Friday, August 29, 2014

The differences between K-pop and western pop for those too lazy to write their own school essays

Inquiring minds wish to know the differences between Korean pop and pop from other countries.  What are the differences?  How much has one influenced the other?  Is it true that one is superior?  Why haven't I posted any images of T-ara girls in tightly-fitting school uniforms lately?


I keep getting asked about this type of shit so here's another one of those posts where I wrap some vaguely educational information up in my usual snarky blogging style and shovel it down the throats of a bunch of drooling, shambling Koreaboos.  Please enjoy.*

I'm writing about this only because I get asked about it all the time.  I get a lot of questions like these:

diff1 diff2 diff3

I wouldn't want any of you folks to fail your school and uni assignments, so remember this; one of the favourite pastimes of teachers and markers everywhere is to find the most well-written chunks of your essays and feed them verbatim into search engines to see if you've stolen them from anywhere.  To that end, I'll fill this post with enough typical Kpopalypse-grade humour that you're going to have to paraphrase my text anyway if you want to copy any of it and don't want to be expelled when it hits the principal's desk.  Here we go, cunts.


The concept of the modern k-pop idol group is not a Korean invention, but an imported idea from western groups.  The first true "idol" pop stars in the sense that we now know them today achieved their first peak cultural relevance to very young people in western countries in the 1950s.  These "idols" fell into two broad categories:
  • Solo vocalists, with a backing band (Elvis Presley is a good example)
  • Groups of vocalists, with or without a backing band (the "doo-wop" movement)
The rise of television into a ubiquitous family lounge-room fixture shortly after World War II meant that extremely young people now had easy access to audiovisual entertainment, and could ogle their idols up close for the first time.  The ease of emotional attachment that the new technology provided to very young people lacking in discernment and the ability to separate fantasy from reality meant that this was also the time that the first "deludu fangirls" made an appearance.  Of course, music fans existed before this time, but the crazy fever pitch zerg-rush of 1950s pop fangirls were a new breed that society was unprepared for.


The "self-contained" pop/rock group that played their own instruments (or appeared to, but that's a subject for another blog) came later in the early 1960s thanks to the popularity of The Beatles and similar "Merseybeat" acts.  Although The Beatles got the idol treatment and slotted right into idol infrastructure, at heart they weren't an idol group and after only a few short years of promotion, they'd had a gutful of this type of fucking shit everywhere they went:

"Fuck these fucking fans - we're growing our hair, getting ugly and never touring ever again", they said.  Although this decision helped the gradually-imploding Beatles kick on for a few more years, it didn't really matter in the grand scheme - by this time a veritable army of record label rubber-stamped Beatles-inspired clone groups picked up the slack and fangirls just transferred their insanity over to these new groups, diffusing the mental retardation across the entire spectrum of pop music.  The market saw the increasing demand, responded with more and more teen-friendly sugar-pop and the "pop idol system" gradually developed into what it is today.


The stylistic elements of k-pop also go way back.  Far closer to the current spirit of idol pop than doo-wop, The Beatles, Elvis or any of the imitators they spawned was the American Motown record label.  Formed in 1959, Motown were the first record label with overt "factory" aspirations and a mission statement to transform their working-class black performers into "royalty" - people that you would (hopefully) find charming and relateable and fetishise and drool over and plaster your bedroom walls with posters of, regardless of class or racial barriers.  Motown specifically groomed, charm-schooled and choreographed their younger artists for maximum public appeal and success just like k-pop agencies do now and to this end they were the spiritual precursor to the k-pop labels of today.  Motown had teams of in-house songwriters cranking out the hits and even had their own SM Town-style packaged concerts.  Their strategies worked, with their first big payoff coming with mega-hit girl group The Supremes.

Many of the key elements that we love about today's Korean idol groups were present in a more basic form in The Supremes.  In  "Stop In The Name Of Love" we can see synchronised choreography, sexy (for the time) fashions and styling, and even the first ever "girl idol hand-dance".

This iconic hand gesture as well as the general look and feel of The Supremes was given the high-glitz modern k-pop makeover in Wonder Girls' "Nobody":

The Supremes also weren't short on that other common element of idol pop - bitchy in-fighting.  Years after the group broke up and the members went to separate solo projects, Supreme Mary Wilson released the tell-all book "Dreamgirl: My Life As A Supreme" where she spends many pages gleefully outing groupmate Diana Ross as a complete prima-donna cunthole.  Legitimate grievance or petty jealousy?  Like all the best k-pop scandals, only industry insiders will ever know the truth, but it's certainly entertaining to read Mary's bitter jealousy-infused version of events.

