K-Pop fascinates me. It appears to be a logical solution to the way money is made in the music industry these days, with groups getting less money from records/ Spotify, and more from concerts, appearances, sponsorship deals, etc.
K-Pop is about
K-Pop is about more than just the music. I would say for many K-Pop groups, the idols are good looking dancers, who can sing or rap.
K-Pop delivers more content to its fans than other styles of music. It delivers:
- The performance i.e. the choreography (the music video (“MV”), the dance practice videos, fan music videos, performing live on music shows and awards shows – “debuts” and “comebacks”, reaction videos),
- The “visuals” (the “idols” looks, the fashion (including wearing different matching outfits for each performance), the IG posts),
- The fans (“army”) – they watch IG live sessions and attend fan events (they have a “bias” which is the idol they like), and
- The TV reality shows and “game” shows that idols appear on (TV and radio interviews have always been around).
The songwriters and producers is another interesting space. Getting enough songs to feed all the groups is a massive industry. Companies employ songwriters and producers on a full time basis. Songs are often written by multiple people.
Why are the groups so big?
Performing and singing live is possible because each idol only has to sing a few lines. I find myself fascinated by how fit they must be to be able to dance and sing (mostly on key).
Having musical groups with 7+ members make sense when concerts are in arenas with 55,000 attendees.
K-Pop is consumed in other countries, with the focus being on Japan, China and I think Thailand, plus more recently USA. So they may have an idol or two in the group from each of the different countries they want to sell to, who speaks the language fluently.
I got hooked into K-Pop by trying to tell idols apart in terms of their looks and the sound of their voice. I don’t know if this is common, but it definitely was how I got hooked. (I have been very bored!)
Songs / Performances I Like
I made this post because I want to clean up my list of songs, and work out which songs I would actually recommend to someone curious about K-Pop.
- Monster (the one that started it all for me)
- Been Through (Suho live)
- Baby You Are (FMV)
- Don’t Go
- Baby Don’t Cry
- (CBX) Blooming Day, Hey Mama (MV, Comeback)
- (D.O. Solo) I’m going to love you.
- (Kai) Nothing On Me
There are also a few songs which I like to watch the videos of as the dancing is so good: Tempo, Call Me Baby, Love Shot, The Eve, Lucky One, Lotto / Louder, Oh la la la, Ko ko pop and Heart Attack.
Plus songs that are still good but not my favourites (yet): XOXO, Electric kiss (dance practice), Thunder (FMV I think?), Trouble (listening), Oasis, Diamond, I’m coming over, Touch it, White noise, Wait.
After Exo, I got into Super M as 2 members of Exo are in Super M.
- 100 MV, dance practice
- One MV, Live
- Jopping MV
- With You (such a cute video)
Other K-Pop Songs I like
- NMIXX, O.O. Strangely addictive. Got curious because Lily looks part-Korean.
- Seventeen, Don’t wanna cry.
- NCT 127, Kick It. A few members of NCT/WayV are in Super M.
- NCT Dream, Beatbox (One take)
- Mamamoo, Hip. I have a girl crush on Hwasa.
- Ive, Love Dive
There still are so many other groups where I don’t like them, or haven’t looked at them, yet.
As a non-Korean person, I find a few things “weird”.
Kids sign up for long contracts (7+ years), live in dormitories, can’t date, work 13 out of 14 days, they must weigh less than a certain amount. Some trainees aren’t paid and in fact accrue a debt during training that they must payoff before they start earning anything for themselves.
“Trainees” may never “debut” – if they are chucked out or aren’t allocated to a group – or may train for years (4 or 5) before debuting.
Frankly the Skinship can look quite suspicious, they share beds, cuddle in bed, grab bottoms, kiss…. I know everyone says it’s normal in Korea, but then I wonder what is the line you cross in Korea to let someone know you like them?
The fans can be quite brutal if an idol makes a mistake like… dates, gets married, was a bully. This is career ending stuff.
I’m way too old to be into this, so it is my secret.