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 Post subject: J-Pop/K-Pop Thread
PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2013 4:17 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: J-Pop/K-Pop Thread
PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2013 6:22 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: J-Pop/K-Pop Thread
PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2013 6:37 pm 
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Thank God!!

Crayon Pop are killing me right now. They're intentionally moving as far away from the booty-shakin' western style of all the other K-pop groups and trying to be as Japanese and twee as possible. I love it.


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 Post subject: Re: J-Pop/K-Pop Thread
PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2013 7:41 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: J-Pop/K-Pop Thread
PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2013 7:44 pm 
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Mitch NZ's K-pop Starter Kit

Heard Gangham Style and you're hungry for more? Heard me raving on about K-pop and want to see if I really do have a point or if I'm completely deluded? Consider this your beginner's guide to getting into the freshest and most flat-out enjoyable pop factory on the planet.

If you're looking for compilations - don't bother. The agency-centric nature of the industry makes them non-existent. The best you'll get is a group's best of every now and then, but since most groups in K-pop are less than 5 years old, they're pretty rare. To enjoy K-pop, you're going to want to spend some time on YouTube. And since the visuals are an essential part of the experience, this is a good thing. Not to say that albums and EPs aren't enjoyable, because they most certainly are, but it all starts with the video. Usually that first video was one that you thought was stupid 10 seconds in, and 60 seconds later you were grinning at uncontrollably. For most of you that was probably this:



But if you were a K-pop fan before this, that cherry-popping song would be more likely this:



Ah, Gee. Its explosive popularity in 2009 codified the entire genre, and marked the beginning of the current golden age. (Most fans would say that this age began in 2007 with the debut of the above group, or even as early as 2005 when Super Junior came out. Also, many will claim the golden age has already ended, or even ended last year. But I digress) So Nyeo Shi Dae, or SNSD (Girls' Generation is their chosen English name) are a 9 member girl group that have ruled the world of K-pop since their debut. They belong to industry old-guards SM Entertainment, who push all their most accessible, fun songs to the group they know will do them justice. Other groups may have edgier images and more boundary-pushing songs, but SNSD can always be relied upon to deliver K-pop in the form most people are looking for.

Dreww once criticised their numbers as being pointless, as they didn't need to be a girls' choir. If you are looking to enjoy K-pop, you need to stop thinking about these groups like normal Western bands, for they are not bands. They are manufactured teams of boys and girls that are the front end of an elaborate and highly streamlined production monstrosity. To enjoy K-pop you need to think of it from a production standpoint, not a performance standpoint. The number of people in a group is irrelevant, as the production process is identical whether it be a solo singer or a 23 member boy band (yes, there is one of those). And oh boy, does K-pop have some amazing production.

This is Rainbow's 2011 song "A", rerecorded in Japanese in 2012. I choose the Japanese version because the vocals sound better and the music video is far superior.



What's that? It's all autotuned and these girls have no talent? Like I just said above - ignore the performances and listen to just how amazingly this song is put together. Not just a chorus, this song features a full prechorus-chorus-postchorus progression and absolutely killer guitar licks all the way through. From the bass right at the bottom (listen to the way it bubbles up in the final chorus), to the simple bass-and-snare drumming pattern, to the interweaving guitars, to the highly-processed vocals bam smack in the middle and the synths above them, this song is one of my favourite productions ever.

You'll also probably freak out at the rap in the third verse. This is a stock standard Kpop device, and it's one that throws a lot of western listners. K-pop doesn't make much distinction between pop and Hip-Hop, and it's an ignorance that I think works in its favour. This particular verse (by the gorgeous Woori) isn't anything the Wu-Tang are going to be sweating over, but it is a good example of how K-pop song structures work. If the girls aren't wearing dresses, and there are no flowers in the video, you can expect a rap in the third verse.

My expertise is in girl groups as you can probably tell, but it's probably time I introduce the reigning champions of the boy group scene, Big Bang. These five guys have a serious amount of talent, and the weedy one with the overly-long hair is a prolific songwriter and producer. (Goes by the name of G-dragon. Badass.)



Before Gangham style came along, this song was 2012's party rock anthem. It helps that Big Bang have some of the strongest Hip Hop credentials of any K-pop group, plus their trio of saccharine vocalists (Seungri, Daesung and the never-wears-a-shirt Taeyang) are known for passionate RnB choruses that put Usher to shame.

For an older, but even more epic hit of theirs, check out Tonight:



You'll see what I mean about the vocal ability of the singers, and this shows a completely different take on their usual electro banger.

K-pop is a genre that brings people together, and its biggest songs are always the party starters, the ones that you need no knowledge of the Korean language to understand. This song was a huge one last year, renowned for its badass video and balance between feminism and cutesy.



