Released in 2008, the Korean version of Nobody was a huge hit and the video itself was one of the top viewed K-Pop videos, (before SNSD’s Gee came along).
Then in 2009, the English version of Nobody was released in the United States which then led to the Wonder Girls being the first K-Pop group to enter the Billboard charts! They entered at number 76. The Wonder Girls then did several promotions for their American debut which included performances on US TV, opening up for the Jonas Brothers concert, making a single with Akon and having a Nickolodeon TV show to themselves, but despite all of this, the girls didn’t have as much success as they had hoped for in the US. The timing was wrong, and K-Pop wasn’t as well established as it is today, which therefore meant that the American public weren’t ready for something so different. Had this have happened a few years on, they might have even been as popular as PSY!
As for the song itself, JYP has tried to take 5 girls who don’t speak English and debut them in the US. Their accents are so strong in Nobody to the point where it’s difficult to understand what they’re saying. Due to their unfamiliarity to English, I’m also getting the feeling that they were more focused on pronounciation in the song rather than focusing on singing. Their voices sound notably weaker in the English version, and so I strongly prefer the Korean version. Nobody is incredibly catchy as well as easy to sing and dance along to. This was one of the songs that got me into K-Pop so I shouldn’t be so harsh on it. I can’t have been the only one who joinedthe Hallyu wave because of this, and K-Pop might not have even come this far if it wasn’t for US debut attempts such as this one.
The music video on the other hand was a unique one. The story line was entertaining and funny, but I can’t help feeling that JYP wanted to hinder off the success that the Wonder Girls were expected to get in the US. Although they didn’t do as well as they had expected, JYP did manage to gain the title “The Asiansoul”. The video is about a male singer performing a new song, before performance he takes a quick bathroom break to find out that there’s no toilet roll left. He is stuck in the toilet and misses his cue, so his backup singers (the Wonder Girls) have to step in and perform the song themselves. It is a bit too long especially as the main objective is to attract the American audience with their music. By typing in “Wonder Girls – Nobody” in YouTube and seeing a video of a middle aged man dancing around, it put me off. But as the video went on, I started to enjoy it.
What did you think of the song? Let us know in the comments, and if you haven’t heard it yet, check it out below!