If you walked down the street during the general election campaign, you would probably have heard songs that are both addictive and rhythmic with catchy campaign phrases. They instantly grab people's attention.
These are "trot" songs. Unlike in previous elections, trot was a popular choice for campaign songs this year.
Many candidates on the main opposition United Future Party's (UFP) ticket used the songs on their campaigns to appeal to the hearts and minds of voters.
Earlier in March, the UFP unveiled a list of songs that it recommended its candidates to use to woo voters. Six out of the 11 on the list were trot.
They included Youngtak's "Jjiniya," TV personality Yoo Jae-suk's "Redevelopment of Love," and Park Sang-chul's "Mujogeon," which means unconditionally.
Among them, "Jjiniya," meaning "I am the real one" or "It's real" depending on context, was one of the most popular campaign songs.
The song was most recently released during TV Chosun's megahit audition show "Mr. Trot," which aired its last episode in March with a record 35 percent viewership rating.
UFP candidates used Youngtak's song to give the impression that they were the politicians who would make their voices heard in the National Assembly, according to party officials.
Yoo's "Redevelopment of Love" is also popular among opposition candidates. Its lyrics read, "Please renew everything from top to bottom," which captures the opposition party's campaign pledge to reform the country.
The ruling Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) also actively adopted the genre. Of its 10 campaign songs unveiled earlier, six of them were trot. The list includes Yoo and Park's songs, as well as K-pop songs such as TWICE's "Yes or Yes," and ITZY's "Dalla Dalla."
The songs have been used in the political campaigns as the genre has reemerged with a newfound popularity.
Following the huge success of TV Chosun's "Mr. Trot," other cable TV stations broadcast similar shows.
MBC Every1, a cable channel of MBC, one of the largest TV and radio networks here, launched a trot audition program in February, "I am a Trot Singer" ― a spinoff of MBC's "I am a Singer" ― in which professional singers compete. Another cable network MBN also launched a trot audition show, "Trot Queen," Wednesday.
The characteristics of trot also seem to have inspired politicians to use it for their campaigns.
Most songs repeat the same rhythm with simple and catchy lyrics, which help people easily follow them. Due to their simplistic lyrics, many TV commercials use the songs to promote their products.
To use particular songs for their campaigns, candidates and their parties need to get approval from songwriters and the Korea Music Copyright Association.
They reportedly paid between 500,000 won ($411) and 2 million won per song to recreate them with lyrics for the campaign.
However, "Hapjeong Station Exit 5," which was co-written by Yoo Jae-suk, was not available for political purposes as Yoo didn't allow it to be used.
source: The Korea Times & 놀면 뭐하니?