STELLAR Marionette
STELLAR’s the hot issue in K-pop right now, but just for the record, I’ve been a STELLAR stan since they debuted. Their first single, 2011’s ridiculous 2NE1 knock-off “Rocket Girl” (or should I say, “Locket Gur”) was amazingly bad, while their eurodance follow up, “UFO,” was just plain amazing.

They lost me a little when they relaunched last year with the cutesy Sweetune-produced “Study” (surprising, since I love all things cutesy and Sweetuney), but all is forgiven now that they’ve out RaNia’d RaNia with their porn-tastic comeback single, “Marionette.”

Tapping into the current sexy trend sweeping K-pop, STELLAR’s snatched up the cheapest parts of various girl group sexy concepts over the years (including AOA, miss A, Girl’s Day, Rainbow Blaxx, and more), rolled them all into one, and spit polished it with the kind of sleazy sheen that can only come from a struggling pop act so desperate to make it in showbiz that they’ll do anything for a flicker of flame.

Take my favourite part of the “Marionette” music video (which doesn’t look half-bad considering it’s obviously low budget) for example. One underfed underwear-clad STELLAR member takes a bottle of ‘milk’ from the fridge, and then proceeds to drink it in slow-mo as it dribbles down her chin and onto her breasts just like a certain other delicious white fluid. In the next scene, SHE TAKES A BATH IN IT.

STELLAR Milk

For all its explicit imagery, very little about the video is actually arousing or titillating — if it was, then “Marionette” wouldn’t be nearly as perversely entertaining. You feel dirty and a little sad watching these willowy plastic people gyrating in flimsy leotards and putting themselves out there to be objectified and vilified by the public (remember, this is the viciously judgemental and sexually-repressed Korea we’re talking about), yet at the same time there’s something disgustingly hypnotic about “Marionette” that extends beyond Sweetune’s predictably addictive production.

The lyrics, about a self-loathing “sad doll” tied to a string and controlled by a vindictive lover, could be viewed as a metaphor for the way female celebrities are more-or-less forced to strip down for recognition from a general public that’s generally too conservative to openly admit its insatiable desire for sexual content from its pop stars.

You’re so bad, I’m hurting again,” STELLAR sing. “You haven’t changed at all, I haven’t changed either / I’m reacting to your fickle nature / Tell me, is this fun for you?

Raunchy makeovers have worked for countless girl groups before, from Brown Eyed Girls back in the day to Girl’s Day and AOA more recently. Before “Marionette,” STELLAR released three singles with three separate, G-rated concepts, none of which came even remotely close to taking off. In fact, the most publicity they ever got was for an upskirt controversy sparked by their “UFO” video. At this point, they’ve got nothing left to lose and a ticking clock telling them they’re shot at the spotlight is almost up, so it’s either go hard or go home.

Other girl groups –like Nine Muses with “No Playboy” and RaNia with “Dr. Feel Good”– have tried this approach in the past, but STELLAR seems to be having the most success with it as far as flop rookies go. They’ve got all the ingredients to make “Marionette” pop-off: Perfect timing, a connection to a well-respected K-pop star (Shinhwa’s Eric, who has since disowned them), and a willingness to push the envelope further than most others have. They’ve even set up a Facebook page in which male fans can vote to have the members post photos performing various facial expressions, like crying or looking shy. It’s a stunt that’s about one step away from being softcore webcam porn.

However, none of this noise marketing would really work this well without a great song, and “Marionette” is pretty great (as is the entire Sweetune-produced mini-album it comes in). It’s got all the sonic signatures of classic Sweetune, while its obviously low production budget (at least compared to the duo’s past work) makes it sounds like an old pre-fame Nine Muses b-side that never saw the light of day — which is obviously a good thing!

I still feel a little bad supporting this comeback, but what can I do? STELLAR just slayed the shit out of every other comeback this month, and considering the great lengths they went to to get my attention, it’d be cruel of me not to support them with every piece of my heart and soul.

Now excuse me while I go vote for what degrading act I want STELLAR to do next on Facebook.

  • norimix

    The mediaplay seems to be working because I didn’t know about this group before this comeback

  • Laurence Nope

    The butt-scratch dance is destined to become Korea’s national dance craze of 2014, and banning it from public broadcast will do nothing to prevent that inevitability.

    By the way, none of Stellar’s songs have been produced by Sweetune proper, as in Han Jae Ho and Kim Seung Soo, but more like Sweetune’s B or C team, aka two guys (G-High and Lee Joo Hyoung) who worked with Sweetune on a couple of Japanese Boyfriend songs.

    • Omg, really? How do you find this stuff out? I’ve tried tracking down Korean and Japanese production credits before but usually find the information is all on either Korean or Japanese websites that I can’t navigate properly due to language barrier.

      Also, I’m glad they removed the butt scratch. It looked really gross!

      • Laurence Nope

        Haha, basically I just use those very same hard-to-navigate sites to find the credits. KOMCA for Korean stuff anyway. I don’t know of any easier way unfortunately.

      • MIKEE

        Stop it. Their butt dance has clearly catapulted them into the spotlight as the new KARA.

        • Marhaebwa

          YASS BETTER TELL IT! That and the first dance which I call the “contort your skeleton gurrll” dance are iconic.

