K-pop stars Monsta X drop all-English album on Valentine’s Day
South Korean boy band Monsta X performs at Z100's iHeartRadio Jingle Ball at Madison Square Garden on Friday, Dec. 7, 2018, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
TORONTO -- K-pop stars Monsta X have dropped their first-ever all-English album entitled “All About Luv” on Valentine’s Day – a rarity in the Korean music industry.
The album features several heavy-hitters in the music scene, including collaborations with Will. I. Am., Pitbull, French Montana and more.
Since its release Friday, “All About Luv” has been climbing the charts in several countries, as the group begins a string of promotional events in Los Angeles and New York through Feb. 20.
Monsta X is one of the most internationally successful acts to come from South Korea’s entertainment industry, signing with Epic Records in 2019 -- the same year that saw their album “Take.2 We Are Here” peak at number five on the Billboard World Albums chart.
Monsta X had a jam-packed 2019, performing with the renowned Jingle Ball concert series over the holidays and appearing on Jimmy Kimmel, Good Morning Britain and The Ellen Show. The group also performed at a private Chanel event in New York City.
The group will embark on its latest world tour this summer, which has more than 16 North American stops alone, including stops in Vancouver and Toronto.
Promotions leading up to the release of the “All About Luv” album had more than just the promise of new music from the group – but also an emotional reunion with a voice fans have been missing since last fall.
'MONSTA X IS 7'
On October 31, 2019, fans were left devastated after vocalist Wonho, whose real name is Lee Hoseok, departed Monsta X over a “scandal” involving alleged wrongdoings that occurred prior to the group’s debut in 2015.
None of the allegations has been proven in court, and no formal charges have been laid.
Monsta X’s management company Starship Entertainment has not responded to repeated requests for comment.
International manager for Monsta X Eshy Gazit of artist-management group Maverick did not respond to requests for interview in time for publication.
Fans of Monsta X – known collectively as “Monbebe” or “my baby” in French – harnessed the power of social media to protest Wonho’s departure from the group over the allegations and to campaign for change in how the South Korean entertainment industry treats its performers.
K-pop groups have notoriously gruelling schedules and often have clauses written into their contracts that grant management companies almost complete control over their appearance, personal life and activities – something that fans say needs to change for the sake of the performers’ mental health and wellbeing.
Monbebe has strategically used 12-hour rotating hashtag campaigns on Twitter to keep their petitions in the public eye and to show support for Wonho and Monsta X – a feat that lands them in Twitter’s worldwide trending page repeatedly.
Since Jan. 28, fans have flooded Twitter with the hashtag #MonbebeAreStillHere, to show they’re unwilling to give up their fight for Wonho’s reinstatement, and on Feb. 2 they launched the #Wonpocalypse, a humourous and touching tribute to Wonho, where users all chose the same selfie as their profile picture, trended #Wonpocalypse to number one on Twitter’s worldwide trends page and shared things that the singer had said or done that had an impact on them.
On Feb. 8, fans’ protests hit the 100-day mark – and to honour the occasion Monbebe purposefully held a “streaming campaign” where they sent “From Zero” a song that was composed, written and arranged by Wonho to top spots in K-pop charts around the world.
The fans have also been expressing concern over rapper Joohoney’s health after he has been on an extended rest period due to “symptoms of anxiety”, according to a translated statement from management company Starship Entertainment.
MORE THAN JUST A BAND
Like most K-pop acts, Monsta X enjoys a close, fervent relationship with their fans that is highly cultivated on personal engagement and access to the members – but Monbebe are quick to express that the bond they feel with the group is deeper than solely enjoying their music.
In a series of messages to CTVNews.ca, 46-year-old Lorie Tucker of Colorado explained that Monsta X “literally saved her life” from deep depression.
“The music made me see myself as a real person again, and not just something disposable in this age of youth and beauty…they gave me the chance to get closer to my grown daughters,” she wrote.
“I know this may sound a little too sentimental, but I truly love Monsta X with my whole heart, and their positive impact on my life (and many more!) is beyond words,” another fan responded on Twitter.
A fan on Twitter pointed out the group has “openly and bravely” tackled issues that may be “taboo” in the more socially-conservative South Korean society, including LGBTQ rights, and constantly “send the message that it’s OK to be who you are instead of fitting other people’s expectations.”
It is a sentiment repeatedly echoed by fans to CTVNews.ca and on countless testimonies on social media – Monsta X and their fans see themselves as family, the group has helped many with anxiety, depression and coming to terms with gender and sexual identity.
"I found my forever home with my Monbebe friends," U.S. fan Kaylyn Kaster wrote in a message to CTVNews.ca. "The boys are my home."