• http://colourmesplendid.wordpress.com Ree

    I need to disagree with the Brown Eyed Girls- at least a bit. I do agree that Abracadabra was basically an attempt for them to break into the mainstream market (they pretty much admitted this themselves), and I do agree that Sixth Sense definitely relies on visuals in order to be as effective as it is. But to me Sixth Sense was them basically dipping their toes back into their more RnB roots, whilst still trying to maintain some mainstream appeal. Which I can’t completely blame them for, and I’m glad they’re doing it in a way that’s more subtle and not too overbearing (at least if you don’t watch the MV). I think Sixth Sense had enough focus on their vocals without being too showy, but how much you like the song is probably up to digression. 

    Of course I will always miss the BEG who gave me ‘Hold the Line’- and I thought that image suited them more than Sixth Sense and Abracadabra. And I agree that Sixth Sense was more visual heavy than most people seem to think it is. But I think they’re trying their best to find a mix between holding onto their roots and appealing to the mainstream audience.

  • http://mcrothsresidence.com/ McRoth

    I can’t get past the fact that you’ve equated the sense of sound to the sense of sight in the title, especially regarding MUSIC.

  • Why Not Both

    uhhh…..
    Regarding the composition and musical complexity…Sixth Sense (song and album) is actually progressive and probably a first of its kind in Kpopdom….so I don’t think they’ve lost their music appeal…In fact I love how they decided to top top their past hits w/ Abracadabra by going BACK to their roots…the new songs are very much them “pre-mainstream” as far as personality yet they managed to fuse it for easy listen for the en masse.
    And yes the ladies look better than ever and I won’t fault them for it….
    Hey, maybe we can finally have a group that has BOTH visual and musical appeal… ??

  • !altern

    it’s definitely for the eyes.  if their music is good, it’s a bonus!

  • http://www.geekygamergirl.net Jean Park

    I will agree that groups like SNSD are definitely created primarily for visual appeal. However, I still enjoy their fun, addictive poppy music when they’re blasting through my earbuds, and I can’t see them dancing or winking in a video then. I can picture them doing it, but I’m more concentrated at the task at hand, usually working out.

  • Pop is Entertainment.

    Though all is said, I’m not exactly sure if anyone is actually into K-Pop (or pop as a whole for that matter) for musical merits but rather it’s entertainment value. Nothing wrong with this, and yes, we do enjoy the songs in the process, but the variety shows, the controversial music videos, the image, it’s all entertainment.

  • Leo Gbb Nes

    -.-

    This sounds like it was written by an outsider of K-pop or someone purposefully being too simplistic and/or sensationalistic. I mean it’s all stuff we already know: there is idol music and there is non idol music. But there is no explanation as to why the writer considers idol music as inferior, is it because the artists are much more visual? Do they feel like ALL idol music is bad because of that?

  • Gnattie

    I thought Sixth Sense was pretty groundbreaking for kpop. I’m new to Kpop but from what I’ve seen, it’s the first really Feministic song and music video. It’s nothing new for the Western world but pretty dynamic for the East. But I agree with you about other kpop groups. SNSD and the other bands appeared to place appearance above quality, especially these days, which is a shame.

  • HelloHello

    They are IDOLS – marketed more like a product than singers.
    We all know that’s how it works for idols in k-pop world.

    So tell me, what’s the big deal about it?

    I like k-pop the way it is now – fabricated or not. Pretty girls, dorky boys, idols who can’t act, idols who post silly sel-ca on Twitter, etc… I like it all. And I’m not disappointed that ‘music for the eyes’ dominating the industry because the moment I indulge myself in kpop, I know this sort of thing is what I’m looking for.

    • SeriouslySiri

      Whoa! Little emotionally defensive? Calm it. It’s just an article sprouting some thoughts about K-pop. Good Lord if this article had a bit of gravitas in happenings of K-pop.

