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Baby Brosteps Towards The Elevator
December 18, 2012 7:50 PM   Subscribe

"This year, two monumental genres with decidedly global pedigrees arrived on our shores and attempted to crack the American pop code, with one enjoying far more decisive success than the other...One of those is definitely sexier and zeitgeistier than the other, but that doesn't always result in sustained cultural relevance."
K-Pop, EDM, and Baby Brosteps Toward a More Global Pop Landscape
posted by mannequito (33 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
That's what EDM is? I always thought it was disco for goths.
posted by dunkadunc at 7:57 PM on December 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


IDM (I for Intelligent) is maybe what you're thinking of dunk? that was the nickname I remember being given to Aphex etc. in the 90s/early 00s
posted by mannequito at 8:00 PM on December 18, 2012


Awwww, it's so cute that they're finally noticing.
posted by Mars Saxman at 8:00 PM on December 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


I think I like that less than "Electronica"...
posted by Artw at 8:02 PM on December 18, 2012


EBM is disco for goths, I believe. Of course, this narrow slicing of genre is part of what makes electronica a pain in the ass to figure out.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 8:02 PM on December 18, 2012


"zeitgeistier"?
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:02 PM on December 18, 2012


IDM is like Aphex Twin, Autechre, et cetera. "disco for goths" was EBM.

It's so so sad that they're only finally noticing. Is there an American ban against travel or trade with Ibiza or something?
posted by dunkadunc at 8:03 PM on December 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


No, but there is an American ban against fun. That's why the entering the country is such a hassle. It actually has nothing to do with terrorism, they just want to ensure that any fun you may have had abroad is counter-balanced before you set foot on US soil.
posted by sendai sleep master at 8:24 PM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


I can't say for sure, but the advent of Psy's Gangnam youtube eclipse may mark the moment when English pop will no longer, can no longer, be the number one youtube video. Just another mark on the way towards the 'asian pivot' and the rise of the rest.
posted by Shit Parade at 8:24 PM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


There's a baby brostep?
posted by Mezentian at 8:30 PM on December 18, 2012


Having watched the Girls Generation Late Show clip -- they are babies.
posted by Mezentian at 8:34 PM on December 18, 2012


FWIW, I found both Girls Generation clips creepy and weird and non-entertaining. But then I am both American and Old (well, at least old by pop music standards - old enough to remember raves!).

But I really enjoyed the Grammy clip. I think that was pretty smart of the producers to put that outside, because it would have felt very weird on the Grammy stage, with the Grammy audience.
posted by lunasol at 8:51 PM on December 18, 2012


it's still techno to me
posted by philip-random at 10:32 PM on December 18, 2012


Is there an American ban against travel or trade with Ibiza or something?

No, only against pronouncing it with a lisp.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:46 PM on December 18, 2012


This article literally had no point beyond "Hey I'm with it, I'm hip, dugga dugga dugga."

K-pop is popular in Korea and Asia, still hasn't broken through in the US. PSY doesn't really count, because USians enjoyed him as a novelty act, not as an actual pop performer. Who follows music and doesn't know this?

"all you have to do is look at thousands of screaming BigBang fans singing along to the 'Gangnam'-rivaling party jam 'Fantastic Baby' at a megaconcert in Seoul to realize that K-Pop isn't in any danger of dying out anytime soon"

You're telling me BigBang is still popular in Korea? FOR REALSIES???

"2NE1's Will.I.Am–produced album is on its way"

Because nothing says awesomely cool and modern like fucking Will.I.Am. Maybe they can collaborate with Jermaine Dupri next.

"it's a little ickily ethnocentric to declare K-Pop a non-starter because of its still mostly underground fan base in the States"

OK, I'll grant this. Kpop is hugely successful throughout Asia but there's a reason even the South Korea government is promoting PSY and Hallyu in general -- it won't be seen as a success unless it can repeat "Gangnam Style" a few more times and truly break into the American/European markets.

