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South Korea's Pop Wave
January 28, 2012 3:19 PM   Subscribe

Al Jazeera takes a look at the K-Pop Wave (YouTube link)

Some numbers:
- the Korean "culture industry" is estimated to have generated $3 billion
- it can cost over $1 million to manufacture a girl group
posted by needled (53 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

 
More of the drummers please. I'd go to a show like that.
posted by Malice at 3:21 PM on January 28, 2012


This is a genuine question: why is it that Chinese and Korean popular music is so much worse, so much more grating, formulaic and unoriginal, than the popular music of any other region?
posted by moorooka at 3:32 PM on January 28, 2012


why is it that Chinese and Korean popular music is so much worse, so much more grating, formulaic and unoriginal, than the popular music of any other region?

Not sure this is true. Seen Eurovision? Heard the stuff they play in Vietnamese restaurants? I think most countries have pretty bland pop music. The USA might be a little better in this regard.
I haven't been everywhere, though, so I could be wrong.

What I found surprising - and I guess I haven't watched Al-Jazeera for a while - is the fact that they would air all that exposed flesh to a mostly Muslim audience.
posted by kozad at 3:40 PM on January 28, 2012


This is a genuine question: why is it that Chinese and Korean popular music is so much worse, so much more grating, formulaic and unoriginal, than the popular music of any other region?

I've heard a lot of various countries' grating formulaic unoriginal pop music and I can assure you, they're all equally awful.
posted by Tomorrowful at 3:44 PM on January 28, 2012 [6 favorites]


Regarding the traditional music/pop narrative: I remember years ago, playing in a (white) Balinese Gamelan Orchestra, the teacher would often bring some of us back to Bali, to try to show Balinese kids: Hey! Look! Americans love this stuff! It's hip! Don't abandon your music for hip-hop!
posted by kozad at 3:45 PM on January 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Not sure this is true. Seen Eurovision?

Because with every mention of Eurovision, i can only think of My Lovely Horse. ;)
posted by usagizero at 3:46 PM on January 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


why is it that Chinese and Korean popular music is so much worse, so much more grating, formulaic and unoriginal, than the popular music of any other region?

And there's millions of Chinese and Korean people who think your favorite music sucks, too.
posted by birdherder at 3:51 PM on January 28, 2012 [6 favorites]


I suppose it is a difference of degree rather than kind. However I am asking this as someone who lived there for several years during the 2000s. I realise that most pop music anywhere is fairly bland, but the Chinese pop industry makes Eurovision look like the great days of Fillmore. Supermarket trips were just unbearable without mp3 earphones to drown it out. And to the limited extent that Western music was embraced it was generally something like the Backstreet Boys, which were still providing the aspirational template for local musical efforts ten years after their heyday overseas. Moving from China to the Philippines the radical improvement in the quality of everyday background music was one of the most striking differences.
posted by moorooka at 3:51 PM on January 28, 2012


> What I found surprising - and I guess I haven't watched Al-Jazeera for a while - is the fact that they would air all that exposed flesh to a mostly Muslim audience.

Al-Jazeera English is aiming for a worldwide audience and is pretty liberal compared to most any news network and really doesn't resemble other Arab networks like Al-Arabiya very much.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:04 PM on January 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


RAIN!!!!!
posted by luminarias at 4:07 PM on January 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


Malice, do a search on 김덕수 사물놀이 to find performance footage of one of the more notable Korean troupes for this type of traditional Korean folk music. Or just 사물놀이 for the genre of music.

Kim Duk Soo samulnori performance

The Kim Duk Soo troup also features in this performance by Korean modern rock band Jaurim
posted by needled at 4:27 PM on January 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


> What I found surprising - and I guess I haven't watched Al-Jazeera for a while - is the fact that they would air all that exposed flesh to a mostly Muslim audience.

Al-Jazeera English is aiming for a worldwide audience and is pretty liberal compared to most any news network and really doesn't resemble other Arab networks like Al-Arabiya very much.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:04 PM on January 28 [+] [!]


A lot of the time, Al Jazeera English doesn't resemble Al Jazeera Arabic much! ( totally separate editorial structures is my understanding)
posted by Bwithh at 4:33 PM on January 28, 2012


This is a genuine question: why is it that Chinese and Korean popular music is so much worse, so much more grating, formulaic and unoriginal, than the popular music of any other region?

Genuine answer: It's not.

