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A Critical Review of K-Pop
The 'hallyu' (Korean cultural wave) has spread all throughout Asia and is seeing increasing influence in the West, spearheaded by idol groups like SNSD, Super Junior, T-ARA, SISTAR, and more recently EXO. I was a fan of K-Pop just one year ago, and would listen to these songs on a daily basis as well as getting hooked on the latest news on these idols. However, once my temporary obssession was over, I began reviewing K-Pop from an analytical perspective, and have come to the conclusion that it plain sucks for the reasons below:
1. K-Pop's influence is mainly centered on groups because very few of the artists have enough talent to pursue solo careers and make a name for themselves.
Why are most K-Pop acts large groups? Let's face it. The individual members can show off here and there, but they lack the uniqueness and individuality to pursue solo success apart from the group they belong in. Of course there are exceptions to this, two of which are Lee Hyo Ri, who has become an extremely successful solo artist since leaving Fin.KL, and Han Geng, the Chinese leader of Super Junior-M who has taken off with his own music and acting career since leaving SM Entertainment.
However, I can say that over 90% of the members belonging to K-Pop groups would not be successful solo artists, or exit the music industry altogether and become just another face in the crowd once their group disbands. Why is this? It is because the trainees at all the major entertainment companies like SM, JYP, and CUBE go through the same program, learning and practicing the same dance moves as well as singing songs written in basically the same format and melody. There is hardly anything original that comes out. Seriously? Does K-Pop only have like 3 composers?
The plan for most Korean entertainment companies is not to produce unique and individual artists, but a "show of force" by creating large groups with many members, hoping to launch a worldwide cultural invasion. If we can't have quality, then we will try to have quantity. The excessive repetition in dancing, melody, and song themes are used to brainwash so that you will become addicted. Even now, I still have "Run Devil Run" and "Mr. Taxi" trapped inside my head. It's what I call RMMP (Repetitive Musical Mind Possession).
2. K-Pop artists are treated as sub-human money making machines by their companies.
The main reason why Han Geng left SM Entertainment was due to his complaints that his contract and his treatment by the company was unfair and unlawful. During his time at SM Entertainment, he had to rehearse for 7 or 8 hours a day, while only getting 2 to 3 hours of sleep. The food was shit in terms of quality. He had little or no breaks throughout the year. Due to his performing schedule, he had no time to care about his health, and after leaving SM, Han Geng was soon diagnosed with bowel disease and other serious conditions. Han Geng's case is just one of many.
Perhaps even worse, you are always under strict supervision when rehearsing, and could be physically and verbally abused if you cannot achieve flawlessness in a short amount of time. In terms of your physical appearance, you have to carefully control your weight to the point that you can't even eat food the way it is meant to be enjoyed. It must be kept within a narrow range of 2 or 3 kilograms. The Chinese version of Wikipedia called Baidu Encyclopedia lists the weights of many Korean singers. Pretty much all are 43-45 kg. Anything above that is considered too heavy and unattractive.
Due to all these pressures, it should not come as a surprise that many Korean idols have already committed suicide or have thought about it at some point in their career. Such an inhumane industry deserves to be boycotted, don't you think?
3. A large part of K-Pop's success is built on extensive plastic surgery
Needless to say, I guess pretty much every one of you is familiar with this aspect of K-Pop. Everyone goes through identical or near identical processes that they end up all looking nearly the same. It's always double eyelids, nose lifts, face lifts, etc.
A friend of mine who once went to Seoul and happened to watch a beauty pageant at a shopping mall. He recalled how the contestants looked so alike that some of the judges had trouble distinguishing one from the other!
What's sad to me is that K-Pop's extremely artifical definition of beauty has shaped peoples' perception of the Asian ethnicity in general. Some of the more ignorant people in the West think that all Asians have more or less of a K-Pop look, or begin shouting out the names of the K-Pop singers they know as soon as someone mentions the word 'Asian.'
In China, ever since the 'hallyu' struck, both men and women (the majority being women) have been flying to Seoul and investing astronomical sums of money in plastic surgery. The huge (and still rapidly expanding) plastic surgery market has planted a foothold in China, with many surgeons coming here from Korea and opening hospitals.
A down side to those who get themselves to look like their favorite K-Pop stars is that plastic surgery often fails, leaving you looking 1000 times more messed up than before the operation. This is a mortal blow to the self-esteem of some women (who were irraitonal and messed up in the first place), leading to a wide variety of psychological issues and even suicide in certain cases.
4. The use of English in K-Pop makes me cry
After all, it's Korean pop, so most of the lyrics are expected to be in Korean. However, if you are going to use English, let it be meaningful, OR at least use it properly. The reason why most K-Pop songs even include English is simply to make them sound 'cooler'.
