2PM and top Korean boy bands: how they measure up

The K-Pop wave, also known as GaYo in Korean, have been making huge strides these past five years, reaching out to every non-Korean speaking countries across the globe. The Internet social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube has further boosted its popularity in such a viral way; as far as we know, Korean boy bands such as 2PM have defined the way we view Korean fashion clothing, simply due to their popularity.

Alright, going into the topic at hand – how does 2PM measure up to other popular Korean boy bands out there? To find out, I used similar technique as what I did with my previous article about the most popular 2PM member, as well as their influence on their official Facebook pages. This means it’s all about popular search terms, mainly having to do with the band's name as keyword, after getting an initial list of all the KPop bands I find through the search for “korean boy band”. That, and also the real life activities of the band, particularly if they have come up with some new tours and/or albums this year.

I factor out boy bands that have disbanded such as HOT and g.o.d. (whose member HoYoung makes me want to lick him). I’m getting Shinhwa off the list as well (as heartbreaking as it may be, my darling DongWan) as they haven’t produced any material as a band since 2009.

Here’s my take on how 2PM is compared to other Korean boy bands for 2011.



#1 - BIGBANG

Outdoing 2PM with more than 9 million monthly searches worldwide in Google just for the word “BigBang”. 1.5 million Likes on BigBang’s official Facebook page. Probable contributions to their online popularity – their string of single releases as well as a line-up of tours around the globe scheduled for 2011. On top of this, a consistent promo of their work last year as they took a break from the group to pursue solo careers.

When I first heard about BigBang and watched their music video for “Tonight”, I didn’t think much about them at first. The song and their look was so un-KPop… I don’t know how else to describe it, but that was the vibe I got from these guys.

But darn it, these guys are AMAZINGLY talented. G-Dragon a.k.a. GD, and TOP (2nd and 4th from left of picture respectively; both speak English well despite never having lived in the States) came from indie rap/hip-hop backgrounds early in their careers, so they, as well as my bias SeungRi (a.k.a. V.I., leftmost, choreographing many of their dance moves) have this no-nonsense, smugly confident stage presence that I find amusingly sexy while making the ladies go ga-ga. They perform wonderfully on live stage, with TaeYang a.k.a. SOL (center) and DaeSung a.k.a. D-Lite (rightmost) showing off much of their smooth vocals.

They write many of their own songs (G-Dragon in particular), and this is what impressed me the most. My hunch was right – their songs are definitely unique compared to the typical KPop music, in that they have this edgy hip-hop/dance/techno songs, while still maintaining a quality that can make the songs a huge commercial success. Listen to “Love Song”, “Stupid Liar” and their debut single (in which G-Dragon wrote and composed) called “Lies”, and you’ll know what I’m talking about.

And their dance moves… those simple shoulder shrugs (in Love Song) and hard head nods (in Stupid Liar) are deceptively addicting.

Park Jin Young (a.k.a. JYP, 2PM’s mentor and boss) mentioned during a Korean reality TV series called “Family Comes Here” a.k.a. "Family Outing" that BigBang and 2PM had a “battle of the bands” going on early in their careers. Since both were from the same genre, 2PM initiated contact with BigBang (my guess is Junsu and G-Dragon have something to do with it) and arranged a small competition between themselves.

BigBang won.

#2 - SUPER JUNIOR

More than 2.7 million searches worldwide. 3.1 million Likes on Super Junior’s official Facebook page. Members of this group are common fixtures in most of the popular variety and reality TV series in South Korea, giving them consistent exposure and promotion within the KPop industry. Strings of concerts since last year and following through to this year in Asia and Europe continued to establish their worldwide presence.

Initially, I was taken aback by this formerly 13-member group. What sold me, though, are simply the collection of songs in their album. Just “Sorry, Sorry” and “Bonamana” are enough to get me hooked on them. I promise you will be, too, once you listen to them.

