Thursday, December 8, 2011

A Short History of K-Pop

There was a time when Korea meant kimchi, nuclear war and extremely addictive drama serials. Most, if not all of that, still holds true today - albeit with one new addition: The second generation of K-pop.

Hardly anyone outside Korea knows or remembers the first generation. Going international was one of the traits of its successor wave: Steve Chen, co-founder of YouTube, even ranked "Tell Me" by the Wonder Girls as among one of his favourite clips.


Way back when Sohee was cute and HyunA wasn't the sex symbol she is today.

The Wonder Girls were the first real supergroup of the second generation, and they followed that up with one of the most annoyingly famous songs in recent memory.

Thumbs up if you still remember how to do the dance.

"Nobody" put the Wonder Girls and a little bit of K-pop in the international spotlight. Up until they left for America and were subsequently forgotten by the hordes, the Wonder Girls very nearly single-handedly redefined Korean pop culture with their outrageous concepts, cutesy group choreography and judicious uploads to YouTube. They set a template that was to be emulated in the years to follow - most notably by their arguable successors, SNSD.


They were pretty before they were slutty.

SNSD were achieving moderate local success until the release of "Gee", which set an unbeaten record of 9 weeks at No. 1 on KBS Music Bank. It spawned a wave of idol groups which attempted to capitalise on the instant fame and and popularity that the Wonder Girls' template could produce.


It also heralded the increasing use of meaningless lyrics in pop songs.

2009 also saw unique twists on the tried-and-tested formula in the form of 2NE1 and T-ara. "Fire" was catchy, but not in the girl-next-door way that the YouTube fapboys had come to expect. Neither was "Bo Peep Bo Peep", which had two different MVs released in response to the "Mature" rating slapped on one of them by the South Korean Ministry of Culture and Tourism.


EUNJUNF!

It marked a significant shift from the subliminal pedophilic ahjusshi fap message that SNSD was trying to implement, to the overtly sexual territory as peddled by the newbies. "Mister" brought small-timers Kara overnight success with that infamous butt-dance.


I'd tap that.

By now the entertainment companies were catching on and group after group debuted, providing the hordes with more fap material - but at a significantly reduced quality. It used to be that the music was even tolerable (mileage generally varied with gender and age), but it eventually came to be all about the MVs and the hapless underaged sexpots on feature.


The 4minute sluts.

4minute set a new low with their banned choreographies, as did the Brown Eyed Girls with "Abracadabra".


Ga-In. That is all.

At some point, the industry reached saturation as idol groups began to debut every other month. After School, Secret, miss A, Dal Shabet, SISTAR, f(x), Girls' Day and a whole host of other groups that tried to break away from the sexytime mould garnered moderate fame in and around Asia, but never came close to the level of success that their predecessors attained. YouTube views also did not translate into profits, and as the South Korean charts started getting stuffed with just about anyone who could sing and dance, the entertainment companies started going for the Japanese market.


Auto-tune is one of the greatest inventions since sliced bread.

SNSD's "Mr. Taxi" was about the only original song made for the Japanese market. The rest were repackaged and translated versions of earlier hits; T-ara's "Bo Peep Bo Peep" was, unsurprisingly, a resounding success over there. Other artistes tried their hand at going solo instead, and in doing away with the group thing, brought K-Pop to a whole new level of kitsch.


"Not all Asian girls look like HyunA. wake up guys k"

K-Pop eventually started to gain traction in the all-important American market (after the Wonder Girls failed miserably), and people like will.i.am and Teddy Riley started to make inroads into the scene by making shiteous songs like "The Boys".


Stay classy.

K-Pop music today sounds nothing quite like when it first started out; for better or for worse, the sales are still going strong and the fans are no less retarded than from when it really started taking off. If anything, it served as a halfway-decent primer to Korean culture and a slightly skewed introduction (not all Korean girls are that good looking, unfortunately) to a land where image is everything.

