It’s been a year since I started listening to K-pop, and looking back I can’t believe it’s only been that long. I regularly check my daily k-pop news provider allkpop and read about 15-30 articles a day. So yes, you can say that I’m quite addicted (or obsessed) to K-pop right now.
But the question I think you guys would want to know is, why and how the hell did I love K-pop? A friend recently told me that he couldn’t understand why people like listening to K-pop, since some don’t even understand the Korean language (including me); but I don’t have anything against him. Why? Simply because K-pop is a very polarizing subject and isn’t something that can be loved by everyone.
K-Pop is a choice and a preference, much like different genres of music. Someone in this world loves classical music and hates rap music, while another person thinks exactly the opposite. It depends on the people’s ears whether they like a genre or not, so you can’t force anyone to love songs that he doesn’t want to hear.
I digress. Instead of giving you longer a lecture about K-pop, I’m just gonna tell you how I happened to love it. However, I’m telling you, it’s not gonna be easy for me to explain.
1.) Sisters’ (and cousin’s) Influence
When I graduated from high school in Koronadal City, I moved to Metro Manila to start my college life. After being alone with my parents for three years, I finally had a chance to live together with my two sisters and away from my parents, and that’s when it all started. They kept on telling me about these artists who not only sang but danced well. I kept what they said in my mind, but I wasn’t totally hooked by the topic then.
2.) I hated K-pop first before I loved it
Before I got to Quezon City, I despised those Korean groups flooding the nation’s music countdowns. I hated the fact that they were in groups of 7, 9, (and even 13!). I even dissed my sisters when they kept bugging me to watch it. Eventually, I started to check them out on Youtube. I liked some of the music videos, but it took a while before they convinced me to check out some more artists. The first groups I hated then loved were Super Junior and Girls’ Generation (SNSD), while the group I truly hated then was U-Kiss (because initially I got annoyed with their repetitive “Bingeul Bingeul”, but I like them now).
3.) The Songs
I’ll admit that not every K-pop song is great, but there are definitely some stand-outs that are very good. The songs are catchy, they have different genres of music, and they have a musical style which is unique and contemporary. The Korean music industry is one of the biggest in the world! And take note that they’re only a small country with a population only half as much as the Philippines!
Before U Go – TVXQ
Lupin – KARA
Wedding Dress – Taeyang
4.) Disappointing American Artists’ Debuts and Comebacks
The latest songs of the biggest musicians aren’t as great as they used to be, at least in my opinion (Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Black Eyed Peas, Rihanna, Akon, Britney Spears, the list goes on and on). Even the new artists don’t have anything great to offer. Instead, they just stick with those repetitive pop songs and add some auto-tune in their music, remaking old music without a lot of creativity (Ke$ha, I’m talking to you). There are still bright spots here and there (Katy Perry, B.o.B., Justin Bieber [yikes!]), but the lack of better and innovative songs created a void that left me hungry for better music.
5.) Lack of Interest With OPM
Even our OPM songs aren’t getting any better. It was 2006 when I stared discovering some major rock bands like Sponge Cola, Bamboo, Rivermaya, Eraserheads, Kjwan, Imago, Sandwich, Callalily and many more. Most of them have disbanded or in a hiatus right now, and we could probably blame ourselves for that (piracy sucks big time). Without a lot of good bands remaining, there was an opportunity for K-pop to fill in the gap.
6.) Lyrics Ain’t Everythin’, fo’ shizzle!
Lots of people say a good song requires good lyrics that can make people connect to the song, but in my opinion, lyrics aren’t everything. I’m not saying lyrics doesn’t matter, of course it does, but there’s more to music than just words. R n’ B, rap and hip-hop music are good examples. Sometimes the words don’t even make sense, but people like it because it sounds good and it’s catchy. And for people who don’t understand Korean, it’s exactly the same. And even if everyone understood the language, I bet some of the songs’ lyrics won’t make any sense either. (P.S. choreography makes up for the lyrics)
7.) High Quality
The biggest K-pop artists like 2NE1 and Big Bang had their songs produced by famous American producers (Teddy). Their music videos have a production cost between $100K-$1M each, and they have raked in tens of millions of dollars in Korea alone. Talk about high quality music. The videos are shot using state-of-the-art video cameras and they have different costumes in every live performances. Entertainment companies spend millions of dollars for their trainees and they discipline their artists by making them work hard for about 3-8 years before they finally have a chance to debut. Yep, it almost seems like they’re the new America.
8.) The Artists
The most popular groups get the most attention and the members get a chance to be in the spotlight in interviews, photo shoots, live performances or cameos in different shows. Eventually you’ll get hooked to the artists and end up being bigger fans of their groups because they’re just fun to watch. My favorites so far are Goo Hara (Kara), Jiyeon (T-ara), everyone from Big Bang (Daesung, Taeyang, Seungri, G-Dragon, TOP), Yuri (Girls’ Generation), Seohyun (Girls’ Generation), Lizzy (After School), Eunjung (T-ara), and many others. See, I got hooked!
P.S. Don’t mention plastic surgery, it’s normal in Korea, and I don’t have anything against it.
K-pop is more than just MUSIC! That may sound crazy, but k-pop artists are trained to be versatile artists. They can sing, act and even host an event. One of the biggest reasons why I began loving K-pop is the Korean TV Shows, and I’m not talking Korean Dramas (I discovered them late), I’m talking about their variety shows! They have the funniest shows on earth! I have a 200 GB collection of shows like Family Outing, Running Man, We Got Married, etc. that not only showcases singers, but also Korean actors, gag men, models, and even Korea itself! (NOTE: Tell me if you want a copy of these shows, I’d be more than happy to give them to you). And it’s even more fun when you already know the singers involved in these shows.
10.) THEY’RE KOREAN!
They’re KOREANS! They’re the same country who lagged behind us (economics-wise) 50 years ago, having the same problem as ours today! We were even told by many that we would become the next Japan, a powerhouse of Asia. I’m not saying that Koreans are better than us. I believe were just as good as them, but there are just a lot of things that are pulling us backwards and are preventing us from further progressing. I don’t know about you, but I blame a lot of our problems to Ferdinand Marcos. The recent problems our country is having don’t even match the vile corruption he’s done, but we don’t need to dwell on our past. We just simply need to become better citizens and pray to God that everything’s going to be okay.
So that’s it. That’s why I love K-pop and why I probably will keep loving it for the next 5 to 50 years. If you tried but you still don’t like it, I don’t blame you because it’s your choice, not mine. I’ll even admire you for trying. If you hate it, it’s okay for me either. I’m not gonna say that you’re deaf or that you have a bad taste in music or say that you’re missing half of your life. There are lots of other people I could talk to about K-pop, and I also tend to distance my guilty pleasure from my school life. There’s a time and place for everything, and I’m not gonna die if I don’t talk about K-pop. Everybody has flaws*. 🙂
Thanks for reading this, and I hope, just hope, that all of you start liking (or hating) K-pop!