Officially Addicted – NU’EST “FACE”

17 03 2012

I was trying to remain uninterested in Pledis’s (first?) newest boy group NU’EST.  Most of the time, whenever I attach myself to a group or singer right after their debut, such as Block B, Dae Guk Nam Ah, or Son Anna (for example), they either ruin their careers, go to shit just after their releases got good, or disappear off the face of the Earth.

I know many people were really looking forward to this group, but I’ve really been disappointed with After School’s Japanese releases, and as the flagship group of Pledis, it reflected onto my view of the company as a whole.  Also, I hardly even noticed the “Pledis Boys” in “LOVE LETTER” last Christmas.  So really, I didn’t care.

Out of complete boredom, though, I watched their debut music video… and wow.  I’m absolutely addicted.  (Music video inside!)

Debut songs are usually really awesome or really awful.  I loved Chocolat’s “Syndrome”, which hooked me to the group, but Secret’s “Magic” was so blah that it took me a while to like them (and until “Love is MOVE,” they fell into the category of groups that were awesome and end up sucking during their doo-op phase).

And I’m still hesitant to fall for NU’EST, but have you seen this yet??

First of all, Pledis, you are AWESOME for providing an English lyric version.  Please do this with After School’s releases, kthxbai.  I tried watching a fan-subbed version before I found their official channel and the lyrics were poorly translated and really confused me.  The official version, while maybe not a literal translation, really helps shed light on the message of the song.

Which is awesome.  Bullying is a huge issue in Asia, and as a future teacher, I’ve done a lot of research to know what I’m getting myself into.  It’s a really touchy subject that’s only been brought to the spotlight in the past year or two in South Korea.  So I’m really glad that this video deals with the subject.  It’s the first [Kpop] music video that I’ve ever seen touch on it, even.  The whole video does a really awesome job of showing a story where one guy gets bullied, but the members all stand up for him.  The final rap sums it up well: “This is a story of a dwarf and a giant, but it’s gonna end up like David and Goliath.”

The dance even reflects the message of the song.  The members rotate between the “bully” and the “victim” roles that the story part of the video shows.  When one or all the members are bullied, they stick together and stand up against the bully member.  It’s really creative and illustrative.  My only complaint is the dubstep-esque dance break, which starts at 2:00 in the video above.  Dubstep dance breaks should completely captivate, not bore me and make me wonder why they bothered with dubstep.  Granted, it’s not the worst I’ve seen, but it could have been a lot better.  2PM and Jay Park are great examples of it done right.

The song itself is addictive.  I love electronic music, so I may like this group for a while if they continue with music like this since they’re labeling themselves as an electronic group.  The chorus gets a tad repetitive, but the verses and raps are awesome.

I didn’t find out until I started writing this that all of the members were SO YOUNG.  I’m older than all of them!  Shit.  The oldest is 19, and the maknae is turning 17 at the end of the year.  Damn.  I suppose it’s appropriate for them to sing about bullying, since all but one is probably still in high school.  Despite their ages (and I would still take the maknae), I like the members in this group.  They don’t all capture my attention, but I don’t know any names of groups like B1A4 or Infinite still, so for members to stand out enough for me to learn their names right off the bat is something.  (Good example: I just started learning a few AKB names a late last year.)

Baekho, the lead singer, seems a bit too much like everyone else in the industry and doesn’t strike me as unique.  He commands stage presence and has a decent voice (needs work), but he’s nothing special to me.

Who is this again?  Oh, right, the other singer besides Baekho, Minyuk.  He’s a good singer, but also nothing special.

JR has a really raspy rapping voice that I really love.  It’s one of the reasons why T.O.P. is my favorite Kpop rapper.  It’s difficult to rap for extended periods while straining your voice like that, but it sounds awesome, so that impresses me.  But really, he’s young and not much competition for the likes of  ZELO or T.O.P., so he has some work to do before he really gets on my radar.

No, the two members that stick out to me are…

Aron, the second rapper.  I’m loving the increasing amount of American members in Kpop groups these days, and Aron is no exception.  Like most other American members of Kpop groups (Kevin, L.Joe, and Amber for example), he was born and raised in Southern California, which is where I’m from, so he automatically is on my radar.  I’m sure he didn’t write the English raps in “FACE” himself, but they are very well-written with a lot of analogies that mostly only Western fans would get (Biblical; a cartoon I grew up on).  He’s not the best rapper, but he sure as hell is trying.  I’m looking forward to seeing how he develops as an idol.

Now the part I’ve been waiting for this whole post: Ren.  Mmmm.  Pedophilicious.  Although the maknae, he’s not that young and would be legal (for me) in both South Korea and America.  Boom.  He gets the least amount of attention in the music video, but he seems to be the most popular among worldwide fans so far.  What makes him so captivating?  His androgyny.  Is it weird that I find androgyny extremely sexy in Asian men (hello, Kevin and Taemin <3)?  I mean, let’s take a look at Ren’s teaser video:

His image is based on androgyny.  And damn, does it work.  I don’t understand how a 16 year old can channel all that sexy (I model for fun and I just got the hang of it for damn’s sake).  I knew he was a boy, but his feminine appearance captured my attention immediately.  It’s probably a good this their debut video brings awareness to bullying because this poor kid is probably receiving a hell of a lot of it for his long, blonde hair and feminine features.

In the music video and live performances, I find myself constantly looking for him and not even caring about the other members.  He’s neither the best singer nor dancer, but like Taemin grew into a mini Jonghyun, I’m sure after a few years Ren will be phenomenal.  He needs to be center from now on because he absolutely demands your eye contact every time he’s on screen.

Like I said, I’m really reluctant to get attached to this group, but the electronica and Ren may just keep me interested.  Hopefully they don’t start releases crap releases like After School’s past few.

As the closing note, WHO ELSE IS EXCITED FOR SHERLOCK NEXT WEEK???? EEEEEE SHINEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!  Right then, see you next week with my “Sherlock” fangasm review (Please, SM, PLEASE don’t make Taemin a grungy hippie in the video).

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18 03 2012
Recommended Reading – March 17th, 2012 | International Wota

[…] Officially Addicted – NU’EST “FACE” – Shanimuni Paradise Tsukiki falls hard for the Pledis boy band, especially the gorgeous gorgeous Ren… […]

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