I miss the days of boy bands and girl bands. I’m not alone in the nostalgia wallowing; the head of the Olympics decided to bring the games to London so the Spice Girls could have a reason to re-unite, even for just a night. Korea (South, in case, for some reason there’s confusion on which Korea has the glittery pop sensations) is the parallel timeline of the music industry in America.
Imagine a world where The Backstreet Boys never played games with your heart and broke up, where they became a bigger sensation and tons of copycats popped up to cash in on the success. All the clones have to make themselves more exciting so they start adding more and more members, and their personas and songs become more over-the-top. Welcome to the world of Korean Pop. Let’s take a look at some of the more fascinating characters in this emerging scene.
“Fantastic Baby” by Big Bang
The look on my face while I was watching the music video must have been one of utter perplexity and disbelief. No amount of questions, grunts, pantomiming and tears could ever bridge the gap between my mind and that of the people in and behind the video. I’ve watched it over and over again with my best eye for detail and analysis (my left eye, for those wondering) and still nothing. At some point, a few of the members sing the words fantastic baby and dance over and over again while others in the group howls. That scene was the most relatable in the video.
“Lucifer” by SHINee
It may sound like the worst idea for a song title but it might be the best song on this list. It’s catchy as hell (I am such a devil at puns) and has some really great beats. As a raging heterosexual, I have no opinions on the members of the band but I hear that they’re attractive and talented at dancing.
“Gee” by Girls’ Generation
This may be the only name appropriate for this girl band; I’m certain that all of the female members of Korea’s young adult population is in this group. Watching another Korean girl group perform on “The Letterman Show” was enough to trigger claustrophobia and my really nasty, sweaty, sticky palms ““ and there were only five of them. Now, imagine the nine members of Girls’ Generation performing on an American-sized stage. They’re arguably the most popular group in all of Asia. They sing very bright, happy songs with saturated scenes and colorful clothes. Goths and emos wake up crying and screaming because they get a glimpse of these girls.
“Gangnam Style” by Psy
And then there’s Psy, the most popular Korean artist in America. He’s practically Justin Bieber’s brother now. Scooter Braun, the Biebster’s record manager, signed Psy on their record label. Psy’s infectious “Gangnam Style” song has spread to millions of more people through mainstream radio. The song itself is catchier than West Nile but seeing the video adds another engrossing, unstoppable, irresistible level. I imagine a combination of various drugs would do the trick of understanding the motives behind it. It’s impossible to explain; it’s one of the few examples where seeing is believing. If you’ve somehow managed to escape the typhoon of “Gangnam Style,” cross your arms at the wrist because you’ll need to hold on tight to that horse. Of awesomeness.