|My feelings about Kpop|
Over the past few weeks, I've been noticing countless posts from friends back home about South Korean 'Pop Sensation' Psy and his hit, "Gangnam Style". It had to make me smile because I really never expected my friends back home to be listening to the same songs on the radio that I am. So I decided I would do a little post about Kpop!
Kpop is ridiculously catchy. You may not understand a word of what is being said, but you cannot help bob your heard to the tune. And the music videos are something else. Kpop (an abbreviation of Korean Pop - duh) can be described as the sugary, over-the-top 'electropop' that is so popular with South Korean youth. It blasts from stores and high school cellphones and every child will know the corresponding dance moves to the current Kpop hit. I played Roly Poly by T-ARA to my 3rd and 4th grade class in Summer Camp and had them all dancing along with video like they taught those girls the moves themselves. It's huge here. Kpop stars are the Justin Biebers of Korea and people are drawn to them.
The singers and groups themselves have tried to go mainstream as of late, with bands like Wonder Girls, 2PM, Beast, Kara and now Psy featuring in the US media and on international music charts. One way I think they try to appeal to a more 'Western' market is their use of English catch phrases. Almost every Kpop song has an English title or English word/phrase that features in the chorus. It may just be Psy's use of Gangnam "style" and "heeeeeeeey, sexy lady" or 2PMs use of "put your hands up" but no matter how little you understand of the rest of the song, you can sing along to that one line and therefore feel connected to it. I could spew a whole lot of facts about Kpop to you now (which I've read on the ever-reliable Wikipedia) but this post is really just to give a brief intro to the music and post a few of my favourite songs ;)
Before I post you some of my Kpop gems, let me explain Gangnam style to you briefly. Psy has been around for ages but this is the first song of his that's hit so big abroad and many Korean people do not understand why a guy who's line is "dress classy, dance cheesy" has made it so big when there are numerous other, more well put together bands that have not caught that wave yet. I think it's because the song is so dam cheesy and catchy, who doesn't love it! And that dance - come now. Gangnam is an area in Seoul, the capital of Korea, much like New York. It's a little more of an affluent and trendy place and the term 'Gangnam style' refers to the lavish lifestyle those in Gangnam lead. "Oppa" in Korean literally means "a male who is older than the female" but can also refer to a boyfriend - and so basically the song is about a boyfriend with lavish style. Maybe. Cos really that's all I understand. Thought I'd try help those less informed than even me to understand a bit more about what they're jamming to.
But enough about that - here are some of my favourite Kpop songs/videos.
This is Big Bang and their hit, "Wow, Fantastic Baby". One of my best - please notice the totally over-the-top make up, dancing and everything.
Next, here's 2PM with "Hands up", making it here purely because it was the first Kpop video I ever saw. And the boys are cute.
Now for some girls. Here's Girls Generation, one of the more popular girl bands, with "Twinkle". Cue typical Korean girl cuteness.
And lastly, here's Kara with the incredibly catchy "Step".
If this interests you, try searching for other bands and artists such as Beast, f(x), B.A.P, GD & TOP (a particularly cool video - 'Knock Out') and Super Junior.
I cannot lie - the Kpop bug has bitten me. You've just gotta chill out and enjoy the craziness of it all. Maybe it'll get you hooked too.
Have a lovely weekend!