Last week we looked at falling in love with K-pop, so it’s only natural that we look at the other side of the coin…
Gaya: When something else catches my eye, probably. I never fully leave a fandom, but I’m always onto something new; so what will mostly likely happen is that I won’t ever stop being a K-pop fan, but I probably wouldn’t lavish as much time on it as I do now.
Lindsay: I’ve been thinking about this ever since the topic came up, and I just can’t come to a conclusion.
Initially, I wanted to say “oh yes, I’ll stop when I get older,” but I’m already a noona fan so that is hardly an obstacle. Then I thought, “if I get a professional job,” but really I don’t see that changing my music taste either. In the end, I think I will always have a soft spot for K-pop, but my active participation in the fan community may diminish as I get older and have more responsibilities. I’m not one to give up a fandom unless something I love much more comes along to steal my attention, so basically that means I’m stuck with K-pop forever.
Maybe when I have kids I can share the music of my youth with them and confuse them with why it isn’t in English.
Leslie: I imagine it’ll be the same for me. I’ve grown up listening to Portuguese, English, Italian and Spanish music because it’s what my dad listened to when he was younger even growing up in South America so it never seemed strange to me. Ideally, my kids will be the same.
But I love music, and with every other genre of music and accompanying phase through which I’ve passed, I’ve never stopped listening to it even if I “grew out of it” so I can never see myself leaving K-pop.
I can see myself going into a sort of hibernation with it, as I do with a lot of other music like rap, American pop, metal, etc., only listening to old stuff and not keeping up with the new after a while. But that’s just like any old person regardless of their interests. After a while, responsibilities take away the time necessary to be an active part of any fandom so that’s the only way I can see myself leaving K-pop.
After all, I feel like once K-pop is a part of you — since it’s a lifestyle — it doesn’t really leave.
Gaya: I used to think that I’d probably leave K-pop once Shinee disbands, but I keep getting attached to more and more new groups; and with groups sticking around for longer and more idols branching out into solo careers (acting, singing, MCing) and make more grabs for my attentions, I don’t think I’ll ever make it out of K-pop.
Ambika: I think it depends on the amount of time I have and if my favorite groups are still promoting. In the future, I’m expecting to not have as much free time, decreasing how long I can spend ogling idols and looking into new groups. I’d probably stick to the ones I know and even then, narrowing the group I like for whatever reason. From there, if my favorites decide to take a break or stop promoting, my interest would probably be dulled unless I managed to latch on to some other group and carve out time for them in the meantime.
Like the rest of you, I don’t think I’d fully ever leave, but once some other responsibilities come around, I just expect to be less-invested in the more specific activities groups take part in (e.g. interviews, weekly performances, the not-so-engaging variety appearances).
Shweta: I hate to say that there will be a point where I’ll “outgrow” K-pop, because it’s not about outgrowing a musical genre, but rather the feeling that my personal life will force me to largely depart from the greater K-pop fan culture. Despite this, I think that I’ll always feel some sentimental attachment to my favorite idols and non-idols in Korean music, and I don’t think I’ll ever stop listening to them entirely. K-pop has become, in many ways, part of my youth and identity; severing all ties just seems unfathomable.
In short, just as idols one day have to leave the limelight (even Shinhwa!), in some sense, we as consumers face the same fate. As to when that will happen however, is a product of life’s circumstances–so I guess the simple answer is “only time will tell.”
Mark: Umm…only if I stop driving, commuting, and going to the gym. I need this to keep me going!
Miyoko: If every single one of my favorite groups simultaneously did something completely unforgivable, I would break up with K-pop. But that’s not going to happen, so I’m stuck with it.
Like everyone else, there will come a time when I can’t participate in fan culture, and I will stop looking into new groups. But I think I’ll always like my favorite groups and their music. Even when they disband, it’s very likely the members will still do something in entertainment. At that point it might be an issue of following my faves, listening to their old albums, reflecting on the good old days of K-pop, being old and curmudgeonly… oh wait.
I will leave when the music gets too insufferable and unoriginal for me. As much fun as it is to keep acting like a pretentious hipster going on about “how the old days were better”, I would really hate to become my worst enemy.
Another reason would be when I absolutely cease to be wowed by any new development. Why stay in something you have no interest in?
However as Ambika said, a part of me would always still care for the people in it, whether by watching the better variety shows, or the odd hidden musical gem.
(Images via: Elle Girl, Ceci, Singles, GQ, Core Contents Media, Marie Claire)