4:46 am - 01/01/2013

Has K-pop Lowered Our Music Standards

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It’s 10 PM on Saturday in the bustling city of Seoul, Korea.  As a gentle breeze swept through the capital, nightfall was well underway.  One of the biggest K-pop concerts in the capital had just arrived at its finale

As thousands of screaming, cheery fans started their mass exodus from Olympic Park stadium to the nearby subways, I started to follow suit alongside the exiting press members.  While nearly every fan left happy, with smiles and laughter abound, I was torn. “Korea’s #1 group” signs were flown earlier, while squeals of “SNSD is the best, most talented group in Korean music!” were heard in unison. Yet, I wondered how fans defined “best” and “most talented.”

While I do support K-pop, I was also disappointed at what I just witnessed at the concert.  I may be hated by many for saying this, but has K-pop really distorted our musical tastes for the worse?

Last year, one of the largest concerts, the 2011 Girls Generation Tour, took place to the delight of many fans here in Korea.  As one can imagine, the coverage of the concert was insane.  From new stations covering the venue, nearly every Korean music site reporting on it, to even fans as far as France and the US flying in, the nine ladies were the object of everyone’s affection.  It seemed the ladies that popularized the words “Gee”, “Hoot”, “Tell Me Your Wish”, and “Run Devil Run” into K-pop lexicon could do no wrong this night.

But there was a nagging feeling in the back of my mind. The thoughts that many other, incredibly talented singers were being snuffed out by the idol pop machine. The feeling that the musical bar was set too low in recent years.

Was I the only one that saw the evolution of K-pop spiraling downward before my very eyes that night?



Mainstream vs. Indie Music



Mainstream Korean music, as a whole, has taken a wrong turn in the last couple years.  While K-pop has undeniably put Korea on the map, it has also taken any musical genre not named pop or ballads off the radar.  This, in turn, makes the average K-pop fan blind to Korea’s true musical talents.

The fact is every year Korea pumps out anywhere from 30 to 80 new rookie groups.  Many of them debut on popular music shows, such as Inkigayo or Music Bank.  Ranging from pop, rock, folk, hip-hop, and jazz, these new up-and-comers showcase a variety of musical genres on these shows.  Yet, nearly all these same rookie groups go unheard of and are soon quickly forgotten after the debut.  But why are these talented indie groups ignored?

The answer is simple: bubblegum pop is incredibly easy to manufacture.

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The SM Entertainment machine in full force


The big three K-pop entertainment moguls: SM, JYP, and YG, knows that bubblegum pop sells.  The mantra goes: produce a song that has a catchy hook, backed up with beautiful singers, and promote it like no tomorrow and the song will go viral in no time.  In nearly every case, this belief holds true.  Pop is the easiest way for music companies to make profit quickly, gain more exposure for their singers, easily sell to the public, and secure new countries to attract new customers.  Thus, the big three, with their vast resources and networks, oversaturated the K-pop market with nothing but pop.

But the bubblegum pop phenomenon is not limited to the big three.  Nearly every Korean music company – large or small – focuses on mainstream pop in the hopes of creating the next Girls Generation and cashing in big.  As one noted K-pop music insider said, “Most companies purposely produce a handful of idol groups and hope one or two ends up paying off.&rdquo

Of course, creating a pop group as popular as the nine after-mentioned ladies, Big Bang, or 2NE1 is quite slim.  Yet, even smaller pop groups are profitable, reinforcing the companies’ belief that pop is the way to go.  The newer generation of pop groups: Spica, EXO, EXID, B1A4, and B.A.P. all have strong, rapid followings.

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Many idol groups get the attention, but ultra-talented groups, like Urban Zakapa, have a difficult time getting mainstream exposure


Since the K-pop industry is flooded with the sugary tones of pop, I cannot blame K-pop fans for knowing anything but mainstream. Especially the foreign fans.  While the native Koreans here in Seoul can explore the indie scene in Hongdae, are able to use the Korean search engine Naver, and read up on the Korean underground scene on Korean websites, foreigners don’t get that same exposure.  Fans living overseas, by contrast, will only see the newest mainstream pop acts on KBS international channels, on Western-based K-pop sites, and Youtube.  It’s no wonder the Korean indie scene is hidden from the public. 