  • shuten

    I don’t get the article’s writer point. If you want music for the eyes just listen to k-pop. If you want music for the ears, get the fuck out of k-pop, lol. My music for the ears is classical, heavy metal and blues. I’m inside of k-pop because I like the focus on visual they got.
    Of course I’d like that they focus more on musical quality and that’s exactly what Brown Eyed Girls showed with Sixth Sense, at least for me. I completely agree that Abracadabra is low quality music, possibly the ‘worst’ in the Sound-G album and even at their career. Abracadabra is nothing but catchy.
    On the other hand, Sixth Sense is magnificent. Have you heard the instrumental version of the song? The instrumental itself is a MASTERPIECE, and yes, the song shows their vocal range and depth. And in my opinion all the other songs of the album are great too.
    For me you are just trying to get some arguments to prove your point, but I think you failed to choose BEG for this. I agree that k-pop is too much visual focused and should be musically improved, but BEG is everything I want, they got visual AND musical quality. It’s not a problem if you didn’t like the song, but it obviously has quality.
    There is a whole world outside of k-pop, just feel free to suit yourself…

    • Gnattie

      I agree! I don’t really watch or listen to Kpop for “music for the ears.” I like how it looks, the music videos and outfits and choreography, but I’ve always been an alternative and rock music sort of girl.

    • Anonymous

      I agree. I get the main point of what the author is trying to say, but I also have to disagree with her opinion on the Brown Eyed Girls. Their new album is actually quite a delight. You know, it IS possible for artists to be good musically AND visually at the same time.

  • Anonymous

    Oh! Seoulbeat These girls sometimes bring out his narrow-mindedness, you should work for KBS that recently has been known for that. If it is true that there are groups that do not add anything new to the music rather than her beautiful presence, but not fits in my head that a talented group that apart is pleasing to the eye, you do not give recognition. Perhaps the boys are guilty of being pretty? If you do not like your style is your anger, but please be more objective in your comments. Some will give you by your side, I do not.

    • SeriouslySiri

      Please learn to articulate your points. Go back to elementary school to learn the fundamentals of writing with a cogent idea to work from. I cannot stand these poorly written and thoughtless diarrhea-like drivel that people of your mentality try to pass as intelligent and high minded ” responses”.

    • achoo

      If you really hate these kinds of articles, then don’t read it or just go to allkpop, which don’t show any opinion at all.

      If you disagree with the author of the article then come with your own opinion why you disagree instead of bashing the author. 

  • Anonymous

    So! because a fucking artist shows his selfcam or tweet already stopped creating music to the ears? Hello!

  • Natsufuru

    i agree with half of wat u said but not all. beg is actually quite good, better than most actually. n DBSK they can sing, dance n compose their songs. n the funky animal costume was for an mv in a way its for cassies but not fully.

  • http://twitter.com/PhanTheHotness Jenny

    you can’t say that EVERY idol group out there are just music for eyes. 
    many “idol” groups put out very good music. take DBSK for example or maybe BIG BANG

    and you can’t say that soloists or groups that are music for the eyes always put out good music
    there is always an exception. 

    baek ji young and BEG has music for both.
    so i 1/2 agree with some stuff you say and half don’t.

  • Anonymous

    What’s ironic to me is that the picture of Gummy is far better looking then that picture of SNSD.

  • Bones

    What I want to know is why people are so complacent about listening to music with very little artistic value and why they don’t think there is anything wrong with that. I feel sorry for all the talented Korean musicians out there that will never make a name for themselves because their public wouldn’t know good music even if it came out and slapped them in the face.

    • shuten

      Well, pop music is made to be what the name itself suggests, to be popular. It is a genre of music made to sell, to gather the most number of people; not necessarily having a musical artistic value.
      This ‘issue’ is something that happens not only in Korea. We should know that not everything is fair no matter what. This is something everyone should know, it’s not like these ‘real’ musicians don’t know it will be harder to be recognized if they don’t make pop music. Not that they “choose” the kind of music, but I think I made my point.

