So, full disclosure, I am not anywhere near the demographic that the K-Pop Music World is trying to appeal to. I am a 43 year old American woman living in the middle of farm country. But I LOVE K-Pop. I listen to very little in English anymore of any genre. This is a bit odd for me because I've always been a huge fan of most kinds of music. I've enjoyed Country, Pop, Classical, Blues, Disco, Rock and more over the years. I was a Music Business major in college so I've even studied the production/advertising/legal side of the industry. But KPop, for me, is the most fascinating genre of music I've ever seen. (I'm putting screen shots from my iTunes library throughout this post so you can get a sense of a few of the groups I listen to regularly. I'm sorry I couldn't put them all in, but there are at least some.)
Why? That is the question I get most often. Not always in words. Most of the time is comes in the form of raised eyebrows and a confused look on the face of the person I'm talking to. If you're a kid or teenager, people just nod and think, "What a cute phase they are in." But when you're a grown adult, somehow now you need to be able to defend what you like when what you like is different from what those around you enjoy. So, What makes it not a just a phase I'm going through? Here are a few reasons that I find it so appealing. Maybe you feel the same way. Let's find out.
1) SO MUCH TALENT
I was talking to a friend the other day and I told them, I don't think it's possible to find an untalented Kpop group. It simply doesn't exist. Before they debut most of these artists have trained for years in their craft. On top of singing, dancing, and rapping (which is the mandatory talent needed within every group), it's not at all uncommon to find out that various members also act, choreograph, direct, write, compose, and/or play other instruments. When they perform, the precision is incredible and the fact that they can sing and dance such complex choreographies LIVE...well that's just beyond my comprehension. They are just THAT good.
Now, I can't say that every single Kpop song is this way, but the majority of the songs that I listen to and the groups that I follow are very positive upbeat songs. They make you feel happy. They lift your spirit and make your feet want to dance. It's quite literally music that makes me smile. Even when the messages are deeper, more thought provoking, of a powerful ballad, I am often left in a better mood than when I turned on the music.
3) GOOD ROLE MODELS
There are bad apples everywhere and in fact, there are some incredibly upsetting scandals right now in the Kpop world. BUT, by and large, the members of K-Pop groups are good role models. Now granted, these groups are very often contracted to be good influences. As in, it seems that it is in their contract that they are to be people that others can look up to. That being said, as we are seeing through the scandals, for some it might be an act...but I appreciate that MOST of them seem to be genuinely good people. People who care about their fans and take seriously that others are watching them and want to be like them
. It's a heavy burden for them to carry, but they do it well.
As someone who has worked with children for around 20 years, I would look for artists here in the States who could be held up as good examples for the kids and when I would find one, I'd be thrilled and do all I could to promote them...only to often have that same artist decide a little down the road that they didn't want to be a role model and actively choose to be someone or make choices that the children SHOULDN'T emulate. It was heartbreaking...and it happened more than once.
I love that if I recommend a group to a teenager or child, that if they (or their parents) look up that group, they are generally going to find people that show respect to elders, take care of those younger than themselves, look out for the modesty of the people around them, show kindness to everyone and appreciate the celebrity that they have, but continue to be humble. It's such a breath of fresh air.
Finally, let me say that I know the world of K-Pop is far from perfect. There are industry issues, issues with how artists are treated...just all sorts of issues. No one is saying that it is a perfect place. There is room for improvement...lots of room. But even so, it's a world that brings joy to so many of us and one that we are so glad others are beginning to notice as well.