If you follow me on Twitter, then you’ve probably noticed that I’ve repeatedly made the same complaint: K-pop’s idol scene is currently lacking in captivating female solo acts. It’s the big question: who’s stood out so far this year? Has anyone?
For the second installment in the Favorites series, the featured group is Girls’ Generation, also known as SNSD (and abbreviation of their Korean name, romanized as So Nyuh Shi Dae). Girls’ Generation was one of the first K-pop groups whose music I encountered, and I became a K-pop fan primarily because of them. I was immediately hooked on their music, style, and dynamic, and they will always be my personal favorite girl group. Here’s a list of some of my favorite songs by one of K-pop’s biggest acts.
Conventional wisdom suggests that K-pop’s female ensembles and their album concepts generally fall into one of two categories: cute or sexy. But the more I watch the vast the array of girl groups, the more I realize that there are groups that could be placed along varied places on the supposed cute-sexy spectrum, or whose concepts don’t belong on the spectrum at all. There are groups who switch back and forth between the two categories, there are groups who progress from cute to mature without pushing into 19+ rating territory, there are groups who revel in a 19+ rating, and there’s Crayon Pop.
Perhaps the cute-sexy dichotomy is true for those groups still seeking to get noticed. In K-pop, nothing instantly gets an audience’s attention like charm or unabashed sex appeal, and they can go a long way in appealing to the general public, especially Korea’s domestic audience. But don’t be fooled, and don’t be disheartened by the characterization of the girl group landscape. There are many genuinely talented and interesting groups out there who don’t constantly rely on the “typical” concepts to gain success.
The Girl Group Spotlight series is dedicated to introducing such groups, and the first to be discussed is Ladies’ Code.
This is my favorite K-pop music video of the summer. Period.
I know that there have already been some good MVs since the season started, and I know that there are still some major comebacks on the horizon (SISTAR, JYJ, Hyuna, etc.), but they’ll have to produce something pretty amazing and unique to unseat B1A4 from the top position.
This week’s video is like no K-pop video I have ever seen. Actually, maybe not. There are five young, good-looking men singing and dancing on a variety of sets, and we have yet another group debuting on the K-pop scene and hoping to make its mark.
But the song is another story. Continue reading
This week, the music video for f(x)’s new single, “Red Light,” dropped. Despite many of my favorite groups coming from SM, I haven’t given f(x) that much attention since I became a K-pop fan. I can list off their singles and talk about how much I like jamming to “Electric Shock,” and I even have a favorite member (Amber). At this point, they just haven’t inspired in me the kind of fangirl passion as Girls’ Generation or EXO. I think it’s less a reflection of f(x)’s quality and more a matter of personal taste, but regardless, I think they deserve more attention (including from their own company, but that’s a whole other discussion).
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.
Hello everyone! Welcome to my blog, The I-Fan!
What’s this blog all about?
This blog will mainly center on one international/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.
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.
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