You can’t not favor at least one of the members. You’ll find one that’s buffed, or macho, or sophisticated, or sweet, or intelligent, or manly, or funny, or serious, or moody, or rock-star, or fierce, or scary, or pretty… the group appeals to every shape and size a person could think of. Once you're bored of one member, you just move on to the next member to whet your KPop appetite.

EunHyuk (bottom row of photo, 2nd from left) once mentioned in an episode of "Strong Heart" that different members of the group appeal to fans of different countries. Japanese favour SungMin and EeTeuk (top 4th and bottom 4th respectively) for their sweet looks, Chinese prefer HeeChul and Siwon (top 3rd and rightmost) for their handsomeness / toughness, and Thais are fond of EunHyuk for his personality. It shows that SM took a risky strategy that works in reaching a wide range of demographics. I'm assuming JYP has a similar idea of a mega group by initially trying to form OneDay, but eventually split them into 2PM and 2AM as they are known today.

I don't have any trivia on Super Junior and 2PM other than the fact that the two groups often have dance battles between their best dancers, EunHyuk and Junho (formerly Jaebeom before he left 2PM).

#3 – SHINee

More than 2.2 million global searches in Google alone. 1.2 million Likes on SHINee’s official Facebook page. A spillover effect from their tremendous success in 2010 highly contributed to their popularity. Currently promoting themselves aggressively in Japan, Asia and Europe.

One thing common in most KPop boy bands I’ve seen lately is the fact that band members are segregated to “better rapper” or “better vocals”. SHINee, however, do best at both, whichever band member you point at. This is why, within the KPop industry, they fit best in the R&B genre more that pop and dance, which seem to be the industry's current top choices. That doesn't stop their management from pushing them into the pop-dance genre, due to the fact that they are fantastic hip-hop dancers themselves.

There's so much potential in these young people, and I think they're one of the most under-estimated KPop boy bands out there. Sure, they're already big, but not big enough in my opinion, judging from how much talent yet to be tapped from them. So far, SM Entertainment was smart enough to give them some pretty good songs like "Lucifer", "Replay", "Romantic" (the latter being a beautiful R&B song that showcases their vocals well) and many more. They just need that one *something* that can distinguish them from other groups, and not just rely on their great vocals and performance.

For a short, very very short time, there was bad blood between the 2PM and SHINee fanbases. The story goes that the SHINee fans felt threatened that 2PM was getting more success than SHINee as they debuted around the same period. So the SHINee fans started digging dirt on the 2PM members and found the online posts that caused Jaebeom to eventually leave 2PM.

Needless to say, there was no basis whatsoever as to this claim. But the damage was there, and it was done.

#4 – 2PM

More than 1.2 million searches worldwide on Google. 800,00 Likes on 2PM’s official Facebook page. Just completed their tour of Japan, and have released their latest single, "Put Your Hands Up" off their latest album "Take Off".

I adore them, I really do. But right now I have a major gripe against them. They tour and promote, and tour and promote, but they're not going for enough TV airtime in the variety or reality shows in South Korea. I'm going to discount those Khuntoria stuff, because the whole idea of "We Got Married" is downright corny to me.

I'm seeing reality and variety shows as a way for boy bands like 2PM to let their personalities shine, and BigBang, Super Junior and SHINee has played this technique very well. 2PM is just too busy with their projects being out of South Korea, that the fans like myself have started to forget their charm that is their goofiness and sense of humour. It feels like, because they're not involved in these shows, that they're starting to look more closed-off and... I don't know... snobbish?

But like I said, they have been busy -- I'm betting that their schedules are pretty darn crazy now. And let's thank God that we have Twitter so that we can get virtually in touch with the daily musings of Nichkhun, Taecyeon and Junsu.


Right. So here's where I'll just zoom through all the other top Kpop boy bands out there that couldn't make it into the top 4 for one reason or another.

SS501: The Double-S Five Oh One seems like they have dropped from the face of the Earth since last year. Yet there's no sign of the band splitting up, and they have no plans to do so. Their monthly online searches are about 800,000 worldwide, and have 439 Likes in SS501's official Facebook page. Due to their inactivity alone, I'll have to pass them off the top 4 of my list. I still "Love Ya", my pretty "Flower Boys".

