• http://twitter.com/JohnDeSims JDSono

    I hope Kpop is more than music because the music is boarder line terrible. Out of a year worth of songs, only 3 would sound good and the rest would all just sound like each other. The only difference between the songs, is the name of the Idol listed. We all know individuality is none existence in SK, so don’t fix what isn’t broken I guess.

    Korea seriously need to take notes from their next door neighbor Japan, and see why their music industry is so successful (Quality & Financial)

    • Black_winds

      Korea is Korea…Korea doesn’t need to take any notes from Japan. if so,then Japan may be taking notes from them on how to not destroy your own economy…
      And are we now comparing what exactly?Normal Japanese pop artists with Korean idols?or Japanese idols with Korean idols? (Japan falls SHORT on this one) or normal pop artists from Korea with Japanese rock bands……?i don’t even know…Anyway,it’s completely pointless.

    • RC_RC

      No, Japan should stay unique, a cultural Galápagos.

    • RC_RC

      No, Japan should stay unique, a cultural Galápagos.

  • Taeyeon_ss

    For the past 5 years, I’ve found western pop music to be tedious, fragmented and poorly executed.

    What kpop offers us is a perfectly polished package whose purpose is to provide a product that panders to our ideals. Perhaps it can be likened to a pomegranate which from the outside looks beautiful, ripe and desirable but once we peel off the pulp we are presented with a plethora of pretty little seeds that taste just as good as they look.

    Would I compare kpop to Beethoven or Hendrix? Ofcourse not but so far I’ve listened to more hours of kpop music than I have the music of either of those two musical genius. It simply fulfills a different set of needs than their music does.

    • Tanya Joshi

      By the way, REALLY good analogy!

      • Taeyeon_ss

        Thankyou! :)

    • Josh Chinnery

      I so agree with this and I love the way you worded your comment :D

    • Nekochan

      That was a really pretty analogy. But I agree with you, it seems like western music is going down in quality (ex: scream and shout by will.i.am).

      • Josh Chinnery

        Everything by will.i.am these days seems to be low quality XD

        • Nate Broadus

          It is, which is sad. He used to be one of the best producers in the game. Old Will.i.am was a creative dynamo.

          • Josh Chinnery

            Because My Humps and Let’s Get Retarded are deep and emotional pieces about the human condition XD Jokes aside, I did like will.i.am’s older material with the Black Eyed Peas. They were funky fresh, yo!! /embarrassment

            It bugs me when industry folk feel like they don’t have to try to sell stuff, because they know it’ll sell; they get lazy and just release whatever.

          • Nate Broadus

            The Will.i.am I’m talking about is late 90′s to early 00′s — from their early work right up toward Joints & Jams and even some of the early stuff with Fergie (though that was when they started to decline).

          • Josh Chinnery

            I just had to throw that in there. When people say they like will.i.am’s old stuff, I know they mean Pre-Fergie BEP and the like.

      • Sun_&_Raine

        I don’t think it’s going down in quality, I just think western music is in a phase right now. The whole elctro-house music/dubstep got really popular, so now everyone’s doing it so it’s no longer original now. Since America loves to jump in and out trends a lot, I was hoping this was going to die down soon, but I guess not. Who knows maybe in a year or so it’ll turn over.

        • Nekochan

          Lyrically its kinda low-quality, but there have always been some songs with bad lyrics.

    • Nate Broadus

      That is a very pretty analogy. I’m not sure if I agree with it, but it would be wrong not to praise clever wordplay.

      Kpop is Kpop: attractive packaging, similarly nice looking inner workings — as long as you don’t pay too much attention.

      The ugly aspects of the genre are there if you spend enough time looking around (unhealthy work schedules, sexism, lack of creative freedom for some, slave contracts, potentially harmful working environments [see the Open World Entertainment scandal], etc.). To borrow your excellent analogy, if the pomegranate’s outside looks enticing and the seeds look delectable, the meat is probably spoiling a bit — not so much that you can’t enjoy the fruit, but enough that a good once over would reveal the flaws.