I like this and this.
posted by empath at 4:38 PM on January 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


why is it that Chinese and Korean popular music is so much worse, so much more grating, formulaic and unoriginal, than the popular music of any other region?

Because they've done such an excellent job of distilling the essence of today's American popular music?
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:01 PM on January 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


This is a genuine question: why is it that Chinese and Korean popular music is so much worse, so much more grating, formulaic and unoriginal, than the popular music of any other region?

For the same reason Chinese and Korean food is so different from French and Italian food. Ingredients, taste, history, culture, etc.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:28 PM on January 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


The imported beauty culture, pushed by a wave of women like Michelle Phan, is a very interesting set of new norms and tools. Between circle lenses and BBCream, the look is far more insidious than the music.
posted by Phalene at 5:58 PM on January 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


CPB, I guess the food situation would be comparable if these countries' cuisines were largely adapted from a very narrow subset of western food, rather than belonging to native customs that evolved over centuries. Modern popular music in Africa, India and Latin America all draw largely from the musical traditions of these countries, but there's almost none of that in the modern music of northeast Asia, it seems to trace its roots largely to western 90s pop.

(Obviously I am generalizing here, not trying to say that there is no genuinely creative or original music happening in these countries, there is)
posted by moorooka at 6:10 PM on January 28, 2012


I say huzzah for Michelle Phan and her ilk. If it wasn't for them I'd have no idea how to put eye makeup on my Asian self.
posted by emeiji at 6:16 PM on January 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


why is it that Chinese and Korean popular music is so much worse, so much more grating, formulaic and unoriginal

'Worse' falls under the de gustibus rule. As for grating, formulaic and unoriginal, after decades of listening, I think these are fair descriptors. 'Grating' is a reference to a timbral character heavily dependent on harsh, metallic, unusual combinations of partials from mostly midrange instruments, couched in fairly dry mixes that are typically amateurish. 'Formulaic' and 'unoriginal' is self-explanatory; this is not naturally-evolved folk music embued with emotions but quite simply vacuous happy-snappy-pronto-pup elevator music that only dictators could love.

But don't get too cocky about it; contemplation of the evolution of Western pop sensibilities over the past couple of decades as reflected by Billboard charts suggests that we are well on our way to similarly vacuous and happy-snappy audio candyfloss ourselves. Once all the dynamic hills are leveled and rough places made plain, the world will be united in at level of unchallenging banility that was once inconceivable.
posted by Twang at 6:16 PM on January 28, 2012 [7 favorites]


Everyone knows the worst pop song in the world comes from the Danish-Norwegian band Aqua.
posted by cazoo at 6:20 PM on January 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's probably a bit formulaic, but j-pop and k-pop did their own twist on dance music-- it's mostly filtered through eurobeat, which was the Japanese take on late 90s rave music, halfway between trance and happy hardcore. Though they take influences from all over (I linked to Bubble Pop, which has a dubstep breakdown).

'Formulaic' and 'unoriginal' is self-explanatory; this is not naturally-evolved folk music embued with emotions but quite simply vacuous happy-snappy-pronto-pup elevator music that only dictators could love.

How much naturally-evolved folk music is on the top 100 anywhere in the world? Club music is the same everywhere.

Though it is true that the influence seems to all be one way so far. There's no musical equivalent to anime that's really had an impact on the west, but that could change.
posted by empath at 6:25 PM on January 28, 2012


(Though I guess that's ignoring videogame music, which is mostly how eurobeat, j-pop and k-pop's filtered back to the west so far)
posted by empath at 6:26 PM on January 28, 2012


Too much makeup!
posted by cman at 6:36 PM on January 28, 2012


Does K-Pop suck, or is it just that it's not to everyone's musical tastes?

I just spent a few months in Japan - K-Pop is very big there, and appears on all the prime-time shows. I would hazard a guess and say K-Pop, especially the girl bands, are a far superior product to prefabricated Japanese pop.

People like K-Pop because the singers are cute or handsome, they dance reasonably well, and it's an easily digestible product.

