Awesome K-Pop Moment of the Week: The Cheers Debut
Well, actually this awesome moment happened last week, but I’m only just learning about it this week because I haven’t been online very much lately. It happened on October 8, when a duo called The Cheers made their debut with a witty little ditty called “Ya!“ As Rain would say, “Have a listen.” Then, we’ll talk. :-}
The Cheers is comprised of vocalist and choreographer MyungMi and guitarist, writer, composer and producer Robin. They are a super-talented duo and this is quite the cutesy pop song, don’t you think? Well, sure you do. Of course, if you’re like me, you have no idea what the heck they are saying other than the “hey you, come on” parts. That being said, even though I don’t read or speak Korean, when certain English words and phrases started cropping up (“Pretense,” Shut up,” “I’ll Leave,” “My Honey, I’m not girl”), I began to realize that there was something else going on underneath the surface of this bubblegum pop extravaganza. Something very sneaky. LOL.
MTV’s Iggy calls the lyrics “witty” and says that the song even includes a subtle joke in the number sequences that has to do with the way the number 18 is pronounced. I wondered why they seemed to be randomly counting up numbers. Now I know. If the number 18 (10 + 8) isn’t pronounced properly in Korean, it can be taken as the “F-word.” Just so you’ll know. Get it? In the video MyungMi sings 10 + ? = . LOL. (Consider yourselves warned, Korean language students). I’ve been looking for an English translation of the lyrics, but so far I’ve been unsuccessful. Whenever I find English lyrics or an English-subbed video, I will certainly add it/them to this post, so all of us can be in on the joke.
The most interesting thing about this group to me, though, is not how clever they are with their music (Although, they do get an A+ for that from me!). The most interesting thing to me is the fact that The Cheers is a co-ed group. If you know anything about South Korea, then you will know that co-ed groups are extremely rare and not very popular. You don’t believe me? Just take a look at this list of South Korean idol groups on wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_South_Korean_idol_groups#2012.
According to this list, which looks relatively accurate to me, by the end of the year, 75 new South Korean idol groups will have debuted. Out of that 75, only one of them—The Cheers—is co-ed. That makes them pretty special. Another intriguing little tidbit is that out of the hundreds of groups that have debuted since the 1990′s only 16 of them were co-ed groups. That’s right. Only sixteen. So, why so few co-ed groups? Hm?
At first, I thought this was a strange phenomenon, unique perhaps to only South Korea. After conducting a bit of research, though, I discovered I was wrong. For some reason, I had been attributing the fact that there are so few Korean co-ed groups to South Korea’s conservative culture. After all, everyone knows that in South Korea, boys and girls just don’t mix. Right? (Well, of course they DO mix, but not publicly—if you know what I mean.) What I discovered was that co-ed groups are simply not the norm anywhere in the world. Really.
You don’t believe me? Just take a look at the current Billboard Hot 100 chart, as a example. At #1 you’ve got Maroon 5 (boy band), at #2 PSY (male South Korean solo artist). At #3 is One Direction (boy band). At #4 is Some Nights (boy band). #5 and #6 is Taylor Swift (girl solo artist). #7 is Justin Bieber (boy solo artist). And so forth and so on.
There is a co-ed duo listed at #11, with Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen, but in this case those two are actually two separate artists working a collaboration. So, technically they don’t count. Then there’s Neon Trees at #13 (a co-ed band from California). There’s also Karmin (Australian co-ed duo) way down at #70 and then there’s the Glee cast at #91, with “The Scientist.” Other than that, they are mostly solo artists who might feature another artist or boy and/or girl groups.
Wow. Who knew dissing co-ed groups was a cultural thing all over the world? What a shocking nonfiction situation! And if you’ve gotten this far and actually understood that comment, then I sincerely thank you.
Happy K-Popping to ya.
P.S. Now if they’d just let Robin (the guy of the duo) sing. And if I ever find an official website or YouTube page for the group, I’ll let you know that too. So far, no luck.