      As for western pop music declining in quality, the sad part is Kpop will join it in time. It is already happening. That is the downside of Kpop’s tendency to sample from western tastes. We are already seeing in Kpop the over-dependence on autotune, the rampant over use of dubstep, and generally a push for studio tricks over simple voices that we have seen in the US pop scene for several years.

      Pop music as a whole is losing its luster. There is very little that comes out now that doesn’t sound like it was chiseled directly off of something else. Homages have been around for decades, but recently it is getting to the point where artists are not even tastefully sampling something as much as outright remaking it for lack of ideas. Now you get Flo Rida shamelessly remaking Dead or Alive’s You Spin Me Round (Like a Record), or sampling the same beat for the 85th time like everyone does to A Little Bit of Love by Brenda Russell.

      Kpop is seeing this more with time. The songs are starting to sound more like remixes instead of homages.

      • Taeyeon_ss

        Agreed, perhaps the pomegrante has been bathed in pesticides which we have chosen to ignore because it allows for a perfect looking and affordable fruit?

        Because western pop music has become so stagnant and recycled, kpop suffers harder because of how dependent they are on western trends. Perhaps it’s time for them to step away from current trends and become trend-setters, as surely by now they’ve mastered the formula and milked the cow dry. I’m sure kpop is flexible enough to allow for innovation which will keep fans interested and ensure longevity. I haven’t lost interest yet, but I can see it happening one day…

        P.S. You should write for seoulbeats if you don’t already!

  • darkchocolatecoffee

    When I first got into k-pop it was technically because of a good song and that song was SS501′s Love Ya – even now, I still find that song a much better musical composition than majority of the songs that are churned out these days. Today, I am still in k-pop for its music but rather than sticking to k-pop alone, I decided to branch out to k-indie (no regrets there!!!!!) because there are too little listening material in k-pop. I am one of those people who inadvertently draw a clear line between k-pop and k-indie because it’s hard for me to say that music is music no matter how badly written/produced/composed/etc. it is.

    • Tanya Joshi

      I agree with the K-indie thing, too! Nell is my favourite of all of them right now, but Seoulbeats has a helpful segment where I can learn about even more of them!

  • Tanya Joshi

    I agree with mostly all sides of this. I agree that the music isn’t that great (only a few are worthwhile) and most of them sound the same (I LOVE SuJu, but Sorry, Sorry, Bonamana, and Mr. Simple had basically the same ideas to them – but, I do like each of the songs) but everything else is VERY BEAUTIFULLY done. I also actually like the song Wolf, but trust me, it took a while for me to take a liking to it, and that was only after me watching the music video a countless number of times because I loved the choreography. K-pop is feel-good music, although sometimes it’s also annoying to listen to because many of the most pop-sounding music is very electronic. I know this might be adding to the point, but for me, I’m solely here in K-pop for basically the idol (even if their personality might be manufactured – which I sincerely hope that they’re not 100% manufactured, their own personality has to shine through for the whole thing to work – they still give me entertainment, WAY more than any Western artist can ever give me) and the variety shows – with or without idols, like Running Man can be. When I started out, I only paid attention to the music, but we all know that’s impossible, because like you said, there’s a lot more packaged into an idol’s career than the music. Now, for me, it’s less about the music.

    For me, K-pop has now become the feel-good music, for when I feel like fan-girling over something, and in general, Korean varieties and soooooooometimes dramas are there for my entertainment. If I want to listen to music for the music’s sake, I listen to the more Indie (don’t know the clear definition of the music I listen to) type music, like Ellie Goulding, Urban Cone, Coldplay, Lucy Rose, Daughter, etc.

    I mainly entered K-pop because I couldn’t handle the Western music and music videos because I can’t relate to most of the things happening in the music videos (at least pop songs). They are ALL basically about the same thing – stupid teen love, clubbing, drinking, partying, having sex. Sometimes there’s good music videos mostly involving dance (hence why I mostly watch K-pop videos) or just a nicer concept. But mostly, if you watch Today’s Top 10 or Countdown on Much Music (is that only in Canada?) or most songs from AT40, you’ll find the same theme.

