First it was Eat Your Kimchi defecting to Japan and now Chad Future, the young guy from the USA who decided to be an “American k-pop star”, has decided to move onto the next phase of his career and focus on music within America with his new group F.A.M.E.
This is truly an event to be celebrated, so come with Kpopalypse now as he explores the career of Chad
Future Past in commemoration!
You know that feeling that you get, when you discover an outstanding solo artist in k-pop for the first time, and you just want to follow everything that they do and investigate all of their back catalogue for hidden gems? Well, discovering Chad Future feels absolutely nothing like that, but I felt like I owed you – and him – some retrospective reviews of his work anyway. You see, apart from that one Chad Future interview that I published a while back, poor Chad has been kind of short-changed on the pages of Kpopalypse blog. None of his MVs ever got into a best/worst list, I never made any snarky articles about him when he started collaborating with Korean pop stars, and he wasn’t even voted for once in any of the Kpopalypse objectification posts this year. How has Chad’s career survived this long without my support? I’m not sure, but clearly in the name of media balance I could have done better, so I have reflected and returned with a more mature set of Chad Future MV reviews for you to enjoy. These videos are arranged in chronological order so we can chart the success of Chad through the years.
21 October 2011
Heart2Heart – Facebook Official
Before Chad went solo, there was Heart2Heart, a boy group put together by Chad which lasted for only one song. When I first saw this, I was confused – “why does it say Facebook Official? It’s on YouTube, not Facebook!”. Then on about the tenth listen I managed to hold back the cringe long enough to actually make it to the chorus and realised that “Facebook Official” is actually the name of the song. I guess being into someone so much that you decide to make your relationship status public on social networking is considered worthwhile love song material for today’s commitment-phobic generation, so it’s true that Chad knows his market. Now it’s only the rest of the video that confuses me. The link to k-pop here is quite tenuous with the song being entirely in English, k-pop only seems to be evident in some of the very YG-style visual presentation. Certainly the song sounds nothing like the k-pop of the day – musically it’s quite soft and doesn’t have any of what made the better YG material from around the same era decent. I guess Chad having mainly a music video/TV background, it would make sense that he would start absorbing the k-pop influence visually rather than trying to figure out what made the music work. The only other nod to k-pop here is the logo which seems 4Minute-inspired, and that proved ominous as 4Minute themselves as a group recently fell on their sword in a similar style with four members exiting abruptly and only one moving on, perhaps a victim of the Curse of Chad.
13 August 2012
Chad Future ft. Jeremy Thurber – Hello
Chad Future’s first solo release debuts his cool glam-metal style logo and also sees him rocking more metal spikes than Kerry King, in a video apparently costing $100000. He’s a music video director by trade so he would have paid less that that as he owns some of the equipment that anyone else would have to hire, but the figure definitely seems legit enough given what’s on offer. For those doubters who dissed my music video production post, now you know what a $100000 video looks like – a few fairly spartan boxes and some people dancing. This was the song where he dropped the bomb on everyone that he was going to rock some eyeliner and sing a little bit in Korean here and there, and of course everyone freaked out and hated on him intensely for daring to be so openly Koreaboo, missing the point that the words and image weren’t the real problem with this. In 2012 k-pop was still doing well quality-wise with some quite unique productions so the fairly standard pop music here which isn’t awful but sounds just like any pop music anywhere didn’t have much chance of making any impact once the initial shock/novelty factor wore off. In relative terms however the k-pop media buzz worked in Chad’s favour and he squeezed about 410000 YouTube views from this one, that’s 1366 views per metal spike!
22 December 2012
Chad Future ft. Drew Ryan Scott – Unstoppable
By now probably realising the musical deficit, Chad Future amped up the sonic production for his next feature track in a song very obviously inspired by 2NE1, featuring a very similar chorus to some of their early hits. The result was nowhere near as good as 2NE1 back in the day, but as bad as it is it’s still a hell of a lot better than almost everything on 2NE1’s 2014 “Crush” album, for what it’s worth. Of course, as k-pop tends to follow western pop trends a couple years behind, Chad by consciously following k-pop trends by a similar time distance actually ends up even further behind again. Chad’s more obviously k-pop-inspired original music sits in an awkward position as a result – too far out-of-step to be trendy-cool but not far back enough to be retro-cool, like your Dad buying you an album of some crappy music that you liked four years ago that you’re well and truly over but now socially obliged to pretend to like so you don’t start a family fight and look like an ungrateful little shit. Nowhere is this more noticeable than in the comically large amounts of hard Autotune in the choruses of “Unstoppable” – almost nobody was still doing the “big sustained Autotune chorus” in late 2012. I guess now that he really is “Chad Past” it’s interesting to see in retrospect that the “Future” tag couldn’t have been more inaccurate.
