Today marks a momentous occasion. Well, it should do, if nothing has changed between the time of this being written and the date it’s been scheduled for. Today should be the day that Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un meet. It should be a fantastic event because it’ll do one of two things – either go fantastically well and we’ll be a step closer towards proper peace on the peninsula, or it’ll show one or both of them for the people they really are. Rejoice!
To celebrate this glorious day, let’s look at a Korean export, shall we? K-Pop.
Now, before I begin, I just want to point out that this is not an attempt at dissecting and commenting on an entire genre of music – I’m just taking an initial look at it from an outsiders perspective and offering a rather limited opinion. Going into this, I know there will be good songs and bad songs, good bands and bad bands, and that this will in no way provide a fair opinion of the genre as a whole.
So, let’s begin shall we?
As a Netflix mini-documentary rather helpfully pointed out, K-Pop is Korean Pop. The K literally means that. Who knew?
Okay, we all did, but I just want to say now that other than that small tidbit of information, Gangnam Style, the existence of Psy, and a single music video shared within my D&D party which featured some attractive and perfectly legal Korean ladies performing a song (which it felt illegal to enjoy watching) I knew absolutely nothing about K-Pop before watching the documentary. Having seen it all the way through, I still know barely anything.
So, I cut out the crap and decided to go straight to the source – I started listening to it myself. At the time of writing this sentence, I’ve not long started my research (because it is, after all, for science, right?) and have already noted two things.
First, I’m not sure that I’m a fan, but we’ll give it a few more hours of listening before I commit to that.
Second, the music videos are ridiculous. Take Andenayon by Kim Youngchul, featuring Wheesung. Now, it’s not that it’s a bad song – it’s just that the video makes virtually no sense. Is he Thor? Doctor Strange? Colin Firth in Kingsman? Why is this happening, and why does “Wolverine” think he’ll be good at typing?
Then there’s Banana Allergy Monkey, about a monkey with a, well, a banana allergy. But don’t worry, she likes banana flavoured milk! I’m not joking, I couldn’t make this shit up if I tried.
The worrying thing is, I don’t know whether I like it or not. All the K-Pop I’ve listened to so far has been catchy, generally upbeat and featured soundbites of English that can, probably, get stuck in your head rather easily.
And the lack of English is probably why I’m skeptical as to whether I enjoy it or not. It’s not because I’m racist, far from it, but rather, I prefer a song I can sing along to, and I don’t have the time to try and take in another language to be able to do it. Even if I just think of it all as nonsensical words, which considering I don’t speak Korean, I suppose it is, I just don’t have the capacity to learn it.
But I can see why other people love it – it is catchy, if you’re patient enough to give it a go, I’m sure it’s satisfying to sing along, and I can guarantee you there’s a few thousand perverts that’ll have spanked the monkey to Banana Allergy Monkey…
Maybe it’s the style, maybe it’s my mindset, maybe it’s just that they’re not as good songs? That said, I did, almost across the board, enjoy the videos, particularly some of the less expected things like the ostrich from Block B’s Her.
Whatever it is, almost comical K-Pop is my preference, and I hope that if there’s some sort of representation of it at the summit, they go with something that will, at least, confuse Trump more than the fact that not everyone will be speaking English, will.
I do realise, of course, that considering K-Pop is a South Korean export, the meeting is between North Korea and the USA, and its happening in Singapore, that there is very little chance of K-Pop being involved at the summit – that said, we could hardly provide an opinion on coal or sub-standard nuclear missiles, could we?
All in all, K-Pop is music – it’s just music, with fairly artsy videos at times, but it’s still just music. If there’s anything I’m trying to help you lot understand about me, it’s that I love music. So, with that in mind, K-Pop gets a thumbs up from me.