Cubestalgia

After hearing that Beast might disband in a few days, all the sweet Kpop memories suddenly flashed before my eyes. Beast was not the group that got me into Kpop, but they have been, even until now, my ultimate bias (UB), to whom I feel really attached and with I’m kinda identified with, probably because all the members are my generation, and their hit songs came out during the prime years. My Kpop interest took on a long hiatus in 2011 and when it slowly resumed in 2015, I found that my taste in idols had not changed even a bit, as other idol groups started to grow in me but still I always ended up liking the sleepy, drunken and thoughtful members. JunHyung of Beast debuted into a youthful, swag and arrogant image, which has deviated towards a more or less mature, cool, laid-back and cheesy grown-man nowadays. It’s interesting to watch how he aged so gracefully, and how he managed to maintain his cool vibration singing about breakups and sadness. The music he produced just kept getting more and more melancholic, and somehow the contrast between his sharp and cool appearance and his seemingly loyal and broken heart is yet another charm of his.

I started paying attention to Beast and JunHyung in particular as he joined that Chocoball gang headed by Heechul of SuperJunior. The way I saw that bunch of friends in 2009 and the way I see them now has not changed. I can’t name all the people in that group, but as I see from HeeChul, HongKi, SimonD and JunHyung, they’re pretty much all the same loud and confident, alpha-type of male on the outside, while having a thoughtful, melancholic side, and a heart that is both willing to experience and enjoy all the ups and downs of emotions. You can say it’s dumb to judge celebrities from a few footages on TV, but ain’t we judging people all the time? For me, these people simply have that twisted vibration that appeals to me, probably because I myself prefer people with such personalities (hence I developed an aptitude to detect them?? lol)

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Same reason for Lee ChangSub of BTOB. This man is my new muse. I don’t dig the weird faces he makes to seek attention on TV and I believe no fan does. They wish he remained to be the beautiful man on stage, or pretty much whenever he refrains from trying to be funny. As he looks sleepy all the time, speaks in a nasal voice, has a defined beautiful jawline, is left-handed and has his body filled with sizeable tattoos, he slowly became the new perfect guy for me to awe on14656347_644576495721068_2133850234992607730_n Okay, back to Cube. The reason why I like Cube artists (actually I just noticed that I have been paying an immense amount of attention to Cube artists, not that I’m a fan) is probably because they are given a little more freedom to express themselves, compared to artists from SM and JYP. I think Cube is an upgraded version of JYP in terms of musical talents and personalities, just a few inches short of looks. JunHyung produced lots of music for Beast, and just so you can see from idols who compose, they have the chance to express themselves not only through variety shows but also via the themes and lyrics of their songs. JunHyung is pretty much the melancholic type, like Bang YongGuk of B.A.P (they should hang out lol). Zico is versatile and very creative. Suga of BTS’ topics also vary, but as I notice he used to sing a lot about hope, dreams and youth. This is probably the advantage of being raised by a less known agency. (Maybe I’m biased, but I don’t really appreciate JYP artists’ musical personality (sans JYP himself)). IlHoon of BTOB is also interesting, and probably because of his age, his lyrics sounds pure, kind and cheerful.

The freedom that Cube gave its artists went overboard. Many people have talked about Cube’s poor management ever since the departure of Hong Seung Sung, whom they still refer to as Papa Hong. SM and YG aside, since they’re so strong that they have become market maker, I believe what Cube groups need is, more than proper management, a bit of luck, more hit songs, or beautiful members (just accept it). Beast and 4Minute rose to stardom thanks to their songs, and while I believe company promotion did some part, every group needs a hit song to begin with. Hit songs don’t necessarily mean quality songs by the way, and by that I somehow refer to the repetitive catchy songs produced by SM: if it’s bad but it works then it’s not bad. BTOB flopped so hard during 2013-2014 because their title tracks Beep Beep (뛰뛰빵빵) and You’re So Fly (넌 감동이야) did not appeal to the general public, and in my opinion, they received the right amount of promotion including music shows appearance and exposure in variety programs. While their songs did not showcase their vocal talents, and members who were sent to variety shows (I think mostly IlHoon) failed to be remembered, I think for a while Cube was stuck in finding BTOB’s ultimate charm to promote with. It wasn’t until the mid of 2015 following the release of It’s Okay (괜찮아요) that Cube finally found BTOB’s ‘brand’, which is: singing-dol, and quickly grabbed it. You know, that’s how marketing works. BTOB is not necessarily the best singing-dols out there, but somehow audience’ views have been successfully shaped that way and I’m happy for that.

Cube has bad reputation as seen in their poor financials (partially but I’m not talking about this), and the damage they’ve done to people’s favourite idol groups. However, I think people have set the bars too high for such a small agency like Cube. Beast has been in the market for 7 years, the stage at which most groups have declined in popularity no matter which agency they’re from. 2PM is even less noticed on their newest comeback compared to Beast although they’re from JYP. SuperJunior in 2012 was pretty much already ‘promoting for fun’. 2NE1’s situation is the worst, and they’re from the much praised YG. Cube has never been big to begin with, and rather than considering CLC or Pentagon a flop, we had better think of Beast and 4Minute as their one-off success. BTOB is still growing but I don’t think they’ll ever achieve the popularity that Beast once reached.

So if you’re asking where’s my view at, I’d say Cube is not the only agency that abandons idols who didn’t fetch them some profits. YG wasted Minzy, JYP did terrible things to MissA, and so did FNC to AOA. So many idols in this world were wasted and Cube idols are some of them bad luck bastarz. The twilight of Beast is sad for every B2uty especially those who was there when JunHyung, DooDoo and DongWoon cried on M!Countdown for their first trophy ever, but Beast was, at least, one of the few groups that won hearts for their songs and music style.  4Minute has style, but their style did less than HyunA’s boobs. Sadly, nothing in Cube did better than HyunA’s boobs and she stays.

Same goes to BTOB.

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Nostalgic feel upon the thought that Beast will drift apart. While DooJoon and KiKwang can continue on their acting careers, JunHyung may establish his own agency, I don’t see it too bright for YoSeob and DongWoon in the entertainment industry. More idol groups will have their debut, and I will soon have my new biases (or maybe not), but Beast and Cube idols will remain parts of my youth.

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