The First Step Is Admitting…

October 29, 2009 § 13 Comments

I have an addiction.

I’m not exactly sure how it happened, but there have been hints of it here and there.

“Why do you like listening to music you can’t understand?” people have asked.
Well, there are many reasons for that, but my question for them is, why would that inhibit me? Music is aural pleasure; comprehension is not completely necessary.

When I listen to music in English, I listen very intently to the lyrics — as a vocalist, I enjoy being able to sing along. If I listen to a song too many times, however, the lyrics start to get old, and then I can’t stand listening to that song anymore. Foreign songs, though, present a distinct challenge to learn [if I bother trying], and usually take much longer before fatigue settles in. For example, I’ve listened to the same Lee Jung Hyun songs since middle school and still have yet to evict them from my iPod.

If I like a song enough, though, I’ll look up the lyrics to find out whether my impression of the song rings true. Even if the lyrics turn out to be tasteless and puerile, at least it won’t greatly impact my experience — although I feel like America has the most issue with retarded lyrics.

As much as I love French, Spanish, Japanese and Chinese music, my addiction is specific to Korean pop.

Why Kpop?
I’ve written before that I’ve always had an appreciation for Korean music, limited though my knowledge of the industry was. I don’t like using the term “fangirl” because of the squealing teenage image it evokes, and I’m not nearly as hardcore as some can be.
I attribute LC as my biggest influence in this area; over the summer and even a bit last semester, she fed me with Kpop photos and videos and the like, fanning what had been steady embers into a full-fledged forest fire. I take ownership of my addiction now, but I couldn’t have made it without her.

Key Kim Kibum

Key from SHINee: love at first sight

Anyone who assumes that all Asian music sounds the same is stupid. The majority of mainstream Chinese music is wimpy. Some of it is lovely, but I have a very low tolerance for weak vocals and pining lyrics. Japanese music is great too but can get comparatively weird [it’s Japan after all]. Although Korea has been infiltrated by our hated enemy, autotune, they don’t overuse it to the point of giving singing careers to people who clearly can’t sing, and Kpop always has a kick to it — I love music I can dance to.

America churns out lively pop music too, you could argue. Of course: Lady Gaga will always be my hero. But the American music industry as a whole is in a disappointing state right now, with very little originality flowing through. Having watched innumerable music videos, I feel justified in saying that Kpop feels like it’s of a higher quality than its American equivalent. What I hear on the radio sounds like people have simply stopped trying, and I refuse to support their half-assed efforts. I can’t fully describe how refreshing it is to go from the countless U.S. music videos of the singer(s) swaying lamely in a club to actually choreographed, visually stimulating music videos from Korea. Even their phone commercials have ridiculous full-length songs with corresponding choreography!

Kpop stars also seem more charming than the drunken deadbeats we have in the States. The Korean music industry is much more controlling of the lives of their stars [living together in dorms and prohibiting dating is unheard for people of such celebrity], which surprisingly doesn’t make them turn out emotionally unstable even if they start their training young. This also means that they do a lot of fun collaborations, makeovers, and variety & reality shows.

More importantly, it means that these stars actually have talent. Kpop stars can sing and dance, AND they’re attractive! These kinds of celebrities are difficult to find in China, which I am very sad to admit. Knowing all this, though, Kpop can seem very contrived, but for those who really care, there are groups that play their own instruments and many who write their own songs.

When I think about the situation, it’s about quality of product [apart from the obvious aural appeal]. And I have found that the most consistent success in caliber lies within Kpop, so I shall unabashedly air my preference. I qualify that statement by noting that I have not completely given in to Korean culture — I refuse to watch dramas or learn the language. Music is all I want.

To conclude, I leave you with a screenshot of me watching a DBSK mv against my DBSK wallpaper [:D ILU JaeJoong!].

DBSK

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§ 13 Responses to The First Step Is Admitting…

  • lucy says:

    HAHAHAH ILU :)

  • Patricia says:

    I LOVEEEEE korean music.
    love love love
    and yunho all the way :]

  • Ezra says:

    This is going to sound completely superficial, but…

    in the picture you posted, most of those guys look like girls.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with looking like a girl, but I personally don’t aspire to looking like a girl.