The other big act on Motown were boy group The Jackson Five, who signed to the label in 1969, when the youngest member Michael Jackson was only 11 years old.  Motown's PR department then lied about his age, saying he was even younger, to make him look like even more of a child prodigy than he really was for publicity purposes - lying bullshit press releases, another thing k-pop labels didn't invent.  Michael's later solo career doesn't need recounting here but his influence on the dance routines (and maybe also the plastic surgery routines) of k-pop boy groups should be obvious enough to anybody.  It's certainly obvious enough to the k-pop groups themselves.


Back in the early 60s before The Beatles grew their hair, got into transcendental meditation and released shit music that nobody except pretentious music journalists cared about, if you were a Beatles fan you weren't just a fan of the group as a whole - you were either a John, Paul, George or Ringo fangirl.  All Beatles fangirls had their "favourite Beatle", but life was hard for Ringo fangirls because Ringo was the drummer so you didn't get much of a good look at him, the limelight would constantly be hogged by the other three.  It took them a few decades of market research (the music industry moves slowly sometimes), but labels marketing pop music eventually decided that it would probably be better marketing from a teenage fangirl perspective if all the members of a group sung a bit so there was no one "lead singer", that way they all got a little bit of time on the microphone and with the camera pointed at them so fangirls could develop the appropriate crushes.  Even better if they could also dance.  And if they were all attractive.  And if they all had slightly different looks, so you could identify with each one depending on what sort of guys you were into, whether you preferred the "clean cut" type, the "bad boy", the "80s mullet casual dude", the "slightly geeky but still cute" one etc.

New Kids On The Block (hereafter referred to as NKOTB to save me typing) had five guys, all who had a slightly different look.  Every male k-pop group that ever existed is conceptually trying to copy this formula that was initially laid down by whatever marketing gurus were behind NKOTB.... but with the dancing of Michael Jackson, instead of the lame-ass dancing you see in the video above.

Someone figured out that this approach would probably work for girl groups too, and the earliest attempt at this as far as influencing Asia was concerned may have been Australia's "Girlfriend" who were groomed by their label at the time to be Australia and Asia's #1 girl group.  Girlfriend mined similar territory to the UK's The Spice Girls, who copied Girlfriend's image and concept almost exactly, right down to the cringeworthy feminist-lite "girl power" catchphrases, but predated them by a number of years.  Girlfriend made zero impact globally in other western countries in terms of sales (this was back in the days when music sales still fucking meant something) but charted decently in Australia and mounted a successful Asian tour.  In another first for idol pop, Girlfriend even had their own fully endorsed fashion line and even tried to make large flower-hats a branded fashion thing, which makes sense given the climates of the places where they were most popular.

Compare Girlfriend's debut song to this early k-pop idol song, and play spot the similarity.

Girlfriend were the first conceptually successful girl-iteration of idol pop in terms of transferring the visual style of the NKOTB formula directly over to females... and any territory they didn't cover, America's TLC scooped up a year later... but of course it was The Spice Girls that gave these ideas global penetration in every market.  The Spice Girls were (and probably will remain) the most successful idol girl group in world history (much to the pain of vocalfags everywhere).

The entire concept of the k-pop idol group is just NKOTB, The Spice Girls, TLC and Girlfriend cloned by Asia instead of imported... but Koreans did being something different to the table - they made the style stricter and more rigid.  Choreography that was previously semi-improvised in places (because it was designed with the stage and crowd response in mind) became strict routines that members had to follow step-by-step (or else).  The routines also became a lot more physical and athletic.  Fashion and visual design also became meticulously planned.  The Korean industry did something new by turning idol pop into a tough, regimented university... but it was still the university of "how to be as much like western idol pop as possible".

But what about overall k-pop concepts in the sense that k-pop fans think of the term "concept" - as a visual hook?  The constant image-changing of k-pop groups every damn time an MV comes out is something unique to k-pop, right?