8 August 2013
Chad Future – The Burbs
Apart from Chad rocking a Girls’ Generation shirt in the video, this is basically just a western rap song with no k-pop influences to be seen or heard – this song marks the start of a short “western period” in Chad’s output where the k-pop is pushed to the background. To his credit, Chad doesn’t reach for any kind of fake “street” pose – he’s honest about his middle-class suburban upbringing, so that’s nice and even kind of refreshing (“dudes act gangster but we know they’re fake, y’all/if they have guns it’s for hunting and paintball”) even if I’m sure he actually spends far more time in the studio than at his friend’s house parties. The beat is even actually pretty good as far as mid-paced slightly fairly-floss hip-hop lite goes, (a sound he would return to later with Nu’est’s Aaron in tow) and this plus the general lack of cross-cultural cringe means that it’s fairly listenable which in the Chad Future canon is definitely no small achievement.
7 February 2014
Chad Future – Used 2 Be ft. Drew Ryan Scott
Another reasonable-but-nothing-notable-about-it pop song with no Korean language or any trace of the usual k-pop style presentation visually or sonically other than it’s a pop song, the only thing that links this song to k-pop specifically is that he’s chasing after Asian girls in the music video, and of course the fact that it’s Chad Future, “American k-pop star”… oh wait, those things don’t really link it to k-pop either. Why am I even writing about this? Good question. Let’s move on.
3 March 2014
Chad Future – Lonely At The Top
This one is a bit of a lame duck and isn’t really k-pop either even by Chad Future standards, BUT it’s definitely notable because it’s one of those “nobody believed in me, damn I’ve got so many haters” type songs. Let’s not hate on Chad, people – he’ll just release more songs like this to punish us. Oh and there’s an amusing reference to “one million won” in the song when he’s talking about how much money he’s making, I’m not sure if he’s trying to sound rich and successful or poor and struggling but I’m thinking maybe he should have checked the exchange rate before he wrote that line:
Whatever his intention it made me feel pretty pleased with myself anyway, Chad Future’s success levels actually seem like a realistic dream now.
28 April 2014
Chad Future ft. Ravi (Vixx) – Rock The World
In his interview with my secret caonima squad, Chad Future at the time hinted at some upcoming collaborations with Korean pop artists that were just about to drop. Here was the first one, “Rock The World” with Ravi from Vixx, and I believe this was Chad’s most popular video ever. It’s definitely on the higher end of the quality scale for Chad because it actually does have a little bit of balls, but the typically light-speed Korean-style raps sound comical and it just sounds like a watered-down version of the sort of thing the more well-known Korean boy groups might do. I guess that was probably his intention here, so mission accomplished I guess, but the feeling of complete redundancy is palpable. I really want to know who sent my old car over to him though, when the cops pulled me over and defected it they didn’t say anything about it possibly ending up in a Chad Future video, I might’ve spent the extra money to get it back on the road if I knew.
30 June 2014
Chad Future ft. Aaron (Nu’est) – Got It Figured Out
By far the best song Chad Future ever got involved with, “Got It Figured Out” has a great latin-style hip-hop beat that really rocks, it’s just a shame that it’s Chad and Aaron rapping over the top of it and not Kid Frost or B-Real, or… well, anyone else, really. The lyrics here are really cringeworthy, especially “dope as ish” in the chorus, what the fuck. Somehow the word “ish” actually came about in urban slang because on “clean” mixes of 1980s and 1990s hip-hop records rather than beeping out the swear words with an intrusive-sounding sine-wave or removing them altogether and fucking with the song’s flow, the engineer would instead play the offending word in reverse, and “shit” in reverse sounds a little bit like “ish”. However that doesn’t mean that you don’t sound like a fucktard when you drop the word “ish” in a sentence in normal conversation, or even worse, on a rap song. Either swear or don’t swear, but don’t do this “swearing while not swearing” crap, it’s bullshit. We all know what you meant to say, so you might as well just say it.
