Oh man, it’s been a while since I’ve had any sort of inspiration to write about…anything. Well, I could have ranted about a lot of random things, but who really wants to hear a girl with no obvious life complaining? No one, I get it. So yes, folks, I take your requests seriously. I mean, I actually took the time to find that SNSD cd that I surprisingly owned and reviewed for someone, painfully. I’m really nice, I know. So request away and I’ll try to get right on it.
I have reason to believe my blog has been officially flagged by WordPress as “mature” =D Ain’t that cute?
Anyway, enough shameless advertising. Let’s get down to the dirty stuff. So Kpop: What is it really? What were its origins (rofl this is starting to sound something out of History or Discovery Channel. Sorry ’bout that)? We can pretty much thank our obsession (or lack thereof) to Seo Taiji and Boys. Now, I don’t know how old school some of you readers out there are, but I can only imagine that none of you are aware of who these boys are. It’s ok. For quite a while, I didn’t know either.
These boys popped into the Korean music scene around 1992 and brought American elements (such as rap, techno, and pop) into their music. Must have been a shocker (the good kind, obviously) to everyone in Korea because the tracks sold by these boys flew off the shelves like crazy. Thus…Kpop was born [insert angelic chorus here].
90s Kpop (I’ve already posted my thoughts on this in an earlier post. Check it out if you’re interested in a brief outlook on those groups) is what I believe all these newbie groups are trying to achieve. Not necessarily music-wise, but success. 90s groups in Korea brought such a fresh outlook on music and it was so well received by the public. Popularity of their music only grew from there.
As we all know, mid-90s was when all those cutesy little boy/girl groups popped up. Remember Baby V.O.X., Fin. K.L., S.E.S., G.O.D., H.O.T., Shinhwa, and Sechs Kies? As much as I really hated those stupid acronyms and the equally retarded translation of those acronyms, these groups were the people we should thank for modern day Kpop. Plus, half the songs those guys came up with and performed are still being performed today by the groups we’ve come to know and love. Some of you youngins out there might not be familiar with these guys, but you should look ’em up for your own personal knowledge. You might actually learn something.
Back then, I personally believed Kpop was good. I mean, if you get past the hairstyles and the wardrobe, the whole “dance” music the groups offered was just amazing. I loved how the number of people in the groups were actually small enough for me to recognize who was who and who could sing/dance/had actual talent. Back then, six was the largest size they offered. Shocking, neh? It’s amazing how much has changed, yet stayed the same at the same time in a decade.
Nowadays, those 90s “legends” have disbanded (excluding Shinhwa and S.E.S. as they have not formally stated their break up, but they’re all out doing solo stuff, so it’s hard to say) and have made way for newer Kpoppers to come along and run towards the gold. A lot of the new groups still follow the whole “boy band/girl band/bubble gum pop” scene, but many have branched out into R&B, rap, and hip hop. Do I really need to go on about modern day Kpop? I might just disappoint myself. You guys are already familiar with the heavy hitters like Super Junior, DBSK, SG Wannabe, Lee Hyori, BoA, blah blah blah, so on and so forth. Why bother explaining?
So here comes the real nitty gritty.
I personally hate mainstream Kpop. I can’t blatantly say that the music today is crap because I have different tastes than what Kpop today has to offer. Some artists I find worth listening to, but I’m more of an underground Korean music lover. I love my mellow indie music. YAY OLDFISH!! Anyway, I’m feeling bipolar right now, so let’s run through the GOOD, shall we?
- Kpop is first and foremost music. Some people will fail to realize that as they’ve become so absorbed in the artists instead of the music. I’ll get to that later. The music has branched out from the typical bubblegum goodness that everyone came to love in the 90s. It basically covers everything now. Yes, even country. It’s not bad, though. I’m all for expanding horizons, just don’t fuck up in the process. That’ll disappoint the fans that actually take the time to listen to the musicality of the tracks instead of just fangirling over the artists.
- As messy as the industry is, it’s been a great way for talent to finally be discovered (arguably…Once again I’ll get back to that later). All those Cinderella stories are ever-present in Korea (even though half of them seem like something out of your old nursery rhymes and are most likely another scam made up by the company, but more on that later). So to the artists that actually deserve it, good for you.
- Kpop provides all the little people an outlet for their psychopathic obsessions.
Hmm, I really can’t think of any more.
- The fans. I really should elaborate. I’m sure not everyone is as passionate about their artists are those people, but seriously, the level of rabidness some fans possess creeps the balls out of me. I really don’t want to bring up that god awful Dream Concert again, but I’m trying to make a point here. Fans represent their artists. If fans act like creepy freaks stalking their artists, hurting other fans, and standing outside management companies, it just gives a bad rap to the fans and their artists. Who really wants that? …Antis I guess, but they like stuff that makes others look bad. That’s another story for another day.
