Page 1

Korean Culture No.2

The Korean Culture series is one of the Korean Culture and Information Service’s projects to furnish international readers with insights into and basic understanding of the dynamic and diverse aspects of contemporary Korean culture.

In its incipient stages, Korean pop music was strongly influenced by Western pop music, diversifying through many stages of copying, translation, and interpretation from the early 20th century. Those unique creations by experimental and creative Korean artists are now being received by international audiences in the form of “K-Pop,” an abbreviation for “Korean pop.” It is spreading beyond the regions of China, Japan, and Southeast Asia and into Europe and the United States. It is increasingly gaining recognition as something more than just a fad—as a phenomenon that has staying power with global audiences.

Korean Culture and Information Service

K - P O P Bey ond A s ia

About the series

K-POP BEYOND ASIA

What is K-Pop It was in the mid-1990s that Korean pop music first began gaining wider international attention under the name of “the Korean Wave,” or “Hallyu” in Korean. The term “K-Pop”—an abbreviation for “Korean pop”— entered wide use overseas during this period. One of the most common forms of the K-Pop song features a repetitive chorus with a synchronized group dance. Overseas fans of K-Pop copy the group dances and upload the videos onto YouTube, which promotes the rapid spread of K-Pop music.


K-POP BEYOND ASIA


Korean Culture No.2

K-Pop Beyond Asia Copyright Š 2015 by Korean Culture and Information Service All Rights Reserved. No Part of this Book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means without the written permission of the publisher. First Published in 2012 by Korean Culture and Information Service Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism Phone: 82-44-203-3335~47 Fax: 82-44-203-3595 Website: www.kocis.go.kr ISBN: 978-89-7375-598-1 (04680) ISBN: 978-89-7375-596-7 (04680) (set) Printed in the Republic of Korea. For further information about Korea, Please visit: www.korea.net

K-POP BEYOND ASIA


Korean Culture No.2

K-Pop Beyond Asia Copyright Š 2015 by Korean Culture and Information Service All Rights Reserved. No Part of this Book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means without the written permission of the publisher. First Published in 2012 by Korean Culture and Information Service Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism Phone: 82-44-203-3335~47 Fax: 82-44-203-3595 Website: www.kocis.go.kr ISBN: 978-89-7375-598-1 (04680) ISBN: 978-89-7375-596-7 (04680) (set) Printed in the Republic of Korea. For further information about Korea, Please visit: www.korea.net

K-POP BEYOND ASIA


3

Contents

Contemporary Korean Pop Music 3-1

2000: Rise of the First Generation of Idol Groups

3-2 2001: From Emotional Ballads to Hip Hop

1 K-Pop Beyond Asia

8

30 32 35

3-3 2002: Dance and Vocal Artists

37

3-4 2003: Hyori Syndrome

38

3-5 2004: Korea’s Three Major Record Companies and Their Artists

41

3-6 2005: Chart-topping Ballads

44

3-7 2006: The New Generation of Idol Boy Groups

46

3-8 2007: The New Generation of Idol Girl Groups

47

3-9 2008: Wonder Girls and Other Top Female Singing Groups

50

3-10 2009: The Meteoric Rise of Idol Groups in Korea

56

1-1

Background of the Growth of Hallyu

10

3-11 2010: The Korean Wave in the Asian Music Market

62

1-2

Growth of the Entertainment Agencies at the Center of Hallyu

10

3-12 2011: The Growing Influence of Girl Groups with each Major Record Company

68

1-3

Ballads and Dance Music

11

3-13 2012: PSY Syndrome

78

16

3-14 2013: Competition between Old K-Pop Artists and Idol Groups

88

3-15 2014: Hit Collaborations

96

1-4 Hallyu’s Expansion into Asian Markets

2 The 100-Year History of Korean Pop Music 2-1

The First Korean Pop Music Overseas: “Arirang”

18 20

4 K-Pop: Evaluation and Prospects

108

2-2 Unstable Beginning after 1945

22

4-1 Export-driven K-Pop, Going Beyond Korea, China, and Japan

110

2-3 The Rise of the Eighth US Army Show

23

4-2 The Spread of K-Pop through Social Media

111

2-4 The Vietnam War and Expansion into Southeast Asia

25

4-3 The Global Appeal of K-Pop

114

2-5 Stepping Stone of Korean Pop Music’s Overseas Expansion

26

4-4 K-Pop’s Star-Making System

114

2-6 The Beginning of Hallyu and K-Pop

28

4-5 Benefits of Global Cultural Exchange beyond Asia

115


3

Contents

Contemporary Korean Pop Music 3-1

2000: Rise of the First Generation of Idol Groups

3-2 2001: From Emotional Ballads to Hip Hop

1 K-Pop Beyond Asia

8

30 32 35

3-3 2002: Dance and Vocal Artists

37

3-4 2003: Hyori Syndrome

38

3-5 2004: Korea’s Three Major Record Companies and Their Artists

41

3-6 2005: Chart-topping Ballads

44

3-7 2006: The New Generation of Idol Boy Groups

46

3-8 2007: The New Generation of Idol Girl Groups

47

3-9 2008: Wonder Girls and Other Top Female Singing Groups

50

3-10 2009: The Meteoric Rise of Idol Groups in Korea

56

1-1

Background of the Growth of Hallyu

10

3-11 2010: The Korean Wave in the Asian Music Market

62

1-2

Growth of the Entertainment Agencies at the Center of Hallyu

10

3-12 2011: The Growing Influence of Girl Groups with each Major Record Company

68

1-3

Ballads and Dance Music

11

3-13 2012: PSY Syndrome

78

16

3-14 2013: Competition between Old K-Pop Artists and Idol Groups

88

3-15 2014: Hit Collaborations

96

1-4 Hallyu’s Expansion into Asian Markets

2 The 100-Year History of Korean Pop Music 2-1

The First Korean Pop Music Overseas: “Arirang”

18 20

4 K-Pop: Evaluation and Prospects

108

2-2 Unstable Beginning after 1945

22

4-1 Export-driven K-Pop, Going Beyond Korea, China, and Japan

110

2-3 The Rise of the Eighth US Army Show

23

4-2 The Spread of K-Pop through Social Media

111

2-4 The Vietnam War and Expansion into Southeast Asia

25

4-3 The Global Appeal of K-Pop

114

2-5 Stepping Stone of Korean Pop Music’s Overseas Expansion

26

4-4 K-Pop’s Star-Making System

114

2-6 The Beginning of Hallyu and K-Pop

28

4-5 Benefits of Global Cultural Exchange beyond Asia

115


K-Pop Beyond Asia

K-POP

7

BEYOND ASIA


K-Pop Beyond Asia

K-POP

7

BEYOND ASIA


1

K-Pop Beyond Asia

1-1 Background of the Growth of Hallyu 1-2 Growth of the Entertainment Agencies at the Center of Hallyu 1-3 Ballads and Dance Music 1-4 Hallyu’s Expansion into Asian Markets

K-POP BEYOND ASIA


1

K-Pop Beyond Asia

1-1 Background of the Growth of Hallyu 1-2 Growth of the Entertainment Agencies at the Center of Hallyu 1-3 Ballads and Dance Music 1-4 Hallyu’s Expansion into Asian Markets

K-POP BEYOND ASIA


10

K-Pop Beyond Asia

Chapter 1. K-Pop Beyond Asia

1-1 Background for the Growth of Hallyu The 1990s was a prosperous decade for the Korean recording industry. It was a time when Kim Gunmo’s album <Wrongful Meeting> sold more than 2.5 million copies and was added to the Korean Guinness Book. At the same time, the albums of Seo Taiji & Boys and Shin Seunghun sold more than one million copies each, while Kim Wansun became the first female singer in Korea to sell more than one

11

f(x). YG Entertainment, having started with Se7en and 1TYM, established its own unique style by producing BIGBANG, 2NE1, Akdong Musician (AKMU), and WINNER and recruiting PSY. Started with J.Y. Park, JYP Entertainment produced Rain, Wonder Girls, 2AM, 2PM, miss A, GOT7, TWICE and so on, leading it to become one of the three major idol entertainment agencies in Korea. Wonder Girls made their US debut with the song “Nobody,” reaching 76th on the Billboard Hot 100. After 2010, many idol groups entered the Japanese market. GIRLS' GENERATION’s “Gee” ranked first on Japan’s Oricon Daily Singles Chart, and KARA made it onto the Oricon as well. Based on his work as a Hallyu musician to spread Korean pop music overseas, PSY’s “Gangnam Style” ranked second on the Billboard’s Hot 100 Single Chart for seven weeks in 2012.

million albums. However, the history of what 1

we now call “K-pop” started with Seo Taiji & Boys. Their debut in 1992 became the turning point for Korean pop music, and they became popular for their work with

1-3 Ballads and Dance Music

modern rap and techno music as well. After 1997, BoA, god, Fin.K.L, and S.E.S— collectively known as the “first generation of Korean idols”—made their debuts.

Besides the music of idol groups, there are two dominant music genres in

Following them, SHINWHA, Wonder Girls, Rain, and 1TYM made their marks on

Korean pop music: ballads and dance music. These genres have been favorites

the Korean music industry by creating new K-pop culture with music of diverse

of the Korean public since the 1980s. Countless captivating and emotional

genres and some of the first male and female group performances. As the 2000s

ballads were released from the late 1990s to the early 2000s. Building on

came, the Korean recording industry shrank drastically, making it very difficult

the work of Jo Sungmo and Shin Seunghun, numerous other ballad singers,

for artists to sell over 200,000 copies of an album. As the depression continued,

including Sung Sikyung, Lim Changjung, Park Hyoshin, SG Wanna be, and V.O.S,

the market changed its strategy to focus on online markets.

further developed the genre. Meanwhile, Wax, Lee Sora, and Lee Eunmi led the rise of female ballad singers, with BIG MAMA, IU, Jaurim, Davichi, and Ali following in their footsteps, adapting traditional ballads to their own musical

1-2 Growth of the Entertainment Agencies at the Center of Hallyu From the 2000s until today, the entertainment companies S.M., JYP, and YG

styles. In recent years, televised audition programs that seek to discover new talents have become particularly popular. Through such programs, a host of new ballad singers and dance music performers are being born. Singers with unique musical styles, such as Seo Taiji and Cho Yongpil, still maintain large fan bases.

have stood at the center of Hallyu by releasing albums and tracks created by well-trained idol singers both inside and outside of Korea. Starting with H.O.T, S.M. Entertainment produced SHINWHA, TVXQ!, SUPER JUNIOR, SHINee, EXO, and others, as well as female idols such as S.E.S, BoA, GIRLS' GENERATION and

1 Kim Gunmo


10

K-Pop Beyond Asia

Chapter 1. K-Pop Beyond Asia

1-1 Background for the Growth of Hallyu The 1990s was a prosperous decade for the Korean recording industry. It was a time when Kim Gunmo’s album <Wrongful Meeting> sold more than 2.5 million copies and was added to the Korean Guinness Book. At the same time, the albums of Seo Taiji & Boys and Shin Seunghun sold more than one million copies each, while Kim Wansun became the first female singer in Korea to sell more than one

11

f(x). YG Entertainment, having started with Se7en and 1TYM, established its own unique style by producing BIGBANG, 2NE1, Akdong Musician (AKMU), and WINNER and recruiting PSY. Started with J.Y. Park, JYP Entertainment produced Rain, Wonder Girls, 2AM, 2PM, miss A, GOT7, TWICE and so on, leading it to become one of the three major idol entertainment agencies in Korea. Wonder Girls made their US debut with the song “Nobody,” reaching 76th on the Billboard Hot 100. After 2010, many idol groups entered the Japanese market. GIRLS' GENERATION’s “Gee” ranked first on Japan’s Oricon Daily Singles Chart, and KARA made it onto the Oricon as well. Based on his work as a Hallyu musician to spread Korean pop music overseas, PSY’s “Gangnam Style” ranked second on the Billboard’s Hot 100 Single Chart for seven weeks in 2012.

million albums. However, the history of what 1

we now call “K-pop” started with Seo Taiji & Boys. Their debut in 1992 became the turning point for Korean pop music, and they became popular for their work with

1-3 Ballads and Dance Music

modern rap and techno music as well. After 1997, BoA, god, Fin.K.L, and S.E.S— collectively known as the “first generation of Korean idols”—made their debuts.

