For a lot of people, music is not only a source of enjoyment for them, but it's also an outlet for them to take care of their mental health. Whether it's jazz, alternative rock, or K-pop, people use their admiration for music for different reasons and that's totally okay. If you know me, you know I literally listen to everything (yes, that includes country music). Music grants me peace that no other form of entertainment has ever been able to provide me. It's as enjoyable for me as it is liberating. In this case, I want to write about K-pop content that can offer that sense of warmth, comfort, and joy, especially during a time when everyone is quarantined and need positive things to watch, with the focus being on NCT 127's HIT THE STATES series and VAV's VCAM.
I can't even begin to describe how relaxing it is to watch your favourite artists just do regular things outside of being a celebrity. Seeing them get their hair and makeup done backstage is cool and all, but you know what's better than that? Seeing them have fun OUTSIDE of their professional work and do things that the average young adult would do (or like to do).
In my particular case, I was having a difficult time after my mother suddenly passed in October 2019 and while I was trying to get through my final semester of University, finish my Special Projects course to help coordinate a major Film Festival, and prevent my mental health from hitting the woah straight into hell, I would be binge watching YouTube videos to help de-stress.
To start off, I am so unbelievably thankful for NCT 127's HIT THE STATES series during such a turbulent time in my life. Not only did it help me further appreciate NCT, but it also allowed me to get a better understanding of their personalities. It was just so wholesome to watch. Watching them explore different cities, visit different tourist attractions, try the local foods, and interact with the city locals was such a fun form of escapism. NCT 127's HIT THE STATES series showed how authentic NCT are outside of their idol persona and it really helped humanize them and allow them to seem even more like the average person. You know how many times I've seen Jungwoo and Doyoung visit the Aquarium in Atlanta?
If THAT'S not the most peaceful video I've ever seen, I don't know what is. Seeing them get excited over the animals, interact with the children visiting the aquarium, take pictures, bang their heads on the roofs of the dome thingies, and then end the night eating Soul Food, harmonizing like Boyz II Men on a Ferris Wheel, and exploring Atlanta at night? THAT is a classic.
We already know that idols are just like everyone else, except they're in the limelight more. There is even more pressure on them to be flawless, however because of this barrier that deters them from showing more of their true selves, this makes it more difficult to connect with and relate to them. I'm so glad that NCT helped break down that barrier for themselves and showed us more of what excites them, what foods they liked, what places they would recommend to interested travellers, and more.
When I saw NCT order something from Tim Hortons, I've never felt more proud to be Canadian. I was like, "PERIOD!! THAT IS AN ICE CAPPUCCINO. OH CANADA, OUR HOME AND NATIVE LAND 🇨🇦🍁."
Or, when they were just running around like carefree children trying to catch one another and take in the clean, crisp air and scenic views of Vancouver. Or, seeing Jaehyun and Taeil explore the 6ix on their own in the Distillery District.
This is the type of wholesome content we like to see!! I like seeing idols have the chance to go out and explore the cities they travel in. I'm sure it may be more work if they have to carry a camera around with them all of the time, but if I could choose between content like this over backstage videos and album unboxing videos, I would take this kind of content in a heartbeat!!!
After watching NCT Daily's videos past the point of memorization, I started watching VAV's VCAM and it brought me the SAME positive reaction. VAV's VCAMs are a mix between backstage clips before and after their concerts across the world and then also them exploring the cities and countries they toured in. Watching Lou and Ayno have a heart to heart in their hotel room in Europe before stomping on each other's backs..
OR Baron and Ace's skincare routine video that they shared with us in Europe...
OR Jacob ordering 14 different types of chips for their Hangang picnic and stressing Lou out..
AND St.Van and Ziu constantly reminding me of Tom & Jerry no matter where in the world they are.
I'm still not done watching VAV's VCAM, but I'm also not in a rush (especially since I don't have anywhere to go right now anyways). I could rewatch VAV acting a fool in Europe or experiment with staple foods in Japan over and over again and I won't get tired.
Outside of VAV's VCAM, I actually enjoy watching their V Lives. I usually don't watch V Lives for the other groups and soloists I follow because... sis... my Korean proficiency is still elementary so I can't keep up. BUT, despite not fully understanding what VAV are saying, I like the kind of content they put out on the channel. If St. Van is not cooking up a new recipe for us to take note of, Lou or Baron are doing arts & crafts, or Ayno is showing us some of his favourite songs and freestyle dancing to it, or Ace is playing the guitar, or Baron is reading books in the most relaxing voice, or Ziu is playing with Cash and interacting with fans. Jacob may not be as present on V Live, but he could be live on Weibo for literally 8 WHOLE HOURS straight.
More than anything, I appreciate these kinds of videos geared towards their fans. I'm not sure if all of the other 50+ groups I stan have videos like this, but it's something to look out for and be excited about. I look forward to things like this more than I do the content that feels more scripted and less authentic. The world is in turmoil, we are nearing a global recession, and the entertainment industry is in tatters. At THIS point, people just want to vibe. They are looking for things that will bring them genuine joy and take their minds off of the ways of the world. I'm sure I'm not the only one who enjoys video content like this and I know NOW more than ever, people are looking to escape with something positive and what a better way to do that (for free) than to watch Mark Lee sing Miami by Will Smith to random Miami locals or Lou, Ziu, and St.Van have a snowball fight.