For now, it looks like the K-pop train won’t end soon.  An incredible amount of money, numerous concert tours, heavy promotions, and massive advertisements are so focused among the mainstream groups that indie and underground singers get pushed to the side.  Talents such as Urban Zakapa, J-Rabbit, Indian Palm, Soul Dive, Kebee, Soulman, Barbara, and Cassette Schwarzenegger – to name a few – will continue to get confused looks from nearly every K-pop listener outside of Korea.  And that is a shame


Real Talent or Not?


Another big problem with the popularity of mainstream pop is rating musical talent.  Namely, fans become blind when evaluating the singing talents of their favorite singers or groups.  While fan groups are very important in the growth of K-pop, many of these same zealous supporters are also the main culprits of overrating singers’ abilities, while masking their weaknesses.  This fad isn’t exactly new, as groups religiously defending their favorite groups existed since The Beatles, Elvis, Michael Jackson, and Mariah Carey.  The only difference is those singers could sing and sing well.


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Michael Jackson is known as the "king of pop". And for good reason.


What’s the difference, you ask?

While, by definition, every singer is an entertainer, not every entertainer is a singer.  Or at least, a good singer.

An entertainer is someone who wows the crowd through dance, song writing, instruments, acting, singing, stage presence, and good looks.  They are, in a sense, the modern geisha

On the other hand, a singer is someone that is more specialized, solely depending on their vocal talents to see them through.  Think open-mic night or the new K-pop singing reality shows – such as K-pop Star or Superstar K, where it’s only you and a microphone that determines your success.

The good thing about an entertainer is that they do not have to be good at everything.  In fact, this is to be expected.  Michael Jackson is one example that broke the mold; he was incredibly gifted in every aspect of being an entertainer – that’s why he’s a music icon after all.  As long as the entertainer is good at one or two things, music companies can hide other deficiencies, including weak vocals and bad singing.  And that they did.

Many mainstream K-pop groups today are actually strong at only three things: choreography, stage presence and good looks – via through plastic surgery or being born with them.  Unfortunately, singing isn’t one of them.  By creating slick, well-produced music videos and packaging them with easy-to-do dance moves and singers that just stepped out of Elle Magazine, it’s easy to ignore their singing, or lack thereof.

During the numerous concerts I’ve been to here in Korea, I have seen some K-pop “singers” literally phased out during the solo singing sections because they simply couldn’t hold a note for a couple seconds.  I have also heard out-of-sync singing, weak vocals during the high point of a given song, and an overdependence of auto-tune or the background music itself to carry the song.  I’ve always thought that a good singer should be memorable for their great singing and vocal control, not their catchy hooks or the background music.

Namely, the current evolution of K-pop I was so afraid of and mentioned at the beginning has finally come full circle.  Namely, that bubblegum pop has now set the musical standard of excellence in Korea.  The fact is that music with simple, catchy hooks backed up with beautiful singers is considered the Beethoven of Korean music to the majority of fans.  Actual musical talent and composition be darned.

Calling K-pop singers entertainers is correct.  Yet, calling a majority of them singers is not.  After all, that would be inaccurate, especially when there are singers like Big Mama, Drunken Tiger, and Yoon Mi-rae (Tasha) that actually do use their vocal talents alone and do it well.

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The guys of Big Bang show of their black clothing attire and high tops




Attack of the K-pop Clones


Are the pop groups becoming the same?  It sure feels that way. While the new generation of idol groups, such as T-ara, 4Minute, A Pink, Girl’s Day, and Chocolat, may have different names, it’s not a stretch to say there’s not a lot of difference between them.  From their fashion style, pop singing, song lyrics, and catchy choreography are strikingly similar.  But it’s not just me

I recently took a poll of nearly 300 people, asking Koreans to identify idol groups’ pictures.  The average Korean did not know many of the groups, only knowing the extremely popular ones, like Girls Generation and Big Bang.  As one surveyor commented, “I really don’t know these girl groups.  What’s the difference between them?”  To tell him the truth, I didn’t see any noticeable differences either.  Many groups feel like their carbon copies of one another.