    I know I’m probably repeating things, but basically, K-pop is to make me happy and the bands (and more) I mentioned above is to satisfy any musical need. I’m not a hipster, but I probably sounded like one… ANYWAYS… There’s so many things I wanna say (I know, you’re probably thinking I’ve said too much already) but the only way I can is if I was actually talking to you, so I’m done! Sorry about the rambling.

    P.S. Good article, it really agreed with my thoughts!

    • mysilentscream

      IKR? That’s why I tend to listen to Western rock (& alternative rock) music instead of W pop music.

      Well, try listening to the rest of the XOXO album. It’s really great, trust me.

      • Tanya Joshi

        Oh, trust me, I’ve listened to their whole album (EXO and SuJu are ma boys) and I love it! 3.6.5 and Peter Pan aren’t my cuppa tea but I think I get why other people would like it.

        Either way, I’m glad you agree! I always felt like I was being contradictory with myself, haha.

    • Tanya Joshi

      Oh, by the way, if I sound like one of those Western hipster people (like someone mentioned and described somewhere here – not saying they were directing at me, haha, just wanted to clear my stance on this), I definitely DON’T think that K-pop is all about music, I think it’s all about their performance and looks and all those superficial things. I usually tend to like the groups – or songs – that aren’t as overtly sexual (like a lot of girl groups – but that’s mostly because I can’t handle purposefully done aegyo overload from girls, or from boys for that matter) because if they are then I might as well listen to Western pop songs – and I mean POP songs, not just the popular songs (I know that’s what pop means, but I mean pop for pop-sake songs).
      I don’t know if this adds anything, but my bias in the group always tends to be the best dancer (or one of them) and I feel like that says a lot about why I like K-pop.

      Ugh, nevermind, I probably just sound really contradicting, haha.

      (P.S – Seriously, sorry if I’m rambling)

  • Nate Broadus

    It has never been just about the music.

    Kpop is an illusion — it’s like a vivid daydream made manifest. Pretty/handsome singers, easily accessible music, shallow enough that listening to it does not require much thought or mental investment (that is not meant to be a dig, by the way). The idols, themselves, are expected to maintain attitudes in their private life that do not put in jeopardy their public personae.

    Kpop is escapism in one of its highest forms. Everyone needs a bit of an escape from life — it’s pretty dull in comparison. However, the only way to healthily enjoy an escape is if you realize that very little-to-none of it is actually real. Of course idols want to date — idols don’t just live and breathe to please the whims of their fans (as much as the most zealous would like to believe). Of course idols get pissed and rant — they are as human as you, me, him, her, etc. When idols wake up in the morning, they are as unkempt and separated as the rest of us (what are you like before you have your touch of makeup/cup of coffee/breakfast/bagel/glass of oj in the morning?).

    Kpop is no more sophisticated or intricate than any other form of pop music — but what it does best is try to maintain the illusion on a much higher level than other genres. The illusory nature of Kpop stretches WAY past music until it practically becomes its own culture; its idols become living facades — and sometimes that makes my heart hurt just a little bit (as much as I enjoy the fantasy, I would rather see idols have a chance to express something of themselves, apart from the image created for them).

    If I’m going to put a period on this whole thing, I’ll say that Kpop is regular pop that just puts stronger emphasis on creating a very attractive face in order to draw people in. It’s false, it’s shallow, but it is a wicked escape from the tedium of normal life — that is all that can be reasonably expected of it. Making it out to be anything more is just illogical.

  • Josh Chinnery

    Honestly, people who bash K-Pop but listen to Western top 40 artists like Lady Gaga or Lana del Rey are total hypocrites. Western pop is just as manufactured as K-Pop; the thing is that K-Pop doesn’t care to hide it, but Western pop feels the need to hide it, Plus, if you can’t write or compose a song, I’d prefer you to leave that to the professionals; there are more ways than one to put a stamp on a song than making it.

    • Nekochan

      I agree with you,wester pop music is becoming more and more manufactured. Lana del Rey being a prime example as she is supposed to be like a super hipster queen, but that image is made entirely by her company.
      When people find out that it really breaks the illusion. Really allowing everybody to know that your idols are manufactured allows a variety of concepts, so it seems like there’s more variety.