That's what my Korean friends don't seem to get. PSY got a gazillion hits on Youtube not because Americans saw him as the next Michael Jackson (literally, the press here kept harping on about how he got more "hits" on Youtube than MJ ever did despite the laughable fact the Jackson was pre-interent for the most part) but because he was a chubby funster. He wasn't the Korean Usher, he was the Asian Weird Al. And PSY seems to be the only Korean person who actually gets this.

So meh, this article kind of sucks. Of course, I read the whole thing and took time to respond so I guess I suck too.
posted by bardic at 10:53 PM on December 18, 2012 [5 favorites]


This is probably the perfect example of "global" K-pop. I don't know how it hasn't gone viral.
posted by fatehunter at 11:03 PM on December 18, 2012


Aside from the language, isn't PSY really more Eurodance than K-pop?
posted by Sys Rq at 11:05 PM on December 18, 2012


K-Pop, EDM, and Baby Brostep are clearly things Metafilter does not do well.

K-Pop will never be big in America until the sing in English.
And even then as the K-pop bands appear, largely, to be as manufactured as English pop sensations, they're going to be a flash in the pan.

So, basically I agree with Bardic.

And PSY seems to be the only Korean person who actually gets this.

I love the fact that it is obvious PSY is milking this 15 minutes of fame for every second. He is making squillions from the gajin, singing one song, and then he will return to Korea and enjoy his career like before.
posted by Mezentian at 11:08 PM on December 18, 2012


dunkadunc: ""disco for goths" was EBM. "

"You know what they call industrial music in Germany?"
posted by boo_radley at 11:08 PM on December 18, 2012 [5 favorites]


Man. Cyberpunk is so 1990s.
That Samuel L Jackson impression is amazing.
posted by Mezentian at 11:13 PM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I bought a lotta weird compos in the 90s. Lotta nostalgia.
posted by boo_radley at 11:18 PM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


"K-Pop will never be big in America until the sing in English. "

Girls' Generation tried.

The real problem (if you think it's a problem Kpop will never break big in America, which maybe is not really a problem for anyone but the Korean Tourism Organization) is that Kpop acts are more about choreography than they are about music. They just come off as robots to an American audience raised on highly manufactured pop acts that at least pay lip service to some notion of "authenticity."

I ask my Korean college students what they think of Lady Gaga and it's always "strange" or "weird." Well yeah, but so was Madonna in her day.

Beyond that, my own problem with K-pop is the highly exploitative nature of the whole business. The article kind of brushes off plastic surgery as no big deal, but I think a beautiful 21 year old girl getting plastic surgery -- surgeries -- is kind of a big deal. Also, it's an open secret that you won't get anywhere with the Korean "development" companies without screwing or blowing quite a few "managers."

Happens in America too I'm sure, but it's endemic here. Granted I'm old and in the way, but whereas most people see hotties strutting their stuff I can't see past the horror of their actual lives.

And in five years they'll have absolutely nothing.
posted by bardic at 11:22 PM on December 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


The real problem[...] is that Kpop acts are more about choreography than they are about music.

Yep. Girls' Generation looks and sounds like the backup singers rehearsing before the lead performer shows up. They dance in sync, they sing in sync (they syng?), they even have carefully choreographed waves and smiles, and they have all obviously been selected (or engineered) for how they look as part of the group.
posted by pracowity at 11:53 PM on December 18, 2012


Dance has always been K-pop's big draw for me. American pop does not pay dancers and choreographers nearly enough respect. Europop is somewhat better than American pop in that regard, but K-pop is the best.

That said, I tend to find the girl groups' dance routines lackluster compared to the guys', which is weird given that the girls tend to be better dancers individually. Better trained dancers, to be precise. Most of the guys just do hip hop.

The article kind of brushes off plastic surgery as no big deal, but I think a beautiful 21 year old girl getting plastic surgery -- surgeries -- is kind of a big deal.

