Extra! Korea

March 14, 2010

I think the Wonder Girls have already given up on America

Filed under: music — extrakorea @ 2:24 pm

I believe that the Wonder Girls have already given up on America, and have set their sights on two other goals: (a) conquering the Chinese market, and (b) retaking and consolidating their share of the Korean market from their old rivals Girls’ Generation and all of the new girl groups. Here’s why I think so:

* They have postponed their album release and canceled their U.S. tour. The postponement was originally to March or April, but now the new album won’t be released until May or June.

* They’ve released Chinese versions of “So Hot” and “Tell Me.”

* They’ve been promoting in Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.

* New member Hae-lim, who replaced the departed Sun-mi, is fluent in Chinese. Coincidence? Or was her Chinese language ability at least part of the reason she was chosen to be the new member?

* They will be cross-promoting their album in America and Korea.

And here is, for me, the clincher:

Currently busy with the promotional activities for their latest English single, Nobody, the girls (Park Ye-eun, Min Sun Ye, Ahn Sohee, Kim Yubin, Yu Hae Lim) have their hands full preparing for the May/June worldwide release of their upcoming music album. It doesn’t help that it will be recorded with songs in three different languages (Korean, English, and Chinese) to “satisfy fans from all over the world.”

(emphasis mine)

If you want to break into the American market, you release an album in English. It’s as simple as that. There are exceptions, but the Wonder Girls are not the Buena Vista Social Club. Artists like Celine Dion, Ricky Martin, and Shakira stay connected with their original fans by releasing albums in French and Spanish, respectively.

So what will be on the album? I’m guessing English and Chinese versions of their big hits, Nobody, Tell Me, and So Hot, plus at least one new song that Dave Stewart is working on. That’s seven. And the other three, assuming that the album will have ten songs? Probably a Korean version of the Dave Stewart song. Maybe a Chinese version of it. I’m guessing another Dave Stewart song will fill it out to ten.

At 2:07 in the video below, Sun-ye talk about the new album (e.g. May release; containing English and Chinese songs).


  1. Disagree on both fronts.
    The US album is delayed cuz WG needs to re-strategize how to promote it (to give it any chance). The Jonas Group’s modus operanti is to tour extensively (Jobros, Honor Society, Demi Lovato), & we now know WG was to headline their own mini-tour before Sunmi’s exit ruined those plans. The new April/May window is iffy cuz it’s neither here nor there, i.e. when music fans generally forget about last summer while looking forward to the NEW summer. IMO The closer WG can tour in America to the peak summer months, the better their chances are (even if it means starting over again).
    I think China remains on the backburner, unless it hitches on the back of WG’s Korean comeback plans. Believe it or not, the Special Edition Album hasn’t been released in the Mainland yet (unlike for Taiwan & Hong Kong) & it may never be. I don’t think JYPE has figured out how to crack that fragmented & footloose industry yet, beyond State-supported concerts & media/TV appearances plus commercially-paid endorsements. A fading C-pop singer called Wang Rong 王蓉 also said recently that JYPE China contacted her about recording the Nobody Chinese version. If this comes to pass, then she & not WG will be officially releasing the song in China.
    FWIW I don’t think Lim’s spoken Chinese is that big an advantage either. Firstly, she’s the new maknae so it’s not like she’s gonna be the group spokesperson anytime soon. Secondly, she already speaks Mandarin with a noticeable Hong Kong accent, i.e. imprecise to more critical ears. If she grew up in Hong Kong, I would rank her proficiency in this order: Cantonese (Hong Kongers’s primary language), English (assuming she went to an international school), Korean (mother tongue) & then Mandarin (likely only at the conversational level, unless she’s gifted or was privately tutored).

    Comment by qoxie — March 14, 2010 @ 5:36 pm

    • It still doesn’t explain why there will be songs in three languages on the album. As I said before, if you want to succeed in America, you have to release an album that’s entirely in English. Period.

      Either Park Jin-young is aiming for the Chinese and Korean markets, or he really, really doesn’t understand the U.S.

      Do you think Americans will take to it kindly when they see that the album has three languages (and that none of them are Spanish)? Even the kids will know that their producer is just hedging his bets.

      Comment by extrakorea — March 15, 2010 @ 6:34 am

  2. […] It looks like the Wonder Girls have given up on making it in America. […]

    Pingback by ROK Drop Weekly Linklets – March 14, 2010 | ROK Drop — March 14, 2010 @ 11:21 pm

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