Well, no.  Any concept that exists in k-pop, if the above groups haven't already scooped it up, the original pop idol concept chameleon Madonna has probably already done it, or something like it.
And on and on it goes.  Okay, she hasn't done Orange Caramel's "Where's Waldo" concept or T-ara N4's "bored Korean farm-hands" concept yet... but give her time.

So in summary, k-pop is Michael Jackson's dancing with an overall group concept like NKOTB or The Spice Girls, using the visual ideas of Madonna.


"BUT WHAT ABOUT THE MUUUUUUUUSIC" I heard you all cry, "isn't k-pop different musically?  Isn't it all 'Asian' and stuff?"  Well, okay... time to get a little technical.


Most readers over the age of 15 years will know 6th Century BC Greek mathematician Pythagoras as "that guy with the rule about triangles", having been no doubt drilled with endless pages of "calculate these fucking triangles before recess" exercises in maths class.  However Pythagoras had other claims to fame - he was not only that annoying triangle guy, but he also was a religious cult leader and on top of that he experimented scientifically with sound (and maybe other things too - but definitely at least with sound).


Pythagoras' initial experiments involved observing a plucked string, and then cutting off the vibration of the string at various points.  It was noted that stopping the vibration at varied mathematical points produced higher notes.  These notes will be familiar to stringed instrument players as "harmonics".


By continuing this series of harmonic reproduction by cycling through fifths and fourths until seven distinct tonalities were obtained, Pythagoras was able to conceptualise an early form of the seven-note or "dia-tonic" harmony upon which all western music is now based.  Clicking on the harmonic series of notes below will take you to a post which explains the maths behind the Pythagorean diatonic scale, just in case you give a fuck.


Meanwhile in China, some clever and anonymous Chinese inventors had also figured out this shit.  However, the Chinese had an important difference of opinion to Pythagoras - they didn't think that the last couple of notes in his diatonic series sounded any good, they felt that these last two notes were cosmically incorrect or something, probably because they noticed that once you get past the first five notes, the maths gets a bit fucking shaky.  It probably wouldn't bother a wacky cult leader who told his followers not to touch beans or white cocks, but it bothered the Chinese.  As a result, the Chinese stopped their musical scale at five distinct pitches.

Therein lies the key difference between traditional Eastern and Western melody and harmony - five-note (aka "pentatonic") versus seven-note or diatonic musical scales.  If you've ever jumped on a piano, played around with only the black keys and noticed that the result somehow sounds "oriental", it's because you're playing a pentatonic scale (probably F# pentatonic major).  On the other hand if you play only the white notes on the piano and notice that it sounds like a western nursery rhyme or folk tune, that's because you're playing a western diatonic scale (probably C major).


This difference is why Asian music "sounds Asian".  So that's why k-pop sounds different, right?  Well, nope... 99.99% of k-pop just uses western scales instead, either the diatonic major and minor scales (initially from the western classical music tradition and in almost all pop music) or the "blues scale" which is the minor pentatonic plus an extra note, the tritone/flat 5th/blue note (initially from American blues music, and which is in almost all the rest of pop music).  I'm sure however that you'd like to hear an example of the 0.01% so here you go, introducing the only k-pop song ever* that is completely built on the major pentatonic scale:

If you were of the opinion that this song sounded a bit twee, cheesy and fuckin' stupid, well now you know why you probably felt that way (although I liked it - but then I also liked Wassup's debut song so maybe you shouldn't take my opinion of the quality of music as gospel truth, hey).  You can legitimately say that miss A's "I Don't Need A Man" is one of the very, VERY few Asian-influenced songs in k-pop, melodically... but it's still fucking got a RAP VERSE in it, which is an American thing (or at least popularised in America, rap was actually imported to American cities from Jamaica but let's leave the rap history lesson for another post).  And that's about as oriental as k-pop gets from a strictly melodic/harmonic point of view.  Please don't flood my with "but is this song Asian?" questions because they'll get deleted without an answer - if you are even thinking about doing this, you're missing the point of this paragraph and you need to fucking go back and read it again... and don't get me started on trot music, that's all western melody and harmony too.


Of course, pop music is as much about rhythm, sonic production and audio engineering as it is about melody and harmony.  In this area k-pop directly copies the west in every way imaginable, and always has.  Many of the early k-pop producers went overseas to western countries to study sound design and brought the knowledge of pop production back with them to Korea.  Of course the first results were primitive and dismal compared to what other countries were producing at the time.

