Arashi‘s new album “Boku no Miteiru Fuukei” hung onto its #1 spot for a second week. After selling 731,000 copies in its first week, it added another 125,000 copies this past week, moving it closer to the inevitable million mark. This is actually the first time that an original album by Arashi has topped the charts in back-to-back weeks.SCANDAL’s new album took the #3 spot on the sales rankings, while Cocco entered at #5. Fresh releases from Crazy Ken Band and HY occupied the last two spots on the top ten.
On the singles chart, Masaharu Fukuyama led the way with the double A-side “Hotaru / Shonen,” selling 158,000 copies. This is his 12th #1 single, and according to Oricon, this ties him with Hikaru Utada for the record of most #1 singles by a singer-songwriter.
Perfume‘s “VOICE” ranked at #2 for the week, followed by T.M.Revolution. Korean girl group KARA made it to #5, marking the first time that a foreign female group has entered the top ten with a debut single (in Japan) since The Nolans did it in 1980.
In DVD sales, the new concert DVD from the KinKi Kids sold 101,000 copies to top the overall rankings. With a current total of 8 number-one DVDs, they are now also tied with Utada for the record.
Another impressive DVD release came from Korean artists Girls’ Generation (also known as So Nyeo Shi Dae, or SNSD). Their first Japanese release sold 23,000 copies, reaching #4 on the overall rankings. They are the first Korean girl group to enter the Top 5, and the first female Korean artist since BoA did it more than 7 years ago.
Source: Oricon + tokyograph.com
For Filipino ELF’s that are really interested and dying to get the tickets for SuShow 3. Then read this. ^^
When the Korean remake of John Woo’s seminal, genre-defining shoot’em up, “A Better Tomorrow” rolls out in multiplexes all over Korea during next month’s Chuseok holiday, don’t expect a faithful update.
Song Hye-sung, director of such searing melodramas as the critically acclaimed “Failan” and “Rikidozan,” says that the focus of his version was the dramatic portrayal of loyalty, family, friendship, and the always popular theme of male bonding.
“When I decided to get on board the project, I watched the original film again and although it was still the exhilarating action picture it was when I first saw it as a university student in the ‘80s, there was something lacking and that was drama,” Song said during the film’s official unveiling on Wednesday in Seoul.
“So I decided that would be the driving force of our remake because I would like audiences to expect our film to be not just an action film but a dramatic film.”
Song quickly added “people are talking about the film as if it’s going to be this big action spectacular but what they will get is a strong dramatic film that also happens to have action. The action is just an incentive. The drama in the film is the driving force. The scenes not involving gunfire aren’t an intermission in between action sequences.”
The remake stars Joo Jin-mo, Song Seung-hun, Kim Kang-woo, and Jo Han-sun with a plot that, for the most part, retains the basic framework of John Woo’s 1986 original, according to the film’s producers.
Like the original, the main focus of the story involves the contemptuous relationship between two brothers ― on the opposite sides of the law.
Kim Hyeok (Joo) is an illegal weapons dealer, while his brother, Cheol (Kim), is a rookie detective assigned to take his brother’s operation down. Both share a tragic past as defectors from the North.
Meanwhile, Song Seung-hun has the unenviable task of taking on the role that Chow Yun-fat made famous. He plays Lee Young-choon, the hot-headed life-long friend of Hyeok who ends up penniless after being betrayed by a fellow crime syndicate member in Jung Tae-min (Jo).
According to director Song, it was three years ago that producers first approached him with the prospect of remaking the film that made international stars out of Chow Yun-fat and the late Leslie Cheung.
It was a tall order for Song to take on as he had never helmed an action picture before. So at first, the notion of taking the project seemed a little too tall.
“At the time I flat out refused,” Song said.
“A large part of my refusal to get on board was because the original was such an iconic film that defined a specific era. At the same time, however, the gravity of the project pulled me in and I thought even if I got blasted by fans of the original, I thought I could do it justice if it was done right.”
On stepping into the shoes of veteran Hong Kong actor Ti Lung’s role for the remake, Joo Jin-mo said he was a fan of John Woo’s original as a teenager but avoided seeing it again when he agreed to star in the film.
|Kim Kang-woo (from left), Song Seung-hun, Joo Jin-mo, and Jo Han-sun pose for photographers during the official unveiling of their new film “Invincible,” a remake of John
Woo’s 1986 action classic “A Better Tomorrow.”
“I stayed away from watching it before shooting began because I was fearful that if I did revisit the film, I would end up emulating the performance from the original,” Joo said.
“My character in this reboot is a complete overhaul and a reinterpretation. I’d like to watch the original now that we’re done filming and compare.”
Kim Gang-woo, who plays the role the late Cantonese pop star and actor Leslie Cheung played echoed Joo’s sentiments of describing the Korean remake as more of a reboot than a remake.
