A Tribute – Top Combine: The First Famous Male Idol Group in the Mainland C-pop Scene

I don’t why, but I just want to be a crazy fangirl these days.  I have listened to a lot of k-pop music, but for some reasons I have never felt the urge to write anything about it.  Listening to c-pop again, I have more appreciation for the c-pop entertainment scene all of a sudden.  Okay, let’s move on with the topic of the day: Top Combine (TC).  This is a c-pop male idol group debuted in 2007.

Top Combine - Jin Ensheng (Kim Eunsung), Liu Zhoucheng, Ma Xueyang, Zhang Yuan

Top Combine – Jin Ensheng (Kim Eunsung – Yes, he is Korean), Liu Zhoucheng, Ma Xueyang, Zhang Yuan (from left to right)

They started out with five members, but the fifth member, Li Mao wanted to pursue his acting career, so he dropped out.  Again, unlike the South Korean entertainment bs, the rest of the group were very supportive of each other’s decision.  In fact, they even keep in touch and promote each other’s work whenever they can.  I think this behaviour among the c-pop idol groups has to do with this common Chinese saying, “one would rather bully the elderly than to bully the youngster”.  What this means is that because the elderly already has one foot down his grave, so his destiny is pretty much set and thus, probably has not much to offer to the others any more.  Anyone can see his future clearly.  However, the youngster still has a whole future ahead of him.  One can never predict what will become of that youngster, for he might even be the boss of those who looked down on him prior to his success.  Okay sure, the connection here is quite remote, but I see the South Korean entertainment industry doing the opposite, time and time again, and this is definitely not an extremely wise move (ie. fans backslash).

Li Mao is the first from the left. He used to be the lead dancer and rapper of the group.

Li Mao is the first from the left. He used to be the lead dancer and rapper of the group. Their debut picture. 7…approaching 8 years now, and the group is still going strong and their music is getting better and better each year.

This group is noted for their talent, especially with Ma Yueyang composing quite a few of the group’s songs.  If I recall correctly, I believe there is one album in which Ma Yueyang composed more than half of the music.  Also, it is actually quite funny that their music became more mature with a sense of humour once Li Mao stepped out the door.  After their lead dancer/rapper’s departure, I see a lot more freedom with their style of music and the style is definitely not bad at all by any means.  They are no longer just one of those many idol male groups out there that dances like robots.  They have managed to define themselves as unique without that G-Dragon’s monkey-like try-hardness and without any crazy sasaeng fans stalking their every move.  They have further managed to shed away that K-pop copycat image which they unfortunately suffered from at the beginning of their career.  That doesn’t mean they’re not popular though.  It’s just that the style they have now would only attract sincere and rational fans who appreciate good music.

TC’s latest music that shows their maturity and humour.  I personally find this fun music addictive.  It is so addictive, that even Lay and Xiumin of EXO-M is learning the dance here:

This following song is the one that got me hooked to the group in the first place, composed by Ma Xueyang.  It’s the song that they are remembered by, fortunately, and not that shitty debut song that resembles so much like k-pop.  It’s so shitty that I’m not even gonna post it here.

This is the song after Li Mao left.  It spoke of their thankful sentiment that the group didn’t disband after Li Mao’s departure.

The song is just to assure their fans that they are still here and not thinking about disbanding.  It’s quite a touching song, especially love the chorus.

This is one of the songs featured in Li Mao’s debut drama series, follows after his departure.  Seriously, K-pop industry, why can’t you be this nice?!

Okay, some throw back music:

1) Another song composed by the group’s talented violinist, Ma Yueyang.  It’s his memory tribute to his high school crush who became ill and couldn’t attend school.  During all that time, he didn’t have courage to confess and so he was left staring blankly towards the sky wondering if she was looking at the starry sky like he was every night.  A puppy-love kind of romance.

2) This is their comeback song after their debut.  Thank goodness, there is more C-pop-ness to it this time.

3) Weird, with Li Mao still with them, TC’s song tends to have a J-pop or K-pop feel to it.  Maybe because he likes dance music??  And also, so he can show his rapping skills??

4) Another cheesy song composed by the one and only Ma Yueyang.  It’s not that cheesy is bad since it still sells (at least to me).

5) Composed by Ma Yueyang yet again.  This time is for the TC fans.

6) This is composed by….FINALLY, it’s not Ma Yueyang, but by the only Korean member in the group – Jin Ensheng (Kim Eunsung).

7) This is composed by the pretty boy, Liu Zhoucheng.  To be honest, I’m meh with this song…though those heard this cried (because of the lyrics…not sure about the melody).  I’m having trouble liking the melody of this one.

Through their music and demeanour, one can safely say they’re not freakin’ robots like most factory produced K-pop group (sorry that this is turning into a rant).  Even from variety shows, their personalities are consistent from beginning to the end, unlike some K-pop idols that leave me wondering why they act drastically different from one time to the next.  I mean people changes, but their core should still be the same (unless they hit their head or something).  I can see that with Top Combine.  It’s also nice that their company is allowing them to be just themselves so they don’t have a “set” image and ends up lying to their fans in the end.  One can almost safely assume that there is zero falseness in the way they carry themselves.  With that said, unfortunately Jin Ensheng (Kim Eunsung) is scheduled to be enlisted into the army this upcoming year (2015).  Hopefully, there will be a grand comeback after Jin Ensheng returns!

Oh…and this is my favourite morning exercise:

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2 thoughts on “A Tribute – Top Combine: The First Famous Male Idol Group in the Mainland C-pop Scene

  1. Nice article! I love Top Combine (one of my fav mandopop groups), but I haven’t been keeping up with them for awhile. Good to see they’re still together! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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