[Guest Blogger Week] The One Shots: Beef With Comebacks

Asia 24:7 Guest Blogger Week [The One Shots] (2)______________________________________________________________________

About The One Shots:

The One Shots commentary proves K-Pop and snark can go hand in hand.

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Dear K-Pop,

What’s up with you and comebacks? I’ve known you for two years now and I’ve been open to learning all the strange things about you – your obsession with aegyo, your affixation  with false perfection, your infatuation with selcas – but I’ve never understood the whole comeback thing.

The first time I ever experienced a comeback was when SS501 “came back” with the 2010 masterpiece (yes, masterpiece) “Love Ya.” As a young and naive K-Pop noob, I thought, “Wow, SS501 must have been gone for years! What a great thing to be able to come back.” In those days, I didn’t realize that “coming back” meant they’d only been gone for a couple of months touring. Hell, their previous mini-album, Rebirth, had only been released a few months prior. How is that considered a comeback?

Okay, maybe that’s not extreme enough. Let me get even more ridiculous by citing the careers of the comeback kings, B.A.P. Since B.A.P debuted in January of 2012, they’ve had five comebacks! Four of those comebacks were in 2012 alone. That’s the equivalent of a comeback every three months. But how can you come back when you never left?


Alright K-Pop, let’s drop everything and get really analytical about the term “comeback” for a second here. According to our dear friend Webster here’s what “comeback” means:


1 a return by a well-known person, esp. an entertainer or sports player, to the activity in which they have formerly been successful : the heavyweight champion is set to make his comeback | [as adj. ] his career died after a couple of comeback attempts.

• a return to fashion of an item, activity, or style : stirrup pants have made a comeback.

Aside from the fact that we hope stirrup pants never make a comeback, I think the above says it all. You have to actually be gone for it to be a comeback. Furthermore, I would argue that you have to be gone for some time for a comeback to have more of an effect on the audience. Because if you don’t spend time away, you’re just always…there.

But groups like B.A.P are part of a new era. Rookie groups have flooded the market faster than Kim Kardashian collects husbands – and the marketing strategy has changed. Now, groups don’t have the opportunity to take a break from the industry for extended periods of time. There are too many other groups vying to fill up that void and hoping to make audiences forget you exist.

The comeback strategy gives entertainment companies the ability to revamp their groups’ image every few months. One day SNSD can be wearing new-age princess dresses and talking about their hold on the boys, and the next day, they can be wearing cutesy psuedo-gangster wear and be talking about finally having a boy. Or T-ara can be lovey dovey one cycle, and the next cycle, they can look like D-Unit. While this is great for entertainment companies because it gives their groups the flexibility to do more with their image, it also makes it difficult for audience to grasp the groups’ identities. Just look at how angry fans were when Beast went from Fiction to “Beautiful Night.” Fans argued that “Beautiful Night” wasn’t who they really were as artists. But how can we know that if every few months, they come out with a new concept?


As LL Cool J would say, “Don’t call it a comeback.” Shinhwa returning after 3 years to celebrate their 14-year anniversary? That’s a comeback. The Wonder Girls returning to Korea after a difficult stretch in America? That’s a comeback. The New Kids on the Block joining forces with the Backstreet Boys to put on a super-tour after years of inactivity? That’s a comeback. B.A.P taking a month off to do homework and then appearing on Inkigayo when TS Entertainment gets bored? Not a comeback.

So, K-Pop, I ask that you re-think this whole comeback notion. Instead of calling these comebacks “comebacks,” let’s instead call them, “returning with a new single after taking a quick break.” Thanks.

The One Shots

9 thoughts on “[Guest Blogger Week] The One Shots: Beef With Comebacks

  1. Agreed! I don’t mind it being called a comeback if there’s some time between your promotions, because I like how they use the time to come up with a new concept. However it gets old when they come out a ton of times in a year like B.A.P. Then I just get worried about if they’ve been sleeping enough, and don’t pay attention to the song as much. You’re right about many of the songs being mediocre. Take some time and bring it with something excellent, guys.

  2. I think that for TS simply releasing a new single (or mini) after the end of the promotion of the previous one mean the boys are coming back. Even if they were “afraid” to lose their place, I don’t see who could take B.A.P spot. Slash HipHop, slash Pop with powerful choreography…for now only B.A.P can do it.
    *little side note…it’s 4yrs hiatus Shinhwa took XD. Their last concert/album was in 2008.*

    1. It was 4 years, huh? Ayaaa, must fix. Thank you 🙂
      I agree, no one is filling B.A.P’s niche at the moment. Nu’est and Exo were supposed to be those competitors but honestly, they don’t even make the same kind of music.

      1. It’s all good after 2008 Shinhwa time line is kinda confusing since some were doing solo activities while other was doing their military service. But their contract with Good Entertainment fished in 2008 and since Shinhwa Co. wasn’t founded they couldn’t continue as Shinhwa…anyway XD The ShinChang in me speaking
        Exo to be able to fill B.A.P not only they need to have a similar musical style but also to at least planned their comeback >_<

  3. As B.A.P the reason I got into KPop, I too was thrown by the multiple comebacks. Now if EXO FINALLY release new single ( NEW single guys!!! Come on remix of MAMA????) I would think of THAT as more of a comeback.
    It is just another great KPop marketing ploy that capatilises on loyal fans!
    Glad you touched on the styling changes, as this threw me. Are they Hardcore Hip Hop (Warrior & One Shot,my fav style), Cute Boys-Next-Door (Crash), Romantic Balladers (Secret Love & Rain Sounds) Street Kewl (No Mercy) & GG’s IGaB has heaps in just one clip!!! Confusing!! lol

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