Very few mainstream groups stand out.  Sistar stands out for their sexy concept image and powerful vocals.  2NE1 stands out for their fashion and tough-girl attitude.  Big Bang is unique for their fashion, the rapping duo of TOP and G-Dragon, and their energy.  After-mentioned Girls Generation brought the concept of nine ladies, beauty, and catchy hooks to the forefront.

KARA stands out for their Mister butt dance – although these days, they are more popular in Japan.  These groups are the exception.

The new mainstream group that wants to stand out next year will need to be unique and have their own spin on pop.  Otherwise, they will be labeled as “just another clone.”



The Younger Generation of Today


SES, FinkL, Baby VOX, HOT, GOD, Shinhwa, and Seo Taiji. Back then, when HD videos weren’t around and choreography was not as emphasized in K-pop, vocals, talent, and poppy beats were the main draws in Korean music. The general songwriting and songs themselves were quite high for its time.

These talented groups were Korea’s superstars in the 90s, paving the way for today’s generation of idol stars.  But it wasn't just 90s pop idols getting into the act. Back then, hip-hop rapper, ballad singers, trot performers, New Jack Swing singers, and the legend himself, Seo Taiji, would set the model of today's Kpop craze.

Yet today, many of these singers are fading into obscurity.

As with each passing generation, this is to be expected. Singers are best remembered by the people growing up in that time era. Musical acts 20 or even 10 years in the past become harder to remember.

A quick look at American music trends in the past 50 years parallels this pattern. In the 60s, the Beatles and Elvis were the biggest craze. In the late 70s to early 90s, Michael Jackson was the rage. In the mid-90s to 2000s, Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Enimem, Lady Gaga, and Beyoncé took center stage. And today in the 2010s, Justin Bieber, One Direction, LMFAO, and PSY have taken the world by storm.

The same form of musical amnesia is happening to K-pop as well.

Ask many of Korea’s newer generation of elementary or even middle school students about last decade’s singers and one may be met with a short answer. Or even worse: a blank stare. “SES, aren’t they some really old group from a long time ago,” said one 3rd grade student when asked. While these kids have heard of the 90s groups before them, a vast majority of the students don’t know just how influential they were. The SES vs. FinKL rivalry, Seo Taiji’s legendary rise, the first MVs on grainy videos, and the eventual breakups of these 1st generation idol bands are largely forgotten.

The 90s stars (and late 80s) represented Korea’s talented, modern K-pop groups before they were deemed cool by today’s idol bands and “Gangnam Style”.

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Jason and Bada (Sea) from SES meet up!


This amnesia quality isn’t just lost in Korea’s youth. Many K-pop fans outside Korea also suffer the same fate. Foreign fans may have heard of the older K-pop generation of yesteryear, but a lot of them have a hard time describing their legacy. However, there are some hardcore fans have taken it upon themselves to learn about K-pop’s 90s influence.

Since the K-pop industry machine back in the 90s and early 2000s was not as big as it is today, there were far fewer groups that debuted yearly.

Thus, this forced the industry’s hand to make the groups more memorable, more unique. When SES debuted in 1997, only a couple handful of groups came out that year. There were a lot less idol clones back then. The public recognized each group as being unique and special in their own way. Since SM Entertainment, YG, and JYP were much smaller companies back then, they had little room for error. They had to make sure their first groups were surefire, successful hits. And successful they were.

This is not to say that today’s groups are bad. To say K-pop now is not successful is a mere folly. Growing profits, the rise of Korean tourism, and “Gangnam Style” show its immense appeal. However, there’s always room to innovate, improve, and invigorate today’s K-pop. And to do that, perhaps the music companies should look to the K-pop’s past for inspiration.


Wrapping it Up



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If there were more singers like the talented Ailee , then I'm all for it!



