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130326 The Issue Makers, Trouble Maker

Written By Kim Regina on Monday, March 25, 2013 | 8:35 PM


Not many teams in recent years have spurred this much controversy as this one. This two-member unit made issues with the two teaser videos it revealed before the actual release of its single on December 1, and its short performance at the 2011 Mnet Asian Music Awards made the eyes of audiences around the world widen in shock with a sexy onstage kiss.


This is Trouble Maker, with members Hyuna of 4Minute and Jang Hyun Seung of B2ST.

Everything from their couple airport styles, the touches they exchange onstage, their teasing kisses and their backup dancers’ dance moves, never fails to give people something to talk about. Soon they’ll be making issues just by breathing loudly onstage.

Of course, not all the feedback is favorable, but like showbiz officials always say, ‘It’s better to have bad press than none at all’, implying that these celebrities aren’t that gloomy about the attention no matter what kind of attention it is. It hasn’t yet been a month since the unit stepped in front of the public, but it’s managed to gather round itself numerous issues and controversies. We took a look at the talk of the town, Trouble Maker.


Setbacks that polished these gems

Hyuna was originally chosen as a member of Wonder Girls through an open audition for JYP Entertainment. She debuted in February 2007 with Wonder Girls’ first single album The Wonder Begins, but due to problems with her health, including her chronic enteritis, she dropped out of the group in July while the group was promoting its single Irony.

Later she settled down with Cube Entertainment in September 2008, and returned to K-Pop as a member of the group 4Minute in 2009. The five-member group soon rose to the tops of music show charts with hits such as Hot Issue and Muzik.

As soon as the group wrapped promotion for Muzik, Hyuna started off on her solo ventures. From October 2009 to June 2010, she appeared in the KBS2 variety program Invincible Youth to step closer to the public, and also became the representative face of her group along with others such as Brown Eyed Girls’ Gain, Kara’s Han Seung Yeon and After School’s Uee in the Samsung project group 4Tomorrow.

She released her first solo single Change in January 2010 and made it big with her popping hips, and in July 2011 continued her success with her first mini albumBubble Pop.

Jang Hyun Seung was to be a member of Big Bang, but in the final member selection process, he was the only one eliminated. Soon after, he became a trainee in Cube Entertainment, and joined the six-member group B2ST with members Yoon Du Jun, Yong Jun Hyung, Yang Yo Seop, Lee Gi Kwang and Son Dong Woon. The group made its debut in October 2009 with its first mini album Beast is the B2ST.

The following three mini albums released in 2010 set the group on a steady course toward fame, and in December of that year its popularity exploded in the group’s first exclusive concert. B2ST made its Japan debut in March 2011 with the single Shock, and in May released its first studio album Fiction and Fact. 2011 was a great year for the group, as its second single and first studio album became hits in Japan.

In December 2011 4Minute’s Hyuna and B2ST’s Jang Hyun Seung came together as the performance unit Trouble Maker, and in just three weeks managed to become a huge success not only in Korea, but also on a global stage with theUnited Cube Concerts held in Britain and Brazil.


The sexy icon and newfound charisma

The appearance of Hyuna meant the appearance of a rare sexy female singer that could follow in Lee Hyori’s footsteps. This 20 year old girl’s mature expressions and sexy hip dances shook up the public, and were enough to put any type of stage both inside and outside of the country at her feet.

She started being called the ‘next Lee Hyori’ after her solo success with Bubble Pop, but she herself said on the reactions, “[Lee Hyori’s] a senior I really look up to. It’s an honor even to be compared to her, but on the other hand it pressures me. Lee Hyori is like a wall I can’t break through.”

Lee Hyori, however, shows her affection for Hyuna by monitoring her Bubble Popperformances and telling her to ‘stop being too stiff and try to be natural’.

For Hyuna, Trouble Maker reaffirmed her potential with a new type of unit after her two solo albums, and also revealed more of her star quality and issue-making abilities.

For Jang Hyun Seung, Trouble Maker was a stepping stone for him as a ‘new find’. While his fellow members strayed from their main careers to take on other areas such as acting, he was the only one to stay with dance, and in Trouble Maker, he was able to unleash the charms that remained hidden when he was just a part of B2ST.

Even while he performed with B2ST, he tried his hand at differentiating himself with his hand movements, expressions and his detailed dance moves, but the attempts were buried underneath the group’s synced choreographies. He had a unique sense of fashion that could’ve stood out, but he yielded that also for a more consistent fashion concept for the group.

In Trouble Maker, however, he threw out all the stops and showed off his unique dance moves with his personal props. With his unique voice color, he’s also adding more to the song in the parts given him.

The peculiar synergy effect that occurred between the unique Hyuna and Jang Hyun Seung was said to have exceeded its description as an “enjoyable accident happening onstage” the members describe themselves to be. Their first singleTrouble Maker is good, but their ballad The Words I Don’t Want to Hear also opened new possibilities for future solo feats from both members.

Controversy that won’t shadow its music

Trouble Maker does have its flaws. The biggest flaw is the one that everyone points at, the issues on sexually suggestive performances that always seem to follow Hyuna around.

The choreography itself or its level of suggestiveness isn’t that serious when compared to performances by other foreign artists. The main thing that gets on everyone’s nerves is that Hyuna has just turned 20 years old, and the members of Trouble Maker are idol stars that appeal greatly to the younger generation. Many argue that their actions may have unwanted effects on teenagers.

That their great music is overshadowed by such debates is also an issue this unit needs to address. Trouble Maker, a song written by Sinsadong Tiger and Rado, showcases a fairly high quality with the unique harmony between its funky rhythm, electronic sounds and the whistling intro.

The unit succeeded in grabbing second place (first place for two weeks on Monkey 3) in the midst of the recent IU storm, but controversies the likes of those mentioned above blurred the reason behind the song’s success, making it uncertain whether the song was popular because of such issues, or purely thanks to the song’s quality.

As Hyuna has previously been embroiled in many similar controversies, withChange, Bubble Pop and 4Minute’s Mirror Mirror, she must also take care she’s not hurt too much by the sway of public opinion, and must guard against having her image fixed to one extreme.

If the unit’s agency, Cube Entertainment, and the unit’s members put their heads together to come up with a great solution to these issues, Trouble Maker may become not just a one-time unit, but a new type of unit that can stand the test of time.

Photo credit: Cube Entertainment






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