It All Began With a Howl: Wolf Boys Take Over K-Pop
Have you ever heard the wolf cry to the blue corn moon or asked the grinning bobcat why he grinned? As a matter of fact, Disney’s Pocahontas, no, I haven’t, but maybe if I keep listening to these K-Pop songs with wolf cries late at night, the first part just might happen.
It’s probably just utter coincidence that the following artists all released songs with wolf cries in them (one of which may or may not even be real) in the past couple of months, but interestingly enough, the way each cry is used is different from the rest. In fact, each artist can be said to be portraying a different side of the wolf. After all, wolves have been documented to hold symbolic significance in many religions and cultures across the world. Maybe I am just pulling things out of thin air, but here are my interpretations of why these wolf cries were incorporated into the songs and what types of wolf boys we have in our midst.
The Devil in Disguise: Bang Yong Guk – “Sacramental Confession”
First things first. Rejoice because it looks like B.A.P’s Bang Yong Guk may be working on his very own mixtape. When he started his own Tumblr blog a little over a month ago, fans, myself included, went crazy over the possibility of more updates from the social media eluding rapper but also feared for the things he may see about himself and his fellow members floating around in the Tumblr-verse. But as with his other social media platforms, the busy BYG takes his time in updating his followers. Nonetheless, he was kind enough to upload a self-composed song that he then performed live at their concert in Seoul, killing all fangirls onsite instantaneously with shirt-ripping, ab-exposing yumminess.
Some may call him a devil in disguise for causing fangirls such anguish, and according to this song of his, they might not be too far off. From the beginning, it feels like a scene out of a horror movie, where some kids get stranded on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere late at night after their car breaks down. It starts to rain, and all they can hear is a wolf howling at the full moon. No one is around to help. That is, except for the psycho killer on the loose. At least that’s what comes to my mind each time I press play and listen to “Sacramental Confession.” [listen on his Tumblr] So just what is Yongguk confessing, and why set up this sinister mood with the wolf cry?
“No matter how much you bury me, I come back again. … I’m in hell, burning passion. I’m the new generation.”
Wolves are dangerous predators. Some religions even consider them walking devils on Earth. This makes them the perfect animal to use in your confession to the world that you are actually a devil resurrected from hell. Normally, we should be sent running in the opposite direction, but what can I say? Girls always love the bad boys.
The Hurt Ones Caught in a Trap: VIXX – “On and On”
“On and On” has got to be my favorite VIXX song to date. Their music video may have been questioned for plagiarizing the Korean movie, “Wolf Boy,” but I prefer to think they got the idea from 2PM’s Gayo Daejun “Thriller” stage back in 2009 (a must-watch, if I might add). While I could have done without Ravi’s carrot top hair, the boys really dug deep and unleashed their inner wolves, channeling some Michael Jackson along the way. Of course, the creepy contact lenses and excessive makeup helped too.
Perhaps they were just using the wolf boys concept as a means to stand out, but the use of wolves is justifiable. Based on their dance moves and fierce roars, you would think these wolf boys were the alpha males, but in fact, “On and On” talks about a pathetic man in love who keeps going back to a woman, even though she treats him like a toy that she’ll play with for a day but then throw away the next. No wonder they “need therapy,” especially if they continuously return to such an abusive relationship, “ready to be hurt.”
The wolf cry in the song can thus be interpreted as that of a wolf howling in pain. In nature, this type of howl is commonly heard when a wolf is ensnared in some hunter’s trap. The VIXX boys feel just as helpless in the song’s one-way relationship. The woman does not love the man, but the man cannot bring himself to simply walk away. After all, they say love makes you do stupid things. The only thing the wolf boy feels he can do is accept the situation and prepare himself for the world of pain he enters each time he goes running back to the girl, with his tail between his legs. And the only way for him to express that pain is through his howl.
The Wolf Cubs Fighting to be Alphas: EXO – “Wolf”
Rumors of an EXO comeback have been circulating since last summer, with numerous comeback dates being thrown around, but each time, the predictions failed to come true. Then, when 2013 started with Girls’ Generation comeback and now with a SHINee promotional cycle, fans learned to not get their hopes up again for an EXO comeback anytime soon.
EXO and SM Entertainment have to be aware that spending too much time between comebacks, especially in this competitive day and age, can be detrimental to a career. If it weren’t for SM’s power in the industry, EXO might have been yesterday’s news by now. Since last summer, the comeback rumors have been further fueled by tweets from producers, working in the studio with the boys, and recently, member Kris getting caught in public with a new ‘do. (Makings of a comeback? We think so.) It wouldn’t surprise me if the recent leaks were a part of the media play strategy as well, to at least gets fans talking about them and to create an excuse for delaying their comeback once again. A part of me desperately wants the song to be a complete joke engineered by some skilled netizen. While I see a drastically polished version of this song potentially being the next “Two Moons” track on their new album, I’d rather not have to listen to these wolf cubs “Awooo” in my ears a million times before I give in and claim that “Wolf” is the greatest song on the planet.
On top of constantly disappointing their fans, EXO has something to prove to their haters, mainly that they are a force to be reckoned with in the industry, regardless of the company standing behind them. And what better way to express this ambition than to channel one of the fiercest alpha males in the animal kingdom? Unfortunately, as with all macho men of the human race, the constant reminder of just how macho you are is really an overcompensation for the insecurities you feel about yourself. In EXO’s case, the more they assert that they are wolves, “naega wolf, awooo,” the more these pathetic excuses for howls sound to me like little wolf cubs desperately trying to hang with the big kids club. The boys have some growing up to do, so hopefully by the time they finally decide to get their act together and grace us all with that comeback, they will be the full-grown wolves I know they can be.
The Lovestruck Ones on the Prowl for Mates: Teen Top – “Miss Right”
Oh our little teens on top, our notorious little noona killers, as we like to call them. It’s always a pleasure to see just what you babies are singing about, but based on the title of your latest track, I think I already know. While your new music video reminds me of how I will never be able to think of you as anything more than jailbait, I’m glad to see that you have moved on from your player ways in “No More Perfume on You.”
This time, the boys are after that girl with the long straight hair that they just can’t get out of their minds. She’s got them (going) crazy. And from the sounds of their howls, these wolf boys think this Miss Right could be The One.
Although I’d probably slap a man who howled at me to get my attention, I do understand where these Teen Top boys are coming from. Just as some men will use it to pick up girls, wolves use their howls as mating calls. Once they find their soulmate, they are in it for the long haul. Wolves mate for life and remain intensely loyal to their partner, so I guess when you think about it that way, wolf howls are slightly romantic. It’s just unfortunate that human men use it in a more derogatory manner and usually do not have the intention of mating for life. Fortunately for Teen Top though, they look as cute and innocent as ever; those prison jumpsuits and bandanas aren’t fooling me. In the context of their new song, these boys seem genuinely interested in the girl of their dreams, and their wolf howl is their indication that they are ready to settle down this time. So keep on howling boys. Miss Right will surely turn her head in your direction soon enough.
I honestly thought the sexy wolf phase ended with the Team Jacob following of the Twilight series, but I can’t say I complained when they cast Song Joong Ki as a Wolf Boy last year or when K-Pop artists decided to revisit the concept this year. What are your thoughts on these various wolf boy examples? Be sure to leave us a howl below.