Sunday, March 23, 2014

Bah Humbug: Is KPop Really on the Decline?

The other day, I was asked this uncharacteristically deep/complex question by an anon from my ask.fm (which is here btw):
Lots of people have been saying kpop is on the decline from 2009-2012. What do you think they mean by that, and do you agree?
I decided to turn it into a full article/editorial because, hey. If Kpoppalypse can do one of these and generate some good commentary and introspective reflection instead of a deadzone of "l0l no1kara", why don't I try?


Warning: Very long and picture/video heavy post ahead, beware!!

The way I see it, I think there's 3 major camps of the "KPop sucks now" argument: the "anti-Westernization" camp, the "hipster fag" camp, and the "too many nugus" camp.

ANTI WESTERNIZED KPOP-FANGIRL
These are the idiots who bitch about KPop incorporating too much Western influence these days, whether it's "sexy" or borrowing too much from the latest trendy crap in the Western world. They're usually the ones on the comments sections spewing crap like:






A big part of what's wrong with this terrible argumentative stance is how I find it extremely ironic that all these people remain so blissfully unaware (or ignorant) of how badly the "westernized" KPop idols WANT to be "western." You can see this very clearly every time Taeyang appears on stage, or how most idols in turn idolize Michael Jackson/Mariah Carey/Britney Spears, or how much media play circlejerk any news of a KPop group working with the hairstylist of Lady Gaga's backup dancers.

Not to mention KPop wants so desperately to appeal to "western" audiences as much as their domestic market. Hallyu is a huge chunk of export revenue, so if you/us Westerners find it interesting, that's just more money in their pockets. And best of all, all you idiots commenting on the Youtube videos or sharing the website links to pictorials or tweeting your hate for all things sexy is simply giving free hits/views/publicity for the shit you're complaining about. As they say, any publicity is good publicity, and this is publicity they don't even have to pay for. They're metaphorically making money just by lapping up the salty tears of butthurt fanboys and girls.

It goes without saying that people who fall in this camp are just whiny self-entitled brats who have very narrow and highly idealized pictures of what they think KPop SHOULD be and demanding that these big corporations acquiesce to their needs. Why they can't just look for and stan groups that DO fall under their definitions rather than complain about the mainstream, I'll never know. If they hate sexy or gangsta groups, putting their money where their mouth is and support, I dunno, a fresh young group trying to get out there with a different concept *coughnuguscough*,  maybe they might make a difference.

>MFW reading KPop comment sections

THE HIPSTER
Like their namesake, the people who fall into this category tend to be bitter old folks (or people who want to be seen as oldfags) who hate the current state of KPop. These are usually the people who are in the comments sections spewing shit like this word vomit (formatted for clarity, this is too funny to pass up):

