A New Epidemic: Kpop

Posted: January 7, 2011 in Cyber World, K-pop
Tags: , ,

I was going through my old stuff and I stumbled upon an old article I wrote for journalism. Seeing it again, it was pretty interesting. After all, I didn’t really take it all that seriously. I blog for fun and never really think of it except for a hobby. However, I’m currently watching a GREAT drama, and it reminded me of my journalism things. Let me know what you think!

What is Kpop?

To students at KHS, music has always been part of their lives. All around school, in classrooms, during lunch, and sometimes even in PE, earplugs are in and IPods working at full power. There are so many different genres of music, from classical music to the now very popular pop music, R&B, hip hop, rap, etc. But what about Kpop?

If this picture wasn’t here, would you continue reading this?
Kpop, Korean pop music, originated in South Korea, appearing for the first time in the 1930s. Trot, the oldest form of Korean pop, became popular during World War II. With its distinctive rhythmic beat, trot made its way among the soldiers, giving them a distraction among the horrors of war. At first, it was just entertainment for the US forces in bases around South Korea. But slowly, the once just some stress reliever for soldiers turned into an addictive and attractive aspect in music. Since the 90’s, idol groups have started to appear, drawing attention from all over the world with their singing, dancing, and acting skills, being role models for all ages.

The popularity of trot declined when idol groups appeared. The debut of Seo Taiji and Boys led to a new version of kpop, incorporating popular American music elements such as rap, rock, and techno. Seo Taiji, an equivalent to Michael Jackson in South Korea, started a new trend of dance-oriented acts. The original way of just plain singing was no more. Because of the tremendous success of Seo Taiji and boys, many more experimental groups came into view, including the legendary hip hop duo, Deux.

I was going to have Hyori Lee’s picture, but there may be some minors who read this. To keep this PG, I present you…fin.K.L.

In the mid 90s, teen idol groups came into view, once again setting a new trend of boy bands and girl groups.  Groups such as S.E.S, Shinhwa, H.O.T, g.o.d, and Fin.K.L became extremely popular, having sold million-sellers, albums selling over a million copies, and strong fan bases. In one incident where idol group Shinhwa wanted to leave their entertainment company, their fans donated money for them to continue selling albums until their new contract with another entertainment company started.

In many cases, having strong fan bases helped the group. Just recently, the largest boy band in the world with 13 members, Super Junior, had an incident with their entertainment company. The company wanted to remove the “unpopular” members of the group. Their fans, ELF, pooled together their money, buying over 1% of the entertainment companies’ stocks. This caused the entertainment company to be unable to remove any members because their stocks did not belong to itself anymore, it also belonged to the fans.

In the early 1900’s, the Korean Wave started, spreading to all nearby countries, China, Taiwan, Japan, and East Asia. This term was coined by Beijing journalists who were surprised by the sudden popularity of South Korean products. First, just certain dramas and movies that promoted Korean thoughts and beliefs, were on the market because of strict surveillance by the South Korean government. Because the government censored many ideas in the film industry, producers produced melodramas that interested viewers and followed the regulations. But as the world modernized, restrictions lowered and the film industry produced almost anything they wanted. By the 21st century, South Korean entertainment not only attracted Koreans, but also the Chinese, Japanese, Malaysians, and more.

Even today, despite the fact that kpop has only been known for several years in America, dedicated netizens will find out where to look. Netizens are internet citizens, mainly fans of popular groups that search and find out more about their beloved idols. At KHS, scattered among the many music lovers, only a few people know about kpop, with even fewer who listen to it. Sophomore Lee says he’s been exposed to kpop since the 5th grade. “With my ethnic background as a Korean, I knew about kpop. A lot of my friends listened to Korean pop music as well.” Another sophomore, Kaitlin says it all started with Japanese pop music. “My friends Lisa and Olivia were obsessed with jpop in 8th grade. In ninth grade, Heidi, Olivia, Lisa, and Joe were obsessed with kpop, and I didn’t understand a word of it [kpop], so I worked on it. And once I could recognize Big Bang, I moved onto other bands…”

Now tell me you didn’t read this article because you wanted to know more about the origins of kpop. Yeah, that’s what I thought.

 

To Wong, one of the best things about kpop is the “sexy synchronized dancing by Asian men.” “I mean, what’s not to like? Half the time, they’re topless,” she says. Sophomore Olivia agrees, “It sells sex and love. What isn’t to like?” “It’s very catchy but some of the music videos are a bit kinky and risque,” says sophomore Rain. However, despite the , kpop still attracts many fans all over.

Not everything bases on looks and sex appeal. Many entertainers these days only see money and fame. Lee says, “I dislike that many music artists basically only perform for money and have become caught up in the fame and no longer sing for their dreams.” In other words, the more fame the better. It doesn’t matter if they receive bad press. As long as they appear on the front page, big headlines and all, they remain happy. In kpop, you can hear the feelings in the songs. “What makes kpop unique is the way it’s presented,” says Lee. “Because of the American influences in music styles, you can say there are similarities. But what America doesn’t have is the way the lyrics are written.” With so many singers singing about love and relationships, it takes difficulities to find one good love song. “I find that with a lot of American music, there is a good message or good lyrics here and there, but the artists or groups aren’t as good lyrical artists as Kpop artists are.” The meaning is there, but when sang, the feeling disappears, turning the song into a bunch of words that rhyme.
In kpop, all types of music are available. It ranges from rap and techno all the way to ballads and R&B. No matter what your preference is, kpop guarantees that genre. Everyone has internet. Would it hurt to check it out?

 

Comments
  1. ill nino says:

    Music has a mystic manner of being able to take you instantly back to a specific place and time in your past
    I will definitely vote them, for one reason…. THEY’RE AWESOME

  2. D.Kennedy says:

    I get the point u talkin here,I’m a asian,and I’ve been listen to alot of music from around the world,from classic Rock,Pop,Soul,R&B,and mostly hip hop,..and from them,I find Kpop and Vpop(my country’s pop),is the two kind of popular urban pop,that i not fond of,you say american music are “Because of the American influences in music styles, you can say there are similarities. But what America doesn’t have is the way the lyrics are written.” and “it takes difficulities to find one good love song. “I find that with a lot of American music, there is a good message or good lyrics here and there, but the artists or groups aren’t as good lyrical artists as Kpop artists are.” The meaning is there, but when sang, the feeling disappears, turning the song into a bunch of words that rhyme”.I listen to Hip hop and Classic rock since i was 10,for 9 years,i never thought the nowaday Kpop is about chest muscle and girls with cute-innocent faces,well,technically,we cant find that much in america,but if you watch music for muscles and girls,then why doing a song anyway?its had alot of influent into modern hip hop and rock,now guys dress like bunch of gay,skinny jeans that looks like stocking.If u asked me,the music that will end all real message in the word ‘music’,i’ll personally say its Kpop,and Vpop,we cannot improve our own music industry just by talking crap about other country’s music,I hate asian pop music nowaday,except chinese,thats my personal thought: stop being racist in most way..

    • KSM says:

      I would love to know your POV…if I could understand what you are writing. It’s an editorial piece, which means it’s an opinion; it may not be what everyone thinks. There are some fantastic music all over the world. I’m sorry if you do not agree but I am not telling what is or what isn’t. It merely is a matter of opinion. I would love to understand what you are trying to say though.

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