: Our leader, songwriter, composer, lead rapper, and all around handsome boy. This album shows marked growth for Zico in almost every area. If one compares “Freeze (Just Stop!) 그대로 멈춰라!” (Block B’s debut song) to “Nanrina (Make A Commotion) 난리나” the difference is apparent. In fact, all the songs on “Welcome to the Block” are good and I like the diversity encompassed in this album. My main concern last year with Zico was that his background is in rap. He raps, he writes raps, and he’s been doing it like that for a while. Block B is a seven member group and not everyone in it is a rapper. In the first album I feel like the vocals didn’t get enough attention. I’m pleased that in this album we get to hear our boys lovely vocals more. Zico did well blending each members individual colors together and painting something worth looking at. Zico has always had very good stage presence stemming from his previous experience, but I feel like he’s continuing to mature in this area and he’s learning to relax and enjoy the stage more and more with each performance.
Kyung: Cucumber?….psh this is an extremely handsome boy with some great rap skills. There’s something really special about Park Kyung and I think he’s yet to reveal it to us so we’ll just have to wait a little longer. (I’m not just saying that! I said the same thing about MBLAQ’s Mir then BAM, all of a sudden he became charisma personified. Watch this kid.) As far as growth, I feel like Kyung has become more mature over the year and is showing us a more professional image on stage. I remember during their debut stage he caught my eye because he never stopped smiling. He seemed like a little kid just excited to debut. This time around he’s matured and is showing us more charisma. I’d like to see Kyung play with his voice a little more and give us more variety. Also, for some reason I’m curious about his singing voice….
PO: I have to put this out here before I start on PO. Before Block B debuted there was someone named Mino who was supposed to be in the group. He’s got this nice deep voice and he’s really versatile with it. He’s a really talented kid. When they debuted I was displeased that he wasn’t with them. He ended up in a ballad group (B.O.M.), which in my opinion doesn’t properly showcase his skills. I guess I saw PO as his “replacement” so he was off to a bad start with me already. However, with this come-back PO really solidified his place in Block B. He’s improved his rap skills and showed more variety, even “singing” in a few of the tracks. (He sounds really nice on “Synchronization 100%”) He started as just a deep voiced kid with some skill and has blossomed into a multidimensional rapper. One thing I’d like to see him improve on is his stage presence. He doesn’t just let himself get into the song, he always looks like he’s thinking about something else or he’s making cute faces at the fans. I’d like to see him transform into a real charisma rapper in the future.
Taeil: Our power vocal who is humble, respectful, and shy. His vocals have become stronger and more confident. He still needs to believe in his ability more though. He really has great talent, but he’s unsure of himself. Being in a group of crazy, in your face boys makes him stick out, and not in a good way. My complaint with Taeil is that he’s too nervous and self conscious. Previously, he’s stated how he doesn’t like his face, particularly his eyes. This bothers me because I think Taeil is quite handsome and his eyes are really a work of art. He needs to let go and stop holding back because he’s scared. I could be way out of line since I don’t know him personally, but this is the impression I get. His vocals are really something and I’d like him to be more confident with his presentation of himself. One more thing; he needs a new hair style.
U-Kwon & B-Bomb: I’m going to do our handsome lead dancers together because it’s getting late and they’ve both shown similar improvements. First, they are both more comfortable on stage and their vocals became better and stronger. Secondly, as Block B’s choreography has improved, they’ve been given the chance to show their skill. I’m not sure what their role is in the choreography, but I’d like to see them take a leadership role in creating the choreography for the group. I think Block B is a group that can be self-sustaining. I love how much freedom Cho PD gives them, and I’d love to see them put even more of themselves into the music and performances.
Jaehyo: He’s an ulzzang and a derp, what more could you want? He also has a really charming, relaxing voice. This time around his voice is stronger and he’s more confident and relaxed on stage. I think he could work on his range and really just work on growing his voice. If there’s one thing I want out of Block B’s next release it’s a Jaehyo&Taeil duet song.
In all Block B has grown significantly. The groups that make it the farthest are the ones that continue to improve with every release, regardless of how amazing they are. Block B, in my opinion, possesses the talents and potential to improve infinitely. They’ve been given more freedom than many groups in the industry and I’m glad that they are taking advantage of that freedom. I hope they don’t get discouraged with their songs getting banned, it’s just politics really. If I continue this post will become entirely unintelligible since it’s so late at night, so I’ll end it here.
One of my favorite groups: Block B recently came back. I can’t say how excited I am and how pleased I am with their improvement since their debut not quite a year ago.
Debut year is extremely important for a group. However, I feel like in some ways 2011 was a wasted year for Block B. They started out great with their debut single then mini album. They did many other activities as well such as MTV Match Up, which was fantastic. The second half of the year we saw nothing new from Block B and this was a huge mistake. I’m not an expert on how the group spends their time but I feel like they spent way too much time over seas. A group should establish themselves in their home country first. Block B knows this, but for some reason they had a lot of overseas schedules. Maybe this wasn’t the cause, but I feel like Zico didn’t have as much time as he needed and so we got no new music. They gave up the chance to receive awards that can only be received once as well as the chance to establish themselves well in Korea from the get go. This year I’d like to see better marketing, more music, and more domestic appearances.
I’m not an expert but this is how I’d like this year to go. New year – comeback with mini album (done). spring – follow up single. Summer – mini album. Fall – Taeil solo ballad or a Taeil and Jaehyo duet. Early winter – full album with title and follow up tracks to finish off the year. It would be hard but I think it can be done and needs to be done in order to bring them back to where they need to be among their peers. I would also like to see Zico try some songs that are vocals based with Taeil and Jaehyo doing the main parts. I love what he makes, but Block B has 7 members and I’d like to see their talents utilized. A ukwon/bbomb unit would also be interesting. Maybe some dance/electro stuff? Block B is a group that has tons of potential and I don’t want one drop to be wasted. I hope they continue to mature and step outside their comfort zones. On a more selfish note: a Block B & BAP collab would make my life. You know you want one too!