There are a few things going on in the world lately that the Internet is just not feeling. Other than that exceptionally un-woke Pepsi advertisement, we were recently introduced to EXP Edition, an American K-pop group that is the brainchild of Karin Kuroda and Samantha Y.Shao under the creative collective called IMMABB Entertainment – it stands for I’m Making A Boy Band. Since none of the members are Korean, we’re not quite sure how the whole ‘K-pop’ term applies to the band. But Šime Košta (Croatian), Frankie DaPonte (Portugese), Hunter Kohl (New York native), and Koki Tomlinson (half-Japanese and German), are carefully packaged cookie-cutter pretty boys whose existence is made to open discussion on post-colonialism issues and “identity politics surrounding the transnational circulation of K-pop,” according to their official website.
Even with a list of impressive performance venues in their list – like the Queens Museum and MoMa New York – EXP Edition is still seen as a parody (at least to us). The music video for their single ‘Feel Like This’ shows the guys mimicking generic K-pop bands in similar fashion, sound, and movement. While you don’t get a taste of the typical dynamic K-pop choreography in the video like you would from bands like Big Bang and BTS, you do see the band’s label trying to project that whole soft-filter and “doing nothing but looking fancy” concept in the video. The adoption of Korean pop culture by four western boys was meant to incorporate a sense of “otherness” and hybridity, but what made EXP Edition so cringe-worthy isn’t their failed attempt at recreating K-pop, but the lack of training and understanding that real K-pop stars have in the Korean entertainment business. Showbiz in South Korea is very much different than the one in the West, where creative freedom is earned after a long period of trial and error as an artiste. This awareness among K-pop fans is what makes the band so unlikeable.
We’re giving this one the benefit of the doubt because what started as an art project by two University students might just have its end as an art project too. But if it continues, the band should just form into a brand new male pop group since y’know, One Direction is no more.
Watch the music video that’s turning them viral below:
Also, lest we forget, Malaysia’s own stab at K-pop is far worse:
To know more about EXP Edition, follow them here.