KPOP HAS LOST ITS MEANING

Before you’re going to insult me read this post first. As you all know Kpop has become very popular all around the world. 
This is exactly the problem of Kpop. 
Because it is so successful the entertainments think they should do it like the american music industry, to get more international fans and to be well-known. They’re telling their idols to show more skin and to act differently to impress the western fans. but it doesn’t impress me! What I mean is they don’t have to do this! In the end all what matters is the fame and money. Like always. I mean look at the Girlgroup ‘Wassup’ seriously twerking? excuse me but, since when is that Kpop? are they portraying Miley Cyrus? 
when you listen to K-pop and American music there’s no difference. Kpop music is now just upbeat music with dubstep and electro in it. example: 2NE1’ s falling in love. is this kpop for you? Just because they speak some Korean and the rest is just English? or CL, GD, etc. No wonder that Lorde and other artists have interests in them. 
But tell me was it like that before? When Kpop wasn’t that American? I became a Kpop fan because I thought it was different! I was sick and tired of American music and all what is was about! In Korea exists rap music too, sure like in every country. but it isn’t Kpop. Since the Gangnam style Era Kpop changed way TOO much. What I am trying to say Is people started to say “I like Gangnam style I am an Kpop fan now!” that’s what i mean people don’t even know what exactly Kpop is! and it doesn’t matter how much Kpop will turn American or be popular there will always be people there who dislike it. 
Seriously the Entertainments can’t expect that every one knows or will like Kpop! For example in the country where i live the most people don’t even know what Kpop is! I even showed a non-kpop friend of mine GD’s michigo Mv she said “the song is s*hit” “he is crazy” etc. See? Yeah some people are ignorant and racist, but that’s not the matter now. I am an K-pop fan since 2009 and believe me I know what Kpop is. And I am sure many of you know that too. 
When you look now the rookies make hip hop music etc. The true Kings of Kpop are for me DBSK and Super Junior. Although DBSK split and SJ’s music changed a lot into dubstep and of course American. I may sound to you like I totally dislike American music. NO! I don’t dislike it! I just don’t want that Kpop and the idols are influenced by the American music industry. Just some Kpop groups have this Kpop concept like A-pink etc. 
I am sure that I look to you like an old Kpop fan that stuck in the “Sorry Sorry” and “Gee” era. lol no and believe it or not I am an EXOTIC. too be honest I hate the thought of it that Kpop will grow more because The people who talked shit about Kpop started to like it! It’s like all my non-Kpop friends that absolutely hate Kpop come to me spazzing over their ‘bias’  and sing to korean songs! What the actually f*ck?! When BIGBANG became popular with “fantastic baby” and “BLUE” Taeyang changed a lot! Sure he wants to experience an other style and make other music but, as he came up with cornrows and Snoop Dogg like hair i was like “WTF” what I mean is they seriously want to “try” it that way. 
I am not bashing Kpop, I am self a fan! But Kpop isn’t Kpop anymore! They even get choreographers from other countries. And composers as well. Do you see my problem here? they even get help to be more like the western artists! I don’t even want to talk about I Got A Boy.. Search for examples like SHINee’s Juliette or ring ding dong, Lucifer, 2ne1 & big bang lollipop ect. you will see the difference from then and now. Kpop was,cute, it gave’s songs with meanings, ect. Of course they are still such songs and concepts. but it changed too much and most groups make just hip hop now.  
I have no choice, either I like it or I hate it. But i can’t force myself to like it. be honest please wasn’t it one of the old Kpop songs that made you to an Kpop fan? groups like DBSK, SJ, SNSD, KARA, or B2ST, BIGBANG? Because many people came trough this groups to Kpop. I turned trough DBSK’s Balloons into an Kpop fan.

TL;DR: I LIKED KPOP BEFORE IT WAS COOL TO LIKE KPOP. Honestly, most of these people think KPop sucks now for the simple fact that it changed. It went mainstream. It sold out

News flash -- You're trying to stroke your epeen for being a fan of a mainstream POP music industry before it was POPULAR all over the world. How's that for irony.

The other common hipster argument is that they "miss" the old KPop. A commonly "cited" point is how overly sexy KPop is now (overlaps with the Anti Westernized KPop-Fangirl camp on this one) compared to the past. 



Let's take a walk down memory lane shall we? 

Lee Hyori - U Go Girl (2008)
Seo In Young from Jewelry - Passion (2005) 
Chaeyeon - Two of Us (2004)


Baby V.O.X. - Doll (2001)

As you can see, there's plenty of old school KPop that's done just as sexy if not sexier than some groups today even back in the stone age, so to speak, of KPop. People bitching about "the good ol' days" are simply uninformed fools missing out on some good shit here.

Of course, the easy solution would be to just ignore all the shit you don't like and SUPPORT GROUPS THAT DON'T DO THE SHIT YOU DON'T LIKE instead of expecting everyone to conform to your needs. But hey, that's too reasonable of a fix.

I WANT TO GET OUT OF NUGUSVILLE
People who subscribe to this theory are quite possibly the worst of the ones we've covered so far. The Anti Western Kpop-Fangirls could be excused as a matter of taste (poor taste, but taste nonetheless). The hipsters, while detestable, often are just uninformed kids who don't know any better.

The people who think KPop nowadays is filled with too many damn nugus, that KPop sucks now cause it's all shitty nugus on the music programs, or that no one good is promoting at the moment? Simply awful. I think Chuck and Kpoppalypse have beat the horse to death on why this is such a horrible attitude to have, so I won't bore you with any more on the matter.

I will say that like the other 2, the easiest fix is to give NEW groups a chance, or try different genres of Korean music other than the mainstream pop stuff.

