Honestly speaking, I didn’t know much about K-pop(short form for Korean Pop) before coming to Korea. I just knew “Kara” which is a popular girl group in Korea. I had watched their music video called “Mister. It became very popular because of the butt dance. Kara is popular both in Korea and Japan. In fact, they are more popular in Japan. They release their albums in both languages. In case, you want to check out their videos, here is the link to their official Youtube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/DSPKara?feature=CB0QwRs%3D
K-pop is a global phenomenon now and it has grown into a popular subculture among the teens and young adults from across the world. This is what they call “Korean Wave”. Even though, it is difficult for fans who don’t know Korean, to understand the lyrics but still they enjoy listening to K-pop. Many of them learn Korean just to understand the lyrics. I have some friends who admitted doing that. There must be something about K-pop that it attracts a huge audience.
One of the reasons can be the good-looking idols. Korean idols are always young and good-looking, and they dance and sing well. I have some friends who are in love with Korean idols. Some of the most famous boy groups are “Super Junior’, “Big Bang”, “Beast”, “Infinite”, etc. and “Girl’s Generation” is the most famous girl group. But it is not an easy task to sing and dance and look good at the same time. These idols train 3 or 4 years before making their debut. They are managed by the music companies. Most of the idols live in dormitory managed by their company, and they train hard everyday.
Another reason is their music and the music videos. Their music is catchy and enjoyable. When you listen to their songs, you get attracted to it, no matter you know Korean or not. There is something refreshing about their music and the music videos are often visually attractive. I like one of the K-pop artist,”IU”. She is one of the most successful idols in Korea. Her music videos are like fairy tales. Here is the link to one of her most popular song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_iQRO5BdCM
The Korean idols are extremely popular in Japan and China. Some of the idols release their albums in Japanese and Chinese too. “Super Junior” is the most popular boy group in China, and “Kara” is the most popular girl group in Japan. Many of the Korean idols have ventured into J-pop and Chinese pop but few have managed to reach the top spot. “Boa”, “Wonder Girls” and “Girls’ Generation” have released their albums in English. “Girls’ Generation” released their first English album called “The Boys” and they were invited to perform the single in the “David Letterman’s Show”. Here is the link to their music video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YFbyh0wzTS0 ….but they were not able to achieve much success in USA like they did in Japan. People started to think that Korean idols can never make it to the US music industry, but one man proved everyone wrong.
He is not your typical K-pop idol. He is none other than “Psy”. His music video “Gangnam Style” surpassed 200 million views in Youtube. It is hilarious and I think most of you already know about it. People think the video is nothing but hilarious. There is a message in that video and if you don’t know Korean, it can be difficult to understand that. First of all, “Gangnam” is the name of one of the richest neighborhood in Seoul, Korea. In the video, “Psy” makes fun of people who want to be like the people who live in Gangnam. He talks about people who have double standards. He never thought that this song will make him an international star. He was invited to perform on “Ellen’s Show”. He is the first Korean idol to gain so much international fame. They are calling “Gangnam Style” the “Macarena” of 21st century. If you haven’t check out his video, you can check it here and I promise you will not be disappointed: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0YnGM-kl1Q
I went to Korean concert last year. That was my first time, so I didn’t know what to expect but I had fun. I saw some of the famous Korean idols like “Beast”, “G.NA”, “4 Minute” and others. There were people from all over the world.
Lastly, I want to talk about another Korean girl group “T-ara” who were in the news recently for their controversy. There were reports that they bullied one of their members and that member left the group. The fans went crazy. The members of “T-ara” remained low-profile after that. Things like that doesn’t happen often but when it happens, it becomes a huge issue. People even started to hate them and burn their DVDs and CDs. But things are becoming normal now. They apologized to their fans. They released their latest single few weeks ago called “Sexy Love”. Here in Korea, the fans have more power than the idols. The fans can make or break the idols.
I like K-pop, but I will not say that I am a K-pop fan because I still don’t know much about K-pop. But it is sometimes refreshing to take a break from usual stuffs and try something new. So why not try K-pop??? Give it a try and get closer to unique world of Korean music.^^