VNT: “Sound”…or, “Why K-pop is going down the tubes”

VNT: “Sound (Ye Ye Ye)”

As a loyal Minho stan, it is my fangirly obligation to watch this music video despite the fact that a) I’ve never heard of VNT up until this point, and b) Minho appears for a grand total of seven seconds in the entire MV. On top of that, I’ve learned to not expect anything awesome from any debuting K-pop act…maybe because K-pop has been sucking real horribly as of late, or maybe because I’m a horrible embittered person who complains about everything – take your pick.

So I was about ready to throw VNT into the mounting heap of K-pop suckdom – the schoolgirl outfits in the first few seconds of the MV certainly merited the action. As the music video progressed, my thoughts about their image didn’t get any better – the midriff bearing tops, the gigantic shoulder pads, the excessive bling…

Which is when I realized: My goodness these girls have a lot of outfits!

This is an expensive music video. I think I lost count about 3/4 of the way through, but there are at least six different sets (expensive-looking sets) and eleven different outfits (expensive-looking outfits) featured in the vid. There are a crapload of backup dancers and extras. And for heaven’s sake they roped in a member of one of the hottest boybands in Korea to guest star. I don’t know what company manages VNT, but if they’re a low-budget no-namer like most of the rookie girlgroup-generating companies nowadays, then it really makes me wonder where they’re finding all these connections and moneiz.

I mean, there’s no doubt that the members of VNT deserve it because they’re legitimately talented. They debuted on M!Countdown today and…were kinda awesome.

Shrouded behind all of that nasty autotune is, well, real talent. This is the first group I’ve seen in a while that’s given a pitch-perfect performance whilst also maintaining a remarkable amount of stage presence. That’s not a characteristic found in rookie bands in their debut performance. Granted, the members do seem to be a bit older (compared to the 14-15-16-year olds littering the girlgroup scene nowadays), and I won’t doubt that they’ve probably been in training for a while. But talent is talent, and this is it.

Which is why I want to KILL their management. Basically, everything that’s not based around their talent or their budget is a giant, cheapened waste. The song is catchy – catchy to the point of attempted memedom, which thus makes it sucky. The music video has no structure and the scene cuts don’t respect the beats of the music – it seems to be more or less a showcase of all their expensive sets and expensive costumes and Minho’s face. The styling is gimmicky and has no concept. The live staging is excessive and tacky – there is no need to pay to have a “DJ” and thirty “partiers” to stand in the back and bob their heads for a music show recording.

And the CHOREOGRAPHY.

This “naengmyun dance” thing will never become a meme. NEVER. (That’s Park Myung Soo territory. Don’t mess.)

It’s said that the reason for the current K-pop decline is due to a shallow talent pool amongst trainees. I think that’s bullcrap. Unless there comes some sort of raging viral pandemic that only attacks people with singing talent, then the amount of naturally talented people in any given generation should stay consistent. In other words: scientifically speaking, there cannot be any less talented people during the DBSK era than there are now. It’s just a matter of if/when/how they’re exposed. For VNT, it’s a matter of the latter.

No matter how I see it, VNT’s management must be comprised of a bunch of corporate rockheads if they can’t manage to take full advantage of the amount of talent potential in VNT, what with all the financial resources they have. I’m getting the vibe that management is trying to make VNT into a Miss A copycat – which is what you usually do if your group has nothing more to offer *cough* Nine Muses *cough*. This conclusion can only be drawn if management cannot see any marketing potential in the members’ raw talent – which, I mean, after seeing that M!Countdown perf, is basically impossible unless you enter the project with a vision that only has the gimmickiest of the gimmicky girlgroup copycat images in mind.

Or you could just have really sucky resources at hand – bad songwriters, bad stylists, bad MV directors, bad choreographers – but have loads of money, which is then thrown to the artistic board whose members still think that lens flares add “artistic direction.” In which case: VNT, please get out of there.

I want to like this group. I really do. But it’s K-pop, where management and artistic staff matter, and VNT just has the shortest, stubbiest, scrawniest end of the stick. In the end, it seems as if artistic staff in the K-pop industry are believing the lie that ‘real talent’ doesn’t exist anymore, that memes sell, and that gimmicks are the only option.

And to that I say:

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