Saturday, May 30, 2015

Kpop: It's Not All 'Gangnam Style'

About six years ago, a friend and I decided to watch a Korean Drama together. The drama was called IRIS and was full of politics, intrigue, action sequences, and really awesome music.  I mean, there was some great music – and then we discovered that the actor playing Vic, a North Korean assassin, was in fact a rapper from the group who did one of the soundtrack’s best songs. In fact, he was the one rapping it. One thing led to another, and we discovered the group was called ‘Big Bang,’ and…well, they had great music. And they were adorable.
And apparently there was this thing called ‘Kpop.’  If I could have looked forward six years and seen the Kpop/Kdrama guru I am now, I would probably…well, believed it. I’ve always bent toward the obsessive. So when I found an entire world of songs, music styles, dances, bands and band members…well, I haven’t resurfaced yet and don’t particularly want to. I’ve managed to get a large number of people interested in Korean music and Korean dramas (an accomplishment of which I’m very proud), but I realized I hadn’t yet discussed it here where it’s unusually fitting. No matter what style of music you like, I can pretty much guarantee there’s something in KPop for you. (And no, knowing 'Gangnam Style' does not mean you know KPop. Gangnam Style was a satirical look at the Beverly Hills of Korea, not something meant to be taken seriously. If you think you know Kpop because you heard Gangnam Style, you don't.)
Do you like emotional, dramatic music with achingly gorgeous vocals? Check out these songs –

‘Only You’ by 4Men (from the Gu Family Book OST)

‘Suddenly’ by Kim Bo Kyong (from the City Hunter OST)

‘Don’t Forget’ by Baek Ji Young (from the IRIST OST)

‘Carry On’ by Ali (from the Faith OST)

‘Flower’ by XIA (this actually falls into the genre ‘baroque reggae,’ which is my favorite thing.)

‘This is War’ by MBLAQ

Do you like heavy music with lots of aggressive vocals and rap? (Note: Another fun thing about KPop. You can be listening to the heaviest KPop rap song you know of, and if you look at the lyrics, chances are a) it’s a love song b) it’s about doing the best you can with life, or c) it’s about a breakup. It’s not about shooting people and getting laid.)

‘Warrior’ and ‘Power’ by B.A.P.

‘TooG’ by BTL

‘Boy in Luv’ by BTS

‘Two Moons’ by EXO-K

‘Clap Your Hands’ by 2NE1

‘Hallelujah’ by Big Bang (from the IRIS OST)

‘MaMaBeat’ by LC9

‘Nilili Mambo,’ ‘No Joke,’ and ‘Halo’ by BLOCKB (In fact, BlockB’s music is usually rap-heavy and super fun.)

‘I Remember’ by Bang Yong-Guk (Interestingly, this song is one of those rare beauties that combines heavy rap with the emotional vocals from the previous category. Bonus points if you watch the music video and cry.)
Are you more into fun, peppy pop songs? Then you should definitely try –
‘To You’ by Teen Top

‘Roly Poly’ by T-ARA

‘Ready Merry Go’ by Romantic Punch (from The Flower Boy Next Door OST)

‘Message’ by MYNAME

‘Spy’ by Super Junior

‘Beauty Beauty’ by Kim Hyun Joong

‘Paparazzi’ by Kan Mi Yeon

Do you like songs with more a more jazzy, classic-rock sound? In that case…
‘Something’ by TVXQ

‘Love,’ ‘I’m Sorry,’ and ‘Dream Boy’ by C N Blue (pretty much anything by C N Blue, actually. They have a consistently mature, catchy sound to their music)

‘Bloom’ by Gain

‘Trap’ by Henry

‘Tarantallegra’ by XIA

 ‘Gone Not Around Any Longer’ by Sistar19

‘Rose’ by Lee Hi

‘I Dream’ by 15&

‘Twinkle’ by TaeTiSeo

‘1004’ by B.A.P.

Looking for something a little more dubstep and club-worthy?

‘High High’ by GD&TOP

‘Fantastic Baby’ by Big Bang

‘Humanoids’ by TVXQ

‘Maxstep’ by Younique Unit

‘Pretty Boy’ by 2NE1

‘Neverland’ by U-KISS

Want something more quirky and different?

‘Kill Bill’ by Brown Eyed Girls

‘Hocus Pocus’ by HISTORY

‘Tarzan’ by Wonder Boyz

‘Hyde’ by VIXX

‘Shine’ by Kim Sunggyu

‘Sherlock’ by SHINee

‘Face’ by Nu’Est

‘Mama’ by EXO-K

 ‘What’s Going On’ by B1A4

Try them. If you like what you hear and want more, leave me a comment with specific questions and I’ll answer them all – like a band? Need some Engrish translated? Want to know who that lead vocalist is, or if there’s another band with a similar sound to one you like? Let me know! Open your mind, and have fun!