Strong Heart 2/08

Watched this week’s Strong Heart and Changmin’s a really good storyteller. I guess this is easier to showcase now that there are only two active speaking members as opposed to five who had to divvy up screen time. He was funny as hale and looked really good to boot. I am seriously digging the grey suit, the maroon cardigan, the cuffed pants, the New Balances.

Anyway. As I watched this, I just got really sad. I’ve been thinking about this a lot over the last couple of days, but no matter whose side you take on this fiasco, the truth of the matter is that on the point of technicalities, JYJ loses. They lose completely. Logistically, they aren’t allowed to use the DBSK name, and they aren’t allowed to lay claim on anything that was produced under that name. That’s what entertainment law has dictated.

But that doesn’t mean that they contributed any less to DBSK’s success, and the reality of it is that they no longer have anything to show for their work. They’re not even allowed to sing or utter the songs that they spent 6 years of their lives performing. Homin can at any point in time fall back on that, but JYJ can’t. And this is fucked up because Homin alone did not make those songs as good as they are — that was a combined effort of all five of them, but only two of them can even sing them.

And as I watch Yunho tell stories about how Kang Ho-dong loved to make him show off his popping skills, SBS chose to air clips of Star King from their “O” days. Junsu and Yoochun were in the shots where Yunho was “popping” and it was just mean, damn. How are you gonna not allow three ex-members face time on your station in the present moment, but use footage in which two of those ex-members appear alongside an active member to illustrate a point? That’s not cool, SBS.

JYJ is, for the most part, banned from Korean TV and all the major outlets of screen time that one is afforded by being in a big company like SM Entertainment. Who knows when SM will lift this ban? I mean, look at Tony An. He was 18 when he debuted with HOT, 23 when they disbanded. Formed JTL with two other groupmates and was basically cockblocked everywhere. Went to the army when he was 28, and has been back into mainstream (kind of, anyway) in the last year or so. So basically, as an artist and entertainer, the period between when he disbanded and when he came back after military duty was a 9-year blackout. It took him NINE years to get back onto South Korea’s major broadcasting stations, and by now, he has none of what he started with when he was still with HOT.

It will be very easy for the public to forget about the 3 missing members of DBSK, because they are fickle. Out of sight, out of mind. Now, of course, JYJ has other ways to promote, and are much more aggressive about pushing their careers in ways that JTL could not, due to technology and a slightly more progressed entertainment system. But at the end of the day, they will never be DBSK again, and they have NOTHING to show for their work because the law dictates that they can’t.

Do I think that suing SM was ultimately a very bad idea? Yes. Do I side with them over Homin? No.

But as I watch Strong Heart, as I watch Homin have the platform on which they will eventually be allowed to share their stories, I feel remorse for JYJ and I feel that their decisions will forever alter their careers in Korea, and it’s a decision that they will never, ever be able to take back.

I’ve invested a lot into these guys, and it breaks my heart a little because I see that Homin are great with what they’re doing now, and I’ve seen JYJ promote and I think they’re doing a good job too, but the five of them will never be as good as they could have been had they still been together. I am a loyalist and I will probably never abandon them completely, but I also won’t ever get over how much more they could’ve been if they didn’t split.

  • thekors

    I don’t think anyone would wish for them to split – that’s the worst thing that could happen to DBSK. Unfortunately that’s exactly the situation now. But at least, I think both units are doing well on their own (JYJ having the vocalists, and HoMin having SM team behind them, in addition to the experience accumulated from their DBSK days).

    I feel sad for both units as I think the main thing lost from them not being in a group of five is the sole advantage that they have over all other groups – amazing acappella. Although the only other slight disadvantage to the JYJ side is, as you’ve mentioned, not being able to use any of their awesome past materials.

  • hapacalgirl

    Nobody wanted them to split and although the road will be much tougher for the JYJ guys because of the lawsuit, in the end I do not think that the split from SME was a bad idea. SME is powerful, has a lot of money, etc. but they are quite controlling of their groups and do not really leave that much growth for their artists. Many groups have left SME in the past for these reasons, lucky for them however they didn’t have to sue since their contracts were only 5 years to begin with so they just refused to renew. To have to spend what will probably be your best and fruitful days as an artist under a company that doesn’t pay as much as you put in and doesn’t allow you to pursue what you want to pursue both musically and professionally we be a far worst fate than staying and having it easy. Yes the road will be hard for the guys and yes they are at a great disadvantage, but at the end of the day I think for their own personal happiness it was probably the best decision they could make even if it will make things ultimately much harder for them. Now hopefully SME will no longer stall the court and they can finally put an end to all of this in March and the lawsuit will finally be done.

    Even though they cannot use previous DBSK stuff , everyone knows how big they were as part of DBSK so I do not think it is all lost. Also I do not really see Homin performing old DBSK stuff that much anyways because lets face they do not have the vocals that Jaejoong and especially Junsu had and with the three middle voices missing it will not sound that good with just Homin.

    The road will be tough but as music artists I forsee JYJ having a long career ahead of them because even if they do not have the backing of SME , they have the ability and vocal talent that is more complete than what I am seeing with Homin. Also in DBSK Jaejoong and Yoochun were the ones who loved to compose so with that and their vocals I see them doing a lot more musically now that they are no longer forced to keep the DBSK sound that SME kept them stuck to.

  • goodtimes822

    This post depressed me….because it’s true. It’s something I don’t want to accept, but, yeah. haha. I’ve been thinking about it as well, but I guess I didn’t want to admit it.

    I was surprised Jaejoong sang a bit of Wasurenaide in their recent MBN interview though. I guess because he wrote the song, he still has a right to sing it? Eh.

    Thanks for a good read. :)