  • James Smith III

    I just can’t with these “sexy” concepts we are getting closer and closer to real burlesque maybe we’ll get a Korean Dita Von Teese

  • 364Leinad

    I’ve gotta say, I’m seriously enjoying that influx of girl groups shamelessly whoring themselves out. Not just because its providing mew with great fap material, but because its hurting the buttholes of so many fan girls! Your boring fave could never get such an impressive dislike bar!

  • MIKEE

    I mean they seriously stole from every single girl group that matters and rolled it into one perfectly low budget package. I really hope people actually listen to Stellars entire album because it’s soooo good! (Minus that song about studying or whatever, skip that shit) The only thing that I have a serious issue with is how skinny all of them have become. I’m sure eating disorders aren’t rare when it comes to idols but it’s starting to get a lot more obvious. Anyway I live for the sexual enuendo and exploitation. Plus that ass rub dance, perfection! Stellar>>>>>>>SNSD, 2NE1, Sunmi, Ladies Code, GaIn, Park Ji Yoon, Idina Menzel, Miryo’s cover of let it go, Bohyungs cover of let it go, my cover of let it go, my cover of let it go ft. Tiffany Taeyeon, Farrah Abrahams new sex tape and Katy Perry.

    • Marhaebwa

      Girl, you better leave my fave Slaydie’s Code out of this.

      • MIKEE

        Lmao I kid! I stan for Slaydies Code ;-)

      • Alexdhamp

        EunB RIP

        • Marhaebwa

          I was in such shock when I found. They were my bias rookie group tied with Bestie. And LC were going places, then this tragedy occurred.
          A painful reminder of the fragile mortality we all have.
          RIP and condolences.

          • Alexdhamp

            I found it very tragic and I wasn’t even a fan before their accident. Sadly, I’m finding their music and MVs an enjoyable find now…

    • kkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk your comment is so freaky funny i love it!

      • MIKEE

        Luv ya boo! Whomever down voted me needs to track down one of Park Bom’s surgeons and buy themselves a sense of humor!

    • Alexdhamp

      “Study” is fine…and it’s about telling a guy to pay attention to her, to “study” her.

  • CY

    I could not have said it better, it feels so wrong to enjoy this but sex has gave them success and the song is my favourite of all the 2014 slutty k-singles… Sweetune (or B team) are flawless!

  • ICONI3

    I like the song, though I do wonder which group will push even further boundaries next.

  • KingBeaArthur

    As OTT as the concept & choreography is, the song is actually stellar (ha!). Now the Facebook campaign…*sighs*.

    • the song’s growing on me.

      that facebook thing though… that’s what makes me mostly sad about all this thing.

  • Marhaebwa

    Whatever anyone says, now twice the amount of people care about STELLAR than previously so…well played.

    • U_Wot_U_Wot

      They’ve just leap-frogged half the other n00bs in the game. lower mid tier relevance here they come!

  • Auntieruckus

    Agreed! And the fan chant? Daebak!!!

  • D is for Danger!

    Well, the controversy definitely paid off. They’ve already surpassed the 1M view mark for the MV.

    Like you said, there’s something really uncomfortable about watching these girls perform this routine. You get a sense that they aren’t too thrilled about it. They surely didn’t have any input in the matter, so they are in fact Marionettes.

    Also that one girl, the rapper, needs to eat something. She should take the advice of Lip Service. Someone give her a hamburger or something!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mnCAj6ssJj8

    • i felt so sorry for them.

      the interesting thing about “marionette” is that it speaks sooooooooooooo much about the k-pop industry and korean’s sexism… and without having to try to hard to read too much into it like a seoulbeats post would do. jacques analysis for example was pretty consistent about it and it never sounds preachy.

    • Alexdhamp

      The song isn’t happy, why should they look happy in the MV…

  • UncleFan

    All over your faves…

    • Auntieruckus

      Lmao

    • MIKEE

      GASP!

    • Marhaebwa

      Da-da-da-da-da-da-da-dat ass.

      …(or lack of)

  • byoing~byoing.

    Why isn’t the flawless Kiss&Cry is favourite thing about K-Pop this year? The fact they have fan chants despite Dia’s (oops, sorry DIA) nose resembling a toucan’s beak is the true triumphant story of 2014.

    Anyway, back to Stella(r) — I’m hanging out for their 19+ take on the ‘Let it Go’ phase and how they’re incorporate their flawless anal play choreography into it.

    You’re also being completely honest with your love of Stellar:
    http://puu.sh/6W6nU.jpg

    #imyourbiggestfan #misery

  • Not one mention of them recycling the T-ara Bunny Style twerk? Jacques, you’re slipping.

  • BadB*tch

    I love these sexy hot b itches

  • wunderkind17

    I like this. It looks like KPOP is in its puberty stage, where it’s all about sex and experimenting with stuff. The early stages of KPOP (to most international fan anyway, like 2007-2011(or 2012, if you’re a little late) is like the BABY stage, where everything it does is adorbs, then comes the pre-teen days, (2012-2013?), where it goes from adorbs to simply annoying, then comes the awesomeness that is today’s kpop. I just hope that it will get better from here. And yes, I get philosophical like that.

  • Lee James

    There’s often a fine, fuzzy line between tastefully sexy and downright slutty. Stellar’s management aren’t looking to leave anyone guessing where they stand (or rather, squat).

    p.s. Hi Jacques, I haven’t posted on here for ages!

    • Alexdhamp

      Song isn’t classy, though. A girl being used by her ex-lover for sex isn’t classy. You should look up “slut”, too…I don’t think it means what you think it means.

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