In an age where music is normally governed by heavy beats and too much synth, Korean Pop, fondly called ‘K-Pop’, is often taken as a joke. “They don’t have talent”, “Their songs have no sense”, “Everbody is just riding the Korean wave” — those are things we’d normally hear when the subject of Korean pop music is brought up. Some would even go to the extent of condemning fans and laughing at them silly because really, really, are they spending time fawning over these so-called “talentless people”?
Believe me when I say that K-Pop idols are hardly without talent. I say this with conviction as I have seen them in action with my own eyes.
I have been a fan of the K-Pop since 2006. Prior to that, I dabbled in J-Pop and J-Rock, and while I think that J-Pop and -Rock usually hit harder and are generally more pleasing to the ear than K-Pop (a matter of preference, I believe), K-Pop is undeniably more catchy and has more recall than the former. Songs like Girls Generation’s Gee and 2NE1’s Fire and I Don’t Care have reached people in countries all over the world and have instilled their beats in people’s minds, causing LSS (Last Song Syndrome) of varying intensities. And who would forget Wonder Girls’ Nobody? I’m sure nobody in this world can claim that they’ve never had the “Nobody Nobody But you” lyrics stuck in their heads for at least a short period of time.
One might argue that ‘recall’ isn’t the only factor in determining whether an artist has talent. I wholeheartedly agree.
Watching some videos on Youtube will show you that these artists take time to practice their routine as if they’re actually performing and even sing live while dancing on stage. They do covers of English songs that would otherwise sound weird and terrible (even as a fan, I frown at their poor enunciation sometimes) had they not been blessed with wonderful voices. And for those who have expanded and have decided to promote in neighboring Asian countries, they didn’t disappoint with their songs (for added effect, let me show you a video of the same performance).
These people are not just singers. They are performers. They don’t wear excessively heavy make up and ridiculous outfits just for the heck of it; for them, it’s part of the package. It makes up their stage persona. It’s part of performing. It doesn’t make a Korean artist any less of a singer. If anything, it makes them even more interesting as personalities.
Some people will forever be unfazed by these points that I’ve raised, but I won’t blame them. It’s all a matter of preference, as I’d normally say. Heavily synthed songs might be the governing force in the K-Pop scene, but keep in mind that not all K-Pop songs are like this. Give them a chance and maybe, just maybe, you’d realize that everything you said before about them was just a big, big mistaKe.