      • Josh Chinnery

        I don’t think Western pop is becoming more manufactured, I think it’s losing it’s ability to cloak how manufactured it is. And sometimes, I think it just doesn’t care anymore. People are being called out everyday for spouting faux artistic dribble and then releasing the same top 40 sounds with typical pop lyrics that everyone else is (Lady Gaga and Ke$ha are the queens of this), laundry lists of faked songwriting credits are available pretty much everywhere (Beyonce is the reining champion of this), so called school mates and other former associates aim to wreck the composed personas of some of these stars. If you learn to look in-between the lines, then you’ll really see how manufactured Western pop is *and* the amount of control these labels have over people. You may think your favorite artist has free reign and creative control, but watch one of their albums not do so well commercially; you’ll see a lot of changes happening. This happened to Adam Young (mostly known as Owl City) with his album the Midsummer Station. Now you can say till your blue in the face that Adam wanted to do a more mainstream sound (and I could deny that I liked the album till I’m basically dead), but it does *not* go in line with the image he has established with his previous albums. And the mainstream top 40 sound is not even the part that ticks me off the most, it’s the fact that his lyrics seem so uninspired and watered down. Many people argue how well of a songwriter Adam Young is, because he uses a lot of childish metaphors and similes to paint a picture, but the man paints quite the picture doing what he does; I really don’t have to try to be swept into the music when I listen to songs like “Fireflies” or “Vanilla Twilight” or “Cave In” or “Rainbow Veins”, but his new material doesn’t have lyrics that are quite as magical (for lack of a better word). Even “Shooting Star” and “Gold” (which are the obligatory self-esteem anthems) don’t sound as genuine as some of his previous material. Where I’m going with this is that Western pop might seem like it has it’s moments of authenticity, but it’s honestly as authentic as a movie set.

        • Nekochan

          I agree with this, Ive never really been into pop music, the only time i hear it is when it gets played in a shop or a restaurant or a bus. I think though, that older pop music may have had more of the artist’s input and that the artist’s input is a little less. But yeah, pop music always seems to be manufactured.

          • mangchi

            I’m not sure that older Western pop music was necessarily much less manufactured before. For example, Motown artists in the ’60s and ’70s were usually very much controlled by their record companies and mostly recorded songs written by the same few composers and producers behind the scenes. A lot of the results were classics, but they were still the results of a pretty formal system.

          • Josh Chinnery

            Exactly. I think people are focusing too much on the wrong things. Just because you didn’t write or compose a song, doesn’t mean you can’t put your stamp on it. Singing, like many of the performance arts, isn’t purely technical; you gotta put a little bit of yourself into the song and really sell what you’re singing (which why I scoff at people who sing about trashy stuff and then claim to be pure).

          • mangchi

            Yes, I agree. It’s interesting to me that people respect actors who are fantastic at acting but don’t write (though both acting and writing well still earns more respect), and respect classical musicians who very skillfully play music composed by others. Bringing someone else’s script or musical score to life takes a skill and leaves plenty of room for individual flair in performance that can make a huge difference.

          • Josh Chinnery

            I think if you have the chops to be a singer-songwriter or a composer or what have you, then you should definitely go for it and develop those skills, but I don’t think you *have* to be able to do all that stuff to be seen as a respectful person in the industry. I used to be so tied up on how manufactured some acts are, but I’ve come to realize that good music is good music, no matter where it comes from. Sure it feels more personal if the songwriter is the performer, but if the performer can emote well enough with their voice, then isn’t that enough?

          • idontknoe

            Bravo my friend, bravo.

          • Tanya Joshi

            That last sentence reminded me about Ke$ha… I feel like she said something about people thinking that she’s always partying blah-de-blah because of the songs she releases, but that she’s actually not like that or something of this sort- correct me if this never happened, by the way – and I just thought, “… uhhh… no…”

          • Josh Chinnery

            Haha Someone is rather perceptive, because it was really her who helped me develop that opinion. I know it’s different when you have no choice in the matter (like 90% of K-Pop and J-Pop singers), but most western pop artists here have enough control over their music to say no to songs that they don’t.