Some K-pop songs push things further than others. Shinee's hit song Sherlock from earlier this year has a video that will make many burst into laughter, but the production on this song is quite extreme:



Another example is B.A.P's "One Shot". Similarities to a certain Eminem song aside, this demonstrates that Hip Hop/Pop hybrid sound that the Koreans take for granted. The video is also great and should make you feel like a 13 year old boy again:



Although many will deny it, the submissive sexuality that is a big part of East Asian culture is a drawcard for a lot of fans, and K-pop does not disappoint. Cutesy songs are left, right, and centre in the genre, and the sooner you lose the sense of guilt that will no doubt be hanging over you like a shadow, the sooner you can get on with it and just enjoy it. Girls Day are firmly in this vein, and their video for Twinkle Twinkle is bizzare, but adorable. Despite the crude production, it's a great song as well.



Rainbow have a sub-group that specialises in cutesy, and have released one song to date. It is enough to rot your teeth, but you won't be complaining:



Crayon Pop made a big splash on /mu/ last year for their total lack of fucks about being cool. It's as if they didn't get the memo about the last 10 years of music:



I've alluded to what I think is the reason for K-pop's success as a genre above, but I'll spell it out here: K-pop makes no pretensions to be authentic, to be artistic, to be anything other than a way to channel the pure excitement that pop music can bring. It is music that is meant to be enjoyed with other people, to be sung-along to whilst drunk, to have its choreography quoted by you on the walk to the bus stop, to be shared on Facebook, to be laughed at, to be enjoyed whilst you're still young, and to be remembered when you're old and humourless. Don't expect K-pop to do for you what rock, or hip-hop, or jazz, or folk does, because it has no aspirations to make any deep connection to you. It is happy to be a fleeting moment of happiness in your otherwise dreary day, and if you're open minded, you'll let it.

This next one was a total mega-hit, and got a big western audience. I don't think I need to introduce it:



2NE1 recently released this reggae banger, and it's catchy as all hell:



For the last video I'll leave you with something representative of the state K-pop is in today. This is SNSD's "I Got A Boy", and it is the bohemian rhapsody of K-pop. You will either be obsessed with it or hate it deeply. I think it's the greatest of all K-pop videos for it's ability to sell you in it's runtime. Most pop songs you will not like on the first listen, but if they are catchy enough ("Call Me Maybe", "Somebody that I Used to Know", "Moves Like Jagger" etc) they'll eventually grow on you and you'll find yourself smiling and singing along just like all the normal people out there. K-pop is not like that. When the song starts you may feel a sense of intense revulsion, but that song is going to try it's hardest to transform you from a naysayer to a total believer in the space of three or four minutes. If you come out of a K-pop song and still don't like it, the song has utterly failed. That is what sets it apart from Western music. Western pop is happy to be nicotine, K-pop is freakin' bath salts.



If anyone particularly enjoyed a certain song, please let me know, I'd be happy to recommend you more songs, or albums if that's what you're interested in!


Last edited by Mitch NZ on Fri Aug 30, 2013 2:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: J-Pop/K-Pop Thread
PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2013 8:10 pm 
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This will be a placeholder post for me to make fun of the intro


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 Post subject: Re: J-Pop/K-Pop Thread
PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2013 8:17 pm 
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I've been loving this song lately.


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 Post subject: Re: J-Pop/K-Pop Thread
PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2013 8:34 pm 
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Rudy Rules wrote:
This will be a placeholder post for me to make fun of the intro


Go back to the GG Allin thread where you belong Rudy


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 Post subject: Re: J-Pop/K-Pop Thread
PostPosted: Wed Aug 28, 2013 6:14 pm 
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Rudy Rules wrote:
This will be a placeholder post for me to make fun of the intro


What's the matter? Too KAWAII for you?


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 Post subject: Re: J-Pop/K-Pop Thread
PostPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2013 2:27 am 
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Aight, I posted the K-pop one, it's just a minor update of the one I posted last year. J-pop is coming soon I promise! That one's a lot harder.


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 Post subject: Re: J-Pop/K-Pop Thread
PostPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2013 7:47 am 
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I don't think I can get into guy K-pop. It just sounds so much cheesier.


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 Post subject: Re: J-Pop/K-Pop Thread
PostPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2013 8:30 am 
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I can't either, which is odd because I like a lot of j-pop. I suspect that the two represent extremes of different elements of Western pop and I generally appreciate the elements of j-pop more. What these elements are I'm too unfamiliar with pop to identify.


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 Post subject: Re: J-Pop/K-Pop Thread
PostPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2013 9:15 pm 
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Forgotten Son wrote:
I can't either, which is odd because I like a lot of j-pop. I suspect that the two represent extremes of different elements of Western pop and I generally appreciate the elements of j-pop more. What these elements are I'm too unfamiliar with pop to identify.


I think you misunderstood me. I was saying I don't like boy band Kpop, but rather enjoy girl group Kpop. I haven't checked out any Jpop as of yet.

Anyway this song is weirdly catchy. The whole thing sounds just a bit off.



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 Post subject: Re: J-Pop/K-Pop Thread
PostPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2013 9:31 pm 
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Ah I misread. Still, my point stands. There's a weird block for me when it comes to K-Pop, and I'm not sure what it is.


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 Post subject: Re: J-Pop/K-Pop Thread
PostPosted: Sat Aug 31, 2013 1:27 am 
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It's because K-pop is booty shakin'. And you have never, nor will you ever, listen to anything in your life that can be remotely classed as booty-shakin'.


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