I suppose ‘main stream’ is subjective depending where one is from. Being here in Canada/North America, however, k-pop is definitely not main stream. I also see main stream just like movies – what’s capturing The Grammy’s and The Academy attention. Of course, it’s nothing to go by what should be considered good entertainment but it tends to be what makes it to the ‘media buzz’ or what is considered radio play-worthy.
And from what I’ve heard from the radio at least in most major cities, well, personally the selection of over-played tunes leaves something to be desired.
Anyway, here are some of the ways k-pop has ruined me from main stream music:
To be fair, I was never HUGE into rap songs. Except Eminem. The man might have had a rough life style to start but boy was he passionate when he rapped. Other than him, I was okay with minimal rapping in a song but I wasn’t big on most rap songs.
Cue k-pop rapping. And now, I’m a fan. But ONLY when it’s from one of my fave k-pop artist. So much so where I found myself slightly disappointed with the BTS MIC Drop Steve Aoki Remix ft. Desiigner.
It was Desiigner that had me not loving the remix as much as the music video remix with just Steve Aoki. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still something I would listen to but I’m looking forward to the day I can purchase the version which does not ft. Desiigner. As much as I love and want to support BTS, I did not enjoy Desiigner’s rapping. I feel like he zapped that high energy level which MIC Drop encompasses. I almost have to apologize for this as BTS seemed so excited to collaborate with him! I am, however, happy that they reached 28th of Billboard 100. BTS’ hard work has paid off – they deserve the spotlight.
The main point is, a lot of rapping here in North America falls under two styles which just doesn’t sit well with me. 1) Gangsta style and 2) Non-energetic, almost-lazy, rapping. Yeah, I said it. Drake? Shit. What the hell, Drake? He’s got a great on-camera personality during interviews and whenever he M.C. for something but his somewhat whiny and way too chill rapping just sounds lazy.
And then there’s BTS – Each and ever single member of the rapper line is so passionate and energetic in their rapping, I get lost in it. I also love LE from EXID and Chanyeol from EXO. Suga gets me Every. Single. Time. Ahh, Suga’s solo, First Love – his performance was so amazing!
I’ve said it before and I’ll continue saying it until I’m proven wrong.
K-pop music video production is like no other. It’s partly due to much of it having great choreography. Yet even the ones I’ve watched with no choreo is just beautiful. The story it tells is like a mini-movie.
What main stream music video did I see the other day that had me almost disgusted? U2. And I LOOOOVE U2. Classic U2 music brings me back to when I was in university, heading to their famous Zooropa Tour concert. Ah… Bona decked out as the devil and pretend prank calling then said US president. Those were great times.
Yet this recent video they released was crap! It was of them just being shot in various scenes of NY or some major US city. They are either just walking around, standing around, or playing their instruments/singing. I don’t know how many main stream bands and performance artists have this exact story board (if you can even use the word ‘story’ here) as the main strategy for their music video.
Then there’s the amazing visuals from EXO (Monster, Ko Ko Bop), Monsta X (Beautiful, Dramarama), BTS (Spring Day, Fire, Blood Sweat & Tears, Run, DNA, MIC Drop, the list goes on).
To top that, compared to main stream boy bands, k-pop choreography is REAL. I actually went back to some of the choreography of tunes I use to like from N’ Sync or Backstreet Boys. Re-watching them, they seem so slow and well, there wasn’t really any true dance talent from what I could see. BTS dance skills, even the weakest dancers, far outshine the past boy bands.
This is biggie. For me to forever love a song 10 years from now, it helps for the lyrics to mean something to me. Take Sarah Mclachlan’s Possession. I have not gotten sick of this song and it’s mainly due to the haunting and poetic lyrics:
Through this world I stumble
So many times betrayed
Trying to find an honest word
To find the truth enslaved
Oh you speak to me in riddles
And you speak to me in rhymes
My body aches to breathe your breath
Your words keep me alive
Awhile back, I was excited to download No Doubt’s latest album after Gwen Stefani collaborated with her old band again. I remember their lyrics use to be pretty sweet. Either I was right or my memory sucks. All I know is that there’s a handful of catchy tunes on their album but when I went to do a deep dive with one of my fave songs from their album, I found this:
I’ve been wasting all this time
But I can’t let go
Cause it’s just the way i feel
Getting used to your mistakes
But I can’t let go
Do you ever think I’ll heal?
You could be right
I could be wrong
Year after year always rewinding where we’ve gone
And it’s basically similar like the above for the entire song. I felt so let down. Could the lyrics not be phrased with more effort? With more care?
Now I want to post the translated version of BTS’ Blood Sweat & Tears:
Peaches and cream
Sweeter than sweet
And chocolate wings
But your wings are wings of the devil
In front of your sweet is bitter bitter
Kiss me, I don’t care if it hurts,
Hurry and choke me
So I can’t hurt any more
Baby, I don’t care if I get drunk, I’ll drink you in now
Your whiskey, deep into my throat
It has that haunting yet beautifully poetic verse like that of Mclachlan’s Possession.
Okay – I’ve said what I’ve wanted to say. Hopefully, I’ve been quite fair with what I have shared here. Obviously, this is just my personal opinion and it’s not an argument of why k-pop is better than main stream music. It’s just basically how I am having an even harder time accepting main stream music myself these days. It doesn’t mean I’ve stopped listening to my fave tunes – but it’s added to how I am already so picky when it comes to what I hear on the radio.