        • idontknoe

          Yea, after working a summer internship at a entertainment law firm in LA and reviewing contracts….. I think some western artists have even less control than Kpop idols.

          • Nate Broadus

            Wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest.

            Suits are suits wherever you go in the world. When suits are involved, you can bet your ass “contractual slavery” is going to become a part of your daily lexicon.

        • Nate Broadus

          Bravo.

        • find_nothing_here

          I feel exactly the same about Owl City, actually. His stuff as Sky Sailing was actually my favorite, lol. I guess that makes me a hipster that hates things when they get more popular.

          • Josh Chinnery

            I must say that I actually really liked his Sky Sailing material. It sounded like Owl City without much of the electronic influences (besides the autotune), and it felt kind of refreshing in an odd kind of way. I hope he switches back to his usual flavor of synth-pop for his next album; I liked the majority of the tracks on the Midsummer Station, but I absolutely couldn’t take him seriously on half of them. Dude, you know how to turn a flavor of bubblegum into a metaphor; please leave the tripe about girls to less gifted songwriters XD

          • Josh Chinnery

            I must say that I actually really liked his Sky Sailing material. It sounded like Owl City without much of the electronic influences (besides the autotune), and it felt kind of refreshing in an odd kind of way. I hope he switches back to his usual flavor of synth-pop for his next album; I liked the majority of the tracks on the Midsummer Station, but I absolutely couldn’t take him seriously on half of them. Dude, you know how to turn a flavor of bubblegum into a metaphor; please leave the tripe about girls to less gifted songwriters XD

        • TheJadeBullet

          I think that any artist who goes mainstream is pressured into crafting a sound that they or their labels may think will be a success and have a greater reach than the material that they had been producing prior to their “fame”. I loved Adam’s demo songs and even his “Ocean Eyes” debut, but I’ll admit that his new album fell completely off of my radar.

          • Josh Chinnery

            Ocean Eyes is definitely my favorite album by Owl City :D I love some of the tracks on Maybe I’m Dreaming (like Air Travel, Rainbow Veins, and This is the Future), but Ocean Eyes has gotten way out plays as an album out of me. All Things Bright and Beautiful didn’t really resonate with me all that well and I was really disappointed by how mainstream and uninspired the Midsummer Station is (although, it *is* one of the best top 40 pop albums of last year, imo).

          • Tanya Joshi

            I agree about Adam, because as soon as I heard Good Time with him and Carly Rae Jespen, I just thought, “This doesn’t sound like the Owl City I’ve known…” Same with Taylor Swift. She used to sing countrified pop songs but now she just went totally pop now that she’s gotten bigger, because it took me a while while I was listening to Trouble on the radio for me to connect that familiar sounding voice to Taylor…

          • Josh Chinnery

            Haha You make you sound like he’s been taken over by the dark side. I mean, it *does* have cookies, so maybe Adam couldn’t resist XD All joking aside, I totally get what you’re saying. I loved Good Time; I danced around the house, singing the hook like a crazed madman till my family tried to ban me from listening to it (key word is tried :3). The biggest shame about the Midsummer Station is that he kind of tried to fuse dance elements with his typical sound (you can hear it on songs like Shooting Star and Coming After You), but he gave up and just went full top 40 on us. That album hardly gets any play out of me like Ocean Eyes or even Maybe I’m Dreaming does, because it lacks that spark that made me love Adam’s music. And I wish he never accepted that cookie (going to the dark side, I mean), because according to the Twitter machine, his next album is going to be all dark and edgy (something that I cannot for the life of me see him pulling off; like SNSD doing the whole fierce hood thing in IGAB). Not to sound all dramatic here, but another one bites the dust… And if someone like Adam Young fell to the machine, you can bet Miss Swift would too.

          • Tanya Joshi

            Haha, I mean, I sort of liked Good Time, too (definitely not as much as you did, haha). It just saddens me to some of the popular acts who actually sang different types of songs, all starting to pour into the same mould.