H.O.T. were the biggest fucking group (at the time) on the biggest label in Korea and their engineer can't even get something super-basic like volume compression correct, which is why different elements of the mix on all SM's early material vary in volume so much. No wonder nobody outside Korea gave a shit back then - there was just nothing here to see.

Korea caught up fast though (with a bit of international help) - these days Korea's audio engineering is just as good as anywhere else, and maybe a little better in some cases because they throw more money at in-housing engineers.  The sonic choices have always been a little bit behind though, and still are.  There's a running joke with some of my friends that k-pop always runs with trends that were popular in the west about five years ago but have since fallen heavily out of fashion, and that's why we see:
K-pop's latest obsession is with "trap", those horrible languid slow excuses for actual rap beats which have been polluting the hip-hop world over the last decade and making everything shit and boring - it's the main reason why rap music sucks so much now compared to the style's 80s and 90s golden ages.  If you're not sure what I'm talking about, "trap" style is what's going on in this song from 1:23.

The hip-hop world is gradually realising that this sound fucking sucks penis and they are sloooowly moving on, and it's always just when the west is starting to move on from a musical trend that k-pop (on average) grabs it and runs with it.  That's because k-pop is sonically a copyist form, and you can't copy something until it exists, so k-pop waits to see what works in western pop and then they grab it and use it, hoping it will work in Korea as well.  The Korean industry is naturally conservative and doesn't like to take chances.  Of course, by the time k-pop comes up with its own clone versions, western pop has usually moved onto something else.  Due to the increasing cross-pollenation between western and Korean producers the cycles are starting to get shorter (while the hip-hop world has used "trap" for a decade it's only really become a big thing in pop music about two years ago) but it's unquestionably still a copy.


K-pop is taking western music, combining it with western concepts, western production, western sonic trends and western psychological fangirl-baiting to create a popular culture trend based 100% entirely on western culture.  There are no fucking differences.  The only thing Korean about it is that it's happening in Korea, which means that the competition is tougher - they're all trying harder than everyone else to create the perfect pop product because they're culturally perfectionist "keeping up with the Joneses" workaholics who run on two hours sleep.  Except Sulli.

sullibag copy

Sulli is taking a break from all that fucking bullshit.  That's because Sulli is awesome, and because she can.  You would too, if you were a heterosexual female k-pop idol in her shoes and there was a waiting tropical island and an erect dick to hop on.  Get that Choiza dick, girl.  Support freedom - support Sulli.


  1. K-pop is probably the perfect image of the music industry. Taking all the best ideas, fitting them together and attaching everything by puppet strings so shit doesn't fly unless you want it to.
    I'd like to know why so many people find kpop more... palbable that other music generes. There must be something which kpop is doing better otherwise most kpop fams wouldn't exclusivly listen to it whilst demonising every other music genre. Is it just subjectivity?

    1. You've kind of answered the second part of your question with the first part.

    2. The main reason I like K-pop more than western pop is the eye candy. Lots of very attractive females dancing to (mostly) catchy songs. If Western pop delivered the same thing, I would be more interested in it.

      Most of the Billboard chart these days is basically "Somebody ft. Pitbull".

      The closest thing in Western pop to today's K-pop girl groups was probably a few of the British girl groups of the early to mid 2000 era (Girls Aloud, etc).

      So, even though it is based on Western pop elements, K-pop is just doing a better job of combining those elements right now. And I don't think that Western pop has ever been on the same level as K-pop in the eye candy department. That's the difference, IMO.

    3. I just left eye candy as a subtext in this post, glad most people seem to have figured it out heh

    4. For me it is the alternative between jpop. We all know Kpopkalype hates Japan (I am still waiting for the quote about why Japanese culture is shit that you posted a while back). But for me and maybe RealCz. We left behind the Jpop scene because the charts featuring girl groups are bland cutesy girl groups who wont last 5 seconds in korea not because of nationalism but because they taste in music sucks. No amount of bikinis will wash off the shit genre thst is jpop

      Also I laugh at anyone who sluts shames saying how kpop is like apop... without apop your genre will be a imitation of jpop today

    5. I've honestly lost that quote and can't remember what I said. But Japanese culture isn't total crap - they have JAV, sushi and Merzbow.