I'm not too familiar with other Korean "cultural products", but I'm sure there are singer/songwriters who are just as good as anything in the West. Personally, my fave pop band of all time would have to be Mr. Children, and they're from Japan. Sakurai-san is a genius on par with John Lennon and Paul McCartney.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:00 PM on January 28, 2012


It might just be that I haven't paid attention to pop music in North America for so long that I haven't heard anything similar, but the most amazing thing about this segment is how openly and frankly everyone talks about K-pop as an industry with financial ramifications. They barely, if ever, talk about music as anything other than a way to make money. Even when indie bands get mentioned, one of the talking heads talks about them as a way to improve the diversity of Korean music to maintain industry competitiveness. It's not like South Korea's music industry is that different in mechanics—I'm sure any A&R guy at a major record label would say the same thing—but it seems like everyone, including the audience, understands exactly what's going on. Which is pretty weird to me, having grown up thinking of music as something other than a commercial product.
posted by chrominance at 8:05 PM on January 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


I appreciate how openly manufactured the whole thing is. Like they don't even try to perform live.

What is up with Al Jazeera dude's ugly shirts?
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 9:13 PM on January 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


luminarias: thanks for introducing me to Rain. I have to say the following year's installment is at least as good: RAIN!!!!!
posted by dylanjames at 9:33 PM on January 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


why is it that Chinese and Korean popular music is so much worse, so much more grating, formulaic and unoriginal, than the popular music of any other region?

Funny you should mention this, some of those kpop hits are written by European writers. If you're talking about mainland Chinese pop, then I agree that there's a lot of rubbish. HK pop is not much better but Taiwan/Singapore/Malaysia have some great singers. I also think the culture and how singers were traditionally ultra-low-class, have something to do with the formulaic approach.
posted by tksh at 11:03 PM on January 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


For anyone who finds this interesting, I can't recommend The Grand Narrative enough. It's a great insider's look on Korean culture and sociology by an Englishman living there since 2000.
posted by Hargrimm at 11:23 PM on January 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think people in this thread aren't giving a fair answer to moorooka's question, though it's unfortunate he/she chose to use the words "worse" and "grating", which is very subjective.

But having lived and worked in Japan, and having listened to a lot of K-pop and C-pop, it's undeniable that the pop music industries there are extremely formulaic and mass-produced to an extent not seen in the West. We've had short period where it happened, like the late-90s boy band/teen idol period, but it's not the norm. In Korea/Japan/HK, it is. Anyone arguing otherwise knows nothing about music from those places.

(It's funny empath links to a Girls' Generation video above; that group is exactly the kind of cooke-cutter, assembly-line pop group we're talking about here. empath seems to know K-pop and should damn well know that's the case. There are and have been a million groups like them. I don't know the other group, having been out of K-pop for years, but they're another Girl Group #51096.)

What chrominance noted about the sheer mercenary nature of the business touches on what I've come to conclude on the issue: in the West we have this idea of "authenticity" that is very, very important for musicians while it just isn't in the regions mentioned above, at least not in pop music. In the US/UK we deride musicians for being fake or manufactured and extol the virtues of bands/singers who have at least the appearance of "authenticity" (however false), whereas it seems in places like Korea it's not a problem that a group was pre-assembled and packaged ala the Backstreet Boys.
posted by Sangermaine at 11:50 PM on January 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


luminarias: "RAIN!!!!!"

I saw "rain", I thought of this. I have to go wash my ears out now.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 2:16 AM on January 29, 2012


Hmm. So many interesting things in this, and once you get me started talking about k-pop, I can be pretty verbose. But it's a pretty good introduction to the concept of the Hallyu wave and all the issues surrounding it.

A lot of the concept isn't new to me, but I did find it fascinating how much of the focus on was Rania. I'm assuming this is because they couldn't get a group from one of the "big three" (and since it seems like it's mostly critical of k-pop, I can see why SM, JYP, or YG wouldn't want to volunteer).

But the fact that they focused on a rookie group without mentioning how hard a rookie group has to work to get noticed (esp. one that isn't from SM, JYP, or YG, and how there were like a million groups to debut last year) and that a lot of k-pop groups exist primarily because of exposure. Without fans, they can't sell their music, but more importantly, they can't make any money off of appearing on variety shows or in commercials (because if you have no fans, then no one will want to buy what you are selling). K-pop is commercial -- that's what is so fascinating about it (at least, for me). And here is a k-pop producer with a rookie group that is struggling to find acceptance in Korea saying that his group is special because they're multi-lingual and tall? Uh, yeah, that pretty much sounds like half of the rookie groups from last year.

