Label: Woolim Entertainment (Epik High, Nell)
Genres: Pop, R&B, Dance
Fanclub: Inspirit (Official Fan Cafe: 46, 978 members as of posting)

How I Discovered Infinite:

In early 2010, it was announced that Woolim Entertainment, better known as Epik High’s label then, was going to debut a guy group that was personally trained by Epik High. Epik High, having the respect of most fans of Korean music, fueled many expectations for this new guy group.

How I Took an Interest in Infinite:

While I barely took an interest in any new groups at the time of Infinite’s debut in June 2010, Infinite managed to catch my attention with the visual aspect of their performances. While their debut track “Come Back Again” was very catchy, I initially found it annoying due to the fact that the phrase “돌아와/dol-a-wa” was repeated throughout the song nearly fifty times. Somehow, I came to watch a performance (or two — or three) and became captivated by the dance; while virtually all mainstream K-Pop groups incorporate some kind of dance in their performances, Come Back Again‘s dance stood out because it really seemed to fit the overall song and concept and also looked really cool when performed by so many people. However, the real brilliance of the performance lies with the mesmerizing effect of guitar strumming portion of the dance; that mere part of the dance led me to take an liking Infinite and Come Back Again.

How I Came to Like Infinite:

After Come Back Again, I kept a lookout for Infinite, listening to each successive album and watching each music video shortly after its release. However, one aspect of Infinite’s title tracks that continued to annoy me was the amount of repetition of the same phrase throughout each song. Thus, I barely watched any Infinite performances after Come Back Again, until Be Mine was released. As I expected, none of their songs were extremely good, but quite a few of them grew on me. These songs continued to grow on me, and I decided that if I thoroughly enjoyed Infinite’s “Over the Top” album, I would become a fan (as in start to watch more performances and learn the members’ names). Although I was a bit disappointed after listening to Infinite’s “Over the Top” album for the first time, I gave it another listen and most of the songs started grow on me.

How I Came to Love Infinite:

My definition of “loving” a group is:

1. watching at least 2-3 of their performances per round of promotions

2. feeling compelled to read 75% of news articles that I see on them

3. following (at least) my biased members of the group on twitter

4. wanting to own some kind of merchandise pertaining to the group

5. knowing each member’s name and general role in the group

Of course, these aren’t concrete “guidelines” that I follow in determining whether or not I love a group; the points listed above are just the gist of things I would do if I loved a group. As of right now, my affection towards Infinite isn’t to the extent of love, only like, so this section remains empty.

Infinite’s Pros:

-One could say that Infinite is a disappointment because they don’t possess the overflowing amount of talent that Epik High does; one could say the opposite: that Infinite is brilliant because they created their own distinct flavor and style instead of “copying” Epik High.

-The quality of Infinite’s recorded songs are top-notch (as songs should be).

-In the matter of a little more than a year, Infinite has built its reputation of being a talented and well-rounded group.

-Infinite is not lacking in terms of visual performance (dancing and overall appearance).

-Infinite has the ability to captivate the audience with a performance because of their strong stage presence, created primarily with their dance (Come Back Again, BTD, Be Mine, Paradise).

-Infinite has not encountered any legal controversies yet.

Infinite’s Cons:

-Infinite has a very obvious unequal distribution of song lines. (Infinite fell under controversy with Come Back Again because Sungjong, Sungyeol, and L only had 1, 3, and 4 seconds of solo singing, respectively, while leader Sungkyu had 29 seconds.)

-Members Sungjong and Sungyeol seem to lack talent when put against other members of the group (both have very short parts in performances meaning one of two things: they lack talent, or the company doesn’t showcase their talent).

-Main vocalists Woohyun and Sungkyu (and sometimes L) noticeably dominate the performance in terms of singing.

-Infinite’s live performances sometimes pale in comparison to their recorded versions of songs.

Closing Thoughts:

The fact that Infinite debuted only in 2010 (making them rookies) still boggles my mind because Infinite seems to have the talent and professionalism of more veteran groups. Unfortunately, this misconception of mine is also probably due to their frequent comeback cycles that in turn result in less time to improve or brush up on skills and rest (little rest in turn leads to angry idols).

Infinite is still lacking in many ways, but I believe that Infinite’s shortcomings can be used to their advantage if Woolim Entertainment allows the boys to take a hiatus and train for a longer period instead of making frequent comebacks. If this is done, more of Infinite’s potential talents (Sungyeol and Sungjong) can be showcased and appreciated.

If you haven’t checked Infinite out already, some of my recommended songs by Infinite are Nothing’s Over, Can U Smile, Tic Toc, Be Mine (Remix), and Because (Sungkyu solo).