“The weight of pressure to deliver a film on par with such a famous film was lifted when we saw the final cut,” Kim said.
“The characters in our version carry added dimensions that are revealed in layers that show various emotions at play which was lacking in the original. Because of that, we were able to gain even more confidence that we made a good film.”
With the release of the original, the film’s director John Woo pioneered a new form of stylized action.
It was chock full of meticulously choreographed, operatic gunplay that thrilled audiences like never before.
It featured Hong Kong soap opera star Chow Yun-fat, virtually unknown in the West, brandishing a pair of guns clad in a sleek black Armani trench coat, rocking Ray-Ban aviator shades, topped with a toothpick in mouth.
The image he created instantly shot the lanky leading man into superstardom, becoming the iconic figurehead of the fabled golden-era of Hong Kong action cinema in the 1980s.
Joo and Song later spoke of the difficulties they experienced shooting key action sequences.
“The most difficult time I had while shooting was on location in Thailand for a scene which required me to run through a puddle of water that seemed like it had been there for about 100 years,” Joo joked.
“We ended up shooting that scene longer than everyone had anticipated and by the end of the day I had to be treated for a skin infection from being exposed to that puddle. The staff also got infected and had to be treated.”
For Song, it was negotiating a jump from a three-story building, landing on top of a car, and rolling off onto the jagged asphalt that was the most difficult.
“Our stunt coordinator asked if I wanted to have a go at it but I was quite fearful of doing it myself. I really wanted my stunt double to do it for me,” Song said.
“But when I turned to director Song for approval of my decision, he was quite adamant that I needed to do it myself.”
credit: Song Woong-ki (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Singer, producer and CEO of JYP Entertainment Park Jin-young has received the World Leadership Award, sponsored by the New Look Foundation. It aims to acknowledge those who have contributed to the education and leadership of youth.
According to a JYP Entertainment press release on Aug. 16, “Park’s efforts through TV programs and auditions to actively find talent all over the world including Rain, Wonder Girls, 2PM, 2AM, miss A and more, were recognized as playing an important part in allowing youths to dream and hope.”
Kara became the first foreign Asian girl group to make the top 10 on the Japanese Oricon charts.
Oricon is the most influential music statistics publisher in Japan.
The group’s debut single “Mister,” which was released on Aug. 11, sold 29,000 copies in the first week. This allowed Kara to reach No. 5 on the daily Oricon singles chart and fifth on the Aug. 16 weekly chart.
The first foreign female group to make to the Oricon hall of fame is the world famous Irish disco group the Nolans, with their 1980 single, “I’m In the Mood for Dancing,” but Kara is the first non-Japanese Asian female group to hit the charts.
2NE1 is signaling their comeback with their first official album titled, “To Anyone,” to be released on Sept. 9. The album will include 12 songs including six new ones, four previously released and two bonus tracks.
On Aug. 17, Yang Hyun-suk, the CEO of YG Entertainment – the group’s management company – through their official Web page, revealed, “Will. I. Am., the leader and producer of the Black Eyed Peas, has offered to produce this album and to aid the group’s future debut in America. We have finished recording a total of 10 songs in English up to this point.”
Yang continued, “Will. I. Am. is currently in the middle of preparing for the next Black Eyed Peas album, so the plans for 2NE1’s American debut are still unclear. However, we are scheduled to launch the group on stage in Japan in the beginning of next year. We are looking into a way for 2NE1 to be musically active in all three countries next year.”
|Singer Son Dam-bi returned to the music scene with her new song “The Queen” earlier last month, but her transition from her previous two hit albums to this new mini-album has been rocky. By Kim Min-kyu|
In the flood of carefully manufactured idol groups on the nation’s K-pop scene, it takes serious talent for solo singers to get noticed. But Son Dam-bi is one of the lucky few.
After debuting in 2007, her two songs “Crazy” and “Saturday Night” became huge hits, and the 27-year-old singer soared to instant stardom.
With the release of her new mini-album “The Queen” earlier last month, however, she became embroiled in a plagiarism scandal, and the title song received a lukewarm responses from the public. A clip surfaced online of her singing with all mixing effects removed, and her vocals were criticized.
She sat down for an interview on these issues and her plans for her future with Ilgan Sports, an affiliate of the JoongAng Daily.
Q. It’s been a year since you came back to the music scene, but you had to deal with many issues from the moment of your comeback.
A. I was shocked. I thought some people were jealous of me because my two previous songs were loved by so many people. But I soon realized everything happens for a reason, and I think I should accept their criticism.
Some say you need to learn more about singing.
I partly admit that, but they should know each singer has a different vocal range. My voice is pretty low and I think it’s one of my weaknesses as a singer. But I will keep working to improve my vocals.