          • Josh Chinnery

            I see it for what it was; a fun summer pop tune that’ll get stuck in your head, but you eventually forget about when the more substantial music comes around. I was actually really worried that he was collaborating with CRJ (I hate Call Me Maybe with a passion), but it wasn’t half bad. I suppose the selling out doesn’t bother me when I’m listening to the music, but it gets me when I have the time to digest it. Taylor’s We are Never Ever Getting Back Together was my jam for dayz!!! So was I Knew You Were Trouble. But when I put down the headphones, I kind of missed the country-pop songstress that wasn’t trying to be all hip and edgy. Taylor had her foot in both worlds (country and pop, I mean), and she blended the best of the best of worlds. Also, I thought the music vid for Trouble was so try hard that I almost shut it off several times >_>

          • TheJadeBullet

            Those two songs were so incredibly bland. It took me ages to figure out who sang them and that knowledge just made me disappointed. (Granted, Taylor Swift’s music has been taking quite the monotonous turn, so it was nice to see her try something different. If only it were better executed…)

  • cancertwin2

    Kpop is merely escapism.
    People trying to make it more than that will be sorely disappointed.

  • mangchi

    This article is pretty spot-on, in my opinion. The actual pop music generally isn’t better or any less escapist, and it’s easy for bad songs to see the light of day in a small industry dominated by few players, but there’s a lot of value added on the back end when K-pop idol music promotions are done well. The frequency of TV show performances and other appearances also gives fans a lot of chances to see their favorite performers almost constantly doing their thing without spending tons of dough, which makes it way easier to become a hardcore fan than if you just hear the songs, see a (usually) uninteresting music video, and maybe see a few public performances on Youtube by a Western artists if you can’t shell out money for a concert ticket.

    Though, actually, I first got really into Korean music back in 2000 when my family used a dial-up modem to connect to the internet and sites like Youtube didn’t exist, so watching music videos and performances regularly on my computer was difficult–I’d usually get kicked off the internet by my parents before a big download could finish so someone could use the phone! Hard drives filled up quickly even with low-quality video files, too. At least song downloads were slow but manageable and pretty easy to find.

    There were hugely popular idol groups back then, too, but soloists and ballad singers were everywhere and very popular. Missing most of the music videos and performances wasn’t as big a deal because they were mostly storyline videos that were fun to watch but didn’t add that much to the song itself like good choreography can (e.g., Lee Soo Young – 라라라/La La La or Kiss – 여자 이니까/Because I’m a Girl or Shinhwa – Yo!). Plus, HD K-pop videos online? No such thing. The quality was often barely watchable. Thank goodness for the official Youtube channels that now post my favorite old performances in HD quality I couldn’t have dreamed of back then! And yet there were lots of people online sharing and discussing K-pop in English from overseas even back then.

  • Sun_&_Raine

    K-Pop, was never just about the music, maybe it was a long time ago but not now. Everything has to marketable, airbrushed, and perfect (though there are some groups who add their own touch to it). If there’s anything that annoys me the most about the K-Pop fandom, it’s the hipsters. I’m talking about western K-Pop fans who claim that K-Pop is all about the music and that it’s not sexual, trashy, or meaningless like western music. Let’s be real; majority of K-Pop is cute bubblegum pop, with some (but not all) idols that really lack any sort musically talent to begin with. But that doesn’t mean all K-Pop music is like that. There are some really talented idol groups that make meaningful music, with artistic music videos that highlight the story of the lyrics. The same thing could be said for western music. Sure, some western music is kind of dumb and baseless, but that doesn’t mean all western music is like that. I feel like there’s an unspoken ultimatum when you join the K-Pop fandom “It’s either K-Pop or Western, never both” I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s unfair to compare the two to each other, and that it’s ok to enjoy both K-Pop and Western music. Both have their faults but both also have their artistic merits as well. And at the end of the day we still love it, whether it’s meaningless trash or musical genius.

    • mangchi

      Don’t worry, you’re definitely not alone in listening to both regularly. It’s just that the most fanatical, single-minded people are always the loudest. I’ve never seen the need to restrict oneself to one or the other and exalt it. It’s just not that hard to find good Western music, ignore the bad Western music, and also listen to the good K-pop while not claiming K-pop is all roses. If you can find K-pop online, you can find Western music beyond the top 40. Most Koreans listen to both Western and Korean music, anyway, and don’t find the Korean pop music industry that incredibly amazing; it’s just mainstream pop music.