Besides the music of idol groups, there are two dominant music genres in

Following them, SHINWHA, Wonder Girls, Rain, and 1TYM made their marks on

Korean pop music: ballads and dance music. These genres have been favorites

the Korean music industry by creating new K-pop culture with music of diverse

of the Korean public since the 1980s. Countless captivating and emotional

genres and some of the first male and female group performances. As the 2000s

ballads were released from the late 1990s to the early 2000s. Building on

came, the Korean recording industry shrank drastically, making it very difficult

the work of Jo Sungmo and Shin Seunghun, numerous other ballad singers,

for artists to sell over 200,000 copies of an album. As the depression continued,

including Sung Sikyung, Lim Changjung, Park Hyoshin, SG Wanna be, and V.O.S,

the market changed its strategy to focus on online markets.

further developed the genre. Meanwhile, Wax, Lee Sora, and Lee Eunmi led the rise of female ballad singers, with BIG MAMA, IU, Jaurim, Davichi, and Ali following in their footsteps, adapting traditional ballads to their own musical

1-2 Growth of the Entertainment Agencies at the Center of Hallyu From the 2000s until today, the entertainment companies S.M., JYP, and YG

styles. In recent years, televised audition programs that seek to discover new talents have become particularly popular. Through such programs, a host of new ballad singers and dance music performers are being born. Singers with unique musical styles, such as Seo Taiji and Cho Yongpil, still maintain large fan bases.

have stood at the center of Hallyu by releasing albums and tracks created by well-trained idol singers both inside and outside of Korea. Starting with H.O.T, S.M. Entertainment produced SHINWHA, TVXQ!, SUPER JUNIOR, SHINee, EXO, and others, as well as female idols such as S.E.S, BoA, GIRLS' GENERATION and

1 Kim Gunmo


12

Chapter 4. K-Pop: Evaluation and Prospects

K-Pop Beyond Asia

13


12

Chapter 4. K-Pop: Evaluation and Prospects

K-Pop Beyond Asia

13


14

Chapter 1. K-Pop Beyond Asia

K-Pop Beyond Asia

15


14

Chapter 1. K-Pop Beyond Asia

K-Pop Beyond Asia

15


16

Chapter 1. K-Pop Beyond Asia

1-4 Hallyu’s Expansion into Asian Markets After 2000, numerous Korean artists began gaining popularity throughout the Asian music market, including GIRLS' GENERATION, KARA, and SUPER JUNIOR. DSP Entertainment’s KARA burst onto the Japanese music scene with their album <Girl’s Talk>, which ranked second on the Oricon Daily Chart, while GIRLS' GENERATION sold 60,000 copies of their album <Gee> in its first week, ranking first on the Oricon. This was when the Hallyu phenomenon truly began to take off. In 2012, PSY’s “Gangnam Style” was the first YouTube video to reach one billion views, contributing significantly to the globalization of K-pop. Idol groups such as miss A, 2PM, SISTAR, BEAST, 4MINUTE, CNBLUE, and Secret are consistently promoting Hallyu across Asia and Europe through their activities overseas.

Front Page BTS, GOT7

Right Page TVXQ!

K-Pop Beyond Asia

17


16

Chapter 1. K-Pop Beyond Asia

1-4 Hallyu’s Expansion into Asian Markets After 2000, numerous Korean artists began gaining popularity throughout the Asian music market, including GIRLS' GENERATION, KARA, and SUPER JUNIOR. DSP Entertainment’s KARA burst onto the Japanese music scene with their album <Girl’s Talk>, which ranked second on the Oricon Daily Chart, while GIRLS' GENERATION sold 60,000 copies of their album <Gee> in its first week, ranking first on the Oricon. This was when the Hallyu phenomenon truly began to take off. In 2012, PSY’s “Gangnam Style” was the first YouTube video to reach one billion views, contributing significantly to the globalization of K-pop. Idol groups such as miss A, 2PM, SISTAR, BEAST, 4MINUTE, CNBLUE, and Secret are consistently promoting Hallyu across Asia and Europe through their activities overseas.

Front Page BTS, GOT7

Right Page TVXQ!

K-Pop Beyond Asia

17


18

Chapter 1. K-Pop Beyond Asia

K-Pop Beyond Asia

19

2

The 100-Year History of Korean Pop Music

2-1 The First Korean Pop Music Overseas: “Arirang” 2-2 Unstable Beginning after 1945 2-3 The Rise of the Eighth US Army Show 2-4 The Vietnam War and Expansion into Southeast Asia 2-5 Stepping Stone of Korean Pop Music’s Overseas Expansion 2-6 The Beginning of Hallyu and K-Pop

K-POP BEYOND ASIA


18

Chapter 1. K-Pop Beyond Asia

K-Pop Beyond Asia

19

2

The 100-Year History of Korean Pop Music

2-1 The First Korean Pop Music Overseas: “Arirang” 2-2 Unstable Beginning after 1945 2-3 The Rise of the Eighth US Army Show 2-4 The Vietnam War and Expansion into Southeast Asia 2-5 Stepping Stone of Korean Pop Music’s Overseas Expansion 2-6 The Beginning of Hallyu and K-Pop

K-POP BEYOND ASIA


20

K-Pop Beyond Asia

Chapter 2. The 100-Year History of Korean Pop Music

21

The history of Korean pop music now spans a period of 100 years. Around the

it to be released as an album as well. It achieved immediate popularity through

late 19th century, numerous changes occurred in Korea that set the stage for

various media and had an important influence on the eventual expansion

the emergence and eventual rise of Korean pop music, which began in 1916

of Korean pop music into overseas markets. In 1931, only five years after the

with the release of “Song of Katusa,” considered to be the first Korean pop

release of “Arirang,” a translated version of the song was released in Japan.

song. Within the 100-year history of Korean pop music, K-pop holds a position

Prior to 1945, tens of thousands of albums of Korean music had been released in

of great significance. At first, Korean pop music grew through the influence of

Japan. Some were simply translated, while some were variations of the original

Western and Japanese pop. However, since the emergence of K-pop 20 years

tune. Others were recreated by Japanese songwriters. In the late 1930s, “Arirang”

ago, Korean pop music has been influencing the music of other countries. From

was introduced to Taiwan, which was, at that time, a colony of Japan. The song

this point of view, the history of Korean pop music can be divided into two

served as a pathway for Korean pop musicians to become active in Japan. Choi

parts: before K-pop and after K-pop. However, before the K-pop phenomenon,

Gyuyeop, known as the first Korean pop singer to advance into Japan, sang the

there were some instances in which Korean pop music spread beyond the

translated version of “Arirang” under his stage name “Hasegawa Ichiro.” Lee

Korean Peninsula. Though these instances are not directly connected to the rise

Nanyoung, Kim Yonghwan, and Kim Anra also released Arirang-related albums

of K-pop, they are important in gaining a clear understanding of this turning

in Japan.

point in Korean pop music. Besides the popularity and success of “Arirang,” the music of many other Korean pop musicians did well in the Japanese market. At the time, there were around 20 Korean composers and singers actively releasing albums in Japan. Among them, Hasegawa Ichiro (Choi Gyuyeop), Oka Ranko (Lee Nanyoung),

2-1 The First Korean Pop Music Overseas: “Arirang”

Minami Kunio (Lee Kyunam), Nasme Humiko (Na Sunkyo), and Kim Anra produced some of the most outstanding music. They sang translated versions of numerous Korean pop songs, including “Arirang,” and also released songs written by Japanese composers. Of course, under the Japanese Empire, there

The first examples of Korean pop music spreading

were limits on both the quality and quantity of their activities in Japan.

beyond the Korean Peninsula can be found from the

Therefore, their work and success should be seen as “imperialistic” rather

early 1930s to 1940s. During this first period of Korean

than “international” achievements. Political relations between the Japanese

pop music, the song “Arirang” held special significance.

Empire and its colony of Joseon clearly influenced the expansion of Korean pop

A traditional folk piece with a long history, “Arirang” is a

musicians’ activities to Japan.

song that represents both the nation’s history as well as its traditions. However, this song actually contains some characteristics of modern pop music as well. Among the various versions of the song, the most famous is the so-called “Original Arirang,” which was a central song of the soundtrack for Na Woongyu’s film <Arirang>. The composer of the tune is unknown, but the song was certainly

1

Another important characteristic of this first period in the globalization of Korean pop music is the “Joseon Musical Troupe.” At the time, it was much easier for groups of Korean artists and performers, rather than individuals, to find success in Japan. The Baeguja Musical Troupe and Lamila Music Drama

created and distributed as a pop music piece. Since the song follows the form of traditional Korean music, it can also be seen as a type of new folk song. At the time of the movie’s release in 1926, its soundtrack became a smash hit, leading

1 Chae Gyuyeop (Hasegawa Ichiro)'s Arirang record in 1932


20

K-Pop Beyond Asia

Chapter 2. The 100-Year History of Korean Pop Music

21

The history of Korean pop music now spans a period of 100 years. Around the

it to be released as an album as well. It achieved immediate popularity through

late 19th century, numerous changes occurred in Korea that set the stage for

various media and had an important influence on the eventual expansion

the emergence and eventual rise of Korean pop music, which began in 1916

of Korean pop music into overseas markets. In 1931, only five years after the

with the release of “Song of Katusa,” considered to be the first Korean pop

release of “Arirang,” a translated version of the song was released in Japan.

song. Within the 100-year history of Korean pop music, K-pop holds a position

Prior to 1945, tens of thousands of albums of Korean music had been released in

of great significance. At first, Korean pop music grew through the influence of

Japan. Some were simply translated, while some were variations of the original

Western and Japanese pop. However, since the emergence of K-pop 20 years

tune. Others were recreated by Japanese songwriters. In the late 1930s, “Arirang”

ago, Korean pop music has been influencing the music of other countries. From

was introduced to Taiwan, which was, at that time, a colony of Japan. The song

this point of view, the history of Korean pop music can be divided into two

served as a pathway for Korean pop musicians to become active in Japan. Choi

parts: before K-pop and after K-pop. However, before the K-pop phenomenon,

Gyuyeop, known as the first Korean pop singer to advance into Japan, sang the

there were some instances in which Korean pop music spread beyond the

translated version of “Arirang” under his stage name “Hasegawa Ichiro.” Lee

Korean Peninsula. Though these instances are not directly connected to the rise

Nanyoung, Kim Yonghwan, and Kim Anra also released Arirang-related albums

of K-pop, they are important in gaining a clear understanding of this turning

in Japan.

point in Korean pop music. Besides the popularity and success of “Arirang,” the music of many other Korean pop musicians did well in the Japanese market. At the time, there were around 20 Korean composers and singers actively releasing albums in Japan. Among them, Hasegawa Ichiro (Choi Gyuyeop), Oka Ranko (Lee Nanyoung),

2-1 The First Korean Pop Music Overseas: “Arirang”

Minami Kunio (Lee Kyunam), Nasme Humiko (Na Sunkyo), and Kim Anra produced some of the most outstanding music. They sang translated versions of numerous Korean pop songs, including “Arirang,” and also released songs written by Japanese composers. Of course, under the Japanese Empire, there

The first examples of Korean pop music spreading

were limits on both the quality and quantity of their activities in Japan.

beyond the Korean Peninsula can be found from the

Therefore, their work and success should be seen as “imperialistic” rather

early 1930s to 1940s. During this first period of Korean

than “international” achievements. Political relations between the Japanese

pop music, the song “Arirang” held special significance.

