Show a little faith, fans
FTIsland and CNBlue unfairly dismissed as as pop idols instead of legit rock stars in Korea
I sometimes wonder if South Korean rock fans are living on another planet, or just plain critical of their own native born-and-bred musicians.
In a recent interview with The Korea Herald, Mr Han Seong Ho, chief executive officer of FNC Entertainment - his company manages pop-rock outfits FTIsland and CNBlue - lamented that his two star acts were still "not acknowledged as legitimate bands" on home turf till today.
That is despite the fact that both groups have skilled songwriters who perform their own instruments, from drums, bass, guitars to keyboards, during recordings and live performances.
What's even more upsetting is that while they have wowed crowds at large-scale rock festivals in Japan such as Summer Sonic and Rock Nation, they have never scored an invite to play at a Korean rock festival.
I am baffled by this rooted prejudice towards FTIsland and CNBlue displayed by their own countrymen.
Why do audiences scoff at the mere mention of them as rockers?
Is it because of the members' swoonsome looks, or their glossy publicity photos that make them out to be idol-like pretty boys?
Could it be their frontmen's - FTIsland's Lee Hong Ki and CNBlue's Jung Yong Hwa - penchant for branching out into acting, an endeavour often deemed too mainstream?
Whatever the case, I feel sad that rock fans are taking on such a hard-line purist stance.
While FTIsland and CNBlue do not do heavy rock (you can't headbang to any of their numbers, that's for sure) and their albums are often a tad too poppish and slickly produced, they shouldn't be excluded from the rock genre so easily.
Such bias is not unique to Korean showbiz.
Irish pop-rockers The Script, whose music The Guardian once panned as "soft-as-mush pop", defied critics with an excellent set at renowned festival Glastonbury in 2009.
So did radio-friendly pop punk poster lads Fall Out Boy, who stunned everyone with their impressive debut at the metal-dominated Download Festival last year. My greatest wish would be to see FTIsland and CNBlue headline South Korea's premier music festivals Soundholic, Ansan M Valley Rock and Incheon Pentaport Rock alongside international acts.
They already have top-notch musicianship, all they need is a little faith from their Korean fans.