Finally, an American version of Kpop. Too bad it couldn’t be better.
Did you like the song?
Right off the bat—no, this is not a Kpop song. But I am going to review it anyway, because I’ve received several requests for it, they’ve billed themselves as an American version of a Kpop video, and it’s basically hit the Kpop community like a hurricane. I have a feeling this may just be the next Rickroll or Friday video.
Do I like the song? Not particularly, but it’s not terrible. I found it kind of boring, and I don’t feel it gives the singers a chance to shine. The underlying beat reminds me of Andy Samberg’s “Jizz in My Pants.” Which would be nice, and an appropriate tribute…if this were a parody of the boyband industry. But, guys, I honestly cannot tell 100% whether or not they are actually trolling. I strongly suspect they are pranking boyband fans, especially because the creator, David Lehre (who is also leader Chad Future), has a history of parodying boybands on his Youtube channel and website (and they are quite funny, actually). So if this is a parody, it’s certainly been very well-planned, and a lot of effort has been expelled on it (“mentored by Lance Bass” and everything). Here is an explanation for how the idea was apparently born, if you’re interested.
But the tragedy for me is that even if this is a parody, I feel like they had (and still have, with a few changes) an actual chance at legitimately being as successful as the Backstreet Boys, *NSYNC, 98 Degrees, Hanson, or New Kids on the Block (maybe even the girl group Spice Girls). I really love boybands; in fact, the lack of legit boybands in the U.S. is one of the great appeals of Kpop to me (though I like Kpop way more than I ever liked American/British boybands; it's just so much...better). Still, I’m all for a revival of the boyband in America, if they manage to make it.
What was your favorite part of the song?
Maybe the fact that whenever I see their band name I start humming 4minute’s “Heart to Heart”? No, seriously, I liked Nico’s bridge: “Let’s make it Facebook official tonight” leading into the dance break. But I would really have appreciated some showcasing of the boys’ vocal talents other than that part.
Does the English make you want to rip your eardrums out?
Did you like the video?
As you can surmise from the links to other Kpop vids all over the place, Heart2Heart has definitely been inspired by Kpop trends. (Here are two more: the “falling from the sky” thing reminded me of TEEN TOP’s “Supa Luv,” and the girls looking at the computer screen together reminded me of SNSD’s “Oh!”) However—and yes, this is definitely a double standard—things that may work wonders for Korean boybands (i.e. super cocky attitudes, heavy eyeliner, weird hairstyles) need some tweaking before they work for American ones. So “Facebook Official” is produced well, but the members’ antics make it cringe-worthy. I had a hard time watching the video without feeling embarrassed for the boys, honestly.
Some of the members (mainly Chad Future and Pete) seem like arrogant douchebags, to put it a little bluntly. Self-confident swaggering is all right once you have a fanbase built up, but acting that way in a debut music video is strange and upsetting.
But if this is a parody video, I think Heart2Heart hit everything except the lip wiping (which they’ve replaced with winking, unfortunately). We have the glossy white background…
…the shiny car…
Was there a storyline? If so, did it make sense?
Yes, there are little people living in your computer who want to be in Facebook relationships with you. If you are like these three girls, you will apparently be thrilled by this.
The blonde looks, like, scarily pleased the entire video. And I don’t think she closes her mouth, either. (Thanks for the acting lessons, Kristen Stewart!) I would think twice before becoming Facebook official with her, Chad. My reaction is more like the girl on the left’s expression in this shot.
But then the computer gremlins escape and start dancing in a basketball court with very artistic graffiti. If I were trying to play basketball there, I’d be pretty annoyed. Especially because they brought their alien vibrating boom box to the court.
Was the dance cool and distinctive?
Kind of? The dance is fairly distinctive but not executed especially well. The main dance with the beating arms somewhat reminded me of Secret’s “baby gorilla dance” in their “Starlight, Moonlight.” I liked the dance break, too, with the hands mimicking synchronized blinking lights; it was similar to Jang Woo Hyuk’s “Time is Over.”
Do the members look good?
Their member profiles are here under “About,” if you’re interested. In summary: not bad for Americans, but their makeup and hair is way too overdone (and what was that star thing under your eye, Chad?).
About the Awkward Abs: chiseled abs are a staple of Kpop, but something made me uncomfortable about the way “Pretty Boi Pete” was showing them off. There’s no need to actually washboard the washboard abs! (And ugh, I hate that “Pretty Boi” nickname. Please don’t force it down my throat which of the members is good-looking; trust me, I can decide very well by myself, and probably better than you—and I can definitely spell “boy” correctly while I’m at it.)
Which member stood out the most?
So evidently, I didn’t particularly like Chad Future or Pretty Boi Pete. I didn’t get a good feel for Brayden because he had glasses on a lot of the time, but he wasn’t too bad. I genuinely liked KX and Nico—especially KX (who is both cute and the lead dancer, cool!). KX didn’t do too much of the obnoxious winking. Nico did, but it looked cutely awkward, not egotistical.
Do you like it enough to buy the song?
Nope. I could see this growing on me, but never to the point where I would buy it. Sorry, guys.
Any ending thoughts?
If these guys are pranking the entire internet, it’s certainly very elaborate. At any rate, it’s been pretty entertaining to see the reactions of fans who were outraged that Kpop groups were originally tagged in the video. And as my friend R. noted, the producers clearly know who their potential fanbase is and have done very well at generating buzz (albeit mostly negative buzz) for their group. Heck, they even friended my Twitter account well before I knew who they were.
In my opinion, despite this setback, Heart2Heart still has a chance at success as a legit boyband. But I have a feeling that no one in their target audience, younger girls, was consulted in choosing the members and putting this video together, and that’s got to change. At the moment I write this, 11% of YouTubers have hit “like” vs. “dislike” on this song. Yeah. So obviously something isn’t working. As I see it, the Heart2Heart producers have four options:
- Do nothing. Keep releasing vids like this that are ambiguous as to whether or not you’re serious. Most people will think you’re trolling, a handful will like you, and the rest will be pretty disgusted. If you are actually parodying the industry, you’ve put forth a lot of effort to do so!
- Become a full-fledged parody band. You’ll get quite a bit of respect. But you have to make it more obvious that you are a parody band in the lyrics of the songs.
- Go legit. Replace some of the members with cuter, younger ones. Also get better songs.
- Go legit. Keep all the members. Ditch the creepy attitude, i.e. the weird winking, the serial killer stares, the gross makeup, and the stupid-looking hairstyles. Get better songs that showcase the members’ voices.
Boyfriend’s one-liner (yes, I made my Canadian bf watch this):
“Wow, that was horrific. Their hairdresser should be shot and killed.”
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