There is a big trend going around Kpop involving all sorts of groups doing releases in English. As novel as it feels, It’s not a new thing. Plenty of groups have tried their hand at breaking into the American market with English tracks to varied success, there’s just been an upswing in some decent content recently. It’s fun, but I chose to listen to music in another language for a reason, so my fingers are kind of crossed that it doesn’t get too popular.
Alongside this trend is the whole notion of international collaboration. One of the most popular questions asked of idol groups touring the US is regarding which musician(s) they would like to collaborate with if given the chance. Though we’ve recently seen some pretty big names sidling up to share the spotlight with some of our favorite Kpop stars, it’s not a new idea.
In honor of Junsu’s imminent return to the entertainment industry following his service to home and country, I thought it was important for us to show just how cutting edge he was with his JYJ bros all the way back in 2010. The trio put out an English language album, The Beginning, in October 2010 despite ongoing lawsuits with SM Entertainment and Jaejoong and Junsu not exactly being fluent in English at the time. They were working on it, they were in classes, but it was a bit of a barrier.
The first single from the album was a collab with Kanye West and Malik Yusef and came with an elaborate YA novel dystopian future-like setting, styling, and storyline. The song is…well, I’m just going to say that it was not to my taste at the time and nor is it yet to my taste. We are all dynamic creatures and maybe one day, when I’m further developed as a person, it will be something I can’t turn off. But for now, it’s just…I can see how someone else might love it. I really, really can. But that someone isn’t me.
However, it is solid proof that Junsu, Y, and the other J were way ahead of their time in terms of taking the appropriate steps to make it as global idols. Had they not had the troubles with SM and been denied their visas to tour in the US, this might have been what pushed them into BTS level success when BTS was still in elementary school. It is so weird to think about.
Ayyy Girl, JYJ