Singing Group God Builds Its Image And Popularity on Its OrdinarinessMusic critics and the public would certainly agree that god, a leading song and dance group, has a touch of heaven about it.
The group's third platinum album, containing the recent hit "Lies," has sold 1.5 million copies since its release in late November.
"We have had a rush of orders and sales have been topping around 50,000 a day," says Park Pil-won, manager of the promotion company Sidus.
Many agree that there are several clear reasons for the group's popularity.
Critic Seo Byung-gi says: "They seem to know that deep inside we long for basic needs like love, peace and wisdom more than materialistic things. They are like spokesmen or messengers who convey these ideas in a radical way."
Another reason is that the songs usually touch on natural emotions and the human condition. "Lies," a ballad about the separation of lovers, has been a big hit because its lyrics speak to the heart. The song also has a catchy melody and beautiful harmony.
Because so many people can identify with the themes, god has attracted a wide fan base, ranging from elementary school children to middle-aged people.
A Munwha Broadcasting Corporation producer, Park Hyun-ho, points out that each member of the group has a clear-cut individual personality and that all are easygoing and approachable.
"So it is very easy to make a program with them," he says.
Many people say they are most attracted to the group because its members are natural and sincere.
Mr. Seo says: "Their songs are not so different from those of other singers in the sense that the music is about family, humanity and love. They are rather ordinary. They are not as flashy as, say, their rival group H.O.T. But it is exactly these ordinary qualities that attract people the most."
The group comprises bachelors Yoon gye-sang (21, vocal), An Shin-won (21, vocal), Son Ho-young (20, vocal), Kim Tae-woo (20, lead vocal) and Park Joon-hyung (26, leader).
Although some members were born or raised in the United States, the group is a far cry from the mainstream youth culture of partying, drinking, smoking and casual sex.
"In many respects, we are becoming more like Joon-hyung," says Kim Tae-woo. "He doesn't like the Korean-style drinking culture at all, so we don't go to nightclubs or gay spots. Instead, we enjoy talking and doing things together. Sometimes we have a small party at home."
The group is appearing on seven programs, including MBC TV's "The Diary of Rearing Infants" and several radio shows. Despite its success, the group is determined not to rest on its laurels, but to work harder to set a positive example.
by Kim Jae-seon