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K-pop Gets Patriotic for the World Cup

Korean groups churn out football songs but only one gets 'official' nod



VICTORY KOREA: K-pop outfit Super Junior (above) might not be in the official World Cup compilation CD but that didn't stop the boys from releasing their own football song


What is it with South Korean singers and their fixation with the World Cup?

As football fans around the globe count down earnestly to June 11 - the day Fifa World Cup South Africa kicks off - the K-pop scene, it seems, has been caught up in the same fervour.

Over the past few weeks, at least six K-pop groups have released "unofficial World Cup songs" ahead of the major event.

They include The Shouts of Reds (boyband Big Bang's rousing number with Olympic figure skater Kim Yu-na), the inspirational anthem Victory Korea (by 13-man outfit Super Junior), as well as the slick choreographed cheerleader-esque We Are The One (by dance-pop sextet T-ara).

Either these pretty boys and girls genuinely feel the need to wear their patriotism on their sleeves, or they are simply smart enough to cash in on the football craze.

Discerning listeners might find some of the tunes instantly familiar.

Sexy girl group Brown Eyed Girls collaborated with pop peers 4-Minute on Once More Korea, a cover version of 80s electronic legend Pet Shop Boys' Go West.

Official song

Ironically, none of these songs, churned out in assembly-line fashion by the teenyboppers, are 'officially' recognised by Fifa.

The only South Korean band commissioned to record a song for Listen Up! The Official 2010 Fifa World Cup Album is the all-male flamboyant quartet 2AM.


PICTURES: Sony Music, Avex Trax


As representatives of their country, it is befitting that the guys have titled their World Cup song Number One.

In the album, 2AM joined other superstars such as R&B crooner R Kelly, rapper Pitbull and producer-singer Wyclef Jean in pop music's celebration of the world's biggest football fiesta.

They are spearheaded by Colombian dancing diva Shakira, whose thumping, catchy song Waka Waka (This Time For Africa) has been chosen as the Official Song of the World Cup.

Fans can catch Shakira doing a live rendition of the song at the closing ceremony before the final match on July 11 at Johannesburg Soccer City Stadium.

Official anthems aside, South Korea is probably the only country competing in the World Cup with so much passion shown through its slew of patriotic tunes.

In contrast, fellow Asian counterpart Japan seems to lag behind - aside from pop singer Misia's song Maware Maware that's included on the official World Cup album, J-pop singers have generally chosen not to jump on the bandwagon.

The South Korean enthusiasm is perhaps not surprising.

Football has been an integral part of the country, with prominent players Park Ji Sung and Lee Chung Yong plying their trade in the English Premier League. (Park is a midfield star with Manchester United, while Lee plays right wing for Bolton Wanderers.)

Both sportsmen are viewed as role models for aspiring teenagers.

In 2002, the year South Korea and Japan co-hosted the Fifa World Cup, South Korea made history by becoming the first Asian team to reach the semi-finals.

Come June, the country's national football team will battle sporting giants Argentina, Nigeria and Greece in Group B for a place in the knockout stage.

Even if they don't make it past that, the team's got the whole of South Korea singing for them, that's for sure.


LOL @ the description of 2AM XD

Reported by: Tan Kee Yun for The New Paper
Tags: 2am, 4minute, big bang, brown eyed girls, kim yu-na, music, super junior, t-ara
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