    6. I was thinking a big part of it is also that we DON'T have to see what these people are really like. Manufacturing an image that each person sticks to can actually be more enjoyable in a lot of ways than having the person just be themselves. They just give us what we want to see and nothing more. Don't we all hate Justin Beiber, Miley Cyrus, etc. because they're just obnoxious fucking people? If every idol was allowed to be themselves, we would surely have some Korean Beibers and Mileys on our hands, and who wants that?

    7. Well, that's what Motown tried to do, which is why I brought up that example. They got delinquent working-class kids with no manners and tried to sell them as "royalty".

    8. To the point of "image maintenance," one of the ways that K-pop is different from Western pop is that it is merely one component of an entertainment industry that is designed largely to cross-pollinate and protect the images of those involved. Idols act, comedians sing and top actors appear on variety shows, all confident that those involved on the production end will protect their image. When Rain shows up on Running Man, he doesn't have to worry that anyone will act offended by his military scandals -- in the world of variety shows, he'll ALWAYS be "international movie star Rain."

      It always amuses me when fans talk about idols "ruining their image" on variety shows. It's always used as a term of endearment, precisely because K-variety producers are expert at manipulating idol culture tropes in a way that is endearing instead of damaging.

      In case my opinion is not clear, what I'm saying is that one genuine difference is that Kpop is not only singing and dancing but performing on variety and talk shows too. They are not ancillary pursuits but integral to the Kpop experience.

  2. Here's my 5-page essay on this:

    [The author did not publish these pages for free, click here to buy the full article]

    1. You need your own blog, I would click to buy this

  3. Very well done and very enjoyable to read. That's it.

  4. Dawn of the planet of fangirls : The Beatles.

    1. Pretty much! The last second of the footage is freaky - those girls are on top of the car windscreen, and The Beatles are trapped inside. Imagine being in that situation.

    2. Also the live concert footage in which the screaming of fangirls overpowered the sound system. Crazy shit.

    3. I've seen the sound system that The Beatles used when they played in Adelaide in 1964. What piece of shit. The sound systems were not great back then, fangirls being so loud that the groups couldn't hear themselves is not an exaggeration.

  5. Kpop has made trap beats more bearable for me (Like N.O., Badman, and Goodnight Kiss) I stopped listening to the shit on the radio years ago (where I live it's WGCI) because it gave me a fucking headache. So I will always be greatful to kpop for making trap somewhat listenable for me. Trap was like the dubstep of hip-hop, fucking terrible.

    Someone should make the Pop Idol Numeorlogy table. That would be funny.

    1. Sometimes it's okay on context but I hate it because of the opportunity cost. Where that trap beat is, something better could have been.

    2. I totally agree (although I think it went great with Goodnight Kiss.) I think whatever style of music that was in f(x)'s Red Light is superior to trap though. It has a gorgeous base and a unique sound. Then again I think Red Light is the best release this year... So there's that...

    3. I meant the versus that I mistaked for trap but isn't trap btw..

  6. The Koreans do a better job of marketing the idols as a whole than other countries. Western pop artists can put out great songs, but how much does the public know about the artists (Katy Perry, Bieber, Taylor Swift, etc) themselves other than what they get from TMZ? At least, Korean companies can pimp out their idols on the multitude of variety shows strewn about the Korean broadcasting landscape. People learn to appreciate the idols beyond the songs themselves on these shows that book Korean celebrities, and new fans are gained when they happen to get to know an idol from a group that they did not know or care about before. They may watch a variety show because a member from their bias group is on it, but may be enamored by the personality of idols from another group on the same episode and go check out their music and become fans. I probably wouldn't have become a fan of Crayon Pop, APink and a few other groups just based on the songs. I learned to like them due to seeing them on variety shows, youtube, performing live and media sources other than the music itself.

    Plus, the west has nothing like Music Bank, Music Core, Inkigayo, etc that showcases pop music on a weekly basis on TV. Other than a guest performance spot on Jimmy Kimmel, Tonight Show or any other late night variety show that no one under 30 watches or ONCE a year on the VMAs or Grammys, where else are you going to see western artists perform? We never get to appreciate them because, unless we actively search them out on youtube which you won't unless you're a fan already, you will never be exposed to them. Plus, the Korean music shows' concept of the "Comeback" is a great marketing tool that keeps fans on a leash to yank them back. Perhaps, I'm ignorant to the way American pop music works because I don't really listen to it, but do they hype up the songs of their idols before they come out like the Kpop industry does? Is there even a vehicle for that for them to do it like Kpop has with their music shows?