After I finished the TV drama “Dream” in September last year, I went to the United States and enrolled in the Edge Performing Arts Center located in Los Angeles. I learned how to dance and sing for a while. I heard the center is an institution for professional singers and dancers. I think American pop singers Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake also took classes there.
Let’s move on to your private life. I heard you associate with a few close friends.
It’s true. I think I’m a kind of an introvert. I enjoy my me time. And it’s been only three years since I debuted, so I have a handful of celebrity friends.
What kind of student were you back in your school days?
I didn’t like to receive attention from my classmates. I think I was a good student. I often received the fifth- or sixth-highest grades in my class.
What kind of man do you like?
I often find myself attracted to men who have a passion for their work. If I had to pick an actor I’m attracted to, I would choose Hwang Jung-min. I often run across him at a hair salon and he looks very nice.
You spent about four years as a trainee before you debuted. What was it like living as a trainee for such a long time?
Life was hard. My mother gave birth to me when she was 37, which was pretty late. She was old and my father was sick. I’m the only daughter, so I had to take care of my family. But only 100,000 won ($90) was given to trainees every month. I cried a lot around that time.
As a female singer, you always have to look perfect. What’s your secret to keeping in shape?
I think I easily gain weight, so I try to be strict on myself. I work out about two hours every day and I always care about what I eat.
Did you get any plastic surgery?
Just on my eyes.
What’s your ultimate goal?
I want to be recognized by the public as a musician first and want to take on drama acting later. I don’t want to miss out on either career.
Love them or hate them, idols today are the kings and queens of Korean entertainment, dominating not just the music world but, increasingly, television and film as well.
According to an analysis by the JoongAng Ilbo and Mnet Media, an entertainment company based in Seoul, these cutesy bubblegum divas exert an enormous influence on Korea’s entertainment industry.
The analysis followed the daily schedules of 11 major idol groups and concluded that variety TV programs (called yeneung in Korean) function as incubators, cueing the Korean public to the next big thing. On yeneung programs, idols show off their nonmusical charms, dancing or doing impressions.
Kim Eun-a, head of the public relations team at SM Entertainment, which manages the idol group f(X), explained, “Since each member has many different schedule obligations, it is hard to gather them together in one spot.” Like other idol groups, the five members of f(X) often host music shows or appear on reality programs.
The 11 idol groups tracked included Super Junior, Girls’ Generation, Big Bang, 2PM and 2AM, which were the most popular on Mnet’s charts between February and May.
Among them, nine groups appeared on yeneung programs at least once before they topped the charts. Many are also regulars on primetime programs. For example, singer Jo Kwon is currently a regular guest on four TV programs as of this month, but his group 2AM was not very successful when it debuted in July 2008. As Jo started to appear on TV, however, doing flamboyant dance moves and offering exaggerated reactions, 2AM’s popularity began to flare.
After debuting on television on Nov. 9 last year, Jo appeared on “We Got Married,” which pairs up celebrities and provides a glimpse into what their lives might be like if they were married. When Jo joined the cast, 2AM sales sharply rose, and the group finally reached the top of the charts for the first time earlier this year with a song titled, “Can’t Let You Go Even If I Die.”
“Doing these TV shows is one way to promote our songs,” said Jeong Jin-woon, another member of 2AM. Jeong also regularly appears on television as a guest.
Once idol groups reach No. 1 on the charts, the next step is to cash in by appearing in TV commercials. Then many idols expand their careers to fictional dramas, films and musicals.
Theatrical producers are happy to have the idols, because they guarantee high ticket sales. When idols are cast in musicals, an average of 96 percent of seats are filled, compared to 70 percent or lower for typical Seoul productions.
Tickets for the musical “Palace,” which stars Xiah Jun-soo, a member of the disbanded idol group TVXQ, sold out in just two minutes after they went on sale earlier last month.
Jessica, a member of Girls’ Generation, took part in the musical version of “Legally Blonde” in March, and Tae-yeon, another member of the group, featured in the musical “Midnight Sun” in May. Onew, a member of SHINee, did the musical “Brothers Were Brave” in April. All the musicals turned handsome profits.
Dramas and films are idols’ favorite side jobs. T.O.P., a member of Big Bang, appeared in the TV drama “Iris” last year and also landed a role in the film “71: Into the Fire.”
In fact, it would be inaccurate to call most of these idols “singers.” Instead, they are all-around entertainers. It’s become the norm for idols to look forward to success in show business, whether they keep pursuing their singing careers or not. “I think I will start acting in 10 years,” said Sulli, a member of f(X).
Pop music critic Im Zin-mo said, “One thing I can say for sure is that idols are the ones who sustain the nation’s K-pop scene, and they go even beyond that.
“They truly rule the whole entertainment industry,” Im said.