Dong Bang Shin Gi (DBSK) / TVXQ: My dear bias U-Know (a.k.a. YunHo), even with the split of your 3 team members to form a new band named JYJ, you and Changmin are still hot, and your new single "Before U Go" are as hot as your previous singles. Too bad your online monthly global search on Google only reached about 600,000 and your fanbase is still in such a bundle of nerves that they can't even regroup properly in Facebook. No new Korean boy bands could hear your name and not be in awe of you, so you're still safe in the current top Kpop boy bands.

JYJ: Speaking of which, the separation from DBSK didn't stop Jejung, Yuchun and Junsu to explore beyond the South Korean markets by themselves. Going into the Billboard charts with their English singles "Empty" and "Ayyy Girl", it has definitely brought a significant impact to their popularity. Comparable with DBSK, the group gets a monthly global search of more than 670,000 in Google, and has more than 27,000 Likes in JYJ's Facebook fan page.

CNBlue: These guys "Love" being high to the sky... hahahah sorry it was a stupid personal joke, it's just so hard not to find a variation of those words in their lyrics! They get a global online searches of about 550,000 a month and has about 33,000 Likes in CNBlue's official Facebook page.

FT Island: I absolutely "Love Love Love" this group, particularly the cheeky HongKi, but that alone doesn't change the fact that they have about 550,000 searches in a month worldwide on Google and about 26,000 Likes in FT Island's official Facebook page. They are still in the run for the top Korean boy band, just not the top 4.

B2ST: Pronounced and even spelt as "Beast" sometimes, the group gets about 360,000 online searches worldwide via Google in a month, and has about 200,000 Likes on B2ST's official Facebook page. My son is a big fan of "Shock", and I think YoSeop is the funniest cutey ever.

So there you have it.

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24 January 2011

2PM Music Video Screencaps for Samsung "My Color" Ad

Recently I did a review of 2PM's Samsung Anycall Corby music video -- have you watched it yet? I've made several screen captures of the MV and posted it within my article, but those aren't the the only screencaps I have of 2PM's My Color video.

Check out my Picasa Web Album below and scroll through my whole collection. There should be about 50 screencap images or so in there. If you want to download any of them, just click on the screen cap of your choice and download the image. Credit to www.2pmkoreanband.com is not required, but appreciated. Enjoy!


Made with Slideshow Embed Tool

p.s. These screencaps are also available as a ZIP file download <-- click here to go to the download page.
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20 January 2011

The most popular 2PM member: who do you think? Here's my list

Through my short time observing 2PM's evolution (and probably with any other groups I've seen), there's bound to be someone in the group who's more prominently showcased more than his other peers. A few people on the Internet forums have asked this same question -- who is the most popular member among 2PM? 

Some of you might answer this based on a hunch. But I don't go for hunches. There must be some way -- short of a questionnaire -- for me to research and quantitatively determine 2PM's most sought-after guy. And so, I have ranked the most favourite member of 2PM the best way I know how, which is through Internet research (keyword research, top forums, most often requested 2PM info, etc), my professional specialty.

And the most popular 2PM member goes to... drumroll please...




1) Nichkhun Horvejkul
Surely there's no surprise there. With his trademark wink, this doe-eyed guy charms the ladies with his sweetness, but what's more impressive about him than that is his ability to communicate in four languages, namely English, Korean, Thai, and Mandarin. His mixed heritage of Thai and Chinese also appeals to a large demographic of fans from all over the world.

I'm not basing my top ranking of 2PM Nichkhun on nothing. One of the top Internet keyword trackers reveals that the chances of people looking for information on 2PM would also search for Nichkhun 80 percent of the time. And I haven't even included Nichkhun's searches with his name typo (mistaken name spellings). Even searching for the word "Nichkhun" yielded at least 1.5 million pages of information concerning this heart throb. Among the top nations who adore him are Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and South Korea.

