Thursday, October 6, 2011

Review: Heart2Heart–“Facebook Official”



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.

Heart2Heart members

Nico, Brayden, Chad Future, Pretty Boi Pete, and KX.

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 Pete really say he was checking out his girl’s butt on Facebook? Wow. Some of the lines are pretty cute, like “Grant me this request / Agree to my terms and service.” LOL at “I like your status, two thumbs up / I met you last week when we played flip cup,” too. However, “realest” is not a word (and even the correct phrase, “more real,” has limited applications). And “Heart2Heart is back”? I thought this was your debut. Also, I don’t like the way they pronounce “heart” as “har” or whatever because they have to sing it so quickly. The chorus sounds like “harayourpage, ha-harayourpage.” And that’s not even mentioning the fact that by making the song all about things you can do on Facebook, they’ve dated it and probably made it incomprehensible to future generations. Then again, Milan Stanković from Serbia made a music video about Facebook and online relationships, and that’s still relevant and cool, so I guess it is possible.

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.

Heart2Heart Facebook Official Chad Future hair

Not good, guys.

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…

Heart2Heart Facebook Official glossy white background

…the shiny car…

Heart2Heart Facebook Official shiny car

Lance Bass

Heart2Heart Facebook Official Lance Bass

Wait, WTF is Lance Bass doing there? Ohh, okay, he mentored the group. Gotcha. I just hope he didn’t mentor the group on his hairstyle. Oh wait, he did. *facepalm*


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.

Heart2Heart Facebook Official dumb girls

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.

Heart2Heart Facebook Official boombox

Why is it doing that? Is it communicating with the mothership? Are the sound waves meant to look like boobs? :/

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.”

Heart2Heart Facebook Official hands dance

Like synchronized swimming but easier!

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?).

Heart2Heart Facebook Official Chad Future eye star

Aren’t you a little old for face paint?

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.)

Heart2Heart Facebook Official Pretty Boi Pete Abs

Maybe I would have changed my mind with a few full body waves?

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.

Heart2Heart member KX

KX.


Heart2Heart member Nico

Just be careful with those spikes on your jacket, please!

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:
  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. Go legit. Replace some of the members with cuter, younger ones. Also get better songs.
  4. 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.
Clearly, I think either Option 2 or 4 is the best.

Heart 2 Heart members

Pretty Boi Pete, Brayden, Chad Future, Nico, and KX.

Boyfriend’s one-liner (yes, I made my Canadian bf watch this):
“Wow, that was horrific. Their hairdresser should be shot and killed.”

Thanks for reading! Please subscribe and leave your comments below. Also feel free to request a review. We update Monday-Friday. :) By the way, I made an album for keeping track of group members’ names as I learn them, so check it out if you want to learn with me!

10 comments:

  1. bahahahaha thank you for brightening my day with this--I didn't know quite that much background info (and tbh....i didn't even have the stomach to actually watch the whole video.)

    If i wasn't already planning on reading this site regularly, this review definitely would've convinced me--very, VERY well-written, and you did a good job of showing the good and the bad.

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  2. I wtf'd a bit over this vid 'cos honestly, the only thought I managed to find in my head about it was that apart from the lead dancer, they could have done well with some more dance practice...

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  3. I sure hope this is a joke. It would be great to see a k-pop style boy group in America, I just want these guys to be a little bit more serious about it like our favorite k-idols are.

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  4. This is just....god awful. At least Kpop songs are catchy (admittedly, it helps sometimes to not know what they're saying), but this....this is just bad. If k-pop comes to America, I hope it's in the guise of a group like U-KISS or another good k-pop group.

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  5. @Mochiko

    Oh my gosh, thank you! You brightened my day with this comment! :)

    My first reaction to watching this video was about two seconds in, when I was like, "...no. Just no," and turned it off. But I was told it was hilarious, and in reviewing it, I found that the more you watch it, the more inured you become to it. Maybe a bit like watching extreme violence on TV! \0/

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  6. @painless-j

    I'm just really hoping it's a prank of some kind, but I don't see why they would go through all this effort on a prank.