As I rode the subway back home from the Girls Generation concert that fateful night, I thought, “maybe I shouldn’t go against mainstream K-pop, but work with the fans, the music producers inside the industry to promote Korean music as a whole.” Korean music has come such a long way since I first discovered SES, FinkL, and HOT back in 1997.


As my subway stop approached and the doors opened, I smiled. It’s time to show people the other side of K-pop: the indie scene, good singing, and enjoying the Korean music scene with the fans.


For the record, I do enjoy mainstream K-pop. Like other fans, I like listening to the poppy beats put out by various idol groups every year. Mainstream groups are undeniably beautiful and handsome, entertaining, and catchy. It also puts Korea on the world stage. But there’s still work to be done in developing K-pop.


The US had a golden age of awesome music in the 80s and 90s. Will there be high standards for Korean music in the 2010s? If K-pop can evolve where any genre can thrive – regardless of having hot guys with 6-packs and girls with nice legs in a MV – and musical talent can be appreciated, then we will be seeing a new golden age in Asian music.




Interested in more K-pop articles?

Then check out these two articles:
Let’s Face It: 2012 Was Not Kpop’s Best Year Ever
Behind the K-pop Scenes: Part 3

Jason Yu (aka Jangta) has worked with BBC World, the Japan Times, the Yonhap News, various K-pop companies, and other publications. Currently working in the Korean media scene, his passion is to spread Asian pop culture to the world. On his time spare, he works on his Asian pop culture site called Green Tea Graffiti. He currently lives in Seoul, Korea.



Facebook: GTGMedia

Twitter: GTGNews

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eishastan 31st-Dec-2012 08:00 pm (UTC)
WTF? i stopped at mainstream vs indie music.

Nobody should care about my music taste as i don't care about what other people likes, there are more important and relevant matters to worry about, whether we have good music taste or not is not one of them.

Music is supposed to make you happy and it's something should to enjoy, who cares if it's a freaking master piece or not.
vvipforseungri 31st-Dec-2012 08:10 pm (UTC)
I came here to say something similar. I really detest it when people look down on what I listen to because it is popular and imply that somehow, if you're Indie, you're automatically tons better and more deserving of the name "artist". And that only Indie bands have talent. Because EVERY Indie band are geniuses, right?
johnnyride 31st-Dec-2012 08:02 pm (UTC)
the epitome of tldr
wowwh 31st-Dec-2012 08:23 pm (UTC)
MTE
cloudynitemare 31st-Dec-2012 08:03 pm (UTC)
I'm easily pleased and don't have very high standards to begin with, so..
unicornios 31st-Dec-2012 09:59 pm (UTC)
lmao basically me
but who cares? if you enjoy it, then it's all good.
thebluemonk 31st-Dec-2012 08:03 pm (UTC)
eishastan 31st-Dec-2012 08:26 pm (UTC)
This basically lol
janri 31st-Dec-2012 08:04 pm (UTC)
+1 Everything except putting Chocolat in the same group as T-ARA and 4Minute.
beatification 31st-Dec-2012 08:05 pm (UTC)
self indulgent pseudo intellectualism

gag me
stephantasm 31st-Dec-2012 08:24 pm (UTC)
The fact that they wrote like three pages on how people enjoy listening to catchy music while looking at attractive people... as if this is a novel theory they've recently constructed. The biggest problem with kpop for me is that it moves too fast. Over the summer, I saw nugu groups coming out almost every day and barely see them anymore because many of their respective companies can't bother to promote them enough. A lot of idols ARE talented, they're just not promoted enough.
silentxautumn 31st-Dec-2012 08:09 pm (UTC)
welcome to reality, where in practically every music market around the world, pop music rules, and indie artists are regarded as nugus who don't appeal to the general public.

