Originally formed in 2008 under the moniker of OneDay, the brainchild of Park Jin Young, this eleven piece group split into two sub-units following its initial exposure on the documentary Hot Blood Men. This division gave birth to the ballad group 2AM and the distinctly acrobatic and virile Beastly Idols known as 2PM, which consists of Jun.K, Nickhun, Taecyeon, Wooyoung, Junho and Chansung.
Born in Daegu, Jun.K is something of a stunning force of creativity both onstage for 2PM and behind the scenes, having written such hits as ‘Go Crazy!’, ‘Hot’ and ‘Falling In Love’ amongst countless other songs for various artists. Adding to this, he has been able to balance a solo career, a stint in musicals such as The Three Musketeers and Jack the Ripper and, he can also lay claim to being an award-winning poet. An avid fan of Stevie Wonder, he enjoys sushi and apparently dislikes being referred to by the other members as the smelliest member of 2PM (But he can luckily blame any sweat on his unparalleled work ethic that only comes from a person who is best friends with the equally driven, one-man industry G-Dragon).
Born in California, Nickhun, or the Thai Prince spent his childhood moving back and forth between the US and Thailand before settling in Korea during 2006. He is noted for his piano playing, acrobatics and ability to write with both hands, while also able to speak in English, Korean and Thai. Having won the heart of a nation on We Got Married with f(x)’s Victoria Song, he has reached immense popularity as a dancer, a television personality and actor.
The only thing Taecyeon cannot do is date Nickhun’s sister, on any accounts. What he can do however is everything else! Born in Busan, before moving to Massachusetts, he is a man of the world, being able to speak English, Korean (including its satoori dialect), Japanese and Spanish. On top of this, he has taken the lead role in such dramas as Cinderella’s Sister, Wonderful Days and Dream High, while also making his film debut in 2013 with Marriage Blue. Known as the fashion terrorist of the group, he has gained much praise for his distinct image, but has the brains to add to this too, seeing as he has composed quite a few songs in his spare time.
In spite of his 2PM brothers worrying about his lack of a girlfriend, Wooyoung is the type who can use this to his advantage, considering that managed to get an album out of that fact with ‘23, Male, Single’, which earned him various nominations and awards as a solo artist. With a passion for sleeping on the floor and being incredibly devoted to those around him, Wooyoung is the type of person who just makes it very easy for his fans to love him.
Coming from Ilsan, Junho is not only an important member of the band, but also ferociously dedicated to working as an activist for numerous charity organisations. He is an able drummer, guitarist, beatboxer and songwriter, with a significant number of songs to his credit and loves cats with all his heart. The only thing he will never do is accept that he is younger than Wooyoung.
The maknae of the group, Chansung hails from Seoul. Beginning his career as a television actor, he had already quite a large following to his name prior to joining 2PM. As the group’s most athletic member, he is an accomplished student in the arts of both Taekwondo and Kumdo. This has in turn helped him to expand and diversify his work by setting up his own fitness centre. Hopelessly devoted to his cat, Jeonggam, the two have won the hearts of many a person the world over.
2PM, were a seven piece outfit originally, who debuted in September 2008 with ’10 Out of 10’, which showcased an unprecedented style for the male side of K-Pop and led to their rapid shooting up in the Korean charts from day one.
Following up this success, the group, at the time led by Jay Park, released their second single ‘Only You’ a month later in promotion for their debut mini album Hottest Time of the Day, before capitalising on its immense popularity by releasing a second mini album, 2:00PM Time for Change in April of 2009. This momentum hardly let up as they proceeded to scoop up several awards during the year.
However, this fame brought controversy as the press circulated a series of stories regarding comments made by a homesick and younger Jay Park, dating back to 2005. It was undoubtedly to cause a degree of tension, yet the group persevered to the best of their abilities and reached number one in the Gaon charts with 1:59PM, their first full-length album that August.
This earned them both the M.Net Male Group and Artists of the Year, which would signify the last hurrah of the original group, as Jay Park sadly parted ways with 2PM early in 2010.
Of course, setbacks are inevitable in any line of work, so when faced with a difficult situation, the group chose not to retreat into the background, but rather to push forward with more determination than ever. Making a difficult choice, the group decided to continue as a leaderless six-piece band, with their efforts paying off as the comeback could only read one thing: resilient brothers in arms.
They reached record heights with the mini album Don’t Stop Can’t Stop, whose lead single Without U shot to number one in six of the national music charts. This paved the way for their first headline concerts in Seoul, a plethora of American tour dates and the release of their World Cup song ‘What’s Your Celebration?’
By the end of their hectic summer, 2010 had proven to be their most courageous and ambitious year to date. It was not a miracle. It was hard work and dedication, which did not let up at all, because their second full-length album, 2011’s Hands Up did one up on Without U’s triumph by taking the nation by storm with an “all kill” in the charts. This had a positive knock on effect overseas, as it assisted in giving them a major break on the Japanese circuit with a string of shows to promote the acclaimed album, before deciding to record Republic of 2PM, their first Japanese release.
After a year away from the stage, 2013 was when the group returned with the long anticipated album, Grown. This enthusiasm that the band has created says a lot about the effect of 2PM, considering when, after producing eight albums in five years, they took a year off only for it to be deemed a lifetime out of the spotlight. Anywhere else in the world, if a band releases an album and takes a two-year break, before recording a follow-up, they become known as the hardest working band on the planet. Can you imagine what 2PM would be called? They would be called either ‘superhuman’, or ‘madmen’.
And those two nouns are precisely what makes their latest album Go Crazy a stunning comeback that oozes with creativity and high spirits. It has captured the essence of 2PM, which is their sheer energy as they constantly push their talents to the next level, while remaining slightly unpredictable in the best of ways. They have faced their share of challenges, but they have used these as both an education and incentive for moving onwards and upwards.
Some people call them beasts, others call them 2AM (Blame the 24 hour clock), most people call them 2PM, their parents call them on weekends, but as far as I am concerned, they are an unshakeable group of brothers who continue to give justification to the hype and adoration that comes their way.
Besides being a collection of generally gifted artists, it must not be ignored that the members of 2PM, both past and present are fine role models who will not give up if something does not go their way. It has been a difficult journey at times, but the music that they continue to release lays testament to their resilient drive and love for their fans. I include Jay Park in that matter, because he is without question a vital piece to the story of how 2PM came to be a force of excellence today and thankfully, he too has been able to start up again as a successful solo artist.
2PM is more than just a good band, they are shining examples of when something does not go your way, that giving up does not need to be an option and for this they deserve our admiration.
Michael Lanigan – October 2014