41 comments:

  1. Agree, agree, now a days new songs n groups kindda lack something

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  2. Wow! a serious article. I cant believe a blog like this will come out with that.

    "a slightly skewed introduction to a land where image is everything"

    +10000

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  3. I still remember back in 08 when WG is the only group that is relevant to International fans and no one give a shit about SNSD.
    Totally agree that WG is the one that start it all, not SNSD. Yet Sones are still delusional.

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  4. Kpop Fans aaand Kpop Antifans scare me

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  5. I got into kpop when it had all gone down the crapper so i don't know any different.All I can say is thank God for the K indie/khiphop scene.

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  6. I think Wonder Girls MADE k-pop famous. If they never left for the US (wtf jyp you can't just go to the US after 3 consecutive hit songs) SNSD woulda never claimed their spot. so jyp you dun goofed.they could have had so many opportunities just staying in Korea. Korea lost the classy WG and was replaced by snobby arrogant ass SNSD

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  7. Please, "snobby arrogant ass" SNSD? Both groups are good friends in real life, and one of the most prominent reasons there are so many Sones is because all the girls seem to have unique, interesting and individual personalities that resound well with fans.

    Also I think even if WG stayed in Korea, SNSD has had such an incredible run since Gee that they probably would've become the number one group anyway. I mean Gee, TMYW, Oh, RDR, Hoot, The Boys, that is a strong fucking run for K-Pop.

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  8. ^ After RDR everything was just terrible. They were humping the same stupid dead horse again and again. Gee gee gee shoot shoot shoot hoot hoot hoot oh oh oh come on man what the actual fuck.

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  9. After SChool debuted before T-ara

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  10. ^ you mean gee gee gee gee baby baby baby baby oh oh oh oh run run run run run shoot shoot shoot hoot hoot hoot. shit, even my 3 year old cousin can make better songs. gee only exists because of tell me- the hook song and catchy easy dance to go with it. and after gee, they tried so hard to have the success of gee by making EVERY song sound the same.

    @12:27 call me negative or whatever but anyone can tell that them being friendly is super forced to prevent fan wars. Especially Tiffany, the girl is beyond rude everytime WG is mentioned. actually she is rude everytime someone brings up their competitors. Like when they were asked about WG in the US, she was all like, OH WE DON'T KNOW BECAUSE WE DON'T FOLLOW THEIR ACTIVITIES. and when kara was mentioned being more popular than them in japan, she's like, oh we're just as popular. tiffany is a fucking bimbo with the eloquence of a donkey. stay classy tiffany...

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  11. stay classy wonderfuls...

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  12. "...shift from the subliminal pedophilic ahjusshi fap message that SNSD was trying to implement..."

    i died. their genie video was straight up porn im telling you

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  13. Mister by KARA is acually a Japanese song.

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  14. CombatBaby, are you one of the SNSD fapboy?

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  15. @3:11AM: wtf? are you serious? Mister was released in Korea way back in 2009. LOL!

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  16. Oversimplified, with a really bitter tone, written to inflame fan reactions intentionally.

    I didn't know kpop recent history only involved girlgroups, and suggests all male fans do is fap. Nice to see an article go AntikpopfanBOY for once though :-)

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  17. ^

    "..and suggests all male fans do is fap."

    I think you'll have a hard time trying to prove otherwise. I know I do.

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  18. EUNJUNF!!!!!

    fuck me, fuck me, fuck me, fuck me, fuck me, fuck me, fuck me, AH!~

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  19. This all seems like bullshit to me :P what 4minute and b.e.g didnt set new lows for sexism on stage that was Baby VOX.

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  20. ^ YEAH first generation of kpop!! I remember babyvox. Killer.

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  21. Interesting. I always thought the second generation of girl groups came in three waves. First was 2007, then 2009-2010. And now we are in the third wave, which started 2011.

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  22. "SNSD's "Mr. Taxi" was about the only original song made for the Japanese market"?

