This madmoiZelle listens to K-pop! To make you discover this universe, she tells you what touches her and interests her in this variety of Korean pop!
It seems that K-pop or Korean Pop has more and more fans around the world.
Hashtags are trending worldwide on Twitter, bands are on American TV (hello BTS, who performed at the AMAs this year), a lot of media are talking about them – not always in a positive way, by the way.
I’m fairly new to the “K-pop game”but I know that despite this popularization, many still don’t know what it is…
But rather than screaming in your ears that K-pop is great, or listing 42 reasons to go listen to this trendy band, I asked myself: why do I listen to K-Pop, by the way ?
And more generally, why should anyone listen to it too?
K-pop is actually very varied
The very name of this style of music implies… Well, pop. And when you think K-pop, you certainly have in mind lines of young girls or young men who have had extensive plastic surgery, dancing in sync, right?
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I have to admit: it’s one of the facets of K-pop.
But in reality, in K-pop, there are many different genres of music.
Because a picture is worth a thousand words, I invite you to watch the music video (known as “MV” in the industry, for Music Video) of “Heart Shaker”, the latest from female group TWICE.
It is done ? Now go listen to “MIC Drop” by BTS.
Did you come back? Good. Finally, check out “Divinia Commedia,” a track from G Dragon’s latest EP.
We agree: whether you liked it or not, these three songs have absolutely nothing to do with each other. And that’s just a tiny sample of all that K-pop has to offer!
You can find rap, happy songs that make you want to dance, or the kind of music you listen to when you’re sad and want to be even sadder (don’t make that face, I know good that you know what I’m talking about).
K-pop is not just about love
Again, I admit, love is a much-used topic in K-pop. But you only have to dig a little to realize that in fact, a lot of songs don’t talk about that at all!
Let’s take the group BTS again: in their song “Baepsa”, they talk about the pressure put on Korean youth to do the same, or even better than the previous generation, but also the contempt they perceive from their elders.
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Or “Wake me up” (no, not Evanescence) by BAP, which talks about depression, mental health and society’s gaze.
Still on the theme of mental health, we can also mention “The last” by rapper Agust D (who is part of the BTS group under the name of Suga), where he talks about his problems with depression and social phobia.
On a happier note, there’s also Big Bang’s “Fantastic Baby,” which talks about just partying and having fun.
And I still have a lot, but I’ll let you discover for yourself.
Whatever we say, the fanbase is welcoming (and not only made up of teenage girls)
It often happens to hear about chilling stories of extreme fans in the middle of K-Pop: kidnappings, harassment…
Unfortunately, yes, it does happen. At a lesser level, it also happens that “fans” trigger “fanwars”, especially on Twitter: these fans have fun calling out to other groups of fans to show them why their group is the best, and expect violent reactions.
I agree, it hurts the reputation of K-pop a lot.
But overall, the fans are adorable! All you have to do is ask which member appears when in the comments of an MV and the most experienced people will be happy to help you, and welcome you by the way. And to be honest, I see more people condemning anti-fans than actual anti-fans themselves…
If you want to find fans who are over 16, I strongly advise you to take a look on Tumblr, or even on Facebook. Very often, the fans, even young ones, are mature, open and polite!
I had great discussions about the quirks of the K-pop industry with quite a few fans. We don’t bite, we accept constructive criticism…
In short, we are normal people, don’t be afraid!
Because it is relatively easy to access
K-pop has this cool thing that it is easily found: the MVs are published in priority on Youtube, just like the videos of translation of the lyrics.
It is also quite easy to find shows where the idols [ndlr : le nom donné aux stars de K-pop], whether on Youtube or even on Netflix! (Hello Men on a Mission)
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You can also download Vlive, the flagship application that K-pop stars use to live with their fans, but there are also programs with subtitles. If you really can’t find it, ask!
Like I said before, fans will be happy to help you find this show with your favorite member.
Most of idols (or at least groups) have a Twitter account, or even an Instagram account: ok, it’s in Korean, but it’s very easy to find translations in the replies to the tweet.
You do not speak English ? Do not panic ! Many French fanbases exist, and are there to guide you. Life is good, anyway.
Besides, watching an MV literally takes less than 5 minutes. Well, if you’re into the band, I can assure you that you might spend some time there…
But if you come just to discover, it is possible to see a lot in one or two hours!
‘Cause it’s the window to a new culture
Let’s be clear: listening to K-pop won’t make you an expert on Korean culture. But it’s the gateway to Hallyu, this export movement of Korean culture.
By listening to K-pop, I became interested in it, in all its paradoxes and specificities. I learned a lot about the subject, and it’s a way like any other to open up to a new culture!
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K-pop is above all a visual universe
Finally, I will talk about famous MV. I’ve given a few here, but there are hundreds – even thousands.
K-pop is all about watching : MVs set the tone of a song, and can totally change the way we see it (but here, I don’t think I’m teaching you anything: it’s pretty much the same in Western pop).
What changes with K-pop is creativity. The worlds change from one group to another, from one song to another: the sets are sometimes very impressive, the choreographies always complex and rhythmic.
Even if you don’t always understand the lyrics, watching a song will give you a good idea of the expanse of the universe!
Clips can sometimes be quite WTF-esques (like “Ko Ko Bop” by EXO), other times poetic, engaging, telling a story…
I hope I got you interested in K-pop, or at least enlightened you on why this kind of music is so popular!
Do not hesitate to search in the depths of Youtube to find your happiness… Or just ask!
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