K-Pop isn't for everyone. so what? this is on the same level as those who compare K-Pop and American Pop and then go ahead and judge American Pop.
annhh 31st-Dec-2012 08:16 pm (UTC)
In one word without any theories behind: yes.

sorry I didn't read the article. I mean that I don't expect the heavens, superb singing ability with "real" music from artists to say they're great. people who haven't been exposed to kpop can be really critical.

and michael jackson might be "king of pop" to some but vocally he's just as unimpressive as kpop is.

Edited at 2012-12-31 09:49 pm (UTC)
stephantasm 31st-Dec-2012 08:18 pm (UTC)
Wow I hate this article. Tell me something I don't know, please
shanny_w 31st-Dec-2012 08:18 pm (UTC)
KoreanIndie.com is a good site to check out if you're looking to see what else is out there.
chewmi 1st-Jan-2013 05:33 am (UTC)
lol cool...
cagallisakura 31st-Dec-2012 08:20 pm (UTC)
I was at that SNSD concert in Seoul last year and it was the best freaking thing that ever happened to me lol js

I can agree with some points, especially the amnesia thing. Most of the grade 9s in my school this year have never read Harry Potter and all I could think was how they missed out on such an amazing generation of always looking forward to the next HP book.

Ailee was the best debut of this year, hands down.
soft_daisy 31st-Dec-2012 09:14 pm (UTC)
iawtc
flumes 31st-Dec-2012 08:22 pm (UTC)
this article is long as shit damn

all genres have good and bad stuff who cares i dont have time 4 this omg
sandra_hall 31st-Dec-2012 08:22 pm (UTC)
negl, current crop kpop is nowhere near bubblegum enough for me.
sergel02 31st-Dec-2012 08:41 pm (UTC)
Was gonna say that too. Bubblegum pop as a certain sound to it that a lot of music this year didn't for me personally.
vizallati 31st-Dec-2012 08:26 pm (UTC)
nothing new hurr. but damn, listening to mainstream kpop means your music standards have been lowered? obvs kpop only exists to be enjoyed by people. its purpose isn't necessarily to showcase idols' talents but to entertain. it gets really annoying when people judge you for liking an artist or group saying they're talentless. well, I don't like them just for their singing or dancing. and I don't go to a kpop concert so I can listen to ~beautiful music. I go to see my idols perform things you wouldn't usually see on tv and enjoy the atmosphere with other fans.

It’s time to show people the other side of K-pop: the indie scene, good singing, and enjoying the Korean music scene with the fans.

lol

yongsowonhi 31st-Dec-2012 08:28 pm (UTC)
what if I really just genuinely like pop music for it and not because indie music isn't as marketed lol. also, I feel like killing myself for reading the other link below, the one about 2012 not being the best year for kpop. that one is utter shit.

goodness, so damn sleepy rn.
laeryn 31st-Dec-2012 08:31 pm (UTC)
wow that was long and in the end nothing new was said. I love what I love. And I know what I listen to. I just happen to be looking for different things when I get in my SHINee playlist than when I decide to listen to Yoon Mirae. And if you want to look down on me because I absolutely adore shouting out the lyrics of A-yo while cleaning the house? Well, then that's your problem. I'm very happy with it, tyvm.

Edited at 2012-12-31 08:32 pm (UTC)
mya13 31st-Dec-2012 08:39 pm (UTC)
i agree with this post (the first half..i only skimmed through the second half). i find that if an american artist were to sing one of your idols songs, you wouldn't like it..but when oppa sings it ofc it is amazing. korean pop music is definitely decreasing though, in my opinion.
cherrypop 31st-Dec-2012 08:43 pm (UTC)
I agree with a lot of this. It may not be what people want to hear (omg whine moar about how you can like whatever you want please) but it's the truth so face up to it.

SIDE NOTE: I personally can't stand when Kpop fans say "I like Korean music."

