Pregame

JYJ Thanksgiving Live in Dome (DVD): “I Have Nothing”:

I’ve been too embroiled in SHINee-dom as of late, and haven’t had time to check out the DVD recordings of the JYJ Tokyo Dome perfs. But it’s probably a little sad that I had forgotten what a pitch-perfect live performance was supposed to sound like until now. And Jaejoong, who seems to chronically take second place to Junsu …¬†man does he kill it here.

My hope’s starting to wane for Yoochun, not gonna lie. Especially after seeing this:

Seriously, as for this whole “JYJ-Goes-To-America” biznatch…I’m trying not to get my hopes too high, to be honest. I’m still crossing my fingers that everything will work out for their NYC showcase (both on their end and mine), but to speak of the big picture for a bit… this whole “foray-into-the-Western-market” thing? This whole “English language album” thing? This whole “promo-track-entitled ‘Ayyy Girl’ thing?!

I’m a cynic, I know. But I can’t even begin to make heads or tails of this whole ordeal, and if I can’t, then American audiences probably can’t, either. The thing is, though, is that I care about these three guys. American audiences don’t. And if American audiences don’t get it right off the bat, then they won’t care. And if they don’t care right off the bat, then fat chance they’re gonna care about it later.

America doesn’t fall for that “oppa so hottt” crap anymore; not unless you’re a fourteen year old Justin Bieber fan. I don’t know when it happened – somewhere between 2001 and Incubus’ wave of popularity within the junior high demographic – but suddenly America turned into the Land of Mainstream Music Snobs, where everyone became ultra-protective of “good” music (or rather, one’s own definition of “good” music, whatever that may be) – and thus, the art of fluffy, insubstancial pop music was left to Disney teenyboppers…and delusional K-pop fangirls enthusiasts.

(By the way, Justin Bieber¬†is talented. You just try to find another random 16 year old boy who can sing like him and dare not to call Justin Bieber talented. Do I like his music? Meh, not really. But that doesn’t make him any less of a singer. Which is, I suppose, the entire point of this rant.)

My point is, I can’t see JYJ making music that won’t be mocked by the so-called “mainstream.” It’s not because they’re Asian, because no one digs on Clara Chung or David Choi. Clara Chung and David Choi are “cool” enough to be considered as “good” musicians. On the other hand, JYJ is targeting the R&B/Hip-Hop genre, because that’s what they do best they’re effing amazing at it. But will they ever be “cool” enough to be considered “good” artists? The current music snobbishness trend says no.

Um, since when has there been such a disparity between being a “cool” artist and being a “good” artist? Since when has the word “talent” become so segregated?

But think about it: How well-received would JYJ be if you strapped a guitar onto Yoochun and had them penning monotone melodies and emo lyrics about the “human condition”? Because they have the compositional and musical chops to pull that off. But they’re capable of so much more.

It’s a shame that they won’t be accepted or “respected” for what they do best. All because we can’t get off our pedestals of “good musical taste” and open our eyes to the true, broad definition of the word “talent.”


And just as an afterthought….of course, there’ll probably be some ignorant fools who will prey on JYJ’s accented English, but ain’t that always the truth.

I admit to poking fun at Yoochun’s Engrish every now and then, but only because it was in the context of K-pop, where Engrish is essentially a staple to the culture…and a fault that everyone just lets slide.

But not in the States. Not here. Not in a place where people are so arrogant as to instantaneously turn a deaf ear to anyone who can’t speak English fluently. Not in a place where one can’t be taken seriously if he has a hint of an accent in his speech. Not here. Now he’s coming here, and I worry.

Wonder when America will stop mocking and start respecting every voice and the important things it has to say, chinky accent or not.

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