Battle of the Rookies: History vs LC9

Spring of 2013 had some great comebacks but it also had some notable debuts as well. Earlier on in the year LOEN Entertainment and Nega Network  both announced that they would be debuting their first male groups around the same time. The two companies took their turns putting out teasers and the two groups debuted mere weeks away from each other. History debuted first with “Dreamer,” and then LC9 made their debut with “Mama Beat.” The two groups share similar backgrounds, but their styles are quite different from each other. 

For this battle, the two will go head to head in several rounds. Everything will be compared: their music, the choreography, their looks. The writer will choose her choice for each round but that doesn’t determine anything. At the end, you can cast your vote in the polls to see which rookie group is more popular here at Soompi. 

LC9 vs History: Let the rookie battle begin!

Writer’s Note: This was just written to get these new groups more exposure. The poll affects no official charts or anything important. Please be civil and considerate. Thanks! 

Round 1: Members and Stats.

historymembers

History joins IU, Gain, Fiestar, and Sunny Hill as the first male group for LOEN Entertainment. They made their debut on April 25 with the song “Dreamer.”

The members:

Song Kyung Il (1987): The tall leader who raps and sings. Model-like body with a model-like face. A little older than his members (and most idols).

Na Do Gyoon (1991): Main vocalist who had a brief stint as the vocalist of Buzz after Min Kyung Hoon left. Has an inferiority complex about his chubby cheeks.

Kim Shi Young (1992): Rapper, or more accurately, narrator. Has the deadly cute face + deep voice combination. Used to be an ullzzang.

Kim Jae Ho (1992): Rapper and sub-vocalist who has been compared to EXO-K’s Sehun in the looks department. Strangely looks really young yet really old at the same time.

Jang Yi Jeong (1993): The maknae who is the most popular member since he was popular on “Birth of a Star.” Accepts that he looks like Teen Top’s Niel.

lc9members

LC9 was originally called the “Brown Eyed Boys” for being the first male group (Lunafly is considered a band) from Brown Eyed Girls’ agency, Nega Network. They made their debut with “Mama Beat” on May 8.

The members:

J-Hyo (1992): Vocalist and rapper who appeared in Miryo’s “Dirty music video and was the first member to be revealed in the teasers. This complete package is good friends with FT Island’s Song Seung Hyun.

RASA (1989): The leader with a great facial structure. If you look him up on Korean search engine, pictures of Lhasa Apso appear.

KING (1993): Defies gravity with his hair. Occasionally gets YouTube comments wondering if he is at least part Black.

AO (1996): Not to be confused with AOA the girl group (his name is pronounced “Ah Oh”). Maknae with slick dance moves and his own dance solo.

JUN (1994): A pretty boy but does he do anything? Doesn’t have a single line in “Mama Beat.” A mystery.

E.Den (1991): The group’s visual rapper and Soompi’s very own. Another tall and handsome Canadian rapper to join the K-Pop scene. Appeared in Brown Eyed Girls’ “One Summer Nightmusic video.

N00NA’s Winner: History – This was a little unfair because History is part of LOEN who promoted them in their LOEN TV interviews. This allowed me to know a little more about each member individually. LC9 has shown a mischievous and energetic personality in our Soompi exclusive and their half-hearted dance practice video, but Jun’s presence boggles me. I have never heard of a member not getting a single line in a song. Even for History they gave Shi Hyung some narration parts. Hopefully these cute members will get more spotlight as the groups continue to promote.

Other than exposure, History still takes my vote because their name makes sense: History or His Story. It’s not the most creative group name but it isn’t confusing at all. LC9 on the other hand… E.Den if you are reading this, can you please get someone to explain what “League of Competition #9” means? Did you have to through a trainee battle royale to get into the group? Is this the ninth combination? I just don’t understand. Also, E.Den if you really are reading this, message me ;]

Round 2 – The Teasers

LOEN decided to be creative with the teasers and went with a self-aware dating tip video with old school narration. The videos were funny and cute, which was a great way to introduce the members. To watch the rest of the member teasers, click here.

LC9 decided to go with a futuristic space theme for the member teaser phots. At first the photos looks heavily, heavily, heavily photoshopped and artificial until word started going around that they weren’t actual photos, but computerized drawings. To make sure no one misunderstood that the LC9 members needed photoshop, Nega Networks also released complimentary video teasers which everyone liked a lot more. To watch the rest of the member teasers, click here.

N00NA’s Winner: History – The dating tips were very fresh and allowed the members to be seen in a very charming light. The colorful photos of LC9 did take some time getting used to but the members look so much better in real life. The videos helped a lot but they were rather simple and unoriginal.

Round 3 – The Music Video

The music video for History’s “Dreamer” had a vintage Hollywood theme and it allowed the members to be portrayed as chic and romantic. Son Dam Bi also starred in the music video as the romantic interest. She always looks great and this was no exception. The story was just a very elaborate confession of love with a sparkly diamond, a giant sparkly diamond. If you are planning to confess with a diamond, an elaborate plan and a hired drum-line is really unnecessary. Just show up with the diamond. 

LC9 and Negawork politely asked for there to be a 19+ rating for their music video, even before it was released. It was an interesting move on Nega Network’s part because companies usually try to avoid the rating. They promised that it would be violent, and yes it was. The music video was just one intense action sequence after another of the members punching, kicking, throwing, stabbing each other, while enjoying it very much. There’s no real story, but if there were it would have been about handsome Korean boys with super powers deciding that having a rowdy fist fight would kill their boredom.