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  7. @Nicole

    Definitely, and maybe hotter? And able to dance and sing well? And less apparently full of themselves? Not that every Kpop idol is a great singer, but every group has at least one person who can sing well. :D

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  8. @Anonymous

    admittedly, it helps sometimes to not know what they're saying

    THIS! It does kind of enhance the appeal of the language if it's mysterious but fast and catchy.

    And I love U-KISS, but I'm not even sure they would do well in America as they are. I mean, I hope they would, but I'm not sure...

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  9. Dave or "Chad" as he's being referred to is almost 30, so yes- he's way too old for many of the disasters in this video... not to mention, despite their best efforts to make him look like an Asian girl, he just ends up looking like a tool

    Where do I start? The horrifically cliche lyrics? It's like if Facebook were brand new in 98 when boybands were in their prime and this sprung onto the world in that era it might have a chance. Sorry, but in 2012 where Facebook is old news (how many baby boomers & grandmothers are on it now?) and American pop culture has all but forgotten about the boyband ensemble, this just resonates as a sorry excuse for a cheap marketing ploy to get instant recognition with those that do live their lives through status updates.

    But who is the target here? K Pop fans? Missed the mark IMO. Pre-teen & early teen girls? Maybe. Dancers? LMAO no way.

    IF this is a parody it also misfired and failed to accomplish anything other than a brief waste of time. If it's intended to poke fun at K Pop and Facebook it should have been funnier. If not, it should have been written/choreographed/executed better. This looks like 5 Justin Beiber look-alikes with lamer songwriting and dace moves.

    I have actually followed David Lehre's career since he first made Myspace The Movie and an ongoing trend of his has always been mock boybands/music videos. Oddly enough, the lyrics in this POS do sound a lot like his writing style.  Uninspired and as creative as filling out a 1040 tax form.

    The unrelenting dumbness of this song is only matched by the lazy "dance moves" throughout. Instead of wasting all that money on renting that car for the day to get those shots in, or the added expenses of all the goofy wardrobe choices Heart2Heart would have been better off hiring a real choreographer... or maybe a real dance crew. But K Pop follows the traditional boyband approach where the singers are also dancers and they offer a visually pleasing show while attempting to croon. But sadly, this song/group fails in both aspects.

    Parody or not, H2H is the biggest joke in music today.

    PS: Shame on Lance Bass for putting his stamp on this. Since the disbanding of *Nsync, Bass has probably had the roughest road of his peers. From the media frenzy around him coming out as a homosexual to his deflated dream of being cosmonaut, Bass hasn't had much public success in show business and this abomination does not stray from that trend. Good luck next time Lance, you're going to need it.

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  10. OMG! Squee! Thanks for your long and thoughtful comment; I really appreciate it, especially on this review, which I put a lot of care into.

    ...despite their best efforts to make him look like an Asian girl, he just ends up looking like a tool

    Agreed, though to me it's less of his looks (though, yes, those are an issue) and more about his attitude and those of the other members. Far too much fake prancing and preening, and it doesn't come off as coolly genuine, like it does in Kpop. Double standards, definitely, but that's what it is.

    The more time that passes between the release of the MV, the horrible reception, and the lack of any response from its creators makes me think that maybe it wasn't intended to be a parody. Though, again, I'm still not 100% sure, which is...kind of infuriating, to be honest. I want to know what on earth the creators were thinking, if anything. The fact that Lehre is known for doing parodies makes this even more irritating.

    Heh, I was a fangirl of *Nsync back in the day, and Lance was my favorite then (I gravitated towards the pretty boys even then, sigh). I still like their music. But "Facebook Official" is no "I Want You Back."

    Thanks again for sharing your thoughts!

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