LE SSERAFIM’s Coachella set causes a recycling of the same discourse about vocals

I feel like when I addressed the discourse that arose from LE SSERAFIM’s vocals a month ago, that was already like the second time the issue came up, so now we’re onto the third iteration of this following their Coachella performance. The girls performed a 10-song, 42-minute set, and the reception of this was mixed at best, but mostly negative. And you can find these reactions … uh, anywhere, since the discourse is everywhere both in Korea and internationally.

It’s in these moments where it becomes clear how hard it is to get an honest opinion. The media coverage of it is full of quasi-stans and cynical editors incentivized to pander to massive fandoms to clicks, the fans consider it their job to basically gaslight and pressure everybody into saying their faves are flawless, and the antis think it’s their chance to hyper focus on every mistake in the worst faith possible. It’s all rather tiring.

Hypothetically at least, that’s what you’re supposed to be able to rely on sites like Asian Junkie. Not to agree or disagree with you, but at least to just get somebody’s honest thoughts. So about that, my general impression of LE SSERAFIM coming into this was that they aren’t a vocally strong group to begin with. Thus, my expectations weren’t high, and they really aren’t for K-pop in general. Minimal competency in vocals is all I need, but unfortunately they fell short of that more often than they should’ve.

Performing live with a lot of pressure and in outdoor conditions can be rough, especially so when their songs consist of demanding choreography at times. However, moments like the “Perfect Night” intro and verses are tough to reconcile with those excuses, because they’re just walking and it’s still a struggle, even for arguably their best vocalist. LE SSERAFIM brought the requisite energy, and the most important thing is it seemed fun for those in attendance, but as a listener you never want to be wincing basically off-and-on throughout the set. More than anything, it felt like they were unaccustomed to performing live or something, and the demands of a lengthy performance just overwhelmed them since they seemed to be trailing behind and/or out of breath a lot. These are mostly problems that seem fixable rather than being irredeemable, and it’s just a matter of whether HYBE provides them the resources with which to grow and allows them time off to do so.

And on that note, while I don’t have a problem with observers calling groups and/or idols out for being essentially bad at their jobs … don’t people get tired of rehashing the same discourse so many times in a month? Obviously they’re not gonna have improved since this issue stepped into the public spotlight, and that’s mostly due to being active with promotions, so what did anybody expect from this? Yes, hopefully there are some changes going forward, but at some point rehashing the arguments just seems like bandwagoning for the sake of engagement and to start fanwars more than actually giving a single fuck about the issue.


All this said, I simply remain skeptical that this is that big of a deal for LE SSERAFIM. Like on an interpersonal level I’m sure it sucks to hear for the members, but in terms of their careers, will people stop listening to their songs, stop buying their albums, and stop going to their concerts? This will end up being one of the biggest tests yet, but I’m just unconvinced K-pop fans actually care about the issue, so I’m also unconvinced we’re going to see much impact apart from the rest of the overall slide going on in the industry right now. And if there’s no financial impact, I’m not sure HYBE has incentive to implement change. Thus, no matter how mad people are (or pretend to be) about this online, the current standard is likely the result of what the average K-pop fan have told companies they’ll tolerate.


Avatar photo
Thot Leaderâ„¢