PSY through his phenomenal ‘Gangnam Style’ music video had garnered a lot of attention and a billion views but at the same time people across the globe were exposed to the addictive world of Korean pop music or popularly known as k-pop. Its origin can be traced from the influence of American music itself but at the same time, the unique flavors added to it made it exquisite and a distinct genre. Numerous boy and girl groups such as Big Bang, BTS, Girls Generation, Black Pink, Exo etc. have an immensely dedicated fan following especially in Southeast Asia. The visual appeal and multitalented artists attract the audience way more than the mainstream American pop in many ways.
The most striking quality of K-pop music videos is the visuals and the choreography which tend to be on point. The simple yet effective dance steps have most of the audience in a spellbound and the visual aesthetic is simply mesmerizing. K-Pop music videos with its multitalented artists somewhat give a feeling of all in one package which includes Macklemore, Eminem, One Direction, N Sync etc. With its multifaceted characteristic, it tends to attract an audience which constantly looks for some kind of music which satisfies them in every aspect such as visuals, vocals, style, dance, rap, storyline etc. Moreover, the K-pop stars tend to have a very transparent personality i.e. through various reality shows they showcase themselves as who they are which makes them more humane to the audience, unlike the American pop stars who often tend to remain some distance. Moreover, each K-pop group tend to release music videos which shows their charismatic as well as cute or ‘Gwiyom’ image. And the most attractive and beautiful part about K-Pop is that it does away with the idea of ‘toxic masculinity’. The K-Pop male idols are often not the typical ‘masculine’ figures but in fact sensitive and manly in their own unique ways. It’s very common seeing K-pop stars wearing makeup or clothes of bright colors such as pink, blue etc. which often are viewed as outrageous or not fit for a ‘man’ however K-pop breaks through these petty stereotypes. These aspects are hardly seen in mainstream American music where gender distinction is very rigid and defined.
Another very striking feature of K-Pop is that it’s a genre that breaks language barriers. Often K-pop lovers don’t understand the language but they still feel connected to the lyrics which shows that music has no linguistic boundaries. Adding more to that, K-Pop idols also release their music videos in Mandarin, Cantonese and even Japanese in order to reach a wider audience. This method isn’t applied in American music which largely plays a certain linguistic chauvinism by limiting itself to English specifically.
In 2017, BTS, a globally successful K-Pop group reached the top of Billboard charts and was the first K-pop group that won at the BBMA’s defeating numerous artists such as Justin Bieber, Halsey, Chain-smokers, Shawn Mendes etc. and also performed at BBMA’s 2018, thus, showing that people no longer are limiting themselves to the western culture but also understanding and exploring other countries. K-Pop continues to gain a wider audience with its numerous groups and introducing Southeast Asian culture at a global level. Apart from Korean music even Korean dramas have a wide foreign audience which is equally distinctive in their production.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR :
Albeena Alvi – Gargi College,DU