Empire and its colony of Joseon clearly influenced the expansion of Korean pop

A traditional folk piece with a long history, “Arirang” is a

musicians’ activities to Japan.

song that represents both the nation’s history as well as its traditions. However, this song actually contains some characteristics of modern pop music as well. Among the various versions of the song, the most famous is the so-called “Original Arirang,” which was a central song of the soundtrack for Na Woongyu’s film <Arirang>. The composer of the tune is unknown, but the song was certainly

1

Another important characteristic of this first period in the globalization of Korean pop music is the “Joseon Musical Troupe.” At the time, it was much easier for groups of Korean artists and performers, rather than individuals, to find success in Japan. The Baeguja Musical Troupe and Lamila Music Drama

created and distributed as a pop music piece. Since the song follows the form of traditional Korean music, it can also be seen as a type of new folk song. At the time of the movie’s release in 1926, its soundtrack became a smash hit, leading

1 Chae Gyuyeop (Hasegawa Ichiro)'s Arirang record in 1932


22

K-Pop Beyond Asia

Chapter 2. The 100-Year History of Korean Pop Music

23

Troupe were known for their performances

pop musicians had to look to new markets beyond East Asia. This marks the

overseas, but the Joseon Musical Troupe

beginning of the second period in the expansion of Korean pop music overseas.

was the most influential of these groups.

And one of these new markets was that of the United States, which had grown

Originally known as the “Okehrecord

to become one of the most culturally influential countries in the entire world.

Performance Group,” they changed their name to the “Joseon Musical Troupe” in 1939, at which time they began performing

2-3 The Rise of the Eighth US Army Show

in Japan, Manchuria, and Mainland China. As their overseas performances were restricted to the territory of the

1

With US troops stationed in Korea

Japanese Empire and an atmosphere of war was looming, there were significant

following the outbreak of the

limitations of their musical activities. However, even though it came to an end

Korean War, Korean musicians

in only its early stages, the expansion of Korean pop music into East Asian

found a means of entering the

markets was a meaningful achievement.

US market, which was the center of pop music in the world at the time. As a way of providing much-

2-2 Unstable Beginning after 1945

needed entertainment for the US Armed Forces in Korea, the “Eighth Army Show” was established.

The first period of the expansion of Korean pop music to East Asian markets

Some of the talented singers

ended in 1945, when Korea gained independence from Japan. For 10 years

who performed in this show also

following the nation’s release from occupation, Korean pop music went through

attempted to enter the US pop music market. However, the first Korean pop

a chaotic transitional period. During that time, the pop music industry shrank,

music introduced in the US was not created by one of these musicians. In the

and artists found it difficult to find success overseas. Following in the footsteps

late 1940s, Ok Doook, who was already a popular singer at the time, moved to

of the Joseon Musical Troupe, the KPK Musical Troupe, known as the best

the US, just before the outbreak of the war, after marrying a Korean who had

performance group of the late 1940s, ambitiously planned to perform in Hawaii,

become an American resident. In 1956, she released several translated versions

but the breakout of the Korean War dashed their plans. Korean independence,

of Korean pop songs, including “East of Make Believe” and “Kanda Kanda.” As

civil war, national division, and the rise of the Cold War brought great changes

her songs failed to attract the attention of the US pop music world, her success

to the Korean pop music industry and dampened its prospects for expansion

was limited. Instead, it was the Kim Sisters who first achieved real success in

overseas. Following the fall of the Japanese Empire and the independence of

the US market.

Korea, the 20-year break in diplomatic relations between the two countries excluded Japan as a target market for Korean pop musicians. Also, for 40 years following Korea’s division, it was impossible for Korean artists to perform in China due to travel restrictions and the severance of diplomatic relations during the Cold War. Therefore, from the mid-1950s, following the Korean War, Korean

1 Okeh Record and members(clockwise from top right - Lee Nanyeong, Lee Hwaja, Park Hyangrim, Son Mokin,Park Sichun, Kim Jeonggu, Kim Haesong, Nam Insu, Jang Sejeong, Lee Ingwon) 2 Eighth Army's Bakdanma Show in 1960s

2


22

K-Pop Beyond Asia

Chapter 2. The 100-Year History of Korean Pop Music

23

Troupe were known for their performances

pop musicians had to look to new markets beyond East Asia. This marks the

overseas, but the Joseon Musical Troupe

beginning of the second period in the expansion of Korean pop music overseas.

was the most influential of these groups.

And one of these new markets was that of the United States, which had grown

Originally known as the “Okehrecord

to become one of the most culturally influential countries in the entire world.

Performance Group,” they changed their name to the “Joseon Musical Troupe” in 1939, at which time they began performing

2-3 The Rise of the Eighth US Army Show

in Japan, Manchuria, and Mainland China. As their overseas performances were restricted to the territory of the

1

With US troops stationed in Korea

Japanese Empire and an atmosphere of war was looming, there were significant

following the outbreak of the

limitations of their musical activities. However, even though it came to an end

Korean War, Korean musicians

in only its early stages, the expansion of Korean pop music into East Asian

found a means of entering the

markets was a meaningful achievement.

US market, which was the center of pop music in the world at the time. As a way of providing much-

2-2 Unstable Beginning after 1945

needed entertainment for the US Armed Forces in Korea, the “Eighth Army Show” was established.

The first period of the expansion of Korean pop music to East Asian markets

Some of the talented singers

ended in 1945, when Korea gained independence from Japan. For 10 years

who performed in this show also

following the nation’s release from occupation, Korean pop music went through

attempted to enter the US pop music market. However, the first Korean pop

a chaotic transitional period. During that time, the pop music industry shrank,

music introduced in the US was not created by one of these musicians. In the

and artists found it difficult to find success overseas. Following in the footsteps

late 1940s, Ok Doook, who was already a popular singer at the time, moved to

of the Joseon Musical Troupe, the KPK Musical Troupe, known as the best

the US, just before the outbreak of the war, after marrying a Korean who had

performance group of the late 1940s, ambitiously planned to perform in Hawaii,

become an American resident. In 1956, she released several translated versions

but the breakout of the Korean War dashed their plans. Korean independence,

of Korean pop songs, including “East of Make Believe” and “Kanda Kanda.” As

civil war, national division, and the rise of the Cold War brought great changes

her songs failed to attract the attention of the US pop music world, her success

to the Korean pop music industry and dampened its prospects for expansion

was limited. Instead, it was the Kim Sisters who first achieved real success in

overseas. Following the fall of the Japanese Empire and the independence of

the US market.

Korea, the 20-year break in diplomatic relations between the two countries excluded Japan as a target market for Korean pop musicians. Also, for 40 years following Korea’s division, it was impossible for Korean artists to perform in China due to travel restrictions and the severance of diplomatic relations during the Cold War. Therefore, from the mid-1950s, following the Korean War, Korean

1 Okeh Record and members(clockwise from top right - Lee Nanyeong, Lee Hwaja, Park Hyangrim, Son Mokin,Park Sichun, Kim Jeonggu, Kim Haesong, Nam Insu, Jang Sejeong, Lee Ingwon) 2 Eighth Army's Bakdanma Show in 1960s

2


24

K-Pop Beyond Asia

Chapter 2. The 100-Year History of Korean Pop Music

Lee Nanyoung, who had been a success in

25

2-4 The Vietnam War and Expansion into Southeast Asia

Japan in the 1930s, and the daughters of Kim Haesong, who had performed in Hawaii in the 1940s, were the main members of the Kim Sisters group. They got their start singing for US Army troops during the war, and by

In the mid-1960s, the second period of Korean pop music’s expansion into

the mid-1950s, they had become the most

overseas market entered a new phase. First of all, in 1965, Korea and Japan

successful group in the Eighth Army Show.

resumed full diplomatic relations, which, after a 20-year suspension, enabled

Based on their positive reception by US Army

Korean pop musicians to one again become active in the Japanese market. Also,

personnel, they began to dream of performing

at this time, the Korean military joined the Vietnam War, setting the stage for

in the United States. After several failed attempts, they finally realized their dream in

Korean pop music to enter Southeast Asian markets. In the 1930s and 1950s,

1

translated versions of Korean pop songs, such as “Arirang” were released in

1959, going on to achieve unprecedented success as Korean pop musicians in

Japan, and singers who lived in Japan at those times, such as Son Mokin and

the United States and inspiring other Korean musicians to do the same. After

Patti Kim, worked as Korean pop musicians. However, their music and activities

the Kim Sisters, Kimchi Kats, Sohn Sihyang, Patti Kim, and the Kim Brothers (the

did not clearly express Korea’s national identity. In some cases, translated

brothers of the Kim Sisters) all performed in the US as well, while Yoon Bokhee

songs were labeled as the work of Japanese composers, and Son Mokin and

actively performed in Western Europe, which, along with the US, was the center

others were unable to stage public performances freely for several reasons,

of the First World. Korean pop music had spread across the Korean Peninsula,

such as the problem of stowaways. However, the normalization of diplomatic

reached into East Asia, and was now making a name for itself throughout the

relations between Korea and Japan cast light on the situations of these

rest of the world.

musicians, and from the late 1960s, Korean pop music in the Japanese market experienced significant growth. “The Boy in the Yellow Shirt,” “Heart Break,”

However, the Korean pop musicians who made it to the US and Europe were

and “Beloved Maria” became hit songs, and singers who had previously passed

unable to build on their performances from the Eighth US Army Show, failing

themselves off as Japanese singers, such as Lee Mija, revealed their Korean

to establish a strong identity for Korean pop music. Although they were very

background. But the first person to capture the hearts of the Japanese public

talented, they did not have enough creativity to adapt their musical styles. For

was Lee Sungae, who was introduced as “The

this reason, the Kim Sisters, known as the most successful Korean group at

Origin of Enka”. She appeared in the late 1970s—

the time, had no hit songs. Having failed to create a clear image of Korean pop

10 years after the normalization of diplomatic

music in the minds of Americans, they had to be satisfied with only fulfilling

relations.

the American people’s taste for exotic Asian culture and music. The spread of Korean pop music into Southeast Asian markets during the Vietnam War took place as Korean musicians and performers were

2

1 Patti Kim

2 <The Boy in the Yellow Shirt>


24

K-Pop Beyond Asia

Chapter 2. The 100-Year History of Korean Pop Music

Lee Nanyoung, who had been a success in

25

2-4 The Vietnam War and Expansion into Southeast Asia

Japan in the 1930s, and the daughters of Kim Haesong, who had performed in Hawaii in the 1940s, were the main members of the Kim Sisters group. They got their start singing for US Army troops during the war, and by

In the mid-1960s, the second period of Korean pop music’s expansion into

the mid-1950s, they had become the most

overseas market entered a new phase. First of all, in 1965, Korea and Japan

successful group in the Eighth Army Show.

resumed full diplomatic relations, which, after a 20-year suspension, enabled

Based on their positive reception by US Army

Korean pop musicians to one again become active in the Japanese market. Also,

personnel, they began to dream of performing

at this time, the Korean military joined the Vietnam War, setting the stage for

in the United States. After several failed attempts, they finally realized their dream in

Korean pop music to enter Southeast Asian markets. In the 1930s and 1950s,

1

translated versions of Korean pop songs, such as “Arirang” were released in

1959, going on to achieve unprecedented success as Korean pop musicians in

Japan, and singers who lived in Japan at those times, such as Son Mokin and

the United States and inspiring other Korean musicians to do the same. After

Patti Kim, worked as Korean pop musicians. However, their music and activities

the Kim Sisters, Kimchi Kats, Sohn Sihyang, Patti Kim, and the Kim Brothers (the

did not clearly express Korea’s national identity. In some cases, translated

brothers of the Kim Sisters) all performed in the US as well, while Yoon Bokhee

songs were labeled as the work of Japanese composers, and Son Mokin and

actively performed in Western Europe, which, along with the US, was the center

others were unable to stage public performances freely for several reasons,

of the First World. Korean pop music had spread across the Korean Peninsula,

such as the problem of stowaways. However, the normalization of diplomatic

reached into East Asia, and was now making a name for itself throughout the

relations between Korea and Japan cast light on the situations of these

rest of the world.

