Wednesday, May 20

Why I Love K-Pop with Liam Likes

When you hear the phrase 'K-Pop', you instantly think Gangnam Style, the hit K-Pop song from 2012. For some people, this was the beginning of their love for K-Pop but not for love for K-Pop happened much sooner.  

My K-Pop story began in July 2011. I had booked a holiday to Tokyo, Japan for 9 days with my boyfriend, a city that was both on our bucket lists. We left Glasgow early in the morning, travelling to Amsterdam and then onto the very long flight across Asia to the land of the rising sun. I have always been obsessed with Asian culture, Japanese culture in particular so I wanted to soak up absolutely everything I could while in Tokyo. Who would have known that my love for South Korea and K-Pop would begin here.

Japan is nine hours ahead so it took a couple of days for our body clocks to readjust. This meant waking up far too early and unable to get back to sleep, so we'd do what anyone else would do - watch TV. We loved watching ZIP in the mornings, a sort of GMTV style breakfast show, which had a music section where they'd play short bursts of the most popular music videos. There was one video that caught my eye, a group of nine girls dressed in bright yellow outfits singing a very catchy song. This group was called Girls Generation and little did I know how much I'd go onto love them. When I got back to Glasgow, I decided to search for them in iTunes and gave a couple of their songs a listen and liked what I heard so I bought the album and it kind of just went from there. Before I knew it, I was importing CDs from South Korea and finding more and more K-Pop artists to fall in love with.

But what makes K-Pop so different from pop music here in the UK? Firstly, K-Pop is unashamedly pop. It's in your face, it's full of energy and it's not ashamed to be really over the top. Each single has a concept which influences the music video, their stage outfits, their stage designs - everything. Here in the UK, pop stars just stand on an empty stage and sing but in Korea, it's common for acts to have stages specially designed for them to match the concept of the song - they are dedicated. Girl groups dance, boy bands dance - it's like the 90's all over again - with even better pop music. And then there is the music itself - most K-Pop is really revolutionary, left-field pop music. It's more daring than UK pop music with K-Pop acts not afraid to mix multiple genres to create genre bending pop masterpieces. But don't just take my word for it, here are five of my favourite K-Pop songs! 

Girls Generation - Mr Taxi

The song that started it all. This was Girls Generations' third single in Japan and became one of their biggest hits across Asia. I love everything about this song - the electro synth production is just so captivating. Girls Generation are my absolute favourite K-Pop group, they have released so many killer singles and their albums are packed with pop songs that acts like Katy Perry and Britney wished they had.

F(X) - Red Light

F(X) are the most underrated group in the K-Pop industry. They are the most left-field of any K-Pop acts, willing to try any sound and mix it in with their signature pop sound. Red Light is their signature single blending their commercial pop sound with hip hop beats. 

Red Velvet - Ice Cream Cake

Red Velvet only debuted last year but they've already gone onto be one of the best K-Pop acts of the moment. They've just released their first album which went onto spawn two hit singles including this energetic gem Ice Cream Cake.

4Minute - Crazy

I only got into 4Minute recently and I have no idea why because they're bloomin' amazing! Crazy was released earlier this year and went onto a big hit for them across Asia. A hip-hop infused arabic dance track, I love the energy and attitude that just exudes from this song.

Azin - Delete

It's not just about the big pop productions, I randomly came across Azin on iTunes, a new indie artist. If there is one thing I'm a sucker for, it's orchestral pop and this is just divine. This is a brilliantly crafted pop song and the album it's from is one of the best albums I've ever heard. It was my love for all things K-Pop that got me into blogging. Radio has so much control over what songs are hits or not and I think it's important for all forms of music whether it be K-Pop or not get the recognition it deserves. I hope you've liked what you heard and will check out my blog for more K-Pop related music. 

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