You may not have a single K-Pop song on your playlist but we’ve all heard of BTS, BLACKPINK, and EXO. These 3 groups are the global faces of K-Pop and enjoy cult-like followings amongst teenagers and young adults who’ve grown up listening to them not long ago. With the phenomenon crossing into US territory since 2012, music fans have embraced South Korean pop music with many picking up Korean just so they could better understand their idols. Why the commitment and extended support for these music groups? We’re about to tell you in the following list of 5 reasons K-Pop became the first behemoth genre from Asia.
5. Big-Production Music Videos
While North America and the EU have decided on cutting back production costs for music videos, South Korea went all-out thus fulfilling an empty space on the market. Watching K-Pop music videos is just as much of a visual experience as it is an acoustic one. From colorful outfits, light shows, intricate backgrounds, complex scenography, K-Pop visuals are works of art and remind us of the 2000s expensive music videos that have since, unfortunately, gone almost extinct.
4. Dance-offs And Really Cool Choreographies
What we should all acknowledge by now is that the youth express itself through movement. That’s why teenagers and kids love going on trips during the weekends and many adults would rather sit at home, cook, and drink wine. And just like the ’80s generation had Dirty Dancing, the 2000s – Step Up, the 2010s have K-Pop to continue the legacy of dancing. Many Western artists don’t bother learning choreographies not even for their own live shows while K-Pop artists work their ass off to deliver and then some.
3. Earworms Transcending Genres
By inserting many English phrases and sometimes entire 4-line bars throughout their songs, K-Pop groups succeeded in crossing borders, boundaries, and genres. BLACKPINK almost always includes Rap on its very Dance-Pop music. That in itself can grab the attention of previous Commercial Rap, Pop Music, and Dance tracks fans. You can find as many fans of Ariana Grande as of Lady Gaga listening to BLACKPINK for example.
2. Different Idols To Emotionally Latch On
When you look into the psychological and visual portrait of each member of famous K-Pop groups it is almost as if their developing teams sat down with Robert Greene’s The Art Of Seduction book and carefully embodied the archetypes into the members. You’ll find everyone, from The Charmer, The Dandy, The Ideal Lover, to The Natural, The Coquette, and The Rake. By marketing experience and natural logic, the variety of personalities satisfies a much larger variety of fans when compared to just one male/female artist just being one archetype. This consequentially creates cult-like fanbases as they all can pick someone closest to their own personal preference.
1. Impossible Standards
Although most of the K-Pop idols are in their early 20s, those nearing their 30s still preserve the same body fat ratio. As shown in the thumbnail above, they’re all very slim, very in shape, very one size fits all. This applies to both male and female K-Pop groups. The world’s obsession with looking like their South Korean idols went as far as following the so-called K-Pop diet. Fans of this genre know of the arduous regime these celebrities come from, but in case you didn’t, it is common knowledge that K-Pop celebs come from highly manufactured star systems put in place by mainstream entertainment companies in South Korea. From Wikipedia: “Once a trainee enters the system, they are regulated in multiple aspects including personal life to body conditions and visual appearances. The survival, training, and regulation take precedence over natural talent in the production of Korean idols. Former trainees have reported that they were required to go through plastic surgeries, such as a Blepharoplasty and/or a Rhinoplasty, in order to adhere to the acceptable Korean beauty standards. Further criticism towards the trainee system arose regarding the companies’ harsh weight restrictions, which often caused trainees to pass out from exhaustion or dehydration in an attempt to reach the required weight for their desired program.”
You might think this has nothing to do with why they’re successful and yet it does. Humanity tends to intrinsically reward people who sacrifice themselves, especially physically, to attain a bigger goal. For example, every millennial from US has heard at least once that Beyonce had to run for miles while singing to train for live shows. Equally, these K-Pop idols become psychological emblems of self-discipline and total body control of attaining the unattainable. In a twisted way, it keeps the illusion alive of normal people being able to look like stars if only they had the self-discipline to subject themselves to the sacrifice.
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