  • NerdSwag

    I feel like the one true difference between Western pop and Kpop is that Kpop artists know they don’t do everything themselves and aren’t ashamed to say so. But in the West, regardless of how much an artist actually does, they still try to put up a front of independence.
    And it was never all about the music. If it were all about the music, pop music would be drastically different. Our celebrities would be opera singers or master instrumentalists instead of djs or people like Justin Bieber. I think that’s just how most people work. They don’t want to just listen to someone good, they want to be entertained or they want to be able to like the artists they listen to. Thats why so much though is put into debut or comeback concepts. Or, that’s why an artist’s debut or comeback can be called a concept. It’s about the clothes, the dancing, and the color scheme, and not just the music.

  • idontknoe

    I’m pretty disillusioned with western pop. The singers are artists are pretty crappy. They sound awful in concert, if they even show up and sometimes you can tell that they are under the influence or drugs or alcohol. The only concerts worth going to by US artists are country or bands. They also don’t even hide the fact that most don’t care about their fans at all and just care about partying and money. I think Katy Perry is the only pop artist in the US that I actually like as a person.

    I don’t think all Kpop idols are nice and down to earth, but I legitimately think most of them are. They have really good work ethics and at least try to treat their fans well.

  • lernotte

    *chokes on coffee reading some of the comments*

    Okay, I get it, the decline of the west is in full force and Spengler is probably shaking his finger gleefully in his grave murmuring “I’ve told ya all!” but…you DO realize who has composed or participated in arrangement of a LOT of your favorite singles, don’t you? Let me remind you:

    Venus, This Love (Shinhwa) – Andrew Jackson
    Gee (SNSD) – E-tribe
    It’s you (Suju)- E-tribe
    U-Go-Girl (Hyori) – E-tribe
    Hoot, as I remember, was produced by Denmark company (correct me if I’m wrong)
    And then there is Shinee, truly the kings of remakes…of western songs:
    Up and Down – wiidope’s “Soul Train”
    Quasimodo – Michael Lee’s “Don’t Say”
    Obsession – Jimmy B’s “Psychic”.
    A-Yo -Denice Stone’s “Eh Yo”
    WOWOWOW – Emma Stevens’ “I Can Make You Go (WooohOoohOoohOooh)”
    Your Name – Brandon Fraley’s “Mention of Your Name”.
    Love’s Way (orig. Hard Time by 2Much)
    Love Like Oxygen (orig. Show the World by Martin Hoberg Hedegaards)
    One for Me (orig. Everytime I by Mario Vasaquez)
    Hyeya (Y Si Fuerra Ella) (orig. Y Si Fuerra Ella by Alejandro Sanz)
    Forever or Never (orig. Forever or Never by Cinema Bizarre)
    Hello -Halo by Mohamed Ali
    Juliette (orig. Deal with It by Corbin Bleu)

    Should I go on or the point is clear? Even the oncoming f(x) comeback single is composed by Sophie Ellis Bextor and this name doesn’t sound particulary eastern.

    • RC_RC

      I see what you mean but something has changed. Of course things alway change. We will see, I have no crystal ball.

    • idontknoe

      E-tribe is a Korean production duo.

      • lernotte

        Thanks for correcting))) seems like anesthesia hasn’t worn off yet (damn teeth).

    • mangchi

      The prevalence of European and American composers’ and producers’ work in K-pop is one of the major reasons I agree with the article’s premise that the value added in K-pop exists but is mostly on the back end (I.e. videos, good performances, attractive people, clean lyrics, and lots of chances to see the idols on TV) and not the superiority of most of the music itself. A lot of K-pop is by Koreans, too, but it’s hard for me to see how someone who likes SM artists in particular can simultaneously think they sound wonderful and fresh but Western pop composers are currently boring hacks when those songs mostly *are* by Western pop composers–and often not even written for the Korean group originally.