Now you know why most of the ads featuring 2PM has Nichkhun standing front and center. Those marketers know what they're doing.

2) Jang, Wooyoung
Yes, the fans have taste. I personally like Wooyoung the best; there is something in his voice which could melt the hardest of hearts, and he's got style.

This dreamboat is 2PM's number two most popular for a reason. People looking for 2PM information would also search for Wooyoung 65 percent of the time. Wooyoung searches also has other relevant searches to him with a name typo, but I didn't include it in my percentage. Wooyoung tops the Google searches for his name. About 780,000 results are dedicated to "Wooyoung" information and news at the time of this posting.

3) Kim, Junsu
The lead singer for 2PM (although most of the time the singing is almost equally shared between the band members), Junsu is currently considered the leader of the band. His voice is undeniably amazing, and this gives him the extra edge to sing any genre he's steered into (well, at least that's how I see it).

Junsu's search result in the Web comes a close third to Wooyoung, in that he gets about 63 percent chances of searches going for 2PM. However, from what I can analyze through the top 100 2PM searches, there are no other mention of Junsu's name typo. On top of that, the word "Junsu" comes up with a different person than 2PM's Junsu as it doesn't list him on top of the Google search results. Fans and curious visitors would have to look for "2PM Junsu" in order to get exact results on our gorgeous crooner.

Junsu fans are consoled with the fact that there are 1.7 million search results dedicated to him, much more than number one Nichkhun.

4) Lee, Junho
Yes, he's as good-looking as Junsu, but no, he's not brothers with Junsu, that's just a marketing ploy. Many people, including myself, think that Junho looks like another famous Korean superstar, Rain. You'll find this cutey always full of smiles, and for some reason I keep thinking he likes to have the final say, judging from all the 2PM interviews I've observed.

When people look for information on 2PM, half of the time (50 percent, in other words) they'll tend to follow up with a search for Junho, too. Lucky for him, Google searches for "Junho" comes up with our beloved Junho on most of the top results (38 million results, in fact, comes up when this keyword is used). Drilling down, stories and information on 2PM Junho yielded close to 400,000 results at the time of this posting.

5) Ok, Taecyeon
Tall, slightly tanned, handsome, and most importantly, buffed to perfection! This Adonis-lookalike can sing, but mostly he leads in the rap sections of many 2PM songs. Other than Nichkhun, Taecyeon would be the group representative when it comes to video greetings to international fans, being fluent in both Korean and English. He has a good sense of humour, too.

Search-wise, when in comes to 2PM searches on the Internet, online users would combine it with searches for Taecyeon's information about 35 percent of the time. Taecyeon also has a couple of top 100 searches for 2PM related to name typos. On Google search, the word "Taecyeon" puts him on top of the search results, with almost 1 million pages. This is proof that a great body is a magnet for news-hungry fans, and which I'm sure Taecyeon would happily show off for.

6) Hwang, Chansung
Last is not necessarily the least, as it is in our case. Chansung looks almost chameleon-like to me at times. One day he'd look totally innocent and babyface-ish, then next he looks all tough and gangsta-like. One thing's for sure, Chansung moves so well! This man can dance as smooth as butter that it would melt, and I absolutely love butter.

Internet users looking for 2PM will be drawn to searching for Chansung 35 percent of the time. What? That's the same as Taecyeon's! So why does Chansung rate below Taecyeon?! Well, to be honest, it was a close call. The keyword data gathered for all these rankings are rounded up to the nearest percentage. I didn't get the exact numbers, but what's clear is that the keyword results shows Taecyeon's to be a few levels higher than Chansung's. Also, there was no other mention of Chansung on the top 100 2PM results compared to Taecyeon (the latter has three altogether in the top 100). Google search results would partially back up this fact -- a search for the name Chansung reveals close to 600,000 pages. As with most of the band members, 2PM Chansung is the topmost result compared to anyone and anything else with that name.