Also, Rania's debut had a lot of love/hate reactions because a lot of k-pop fans thought it was a little too Western and didn't neatly follow the standard k-pop style (at least for girl groups, like SNSD as linked to by empath). And it's pretty interesting, I think, that Teddy Riley left Rania to produce music for SNSD, creating this beautiful disaster (also available in English!). And "cracking the global market" is key for Rania because at the moment they seem to have more international fans than Korean. Also, the music producers see America as this huge cash cow if they can just find a way to milk it. A lot of k-pop groups have attempted to break in the American music scene and returned to Korea. The only exception I can think of at the moment is BoA, but she released an English album, and it still was a very niche market.

Which is why I'm pretty fascinated with JYP's indefatigable attempts to make the Wonder Girls a success over here. I'm not exactly sure if Nickelodeon is the way to do it, but I admire his tenacity.

I don't really know how effective the Hallyu wave really is in terms of America -- honestly, I don't think I would have ever independently gotten into k-pop if I hadn't first gotten hooked on the dramas (and I spazzed a bit at 6:43 because ohmygoshyouguys it's the set for "Tree With Deep Roots"! ...which just so happens to be one of my favorite dramas of last year). But I think that music companies are aware of this, and so a lot of pop idols star in dramas as a way to gain more attention to their band (or brand, as it were). This, I think, was especially for key for groups that were banned from a lot of promotion and television shows -- like JYJ. After breaking away from the rest of the group (DBSK or TVXQ) and SM (this was noted at 14:58 regarding "slave contracts"), about the only time you saw any of JYJ was when one of them was starring in a drama (and, conveniently, adding to the OST)

Mostly, though, it seems by Hallyu wave, it means making it to the top of the Oricon charts in Japan.

Another little quibble with Rania's producer (augh, for some reason he just seems to rub me the wrong way -- I feel it's a little hypocritical to comment on how all k-pop groups are the same when his group fits what is to my mind fairly standard k-pop mold, and that creative control rests with the producers when I'm sure creative control rests with him as well) is the juxtaposition of his saying that he "opposes productions companies from becoming mega-size" and get themselves on the stock market, thinking only of how well their stock is doing (implying that the actual music is secondary)...

...with YG groups in the background.

Now, I totally agree that k-pop is about the money. If it wasn't, it wouldn't be as big and flashy and relying on CF to keep a band going. But I'm just surprised that they went for YG and not the obvious low-hanging fruit of SM. Because YG, while a major commercial player, is the one that has the rep of giving more creative autonomy to their groups. They used to be known as being more focused on talent than looks. This will totally out me as a k-pop fan-girl I suppose, but I've been pretty excited about seeing the teasers for Big Bang's comeback next month and noting that G-Dragon (leader of the group Big Bang) has not only written the list of songs so far, but also has helped to produce them.

(Is this the point where I stop thinking so hard and enjoy the fan-girl squee-ish-ness?)

Then again, when I saw the fans waiting to get into the YG Family Concert, I sighed in envy because if there is ever one k-pop concert I'd like to attend, it would by YG's. Big Bang, 2ne1, Tablo, and Gummy are some of my favorite artist (in fact, Gummy has one of my favorite MV's ever).

On preview:

What chrominance noted about the sheer mercenary nature of the business touches on what I've come to conclude on the issue: in the West we have this idea of "authenticity" that is very, very important for musicians while it just isn't in the regions mentioned above, at least not in pop music. In the US/UK we deride musicians for being fake or manufactured and extol the virtues of bands/singers who have at least the appearance of "authenticity" (however false), whereas it seems in places like Korea it's not a problem that a group was pre-assembled and packaged ala the Backstreet Boys.

I totally agree, Sangermaine. I've also had a lot time to think about it, and it's pretty clear that in America, at least, your song has to be good enough to stand on it's own because radio air-play seems to be key -- however, in Korea, it's more based on image -- the dancing, the gimmick, and the flashy costumes and makeup than the actual song (although it needs to at least be catchy). In America, the musician will claim it's more about the art (although yes, selling albums and making money would be nice), but in Korea it's plain that the groups have less shame at admitting they want to sell their albums (and as such, themselves as a band concept).

But what is interesting is I can totally blame the "Hallyu wave" for getting me into what has become to be known as k-indie. After the initial shock of WTF-is-this? wore off, I became fascinated by k-pop, and gradually wondered if there were any non-manufactured bands. That, and some dramas would have some music where I'd go "oooh, I really like this" and find out it was some k-indie group. As such, I've been noting that as k-pop is trying to press it's manufactured way outside of Korea and dominate the world, it seems that k-indie is slowly gaining more mainstream acceptance.

