Honestly, I’m afraid of missing the point. We’ve been amping up out K-pop coverage this year, but we’ve never really focused on the male groups – it’s just not our inclination. But in recent years Exo has taken the mantle of South Korea’s biggest boy band, while Super Junior grows up (and goes off to military), and BTS climbs its way to the top, so us reviewing their third full album, Ex’Act, is a no-brainer. So, well… it’s a competent album. The group bring in their usual friends, and churn out pretty strong pop tracks – you know, typical Exo. I say that, again, afraid that I am missing the point. No, I’m not calling this a cynical money grab – there’s no point in doing that if you’re one of the biggest pop groups in the world. It’s broken pre-order records; it’s bound to win all the music shows; it’s set to send fans into a frenzy. It is a competent record. You know what to expect. You’ve heard this from all the other male groups that made their comebacks this year, or from the veterans that made solo excursions, like SHINee’s Taemin and Jonghyun. If you’re a fan, you’ll like it. Me, it’ll stay in the background when I shuffle, but I don’t see myself seeking it out. [NB] | 3/5
We’re done with the backgrounder and we’ve given you the must-haves, so this week on How To Collect Korean Pop Music, we dig deep – well, deep-ish; you know our usual disclaimers – into the subsets of K-pop. Today, we begin with, well, the boy groups. And let’s be clear: when we say “boy groups” we don’t just mean the One Direction types who look good and sing in harmonies – although there are a lot of those in K-pop. Of course. There wouldn’t be a very big following if not for that, right?