Chansung fans should be delighted, though. This means that there's less competition for you -- who knows, your dream to become Mrs. Hwang Chansung might be more of a reality than you think!

Honorable mention: Park, Jaebeom
I knew about 2PM after Jaebeom left the group. So what happens if Jaebeom, formerly 2PM's band leader, had stayed? My finding is this: he would have ranked between Taecyeon and Chansung at the very least. However, this would have been a little biased, because the search data I analyzed are the latest, and does not cover my search for when Jaebeom was still in 2PM. Otherwise, searches for 2PM would also be influenced by Jaebeom's presence, giving the boys a run for their money.

I mention Jaebeom here too, due to the fact that the Internet impact Jaebeom made when he left the group gave 2PM the highest online buzz ever to date. I suppose that given the controversy that entailed, it was unavoidable that 2PM attracted attention, but it was an unwanted attention. I wasn't surprised that it brought some negative light upon 2PM before. I'm glad to see that 2PM got that over with. In any case, Jaebeom's impact in 2PM is still felt, as his search related to 2PM still comes up as part of the top 100 searches.

So now you know.
Disclaimer: I gathered all data stated in this post from WordTracker, Google Search, Google Adwords Keyword Tool, and Google Trends. However, this is in no way an in-depth analysis of the total popularity that each member gets in real life. All data is based on Internet facts alone. Having said that, I would think this is a pretty good indicator, since the age demographics that 2PM is targeting are towards the 12 to 25 year-olds, whereby Internet penetration in youths and young adults is at more than 90% (Pew Research).
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19 January 2011

2PM's Samsung Anycall Corby Phone Music Video / Ad: My Color

In the effort to promote their lifestyle mobile devices, Samsung took the right move in choosing 2PM. This group truly depicts the youthful, trendy lifestyles of today, without being too cookie-cutter; 2PM was able to define their unique style very early on -- the B-Boy image focusing on some hard-hitting dance steps and acrobatic moves. 2PM tries very hard to be trend-setters in their industry, and I believe they've succeeded. Let us hope they continue to do so.

Samsung Anycall Corby Ad featuring 2PM
(l-r: Chansung, Junsu, Wooyoung, Nichkhun, Taecyon, Junho)
With that said, have a look at another of the multitude of Samsung ad campaigns featuring these Korean heartthrobs. I previously reviewed their music video "Nori For You" for Samsung Anycall CF phones, and as I mentioned, compared to this Samsung Corby ad, the former has more substance.




What's great about this video, though, is the vibrant colors that were used as well as the very catchy music score. You really can't help but dance to it. On top of that, only the discerning eye (and fanboys/fangirls alike) would be able to recognized the almost total transformation of each member, from their hairstyles up to their dance moves.

Let's have a look at the screencaps I prepared here, shall we (or click here to jump to the actual video and download). The whole concept is a little scary if you think about it. A freak show, that's what the concept really is about. The 2PM gang is split into... shall I say, cages? Each cage not only represent a color available on Samsung Corby, but also a certain lifestyle represented by the group members. A freaky clown appeared to be the ringmaster.
The centerstage
The idea is for the guys to entice the hot lady in the middle to make her choose who/what her favourite color is (see, I can't make up my mind whether to spell my words in American English or the Queen's English).
Junsu (left) and Junho representing Minimal White Corby as the Dynamic Duo.
The JunBrothers enticing the ladies (and hopefully you) to buy them -- I mean, the Corby Minimal White.
Wooyoung representing Jamaican Yellow as Mr. Suave.
Wooyoung: Putting a spell on you with my smooth disco moves.
Nichkhun representing Cupid Pink as the Chick Magnate.
Nichkhun: Oh, yes, honey... come to daddy.
Taecyeon representing Energetic Green as the Urban Hipster.
Taecyeon: You're the one for me, baby (at least that's what you want him to say to you).
Chansung representing Chic Black as the Streetwise Hottie.
Chansung: Your parents must be dealers, because you look dope to me.
Now, I want you to look carefully at that lucky chick in the video when she approaches Wooyoung. I don't know if it's just me, but I noticed that her body language was totally different with him than with other guys. She moves a little more openly, a little smirk there, and her eyes were looking at Wooyoung with... something. Clearly she has something for our Mr. Suave, and who can blame her.
The lucky chick.
My biggest gripe with this music video is the inconsistency with the angles. At several scenes, there were times when the girl was suppose to turn left but looked the other way instead. And the color transformations are at all the wrong directions at times. The video editors should at least take some initiatives to eye these details. If I were Samsung, I would stop hiring those nincompoops.