29 August 2014
Chad Future ft. Jamie Seo – When U Call
Of course Chad Future’s “American k-pop” mission wouldn’t be complete if he didn’t have a stab at the generic shitty k-pop ballad, and this is a pretty spot-on attempt, by which I mean that it’s just as fucking terrible as the Korean stuff, but made even worse by the fact that Chad sings in English so I can’t just ignore what he is actually singing about. They’re going on dates but him giving her a backrub is some kind of no-go zone, huh? I guess it fits in with the whole weird “youth” vibe here, and if any of you were ever confused about my stanning of IU criticising the whole “forced to pretend I’m high school age to cater to pedos even though I’m 23” thing, perhaps it’ll click for you a bit more when you see Chad Future with Jamie here. School cosplay isn’t just for Gfriend and if you want to see a 27 year old American man in a high-school uniform pretending that he’s on his first date with an 18 year old Chad Future is sensitive to your special needs. If Chad was working in the Korean system and forced to do that shit all the time by a large controlling agency he’d feel like IU does about it eventually too.
7 March 2015
Chad Future – Where It’s At
Another dull song where the link to k-pop is nothing more than Chad chasing after some Asian girl in the video, so let’s just move on.
12 June 2015
Chad Future ft. Uji (BESTie) – So Good
People might think that I’m hating on Chad but it’s not the case at all, and I think that most guys who are following k-pop can at least understand where he’s coming from in terms of wanting to get involved in Korean pop, he certainly makes his intentions quite clear in the videos. This guy is going to be able to go to his grave saying that he got to be in a video with someone from BESTie, and you won’t, so just have a little think about that before you leave some lame hate comment on YouTube like the fuckhead you are. It’s obviously clear that we’re all just jealous, at least I can admit it. Of course this doesn’t take away from the song being shit, the lyrics being the usual cringe once again, etc etc. but at least you can play a fun drinking game here where you can take a shot every time you see Chad deliberately and very self-consciously not look at Uji’s body when he has the perfect opportunity. I wonder how many times he started perving at her tits and then had to reshoot the scene.
11 July 2015
Chad Future ft. Sungwoon (Hotshot) – Famous
This song begins like it’s going to be Chad’s first entry into the School of Yolo but then it takes a quick surprising turn into actual music. Maybe he’s saving the sweg for his upcoming project F.A.M.E but I certainly hope not and that he got it all out of his system in this song’s opening 13 seconds because nobody needs more of that. Chad’s obsession with fame is actually nearly as prevalent as his obsession with Asian girls, although how much if it is “yeah I really really want to be famous” vs “obsessing over fame is what my fans expect” vs “well, what the fuck else do I write about in the upbeat songs” I don’t know. Anyway for someone chasing fame it’s ironic that he’s working with someone from a C-list k-pop group creating a song that just sounds like any other k-pop nugu comeback, but then I guess the bigger artists probably charge higher premiums for appearance in a Chad Future video.
3 September 2015
Chad Future ft. Jamie Seo – Fit2gether
The last “American k-pop” song that Chad Future made before finally deciding to kick it all down the stairs, Chad reunites with Jamie Seo for another sickening k-pop ballad just like the ones that you know and hate from every other k-pop group ever, as if we needed any more of them. Chad really isn’t in his element at all when trying to deliver this kind of material, and I think the problem is that he hedges his bets too much and just plays everything too conservatively. I think he should have done “Rock The World” with Jamie smashing cars and having a tough 2NE1-style image. Then he could have done “Fit2gether” as a gentle love song with Ravi from Vixx, the Vixx and Chad Future fans could then ship them together and they could make money touching each others’ abs onstage like Siwon does with his Super Junior friends. Chad, get in touch if you want to talk marketing, or if you want to do another Kpopalypse interview!
That’s all from Kpopalypse for this post! Wishing Chad sincerely all the best for his new project! Kpopalypse will return soon with more posts!