      • Bones

        I’m not talking about Korea’s pop music – I’m talking about Korean music in general, and the Korean music industry has yet to truly diversify itself. THAT is why rooting for subpar music is a problem. It is so prolific in Korea and people are okay with that. Do you know what a sad state that is for a musician? Do you know how heart wrenching that is for people who appreciate art?

        That isn’t to say that we don’t have “music for the eyes” in the United States, we do, but we have multiple genres to choose from that fall within the mainstream. Korea, on the other hand? It really isn’t the same situation.

        It isn’t just “harder” for musicians outside of the realm of pop to gain recognition in Korea – it is next to impossible and that’s because people are willing to dumb themselves down solely for pretty visuals.

        • shuten

          You are saying these things like you wanted justice or something like that. Well, this is LIFE.
          USA has the biggest music industry in the world. It is just natural that you have diversity. You can dare to invest and try your luck in many genres.

          And it is not like just idols appears in Korea’s music charts, there are ‘true’ musicians too. The thing is: k-pop is making a big hype about the hallyu wave. In some way, these musicians are being noted because they are on the charts. As far as I know, the idols aim the teen population in general. It’s not like the _whole_ population value idols.

          And I don’t know why do YOU want diversity in Korea, but every kind of music has its value somewhere in the world. It’s not like every country has or must have diversity. And USA doesn’t have market for ALL kinds of music, isn’t that pitiful too? I’d say yes, but not really.

          • Bones

            … lol.

            That’s the kind of complacency I was talking about before. “That’s just how it is, deal with it.” What utter bullshit. That’s such a stagnant outlook. The US has that diversity because individuals who saw value where other did not took risks when they weren’t expected to be profitable. You have to “dare to invest and try your luck” when no one else is in order to make the greatest amount of impact. That’s the impetus for change – and that is why change is very unlikely in the Korean music industry at present. Everyone is going for the tried and true method of girl groups and boy bands because that’s what’s fashionable. To me that shows a lack of passion for real music and that is absolutely what is wrong in an industry that is supposed to be about music. When you’re not making innovations, not trying to transcend what you’ve already done, your’e clearly not in it for reasons other than to make a quick buck.

            Korean entertainment is absolutely saturated with “idols”. That’s why they are called idols. These idols are on those charts because you want them there, because you are settling for something that isn’t as great as it could be.

            Why don’t YOU want diversity in Korea? Music is a universal language – it isn’t just sound. How can a soundwave capture a person’s emotions and convey it to another person? This message is lost when you listen with your eyes as opposed to your ears. Every country shouldn’t have diversity? More bullshit. Without diversity you can kiss your goodbyes to efforts toward tolerance and enlightenment. Diversity is part of an intellectual pursuit – to understand and comprehend. I never said that the US has a market for every single type of music, but it sure has more opportunities for multiple genres.

            The sad thing about the commercialization of music is that the meaning is lost and the visual aesthetics are amplified rather than the talent. And yet musicians around the world still want to be able to make a career out of their passion – not because they want to be famous, but because they enjoy making art. They’re a foolish bunch but our world would certainly be less rich without them. Spend some time with people like that – witness their struggles, then get back to me and we’ll talk.

          • shuten

            I said that other musicians are in the charts other than idols. Maybe you don’t know that because you don’t look at it and just read k-pop news.
            I didn’t mean that it shouldn’t have diversity, sorry. And I agree with what you said.US has diversity because there were people willing to invest in it because they had money to begin with. Korea is not that rich, tell me which agency would like to invest in something different when idols are almost dominating the music scenery.Would you be the person to invest in those guys trying to make something new just because of passion for music? No one has that money and the biggest of the current market are not willing to change that because they want more money. The most natural response for the question is no for either big or small agencies, and that’s my point, ANYONE would mostly likely to answer no. It’s just a human nature.

            It’s not like Korea would change and get rich because of art. Do you think a country can do that? It is just normal they would use music to get money for themselves, although I don’t like it.