musicians, and from the late 1960s, Korean pop music in the Japanese market experienced significant growth. “The Boy in the Yellow Shirt,” “Heart Break,”

However, the Korean pop musicians who made it to the US and Europe were

and “Beloved Maria” became hit songs, and singers who had previously passed

unable to build on their performances from the Eighth US Army Show, failing

themselves off as Japanese singers, such as Lee Mija, revealed their Korean

to establish a strong identity for Korean pop music. Although they were very

background. But the first person to capture the hearts of the Japanese public

talented, they did not have enough creativity to adapt their musical styles. For

was Lee Sungae, who was introduced as “The

this reason, the Kim Sisters, known as the most successful Korean group at

Origin of Enka”. She appeared in the late 1970s—

the time, had no hit songs. Having failed to create a clear image of Korean pop

10 years after the normalization of diplomatic

music in the minds of Americans, they had to be satisfied with only fulfilling

relations.

the American people’s taste for exotic Asian culture and music. The spread of Korean pop music into Southeast Asian markets during the Vietnam War took place as Korean musicians and performers were

2

1 Patti Kim

2 <The Boy in the Yellow Shirt>


26

K-Pop Beyond Asia

Chapter 2. The 100-Year History of Korean Pop Music

27

brought in to entertain Korean troops stationed in Vietnam, much the same

The 1980s marks the end of the second period

as Korean performers had entertained US Army troops through the Eighth US

of Korean pop music’s reach overseas. With

Army Show. Although Koreans had been the main performers in the shows

Korea’s hosting of the 1988 Olympic Games,

for US troops stationed in Korea, it was Koreans, not the Vietnamese, who

an international event of unprecedented

actively performed for Korean troops stationed in Vietnam. The geographical

scale for the country, the basis for the rise of

proximity of the two countries and the economic situation of Korea at the time

modern K-pop after the 1990s was set. From

are likely reasons for this. The shows held in Vietnam were so popular that

1981, when Korea was first announced as the

most famous Korean singers in the late 1960s participated in them. As a result,

host country, Korea was fully focused on its

their remarkable performances spread beyond Vietnam, expanding into other

preparations for the Games. The Olympics

Southeast Asian countries. This was when the phrase “Just back from the show

inspired Koreans to take on a more global

in Southeast Asia” became common in Korea. However, with the US Army’s withdrawal from Vietnam, the activities of Korean performers in Southeast

outlook. Moreover, it played an important

1

role in raising Korea’s international status

Asian markets lost momentum. It wasn’t until the recent emergence of K-pop

and promoting Korean culture. At this time, Koreans began to embrace foreign

that Korean pop music again became popular in Southeast Asian markets.

cultures more rapidly than they ever had before, bringing greater diversity to Korean culture and allowing it to extend its reach overseas. Since the 1990s, the K-pop that we know today has been targeting teenagers. However, it was

2-5 Stepping Stone of Korean Pop Music’s Overseas Expansion In the 1970s, although it was a rather isolated incident, there was one case

in the mid-1980s when people started to become aware of the power of the young generation, paving the way for the growth of dance music. Cho Yongpil and Gye Eunsuk were important Korean musicians who were active overseas in the 1980s, and they, and other Korean artists at the time, set the stage for the emergence of modern K-pop.

in which Korean pop music was featured beyond Korea’s borders. That was in Japan at the 1970 International Music Festival, a concert series that gained popularity around the world, with the performance of the song “The Fog,” which received very favorable reviews. Even though only a few Korean musicians performed rather typical Korean pop songs, it showed that Korean pop music had the potential to succeed in markets beyond Asia, the US, and Western Europe. Japan, Greece, and Chile were the main host countries of the International Music Festivals, with Korea later becoming a host country as well. Though the music festival contributed to improving the outlook for Korean pop music, the event was plagued with problems as it was organized by a Korean government that was considered illegitimate and was struggling to suppress public dissent at the time. This was also the case for the festivals organized in Greece and Chile as well.

1 Cho Yongpil


26

K-Pop Beyond Asia

Chapter 2. The 100-Year History of Korean Pop Music

27

brought in to entertain Korean troops stationed in Vietnam, much the same

The 1980s marks the end of the second period

as Korean performers had entertained US Army troops through the Eighth US

of Korean pop music’s reach overseas. With

Army Show. Although Koreans had been the main performers in the shows

Korea’s hosting of the 1988 Olympic Games,

for US troops stationed in Korea, it was Koreans, not the Vietnamese, who

an international event of unprecedented

actively performed for Korean troops stationed in Vietnam. The geographical

scale for the country, the basis for the rise of

proximity of the two countries and the economic situation of Korea at the time

modern K-pop after the 1990s was set. From

are likely reasons for this. The shows held in Vietnam were so popular that

1981, when Korea was first announced as the

most famous Korean singers in the late 1960s participated in them. As a result,

host country, Korea was fully focused on its

their remarkable performances spread beyond Vietnam, expanding into other

preparations for the Games. The Olympics

Southeast Asian countries. This was when the phrase “Just back from the show

inspired Koreans to take on a more global

in Southeast Asia” became common in Korea. However, with the US Army’s withdrawal from Vietnam, the activities of Korean performers in Southeast

outlook. Moreover, it played an important

1

role in raising Korea’s international status

Asian markets lost momentum. It wasn’t until the recent emergence of K-pop

and promoting Korean culture. At this time, Koreans began to embrace foreign

that Korean pop music again became popular in Southeast Asian markets.

cultures more rapidly than they ever had before, bringing greater diversity to Korean culture and allowing it to extend its reach overseas. Since the 1990s, the K-pop that we know today has been targeting teenagers. However, it was

2-5 Stepping Stone of Korean Pop Music’s Overseas Expansion In the 1970s, although it was a rather isolated incident, there was one case

in the mid-1980s when people started to become aware of the power of the young generation, paving the way for the growth of dance music. Cho Yongpil and Gye Eunsuk were important Korean musicians who were active overseas in the 1980s, and they, and other Korean artists at the time, set the stage for the emergence of modern K-pop.

in which Korean pop music was featured beyond Korea’s borders. That was in Japan at the 1970 International Music Festival, a concert series that gained popularity around the world, with the performance of the song “The Fog,” which received very favorable reviews. Even though only a few Korean musicians performed rather typical Korean pop songs, it showed that Korean pop music had the potential to succeed in markets beyond Asia, the US, and Western Europe. Japan, Greece, and Chile were the main host countries of the International Music Festivals, with Korea later becoming a host country as well. Though the music festival contributed to improving the outlook for Korean pop music, the event was plagued with problems as it was organized by a Korean government that was considered illegitimate and was struggling to suppress public dissent at the time. This was also the case for the festivals organized in Greece and Chile as well.

1 Cho Yongpil


28

Chapter 2. The 100-Year History of Korean Pop Music

2-6 The Beginning of Hallyu and K-Pop The third era of Korean pop music’s expansion overseas began with the appearance of Seo Taiji, who had a major impact on the industry in the 1990s, a time of great prosperity for the Korean recording industry. Including Kim Gunmo and Shin Seunghun, many Korean musicians sold over a million copies of their albums at this time. Although Seo Taiji was one of the top stars of his time, his album sales were relatively unimpressive. However, he managed to change the course of Korean pop music by introducing rap, hip-hop, fashion, and impressive dance choreography to the industry, becoming a major figure of the K-pop scene. Older people in Korea were either indifferent to or critical of his music, but after the 1980s, teenagers and people in their 20s, who came to be called the “New Generation” due to their changing outlook and style, passionately supported him. In particular, teenagers emerged as the main consumers of pop culture, and along with the growing influence of mass media targeting this age group, the Korean pop music industry went through at time of great transition and conflict. Seo Taiji’s retirement announcement in 1996 was a shock to his fans, but, by that time, Korean pop music had already reached a new stage. This was when the major entertainment companies formed the system that we now have today. The most influential entertainment agency today, S.M. Entertainment, was founded in 1995 and went on to lead the boom of Korean pop idols. By the late 1990s, YG Entertainment, DSP Entertainment, and JYP Entertainment had also made a place for themselves in the industry. Known as the “first generation of idol groups,” the first pop music groups produced by these entertainment agencies, such as H.O.T, god, Sechs Kies, S.E.S, and Fin.K.L, were trendsetters that received the unconditional support of their teenaged fans and achieved great commercial success, marking the emergence of modern K-pop. Especially, the success of HOT, who managed to gain a substantial fan base in China, played a major role in creating the “Hallyu” phenomenon.

Right Page Seo Taiji

K-Pop Beyond Asia

29


28

Chapter 2. The 100-Year History of Korean Pop Music

2-6 The Beginning of Hallyu and K-Pop The third era of Korean pop music’s expansion overseas began with the appearance of Seo Taiji, who had a major impact on the industry in the 1990s, a time of great prosperity for the Korean recording industry. Including Kim Gunmo and Shin Seunghun, many Korean musicians sold over a million copies of their albums at this time. Although Seo Taiji was one of the top stars of his time, his album sales were relatively unimpressive. However, he managed to change the course of Korean pop music by introducing rap, hip-hop, fashion, and impressive dance choreography to the industry, becoming a major figure of the K-pop scene. Older people in Korea were either indifferent to or critical of his music, but after the 1980s, teenagers and people in their 20s, who came to be called the “New Generation” due to their changing outlook and style, passionately supported him. In particular, teenagers emerged as the main consumers of pop culture, and along with the growing influence of mass media targeting this age group, the Korean pop music industry went through at time of great transition and conflict. Seo Taiji’s retirement announcement in 1996 was a shock to his fans, but, by that time, Korean pop music had already reached a new stage. This was when the major entertainment companies formed the system that we now have today. The most influential entertainment agency today, S.M. Entertainment, was founded in 1995 and went on to lead the boom of Korean pop idols. By the late 1990s, YG Entertainment, DSP Entertainment, and JYP Entertainment had also made a place for themselves in the industry. Known as the “first generation of idol groups,” the first pop music groups produced by these entertainment agencies, such as H.O.T, god, Sechs Kies, S.E.S, and Fin.K.L, were trendsetters that received the unconditional support of their teenaged fans and achieved great commercial success, marking the emergence of modern K-pop. Especially, the success of HOT, who managed to gain a substantial fan base in China, played a major role in creating the “Hallyu” phenomenon.