    I have nothing against being well-groomed or well-dressed. I myself aspire to that, at some point in the future. Just being clear that I’m not confusing that with the oh-so-subjective qualities of femininity and masculinity. I’m of the opinion that one can be well-groomed, well-dressed, and masculine… but these guys aren’t it.

    I’m not sure if I am or should be extending this beyond that one picture to Asian pop culture as a whole.

    • auradis says:

      Well, it’s kind of an older picture if that means anything (changes in fashion trends & all that). If you saw them in action you might change your opinion. And there’s nothing wrong with being superficial; I wouldn’t like them as much (or at all) if I didn’t think they were beautiful specimens of the human race. I just don’t think it’s fair to write them off as “girly-looking” and be done with it.

  • will says:

    they do look very feminine, maybe its the long hair or is it they look like sticks….just saying

  • […] The First Step Is Admitting… October 2009 5 comments […]

  • sunamikei says:

    I just fell in love with this post.:) I know it’s an old one, but I still felt like leaving a comment.

    What I wanted to say was that you wrote exactly what my thoughts on K-pop are. I love it. Being one of the few that know about K-pop in my country (yes, I can say country, we’re quite small :P), I got the “Why do you like listening to music you can’t understand?” question multiple times (and for J-rock too).

    I like the sound of Korean words in songs, even if I can’t understand 90% of the lyrics. (I find it challenging to learn them). It’s the music I listen to and their voices. In music videos I admire their dancing skills. It’s their talent that made them famous (well looks too but still), they try&do their best.

    What I don’t understand are the comments about feminine looks. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m already used to it, or maybe it’s the fact that I like androgynous men, but I don’t find them feminine at all. Well maybe sometimes I do, but it’s still pretty visible to me that they are male. And pretty hot males, too:)

    (By the way, Jaejoong was my favourite for a long time, too. Well was, until I fell in love with Yoochun in their historical banjun drama :D)

    • auradis says:

      :) what country are you from??

      • sunamikei says:

        Slovenia, Europe:)

        (& I’ll just add this here, ’cause I saw you mentioning Key, is he your [SHINee] bias? Mine is Jinki!^^ And you’re so lucky to have seen them in real life~)

        • auradis says:

          ooh cool~

          yes key is my ultimate #1 forever kpop bias LOL……..but I love onew too! shinee is the best ^____________^

          • sunamikei says:

            Nice to hear that haha :D Key is my #2 :) His whole being just screams ‘you can’t not love me!’ Such cutie pie ^///^

  • Katherine says:

    Hi, I realize this post is extremely old but I wanted to comment because I love it.

    I was googling Key from Shinee actually and it came up. I agree with everything you said and I also don’t understand why people think it’s funny that I listen to J-pop/K-pop/J-rock. I mean I thought it was just music that anyone could listen to. I didn’t realize people associated it with one country or race to listen to it. Granted, I am learning the Japanese language now and have stuck more and more with listening to Japanese, but that doesn’t mean K-pop still doesn’t have a soft spot in my heart. I’m really glad you posted this because I feel so much better listening to this music I love now, and I’m not afraid to tell people why I listen to it.

    Also for what ‘sunamikei’ said, I get a lot of people telling me I must be lesbian just because THEY think that the J-rock and J-pop boy groups that I think are attractive look like girls. But I don’t see them that way at all, and it bothers me that they like to tease and assume that I’m homosexual (which I have nothing against homosexuals, btw) when I’m not. /: But I remain passionate about my boys!

    And, P.S.- SHINee is definitely the best! (: I haven’t found a J-pop group I could every like more than them. And Key is my #2 after Minho. Key is just so silly!

    • laura says:

      :) thanks for sharing your thoughts! I agree. if people have a problem with their restrictive gender stereotypes, then that’s their problem, not ours. hmph.

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