When it comes to SM Entertainment, it’s all about the EPIC

You are a newbie fan of a male artist from SM entertainment. Their trendy sound and ecstatic looks mesmerize you every time. Their songs and choreography are on fleek, making you to click any new Youtube clips popping up on the screen. One peaceful day, while you were swiping the screen for some new content, Youtube recommended their debut video. As a diligent newbie, you click it with no hesitation – and it was just then when you found out your idol had quite a past.

Whether you are a newbie or an old fan from the get-go, understanding (and embracing) the early concept of SM male idols is a long, confusing journey. Today, we’ll walk you through the “epic” of SM male idols, step by step. By the time you finish this article, you’ll understand that SM ent. has actually thought through each and every concept of theirs.


Rise of the young hero



I mean, just look at that. How can anyone ever think that is a screenshot of a kpop idol’s music video? However, to fully understand Male idol groups of SM entertainment, you have to know that they come out to the world as a hero or a warrior. So it’s only logical for these heroes to point out the paradoxes in this world. In the early stages, artists sing about anger and resentment towards the world rather than love and farewell. Here’s some example of rebellion songs of SM entertainment.



Lyric goes: “Why can’t we look each other in the eye anymore? Or communicate? Or love each other?”


Lyric goes: “Our dreams for the future are dead, just as all other beautiful existences of the world”


This ‘rebellion culture’ of idols inherit from Seotaji & Boys, the first idol group Korea has ever had. SM idols’ music was even more destructive before 2000’s, when Seotaji & Boys had an even bigger influence on K-pop. Hyun Seok Yang, the “Father” of YG entertainment, was a member of this group. Watch this clip “Come back home” by Seotaji & boys.



Lyric goes: “I’ve seen the end of my life, and I feel suffocated. My fear for tomorrow is the biggest obstacle in my life”



The last male idol group of SM ent. is NCT. However, this group does not exactly follow this format due to their unique team concept. However, this heroic, defiant message is delivered through the song ‘무한적아 (Limitless)’ by NCT 127.



Lyric goes: “Lies stick to you like glue and this gray city ain’t got no chance”



The hero finds love



Only after a few years our beloved idols start to sing about love with an actual smile on their faces. The unique characteristic of SM idols’ songs is that their love is quite straightforward and exciting, just like the young lovers when they start their relationship. Watch those refreshing smile of SHINee’s from the music video below.



Lyric goes: “Such a beautiful view, show me more of that beautiful view”


The oldest idol group without team breakup, Shinhwa, also had their deep dark phase when they made their debut in 1998. However, they made their comeback as a true ‘boyfriend material’ on their fifth album. This transformation took almost four full years.



The member with the demonic eye makeup is Dong wan Kim. Years later, he confessed that it was a mistake to believe he’d still look handsome with such makeup.


See how they smile on the stage. The member in pink shirt is Dong Wan. (00:35)


There are no cases of returning to “rebellion concepts” after this stage. So if your idol as entered this stage, sit back and relax. You can finally feel at ease. Both the artist and the fans recall this phase as their heyday as they don’t have to worry about grotesque hairstyles and makeup. Thank God!



More than just a concept – It’s a universe!



After the ‘boyfriend material’ stage, SM embarks on the finalizing process of idols’ universe. Some concepts might still seem abstruse, but most fans remain unfazed as they are drilled enough in the early stages.



SHINee came back with the concept of ‘fake reality’ on feburary.


This addictive song was loved not only by fans, but also the “muggles”.



The members work even harder in this stage. They expand their careers by going solo. They develop their identity as a singer or an entertainer. And sometimes, such solo singles add even more epic narrative to their universe.



Kwanghwamun is actually a large gate of a Korean Palace in Seoul. In this song, Kyuhyun sings about Kwanghwamun Street – famous date spot for couples.


Kai’s superpower, teleportation, is the main concept of his solo music, too.


Through this identity-building stage, the bond between the artist and fans gets tight as ever. Even fandoms get their distinctive characteristics and features. The artists release fan songs to show their love and gratitude for their fans. This is the stage when the artist and fans make their relationship “organic”.



The never-ending Bildungsroman



By now, you would notice that the epic of SM entertainment’s male idols is actually a man’s life story. The idol starts off as a rough and immature boy but evolves into a true man who can protect their loved ones through time. Since EXO finally made their group comeback on the 7th, and SHINee’s Key is scheduled to release a solo single in July, our wallet should be ready once again to ride that epic roller coaster. Hope you’ll enjoy the waves of the new Odyssey of SM entertainment.





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