Time sure flies, doesn’t it? Depending on your time zone, today The Bias List officially turns five years old. That’s half a decade of debuts, disbandments and so, so, so many comebacks.
Over the course of these five years, I’ve watched the industry’s unprecedented international expansion, spearheading by BTS’s rise to global fame. I’ve experienced the second and third generation of K-pop slowly give way to new voices. I’ve covered the debuts of industry mainstays like NCT, BLACKPINK, Astro, Momoland and Pentagon. Agencies have collapsed and built back up again, as the “big three” transformed into the “big four.” Musical trends have come and gone, from innocent pop to tropical house to future bass to trap to retro.
And for nearly everything, there has been a countdown. What can I say? I love a good countdown!
The Bias List’s exact launch date is a bit nebulous, as I frontloaded the site with a bunch of entries from my old blog so that there would be a library of content from the start. But for the purpose of celebrating milestones, I’m going to call December 28th, 2015 the official birth of the Bias List. That was the day I posted my first original entry – a review of the long-awaited comeback from K-pop legends Turbo, of all things. And apart from January 10th-11th of 2016, I’ve posted content every single day since. And, I have a good excuse for that two-day lull. I was experiencing my ultimate bias group Infinite’s Infinite Effect tour front row in LA – a K-pop memory I still hold as one of my dearest.
Back then, I was astonished that anyone would read my reviews. And getting a comment – positive or otherwise – was a rare treat. The Bias List languished on the far fringes of Google’s search results. Early on, my biggest goal was to become the first result when Google users searched for “K-pop reviews.” At the time, it seemed like an overly ambitious thing to wish for, but it happened later that year and, as far as I know, the results haven’t changed since.
I’ve never claimed to be an expert on anything, but I am passionate about the subjects I’m interested in. And, I tend to be the type that longs to know everything they can about a given topic. So, while I may not be some musical virtuoso, and most certainly use crude or broad terms in place of technical language, I do my best to retain a fairly wide knowledge of the K-pop idol industry – both past and present. Context has always played a big part in my writing, and is one of the benefits of the quick, real-time approach that blogging offers. Not all of my opinions have held through the years, but they’re always authentic in the moment.
As The Bias List’s readership has grown, interactions between readers have also began to flourish. This has been one of the most rewarding things for me to experience. This sense of community is something I never could have imagined back in December of 2015, and I hope that I can continue to provide a place for thoughtful, respectful (and yes, passionate) discussion about this music we all love. Thank you all for your participation and for sticking with me over the years – whether you agree with my opinions or not.
I suppose it’s natural to slow down after five years of tackling something as time-consuming as a daily blog. But strangely enough, the opposite has been true for The Bias List. Barring a brief dip in 2018, the annual number of posts (and accompanying word count) has increased year-to-year. 2020 has been especially prolific, with a total of 827 individual posts so far (blame it on the pandemic, I guess…). This expansion has also spun out of new focuses and interests, and this will be spotlighted tomorrow. For the first time ever, I’m counting down my top 50 J-pop songs of the year. The countdown will be revealed in three separate posts throughout the day.
Japanese music may seem like an odd way to follow up a K-pop blog’s milestone. Rest assured, The Bias List isn’t transforming into a J-pop site anytime soon. I plan to keep chugging along like I have for the past five years. Still, even if you don’t think of yourself as a J-pop fan, I’d encourage you to take a look at the countdown tomorrow. In my humble opinion, it’s actually stronger than its K-pop counterpart this year, and there are plenty of treasures to discover. I hope you’ll find something you love.
After all, that’s why we’re all here, right? We love music, we love talking about it, and we love sharing it with others.