I originally posted this on another blog site (20.9.2013), but I’ve updated it and carried it over to wordpress.com.
We’ve all heard of PSY and his Gangnam Style, but there is more to the Korean Pop (K-Pop) phenomena than a horse dance and a catchy chorus.
My fascination and enjoyment began one Sunday morning (4th September, 2011 to be exact) – while flicking through the usual boring television on offer I stumbled across something that I found supremely interesting and visually stimulating on SBS (Pop Asia). It was a video clip for a song by a young Korean guy named Taeyang. The tune was catchy, but the clip had more to offer – a well-dressed, very handsome Korean guy. Those that know me won’t be surprised by this at all.
I enjoyed it so much that I immediately jumped on the YouTuber and discovered Taeyang had quite an impressive list of video clips to view.
I couldn’t help but find the clip to “I’ll Be There” hypnotising. He can sing. He can dance. And he’s hot. What’s not to like?
“I’ll Be There” reminds me somewhat of Michael Jacksons Thriller video.
“Where U At” is another great clip & song.
Most recently he delivered a new, and some say very different song and video clip for “Ringa Linga”
Don’t worry though, this is the last time I will mention how spunky I think they all are.
I will be mentioning the terrific Korean girl groups that are thriving later on.
This is intended to be a brief guide to some GREAT k-pop – and believe me there is some crap out there too, just like any other genres.
The Google machine told me that Taeyang was a member of a Korean boy band named “Big Bang”. So once again I dialed up YouTuber and found these awesome tracks.
“Gara Gara Go”
“Tell Me Goodbye”
Formed in 2006, the group consists of G-Dragon, T.O.P, Taeyang, Daesung, and Seungri.. Big Bang is known for their unique urban-originated music and fashion style. The members’ involvement in composing and producing their own music has earned the group respect and praise from music industry experts (according to Wikipedia).
They are supremely good at marketing themselves. Their most recent album titled “Alive” was released in many different versions. It was available to purchase with at least 6 different covers, each featuring one band member on the front, plus the one I bought of the group together. Then there was the Japanese version, a “Still Alive” version, the Monster Edition etc., etc.
Just check the website of the company producing them and you’ll see what I mean.
That album has my all-time favourite K-Pop song, “Fantastic Baby”.
Boom shakalaka, was a phrase that stuck in my head for days. The songs are catchy and the clips are vibrant. “Alive” also contained some non-dance type tracks which also have memorable video clips.
They have a dedicated official YouTube channel – check it out for more brilliant stuff, including some amazing live performances, most of which are in glorious HD.
The Big Bang members also release material individually. As I mentioned earlier Taeyang has a great number of catchy tracks and so do the other members.
T.O.P has a fantastic solo track titled “Turn It Up”
which must be played a level the title suggests, and recently followed it up with the trippy “Doom Dada”
Daesung (AKA D-Lite) seems to prefer ballads to dance tracks when going solo. They are not my style of music, but he is clearly talented.
Seung Ri has a number of very memorable songs that also make me want to bounce around, and his clips are no less eye catching.
“What Can I Do”
“Gotta Talk To You”
G-Dragon is the self-proclaimed “leader” of Big Bang, and his solo output is prolific.
Shortly after Heartbreaker’s release, G-Dragon was accused of plagiarism by SonyMusic. Heartbreaker was alleged to be similar to Flo Rida’s “Right Round”. However, EMI, the record label that distributed “Right Round” said that they saw no similarities between the two songs. On March 6, 2010, YG Entertainment announced that they personally contacted Flo Rida’s representatives requesting that he feature in G-Dragon’s live album, Shine a Light, to which Flo Rida accepted. (Source: Wikipedia). There is a remix available of “Heartbreaker” which features Flo Rida doing his thing. It’s good too. Here are some of his other tracks.
“One Of A Kind”
Plus many, many more…
There are two main companies producing the pop music I enjoy – “YG Family and SM Entertainment”. There are others, but I will stick with them for this write up.
YG Family release Big Bang, Se7en, PSY and 2NE1, amongst others.
2NE1 are one of the best Korean girl groups, with similarly flashy videos and memorable sing along songs. Though I suggest they are one of the best, they say:
“I Am The Best”
They are a sexy group of ladies, and they too know how to sing and dance.
“I Love You”
As does “Girl’s Generation”. They are released by the other management group I mentioned earlier – SM Entertainment.
“Run Devil Run”
“Paparazzi” has a wonderful tribute to Singin’ In The Rain.
SM Entertainment also produces Shinee, a boy band whose synchronised dance moves is a spectacle to watch.
My enjoyment of Korean pop is because the songs are so catchy. The video clips are great fun to watch – just look at how well dressed they are. They have style and it’s a style that only they can manage.
People ask me if I know what they’re singing about… I reply, “Does it matter?” Most of the songs are inoffensive, happy and fun tunes that will stick in your head for ages after hearing them.
There are SO many more groups, and I could go on and on and on, so I have created a playlist on the YouTuber featuring my selection of the best clips. If you have some time, check it out and be prepared to dance!