Yes, Seohyun, there IS more to Korean music than SNSD.
To actually answer the question though, I don't think KPop is on the decline. Waxing and waning, sure, but that's the nature of POPULAR music. No matter what happens to the idol industry, KPop (AKA KOREAN POPULAR MUSIC) will always be around. In a different form, and possibly without idols in the future as the idol bubble pops, but there's always going to be a mainstream set of songs and music that sells like hot cakes. You just have to find it!!

66 comments:

  1. A very accurate analysis of what goes on in the mind of those people moaning about how "Kpop has changed" and nonsense like that. I also noticed that many of those people who complain about Kpop being "westernised" were actually the same people that complained that Kpop was too boring and how Western music was way better. Oh, I realised that it's the less popular girl groups (AKA groups not called 2NE1 or Girl's Generation) that get so much hate from all those netizens for doing sexy concepts. If 2NE1 or Girl's Generation have a comback like Stellar or Rainbow Blaxx, I doubt that there would be any hate form the netizens. That last tweet is so funny. Sexy concept, cute concept and your own concept. What is that supposed to mean? Anyway, we all know that most of those people talking about "missing the good old days of kpop" happen to be a bunch of teenagers who probably never heard of Kpop up till 2008. Of course, in that period, there was all those cute concepts, so I can see why many others have the misconception that Kpop is supposed to cute and "different from western music". Of course, assuming that Kpop was cute since it's existence would be ridiculous.

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    1. There will grumbling in the same crowd who buys akb48's singles in secret who probably hatea that snsd or 2ne1 dares to grow up.

      And cute concepts pretty much a jidol group with more production values

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  2. Every time a female idol twerks (read: shakes her butt) a fangirl kills a kitten.

    Excellent analysis. I agree with your points, though these probably go hand in hand. Fangirls act like k-pop was some kind of gift from the music gods and it's now "tainted" by the evil hand of America. I would be more inclined to accept this kind of thought if it weren't so painfully obvious these girls are just fellating themselves for liking something that isn't as mainstream as western pop. In my opinion, most of the "old k-pop" (read: 2007-2011ish) these girls are fawning over have lyrics just as vapid as anything released in America in the past 20 or so years. If anyone truly claims to be into k-pop for the message, they're either lying or severely delusional.

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  3. 2009-2011 were the peak years for songs but I put that down to chance more than anything. There's no reason why we can't have another peak at least in theory.

    K-pop has always copied western pop. Early idol k-pop was a mish mash of styles that were trendy 5-10 years previous until about 2007-2009 where the competition heated up and more diverse influences came in. But it's always been a copy of western SOMETHING.

    Great article.

    Also can anyone on the staff spell my name right?

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    1. I do all the time, unless you count adding 'oppar' at the end being wrong lol.

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    2. How about doing a "retrospective" on "old kpop"?

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    3. "Oppar" at the end is fine (as is just about anything else, like "attention whore", "cunt", "that sexist pig", etc), but "oppa" in the middle changes the meaning of the name and makes it confusing for people doing searches and stuff.

      I've thought about doing a "best of" list for previous years, but then I'd also have to do a "worst of" and most of the really shit songs from back then have probably been lost in the depths of the Internet by now so it wouldn't be a very good list. Crappy pop songs have a shorter half-life than biodegradeable milk cartons.

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    4. "K-pop has always copied western pop. Early idol k-pop was a mish mash of styles that were trendy 5-10 years previous until about 2007-2009 where the competition heated up and more diverse influences came in. But it's always been a copy of western SOMETHING."

      THANK YOU AND GOOD NIGHT!!!

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    5. I spell your name so there's an OPPA in the middle, aka KpOPPAlypse, intentionally. Should I stop doing it so you keep getting hits tho? LOL

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    6. It's not so much the hits, it's more that it makes no sense.

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    7. 2007 to 2009 was taking the good cuts from the carcass that is jidol pop and making a meatloaf out of it

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    8. K-Pop also buys from Western Pop. Most of these oh-so-called hit singles come from US, UK, Norway, Sweden... not to mention Seo Taiji and his boys sucked up a lot from New Kids On The Block back in the day, or how TVXQ started up as an acappella group who tried to blend gospell with K-ballad, but started hitting it up when they were westernized through a J-Pop point of view.

      I love how they say old school like K-Pop started on 2005.

