Lady Gaga’s got nothin’ on this: KPOP 101

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sexy-cute Korean girlband


This may not mean much to non-Asians, but the Korean culture is a friggin’ big deal in Kpop-land. Y’know what, I’m not even gonna call the country Korea anymore, it’s Kpop-land now. The Korean culture has a massive influence in Kpop-land and can arguably govern what the artists can and cannot do.

I’m gonna take a stab in the dark here and assume that the only things you know about Koreans are that they love plastic surgery, kimchi and bow a lot.

Well, you’d be right. They love/do all of that, but that’s not all there is to them.

The important thing in Korean culture has to do with relationships. They have different speech levels, that is to say, the way they talk to their grandparents, parents, older siblings, younger siblings, same-aged friends, different-aged friends are all different. They speak in honorifics to their elders, and various other versions of speech when it comes to others. Age is a big thing in Kpop-land and it also determines the kind of relationships you have with the person.

With these relationships, you’ve also got expectations. As soon as you’re a relatively well-known person in Kpop-land, you’re gonna have expectations from practically everyone around you and even beyond that. You’d expect the normal expectations in terms of music of doing/performing well from your bosses, peers and fans. In Kpop-land, you’d also have to face personal expectations. Fans expect you to respect them and respect the culture, to generally be a good person and if you’re not, you can bet they’re gonna call you out on it. This is what’s majorly different from English mainstream music, because if people tuning in don’t like what you’re doing, they’re gonna say something about it.


It’s pop. It’s alllllll pop. OK, no, I’m lying – there are occasional gems like indie-pop band Clazziquai Project and rap groups like Clover but the rest of it is pop. Kpop-land is run by pretty-boy boybands and sexy-cute girlbands.

Here, have some SNSD:

Don’t feel bad if you thought they all looked like the same person. So did I, the first time.

And while you’re at it, here’s some Super Junior:

No, I don’t know why they need so many guys in one band either.

These two songs (and bands) are the epitome of Kpop-land. They are the embodiment of Kpop today – catchy, upbeat songs that have signature dance moves. Each band you’re gonna come across in Kpop-land has this all in check: SHINee, KARA, T-ara, 2PM, etc. Soon enough, you’ll find that there’s nothing significantly different about any of these bands and any of their music. It’s become so general that one song blends into another, and it won’t be long till you lose sight of all the music acts that exist (they keep popping up like pimples that never go away).

What bothers me the most, though, is how most of their music is manufactured. It’s seldom written and produced by the singers themselves,  they usually have an “image” to go along with a song (see T-ara’s cute girl image for ‘Bo Peep Bo Peep’ – a song that makes NO SENSE AT ALL), promote a maximum of two songs from their new album on music shows and then leave for three months, work on a new album, and then restart the entire process.

That’s not music; not to me. Their songs become a byproduct of who they are, a way to promote themselves and continue their stay in Kpop-land. It took me a while to realise that, but it’s obvious that the 84,817,886 people who viewed those two videos up there still haven’t.

(continues overleaf)

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2 Responses to Lady Gaga’s got nothin’ on this: KPOP 101

  1. Pingback: First impressions: Madonna – MDNA | Reinspired

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