Plastic Face, which I linked above, is an answer to that, and possibly marks a milestone in the backlash against the backlash against plastic surgeries. The Brown Eyed Girls* delivered a knockout punch.

* Gain captivated me so I never paid enough attention to the other three members of BEG. They're just as awesome though.

And in five years they'll have absolutely nothing.

I got into K-pop in '07. In the five-year period prior to that, the Korean film My Sassy Girl and its theme song "I Believe" made the rounds throughout East and Southeast Asia, Rain debuted and became arguably the biggest male popstar in that region. BoA took off in Japan and sold millions of albums. It might have seemed at the time that K-pop had peaked. Little did we know.

To paraphrase a famous HK movie quote: Five years and five years, five years and FIVE MORE YEARS. It never ends.
posted by fatehunter at 12:08 AM on December 19, 2012


I meant that the individual performers will be chewed up and spat out. I'm sure Kpop will still be going strong everywhere but America and Europe.
posted by bardic at 12:15 AM on December 19, 2012


I get what you mean - it's a real danger with some of the newer idol groups that flooded the market recently. But older idols like BoA, Rain, Shinhwa, etc. are all going strong. In fact, some of those ~legends suffer/suffered career stagnation only when they tried to brave the American market and inevitably neglected their Asian fanbase. Asian fans can be amazingly loyal. You don't forget them, they won't forget you.
posted by fatehunter at 12:26 AM on December 19, 2012


I guess one person's knockout punch is another person's Stockholm Syndrome run amok. I see that video and it makes me shudder with disgust. I can't help but see widespread compulsive plastic surgery as a way of reinforcing a culture that tells some of its members that they are ugly (no matter whether this is in any way connected to reality or not) and need to be improved, something that I think is inherently unhealthy. There is a sickness in pounding it into the heads of your daughters that they must go under the knife, to the point that they grow up to be proud of their cosmetic surgeries.
posted by 1adam12 at 2:11 AM on December 19, 2012


Awwww, it's so cute that they're finally noticing.

Seriously.

Juxtaposing KPop, which unless I'm missing something is a very recent thing, and electronic dance music, which got started in the 70s, makes me think the author has a huge blind spot.
posted by Foosnark at 5:02 AM on December 19, 2012


and electronic dance music, which got started in the 70s,

This statement is only correct in the broadest sense.
'70s electronica and today's output are akin to comparing The Stones and Kesha.
posted by Mezentian at 5:11 AM on December 19, 2012


Dance has always been K-pop's big draw for me.

In terms of what musicians I like, dance has always meant nothing to me.
posted by pracowity at 5:24 AM on December 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Plastic Face" is in no way a proud endorsement of plastic surgeries - the BEG have no qualm mocking the sameness of plastic faces, including their own. The video is part of a backlash against the backlash against women who get plastic surgeries. The derogatory term "plastic monsters" is directly referenced in the song.

I'm ambivalent about cosmetic procedures, but not the backlash against people who get or even consider them. It's unsightly for a multitude of reasons, some of which addressed in the video:

- A guy telling his girlfriend that he prefers "natural beauties"
How dare women who aren't naturally beautiful aspire to become beautiful?

- Your favorite male celebrities have all had surgeries too
It's not something that happens to vain/brainwashed/helpless women. People, female or male, make conscious choices to get those surgeries.
posted by fatehunter at 5:28 AM on December 19, 2012


In terms of what musicians I like, dance has always meant nothing to me.

K-pop is not and has never been about music alone. It's very much driven by videos: MVs, live performances, and variety program clips. In terms of what I watch, the appeal of watching people sing is not clear to me.
posted by fatehunter at 5:39 AM on December 19, 2012


'70s electronica and today's output are akin to comparing The Stones and Kesha.

You are of course referring to the fact that Kesha is vastly better-produced, yes? Because if there is one family of genres where Moore's Law has made all the difference, it is of course the vast sprawling intricate mess that is now getting wrapped up under the label "EDM".
posted by Mars Saxman at 9:49 AM on December 19, 2012


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