What Mary Thinks: A Look Back at 2013’s K-Pop and K-Dramas

Every once in a while, I’ll be doing a segment called ‘What Mary Thinks’ where I, Mary, write about how I feel regarding a certain topic (and excuse me if I ever use foul language or sound really immature). This can range anywhere from Korean dramas to K-Pop to maybe even something off-topic so for the first post of ‘What Mary Thinks’, I decided to write about my opinion of what 2013 had to offer in terms of Korean dramas and K-Pop and how I felt overall.

So the new year has started which means new comebacks from K-Pop groups and artists as well as new Korean dramas from our favorite actors and actresses! (I’m looking at you Kim Woo Bin! Male lead please, anyone?!).

So I was thinking about the past year that had just passed and wanted to talk about what I thought regarding the Korean dramas and music that was released in 2013. Was I impressed? Disappointed? Content? How did I feel overall?

I’ll first talk about K-Pop since I tend to be a little bit more biased towards K-Pop than Korean dramas more (although I do need both in my life). Regarding the music that was released last year, I can’t say for sure that I was impressed – at all. Even for my ultimate bias group BEAST, ‘Shadow’ and the ‘Hard to Love, How to Love’ album was a disappointment. Maybe I had set my expectations too high because when I heard that BEAST was going to do another dark and masculine concept like ‘Fiction’, I was expecting a second ‘Fiction’ but ‘Shadow’ wasn’t near anywhere near ‘Fiction’ in terms of quality. I feel bad because I’m forcing myself to think it’s forgivable because JunHyung composed the title track and the album tracks and it hasn’t been that long since he’s been composing music and experimenting with his styles, but I really just wanted a satisfying comeback from BEAST because another whole year had passed since their last comeback ‘It’s a Beautiful Night’ and for waiting that long, I wanted something to blow me away like how ‘Fiction’ did. (Although don’t misunderstand about how I feel towards JunHyung composing the album. I’m very proud of him for taking part in the album. He put in all his effort and hard work. That sincerity and passion is why I love BEAST). Although their first pre-released song ‘Will You Be Alright?’ did not appeal to me like it did to everyone else, I did enjoy the second pre-released song ‘I’m Sorry’ as it reminded me of BEAST’s ballads that they have released in their past albums and was really great to listen to. otl I’m getting carried away from talking about BEAST. Okay, here I go again. I need to stahp seriously. Anyways, I’m sad that I can’t name one comeback from the top of my head last year from any group (doesn’t even have to be from my biases) that I thoroughly enjoyed and truly loved. I guess if I had to pick, it would be Block B, NOT for ‘Very Good’ because although that song was really Block B-like, ‘Be the Light’ was a release that was on its own level from all the releases last year. (Maybe even EXO’s ‘Growl’ and Henry’s ‘Trap’). All the big groups like SISTAR, Girls’ Generation, 2NE1, etc., I can’t say for sure that I loved their comebacks like everyone else did. I loved their album? Yes, of course. Their albums were amazing. But the title tracks and the live performances were just not up to par with my expectations that I had for them. f(x)’s ‘Shadow’, ‘Goodbye Summer’, and ‘Airplane’ are my favorites from f(x)’s full-length album last year ‘Pink Tape’ but promoting ‘Rum Pum Pum Pum’ was not the best choice to impress me. Regarding debuts, I’m quite disappointed as well, especially if you were to compare the groups that debuted in 2013 to the groups that debuted in 2012. In 2012, although there were still many groups that debuted, they were all impressive and talented in some way. You  had EXO, B.A.P., BTOB, VIXX, NU’EST,  C-Clown, Bigstar, Spica, EXID, Glam, Hello Venus, A.O.A, Evol, D-Unit, and many more groups – with all of these groups creating a name for themselves in the music industry today. Then this year, after giving the rookie groups a chance to impress me, I was only in fond of Bangtan Boys (these boys are amazing no doubt. Rapping? You have Rap Monster, Suga, and J-Nope J-Hope. Singing? You have Jungkook. Dancing? You have the oh so amazing Jimin. Personality? You have V. A visual? because every group has to have one. Jin). Although I might just be a casual listener to this next rookie group, Topp Dogg aren’t so bad either. Their debut song ‘Say It’ was catchy enough for me to check them out, but I can’t say that I’m a big fan of theirs. But like I was saying, K-Pop was rather dull and disappointing to me in 2013. Entertainment companies were half-assing their artists and groups’s promotions (cough-CUBE-cough) and then full-assing some of their artists and groups to the point where it was annoying and just too much (cough-SM-cough). But it’s not to say that 2013 was purely a disappointment. There were song good songs that I enjoyed, but it wasn’t enough to make me think positively of 2013 as a great year for K-Pop. So to sum it all up, I really really really hope that 2014 will be a much better year for K-Pop, not just for the idols, but also for Korean Hip-Pop and non-idols like K. Will, Roy Kim, Heo Gak, etc. And I also hope that we get more reality shows because I miss watching them (like Idol Army and Hello Baby) from groups that we don’t get to see enough. And please, just please, quality work from everyone.

Moving on to Korean dramas, all the dramas that aired in 2013 wasn’t all that good either. I don’t know how many dramas I was excited about and planned to watch last year then dropped it because it got boring and started to drag. Examples include Two Weeks, Cruel City, and Gu Family Book, who all had domestic and/or international appeal in some way, but just didn’t do enough to keep my attention. Dramas that I watched and felt neutral about include Good Doctor, Flower Boy Next Door, Monstar, Shark, Heirs, and The Master’s Sun. It’s sad that such a small amount of dramas were able to make me feel neutral – not like, not hate – but neutral towards them. There wasn’t one drama last year that I could say I loved a lot and it’s sad because many of these dramas I felt neutral towards had the potential to become a really great drama and easily appear on my favorites list, but they didn’t (unlike in 2012 where Shut Up Flower Boy Band and Gaksital were easily my favorites). Dramas that are have aired in 2013 and are going into 2014 such as ‘Man From Another Star’, Prime Minister and I’, and ‘Let’s Eat’ are all actually very enjoyable for me so far and all I can hope for is that they continue to impress and not make me want to drop the drama because I really don’t want to. 2014 is looking so far so good with these 3 dramas, I can only hope that the later dramas in 2014 are just as good as these 3 dramas. plz.

I understand that everyone is entitled to their own opinion so I’ll respect your opinion as long as you respect mines. A nice, mature discussion wouldn’t hurt, but I might not reply back if I don’t feel the need to. Thank you guys for reading this edition of ‘What Mary Thinks.’ (:

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