          • shuten

            What I am trying to say is: USA and Japan have the biggest music industry not because _just_ you both want innovation and think different, but mainly because you have the money to invest in it.
            I’m sorry for my mistakes, I’m not fluent in English and you misunderstood me. I hope it doesn’t happen again, lol.

  • oak

    dbsk has always been both ears and eyes. their voices harmonize well together because they’re all so different. they just happen to look damn good at the same time :)
    i would put beast in both as well. they make pretty good music.
    i don’t know where i would put big bang. they have a few catchy songs, but the eyes kind of bleed when they experiment with their image…. >_>

  • hkg

    While I get what the author is saying and agree with some of it, it is still a very simplistic view.  Reading this article reminded me a an English test I took in high school.  We were given two poems and had to decide which was the better poem.  One was a short poem with simple sentences and the other one was a longer poem with sentences filled with a lot of fancy metaphors.  Most students picked the longer poem as the better poem and they failed.  The short poem while simple was a better crafted poem.  I think this happens with music as well.  Yes, most pop music is just simple catchy music that we forget about in a week but every once and a while a song comes along that is just amazing and stays with us for a long time.  Same goes for ‘real’ music.  ‘Real’ music is considered better by most because of the amount of work put in by the artist but even they are capable of making some awful songs.  Unfortunately, this division also applies to how the artist behaves.  An artist who goes on variety shows, does CFs, uses twitter, or just has fun is considered a sellout and no longer taken seriously.  Look at how some people are freaking out about Tablo joining YG.  If Tablo could make great music while going on variety shows then joining a large agency shouldn’t effect the quality of music he makes either.  BEG is the same.  Just because their song has a strong concept attached to it doesn’t mean they are no longer talented and that it wasn’t showcased within the song.  People always remark on how hard it is for pop stars to be taken seriously.  I actually feel more sorry for the so called ‘real’ artists.  There are so many things that they can not do if they want to be known as a true artist.  If they do even one of these taboo things like go on a variety show then their artistic integrity is immediately questioned.

  • http://profiles.google.com/serra.abak Serra Abak

    I don’t really think the way you do. Just take a simple approach to this complicated problem. If you like it, you listen to it. Who cares if the songs aren’t made by ‘musical geniuses’ or the singer’s voices aren’t shown off?I like SNSD’s music a lot, because it makes me happy. If I’m feeling not so good, and I listen to their music, I feel better. Isn’t music just a way to feel emotions? If that music gives you emotion, brilliant or not, it has done its job. BEG’s new song absolutely stunned me, because it made me feel self-confident and powerful just by hearing it. If we didn’t also NEED visual art, we wouldn’t be crawling to museums or spending all our money on films. What’s wrong with wanting to like what you hear AND see?

  • http://jyjharmony.imgur.com/jyj_in_san_jose Iris

    While this article has some good points on how kpop seems to place an emphasis on the ‘visual smoke and mirrors,’ I have a few points of contention on what they used to defend their examples.Brown Eyed Girls’ title track is actually incredibly difficult to sing (they go into falsetto-whistle register for their final adlib, how many girl groups can do that?) and if you listen to the MR for both Hot Shot and Sixth Sense, they sing very solidly live, even on their sick days. They are musicians-turned-idols, and their visuals are not cheap, or made for the male gaze. They come with a solid, full concept to match the theme of their music, so in utilizing the visuals, they have made their own brand of artistry within mainstream kpop. While this song may not be to the author’s taste, it still is very technically difficult to sing, and was composed with a great deal of consideration and complexity.Also, this person is treating DBSK’s old material as “only music for eyes” when in fact they are a SINGING group, and always have been known as such. Even their earliest Korean ballads, such as Tonight and Whatever They Say, are notoriously difficult for ANY musical group to sing. And then you have to look at the beauty of their Tohoshinki ballads, including the famous Love in the Ice and Bolero. And let’s not forget all the times they sang acapellas on music shows such as their Love Letter performance of “In the Still of the Nite” by Boyz II Men. By writing off DBSK as only a group who could sing Balloons (and let’s not forget, Jaejoong sang a high adlib during each live), this writer is unfortunately making this particular point rather weak.I agree with the rest of the article however, that kpop does have its fair share of only visuals, like we see in several of the new groups coming out. Let’s just hope that groups like JYJ and Brown Eyed Girls become the example of a trend towards great music + great music being the norm, instead of the exception.

