20130713_seoulbeats_hyoriWelcome to another Comments of the Week!

This week in music and idol news, we talked about past, recent or upcoming works of Jewelry, Jay Park, Xia Junsu, Stellar, B.A.P, f(x), Noh Min-woo, Rania, Infinite, MR.MR, Ailee, and W&Whale.

For film, fashion and tv topics, we looked at the best of last week’s music shows, summer fashion shoots, and news of Han Geng in Transformers 4.

As for socio-cultural topics, we shared a writer’s foray into literary K-pop, a continuation of thoughts on “Only 13”, and thoughts on the feminist heroes (or lack thereof) in K-pop.

We also kicked off our latest series of articles where our writers will be sharing their reasons for loving K-pop, with Patricia talking about K-pop being so much more than just the music. This topic sparked lot of interesting conversation, so we thought we’d share what some of our readers had to say on the merits of K-pop in relation to music:

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? Of course 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.

20121102_seoulbeats_bap_zelo
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.

20120124_seoulbeats_kimtaewooKpop 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.

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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.

As always, thanks for reading and participating in discussions on our site!

Feel free to leave additional comments below.

(Images via Elle, Vogue, 1st Look, Polaris Entertainment)

Fannie

Has been a follower of K-pop for more than a decade. Among other things, she compiles the Comments of the Week, so you can probably bet that she will be reading your comments below ;)

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