      Great point adding certain MV's, specially Jewelry's and Baby VOX, those girls went to 2Pac's funeral, so you can get an idea of how much K-Pop has always tried to get a westernized feel.

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    9. Which now has fully paid off in an age that has a weak stomach towards stuff like AKB48 who despite Heavy Rotation being "Lewd" is no worse than a girls only slumber party.

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  4. Complains about 19+ rating

    nickname is Oppaspanties

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    1. I'm enjoying your commentary more each day.

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    2. Oh? Cant the article about complaints about the 19+ rating

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    3. LOL I noticed that one too. I couldn't stop smh.

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  5. "I am an K-pop fan since 2009 and believe me I know what Kpop is."
    "When BIGBANG became popular with “fantastic baby” and “BLUE” Taeyang changed a lot! Sure he wants to experience an other style and make other music but, as he came up with cornrows and Snoop Dogg like hair i was like “WTF” what I mean is they seriously want to “try” it that way."

    In the same post.. That's just gold.

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    1. >KPop fan since 2009
      >claims Big Bang got famous with Fantastic Baby and Blue

      LOL

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    2. "They even get choreographers from other countries. And composers as well. Do you see my problem here? they even get help to be more like the western artists! I don’t even want to talk about I Got A Boy.. Search for examples like SHINee’s Juliette or ring ding dong, Lucifer, 2ne1 & big bang lollipop ect. you will see the difference from then and now."

      Juliette and Lucifer were both from foreign producers (Ring Ding Dong not so much, but like 99% of SHINee's discography has been from europop or american producers or something.) Kpop has been doing that since the beginning of time and it's not as if it's a recent westernizing thing to bring in producers that aren't Korean. That's basically all of SM's discography, really.

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    3. THIS ^

      And don't even get me started about YG... the whole agency is all about being American Hip-Hop-copycat.

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  6. It's funny to notice how the "new generation" of kpop fans behave the exact same way the "old" one did. Does anyone remember the clusterfuck this song from Baby V.O.X. generated https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ySxjuXII3Kc ? They went as far as putting some "exclusive" footage of 2pac rapping in their video, witch resulted in a mix of extreme awkwardness and geniality (Pac appearing into the rear-view mirror, I mean WOAH). That MV grant them the title of "prostitutes" from some korean rapper I don't remeber. Hipstery repeating.

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    1. That song made me cringe so much. It may have been part of the reasoning behind me getting away from listening to Kpop for a few years.

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    2. As I was doing the research on old sexy KPop videos, I did come across that terrible song. Baby V.O.X.'s Xcstacy was one of those early attempts to make it big in the West I believe. They managed to get some rap Tupac recorded while in prison, so props to them actually.

      The rapper was DJ DOC or some guy in DJ DOC according to the Wikipedia page. Jerk-ass thought them using Tupac's rap was some kind of plagiarism or theft or insult to his memory, so he publicly called them prostitutes. They eventually went to court, Baby V.O.X. won.

      But still, terrible song. Baby V.O.X. had way better songs up to then.

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  7. I have used all three of these arguments, and then seen just how asinine they were. I remember essentially boycotting Kpop in the mid 00's because all the "good" groups were disbanding. While I still don't like the majority of new groups that seem to debut every 2-3 days, at least I try and give them a shot should I come across their MV. Good article.

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  8. "When BIGBANG became popular with “fantastic baby” and “BLUE” /headdesks

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  9. http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-j7QPnDjZRZQ/Uy6o8hy8VkI/AAAAAAAACOA/FiLsb1IJPuc/s1600/Bcs7R7pCIAA4osu%255B1%255D.jpg

    Whoever created this bullshit needs to be shot. If you're *really* trying to be taken seriously here, why don't you compare choruses with choruses, hooks with hooks, and verses with verses. Not verses with hooks, which is what you've done here. Stupid cunt -_-

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    1. Also, if you assholes have such an issue with K-Pop these days, then you can leave. You're clearly *not* the target demographic anymore, and you won't be missed :P

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    2. Two can play that game--

      SHINee: Fantastic fantastic fantastic fantastic
      Elastic elastic elastic elastic

      SNSD: Gee Gee Gee Gee baby baby baby
      Gee Gee Gee Gee Baby Baby Baby

      2NE1: Bam Ratatata Tatatatata
      Bam Ratatata Tatatatata

      Big Bang: Boomshakalaka Boomshakalaka Boomshakalaka Dan Dan Dan Dan Dance

      T-ara: I likey likey this
      I likey likey that
      I like this like that yeah

      2PM: Put your Hands Up, Put your Hands Up, put, put, put, put, put Put your Hands Up, Put your Hands Up

      Super Junior: Ttanttan ttanttada tta ttararara
      Ttanttan ttanttada tta ttarappappara

      f(x): Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Nananana Na Na Na
      Yeah! Yeah! Yeah this is how we do it baby

      I just proved that Western music is far superior and more meaningful than any and all Kpop.

