Super Junior-Trot (Korean: 슈퍼주니어-트로트), officially known as Super Junior-T (Korean: 슈퍼주니어-티) is the second official sub-unit of Korean boy band Super Junior. They are the first idol group known for capitalizing trot music, the oldest form of Korean pop music. Super Junior-T contains six Super Junior members, Leeteuk (the leader), Heechul, Kang-in, Shindong, Sungmin, and Eunhyuk.
Super Junior-T has released only one single in the short span of their career before they were announced to be on hiatus in 2008. The single “Rokuko” was Korea’s sixteenth best-selling record and the number one best-selling single of 2007, according to the Music Industry Association of Korea. In November 2008, the subgroup returned with a debut in the Japanese music industry, releasing the Japanese version of “Rokuko.”
Noticing the dying trend of trot music, Lee Soo Man decided to revive the style by producing an idol band that capitalizes this genre. Three months before Super Junior-T’s official debut, they performed “Don’t Go Away” at the M.NET/KM Music Festival on November 25, 2006 with Super Junior’s Donghae.
2007: Commercial success
In early February, SM Entertainment made the official announcement of a second Super Junior subgroup, Super Junior-T. The group released their debut single “Rokuko” on February 23, 2007 and on February 25, 2007, they officially debuted on SBS’s Popular Songs, performing “Rokuko” and “First Express” with famous trot singer Bang Shilyi. The debut was also marked as Heechul’s comeback performance after his injury from a car accident that occurred in August 2006.
“Rokuko” topped music charts three days after release. Two months later, the single topped Thailand-based music stations and remained in the same position for several weeks. By the end of 2007, the single sold almost 46,000 copies and was Korea’s best-selling single of the year.
Two months later, Leeteuk, Shindong, and Eunhyuk were injured in a car accident, and all of Super Junior-T’s schedules were completely canceled for two months. However, pre-recorded performances, such as the group’s parody Palace T, continued to air on television and their single continued to top music charts. Schedules resumed in June, but only lasted a month.
2008: Performance tours and Japan
On April 29, 2008, it was announced that Super Junior-T would make a comeback later in the year with their second single. However, a fourth Super Junior sub-unit, Super Junior-Happy, debuted instead, putting Super Junior-T in partial hiatus. Nonetheless, Super Junior-T remained partially active throughout the year as they still appear as a group in Super Junior’s concert tour, Super Show and other similar functions. Despite the debut of Super Junior-Happy, a future full-length album is still in the works and is expected to arrive in the future. Super Junior-T’s latest appearance before the debut of Super Junior-Happy was on May 17, 2008, performing as the opening act at the 6th Korean Music Festival in Los Angeles, California.
On November 5, 2008, Super Junior-T re-released “Rokuko”, now titled “ROCK&GO,” in Japan. Presenting this project to the Japanese comedy duo Moeyan, who are skilled in combining comedy with song and dance, Super Junior-T hopes that the duo will help them localize the single into Japanese. The collaboration was the duo’s official debut as singers and Super Junior-T’s entrance in the Japanese market. The single debuted at #19 on the Oricon Daily Charts and jumped to #2 three days later. Super Junior-T and Moeyan held two mini concerts on the same release date as the single in the C.C. Lemon Hall at Tokyo to promote the record.
Super Junior-T’s music style is a distinctive style of trot, an old-fashioned style of Korean pop music. Their revised style of the genre includes modernized K-pop melodies and also fast rap, notably performed by Shindong, Eunhyuk, and sometimes Heechul. Super Junior-T’s goal is to evade the fading genre in Korea’s current music industry and to introduce the young audience to a traditional style of music, hoping to increase awareness of older trot musicians and bring hopeful comebacks of trot to mainstream music. Emergence of Super Junior-T is also due to a strategy that Super Junior has been using, which is to show that they can accommodate many different musical genres.
Super Junior-T is well-known for their parodies, such as the short miniseries Palace T, a parody of the popular Korean drama, Princess Hours which aired on the channel M.NET, as a part of Idol World.
Due to Super Junior-T’s active participance in trot music and their comedic appearances, the group gained outstanding attention from the older audience despite their well-known young idol images that was created for them in the main group Super Junior. Members of Super Junior-T explained that they wanted to change their idol appearance and hope that they would gain different fans from their new trot image.