    Kpop fans may drift from the groups that they've liked before, but the teasers and the Comebacks will always have them returning, at least to just check out the newest song/concept to see if they like it.

    Also, Kpop's scattergun approach of churning out as many idols as possible, throwing them against the wall and see who sticks may have helped them. I can't name more than 5 current American pop artists off the top of my head, but I can name lots of Kpop groups (most of them horrible of course, who will die off as quickly as they appeared). The hype over "debuting" a group in Kpop is also a successful marketing gimmick that seems to excite fans and at least, garner the curiosity of the skeptical who will check them if only to hate (publicity is publicity). I don't think I've ever seen unknown new western artists hyped pre-debut like Kpop ones.

    Also, I think that overall, SUCCESSFUL (not the substandard which is most) Kpop idols are just better performers than a lot of western pop idols, but I attribute that to sacrificing years of their lives at idol boot camp, which most American kids (or the labor laws) would not subject themselves to.

    And yeah, it's the Eye Candy factor as well. Selectively choosing the genetically blessed and couple that with the best plastic surgeons in the world, and you're going to put out an outstanding product that people will want to watch.

    1. "Plus, the west has nothing like Music Bank, Music Core, Inkigayo, etc that showcases pop music on a weekly basis on TV."

      Howdy Mr. Seemingly American Man. I suggest that you Google "Top of the Pops" and "Later... with Jools Holland".

    2. None of that big comment really count as actual differences in terms of what this post is about. That's just "doing what the west is doing but doing it more often in more places and throwing more money at it". The styles, concepts, music and production are still essentially the same.

    3. The music shows would just be yet another instance of them copying something that the west has already moved on from. I think TRL was the best known American version of this, but that ended years ago now.

    4. 'American Bandstand' and 'Top of the Pops' aren't on the air anymore but those are the shows that the Korean music shows are basically based on.

      Although I don't think those shows ever had the same artists back week after week for two months performing the exact same song like they do in Korea. So, there are definitely a lot more live performances in K-pop than Western pop.

  7. Now the question is, how long will it take for groups to go out of style the way they did in the west? I'm thinking not too much longer considering how over saturated the market is with groups no one pays attention to.

    I was a huge fan of the Spice Girls as a kid, I totally see what you mean comparing them to Girlfriend. I'm so glad that early 90s style didn't stick though, good god 80s/early 90s pop was AWFUL in every way(and that's saying something since we're talking about pop here).

    1. You can answer that question by tracing the careers of all SM's early groups. and how long they lasted.

    2. Well I mean groups in general. We had that huge group boom in the 90s, now no one really cares about the few groups that do exist. How long before kpop becomes mostly solo artists? Is that already starting with so many group members doing solo projects?

    3. Yes but most of those solo projects won't do well. Artists have done solo projects since forever, the only reason why it seems like more these days is that most of the old solo projects have been forgotten because they just weren't that good.

    4. A rock band resurgence in Korea? But then again K-Rock is fucking dead if Busker Busker is considered the "epitome" of band music. The k-idol industry have made this into an artform like j-J-idols have.

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. I think there are 4 factors:
    1.The media hype from the companies that we read on the entertainment news,
    2.The more frequent promotions on TV than the West,
    3.The novelty in listening to the song thinking it's Japanese when it's actually Korean for a English-speaking fan and
    4.The variety in eye candy.

    1. 1 2 and 4 are just k-pop doing exactly what the west has always done but doing it more. Not really a difference in the product itself. 3 could equally apply to any other non-English speaking music, such as people confusing Spanish and Brazilian music...

  10. If you want actual Asian pop that is, y'know... influenced by things outside of just western pop music -- I would suggest looking at Thai pop.

    Thai pop is fascinating in that it sits (both geographically and musically) right between India and Korea. So you get stuff that is clearly trying to copy the K-pop formula:

    And then there's stuff that is far more influenced by India, and Thai culture:

    And then there's stuff like this:

    I think the mistake is thinking that just because K-pop is basically a repackaging of western concepts, it's shit. The point is that it has been repackaged -- and in a very nice, palatable way.

