Ten Favorites: EXO

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Welcome to the first entry in the Favorites series! The posts under this heading will be my personal favorite songs by a given artist or group. These aren’t necessarily a group’s best or most popular songs, but instead they are tracks that I listen to and personally join the most. Since this group is one of my favorites and all over the headlines recently, it seems appropriate to start with EXO. Here are ten EXO tracks that I can’t get enough of.

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The K-Pop Beginner’s Guide: The Music

There are many reasons why fans around the world have come to love K-pop, like its exceptionally good-looking idols and memorable choreographies. What first drew my attention was the music, and it’s still the most important factor in deciding whether or not I like a given artist or group. But one of K-pop’s most defining factors is the inseparability of song, image, and performance. Albums and the promotions for a single are based around concepts, and a group almost reinvents itself with each new release. Certain visuals based on those concepts are forever tied to the songs with which they are paired, and the same is true for “point dances” or standout sections of the choreography. It’s nearly impossible to hum Super Junior’s “Sorry Sorry” without rubbing your hands together, or to think of Girls’ Generation’s “Gee” without picturing fresh faces and colorful skinny jeans.

You can enjoy K-pop solely for the songs, but you can’t fully understand it by sound alone. That’s why this post will be full of music videos, and why what makes them great is more than the beats and melodies. My aim is to introduce you to the general essence of K-pop as a whole, and for me, the videos included here meet that goal, covering the bases of song, image, and performance.

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Welcome!

Hello everyone! Welcome to my blog, The I-Fan!

 

What’s this blog all about?

This blog will mainly center on one cropped-77f61fff9281f12282c8114e476a358c.jpeginternational/non-Korean fan’s perspectives on different aspects of the Korean pop music (K-pop) industry. It is not intended to act as a news source, but news stories will be addressed and opinions on major events will be presented. Also anticipate reviews of singles, music videos, albums, and
performances along with posts on related subjects such as K-pop fashion, idol television appearances, and cultural topics.

 

Who is the I-Fan?

My name is Morgan and I’ve recently graduated from college; so, though I may sometimes be as excitable as a teenager when it comes to K-pop, I’m actually in my early twenties. I was born and raised in the USA, and I’ve always had a love for music. I grew up listening to a variety of genres, covering almost everything from gospel and disco to classic rock and Britpop. K-pop is my main arena of musical interest today, but my exposure to so many other genres informs my views of, and appreciation for, K-pop. I’m also a pop culture and history enthusiast, which means that when I’m not listening to K-pop, I’m probably catching up on other celebrity news, watching one of my many guilty pleasure television shows, or reading a volume on subjects like British royal history.  Though I’m not Korean, I have been fortunate enough to travel to Seoul (only once, so far) and I can write and speak in beginning level Korean language along with some French and Spanish.

Wonder Girls
Wonder Girls

How did you get into K-pop?

I first heard about K-pop while I was in high school. Some of my fellow students at an academic summer program I attended could be heard discussing Wonder Girls, but I didn’t know anything about the group or the genre at that point. It wasn’t until my sophomore year of college that I finally decided to try listening to K-pop on my own. I started with songs by Wonder Girls and by Girls’ Generation,  the latter of which I had recently seen for the first time on an American daytime TV show (my main memory of the show was one of the hosts complimenting GG member Tiffany on her English skills and her polite reply informing him that she is American). For the first few months, I listened exclusively to these two groups, paying especially close attention to GG and combing through their discography. I gradually branched out into other artists’ music, and I haven’t turned back since. My bias groups are Girls’ Generation, SHINee, and EXO, all of whom belong to one of the “Big Three” K-pop labels, SM Entertainment.

 

Does that mean that this blog will only cover groups from SM?smygjypentertainmentagenciessouthkoreakpop

Not at all! While the above mentioned groups may receive the most attention from me, by no means will this blog be restricted to discussions around SM artists. I am always open to learning more about idols from other labels, and the same is true for those K-pop artists who aren’t viewed as idols but who still leave their mark on the K-pop industry and music charts. I will do my best to seek out and discuss a range of material by a diverse selection of artists, and I am also open to reader-suggested songs and artists. I don’t know all that there is to know about K-pop, but I am always willing to learn more.

 

Is this blog for international or non-Korean fans only?

This blog is open to anyone interested in K-pop, regardless of nationality. Aside from the practical limitation of being geared toward English speakers (it’s the only language that I’m fluent in), fans from any country and from any fandom are welcome here. I only ask that you be polite and respectful to each other.

 

With that, here we go! Welcome to The I-Fan!

You can also follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/The_I_Fan