K-Pop Music Genre Popularity Analysis

K-Pop, or Korean pop, is a musical genre rapidly gaining popularity. This genre is characterized by singing talents and brilliantly choreographed dances that these artists demonstrate during performances. Nowadays, K-pop has turned into a whole culture and lifestyle for artists and their adored fans around the world. The context of the K-Pop style is unique dances, beautiful artists, and memorable songs and clips. Dancing is an integral attribute of this genre — K-pop artists often synchronize them with the performance of a song, which makes the concert more spectacular. The performances themselves, with powerful visual effects, pomp, and theatricality, conquer the hearts of viewers around the world. Although Western performers amaze people with their showiness, Korean artists are no less successful in making fans love their style, performance, and dancing.

The concept that led to K-pop was born in 1885 when the American missionary Henry Appenzeller began teaching his students American and British folk songs with Korean lyrics. Up to this point, the Korean population did not have much to do with the Western world since the Korean peninsula mostly kept to itself. Several decades after the liberation of the Korean people from Japanese colonization and the horrors of the Korean War, Korea was increasingly opening to the ideologies of the Western world. In particular, the introduction of television broadcasting, as well as democracy, helped Koreans connect to the rest of the world. Suddenly, Western music began to spread widely throughout the country, and musicians began experimenting with mixing it with the Korean music scene.

K-pop is a musical genre originally from South Korea, and the members of K-pop groups are usually called not soloists but the sublime word idol. The fact is that K-pop culture requires an absolute ideal: clean vocals, honed choreography, appearance according to the standards of South Korean beauty, and appropriate costumes and accessories (Covach et al. 33). The musical elements of the genre do not have apparent features since K-pop has both fun dance melodies and rhythms and slower but inspiring ones. Even the most melodramatic song, as a rule, will have a recitative or specifically rap part. The main emphasis still makes it possible to dance to modern Korean music. In K-pop, few people care about live sound since everyone understands that it is simply impossible to jump and sing so actively simultaneously. Therefore, on the recordings of music shows, a “plus” sound substrate is used with the pre-recorded voice of the artist, and live singing is already superimposed on top.

The main difference between Korean pop is not music since this genre has become a mixture of Western musical genres. It is distinguished from others by the subculture that has arisen around the genre, namely attractive performers, dancing, visuals, its own terminology, and elements of a reality show (Covach et al. 54). One of Korea’s most popular music groups is BTS, a seven-member boy band that debuted in 2013 under the small label Big Hit Entertainment. Unlike many other bands where a production team is responsible for creating music, BTS write most of their songs themselves. These songs are not only about love, for example, in recent albums, a lot is said about growing up, the pressure of society, and self-acceptance (Vincent). In a reasonably short period, the boy band managed to become famous, win the hearts of many fans, and sing with favorite performers around the world.

The BTS group has already managed to write many albums and singles that have become popular with people. No More Dream was BTS’ first single, and impressively, the lyrics were written by the BTS band members together with their producers (Vincent). The single songs reveal a theme that the band often addressed at the beginning of their work: young people are forced to go to school to realize other people’s dreams, not their own. Wake Up was the first Japanese BTS album to include songs not included in any previous BTS albums in Korean (Vincent). However, none of the songs had their music video shot. The song FOR YOU became the first BTS song on the Japanese album not included in the Korean album, for which its music video was shot (Vincent). This is a soft, romantic song about longing for a partner when you are separated by distance. I could recommend these songs and the album to my friends who are just getting acquainted with the world of K-pop music.

Korean pop music attracts many elements at once, such as melodies, lyrics, bright clips, and attractive performers. Although Korean texts are often incomprehensible to people who do not speak Korean, still reading the interviews of the singers, it becomes clear what the meaning of a particular song is. I like that the performers, producers, and all other team members work together and devote a lot of time and attention to their work. Naturally, such hard work bears fruit and attracts many people. This style is essential to me because it symbolizes youth, attractiveness, combined with frantic hard work, and the desire to take its place in the niche of Korean music.

In conclusion, Korean pop is one of the most promising and developing modern music genres. K-pop is a tough job, especially when you need to promote a new album, idols sleep for several hours a day for weeks. The rest of the time, from morning to late at night, they train in the walls of their agencies. More and more young people are becoming fans of Korean performers, and more talented and bright representatives are appearing on the part of artists.

Works Cited

Covach, John, and Flory, Andrew. What’s That Sound? W. W. Norton and Company, 2019.

Koo, Jeung Mo., and Koo, Hyun Mo. “K-Pop from Local to Global: A Study on Cultural Nationalism in Korean Pop Culture”. The Columbia Journal of Asia, vol. 1, no. 1, 2022, pp. 175-187.

Vincent, Brittany. “A Brief History of K-pop.” Teen Vogue, 2022.