Please. You like Kpop. Not Korean music. Get it right.
msgrottesca 31st-Dec-2012 10:04 pm (UTC)
This. I don't understand why everyone here is being so defensive, half of them even admitting to not reading the article. It is truly an interesting phenomenon how entire genres have been all but banished from Korean charts. Idols have almost become a way of life. Everything is idols, idols, idols, oh look a ballad singer, idols, idols, etc. Even in Japan, another country with a very large idol industry, when you look at the Oricon chart, you're going to see far more variety. Idols like AKB48 and the JE guys will always slay the charts, but you'll see a lot of different genres represented.
nzpnkrckrgrl 31st-Dec-2012 08:46 pm (UTC)
Interesting to read
It's only the writer's opinion.

nothing new to read, and don't agree about the younger generation vs today section. I just became a shinhwa fan and i usually don't go near old history stuff. I can only come up the reason is elementary kids aren't expose to it much. What's on tv or playing are pretty much the new stuff.

Only one point i agree is all the nugus coming out. Don't want to hurt anybody's feeling but it took me a while to figure out did BtoB debuted this year or not. :/

Edited at 2012-12-31 08:47 pm (UTC)
laeryn 31st-Dec-2012 09:16 pm (UTC)
I think so? A friend stand them and I'm pretty sure it was this year...
setsuna16 31st-Dec-2012 08:47 pm (UTC)
Here because SES was mentioned. Ugh. Can't believe it's been 10 years since my beloved trio broke up. I miss them so much, and I do pity the babies who don't know the greatness of SES, HOT, Shinhwa, Finkl, GOD etc.

God forbid Seo Taiji come back and not set the world of fire, though. If that happens, I will be surprised.
fabledlamb 31st-Dec-2012 09:05 pm (UTC)
It doesn't hurt to put things into perspective a little. Mass market pop music by definition has to be accessible, entertaining and fun. There's nothing wrong with that. And it's the same all over the world, not just in Korea/kpop. (Can Rihanna sing? Or Britney? Or even Madonna, one of the largest pop icons which the author failed to mention in favor of Michael Jackson?)

Glorifying indie music isn't all that realistic either. It isn't exactly an area exclusively filled with talent and innovation. Indie music can be just as repetitive, unoriginal and talentfree as manufactured pop. It all depends on the abilities of the respective artist. Not every indie artist is a little Mozart in the making. In fact pop can sometimes be much more exciting and innovative than indie if the producers have visions and want to push boundaries.

Glorifying kpop's past isn't helping either. Not everything in the 1990s was gold. The fact that there were fewer groups around doesn't mean those groups put out one great song after the other. It was just as manufactured and targeted at a mass audience as it is now. I'd even go as far as saying that kpop has much more to offer nowadays in terms of music quality and interesting concepts, and that's what makes it so appealing to a global audience. Yes, there are much more groups debuting now but what does that change? Only if they have good songs and interesting members will people keep supporting them and the rest will soon be forgotten. It doesn't have to mean there's less space for quality or less space for indie artists.

If Korean indie music was all that brilliant, now would be the best time to promote it to an international audience. But one shouldn't be surprised to find out that the biggest audiences will always be attracted to easily accessible pop. Which brings me back to my first statement. Circle closed. Happy New Year.
soft_daisy 31st-Dec-2012 09:18 pm (UTC)
agree with a lot of things in this comment.

Glorifying kpop's past isn't helping either. Not everything in the 1990s was gold. The fact that there were fewer groups around doesn't mean those groups put out one great song after the other. It was just as manufactured and targeted at a mass audience as it is now.

this. and they weren't always better singers either. it's mainly the sound that is different, but music trends always evolve with generations anyways.
niav 31st-Dec-2012 09:06 pm (UTC)
honestly, the writer has already settled on a "siiigh it was so much better in the old days" narrative they want to push and to achieve that they ignore all opposing evidence. i'm not gonna deny that there's a lot of focus on style in kpop as opposed to substance, but this idea that music has steadily declined is pure fiction. candy is considered the kpop song of the nineties, and are you gonna tell me that it's some sort of vocal triumph? they talk about talented rookies being ignored - what of lee hi, easily the most popular rookie of the year, who undeniably has a great voice? and as for this:

And today in the 2010s, Justin Bieber, One Direction, LMFAO, and PSY have taken the world by storm.

adele? mumford & sons? emeli sande? heck, even justin bieber and one direction (plus other pop groups like little mix) do actually have some considerable vocal talent, even if their music is carefully marketed pop.

it's difficult to take this article seriously when these huge glaring facts are just glossed over because they're inconvenient.


