On K-pop

K-pop (n).

  1. The pop music of Korea
  2. A polarizing genre of music with the tendency to generate extreme fans and extreme haters
  3. A multibillion dollar industry dominated by several large talent agencies/entertainment companies which are sometimes negatively referred to as “idol factories” due to the way they audition, train, and churn out new idol groups on a regular basis

I think I’m going to start featuring a different K-pop band or artist each weekend on the blog. This will have the dual purpose of giving me something fun to write about on the weekends when I don’t have as many teaching-related things to blog about, and maybe also introducing K-pop to some of my readers. (Some of you may end up hooked on it in spite of yourselves… be warned.)

Some people argue that K-pop doesn’t count as “real” music because the bands are merely cookie-cutter products of their companies and don’t write their own songs (but the same argument can be made about Western pop, after all). Some people object to the appearance of the male K-pop idols, which tends to be somewhat feminine by Western standards.

This is Big Bang, one of the more popular male K-pop groups at the moment (and also one of the more masculine groups despite a little guyliner here and there)

There are also deeper issues and a “darker side” to the industry, such as the pressures placed on K-pop idols by their companies to look good and perform well (leading to extreme dieting, plastic surgery, and hours upon hours of training, traveling, and performing with very little sleep). Recently, several members of K-pop groups have rebelled and filed lawsuits against their companies, complaining that they were being ridiculously underpaid and overworked.

As for me, I’m not going to delve into those issues at this point. I think the members of these groups are hard-working and many of them are quite talented, even if they’re not writing their own songs. The songs and music videos are catchy and fun. I’m not an obsessed fangirl or anything, but I do like the genre, so my aim in future K-pop-themed posts will merely be to spread the K-pop love.