Right Page Seo Taiji

K-Pop Beyond Asia

29


3-1 2000: Rise of the First Generation of Idol Groups 3-2 2001: From Emotional Ballads to Hip Hop 3-3 2002: Dance and Vocal Artists 3-4 2003: Hyori Syndrome 3-5 2004: Koreaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Three Major Record Companies and

Their Artists

3-6 2005: Chart-topping Ballads 3-7 2006: The New Generation of Idol Boy Groups

3

Contemporary Korean Pop Music

3-8 2007: The New Generation of Idol Girl Groups 3-9 2008: Wonder Girls and Other Top Female Singing Groups 3-10 2009: The Meteoric Rise of Idol Groups in Korea 3-11 2010: The Korean Wave in the Asian Music Market 3-12 2011: The Growing Influence of Girl Groups with

each Major Record Company

3-13 2012: PSY Syndrome 3-14 2013: Competition between Old K-Pop Artists and

Idol Groups

3-15 2014: Hit Collaborations

K-POP BEYOND ASIA


3-1 2000: Rise of the First Generation of Idol Groups 3-2 2001: From Emotional Ballads to Hip Hop 3-3 2002: Dance and Vocal Artists 3-4 2003: Hyori Syndrome 3-5 2004: Koreaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Three Major Record Companies and

Their Artists

3-6 2005: Chart-topping Ballads 3-7 2006: The New Generation of Idol Boy Groups

3

Contemporary Korean Pop Music

3-8 2007: The New Generation of Idol Girl Groups 3-9 2008: Wonder Girls and Other Top Female Singing Groups 3-10 2009: The Meteoric Rise of Idol Groups in Korea 3-11 2010: The Korean Wave in the Asian Music Market 3-12 2011: The Growing Influence of Girl Groups with

each Major Record Company

3-13 2012: PSY Syndrome 3-14 2013: Competition between Old K-Pop Artists and

Idol Groups

3-15 2014: Hit Collaborations

K-POP BEYOND ASIA


32

Chapter 3. Contemporary Korean Pop Music

K-Pop Beyond Asia

33

3-1 2000: Rise of the First Generation of Idol Groups In 2000, along with the success of pop idol groups, both ballads and dance music established themselves as major trends of the Korean music industry. JYP Entertainment’s god (current agency, iHQ), which debuted in 1999 with its first album <To Mother>, went on to release a second album, and their song “I Love You and Remember” was a huge hit. They

2

also released a third album, rising to

Among the first generation of Korean pop idol groups, H.O.T and SHINWHA had

stardom with their song “Lie.” Not

released the popular songs “Outside Castle” and “Only One,” respectively. Also,

only “Lie,” but all songs on that third album became incredibly popular, including “One Candle” and “Sky Blue Balloon.” The group’s position at the top of the Korean pop music scene was confirmed when they won the Best Male Group Award at the MNet Music Video Festival, the Main Award at the Golden Disk Awards and MBC 10 Greatest Singers Awards, and the Grand Prize at the KBS Pop Awards and SBS Pop Awards. From the beginning of her career, it was clear that BoA, produced by S.M. Entertainment, would be a world star. Her debut album <ID; Peace B> contained lively dance music alongside somber ballads infused with a female sensitivity. She gave her first performance at SBS Popular Songs on August 27, 2000. Soon after, she expanded her career to Japan, attracting the attention of young Japanese people to Hallyu, or the “Korean Wave,” which had previously been an interest of mainly middle-aged fans of Korean television dramas. She contributed to introducing Korean pop culture to the world and the

3

Fin.K.L of DSP made their debut performance of the song “Blue Rain” at MBC 1

Show Express in May 1998, going on to win three grand prizes at Korean music awards. Fin.K.L was the first girl group of the first generation of K-pop idols to hold a large solo concert. In 1998 and 1999, the girl group became popular for their cute and lively songs, such as “To My Boyfriend,” “Forever Love,” and “White,” while in 2000, the group made a comeback with the song “Now,” revealing the members’ tougher side. Another DSP-produced boy group, Sechs Kies, which released the hit song “Couple” in 1999, achieved great popularity in 2000 with their song “Bye...” Popular ballad singers of the time were Jo Sungmo, Shin Seunghun, Lim Changjung, and Sky. Jo Sungmo won the Main Award and Grand Prize at the 11th Seoul Pop Awards, the Main Award and Grand Prize at the Golden Disk Awards, and the Grand Prize at the SBS Pop Awards. His song, <Do You Know?>, reached the top of the record sales charts with 1.9 million albums sold, followed by his next album <Thorn> with 1.657 million copies sold. These sales confirm that he

diversification of the Korean Wave. 1 god

2 H.O.T

3 SHINWHA


32

Chapter 3. Contemporary Korean Pop Music

K-Pop Beyond Asia

33

3-1 2000: Rise of the First Generation of Idol Groups In 2000, along with the success of pop idol groups, both ballads and dance music established themselves as major trends of the Korean music industry. JYP Entertainment’s god (current agency, iHQ), which debuted in 1999 with its first album <To Mother>, went on to release a second album, and their song “I Love You and Remember” was a huge hit. They

2

also released a third album, rising to

Among the first generation of Korean pop idol groups, H.O.T and SHINWHA had

stardom with their song “Lie.” Not

released the popular songs “Outside Castle” and “Only One,” respectively. Also,

only “Lie,” but all songs on that third album became incredibly popular, including “One Candle” and “Sky Blue Balloon.” The group’s position at the top of the Korean pop music scene was confirmed when they won the Best Male Group Award at the MNet Music Video Festival, the Main Award at the Golden Disk Awards and MBC 10 Greatest Singers Awards, and the Grand Prize at the KBS Pop Awards and SBS Pop Awards. From the beginning of her career, it was clear that BoA, produced by S.M. Entertainment, would be a world star. Her debut album <ID; Peace B> contained lively dance music alongside somber ballads infused with a female sensitivity. She gave her first performance at SBS Popular Songs on August 27, 2000. Soon after, she expanded her career to Japan, attracting the attention of young Japanese people to Hallyu, or the “Korean Wave,” which had previously been an interest of mainly middle-aged fans of Korean television dramas. She contributed to introducing Korean pop culture to the world and the

3

Fin.K.L of DSP made their debut performance of the song “Blue Rain” at MBC 1

Show Express in May 1998, going on to win three grand prizes at Korean music awards. Fin.K.L was the first girl group of the first generation of K-pop idols to hold a large solo concert. In 1998 and 1999, the girl group became popular for their cute and lively songs, such as “To My Boyfriend,” “Forever Love,” and “White,” while in 2000, the group made a comeback with the song “Now,” revealing the members’ tougher side. Another DSP-produced boy group, Sechs Kies, which released the hit song “Couple” in 1999, achieved great popularity in 2000 with their song “Bye...” Popular ballad singers of the time were Jo Sungmo, Shin Seunghun, Lim Changjung, and Sky. Jo Sungmo won the Main Award and Grand Prize at the 11th Seoul Pop Awards, the Main Award and Grand Prize at the Golden Disk Awards, and the Grand Prize at the SBS Pop Awards. His song, <Do You Know?>, reached the top of the record sales charts with 1.9 million albums sold, followed by his next album <Thorn> with 1.657 million copies sold. These sales confirm that he

diversification of the Korean Wave. 1 god

2 H.O.T

3 SHINWHA


34

Chapter 3. Contemporary Korean Pop Music

K-Pop Beyond Asia

35

3-2 2001: From Emotional Ballads to Hip Hop Having debuted in 1999 with the song “To Mother” and become one of the most popular music groups with the songs “Way” and “You Don’t Know,” god rose beyond its status as an idol group to be loved by people of all ages, selling 1.7 million copies of its fourth album <Chapter 4>. Labeled a “band for everyone,” the group won all major music awards in 2001, including the Grand Prize at the SBS Music Awards, KBS Music Awards, and the Golden Disk Awards; the “Best Singer Selected by People Younger than 30” at the MBC 10 Greatest Singers Awards; and the Main Award at the Seoul Pop Awards. The year 2001 was, by far, the group’s best year, which they spent singing all kinds of songs, from emotional ballads to hip hop with a fast, rhythmic beat.

1

was the top male singer in Korea at the time. Shin Seunghun’s “Just Like the

Other popular songs released by idol groups at the time were “Wild Eyes” and

Legendary Hero,” Lim Changjung’s “My Lover,” and Sky’s “Forever” were also

“Hey, Come On!” by SHINWHA, “North Star” by Kangta, “Show Me Your Love”

popular ballads. Other songs released by male singers were “Shaky Friendship”

and “Just in Love” by S.E.S, “A-Yo” by JINUSEAN, and “You Wouldn’t Know” by

by Hong Kyungmin, “Oh! Are You Going” by Country kko kko, and “First Love”

Fin.K.L

by CLON, while songs by female singers included “Bruise” by Kim Hyunjung, “You” by Lee Junghyun, “Coming-of-age Ceremony” by Park Jiyoon, and “Like Yesterday” by J. Also, five years after his debut, Seo Taiji made a comeback with his sixth album, <Ultramania>, in which he showed a new, unique musical style.

2

1 Fin.K.L

2 S.E.S


34

Chapter 3. Contemporary Korean Pop Music

K-Pop Beyond Asia

35

3-2 2001: From Emotional Ballads to Hip Hop Having debuted in 1999 with the song “To Mother” and become one of the most popular music groups with the songs “Way” and “You Don’t Know,” god rose beyond its status as an idol group to be loved by people of all ages, selling 1.7 million copies of its fourth album <Chapter 4>. Labeled a “band for everyone,” the group won all major music awards in 2001, including the Grand Prize at the SBS Music Awards, KBS Music Awards, and the Golden Disk Awards; the “Best Singer Selected by People Younger than 30” at the MBC 10 Greatest Singers Awards; and the Main Award at the Seoul Pop Awards. The year 2001 was, by far, the group’s best year, which they spent singing all kinds of songs, from emotional ballads to hip hop with a fast, rhythmic beat.

1

was the top male singer in Korea at the time. Shin Seunghun’s “Just Like the

Other popular songs released by idol groups at the time were “Wild Eyes” and

Legendary Hero,” Lim Changjung’s “My Lover,” and Sky’s “Forever” were also

“Hey, Come On!” by SHINWHA, “North Star” by Kangta, “Show Me Your Love”

popular ballads. Other songs released by male singers were “Shaky Friendship”

and “Just in Love” by S.E.S, “A-Yo” by JINUSEAN, and “You Wouldn’t Know” by

by Hong Kyungmin, “Oh! Are You Going” by Country kko kko, and “First Love”

Fin.K.L

by CLON, while songs by female singers included “Bruise” by Kim Hyunjung, “You” by Lee Junghyun, “Coming-of-age Ceremony” by Park Jiyoon, and “Like Yesterday” by J. Also, five years after his debut, Seo Taiji made a comeback with his sixth album, <Ultramania>, in which he showed a new, unique musical style.

2

1 Fin.K.L

2 S.E.S


36

Chapter 3. Contemporary Korean Pop Music

Many new artists with unique characteristics debuted in 2001. In January, PSY made his debut with his first album <PSY from the Psycho World!> and the title song “Bird.” He also sampled the famous song “Venus,” originally sung by Dutch rock band Shocking Blue and later remade by the English female pop band Bananarama. In particular, his unique “bird pose” caught the public’s attention. However, four months later, the album was rated “R” due to its sensual pictures and lyrics. Also that year, Sung Sikyung made his debut with the album <Like the First Time>, which was released in April and achieved great commercial success with its four hit songs: “Like the First Time,” “The Road to Me,” “Smiling Angel,” and “Missing.” Later that year, he won the New Artist Award at the Golden Disk Awards. The year 2001 saw the release of numerous popular ballads, such as “Far Away” by Park Hyoshin, “Love has Left Again” by Lee Kichan, “Reason to Waiting” by Lim Changjung, “Already One Year” by Brown Eyes and “I Love You” by Position, “Fix My Makeup” by Wax, and “Please” by Lee Sora. In addition, J.Y. Park from JYP Entertainment released his sixth album, <Game>, with the title song “I Already Got a Girl” and rose high in the music charts. 

K-Pop Beyond Asia

37

3-3 2002: Dance and Vocal Artists The year 2002 was when BoA of S.M. Entertainment went mainstream with the release of her second album, <No. 1> and its title song of the same name. According to the data of the Music Industry Association of Korea, 540,000 copies of the album were sold within the year, making it the fourth best-selling album of 2002. The song “No. 1” is a light, Euro-popstyle dance song with lyrics that reflect BoA’s dream to be the best singer in the world. Kangta of S.M. Entertainment collaborated with BoA on some of the songs on this album, including “Waiting…” and “I…” The album also featured a song written by BoA called “Realize (Stay with Me).” <No. 1> still holds the record of the being the best-selling album of all time in Korea. S.M. Entertainment’s boy group SHINWHA was also popular in 2002 with the song “I Pray 4 U,” while S.E.S, a first-generation idol girl group, furthered its career with the song “U.” Meanwhile, Rain made his debut in 2002. A former backup dancer for J.Y. Park, Rain made his debut as a singer with his hit song “Bad Boy” from his first album <Rain> in May 2002. With his next hit song, “Instead of Saying Goodbye,” he won the New Artist Award at the SBS Music Awards, MBC Music Awards, and the 17th Golden Disk Awards in December 2002. Other songs of various genres that ranked high on the charts in 2002 were: “Again” by Jewelry, “Good Person” by Park Hyoshin, “If We Can Part Even thouth We Love” by Shin Seunghun, “Never Ending Story” by BooHwal, “Sad Dream” by Koyote, “Aloha” by COOL, and “Sweet Dream” by Jang Nara. Sung Sikyung also made waves with the hit song “We Make a Good Pair,” winning first prize at the MBC Music Camp and SBS Popular Songs.