Now, typically, indie bands getting mainstream acceptance isn't "cool" -- but in a small country like Korea that spends so much money on the pop idols, I'm looking forward to seeing more mainstream music that fits into the rock or folk or non-pop sound. (Earlier today I was rocking out in my kitchen to The Black Skirts and Bye Bye Badman (yep, inspired by the Stone Roses)

But then, I suppose my credibility goes out the window when I mention that after battling a bout of insomnia I came to metafilter after watching the debut of B.A.P. (and deciding it was awesome and I'm going to keep tabs on them, especially since I became a fan of their rapper Bang Yong Guk from this).
posted by paisley sheep at 4:03 AM on January 29, 2012 [8 favorites]


So is this the thread where we get to post our favorite K-Pop songs? Because I am forever indebted to whoever the Mefite was who introduced me to this


they're... they're wearing gift wrap bows! And even if I could find a pair of orange platform wedge sneakers, it would never have occurred to me to wear them with red knee socks!
posted by Mchelly at 4:52 AM on January 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


Interesting infographic on k-pop idol groups
posted by needled at 6:22 AM on January 29, 2012


"Virtually all bands here are manufactured by Entertainment agencies"

That's such a scary thought for a music fan*. I've had a weird pop-culture fascination with k-pop for a while although I don't actually like any of the music. I never quite understood the machinery behind the process, so this was a great watch. Thanks!

*My internal conflict with that statement is that I'm a huge Monkees fan.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 6:55 AM on January 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


empath: How much naturally-evolved folk music is on the top 100 anywhere in the world?

Arguably rock music - it can trace its roots straight back to the blues, and it's getting hard to argue that that isn't a form of folk music. It doesn't dominate the top 100 anywhere anymore, as far as I'm aware, but it's there in most places.

(I can't find links to any of the songs I have in mind, but I'd argue that cantopop - the form of Chinese pop with which I am most familiar, having grown up in Hong Kong - is often better than you'd normally expect of pop from any tradition. Leon Lai, while a clearly manager-produced phenomenon, had some pretty excellent and catchy songs here and there - 'Afraid of What?' being the one that springs to mind and isn't on Youtube. I'm afraid both my memory and Cantonese are too poor to find many other examples right now...)
posted by Dysk at 6:56 AM on January 29, 2012


I'm waitin' for NK-POP to catch on.
posted by symbioid at 8:07 AM on January 29, 2012


There used to be a video of a South Korean Boy Band performing for the North Korean elites, but I can't seem to find it now. They (the elites) just sat there staring emotionless at this spectacle, seemed utterly unbemused in any way (if my memory serves me correct).
posted by symbioid at 8:18 AM on January 29, 2012


Arguably rock music - it can trace its roots straight back to the blues, and it's getting hard to argue that that isn't a form of folk music.

If rock music is folk music, than so is house music.
posted by empath at 8:39 AM on January 29, 2012


Funny you should mention this, some of those kpop hits are written by European writers.

Funny you should mention that, but so are a lot of the top 10 records in the US.

Stargate

Max Martin

Red:One

and so on...
posted by empath at 8:43 AM on January 29, 2012


empath: If rock music is folk music, than so is house music.

Yeah, I'd agree that a similar argument can be made there. Is there much house music in the charts anymore? I guess probably to a similar extent there is rock music. In which case, I'll broaden my original statement to include house :)
posted by Dysk at 8:52 AM on January 29, 2012


Play is a fun track (and fun music video) from Korean electronic dance music duo Cassette Schwarzenegger which received attention outside of Korea but not as much within Korea.
posted by needled at 9:34 AM on January 29, 2012


Yeah, I'd agree that a similar argument can be made there. Is there much house music in the charts anymore?

Aside from LMFAO, which is pure house music? Yeah, most of it today (especially the stuff produced by Swedes) is ultimately derived from house, and most of the k-pop music is house/techno influenced.
posted by empath at 10:06 AM on January 29, 2012


I have no idea what pure house music is - not really my field, though I do dig quite a few of what I've been told are classic Chicago House tracks. I suppose there might be an argument to be made regarding whether the music is incorporating indigenous influences or not, but I'm not sure.
posted by Dysk at 10:20 AM on January 29, 2012


I guess what I'm driving it is why should the koreans be expected to incorporate indigenous influences in their pop music when no one else does? Pop music everywhere is influenced by pop music everywhere else. The world is global.
posted by empath at 10:40 AM on January 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is a genuine question: why is it that Chinese and Korean popular music is so much worse, so much more grating, formulaic and unoriginal, than the popular music of any other region?

