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“The Rainy Stroll” by MsBlink
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An Album a Day is my exploration into the Korean music scene. This podcast will cover mainstream, indie, and some underground artists within the scene, and provide both factual and opinionated material. The biggest benefit to sharing my thoughts this way is that it will hopefully expose you to more great music and exploration of your art.
The first special episode of Season 4 could not have been better scheduled. We are celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Queen of K-pop, Kwon BoA, one of the scene’s most successful and influential entertainers. There are many others who are called queens -- they bring energy, dynamism, and have broken the mold in their own ways -- but come on now… they know the deal. Let’s get into it after the drop.
You're tuned into An Album a Day. Show start.
Hey y’all, oh you’re here! I’m so glad that you’re here in the audience to witness royal honors! Seriously, this is a big deal. The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted how we’re observing this momentous occasion, but observance is taking place nonetheless. What’s that? You don’t know about Her Royal Highness? Let’s move over somewhere a little less nosy and I’ll give you a quick rundown.
K-pop isn’t a new Thing (with a capital T), if A3Day has taught you anything, it’s certainly that. It’s not new, but there are new developments each year. Some Korean artists endure, but some drop off. Some maintain a style, and others try a little of everything. Not many have the range to continue to be in demand for twenty years. Even less have the history to say that they’ve done so without taking time away from the industry. Even the incomparable Lee Hyori, fairy godmother to countless female idols and the Nation’s Fairy (their words, not mine), put a full stop to entertaining at one point. But not this woman, no. Her hiatuses only meant that she was promoting in one country and not another. It’s an unmatched work ethic that other 20-years-and-up Korean pop acts simply haven’t accomplished.
This isn’t to diminish them. This is to stress how much the Queen deserves her crown.
On August 25, 2000, BoA made her official debut. After two years of intense training at SM Entertainment, the then 13-year-old dominated her debut music video with relentless energy. You heard me correctly, she was 13, which means she was training at eleven. The powers that be were in her favor from the moment she stepped into an audition space with her older brother for SM, that she had a contract offer the same night. From that moment on, she’s been The Force to reckon with. From preparing for her Korean debut and then promptly piggybacking that over to Japan, to working in China and the United States, she’s had her life in the spotlight and hasn’t backed down.
Transitioning from the cute and youthful image of her debut year to an emerging young adult created a decline in sales. Instead of giving up, she reinvented herself and made her moves towards success anyway. She gave up traditional schooling, but don’t feel sorry for her -- she was smart enough to know the benefits of becoming a stakeholder at her label at an impressive price point. When things didn’t gain the traction it could have with her American efforts, she simply returned home with new experience and represented her label as a panelist for others hoping to become stars. She’s relentless, hands-on, and proven.
BoA has 18 studio albums, 2 live albums, 2 EPs, 6 compilation albums, 2 remix albums, and 76 singles. She ranks within the Top 20 of any nation she charts in frequently. Even with a few low marks, it pales in comparison to how many times she’s reached the Top 3. This isn’t a Great Moments in Production & Delivery but know that it’s hard as hell to pick just one favorite.
Kwon BoA is deserving of every acknowledgement, every positive mention in the media, every seat at the table of budding stars, and every aspect of her image. Scandals? You’d be hard pressed to find one. SM? They’d be hard pressed to find another gem as rare.
권보아 씨 축하드립니다. 여왕 폐하 만세입니다. Congratulations, Kwon Boa. Long live the queen.
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