Group dance towards the end of the MV.
One of those rare angles where you can see the whole group dancing together. 
The guys goofing around. This is so 2PM.
The end of the MV cracks me up. Remember what I said about the guys trying to entice the woman? I cracked up laughing my nose off whenever I see that part. Here's what happened:
Girl: You guys are too hot for me. I can't choose! I can't handle it!
Girl: Careful guys, don't come too close... watch it... watch it! WATCH IT!!
BAMMMM!!!!!!
Muahahahah! Chick exploded into smithereens! Fan girls everywhere rejoice!!
Taecyeon: That wasn't me!
Chansung: I didn't do nuthin'! 
Nichkhun: Damn, woman!
Wooyoung: I knew my hotness was too much to handle.
Junsu: Whose idea is this anyway?!
Junho: Fools! Give me a real woman, not this virtual crap!
Here's a video on YouTube in all its glory. You can click the link below this video to download the ad into your computer.


Download unavailable at this moment. Click Here To Download Screencaps
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18 January 2011

2PM's Samsung Anycall CF Phone Music Video / Ad: Nori For You

Being one of the group of star endorsers for Korea's Samsung company, 2PM did another ad for the tech giant, this time for the line of Anycall phones (you may recall my previous post on the Samsung Corby ad featuring Nichkhun). The song used for this music video, named "Nori For You", isn't as exciting as Corby's "My Color". However, the music video's storyline has more substance in this case. Here are a few screencaps of the MV.

The clip starts with 2PM walking onto a stage in front of a huge arena of concert watchers, indicating that they're at the height of their careers.

The scene flashbacks to them getting ready for the concert backstage. Here we see how their Samsung Anycall phones interrelate to their activities and their lives. Chansung looks to be so consumed with a Frogger-like game on his pink phone, and showed total frustration when he lost.



Chansung clearly doesn't like to lose
For Nichkhun, his black Anycall reminded him of how he almost couldn't make it to the band's try-out and lose confidence. The phone gave him a glimpse of the possibilities (seriously, if that phone can show the future, I'll willingly sell my soul to get one!), and he went on to audition and succeeded.
Nichkhun amazed when he realized that the phone can tell the future
For Wooyoung and Junho, the significance of their phones (particularly of Wooyoung's sky blue Anycall) was their initial rivalry when they just got started with the band.
Wooyoung notices the starving look on Junho's face
Over lunch, the camaraderie between the members have rubbed on the two. After a phone dice shake-up, Wooyoung, who won the last helping of the dumplings, gave it to Junho instead. They became best pals ever since (this is fiction, in case you're wondering; there never has been any bad blood between Wooyoung and Junho -- this is just for show).
Junho happily accepts Wooyoung's offering
Taecyeon utilized his bright orange phone to keep track of his work-out so that he's always in tip-top shape. Time to show off those ripped abs!
Taecyeon doing some vanity check -- yes, son, you look great
Last, but not least, is Junsu, who uses his phone not only to listen to his favourite music, but also to keep up with the latest news, and especially on 2PM's achievements on the music charts.
Junsu (middle) showing the news to the gang
Overall, a meaningful music video. A touch of the wonderful comedian Jung Joo Ri makes this ad much more entertaining. If you haven't seen this MV yet, check out the YouTube video below. Scroll lower if you want to download this into your computer (file is huge, 32MB).
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