- Idolization of artists is an epidemic. I love my artists as much as the next fan, but sometimes it really pisses me off to see that people don’t even bother to think of the music anymore. Go ahead and shoot me, I don’t care. I’m a music minor, so there ya have it. I’m sure this doesn’t apply to everyone (or anyone at all), but I happen to support an artist for their music first and foremost. The rabid OHMYGOSH moments come later. I actually listen to the cds and tracks for the musicality and judge harshly (to a certain degree I guess. =D). I won’t support an artist because I find them hot (though it’s always a plus ahah). I’ll support them for their talent whether it’s there or not.
- People freely choose to waste a good portion of their day to find news on their artists, fangirl with other fans, write fanfiction, make graphic art, buy their artists’ products, etc. It’s your time, so more power to ya. Even though I’m one of those people, it’s good advice to go get a life and learn something. Maybe get a job? Lord, I need one of those. Before you bash me, I’m very aware I need a life =P There, I saved you the trouble ahah.
- I’m not sure about overseas fans, but Korean fans seriously go all out when it comes to supporting their artists O__o. Have you seen some of those gifts they give to their artists for their birthdays or some random special occasion? Spend your parents’ money on education or something worthwhile. For all you know, all your parents’ hard work and effort could end up like this. Heck, I don’t even get those kinds of things on my special days haha, but then again I’m not Lee Hyori or anything =P. Man this section’s turning out to be another rant on fans ahah. Oh well.
Now who do we say thank you to, folks? None other than those sleezeballs that have the entertainment industry in the palm of their hands. Heavy hitters? SM Entertainment, YG Entertainment, DSP Entertainment, JYP Entertainment, and I’m sure there are more out there.
You honestly have got to love these companies. They mass produce “talent” everyday in hopes of personal riches for the company. Many people go try out, genuinely believing they have what it takes to make it to the top. Can’t make it the first time? Well, nth time’s the charm. When they do manage to get there, it’s overworking, promoting, exhausting, and rehearsing to the max (depending on the company and popularity/hype). For females, it’s over-sexualized marketing. I mean, it’s to the point where the public has seen your crotch as many times as you have up till that point. Don’t you dare deny it. At some point in every female’s career, they have been used as a sexed up marketing tool. Duh, sex sells. Do the companies really care if it bothers you or your family? They pressure their artists because they seem to know that it’s worth it. To a degree, it works (if you don’t come off looking like a complete whore to the public) and most people are really into that (yes, even in Korea). Don’t make me drag out exhibit A.
I have my obvious hatred for present day SM Entertainment, but I won’t deny how amazing LSM is at buying his way to the top marketing. It’s done wonders for his artists (some more so than others, obviously) and his company. I really dislike the superficiality of the company. Korea is rather shallow, though, when it comes to the looks of their superstars. Not just Korea, but pretty much the world =___=. I mean, would SNSD really have as many fanboys if they stayed looking like this?
I don’t know YG/DSP/JYP Entertainment in detail, but I’m sure they have their sleezeball moments. That’s just how it is in the industry. It’s what you know and who you know. Affiliation is key. I mean, where would MNet be without their affiliation to YG and SM? There’s nothing genuine about the entertainment industry nowadays. Look at the MTV Asian Music Awards for 2008. Prior to the site getting rid of the actual numbers for public viewing, rumors were flying everywhere about how certain fans were somehow hacking into the voting system to gain more votes for their artists. That’s not even the entertainment company. There I go again with those stupid fans.
Kpop is filled with so many shady characters, backstabbing negotiations, and obvious biases on artists and companies alike. As much as I’d love for things to change, I know it won’t. If things did change by some heaven sent miracle, I do believe Kpop won’t have the same “umph” that it has. I mean, nothing fun ever came out of playing fair. You know you managed to cheat even if you were only playing Twister.
People listen to Kpop because it’s obviously something they like (whether it’s the songs or the artists). It’s come a long way since the days when High Five of Teenager was considered a cool acronym (THANK GOD). If the names haven’t ruined it for me yet, I’m pretty sure the companies or the groups will. If I can withstand the ongoing attack of millions of processed idols groups being thrown at me on a daily basis, I’m pretty sure Kpop and I will have a pretty good relationship in the long run. However, if more of this comes up, I’m pretty much throwing the towel in for good. So here’s a message to all you brainwashing manipulators people choose to call “entertainment companies”: Don’t let me down, even if you are bozos.