    Wasn't KARA's Jumping and Jet Coaster Love released way before that? And yes Jumping was originally a Japanese song, they just translated it to Korean to please their fans/because they're lazy

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  23. @4:10 whops i meant jumping

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  24. I always thought Kara was a Japanese group. They're a lot more successful over there than in Korea.

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  25. I love how all you guys suddenly forgot that boygroups exist.

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  26. i hate it when people use "unf". such a crappy word/onomatopoeia.

    nice article though.

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  27. i like the fact that kara has more exclusives than ports in the japanese market. jet coaster love, go go summer, winter magic, jumping (although tecnically not an exclusive anymore)

    4minute too, although no one really cares about them in japan.

    exclusives....ports.....it's like i'm talking about video games.

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  28. @7:37

    Look me in the eyes and tell me honestly if you give a fuck about boy groups

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  29. I blame 2NE1 for all the hideous fashion that idols are wearing these days. They made wearing clashing patters and colors fashionable and stylists took that and went to hell with it.

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  30. I want boybands. The world doesn't revolve around girls u know

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  31. @ anon #213242141
    "@12:27 call me negative or whatever but anyone can tell that them being friendly is super forced to prevent fan wars. Especially Tiffany, the girl is beyond rude everytime WG is mentioned."

    Yet there are still fucking fanwars in every sordid crevice of this culture of k-pop. Not everyone is fake - and if they are being friendly just out of habit, courtesy, politeness or image, then fuck. Maybe batshit crazy k-pop fans should follow suit. Yet they don't. As for Tiffany being a rude bitch, it's most probably due to SM telling her not to directly comment on any other girl groups or compare SNSD with anyone else. Pretty sure if permitted to do so (and without the consequences), the girls of SNSD would have a shitload to say.

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  32. ^ lol yeah probably hella rude shit to say, tiffany

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  33. well i got into kpop earlier this yr, so i guess everything was shitty already? idk...but u only talked bout the girl groups....the boy groups seem a little better? idk...and WG r WAY better than snsd, sones dont understand -_-

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  34. sure WG is better, or whatever, you wonderfuls can claim all the past glory all you want, but it doesn't matter, like it or not SNSD is the best girl group in kpop now. so yeah you can use the "IF WG" words as much as you want, WG still cant reach SNSD fame today, and to get to SNSD, WG have beat 2ne1 and KARA,but they cant even get pass T-ara right now.

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  35. I completely fail to see how overtaking Kara is a big deal - they don't rank shit at all, actually. WG is good, but it's unlikely that they'll ever beat SNSD at this rate. Not unless SNSD releases another The Boys - which I highly doubt, deep inside they know just exactly how WTF it was - and WG keep doing what they're doing. WG isn't doing bad at all, it's just that SNSD set a real tough act to follow.

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  36. 2009 was when i fully got into k-pop, and it owns all the shit out today.
    Early 2009 to early 2010 was the shit.
    But 2007 and 2008 was them building up, which was still pretty good.

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  37. @10:02
    idk how the boy groups are doing better....unless the trend of boy groups wearing more mascara and eye liner than girls and wearing "gayer" looking clothes and then continuously ripping their clothes to show their abs is suppose to be improvement. both girl and guy groups have all generic songs but i guess for the boys, the improvement is they don't have to wear heel so they can do better dance moves?..

    anyway
    1st gen kpop was the shit~ up til 07-08 now it's just a genre that conformed and adapted more western music just to be more popular to other people. they shouldn't even be calling it kpop. the only thing that's korean about their music is the language in the songs.

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  38. @11:09

    Most Sones do know that WG started off the K-Pop trend. It's just that everyone else besides delusional wonderfuls know that SNSD kicked their asses to the curb and are now the "queens" of k-pop. Whatever.

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  39. LMAO i agree with this!!

    BUT while Wonder Girls was one of the biggest and 1st groups to launch K-pop into worldwide success, there were already groups like Brown Eyed Girls and Jewelry that had debuted way before them!

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