Edited at 2012-12-31 09:11 pm (UTC)
theharleyquinn 31st-Dec-2012 09:07 pm (UTC)
I don't understand some bloggers and writers about K-Pop (outside of the ones that do it regularly) can't understand that most fans just enjoy the music for what it is and let go.

Mainstream music is primarily about trends and revenue. The music Usher puts out now sounds completely foreign compared to the music he put out in the early 2000s. I didn't know "I Knew You Were Trouble" was a Taylor Swift song for several weeks because it sounded like every other electronic-dubstep song on the radio. The same problem is in a different form elsewhere. It is sad that some people think K-Pop defines all Korean music, but I don't think it's fair to assume that's the majority.

The whole mainstream vs. indie argument is so irritating anyway. There's good music at all parts of the popularity spectrum. And can we please stop playing decade wars with music? Every era has their hits and misses. Have you heard of Milli Vanilli?
sergel02 31st-Dec-2012 09:12 pm (UTC)
Oi this was so long. Just gonna give my perspective as someone who has been listening to American music my whole life, Japanese music for around 12 years, European music for like 7, and Korean music for around 3.

1 thing first, Urban Zakapa isn't really indie, at least they don't think of themselves that way according to a recent interview.

I personally feel this year has been better for Kpop than the past 2 overall. There is slightly more variety in the idols' songs. I do agree that there are too many idol group where companies just try to emulate a previous successful group.

One thing is I for one have heard A LOT of great singers who are incredibly talented (indie and mainstream)...but just because they can sing well isn't going to make me like their music. I don't listen to indie because I don't like most of the music. Real music talent doesn't mean much for me if their music doesn't appeal to me. If I'm bored watching them on stage, then there is less of a chance I'll check out their music.

"However, there’s always room to innovate, improve, and invigorate today’s K-pop. And to do that, perhaps the music companies should look to the K-pop’s past for inspiration."
I do agree with the above statement (and the amnesia thing). Kpop songs use a lot of English nowadays, and writers probably don't need to use that much. Also, I miss the sound of 2008-2009 time. Maybe just nostalgia. Having more variety and maybe have idols write some of their own songs would be a step up imo. Also agree that fans defend their singers a bit much, and idols should improve on singing.

To conclude, the article doesn't really say anything that hasn't already been said. In the end we're all kinda similar as music fans: we like the music we like and want it to do well, and if and when it doesn't, it is sometimes easier putting that blame onto others.

You can be an amazing singer, but if your stages and music bore me, I won't really pay attention to you. Look at the Queens of Jpop (Ayu, Koda Kumi, Namie, Utada, even Kana or BENI). None of them are the best singers, but they command the stage well (they also write the lyrics to their songs, which is vital imo). They have good songs that relate to people, and they are good to watch.

Kpop does need more variety and idols should learn to sing better, there is ALWAYS room for improvement, but as for the entire industry spiraling down, I don't really agree. Companies need to ease up on the debuts though.

Edited at 2012-12-31 09:20 pm (UTC)
koutaishi 31st-Dec-2012 10:30 pm (UTC)
praise this comment!
soft_daisy 31st-Dec-2012 09:22 pm (UTC)
There is a reason why mainstream is called mainstream..

The writer makes it sound as though kpop fans can't simultaneously enjoy indie music, which isn't true. It's just that mainstream pop has an entertaining factor that will normally generate more sales, outspoken enthusiasm, loyalty, etc.
gtgnews 1st-Jan-2013 02:15 pm (UTC)
Agreed. Mainstream is generally for the masses.

People can enjoy both indie and mainstream, no problem. I'm just hoping in 2013, that more indie bands can get more of a fair shot and exposure, alongside with their mainstream brethren. Kind of like how in the US or Japan, there's a lot more chances for lesser-known bands to get fame and attention.
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