As I was passing out at the gym today listening to Korean pop music (no AirCon in the gym..) I realized that I had not yet blogged about K-pop. K-pop is a loving rip-off of the term J-pop or Japanese pop music. It's everywhere, blasting out store doors, being sung by my students and all over the TV. K-pop falls into two categories, bouncy dance music or intense ballads. The bands seem to go in and out overnight (I don't hear "Sorry Sorry Sorry anymore). The songs seem to go hand in hand with dance moves that all my students young and old recognize. If you thought the boy band craze of the 90's was silly, try turning your average group of five into twelve. You now have Super Junior, who was super popular when I first arrived. I bought the socks with their faces on them and everything. Socks deserves its own post BTW...
What shocks me the most about K-pop is its uniformity in popularity. I have yet to find a soul who dislikes Big-Bang (including me) and K-pop seems to be listened to all generations. My eight year old students and my co-worker all listen to the same groups. The only exception so far is the older male taxi drivers who listen traditional Korean ballads.
Makes me miss Tunisia.....
K-pop bands are all very similar, Groups of boys or girls dancing and singing. When I asked my students to name one band were the singers played their own instruments all of my 200+ students could name only one band!(FT Island, who I might be a little in love with...) As much as I like "I hope" its mind boggling that it was the only "rock" band my students knew of. Korea's complete lack of counter culture never ceases to amaze me. I admit though, it could just be Daegu.
Korea also has one rapper named "Outsider". Allot of English used in group names and song titles. Making it easy for me to know who is popular at the moment. Thanks students!
A symbol of the tie between K-pop and corporate consumerism is that songs in commercials turn into huge hits. Big Bang and 2NE1 are the most popular boy and girl bands in Korea. They worked together to makes a song for a cellphone, at first it was just on the ad and then it was everywhere! In fact 2NE1 debuted in this song and are now by far the most popular girl group in Korea. All my middle school students sing their songs and write 2NE1 lyrics in their notebooks. One girl even attempted to trick me by showing me song lyrics and claiming it was her homework.
K-pop is getting old fast. Its everywhere and always sounds the same and, it doesn't help that I don't understand the lyrics. At least its up beat(until you read the lyrics) and it gives me bonding material with my students. Now that you know more than you ever needed to know about K-pop i'll leave you with one last song. Its cheesy, bouncy, super old in the K-pop world (2008) and I never seem to get sick of it!
I <3 G-Dragon arm-warmers. Also lets go west? Really? The beach is like a 20 minute drive from Seoul..