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    3. I prefer k-pop over western pop but honestly k-pop lyrics 85% of time suck ass.
      but most western pop lyrics suck aswell.

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    4. @CitrusParty

      Thank you for doing what I was too lazy to do XD

      @Jukka

      I like K-Pop more than western pop, but that's more because there's less bullshit (most of the time) in K-Pop's presentation. You don't have idols talking about how much superior their flavor of bubblegum pop is over another's (*cough*Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Kesha, etc*cough*), last year's 5-songs-in-1 trend was the first time I've seen K-Pop try to diversify in the artistic realm (as far as I know, it's always been a shameless rip off of western pop music; SNSD's debut sounds like some misc. R&B group song from the '90s, etc), and I like the choreography that most K-Pop acts bring to the table. K-Pop is not any better than western pop simply because it's a derivative *of* western pop and won't be changing anytime soon.

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  10. Kpop wouldn't even exist without Western pop. Of course, I have my reasons for why I find Kpop a more enjoyable experience, but delusional fans need to get rid of their "holier than thou" attitudes and their need to justify their preferences in music.

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  11. Despite being a rip off of Western pop, I still find K-pop to be more fun and catchy. You Asians have no idea how awful it is to be forced to listen to Katy Perry, Pink, Kelly Clarkson, and Taylor Swift on the radio at work for five days a week.

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    1. Us Westerners don't have any idea how awful it is to be forced to listen to SNSD, 2NE1, Big Bang, or 2PM on the radio at work for 5 days a week. Koreans complain about shitty asinine idol music just as much as we complain about shitty asinine Top 40 on our airwaves.

      All a matter of perspective, my good fellow.

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    2. I suppose you're right. Truth be told, my opinion towards k-pop would probably be a lot more negative if it was played non-stop on my local radio stations.

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    3. But when my cousin was in Seoul, he said that the amount of k-pop 'idol' music being played on the radio is actually quite rare unless the idol group came from a major label with high investment of marketing or have a colossal fandom like the legendary H.O.T, DBSK etc. The last time he was there, he kind of lost count how many times the radio stations played the song from 'non-idol' kpop artists compare to the 'idol' groups or singers. So in reality, does this 'idol' actually as big as they want us to believe? Sorry for my bad English, but I cant help myself to throw my own two cent on this topic.

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    4. Anecdotal evidence should always be taken with a grain of salt. When my good friend went to Korea (Seoul as well) for study abroad just this last summer, she lost count of how many times they played shiet like Busker Busker or Sistar's Loving You in stores and restaurants.

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  12. Some people might argue that k-pop's quality is on the decline, but there's no denying that it's becoming more internationally recognized. K-pop artists are now performing at North American festivals (eg. f(x) at SXSW), collaborating with popular North American artists (eg. CL and G-Dragon with Skrillex), and opening for their shows (eg. Crayon Pop for Lady Gaga).

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  13. This is why many of you so called k-pop fans annoy me.you act like hypocrites.i personally like k-pop now more than before btw your oppa doesn't give two shits about you.

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  14. i fucking love people who defend kpop with an argument about artistry and complexity

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  15. Just when I think that Kpop is doing okay, a group like M.O.A. has to come along and dash those hopes against the rocks.

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    1. I don't have anything against M.O.A but I have seen their live performance on several shows and its sad. I hope they get better.

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    2. M.O.A actually is a great group that debuted way before they need to.

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  16. The "Kpop has lost its meaning" post is incredibly stupid. She basically said "Recent Korean music isn't Korean music because I don't like it." As that wasn't enough to make her look like an imbecile, she went on to say she liked Exo, a group that debuted in 2012.