    And a way where I don't have to listen to how vapid the lyrics are (mostly).

    --Andrew S.

    1. This post isn't really about saying whether k-pop is good or bad. It's just about saying "it is what it is" to counter the people who think it's something that it's not.

    2. Sorry, I wasn't clear. I agree -- but I think a lot of the REASON people object to 'it's really heavily influenced by western pop' is that they think it's an attack on K-pop.

      Certainly, I imagine that's why wall-of-text guy wrote his wall of text.

      --Andrew S.

    3. Yeah k-pop fans can get very defensive.

    4. Fascinating videos.
      The first one is, as you said, very much like modern K-Pop.
      The second reminds me a bit of trot. Or 80s HK Pop, think of all the Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung and Sam Hui movies with their chill music.
      Last one's like typical western electro-ish pop.

      Do many Thai pop MVs have a download code in their YT videos ? lol

    5. There's a download bar on almost all of them, yes.

    6. The first one, like you said, is typical western influenced kpop style. The last one is very western too tbh. The only one that's different is the second one and I'm taking a guess here that she's a little older and probably caters to a slightly older generation?

      I'm not a fan of Thai music but almost all the Thai pop I've seen or heard of seems like it wants to be kpop/jpop/something western. It doesn't really matter who did it first, what matters is that it works.

  11. Really, the only difference between K-pop and Western pop is the way they promote, and the amount of groups. I prefer K-pop over Western pop music because of how awesome it is that i get 2-3 performances a week, and they seem to release music more often, its annoying having to wait for a Western singer to come back every year. Also, groups are fucking cool and I wish we had more in the U.S. The only relevant groups in America right now are One Direction (they're slowly turning into a band though) and Fifth Harmony. Every other group is gross, old, or just plain and unlikable.

  12. I always like reading these kind of posts because I get to know a lot of stuff I didn't know before. I spend a good while reading that reddit thread about The Beatles.

    Kpopcalypse have you ever listened to kpop outside the title tracks? Because there was a song someone told me used a pentatonic scale I listened to but I don't know shit about music so I don't know if that's true or what it really means.

    Either way, great read. It's yet another article I'll keep linking to fans that think otherwise. You don't know how much I linked your article to other people. Especially the f(x) one lol

    1. I have over 100 physical k-pop albums in my home at any given time. Sometimes when I get time I even listen to them! Quite a few k-pop songs use minor pentationic scales, but the major one - almost never.

  13. I feel strangely compelled to point out that "doing it more", if nothing else, is going to get you more quality content by virtue of having more volume to mill through and find good stuff in. But overall... Eh. I like it more based on subjective taste (both the music and the language) and i have no real desire to convince myself otherwise =p

  14. I know your articles are directed to 15 yo American girls (hence the dumbing down when you explain things), but your conclusion reflects your misunderstanding of kpop as a whole.

    It isn't a mere genre of music, it's more close related to a theatrical expression (or musical) in which every element is vital; this is obvious when you hear that "not so good" song, but with a cool choreography and/or the colorful MV. This is opposed to the music-only American market.

    This doesn't mean that every single concept in k-pop isn't a copy from an American one, that's for granted. But it isn't the same.

    It is not the same.

    Sincerely, music student.

    1. Interesting point. To counter:

      --Andrew S.

    2. "Music-only" American market, ahahahahahahaha.


      Sincerely, music teacher.

    3. The western market must be music only, because the vast majority of the most viewed videos on youtube aren't western pop singers right? The western market must be music only, because American pop singers definitely don't take every chance they get to do retarded things and make themselves into a media spectacle right? That must be it. Even though music tv channels and radio stations are dead or dying in America, pop singers build their fan base solely by spreading their music to the masses via downloads and concerts. Yeah that must be it, right? I can't say I ever heard about Miley Cyrus until she had a concert at my local downtown concert venue.

    4. Western music died a little , or maybe, a LOT when it strayed from "music only"

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  16. HAH, jokes on you. My papers will be based on either texts and books for theoretical work, or on actual case studies done by either me or some other group in my education (or writers of said books/texts), so I can't use your thing.

    Sure would be interesting having a case study with kpop, in this topic too but then it'd probably be less technical than this post.


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