1 BoA

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Chapter 3. Contemporary Korean Pop Music

Many new artists with unique characteristics debuted in 2001. In January, PSY made his debut with his first album <PSY from the Psycho World!> and the title song “Bird.” He also sampled the famous song “Venus,” originally sung by Dutch rock band Shocking Blue and later remade by the English female pop band Bananarama. In particular, his unique “bird pose” caught the public’s attention. However, four months later, the album was rated “R” due to its sensual pictures and lyrics. Also that year, Sung Sikyung made his debut with the album <Like the First Time>, which was released in April and achieved great commercial success with its four hit songs: “Like the First Time,” “The Road to Me,” “Smiling Angel,” and “Missing.” Later that year, he won the New Artist Award at the Golden Disk Awards. The year 2001 saw the release of numerous popular ballads, such as “Far Away” by Park Hyoshin, “Love has Left Again” by Lee Kichan, “Reason to Waiting” by Lim Changjung, “Already One Year” by Brown Eyes and “I Love You” by Position, “Fix My Makeup” by Wax, and “Please” by Lee Sora. In addition, J.Y. Park from JYP Entertainment released his sixth album, <Game>, with the title song “I Already Got a Girl” and rose high in the music charts. 

K-Pop Beyond Asia

37

3-3 2002: Dance and Vocal Artists The year 2002 was when BoA of S.M. Entertainment went mainstream with the release of her second album, <No. 1> and its title song of the same name. According to the data of the Music Industry Association of Korea, 540,000 copies of the album were sold within the year, making it the fourth best-selling album of 2002. The song “No. 1” is a light, Euro-popstyle dance song with lyrics that reflect BoA’s dream to be the best singer in the world. Kangta of S.M. Entertainment collaborated with BoA on some of the songs on this album, including “Waiting…” and “I…” The album also featured a song written by BoA called “Realize (Stay with Me).” <No. 1> still holds the record of the being the best-selling album of all time in Korea. S.M. Entertainment’s boy group SHINWHA was also popular in 2002 with the song “I Pray 4 U,” while S.E.S, a first-generation idol girl group, furthered its career with the song “U.” Meanwhile, Rain made his debut in 2002. A former backup dancer for J.Y. Park, Rain made his debut as a singer with his hit song “Bad Boy” from his first album <Rain> in May 2002. With his next hit song, “Instead of Saying Goodbye,” he won the New Artist Award at the SBS Music Awards, MBC Music Awards, and the 17th Golden Disk Awards in December 2002. Other songs of various genres that ranked high on the charts in 2002 were: “Again” by Jewelry, “Good Person” by Park Hyoshin, “If We Can Part Even thouth We Love” by Shin Seunghun, “Never Ending Story” by BooHwal, “Sad Dream” by Koyote, “Aloha” by COOL, and “Sweet Dream” by Jang Nara. Sung Sikyung also made waves with the hit song “We Make a Good Pair,” winning first prize at the MBC Music Camp and SBS Popular Songs.

1 BoA

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Chapter 3. Contemporary Korean Pop Music

3-4 2003: Hyori Syndrome The year of 2003 was largely dominated by Lee Hyori, marking the beginning of the “Hyori Syndrome.” Her first solo album <STYLISH..E hyolee>, released in August 2003, topped the album sales charts and was in such high demand that 70,000 copies of the album were preordered. The title song “10 Minutes” ranked high on the charts and gave rise to numerous musical and fashion trends at the time. She won grand prizes at the MNET Music Video Awards, KMTV Music Festival, KBS Music Festival, SBS Music Awards, and the Seoul Pop Awards, having completely captivated the Korean public. The so-called “Hyori Syndrome” expanded her influence into television commercials and programs, fashion, and other areas of pop culture. YG Entertainment’s Se7en and BIG MAMA were prominent in 2003 as well. BIG MAMA’s song “Break Away” reached the top of the music charts, and the group, which was known more for its music than its videos, won numerous music awards. In addition to holding first place on the Melon Monthly Chart in April and May, the group won the New Star Award at the SBS Music Awards, the 10 Greatest Singers Award at the MBC 10 Greatest Singers Awards, the New Group Award and Excellence Award at the MNET KM Music Video Festival, the New Female Singing Group Award and Best Music Video Award at the 18th Golden Disk Awards, the New Group Award at the KMTV Korean Music Awards, and the New Star Award at the 14th Seoul Pop Awards. Se7en also won the hearts and minds of the public in 2003 with his songs “Once, Just Once” and “Please Come to Me.” He made a significant contribution to YG’s growth with his appealing voice and deep emotional expression. Rain, produced by JYP Entertainment, also hit it big in 2003 with the song “Ways to Avoid the Sun,” winning numerous awards, such as Singer of the Year at the KMTV Korean Music Awards, the Main Award at the SBS Music Awards, the Singer Award at the KBS Entertainers Awards, and the Main Award at the MBC 10 Greatest

Right Page Lee Hyori

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Chapter 3. Contemporary Korean Pop Music

3-4 2003: Hyori Syndrome The year of 2003 was largely dominated by Lee Hyori, marking the beginning of the “Hyori Syndrome.” Her first solo album <STYLISH..E hyolee>, released in August 2003, topped the album sales charts and was in such high demand that 70,000 copies of the album were preordered. The title song “10 Minutes” ranked high on the charts and gave rise to numerous musical and fashion trends at the time. She won grand prizes at the MNET Music Video Awards, KMTV Music Festival, KBS Music Festival, SBS Music Awards, and the Seoul Pop Awards, having completely captivated the Korean public. The so-called “Hyori Syndrome” expanded her influence into television commercials and programs, fashion, and other areas of pop culture. YG Entertainment’s Se7en and BIG MAMA were prominent in 2003 as well. BIG MAMA’s song “Break Away” reached the top of the music charts, and the group, which was known more for its music than its videos, won numerous music awards. In addition to holding first place on the Melon Monthly Chart in April and May, the group won the New Star Award at the SBS Music Awards, the 10 Greatest Singers Award at the MBC 10 Greatest Singers Awards, the New Group Award and Excellence Award at the MNET KM Music Video Festival, the New Female Singing Group Award and Best Music Video Award at the 18th Golden Disk Awards, the New Group Award at the KMTV Korean Music Awards, and the New Star Award at the 14th Seoul Pop Awards. Se7en also won the hearts and minds of the public in 2003 with his songs “Once, Just Once” and “Please Come to Me.” He made a significant contribution to YG’s growth with his appealing voice and deep emotional expression. Rain, produced by JYP Entertainment, also hit it big in 2003 with the song “Ways to Avoid the Sun,” winning numerous awards, such as Singer of the Year at the KMTV Korean Music Awards, the Main Award at the SBS Music Awards, the Singer Award at the KBS Entertainers Awards, and the Main Award at the MBC 10 Greatest

Right Page Lee Hyori

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Chapter 3. Contemporary Korean Pop Music

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3-5 2004: Korea’s Three Major Record Companies and Their Artists

Singers Awards. BoA continued to enjoy great success in 2003, returning to the music scene with the release of her third album, <Atlantis Princess>, in September. The album was particularly loved for its title song “Atlantis Girl,” which features fairytalelike lyrics describing the legendary island of Atlantis, as well as the songs “Milky Way” and “Tree,” a heartfelt ballad. However, before releasing Atlantis Princess in Korea, BoA released her second album in Japan, titled <Valenti>, on January 29, 2003. The sales of this album reached over 600,000, topping the Oricon Weekly Album Chart. Final sales of Valenti reached 1.2 million copies, making the album her first to sell over one million copies. Also, it ranked fifth on the Oricon Yearly Album Chart in 2003. For BoA’s contribution to the Korean Wave in Japan, she won various awards, including: the Proud Korean Award, the Main Award, and Special Honor at the 2003 KMTV Korea Music Awards, an award from the foreign press, and the Korean Congress Award. She also won numerous awards from Korean TV stations, such as the Main Award at the SBS Music Awards and MBC 10 Greatest Singers. S.M. Entertainment’s boy group SHINWHA also saw some success in 2003 with the song “Your Wedding.” Other popular ballads and songs from the soundtracks of Korean TV dramas released in 2003 included: “By Chance” by Yoon Gun, “Did We Really Love” by Brown Eyed Soul, “I Did Not Know That Time” by Leejeok, “I Miss You” by Kim Bumsoo, “Jeom jeom” by Brown Eyes, and “I Did Guess” by Kim Hyeongjung.

1

The year 2004 was largely dominated by male singers, including TVXQ!, Rain, Se7en, and 1TYM. TVXQ!, a new idol group produced by S.M. Entertainment, gave its first performance at the Special Performance of BoA and Britney Spears on December 26, 2003, and made its official debut performance at the MBC Music Camp on February 7, 2004. The group's name, “TVXQ!” roughly translates to “Rising Gods of the East.” The group was composed of five boys who had been selected at the S.M. Youth Best Contest when they were still just kids. The members— Xia Junsu, Micky Yoochun, Youngwoong Jaejoong, Choikang Changmin, and Uknow Yunho—received intensive training for five years, and each member had different talents, including a cappella. As soon as TVXQ! debuted, the group rose to fame, winning both the New Star Award and Main Award at the Seoul Pop Music Awards, the first group to do so

1 TVSQ!


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Chapter 3. Contemporary Korean Pop Music

K-Pop Beyond Asia

41

3-5 2004: Korea’s Three Major Record Companies and Their Artists

Singers Awards. BoA continued to enjoy great success in 2003, returning to the music scene with the release of her third album, <Atlantis Princess>, in September. The album was particularly loved for its title song “Atlantis Girl,” which features fairytalelike lyrics describing the legendary island of Atlantis, as well as the songs “Milky Way” and “Tree,” a heartfelt ballad. However, before releasing Atlantis Princess in Korea, BoA released her second album in Japan, titled <Valenti>, on January 29, 2003. The sales of this album reached over 600,000, topping the Oricon Weekly Album Chart. Final sales of Valenti reached 1.2 million copies, making the album her first to sell over one million copies. Also, it ranked fifth on the Oricon Yearly Album Chart in 2003. For BoA’s contribution to the Korean Wave in Japan, she won various awards, including: the Proud Korean Award, the Main Award, and Special Honor at the 2003 KMTV Korea Music Awards, an award from the foreign press, and the Korean Congress Award. She also won numerous awards from Korean TV stations, such as the Main Award at the SBS Music Awards and MBC 10 Greatest Singers. S.M. Entertainment’s boy group SHINWHA also saw some success in 2003 with the song “Your Wedding.” Other popular ballads and songs from the soundtracks of Korean TV dramas released in 2003 included: “By Chance” by Yoon Gun, “Did We Really Love” by Brown Eyed Soul, “I Did Not Know That Time” by Leejeok, “I Miss You” by Kim Bumsoo, “Jeom jeom” by Brown Eyes, and “I Did Guess” by Kim Hyeongjung.

