A Kpop Appreciation Post
I feel like whenever Kpop is mentioned, it's usually in a negative or mocking way, so I wanted to highlight some of its good parts. Music Videos Kpop is often known for its extravagant and expensive music videos, and it's not uncommon to see videos use 10, or sometimes even 20 sets. (Most western music videos use 3 or 4) Companies put a lot of effort into making these videos, by finding good directors, renting out or designing multiple sets, styling their artists to fit the concept of the video, finding good editors and sometimes CGI artists, and so much more. There are many companies that also try to tell a story spanning across multiple videos, as well as those who limit the story to just one video. For example, BTS and TXT are known for their very intricate storylines that last through many videos, while B.A.P.'s One Shot has the plot contained in one video. There are a ton of incredible music videos, but some of my favorites include Stray Kid's God's Menu , which has some pretty cool transitions and camera work, Dreamcatcher's Chase Me which looks like something straight out of a horror movie, and BTS's Black Swan , which has gorgeous aesthetics. Choreography In my opinion, choreographies are one of the main selling points of Kpop and what helps it stand out from Western pop. There are a lot of intricate and creative dances out there, which makes the song fun to listen to and fun to look at. For example, First Love by After school incorporates pole dancing into the routine, Don't Tease me by Speed involves several acrobatic stunts, Taemin's Move accentuates the sexiness of the song, and Butterfly by Loona has a lot of cool formations and incredible synchronization. Performance/Stage Presence Something I noticed about a lot of idols, especially those who have been in the industry for longer, is that they are incredible performers. They know how to put on a show and capture the audience's attention, even if the stage they are performing on is boring and not that interesting. There's something very satisfying in seeing someone who is clearly passionate about the performance just giving it their all. For example, BTS is known for the energy they have on stage, which is evident when watching their performances. Here is a Fire stage, and here's a stage from their debut year. Another group known for their energy is Ateez, a newer group. Recently, they went on a survival show called Kingdom, and this stage gave me shivers. This Say My Name performance was really good as well. Other groups/soloists that have incredible stage presence are 2ne1 , Big Bang , Jessi , Mamamoo , and Ailee . (There are obviously many more, but if I listed them all we'd be here all day) Album Packaging When you get a Kpop album, you're getting a lot more than just a CD. There is usually a photobook with pictures of the idols in various clothes, photocards you can collect, and a poster. Sometimes you'll get other cool trinkets as well. The album designs themselves are often very creative and unique, which is why albums are still very prevalent in Kpop culture. For example, Jessica's Wonderland album is designed like a fairy tale book , Oh My Girl's Nonstop resembles a board game , Wayv's Take Over the Moon is designed like a astronomy book, and Taemin's Never Going to Dance Again Act 2 has stellar photography. Experimentation and Diversity If there is one thing I learned as a Kpop stan, it's that Kpop groups are not afraid to try something new. A group can release two title tracks that are from completely different genres and sound completely different, and no one will bat an eye. In fact, they will be praised for being a versatile artist. For example, Red Velvet releasedBad Boy , an R&B track with a girl crush concept, and then released Power Up , an extremely energetic and upbeat summer track with a cutesy concept. Another example is Vixx, who had a comeback with G.R.8.U. , an upbeat poppy song about falling in love, and then came back with Voodoo Doll , a terrifying song with a music video so graphic they had to release a clean version . Kpop songs are also very fun to listen to. Key changes , tempo changes , and genre changes are not at all uncommon in Kpop, which makes listening to it so much more exciting. This video explains it pretty well. The genre itself is also incredibly diverse. One of my favorite groups, Dreamcatcher, is a great example of this. They are known for incorporating rock and metal into their songs, so metal songs likeEndless Night , hard rock songs like Break the Wall , and symphonic metal songs like Don't Light My Fire are all technically Kpop. You also have songs like Amadeus and Top Dog by the group Topp Dogg, which heavily samples classical pieces, or Minseo's Is Who , which has heavy jazz influence, or hip hop songs like Rhythm Ta by iKon and Hip Hop Lover by BTS, or heavy EDM music like Side Effects by Stray Kids. The term “Kpop” has become so vague over the years and encompasses so many genres, which is why listening to it is so enjoyable. Diversity within Albums There are so many genres in Kpop, but wouldn't it be crazy if they released all those different genres on one album? This is actually very common in Kpop, and has been ever since Seo Taiji and Boys (arguably the first modern Kpop group). They would release hip hop, metal, and ballads on one album, and this type of diversity has become a staple in Kpop. I'm going to use one of my favorite albums, The Tree of Language, as an example. It starts off with Scream , an EDM rock song, which then leads into Tension , a hard rock song. Afterwards is Red Sun , a dark trap song, then Black or White , a funky song. The next song is Jazz Bar , a jazz influenced song, which is then followed by Sahara , a Spanish influenced rock song. Then comes In the Frozen , a psytrance song, and the album ends on Daybreak , a chill R&B song. Rock, trap, funk, jazz, psytrance, and R&B all on one album. Because groups often experiment with different genres in the B-sides of their albums, and it's widely known among stans that the best Kpop songs are usually the ones without music videos.