Let’s get one thing clear. I know next to nothing about K-Pop. I know a little more now, since deciding to write about it, but still not much. One thing is clear and ubiquitous – vocal groups rule the K-Pop world, especially all female groups. Its not an innovative formula but one that works, especially when part of the Korean economic development plan is to export it to certain countries where seeing a female fingertip is still alluring.
I know K-Pop has been around. I’ve heard it from time to time but have never really been grabbed by it enough to delve deeper. That is until yesterday, when I was reminded of K-Pop in an article I read in the Financial Post (not a card-carrying conservative – I just found it in my google alerts). Anyway, 13 minutes ago Billboard.biz posted about a new K-Pop girl band and I was just on Pitchfork to find a list of top 20 essential K-Pop tunes…So, I need to ask, what’s with the sudden flood?
It seems Korea is pushing through with its own brand of manifest destiny and I’m okay with that. Actually, I welcome it. And although a lot of the K-Pop I just finished filing through looks and feels like a regurgitated form of the boy/girl group era in America, K-Pop has a certain charm. Its bright, smiley, seemingly innocuous Pop music that I don’t have to cringe to, because I have no idea what any of them are saying. In some strange way I think K-Pop has saved me from the incessant criticisms that float through my head while trying to enjoy a slice of home-cooked American Pop music…but probably not. It just is what is is and now I’m rambling.
Despite my disapproval of many things “pop culture” in the west, I’m thankful K-Pop is only a tiny blip on the radar. The glorious truth is that Western music still reigns dominant pretty much everywhere I go and has since, well…since music was understood to be a viable product for exploitation and export. My interest is peaked though because, like everything, it has potential. I look forward to watching the evolution of K-Pop to see how or if it matures from the glossy, packaged pop,that it is, to something a little more…
Here are some K-Pop selections to feed your eyes and ears.