Dec 28, 2010

Five Reasons to Love K-Pop

Confession: every morning before work, I turn on Channel 20 and watch Korean music videos as I get dressed and make breakfast. 

The official reason is that I can practice Korean with the lyrics that appear, karaoke-style, in Korean script at the bottom of the screen. 

Let me say, I'm hardly suffering here. 

K-pop may be saccharine, repetitive, and sometimes far too sexy for the kids and tweens who parrot the dance moves in school talent shows. Still, I like the stuff. 

I'll tell you why, and share some favourites. Get ready to get hooked, then feel like a nerd because of it. 

1. It takes me back... my teenage years of the late 90s American boyband machine. The high-budget videos, the trademark haircuts, the dance moves and lyrics grazing the surface of innuendo but never quite falling into coarseness...  

2. It explains a lot about my students.

This is why every English textbook sentence beginning with "You don't..." will be sung by the students. "You don't know me! Y-you don't know me" 

Umm.... 'kay? 

This made little sense until I heard this song. K-pop's English-rich choruses are a mixed blessing. Korean youths pick up a fair bit of the language. Unfortunately, phrases like "shut up, boy!" are hardly versatile. 

3. The drama!

My life is easy and comfortable. Life in a K-pop video is dramatic and awesome.

4. It's K-fashion, hyperbolized 
Korean fashion always seems to me to be a dress-up game of characters. 

While I was always taught versatility when it comes to clothes, you rarely see Koreans buy something with dress-it-up, dress-it-down possibilities. Jeans are either baggy and paired with big T-shirts, or tight and paired with silk. Coats are either wool and feminine and worn with dresses, or Goretex and practical and worn with track pants. 

Music videos mean fashion gawking at its finest. This one represents Korea's exaggerated B-boy style well. It also trots out a few more weird sartorial gems. Belts around necks! Leopard-print vests! Cosby sweaters!

5. Admit it, this it catchy stuff
A cynic may read this as "gets lodged cruelly in your brain, playing over and over until you want to scream." Well yeah, if you hate K-pop. But pop music in general is all about catchiness, no? 

This one gets in my head and stays there. Also, the video has just a dusting of Austin Powers to it. Coolness. 


  1. I love this blog, Anne! It's so cute and I think you hit the nail on the head. I almost feel guilty liking K-pop, but I can't stop myself either.

  2. No guilt required. K-pop is amazing. I adore that song Sorry Sorry. Here's another good video for that song

  3. I also wanted to say, that I really enjoy this blog. I stumbled across it just recently when doing a bit of Korea related research. I am a college student who is planning to spend a year studying in or near Seoul. I am half Korean and am planning to (re) learn the language (I spoke it fluently when I was young and then lost it as I got older) and would love to relocate there someday to do exactly what you're doing.

  4. i originally intended to just watch a few seconds of each but i got hooked! these are surprisingly addictive!

  5. Haha. This is a great blog and I loved the videos! Thanks for the laughs and opening my eyes (and ears!) to the greatness that is k-pop. :)