1

The year 2004 was largely dominated by male singers, including TVXQ!, Rain, Se7en, and 1TYM. TVXQ!, a new idol group produced by S.M. Entertainment, gave its first performance at the Special Performance of BoA and Britney Spears on December 26, 2003, and made its official debut performance at the MBC Music Camp on February 7, 2004. The group's name, “TVXQ!” roughly translates to “Rising Gods of the East.” The group was composed of five boys who had been selected at the S.M. Youth Best Contest when they were still just kids. The members— Xia Junsu, Micky Yoochun, Youngwoong Jaejoong, Choikang Changmin, and Uknow Yunho—received intensive training for five years, and each member had different talents, including a cappella. As soon as TVXQ! debuted, the group rose to fame, winning both the New Star Award and Main Award at the Seoul Pop Music Awards, the first group to do so

1 TVSQ!


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Chapter 3. Contemporary Korean Pop Music

since Seo Taiji & Boys. The group continued its rise to stardom with a series of hit songs, including their debut song “Hug” and “The Way U Are,” “My Little Princess,” and “Trust Me.” JYP’s Rain, who had debuted in 2002, entered the spotlight again in October 2004 with the release of his third album <It's Raining>, which sold about 200,000 copies and earned KRW 1.1 billion in offline sales alone, effectively maintaining the massive success he had achieved with his second album. Total sales of Rain’s new album throughout Asia reached over one million: 100,000 in Japan, 500,000 in China, 70,000 in Taiwan, 150,000 in Thailand, 50,000 in Indonesia, and 154,000 in Korea, totaling approximately 1.074 million according to the Korea Creative Content Agency. Also that year, Rain won the Main Award and Grand Prize at the KBS Pop Festival, the Main Award and the Most Popular Artist Award at the SBS Pop Festival, and the Main Award at the MBC 10 Greatest Singers, as well as the Popularity Award, Best Couple Award, and Excellence Award at the KBS Acting Awards. The year 2004 was clearly one of the best years of Rain’s career. Some popular songs released in 2004 were: “My Name” by BoA, “Passion” and “Tatoo” by Se7en, “Cry” and “Without You” by 1TYM, “Standing in that spot” by Park Hyoshin, “Long Day” by Lee Seungcheol, “My Friend” by Cho PD, “Love Leaves its Scent” by Tei, “Whistle to me,” by Lee Sooyoung, and “A Poem of Love” by M.C the Max.

Right Page Rain

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Chapter 3. Contemporary Korean Pop Music

since Seo Taiji & Boys. The group continued its rise to stardom with a series of hit songs, including their debut song “Hug” and “The Way U Are,” “My Little Princess,” and “Trust Me.” JYP’s Rain, who had debuted in 2002, entered the spotlight again in October 2004 with the release of his third album <It's Raining>, which sold about 200,000 copies and earned KRW 1.1 billion in offline sales alone, effectively maintaining the massive success he had achieved with his second album. Total sales of Rain’s new album throughout Asia reached over one million: 100,000 in Japan, 500,000 in China, 70,000 in Taiwan, 150,000 in Thailand, 50,000 in Indonesia, and 154,000 in Korea, totaling approximately 1.074 million according to the Korea Creative Content Agency. Also that year, Rain won the Main Award and Grand Prize at the KBS Pop Festival, the Main Award and the Most Popular Artist Award at the SBS Pop Festival, and the Main Award at the MBC 10 Greatest Singers, as well as the Popularity Award, Best Couple Award, and Excellence Award at the KBS Acting Awards. The year 2004 was clearly one of the best years of Rain’s career. Some popular songs released in 2004 were: “My Name” by BoA, “Passion” and “Tatoo” by Se7en, “Cry” and “Without You” by 1TYM, “Standing in that spot” by Park Hyoshin, “Long Day” by Lee Seungcheol, “My Friend” by Cho PD, “Love Leaves its Scent” by Tei, “Whistle to me,” by Lee Sooyoung, and “A Poem of Love” by M.C the Max.

Right Page Rain

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Chapter 3. Contemporary Korean Pop Music

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3-6 2005: Chart-topping Ballads

45

Singers of the Year Award at the KBS Music Festival. In terms of hit songs in 2005 by entertainment company, S.M. had “Rising Sun”

The year 2005 was one of incredibly popular

by TVXQ! and “Girls On Top” by BoA, YG had BIG MAMA, JYP had “Ordinary Day”

ballads by singers with unparalleled skill,

by god, and Star Empire had “Super Star” by Jewelry. Other popular releases

including Kim Jongkook, who won grand

were “Love from A Reall Heart” by Buzz, “Smile Again” by KCM, “Love is One” by

prizes from three public broadcasting

Tei, “Fly” by EPIK HIGH, and “I Guess I Loved You” by YB.

stations with the song “Lovable,” the first singer to do so since Cho Yongpil. Following the disbanding of his dance group Turbo in 2001, Kim established his solo career with the song “One Man” in 2004. With the release of his third album in 2005, featuring the tracks “Lovable” and “Walking in One Spot,” which were written

1

by Joo Younghoon, a former song-writing partner of his, Kim continued to gain popularity. The song “Walking in One Spot” ranked at the top of numerous charts, including MBC’s Music Camp Live and M.net’s M Countdown, and was the Mutizen Song on SBS’s Popular Music for three weeks. The song “Lovable” was ranked as the Mutizen Song on SBS’s Popular Music for three weeks as well, and the album won the Album of the Year Award at the Melon Music Awards and the Main Award at the Golden Disk Awards. In 2005, Kim Jongkook 2

became far more famous than he had ever been in his dance group Turbo. Another group to make a splash in 2005 was BIG MAMA of YG Entertainment, who built a strong fan base based on their singing ability rather than depending only on their good looks. BIG MAMA’s songs “Resignation” and “Woman” rose high in the music charts, and the group received the Singers of the Year Award at the KBS Music Festival based on their work on the album <It's Unique>. SG Wannabe, a new ballad group, rose to prominence in 2005. Their song “Sin and Punishment” from the album <While I Live> shot to the top of the music charts, going as high as first place on the Melon Monthly Chart for the months of March and April. Later, the song “While I Live” brought the group substantial success. SG Wannabe had a really big year in 2005, winning the Main Award and Grand Prize at the Golden Disk Awards (for their second album, <While I Live>), the Main Award and Producers’ Award at the SBS Music Festival, and the

1 Kim Jongkook

2 SG Wannabe


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Chapter 3. Contemporary Korean Pop Music

K-Pop Beyond Asia

3-6 2005: Chart-topping Ballads

45

Singers of the Year Award at the KBS Music Festival. In terms of hit songs in 2005 by entertainment company, S.M. had “Rising Sun”

The year 2005 was one of incredibly popular

by TVXQ! and “Girls On Top” by BoA, YG had BIG MAMA, JYP had “Ordinary Day”

ballads by singers with unparalleled skill,

by god, and Star Empire had “Super Star” by Jewelry. Other popular releases

including Kim Jongkook, who won grand

were “Love from A Reall Heart” by Buzz, “Smile Again” by KCM, “Love is One” by

prizes from three public broadcasting

Tei, “Fly” by EPIK HIGH, and “I Guess I Loved You” by YB.

stations with the song “Lovable,” the first singer to do so since Cho Yongpil. Following the disbanding of his dance group Turbo in 2001, Kim established his solo career with the song “One Man” in 2004. With the release of his third album in 2005, featuring the tracks “Lovable” and “Walking in One Spot,” which were written

1

by Joo Younghoon, a former song-writing partner of his, Kim continued to gain popularity. The song “Walking in One Spot” ranked at the top of numerous charts, including MBC’s Music Camp Live and M.net’s M Countdown, and was the Mutizen Song on SBS’s Popular Music for three weeks. The song “Lovable” was ranked as the Mutizen Song on SBS’s Popular Music for three weeks as well, and the album won the Album of the Year Award at the Melon Music Awards and the Main Award at the Golden Disk Awards. In 2005, Kim Jongkook 2

became far more famous than he had ever been in his dance group Turbo. Another group to make a splash in 2005 was BIG MAMA of YG Entertainment, who built a strong fan base based on their singing ability rather than depending only on their good looks. BIG MAMA’s songs “Resignation” and “Woman” rose high in the music charts, and the group received the Singers of the Year Award at the KBS Music Festival based on their work on the album <It's Unique>. SG Wannabe, a new ballad group, rose to prominence in 2005. Their song “Sin and Punishment” from the album <While I Live> shot to the top of the music charts, going as high as first place on the Melon Monthly Chart for the months of March and April. Later, the song “While I Live” brought the group substantial success. SG Wannabe had a really big year in 2005, winning the Main Award and Grand Prize at the Golden Disk Awards (for their second album, <While I Live>), the Main Award and Producers’ Award at the SBS Music Festival, and the

1 Kim Jongkook

2 SG Wannabe


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Chapter 3. Contemporary Korean Pop Music

K-Pop Beyond Asia

47

3-7 2006: The New Generation of Idol Boy Groups

3-8 2007: The New Generation of Girl Idol Groups

The year 2006 saw the heyday of S.M. Entertainment’s boy idol groups TVXQ!

In 2007, the three major entertainment companies each had their own star

and SUPER JUNIOR. TVXQ!’s third album <O-正.反.合.> was the best-selling

groups, Wonder Girls with JYP, GIRLS' GENERATION with S.M., and BIGBANG with

album of the year, leading the the group to win the Main Award at the 21st

YG.

Golden Disk Awards, the Best Artist Award at MAMA, the Grand Prize at the

Wonder Girls, a five-member girl group produced by J.Y. Park of JYP

Seoul Pop Awards and SBS Pop Awards and cementing its position as the best

Entertainment, debuted in February, 2007 with its single <The Wonder Begins>.

boy idol group in Korea. SUPER JUNIOR, a 13-member boy group that debuted in

In the same year, the group released its first album <The Wonder Years>, for

November 2005, took home the New Star Award at the Golden Disk Awards with

which they adopted a retro concept and reproduced the costumes and hair

their song “Twins” and the New Star Award at the 8th MAMA with the song “U.”

styles of 1980s girl groups. The title song “Tell Me” became the most successful song of the year with its addictive refrain and easy-to-follow dance moves,

YG’s boy group BIGBANG, composed of G-DRAGON, TOP, Taeyang, Daesung, and

securing its place as the Mutizen Song of SBS Popular Music for three weeks,

Seungri, debuted in 2006 with the song “We Belong Together.” The group would

topping KBS Music Bank, and reaching first place on the M.Net M Countdown. 

go on to have a major influence on not only Korean pop music but also fashion, with their stereotype-breaking stage fashion and everyday style. The group’s

GIRLS' GENERATION, a nine-member girl group produced by S.M. Entertainment,

first album was <BIGBANG Vol. 1> with the title track “La-La-La,” for which they

released its first single <Into the New World> on August 2, 2007, and held their

were awarded the Rookie of the Month Award at the Cyworld Digital Music

debut performance at SBS Popular Songs three days later.

Awards in October.

On November 1, the group released its first album, <GIRLS' GENERATION>, which competed directly with JYP’s Wonder Girls.

Other songs that regularly graced the airwaves in 2006 were “Snow Prince”

YG Entertainment’s BIGBANG, with lead man G-DRAGON, won Song of the Month

by SS501 of DSP, “Because I Love You” and “A Woman’s Scent” by SeeYa, and

at the Cyworld Digital Music Awards, the Best Boy Group and Best Song at the

“I Won’t Love” by Baek Jiyoung. Among them, “I Wouldn’t Love” ranked at the

M.net KM Music Festival, and the Main Award at the 22nd Golden Disk Awards,

top of the music charts and was the most popular Karaoke song in 2006. It also

showing off BIGBANG’s remarkable growth.

heralded the successful comeback of Baek Jiyoung. In addition, some of the popular ballads in 2006 were “Just Looking” by M.C the Max, “You Don’t Know

KARA, produced by DSP Entertainment, debuted in March 2007, ushering in a

Man” by Buzz, and “Partner for Life” by SG Wannabe.

golden age for Korean girl groups, and J.Y. Park, singer and producer of JYP’s Wonder Girls, released his seventh album <Back To Stage> (title song: “The House You Live”), his first album in seven years. Other popular songs of 2007 were “Everyday” by V.O.S of Star Empire, F.T. Island, “Love Greeting” by SeeYa, “Password 486” by Younha, and “Sonata of Temptation” by Ivy. Some new stars that appeared in the K-pop world in 2007 included K.Will with the album <Left Heart> and Zia with her album <Voice of Heaven> (title song: “My Heart Is Like a Star”).


46

Chapter 3. Contemporary Korean Pop Music

K-Pop Beyond Asia

47

3-7 2006: The New Generation of Idol Boy Groups

3-8 2007: The New Generation of Girl Idol Groups

The year 2006 saw the heyday of S.M. Entertainment’s boy idol groups TVXQ!

In 2007, the three major entertainment companies each had their own star

and SUPER JUNIOR. TVXQ!’s third album <O-正.反.合.> was the best-selling

groups, Wonder Girls with JYP, GIRLS' GENERATION with S.M., and BIGBANG with

album of the year, leading the the group to win the Main Award at the 21st

YG.