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  17. Nice article! I am surprise you didn't include T.O.P pics.
    First time watching the Chaeyeon MV and I keep hitting the replay button.
    I like new/nugu groups because every once in a while they release a song that gives the impression there was an actual effort put into it, as oppose to the already established acts who know that no matter what shit they put out there, their fans are going to listen/watch/buy.

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    1. I loved Chaeyeon's stuff back in the day, she had some great gems in her discography.

      Nugu groups have far more to lose than an established group, many of them will take the safe route and do tried and true concepts/tracks. It's usually the big name established groups that will do wacky shit cause people will buy it no matter what. See SNSD or 2NE1

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  18. Fans who say things like that make me question both their intelligence and their age. Every time I point out the fact that kpop has always been westernized they respond with "but it's much more westernized now" ugh annoying.

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  19. Is there a video of that Seo In Young girl in that outfit?

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    1. Why, yes:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pO__8NywNYo

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    2. This one is that particular performance:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kvaQLj-esqk

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  20. Uh, that "Why kpop?" illustration is so cringe-worthy. Gee gee gee gee baby baby.

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    1. And i-netizens who use that argument don't even know korean. They just wait for someone to publish the translation. So, they really don't know what their idols are singing. it's so fucking annoying.

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  21. I do feel that one way it has been declining is quality reality/variety shows with idols. They just aren't as frequent/good/candid as they used to be.

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    1. This. Aside from watching one of Hello Venus' variety shows, I don't think I've watched anything revolving around idols since Heroes ended in early 2011.

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    2. i'm slowly becoming very obsessed with 'superman returns'

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  22. Seo In Young body looks so perfect to the point is ridiculous.

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    1. I must disagree, but I think you would like Gaeun from Dal Shabet.

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    2. Her body is also fucking ridiculous, good lord.

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  23. My point, I think fans are comparing cute and innocent concepts with the popular concepts of sex, drugs and nocturne life, that's why they "think" that K-POP is changing, but the contradiction comes when they complain about sexy concepts and lyrics about sex, but they are waiting for a fancam of their oppas taking out their t-shirts

    I started to like K-POP because of songs like ITNW of SNSD, I never heard a regular american song with that kind of scenario and lyrics, but yeah it's always commercial, and they are gonna produce what people wants more, but is there an american group with a concept like, for example, A-Pink? Maybe little Disney "idols" lol seems really ridiculous but I like stupid songs like Kissing You, NoNoNo or Girls' Power (KARA), but here is the problem, you just can't compare different concepts and they make it, american pop can make cute music too but I think, because the language they (me too) just can't accept it, lyrics are stupid and childish but that's the cute concept, the lyrics are shit and childish

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    1. Or their oppas humping female backup dancers while female groups can't even have man candy anymore.

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  24. I like Kpop now as much as I did when I first discovered it.
    If I don't like something, then I don't associate myself with it.

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  25. I'm a huge SNSD fan and I would very much rather have the "Westernized" sound in "Mr. Mr." han those craps like "Kissing You" and "Gee" regardless of how those shoved them to the elite circle.

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  26. I can't with new kpop fans. Kpop is the same as it's always been, Korean pop pretending to be western pop. The whole transformation from Gee to RDR and Pretty Girl to Mr. is an exact replica of every western girl groups/ singers transformation from cute to sexy. TLC went from "What about your friends" to "red light special" and Britney Spears went from "baby one more time" to "slave 4 you".

    I think the problem is simple, the fans that Kpop wants are not the fans that Kpop has. Kpop wants attention from the mainstream market of the west and so they try desperately to replicate western music and dance and street style. However, the people that become fans of Kpop in the west are far from being "the cool kids" and so it doesn't translate. Weird/fat white/hispanic/black/SEA chicks become fans of Kpop and that's the problem. Hotties at my school are not listening to 2PM or going crazy over EXO.

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  27. I have an A in English, but even I couldn't comprehend that word vomit.

    Anyways, all of this website's articles make me question myself... I called myself a fangirl (and I still pretty much do now //shot), but now I just question myself about whether I'm delusional or not and whatever. (Being a delusional looks scary) After saying that, am I not welcome hee? (I'm 13, and I've always been afraid to comment on here till now)

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    1. For one thing though, I was definitely delusional before. (I was 10 when I got into Korean and Japanese culture, so I guess that explains it?)

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