  • http://jyjharmony.imgur.com/jyj_in_san_jose Iris

    (sorry, my first comment was not formatted correctly) 
    While this article has some good points on how kpop seems to place an emphasis on the ‘visual smoke and mirrors,’ I have a few points of contention on what they used to defend their examples.Brown Eyed Girls’ title track is actually incredibly difficult to sing (they go into falsetto-whistle register for their final adlib, how many girl groups can do that?) and if you listen to the MR for both Hot Shot and Sixth Sense, they sing very solidly live, even on their sick days. They are musicians-turned-idols, and their visuals are not cheap, or made for the male gaze. They come with a solid, full concept to match the theme of their music, so in utilizing the visuals, they have made their own brand of artistry within mainstream kpop. While this song may not be to the author’s taste, it still is very technically difficult to sing, and was composed with a great deal of consideration and complexity.

    Also, this person is treating DBSK’s old material as “only music for eyes” when in fact they are a SINGING group, and always have been known as such. Even their earliest Korean ballads, such as Tonight and Whatever They Say, are notoriously difficult for ANY musical group to sing. And then you have to look at the beauty of their Tohoshinki ballads, including the famous Love in the Ice and Bolero. And let’s not forget all the times they sang acapellas on music shows such as their Love Letter performance of “In the Still of the Nite” by Boyz II Men. By writing off DBSK as only a group who could sing Balloons (and let’s not forget, Jaejoong sang a high adlib during each live), this writer is unfortunately making this particular point rather weak.

    I agree with the rest of the article however, that kpop does have its fair share of only visuals, like we see in several of the new groups coming out. Let’s just hope that groups like JYJ and Brown Eyed Girls become the example of a trend towards great music + great music being the norm, instead of the exception.

  • Junko

    K-Pop music is not only for eyes.

    And JYJ’s music is not only for ears.
    They express their thoughts and attitude on their music.

    Not to say, their sounds is very nice for their fans but that is not JYJ only.
    Almost all of K-Pop artists sing very well, dance well, be directed well, etc.

    JYJ, too, sing very well, dance well and they make music themselves, connect to audiences directly like almost ‘Artists’ do.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FNWBSTBRQZER55G4NIQNAIXKCQ tarwen

    So true.

    There are few groups in existence that are a combination of both “For the Eyes” AND “For the Ears”. But the few that are have become the leading groups of the Hallyu Wave. H.O.T and then later Shinhwa for the First Hallyu Wave and then DBSK for the Second Hallyu Wave. There are other artists too: Fink.L, Rain, Davichi, etc.

    The Second Hallyu Wave is dying; and not because of the stalemate of the DBSK’s status and situation now, aka between ‘SMe vs. J.Y.J.’; no that happened luckily right before and is not the cause and to be blamed for.
    THIS “For the Eyes” or “For the Ears” alternatives are killing the K-pop music industry why idol fandom will fade like American boyband fandom in the early 1990s. I lived and experienced it and see the same road and history repeating itself in S. Korea.

