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Why Is K-pop Becoming so Popular?

A Look Into the Genre of Music Taking the World by Storm

BTS Winning the Top Social Artist Award at the 2017 Billboard Music Awards

K-pop. I’m sure you’ve heard of it. If you’ve ever wondered how music from such a small country can become so popular worldwide, and even take the #1 spots on America’s and even other countries’ music charts, here’s why.

K-pop from the view as someone who is unfamiliar with the genre may just see a bunch of cute Korean women wearing pink clothing and singing in high pitched tones. However, K-pop is very different from this.

What is K-pop?

K-pop is easily recognized as “Popular music in Korea.” Although, once you take a farther look into K-pop, you’ll notice that the genre uses many other genres and styles of music from other countries. A lot of groups, such as the highly renowned BTS, have a large western influence. This is evident by the styles of music genres used. K-pop as a genre is not defined by the type of music the artists use, rather the highly talented dancing and choreography used, bright and beautiful music videos normally unseen in other music markets, and the unique clothing and fashion styles portrayed by the artists. Almost all k-pop idols spend several years training in private camps set up by the entertainment agencies they sign with before debuting in a group with other members. They practice dancing, singing, and sometimes even Korean.

Why is K-pop becoming so popular?

The recent overhaul of technology and social media over the past century has given a lot of people the opportunity to explore the culture of other countries. Because the genre doesn’t define itself by a specific type of music, the groups usually switch the concepts of their music every time they release a new album, or as fans call it, their “comeback.” They will switch the instruments used in the music, the outfits they wear to perform, and even the style of the music video(s) they record to promote the album. K-pop can have music styles ranging from R&B and Hip-hop, all the way to EDM and several sub-genres of EDM. This, alongside the frequent use of English in the vast majority of K-pop songs, helps K-pop groups gain exponential popularity internationally. Artists from Korea also usually release mini albums (EPs) more frequently than full length albums. These mini albums usually contain between four and seven new songs. A lot of artists release two to three mini albums each year to make sure their fans don’t have to wait too long for new music. Recently the senior group SHINee from S.M. Entertainment released their sixth full length album in three parts. They released three EPs, each containing five songs each within two weeks of each release. This gave fans a little more than one month to be looking forward to new music. This is a very different approach to how music is released when compared to the American music market. Below, I have provided some K-pop songs that I personally enjoy, and think that you might also enjoy. 

'Jealousy' - Monsta X

Music Video of “Jealousy” by Monsta X

This song is the title track of 7 member boy group Monsta X’s mini album, The Connect: Dejavu. This song has a strong Hip Hop and EDM influence with a chorus that will spin in your head.

'Dumb Dumb' - Red Velvet

Music Video of “Dumb Dumb” by Red Velvet

5-member girl group Red Velvet sing about the feeling you get when you’re being foolish or “dumb” with the person you really like. This song is very upbeat and its chorus will get stuck in your head all day. 

'I' - Taeyeon

Music Video of “I” by Kim Taeyeon

Solo artist and member of the highly popular girl group Girls’ Generation made her solo debut with this song. While it is simply titled, the song is very powerful. It showcases her amazing voice and falsetto that she is known for.

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