N00NA’s Winner: LC9 – The first time I watched this music video, I was at the edge of my seat, torn between cringing and giggling. I had to watch it twice because I realized that I hadn’t listened to the song at all because I was so distracted by the blood. That’s the only problem with this music video, the video completely distracts from the song, not complimenting it like “Dreamer.” However, watching idols have a good time beating the crap out of each other (without actually really getting hurt) has been my secret fantasy for a long time. Is that weird? (E.Den, you’re still going to message me right?)

Round 4 – The Music and First Performance

History’s “Dreamer” is pure ear candy. The harmony in the song is great and the Britpop style is very refreshing considering most K-Pop tends to be orchestra ballads or electronic dance with a dubstep interlude. The chorus is catchy and easy to remember, plus the drum-line beat makes it a feet-tapper. The lyrics aren’t amazing but it’s sweet and simple. Na Do Gyoon and Jeong Yi Jeong as the main vocalists don’t have the most unique voices around, but they compliment each other nicely and hold their own. IU is featured as a narrator but it’s pretty short and uneventful.

Their live debut had some noticeable awkwardness and the poor guys were sweating bullets. Whether it was from nerves or someone in SBS forgot to turn on the air conditioning, they were all glistening. In later performances the group gets more comfortable and even incorporates more of their choreography. 

“Mama Beat” follows the K-Pop trend but it does have a low BPM (beats per minute) for an energetic electronic dance song. The song follows the familiar pattern that most contemporary pop songs follow, including a very simple chorus. The chorus may be repetitive but it will definitely get stuck in your head. The lyrics are about fighting and winning, with a cute line about Tom and Jerry. J-Hyo, KING, and Rasa are good singers but they don’t really get a chance to show any variety or skill in this song. That’s not a bad thing considering the song isn’t about vocals, but about the addictive beat. Besides, they made sure that the teasers proved that they are strong singers as well. Gain does have a short part but like IU’s, it wasn’t completely necessary.

Their live debut had no obvious mistakes and a few members seemed more nervous than others. The best part was that they looked like they were having fun (except E.Den, who had the important duty of looking cool). The high energy required for this song makes it difficult to sing live but they did a great job. AO looked like he was having the time of his life during his dance solo, so hopefully he will get many more of those in future songs.

N00NA’s Winner: History – Arg, once again, it’s a little unfair because the two songs are so different. “Dreamer” is the song you sing as loud as you can when you’re alone in the car. “Mama Beat” is what you turn on when your friends come over. Personally, I’m a sucker for a good harmony so History had my vote in the bag from their first “Ooh Ah.” LC9 did have a slightly better debut performance and their energy is really fun to watch. No doubt this group will promote other songs that demonstrate that they can sing just as well as they can dance.

Round 5 – The Choreography

The choreography for “Dreamer” looks best here, on the Broadway style stage. While during the verses the choreography is relatively simple and slow, the chorus gets the best energy and moves. Their dancing is very clean and synchronized, but the overall the whole thing is unremarkable. With a song like this, an intricate choreography wouldn’t be expected so everything is more than forgivable.

“Mama Beat” has the fancy footwork, and the members all do a great job of keeping it together. In this video sometimes it’s a little hard to differentiate between the singers and the back dancers, especially if you’re not familiar with the individual members. With the back dancers the group does try to mix up the formation through the song, and it works well. As said before, AO’s dance solo is a great addition and there should be more opportunities to watch him dance.

N00NA’s Choice: LC9 – It’s the foot work that gives LC9 the win for this round. They are both good, but LC9 had more at stake with their choreography so they deserve the win a little more. And they had AO. Again, third time saying this but let the kid dance. He looks so happy when he dances.

Round 6 – The Look

historygroup2

It would be a downright lie to say that looks don’t matter for idol groups. It does matter, the fact that there’s such a thing as a “visual” or a “center” position proves this point. History went with clean cut handsomeness for their visuals, and it worked really well. They wore sharp suits and looked like the type of guy your mother would love if you brought him over. They looked near perfect in their black and white suits for their music video but decided to experiment with colors and patterns for the performances, which did not always look as good:

historyoutfit

History is a group of cuties but Shi Hyung has to be the visual of this group, to explain his lack of lines in the song. He has a terrific side profile but his greatest asset is that deeper than deep voice of his. No wonder LOEN has him do most of the talking in their videos

lc9group2

LC9 is also very easy on the eyes. The colorful hip hop style looks great with the song and gives the more flexibility for their dance moves. The blazer and shorts combo is a bit of a fashion mullet (business on top, party on the bottom) but nothing looks out of place.

E.Den looks like the visual (he’s definitely the center) but fan clubs are identifying Jun as the visual, which is a relief because this kid needs something since he doesn’t have any lines. Jun does have the visual qualities with his milky white skin, small face, and lean body. He also shares a lot of selcas on his Twitter, so he at least he’s taking his job very seriously.

lc9outfits

N00NA’s Winner: LC9 – I’ve grown very fond of Shi Hyung and his manly man voice but E.Den makes me want to shake his parents’ hands and say, “Congratulations on creating handsome.” E.Den, if I haven’t scared you away by now, message me.

Either way, both groups are lookers and own up to the idol status.

historylc9feat

Now it’s time for you to choose! Which rookie group has caught your eye? Is it History with their clean cut looks and great vocals? LC9 with their energy and quick feet? Vote in the poll below.

Also, regardless of who you vote for you can still enter for a chance to win a signed LC9 debut album exclusively from Soompi!