    Hopefully if a combo with “For the Eyes” AND “For the Ears” is adapted and focused on, a third Hallyu Wave can be started. JYJ and Wonder Girls are already paving the way and setting the stones now to be walked upon…

  • Sasiwak

    True, most kpop acts today have very little musical merits to them but I disagree with you about BEG.  Just because they are venturing into pop/electronic music, it doesn’t mean that they are no longer artists, especially when it is done right and tastefully.  And what about Gummy, who you listed as a “true artist” and came out with singles like As A Man and There Is No Love last year.  They were very pop orientated compared her previous works but I didn’t find any fault in that.  They are both solid pop songs and I would say the same thing for BEG’s Abracadabra and Sixth Sense

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_XKAZ6U2I4OS5DGX3XO7MECJ75U anna

    im not even a crazy stan but i can feel all the BEG haterade u got goin. whats up? BEG is both vocally talented and aesthetically appealing – not cuz they so cute, but cuz they so charismatic and confident. where does that confidence come from? their vocal powers.

    and cuz im not blind nor deaf, why you & ree both skip what was in between dagawahsuh and hold the line n their last 2 albums….you think L.O.V.E. was some RnB roots piece? it was cutesy, not especially appropriate for them, and it won number 1. but abracadabra was a vast improvement on that, and sixth sense is definitely taking it back a bit to where they should be. that video isn’t eye candy – its still ear candy and its intelligent. if they wanted to look “pretty” they wouldn’t have rolled around in water, sand, and mud. 

    let’s not homogenize korean music to a bifurcated version of idols and non-idols. there are many, many, people and groups blasting out some of the best music world wide. look @ fluxus artists: CLAZZIQUAI is keepin it classy and beautiful. vocals are impeccable, with smart tracks and solid beats, & music videos to appeal to the eyes and brain. 

  • tvxqfangirl85

    DBSK were so popular because they were both. I’m not sure if you only listened to their songs like “Balloons” since you used that as your example but they were an acapelle dance group. They went around singing ballads more than they performed upbeat tunes (which is why some of these new Kpoppers find their music a bit boring). They were able to attract young people with their looks and older people who were fans of HOT and old school Kpop with their beautiful harmonization.

  • http://twitter.com/allieb0123 Allie

    You don’t really know much about SS501 do you? lol 

  • http://twitter.com/yangn4074 yangn

    What makes Kpop successful is that it caters to the eye. My brother is a huge fan of SNSD and owns every CD they released. But he admits to me that as much as he likes them he doesn’t actually listen to their songs that much in comparison to other groups, though he watches EVERY variety show they are on. There are groups you like because of visuals and the entertainment that they bring you and then there are groups that you listen because you actually enjoy the music.

    I understand that not everyone agrees that Kpop music is not just for the eyes, but it is in this aspect that they attract an audience first and in this aspect that they keep themselves fresh. I mean there are groups that I never pay attention to but because of certain concepts I start listening to them and realize “hey the music isn’t bad” but first impressions are mostly visuals unless you get something catchy stuck in your head like “gee gee gee gee”. That happened to be the most annoying song that everyone played around me but the repetitiveness makes it catchy and it doesn’t hurt that people think these girls are attractive.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=513439726 Sharon Overlord

    I say both. Yes, most of the groups have only 2 or 3 singers that can actually sing pretty good, like Super junior. Only 3 people are really good and singing, and they pretty much sing most of the songs. Then Siwon and Heechul are there for the looks. Eunhyuk is the dancer and he is in every variety show! You get what Im saying? The members pretty much are everywhere in the media and they help promote for SUJU. 

    That’s what a band is for. Each member contributes something. If they went solo then they better be able to sing!

  • http://twitter.com/TrAiLRiDejUnKiE Molly Lewis

    I think that they cater to the eyes AND ears. For instance; Dae Gak Nam Ah. I would listen to them no matter what they looked like, but they happen to be beautiful. Talent is number one, and most groups have it. And then there are the few (like Stellar) who have nothing.

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  • http://twitter.com/miss_hitomi miss-hitomi

    There are some groups here not in the list but I would like to mention. For me, CN Blue is both music to eyes and music to ears, although Yong Hwa is trying his best that his group will be remembered not only for their hot looks, but mostly for their unique music. For me, another two groups that are music for the eyes and ears are 2NE1 and CSJH. And I prefer music for the ears more because it has more soul. Another group that I can say (for me) is plainly music for the eyes is Super Junior. Sadly, people are just superficial.

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