What is SuperM and Why Should You Care?

After much anticipation, SuperM finally debuts with their title track “Jopping.” In this article, I want to thoroughly introduce everyone to SuperM as well as analyze their music video.

What is SuperM?

On Aug. 7 of this year, SM Entertainment’s founder Lee Soo-man and Capitol Records’ CEO Steve Barnett released a statement about the future debut of K-pop group SuperM. Before the official statement was ever released, rumors flooded social media. Fans were all wondering who would be in the group, and many were questioning whether or not they would stan the group.

The group is comprised of seven members. Each member of SuperM is a member of another group, and each is known as the fan-favorite within their respective groups.

Lee Taemin debuted in 2008 with SHINee and adopted the title of “Dancing Machine,” for he is famously known as one of the best dancers in the K-pop industry. In 2014, he debuted as a solo artist with album ACE, and since then has released seven other albums. His most recent is Famous, which is a Japanese release as he sings in both Korean and Japanese.

Byun Baekhyun debuted in 2012 with EXO as the main vocalist. Aside from launching a fashion brand with Privé, he recently had a solo debut with the title track “UN Village.”

Kim Jongin, with the stage name Kai, is another member from EXO. Alongside Taemin, Kai is another K-pop idol famously known for his dancing. As of 2019, he’s been named the first Korean global ambassador for Gucci.

Lee Taeyong debuted in 2016 with NCT. He is the leader of NCT, and he is also the rapper, dancer, vocalist, center and visual of the group. This year he released a solo song on Station 3 titled “Long Flight.”

Chittaphon Leechaiyapornkul, with the stage name Ten, also belongs to NCT, NCT U, and WayV. A year ago, Ten released a song on Station titled “New Heroes,” which is entirely in English.

Mark Lee, alongside Taeyong and Ten, is a member of the group NCT. Aside from being in the group, he has released a song on Station as well; however, the song was not a solo. Rather, he performed alongside EXO’s Xiumin. The song is titled “Young & Free.”

Last, but not least, Wong Yuk-hei, with the stage name Lucas, is part of NCT and WayV.  In 2018, he was a model for “KYE 2019 S/S Hera Seoul Fashion Week Collection.”

An Analysis of the Title Track “Jopping”

Before the music video was available for everyone on YouTube, Capitol Records hosted a livestream of a Q&A with the group. During the segment, a fan asked the members for further details about the music video. Youngest member Mark responded by stating that the director of the music video was heavily inspired by the word ‘gladiator.’

The video begins with a landscape view of the desert; however, a large coliseum disrupts the scenery. Already, the reference of gladiators is present. A coliseum and a big concert arena can be compared greatly. Both are stadiums in which a performance is displayed for an audience. Furthermore, gladiators beforehand were meant to entertain the audience; they put on a show. Idols do the same thing for the audience. They put on a show.

We are then shown a number of imageries that will be continued throughout the music video. However, both Taemin and Ten are shown reacting to an electric, almost computerized symptom. It makes me wonder if they are to symbolize artificial intelligence, or, as NCT 127 sang about, superhumans. Later, we see Kai teleporting into the scene as the center of the group. In the music video for EXO’s “Power,” Kai’s character is also given the power of teleportation. It makes me wonder whether or not the story overlaps.

There is a similarity with this music video and WayV’s music video for “Take Off.” Both videos feature the drones, which could be a coincidence; however, it is something to keep in mind when understanding the overall concept of SuperM. Because, as well, both videos contain futuristic, technologically advanced conventions. SM Entertainment, in general, though, has been adopting a similar theme to music videos as if they plan to tell a greater story surrounding technological advancement.

Courtesy: SM Entertainment

Relating to the image above, it is important to note the street signs. Erutuf is the name of the upcoming exit. After a moment, it clicks that Erutuf backward is Future, in which SM Entertainment and Capitol Records claim they want SuperM to be significant for the future of K-pop. Even Baekhyun states during the Q&A “[SuperM] will bring K-pop to the next level.” Also, note the route numbers being 20 East and 19 South. It is the year 2019, right?

As a final thought, coliseums are symbolic of the past. In this music video, however, with this concept, coliseums are repurposed into a more futuristic mannerism. It is as if they are reflecting on the past, bringing their roots with them, but at the same time adding new elements, which would be the technical elements throughout. K-pop respects past accomplishments and entertainment, but K-pop also wants to take a step forward to add newer elements available today.

Overall, SuperM is already making a major contribution to the K-pop industry by influencing a global audience. Regardless of later contributions, they have already succeeded with bringing K-pop to “the next level.”

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