What makes a good vocal group?


I dunno, I was listening to some good ol’ Arashi (Tokei Jikake no Umbrella ;)) and I suddenly felt myself wondering:

Really, what parts can be combined to make a good vocal group?

So, I’ve decided to look at a few groups in an attempt to figure out what minimum 5 parts can be factored into an equation to determine the general goodness of vocal groups. The groups I’ll be examining are: Arashi, B2ST, f(x) (pre-NU ABO, I can’t discern any vocal talent out of any of the newer stuff anyways), DBSK, MBlaq, SHINee, SNSD, Wondergirls, 2NE1 and 4minute. Anyone who wants to disregard my opinion because I’m only looking at Asian groups, shut up and go away… Just kidding~ *hugs* I love you too, I just don’t care much for English groups anymore XD

I’ll split the elements and trends I find into “factors,” since obviously not all bands will contain all these “factors” or may contain a person that could be a mix of “factors.”

Factor A: The All-Around Awesome Leader

Let’s face it, in most vocal groups, the leader ends up being good at freaking EVERYTHING. Now, obviously being good at singing is the main criteria here, but the leader is often also good at: dancing, rapping, being beautiful (if that counts XD), or all of the above.

  • Satoshi Ohno (Arashi)
  • Hero Jaejoong (DBSK)
  • CL Rinn (2NE1)

Factor B: The Vocalist Who’s Just as Good as/Better than the Leader

This is a commonly recurring factor among K-pop groups today since companies are demonstrating a trend of spewing out groups with only 2, 3 years of training as a group, and as a result there’s often really good and really bad people. Sometimes they’ll just pick the eldest of the group to be the leader and not ask any questions (*COUGH* 4minute *COUGH*), sometimes they’ll be smart and hold some kind of friendly competition among the members, but regardless, there is almost always a singer that will be at par or beyond the leader’s singing ability.

  • Luna (f(x)) (considering Victoria almost never gets any lines of her own anyways, I’ve barely anything for comparison XD)
  • Xiah Junsu (DBSK)
  • Park Bom (2NE1)

Factor C: The Rapper

It’s nice having rappers in a group to keep things interesting. That, and usually some kind of epic rap can be found at the climax of nearly every pop song in existence. This person’s usually got some decent vocal skills to boot too.

  • Sakurai Sho (Arashi)
  • Hyuna Kim, Jiyoon Jeon (4minute)
  • Minho Choi (SHINee)
  • Minzy Gong (2NE1)
  • Jun Hyung (B2ST)

Factor D: The One Who Can Sort of Sing But Is an Awesome Dancer

Factor E: The One Who Can Sort of Sing but Is Mostly Kept Around for the Band’s Image’s Sake

Sometimes I wonder what talent scouts/producers/directors/whoever the heck puts people in a band were thinking when they put these kinds of people in a band. Then I remember it’s because they look good on promotional posters, in commercial appearances, or something else. Often this person’s talent will be slightly above that of an average person, but  really nothing spectacular. A lot of the time, they can’t even perform well. Other times, it’s just some really young person that everyone goes “OMG THEY MUST BE SOOO GUD IF THEIR IN A BAND” over (which really annoys the heck out of me, frankly). I’d just like to point out right here that so far I’ve been having a lot of trouble finding this factor in a boy band.

  • Most of SNSD (seriously, I’d like to see what would happen if you took out everyone but Taeyeon, Seohyun and Tiffany…)
  • Sulli Choi, Victoria Song (f(x))
  • Sohyun Kwon, Jihyun Nam (4minute)

Factor F: The Shrill One (shrill in a good way ;))

This is the one in the band that can get away with screaming into the mic, but somehow managing to keep that screaming in tune and musical. And I don’t mean a little scream like “YAOH” and move on, I mean like an epic, long scream like Max’s “YEAAAAAAAAH” in Mirotic. This person is usually male too, guys screaming in that distinctly manly way is something that for some reason doesn’t always work for us gals x.x

  • Max Changmin (DBSK) (Seriously, listen to Rising Sun – he screams so much it’s funny XD)
  • Jonghyun Kim (SHINee)
  • Gayoon Heo (4minute)
  • Krystal Jung (f(x))

Factor G: The One With the Nasal-y/Breath-y Voice

I dunno, I’ve noticed there tends to be someone with this distinct breath-y sound in some groups. I actually kind of like that sound to be perfectly honest, it’s so… well, distinct, compared to everyone else XD

  • Micky Yoochun (DBSK)
  • Masaki Aiba (Arashi)
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