Genuine answer: It's not.

I like this and this .
posted by empath at 4:38 PM on January 28 [3 favorites +] [!]


I don't really mind the music, I find it no different than Lady Gaga or whatever. In fact, I find it much more tolerable than generic/formulaic/unoriginal rock music [like Daughtry. Can not stand that band.]

But I really dislike the dancing. Especially in the first video you linked to. The cutesy hands-up-to-your-face-in-wide-eyed-wonderment grates on my nerves. And when it's immediately followed by sexy gyrating and full-body caressing, it's creepy.
posted by FirstMateKate at 11:39 AM on January 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Aside from LMFAO, which is pure house music?

Not quite. It draws a lot on the House music of 20 years ago with its obnoxious SH-101 inspired generic syncopated synth riff. But then you have that shitty male rapper that is typical of northern eurodance rather than House.

But yes, you could probably put "90s house" into Youtube and drop everything but the vocals into Party Rock Anthem without much alteration or anyone really noticing the difference.

It's a pretty empty song though. I've been spoilt too much by eurodance by the last decade to put up with modern pop/dance crap.
posted by Talez at 11:50 AM on January 29, 2012


Sure the world is global, and it's not that they "should" be "expected" to incorporate indigenous influences, but most international music does have these organic cultures (at least to some extent) and it's just an interesting phenomenon that there is this one particular region of the world where the musical culture is almost entirely imported wholesale from another part of the world, in prefab corporate form.
posted by moorooka at 1:28 PM on January 29, 2012


empath: I guess what I'm driving it is why should the koreans be expected to incorporate indigenous influences in their pop music when no one else does? Pop music everywhere is influenced by pop music everywhere else. The world is global.

Oh, I'm not making the argument that they should be expected to, or that they're unique in predominantly having non-indigenous musical traditions represented in the charts. Most of the world is in the same situation, as you point out. I'm sure there are some exceptions where there is a greater degree of folk influence, but I wouldn't be able to point where - I know the music scenes I'm familiar with are pretty comparable to South Korea's.
posted by Dysk at 2:52 PM on January 29, 2012


Still preferable to the Jonas Brothers.
posted by maryr at 8:51 PM on January 29, 2012


i think this piece is a good example of things to come. it's a new take on the old upton sinclair-ish, investigative journalism. the bifurcation of work is a well established phenomenon. exposing it in industries that are built around an image will become more common. this is because many companies are just so brazen, and it gets increasingly easier to catch them, until the organizations adapt to the tactics of those trying to expose them.

i imagine the young woman who talked about not having enough time to hug her mom does not have much of a career left after this has aired.
posted by cupcake1337 at 9:51 PM on January 29, 2012


Ooh! My current favorite release is this song: Clazzi feat. 2AM's Seulong "We Changed".

i imagine the young woman who talked about not having enough time to hug her mom does not have much of a career left after this has aired.

Sad stories are common in the South Korea's entertainment industry, so I doubt that mention will hurt her. There's a show called 'Strong Heart' where celebrities and idols alike talk about their rough times, and other shows too. Recently, Girls' Generation member Tiffany said, to paraphrase, that she's very happy that they've been able to experience such amazing levels of success, but she cannot enjoy it because she is utterly exhausted. Girls' Generation will pretty much be promoting in three countries (South Korea, Japan, and the US) for the next few months iirc.

As for the hallyu wave, I'm really curious as to how long it will go on, and to what extent. Though I don't expect it to crack the US market for a variety of reasons.

Not really related, but this recent release and it's music video will be one of my favorites for a long time: Brown Eyed Girls' "Cleansing Cream".
posted by one teak forest at 12:55 AM on January 30, 2012


i imagine the young woman who talked about not having enough time to hug her mom does not have much of a career left after this has aired.

I wouldn't worry. The K-pop media does not see much wrong with agencies working their idols like slaves. Fans throw fits when their favorites are hospitalized due to exhaustion (or for cosmetic surgeries), but most continue to support the agencies financially as they churn out group after group. The slave-work aspect of the industry is so normalized that the idols can joke about it openly (a boybander from one agency said he was jealous of peers in another agency: "their labor camp has windows!" or something to that effect).
posted by fatehunter at 1:13 AM on January 30, 2012


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