i think we are being punk'd

There is really no other explanation I can find for the catastrophe that is Heart2heart’s “Facebook Official.” For those who don’t know, Heart2heart are a fledgling boy band mentored by Lance Bass, who may be jockeying against Misha Collins for Biggest Troll of His Own Fandom. In which case, bravo, Lance. Bravo. Heart2heart have debuted to such a deafening buzz that they have resorted to tagging their videos with popular K-pop groups such as Big Bang, SNSD, and Super Junior to gain attention. Somehow B1A4 found their way into the tags as well. Congrats, B1A4. You know you’ve arrived when attention hungry nugu boy bands stick your name in their youtube tags.

It seems that Heart2heart are attempting to court the K-pop audience by ripping off incorporating a lot of k-pop-esque elements into their video. And while there is that adage “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” i’m not sure how flattering it is to associate k-pop with this clusterfuck. To quote Beyonce, “this is a disastuh.”

First, look at these guys. The hair and styling are obviously modeled after K-pop bands.


vs. SHINee-“Ring Ding Dong”

vs. U-KISS-“Man Man Ha Ni”

vs. MBLAQ-“Stay”

vs. MBLAQ-“Stay”

vs. MBLAQ-“Mona Lisa”

Sadly, they seem to have forgotten the most important element of successful K-pop boy bandery: actually being pretty.

The video’s beginning is strikingly similar to that of Teen Top’s “Supa Luv” video in the sense that the band members literally “fall” into place. I also saw a lot of 2pm’s “Still 2:00pm” teaser:

The sequence with Lance is nearly identical to Se7en’s “Better Together” video.

The song also starts off with the k-pop staple, the awkward spoken intro. I was especially struck by the similarities to B1A4’s “Only The Bad Things.” Granted a lot of western pop does the spoken intro as well (BSB’s “I’ll Never Break Your Heart,” anyone?) but it doesn’t seem as common as it is with K-pop.

There’s also rap, and while some western boy bands have done rap, I’d say it’s much more common in K-pop.

There are so many more “… hey, haven’t I seen this before?” moments during this video. I’ll let pictures tell a thousand words:


vs. SHINee-“Lucifer”

vs. B1A4-“OK!”

vs. B1A4-“Beautiful Target”

vs. U-KISS-“Man Man Ha Ni”

vs. Infinite-“Nothing’s Over”

But the worst offense, to me, is jacking the infamous K-pop lip rub (as dubbed by Simon on Eat Your Kimchi). Here is just one example from MBLAQ’s “Mona Lisa:”

But I’m not here to throw a bunch of screencaps at you and call it a day. Nor am I going to claim that B1A4, Shinee, Teen Top, etc. patented those concepts, either. K-Pop bands rip each other off all the time. They rip off western artists all the time. I ain’t gonna deny that and I ain’t going to begrudge Heart2heart for doing the same thing. What I am going to say is that if you’re going to rip off other bands, do it in a way that doesn’t suck. You don’t throw together an incongruous hodgepodge of ripoffs–I mean, homages and expect K-pop fans to immediately embrace you. The end result is a song, band, and MV that have no real identity of their own, other than being painfully derivative. So basically it’s the musical equivalent of a Cassandra Clare novel.

Those of you familiar with the K-pop bands referenced in this recap and in the “Facebook Official” youtube tags can verify that they have very different images and appeal. Even the ones who have tried out different concepts (SHINee, MBLAQ, and Infinite to name a few) never do so in the same video. You can’t do the cutie-boy aegyo in one frame and in the next ME SO MANLY LEANING AGAINST THIS BRICK WALL WITH NO SHIRT ON. And furthermore, not all bands are versatile enough to pull off drastic image changes. That’s not a bad thing–part of being a good band is knowing your strengths. B1A4 might specialize in cutie-boy aegyo but can you see 2PM throwing hearts and crooning “Joom joom my heart like a locket?” Yeah, I didn’t think so.

Finally, if you look at the songs by successful boy bands–both K-pop and western–those things are ear worms. I defy anyone to say they have never at any point found themselves humming “I Want It That Way” or at least had it stuck in their heads. Hit songs are relentlessly catchy with infectious hooks. “Facebook Official” lacks any of the above. I’ve listened to it way too many times just doing this recap, and still can’t really remember it. I had to listen yet again to recall the chorus, and I just don’t see “Heart on your page” becoming the next “I’ve got yooooouuuuuuu under my skin” or “Give it to my YYYYYYYYYY” or “I love yoooooooouuuuuuuuuuuuuu.”

I think I could cut these guys some slack if the video was at least well-made, but it’s not. The arrangement sounds like it was made with Pandora’s synthesizer on Skins (in fact, I think Panda’s song is actually catchier and wittier) and the video looks like it was shot on a $2 budget at a condemned elementary school. I’m not going into the lyrics, since a) it’d hardly be the first western pop song to have stupid lyrics and b) I don’t speak Korean, but it’s a pretty safe bet K-pop lyrics are just as inane. I have to say though, with such lyricism as “checkin’ pics of your butt,” who needs Engrish?

The only logical conclusion after all this is that these guys are a parody, like 2ge+her was. But while 2ge+her was a masterpiece of satire, Heart2heart is not nearly as witty or self-aware. What we’re left with is just a confusing mess, leaving audiences unsure if they’re serious or not. Whatever their goal is, I kind of doubt this is the reaction they were hoping for.

And finally, I know some of you hags are going to insist that K-pop fen would love these guys if they were actually Korean. I’m sure they would. It’s not like there’s any bad K-pop or anything.

Oh, wait.

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