Episode 9

From A-Piece to MAP6

An Album a Day is my exploration into the Korean music scene. This podcast will cover mainstream, indie and some underground artists within the scene and provide both factual and opinionated commentary. The biggest benefit to sharing my thoughts this way is that it will hopefully expose you to more great music and exploration of your own.

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You’re tuned into An Album a Day. Show start.

We’re alphabet hopping from the letter A – which, in this case, stands for various positive adjectives like “amazing,” “awesome” and “absolute” – to the letter M with one group, by way of the letter T. Using Naver Vibe to listen to this group will be a worthwhile resource.

A-Prince was a group re-established in 2012 under New Planet Entertainment. Prior to the boy band being called A-Prince, they were known as TAKEN and had made their debut in November 2011. They released one song under the name TAKEN called “Only You,” and then re-named themselves A-Prince for their re-debut in July 2012. From there, the 5-member group consisting of Sungwon, Minhyuk, Seungjun, Siyoon, and Woobin released “You’re the Only One,” an extremely synthesized pop ballad. 

A-Prince followed the re-debut with “Hello,” their first mini album on November 6, 2012. The lead track is nothing without its music video. The cuteness levels are heavily imposed upon the guys with aegyo left and right. I’m not a foreign commentator who hates on aegyo, it serves its purpose. In the case of A-Prince, the dance version video of “Hello” has them throwing aegyo daggers at their target fanbase and it feels like it was demanded and not wanted. By this point in their short time as A-Prince, they physically appear to be in between concepts, for lack of a better description. Yes, they were young, but they did not seem naive. Taking a look at the previous pre-debut members (something I encourage you to see at Kprofiles.com) drives that point home, in my book. That aside, the mini album consisted of three songs and two instrumentals. 

Their second mini album was released on June 25, 2013, entitled “Mambo,” consisting of three Korean songs, a Japanese version of their 2012 single “Hello,” and three instrumentals. “Mambo” pushes the dance music energy with every track, incorporating a relentless 808 and synthesizers left and right. Given the time period it came out, it’s the right sound for the era but it isn’t the most appealing production quality. By the time they made their orange-haired final comeback with “Peter Pan’s Kiss” in March 2014, the synthesizers were cemented as the only real memorable sound of this group. They disbanded not too long after and four of the five young men re-debuted, some with new stage names, under the group name MAP6 with a different entertainment label. 

Between November 2015 and May 2017, MAP6 released four Korean singles and one Korean single album consisting of three tracks. The music was much more dynamic and memorable but the focus was an attempt at grabbing the attention of the Japanese audience by this point. The group is reportedly on hiatus due to military enlistment but I am inclined to keep an eye on them for a comeback.

K-pop fans on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being essential listening and 1 not worth mentioning, the A3Day rating for A-Prince/MAP6 is a 4. Ultimately, as A-Prince they were a cute boy band created to pull on the heartstrings of their fans but no opportunity to grow from that concept, say in the same vein as BtoB or Astro. As MAP6, they shined in a different way with better production quality. There is real potential for a dynamic comeback if they choose to continue in entertainment after their commitment to their country is fulfilled. 

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About the Podcast

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An Album a Day
A Review of Every Album in K-pop

About your host

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Ashley Borjon

Ashley is a content creator, educator, and public speaker. As an authority on the Hallyu phenomenon, she has collaborated on projects and events with various domestic and international companies and brands as a music historian. As the host of An Album a Day, she leads an English-language podcast promoting commentary on South Korean pop music.