It wasn’t easy for me to accept K-pop music. At first it seemed to be highly unmusical and mostly about eye candy, but eventually I did find a “way in” and my tastes have expanded a bit. I still remain ignorant at large, with a lot of areas in K-pop left to try. For example, I haven’t found a boy group I like (probably due to the same initial barrier as mentioned).
Hundreds of songs in, I finally found a group whose songs I generally liked. Apink’s image as a girl group is one of girly innocence, which is a lot less common than girl groups that emphasize dancing and sexiness. Their songs also tend to be happy/cheerful, as opposed to more universally common themes of romantic troubles.
My favorite song from Apink, or at least the one I’ve been most obsessed with:
I like the Japanese version of this song a bit better, but this is about K-pop 😛
I don’t really “follow” musicians or other artists, so I literally just found out their name stands for Ace of Angels. Anyway, AOA definitely do sexier songs, with most of them deliberately featuring some form of ass wiggling. Unlike other groups where dancing is a major (or even primary) part of the appeal, I’d say their dancing enhances their songs (whereas I feel like many other groups rely on dancing, fashion, rap, etc over musicality.)
For a favorite, I have to pick Excuse Me. Other songs such as Confused, Like a Cat, and Miniskirt have catchier beats with more substance, but the choreography (not as well represented in the music video) for Excuse Me is catchy and unashamedly empowering. Let’s be honest—both men and women may seek to recreate Choa’s legendary moment.
Girl group Stellar mainly gained popularity (and notoriety) after adopting a more provocative image, with some of their content being rated 19+ including two videos banned for being sexually suggestive. A fair part of K-pop is somewhat sexualized (due to certain bans in Korea contributing to repression and such elements being redirected into other forms such as K-pop culture) but not necessarily provocative. However, Stellar’s better known music videos are downright provocative, featuring erotic dance moves, needlessly suggestive outfits, and completely unsubtle symbolism. Their success when relying on skin exposure was accompanied by significant backlash. Did they take things too far? I think what they produced was bold and not entirely tasteless. Unsurprisingly, the girls said they accepted that they were in a “do or die” situation but it was never their intention to be so provocative. Ultimately, they could not be successful during their attempts to tone things down and the group has subsequently disbanded.
From the intense and provocative to their original innocent and care-free style, I actually appreciate the diversity of their songs. All of their members have really beautiful faces and the music videos are alluring. Usually it wouldn’t matter (with other genres of music), but choreography and visuals are important to K-pop in the same sense that Billie Jean is a standalone song but Michael Jackson’s dancing makes it an entirely different experience. Anyhow, my favorite song is Crying:
Other songs/artists worth mentioning
Singer, songwriter, and actress. SO CUTE. Diverse styles, including my most preferred: romantic ballads.
Cherry Blossom Ending — Busker Busker
Such a dreamy song from an indie band.
All For You
Good duets are always hard to find.