2ne1, 4minute, britney spears, EDM, fake snow, girls aloud, i love you, k-pop, korea, korean, lady gaga, language barrier, middle eight, music video, pop, snake, soundofsummer, volume up, will.i.am, zeigeist
I quite love how a genre of music can bubble under for years and then all of a sudden – in quite a zeitgeisty way – it’s the top of everyone’s minds seemingly at the same time. Such, for me, is K-Pop at the minute. I am well aware that Korean’s have been banging out pop music for ages but in a moment of confluence the current crop of K-Popstars seem perfectly aligned with the kind of music that is lighting up the charts the world over, aka EDM. (No, not Edmonton, electronic dance music)
The first K-Pop song to really get my auditory juices flowing was Volume Up by the above pictured 4Minute. What really amazes me about this is not just the song, which is a proper dance-pop stormer, but also the image and how on-trend it is. Sliding comfortably into a pop venn diagram amid the likes of Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj and The Saturdays there is no reason that this song couldn’t be a smash, other than the admittedly moderately impairing – language barrier. Also, how great is this album cover?
Not only does the above video shine with the kind of budget Girls Aloud would’ve murdered for it teems with a kind of Vampire-y, gothicness that is very on trend without feeling desperate. Also, these Koreans know how to break down a middle eight! And finally, as Britney will tell you, you can never go wrong with a snake.
Next up are the above pictured 2NE1 whose recent single I Love You is a pretty dancefloor friendly bit of electronic pop music that manages to wedge in a Gaga-style spoken word intro and a bit of a rap in the middle eight. It has a sort of thudding propulsing energy that is quite hard to resist in any language. Yet again the video is a total triumph.
If I had to pick one element that really makes this music video it would be FAKE SNOW!! And a woman standing in the snow with an umbrella! How is that helping? Amazing! Oh, and for some reason a lighthouse. I really don’t know what’s supposed to be going on but I’m enjoying every minute of it. Fantastic.
2NE1 recently made their North American concert debut and word on the street is style-challenged goatee fan Will.i.am is working with them on bringing out their first English language single. Exciting news indeed. Hopefully the arrival on 2NE1 on our shores opens the floodgates and K-Pop begins its rightful cultural ascendance. Hurrah!