Ask Asian Junkie will be comparing K-pop to other genres of pop music in today’s edition.
How does K-pop set itself apart from other pop genres? Thinking about it, I’m not sure there are differences besides language.
Honestly? It doesn’t.
Pop is pop to me. Throughout the world industry there’s not much originality and I don’t think K-pop is the exception to the rule.
So what makes K-pop appealing to me?
1) The women are attractive.
To an extent, pop music is about visuals as much as music. Since I like Asian women, it makes sense that I would gravitate toward the visuals of K-pop, where there are lots of attractive Asian women.
Additionally, it’s easier to relate to Asian faces as well.
2) The consistent effort, production value, and general talent is impressive.
I’d say K-pop has the most talented idols in the world.
As I previously pointed out though, there’s a difference between idols and artists, and the problem I have is with the Korean and Asian American media attempting to compare the two … all the time.
3) Doesn’t take itself seriously … or it didn’t.
Pop music in the West has switched to an increasingly serious tone over the years, and what initially drew me to K-pop was that it had a different bubblegum pop sound that was appealing, like a throwback to the boy/girl band experience.
Of course, nowadays it’s becoming less and less about Korea molding their own music into modern trends and more about trying to gravitate towards what made me run away from Western pop music, so that’s a bit disappointing.
Nothing wrong with having fucking fun, guys.
How is the culture of K-pop different from other pop genres around the world (fandoms, idols, sites)?
There is more of everything.
There are more idols, more sites, and more fandoms, which creates an environment where there’s greater obsession over songs, music videos, and visuals.
The culture of idols is insane worldwide. The word “idol” itself is explanation enough, is it not? In order for somebody to be idolized, there have to be people propping them up through worship. That type of shit is exactly what companies and idols aim to achieve and they reap what they sow.
Besides the sheer amount though, the difference between K-pop idols and the Western idols is societal as well, and this is true not just in Korea but Japan as well.
While idols are a dying breed in the West, the reason why idols thrive in Korea and Japan is partially due to the insane academic curriculums that children and teenagers are put through in those countries. Since they have less daily freedoms and are essentially robbed of an active social life, idol worship develops as a way to live vicariously through their favorites, as they represent seemingly tangible people doing incredible things. An ideal. An idol.
Naturally, along with this devotion comes crazed reactions from especially dedicated individuals, which appear especially ridiculous to those of us who are sane. The context of the situation doesn’t in anyway excuse insane behavior, but that explains why they seem more passionate, more dedicated, and more … well … crazy.
Think about that. How demanding is society that you end up working so much and have so little of a home life that you don’t even have time to fit baby making in your schedule? To put it into context, could you imagine a politician in America even proposing that bill, much less getting it passed? Not only do I not think it would happen or work, but I think it would become a running joke for pundits.
With those clear differences in societal point of view, I think it becomes increasingly apparent why Korea and Japan appear to have a more rabid idol culture than those in the West.
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