      Those songs are selected over others by Korean companies based on what works in the Korean market, and often didn’t quite suit the current Western trends, but it really becomes K-pop for reasons that usually have little to do with the tune and everything to do with how it’s tweaked in production and promoted and by whom.

      In summary, go ahead and love the Korean entertainment industry, but please don’t denigrate all Western pop and the people who make it while gushing over songs written by Europeans.

      • idontknoe

        Shouldn’t we at least separate European producers from American producers at least?

        • mangchi

          It depends on how you mean. If you mean not calling a Swedish or Danish producer American, well, of course. But stylistically speaking, the Western composers and producers involved in K-pop songs are pretty much working from the same handbook no matter which side of the Atlantic they’re from. I don’t really think it’s possible to separate them by style consistently in the context of K-pop, especially since the Korean company usually adds something to the final mix even when they’ve covered or purchased a completed song outright, and that makes it hard to tell who did what when we listen to the final product.

    • Asela Cheung

      SHINee also remade Michael Jackson’s ft. 50 Cent (whether its really MJ or not) “Monster” for “Medusa I” from their repackage album.

  • lernotte

    By the way, thank you for the article, Patricia!

    And well *raises both hands* I really did get into kpop through music only. I’m not much of a visual person: I listen to a song first, if I like it, I try to listen to the full discography and only after that may bother to watch a video.

    I don’t think it’s fair to compare a niche of kpop with the whole west, though. Moreover, I get it that by “west” you mean mainly the United Sates. What about Europe then? Technically (and in many other aspects) Russia can be included as well.

    However we define it, the West doesn’t have a similar phenomenon as idols (One direction probably excluding) at the moment. So what should we compare with what actually? Lady Gaga with…SNSD? But it’s a solo act against a group. U2 with Exo, aka band against dancers? Even worse. It’s like comparing pigs with sheep and complaining how little fur piglets can give.

    Comparing jpop idols with kpop ones, on the other hands, usually creates a wankfest of epic proportions in the comments, so much more fun, to be honest)))

  • Nikki

    Thanks to Seoulbeats for taking the time and effort to answer my query (and in an article, no less!). I’m honored.

    On another note, I agree with most of what the people say about Western pop’s quality of being manufactured becoming more evident. What I love about Kpop though is that even though it’s really manufactured, the people behind it try to perfect every aspect of it perfect, or at the very least, make it feasible.

    Very excited for the rest of this series though ^^

  • LUNBER IS BACK

    I would be the last person to say that Kpop is ‘all about the music’. However, I think saying that western pop is all about the music is equally inaccurate. Firstly, I think it’s fair to say that the majority of western pop stars are ‘attractive’ or at least considered to be in some way by fans, and a lot of their appeal is based on how sexy they look on stage. Also, western pop music IS manufactured. Western singers have songs written and composed for them, they’re styled to within an inch of their lives and they don’t have 100% control over what they produce.

    Fans of Western pop who look down on Kpop are, frankly, hypocrites. They idolise manufactured artists and some even share the same fandom culture and ‘delusion’ as Kpop fans (just look at Directioners, for example). Furthermore, western pop artists are increasingly doing things that Kpop groups have had for a while, like having fandom names and having their own shows (eg The Saturdays now have a show called ‘Chasing The Saturdays’, which from what I’ve seen bears close similarities to shows such as SHINee’s ‘One Fine Day’). Of course there are exceptions, and people like Peter Andre have been doing that kind of show for a while, but these ‘Kpop-esque’ things do seem to be on the rise.

    Of course, I’m not saying that Kpop is superior in any way (although sometimes I do find that on a musical level, the songs themselves are better, with more layers of sound and clever mixing), and I’m certainly not saying that these Western artists are trying to become Kpop or copy Kpop. I just think that people who dismiss Kpop for being manufactured and say that the song is an afterthought should take a step back and take a look at the Western pop industry. There’s more similarities than you might think.

    • J2201987

      I have noticed many US artists naming their fanbases (eg Rihanna’s “Navy” Beyonce’s “Beyhive” Beiber’s “Beliebers” etc.)

  • rochelle.bernard96

    I like Kpop for the music. It’s just that my fave group is my fave for reasons like, being stylish or fashionable.