I’m turning into one of those grumpy old men who gets annoyed by the stupidest of things. A very trivial rant today prompted by the latest delivery from YesAsia (I’m mugging up in preparation for the K-pop concert which I hope is happening on 24 May but which no-one apart from KBS seems to know anything about). Firstly, full marks to BoA and Crying Nut. Girls on Top and Best Wild Live come in conventional CD jewel boxes. Boring but very sensible. You can file them on the shelf alphabetically, along with your other CDs, and find them when you want them.
9 out of 10 to Lee Soo Young: Grace comes in a conventional sized box, albeit that the front cover is oriented portrait rather than landscape. You can still store it on your shelf and read the spine. 1 out of 10 to Vibe. Their 3rd comes in a folding cardboard thing which is 15% bigger than the standard CD case. So it might just squeeze onto the shelf, but it?ll stick out. 0 out of 10 to SG Wannabe. Their 3rd album is a beautifully produced hardback book with lots of nice pictures. Smells nice too. Of course, it will not fit into my (or anyone else’s) CD shelving. So am I supposed to store it with my books? Or am I to lay it flat, squeezing it into the horizontal gap between the top of the row of normal-sized CDs and the underside of the shelf above? The gap which, of course, has now been messed up by the Vibe CD and which is already occupied by Lena Park’s 5th (which came in similarly unnecessarily outsized packaging). And bear in mind that the CD itself is clipped to the back of the book, on the outside. So if you put the book face-up on the shelf so that you can read the title on the spine, one day the CD is going to fall to the floor when you take the book from the shelf. Very clever.
I think there’s a thesis to be written by a PhD in Marketing & Popular Culture: why do Korean record companies produce albums with very cool but highly impractical packaging? I guess I’ve kind of answered the question myself — because the target market is swayed by what is cool rather than what is practical. There can’t be many grumpy old men buying K-pop CDs.
I avoid all the Special Edition DVDs for similar reasons of practicality (was it My Tutor Friend which came in a fried chicken takeaway box?) — fancy packaging simply causes storage problems.
By the way, don’t get your hopes up. I bought the BoA album because it was going cheap and I wanted to know whether her latest stuff is any better than her dreadful second album. She’s not playing in London next month as far as I know. But maybe she is and the organisers just haven’t got around to telling anyone yet — that would be par for the course.