I’ve mentioned a couple of times on the site and on the podcast that I’ve discovered through Kpop that I’m a bit of a hipster snob. As someone who has always considered herself pretty free wheelin’ when it came to sharing her proclivities, this came as quite a shock to me. I mean, live and let live right? There’s enough love for everyone and if you like who I like, all the better – we can fawn over them for hours and work ourselves into a frenzy. Turns out, that’s not quite true. One of the reasons I love the C and B tier groups is that there isn’t the competitive fangirling going on that seems to be happening with the super popular ones like BTS, Monsta X, and NCT.
Please, oh please, don’t get me wrong. I love these groups as much as ever – differently than those first blushes of obsessive love, but still deeply. It is different though. I don’t search for news on Reddit or pics on Tumblr like I used to, and I find that I have to avoid some of the conversations and comments going on around me because, well, I just don’t care to know what everyone’s saying. That particular dialogue doesn’t bring me joy. I don’t avoid content, I’m still down for a BTS Bomb and frankly, I think MX handles crappy American interviewers with the grace and diplomacy of men twice their ages. Despite the huge amount of available content from NCT, I’m not in any way sick of them I just don’t want to force myself to be over the moon about them when I’m feeling that way about someone else at the moment, someone needing my love because they aren’t yet adored by the masses, thank you very much.
It’s really hard to admit that I’m that petty sometimes.
Earlier this year I was starting to get annoyingly hipster about ATEEZ and I was a little scared. I know now that what I was actually feeling was an insanely unfamiliar emotion called jealousy. You see, I love ATEEZ and have since they were the KQ Fellaz making their way to dance class in LA. I’ve been touting their charms since before you could readily FIND their charms anywhere. I wanted the world to love them fast and hard so they would know just how wonderful they are. But there I was, in Korea when they were in the US doing a sold-out tour. I missed it. I missed it and plenty of people I knew were there, were high touching with them, seeing them smile and dance and play around, and I wasn’t. I obviously was cool with it intellectually – I mean, I was IN KOREA doing all sorts of insanely fun things and everyone with a credit card and an appreciation for all that is good in the world deserves to see any Kpop show their heart desires. But I was missing this one thing that I’d been hoping to do for a long time and everyone else was doing it. It makes me feel gross that I, even for a second, was able to formulate the idea that maybe I didn’t love this group anymore because other people were declaring their love for them after such recent exposure. I quickly figured out that my emotions were really about all of these people making a connection with them in person and I wasn’t. I think that I was harboring the fear that somehow my adoration of them was made less because we had bad timing and someone else didn’t.
In recent months I’ve had to remind myself that this is Kpop. That I’m a grown woman and this is music made by an amalgamation of gorgeous idols and the legions of people behind them. It’s specifically designed to make me fall love with it all, and though I’m glad it’s successful in that pursuit, I shouldn’t lose myself in it. It’s ok for us to go completely full tilt over a group for a while and then place them back on the shelf for a bit while we adore someone else and it’s also ok for us to pull them back out when the time is right – even if that’s years down the line. We aren’t being fair weather fans, we’re being fans. We’re evolving and growing and exploring and expanding in our tastes and loves…and frankly, that’s what we’re supposed to do.
All of this being said, I have been waiting for the ATEEZ comeback with butterflies in my tummy. That fourth release – a full album at that – can be a tricky thing. All of the teasers and pre-release content were insanely promising, but you just never know. Luckily, This group has still never let me down. The album plays like the soundtrack to a musical…it takes you through a story that you can almost completely understand. There’s tension, conflict, and ultimately, resolution in the music. It’s wonderful. I know I’m completely biased, but I get to be because I love them – as so many of us fans do.