"Mr. Taxi, Mr. Taxi" is repeated like 50 times, but in the end I don't even know who the damn Mr. Taxi is. "Gee", "Oh", "Hoot" are just random words that shoudln't even be considered names for songs. "I'm addict, I'm addict (T-ARA)"? Addicted to what? What's faster than supersonic? According to SNSD, it's "hypertonic." Imagine if an aerospace engineer blurted that out of his mouth! K-ARA's "Pretty Girl" has a line that goes "If you wanna pretty, everyone wanna pretty." Give me a break.
These are just a few examples of the English used in K-Pop. Now, add that with poor pronunciation and it becomes downright hilarious.
5. The dance routines of K-Pop groups are repetitive and robotic.
The girls always line up single file at some point in the MV as if they are about to do the Thousand Hang Kwan-Yin, but then split up again. Half move to the right, half move to the left. The boy groups do something similar, except that instead of lining up, they all gather together and pose as if taking a photo. Yuck!
The most annoying dance move that I see from the girl groups is when they do that 'tsk-tsk' action while shuffling their feet to the left and right. Watch SNSD's 'Gee" and you will get an idea. At first I thought it was really cute, but as time went on it just got lame.
Anyways, I see the same moves in every K-Pop music video. They look so stiff and without any sophistication. Again, this goes back to how the companies produce groups of musical automatons with 'formation tactics.'
Conclusion: These are just 5 reasons why K-Pop is not a good industry in my opinion. On the other hand, J-Pop has TONS of successful solo acts like Ayumi Hamasaki, Utada Hikaru, Mai Kuraki, and Namie Amuro among many others. If you need more talent to become a solo act, what comes out will be of higher quality than anything that can ever come out of just being a member of a group that was likely designed to be short-term. Also, setting up robotic training programs won't produce artists, but as I mentioned earlier, automatons.
The only reason that South Koreans briefly stopped being starving peasants was that the PTB shipped them lots of natural resources essentially for free and loaned them money on good terms to manufacture a lot of stuff. Now that the manufacturing has been automated or outsourced to China, they are redundant in terms of the global economy and there is no reason for them not to revert to being starving peasants, as they no doubt will. Instead of accepting this with some dignity, they seem to want to cling desperately to their place in the sun by squandering the remainder of their wealth on silly nonsense such as K-pop and soap operas. The process of a society going down the drain is never pretty.
If you look at modern American pop, isn't this K-pop phenomena like taking the concepts of Menudo, New Kids on the Block, Backstreet Boys, N'Sync, etc, and putting them on steroids?
16 years ago, the Best Picture of 1999, "American Beauty", telegraphed the message of Happier Abroad to the world.
Beware of long term engagements with AWs, you may find yourself in a coffin.
AB discussion thread
BTW, despite settling down with an AW, myself, the warning is still in effect.
maybe k-pop has itÂ´s good sites too. at least the guys try to dance. itÂ´s really a new concept so they will need time to improve it. USA had the advantage of being a melting pot and having blacks who pushed the quality. but koreans will probably reach japanes quality and make somthing new maybe a standard for pop competitions. in freestyle dance the koreans are already top notch.
like how the europeans standardized latin dance the koreans could do something like that for pop. weÂ´ll see it.
Yeah man, it sucks so much.
Obviously hearing a nice song on the radio like this would be so so annoying compared to Katy Perry, Ke$ha, and Rihanna. Obviously too the song is part of the feminist agenda as well with lyrics totally praising her boyfriend and not griping about how much of a loser piece of shit he is and how she's a victim for picking him.
I will admit Japanese pop is for the most part light years better, and I used to feel the same way about Korean pop (not liking it at all.) That it's too much like American pop. Then I gave it a slightly better try. I like it. It's not complex or deep or anything, but it's fun music to listen to, that's relatively clean and old fashioned and not "BACK THAT THING UP GIRL HURR DURR" or talking about getting drunk/wasted at a party/club etc and having promiscuous sex after.
I mean maybe you can still go "well it still sucks" and maybe it does, but to me it's somewhat of a light in the darkness. It's very good the Asian cultures are not really allowing their cultures to get into the straight up vulgarity of Western pop culture yet.
Also people in North Korea are listening to Girls Generation. They've permeated North Korea, that's something braggable. http://www.allkpop.com/article/2012/08/ ... z2oDmnj1Gt
I also really liked the one Korean drama I saw a lot of. My Lovely Sam Soon. Good show. I like it because it's a nice simple show. It's not about crime, drugs, the police, war, etc, as most American shows coming out are. Does not need extreme explosions to get you to watch like American shows do. Just a nice simple show about a girl who's a baker and a young hotel agent who fall in love.
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