Golden Disk Awards, the Best Artist Award at MAMA, the Grand Prize at the

Wonder Girls, a five-member girl group produced by J.Y. Park of JYP

Seoul Pop Awards and SBS Pop Awards and cementing its position as the best

Entertainment, debuted in February, 2007 with its single <The Wonder Begins>.

boy idol group in Korea. SUPER JUNIOR, a 13-member boy group that debuted in

In the same year, the group released its first album <The Wonder Years>, for

November 2005, took home the New Star Award at the Golden Disk Awards with

which they adopted a retro concept and reproduced the costumes and hair

their song “Twins” and the New Star Award at the 8th MAMA with the song “U.”

styles of 1980s girl groups. The title song “Tell Me” became the most successful song of the year with its addictive refrain and easy-to-follow dance moves,

YG’s boy group BIGBANG, composed of G-DRAGON, TOP, Taeyang, Daesung, and

securing its place as the Mutizen Song of SBS Popular Music for three weeks,

Seungri, debuted in 2006 with the song “We Belong Together.” The group would

topping KBS Music Bank, and reaching first place on the M.Net M Countdown. 

go on to have a major influence on not only Korean pop music but also fashion, with their stereotype-breaking stage fashion and everyday style. The group’s

GIRLS' GENERATION, a nine-member girl group produced by S.M. Entertainment,

first album was <BIGBANG Vol. 1> with the title track “La-La-La,” for which they

released its first single <Into the New World> on August 2, 2007, and held their

were awarded the Rookie of the Month Award at the Cyworld Digital Music

debut performance at SBS Popular Songs three days later.

Awards in October.

On November 1, the group released its first album, <GIRLS' GENERATION>, which competed directly with JYP’s Wonder Girls.

Other songs that regularly graced the airwaves in 2006 were “Snow Prince”

YG Entertainment’s BIGBANG, with lead man G-DRAGON, won Song of the Month

by SS501 of DSP, “Because I Love You” and “A Woman’s Scent” by SeeYa, and

at the Cyworld Digital Music Awards, the Best Boy Group and Best Song at the

“I Won’t Love” by Baek Jiyoung. Among them, “I Wouldn’t Love” ranked at the

M.net KM Music Festival, and the Main Award at the 22nd Golden Disk Awards,

top of the music charts and was the most popular Karaoke song in 2006. It also

showing off BIGBANG’s remarkable growth.

heralded the successful comeback of Baek Jiyoung. In addition, some of the popular ballads in 2006 were “Just Looking” by M.C the Max, “You Don’t Know

KARA, produced by DSP Entertainment, debuted in March 2007, ushering in a

Man” by Buzz, and “Partner for Life” by SG Wannabe.

golden age for Korean girl groups, and J.Y. Park, singer and producer of JYP’s Wonder Girls, released his seventh album <Back To Stage> (title song: “The House You Live”), his first album in seven years. Other popular songs of 2007 were “Everyday” by V.O.S of Star Empire, F.T. Island, “Love Greeting” by SeeYa, “Password 486” by Younha, and “Sonata of Temptation” by Ivy. Some new stars that appeared in the K-pop world in 2007 included K.Will with the album <Left Heart> and Zia with her album <Voice of Heaven> (title song: “My Heart Is Like a Star”).


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Chapter 3. Contemporary Korean Pop Music

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3-9 2008: Wonder Girls and Other Top Female Singing Groups

released “Because of A Man,” winning a considerable fan base. In 2008, TVXQ! of S.M. Entertainment was popular both domestically and abroad. Their 16th single <Purple Line>, which was released in Japan on

The Wonder Girls had the biggest year of their careers in 2008. They released

January 16, 2008, ranked at the top of the Oricon Daily Chart, marking a record

their hit song “So Hot” in the first half of the year, and “Nobody” became a

for the group, and competed with Acid Black Cherry and WaT. The group made

big hit in the second half of the year. In particular, “So Hot” stayed at the top

a comeback in Korea with their fourth album <Mirotic> and title song “Mirotic,”

of Music Bank’s K-Chart for five consecutive weeks, was the Mutizen Song of

with the album selling almost 500,000 copies from September to the end of

Popular Songs for three weeks, and headed up M.Net’s M-Countdown for three

December that year. Due to this remarkable success, the group was awarded

weeks. “Nobody” was also a big success, topping Music Bank’s K-Chart for four

the Grand Prize at the Golden Disk Awards, the Album of the Year Award at

weeks in October. Later in the year, the Wonder Girls announced their expansion

M-net’s KM Music Festival, the Grand Prize in the New Generation of Pop at

to the US market with the debut of the single <Nobody>, which ranked 76th on

the Korean Culture Entertainment Awards, and the MVP Award at KBS’s Music

the Billboard Hot 100, making them the first Korean group to rank on the US

Bank. They swept all of the year-end music awards and also released four

chart in 30 years. The group then held the Wonder Girls World Tour across the

singles: <Purple Line>, <Beautiful You (千年恋歌)>, <どうして君を好きになっ

US and Canada, contributing to the development of the overseas K-pop market.

てしまったんだろう?>, and <呪文-MIrotic>, which topped the Oricon Weekly

JYP Entertainment’s 2PM found a hit in their “10 Out of 10,” and 2AM debuted

Chart and was the highest-ranked album in Japan in 2008, even among J-pop

with “This Song,” with both groups showing that they had the potential to mature beyond their boyish images. Also, JOO, a female singer with JYP,

51

singers. 1

They were also the first foreign artists in Japanese music history to reach the top of the Oricon Weekly Chart four times. The year 2008 was the height of TVXQ!’s career in both Japan and Korea. It was also the year in which SHINee, also of S.M. Entertainment, debuted with the song “Noona, You're so Pretty,” and gained even more fame with the release of the hit song “Love Like Oxygen.” GIRLS' GENERATION solidified their fan base in 2008 with the songs “Kissing You” and “Baby Baby.” BIGBANG of YG Entertainment revealed how they had matured as performers with the title song “Haru Haru” from their third album <Stand Up>, and Taeyang, a member of BIGBANG, contributed to the group’s popularity with the song “Don't Cheat On Me.” That year, BIGBANG went on to win the Song of the Month Award for August at the Cyworld Digital Music Awards, the Grand Prize in the pop music category at the 2008 Korean Congress Awards, and the Singer

Front Page BIGBANG

1 TVXQ!


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Chapter 3. Contemporary Korean Pop Music

K-Pop Beyond Asia

3-9 2008: Wonder Girls and Other Top Female Singing Groups

released “Because of A Man,” winning a considerable fan base. In 2008, TVXQ! of S.M. Entertainment was popular both domestically and abroad. Their 16th single <Purple Line>, which was released in Japan on

The Wonder Girls had the biggest year of their careers in 2008. They released

January 16, 2008, ranked at the top of the Oricon Daily Chart, marking a record

their hit song “So Hot” in the first half of the year, and “Nobody” became a

for the group, and competed with Acid Black Cherry and WaT. The group made

big hit in the second half of the year. In particular, “So Hot” stayed at the top

a comeback in Korea with their fourth album <Mirotic> and title song “Mirotic,”

of Music Bank’s K-Chart for five consecutive weeks, was the Mutizen Song of

with the album selling almost 500,000 copies from September to the end of

Popular Songs for three weeks, and headed up M.Net’s M-Countdown for three

December that year. Due to this remarkable success, the group was awarded

weeks. “Nobody” was also a big success, topping Music Bank’s K-Chart for four

the Grand Prize at the Golden Disk Awards, the Album of the Year Award at

weeks in October. Later in the year, the Wonder Girls announced their expansion

M-net’s KM Music Festival, the Grand Prize in the New Generation of Pop at

to the US market with the debut of the single <Nobody>, which ranked 76th on

the Korean Culture Entertainment Awards, and the MVP Award at KBS’s Music

the Billboard Hot 100, making them the first Korean group to rank on the US

Bank. They swept all of the year-end music awards and also released four

chart in 30 years. The group then held the Wonder Girls World Tour across the

singles: <Purple Line>, <Beautiful You (千年恋歌)>, <どうして君を好きになっ

US and Canada, contributing to the development of the overseas K-pop market.

てしまったんだろう?>, and <呪文-MIrotic>, which topped the Oricon Weekly

JYP Entertainment’s 2PM found a hit in their “10 Out of 10,” and 2AM debuted

Chart and was the highest-ranked album in Japan in 2008, even among J-pop

with “This Song,” with both groups showing that they had the potential to mature beyond their boyish images. Also, JOO, a female singer with JYP,

51

singers. 1

They were also the first foreign artists in Japanese music history to reach the top of the Oricon Weekly Chart four times. The year 2008 was the height of TVXQ!’s career in both Japan and Korea. It was also the year in which SHINee, also of S.M. Entertainment, debuted with the song “Noona, You're so Pretty,” and gained even more fame with the release of the hit song “Love Like Oxygen.” GIRLS' GENERATION solidified their fan base in 2008 with the songs “Kissing You” and “Baby Baby.” BIGBANG of YG Entertainment revealed how they had matured as performers with the title song “Haru Haru” from their third album <Stand Up>, and Taeyang, a member of BIGBANG, contributed to the group’s popularity with the song “Don't Cheat On Me.” That year, BIGBANG went on to win the Song of the Month Award for August at the Cyworld Digital Music Awards, the Grand Prize in the pop music category at the 2008 Korean Congress Awards, and the Singer

Front Page BIGBANG

1 TVXQ!


52

Chapter 3. Contemporary Korean Pop Music

K-Pop Beyond Asia

53


52

Chapter 3. Contemporary Korean Pop Music

K-Pop Beyond Asia

53


54

Chapter 3. Contemporary Korean Pop Music

K-Pop Beyond Asia

of the Year Award at M.net’s KM Music Festival for their song “Haru Haru.” The

rose to fame for a second time

group also stayed at the top of the K-Chart of KBS Music Bank for five weeks

with the popularity of the song

and dominated M.net’s M-Countdown and was the Mutizen Song of SBS’s

“ET Dance.” In February 2008,

Popular Songs for three weeks. Another achievement of the group that year was

Davichi of Core Entertainment

their release of a remake of Lee Moonse’s “Sunset Glow.”

made a name for themselves

55

with the ballads “I Love You Even In the meantime, IU of Loen Entertainment made her debut in 2008. A

Though I Hate You” and “Putting

combination of “I” and “You,” the name “IU” refers to the power of music

on Lipstick” from their debut

to bring people together. She made her debut performance on MNet’s

album <Amaranth>, while that

M-Countdown with the title song “Mia” from her first mini-album <Lost and

summer, they established their

Found> on September 18, 2008, and first performed on public TV on MBC’s

status as a female duo with incredible singing ability by releasing the dance

Show! Music Core two days later. Actually, the song “Mia,” which is a hybrid

song “Love and War.” Also that year, Brown Eyed Girls showed off their vocal

pop ballad with an electronic sound and hip hop rhythm, failed to earn acclaim,

prowess and genuine emotion in their song “L.O.V.E,” which became incredibly

but she gained recognition for her remarkable singing ability and broad range,

popular immediately upon its release. Lee Hyori of Fin.K.L, considered to be one

transitioning from a chorus to aria with the smooth, angelic voice of a 15-year-

of the first generation of idol girl groups in Korea, found success with the hit

old girl. As a result, her album was selected for the “Selection of the Best New

song “U-Go-Girl” and released her third album <It's Hyorish>, which received

Singer’s Album of the Month and Public Relations Project” of the Ministry of

mostly favorable reviews. It was the top-selling album among all female singers

Culture, Sports, and Tourism.

that year and dominated the Korean music charts in 2008, selling 100,000 copies

by 2010. The title song of the album “U-Go-Girl,” featuring Natsun, took top

The year 2008 was a great year for many Korean girl groups. Jewelry of Star

spot in SBS’s Popular Songs, KBS’s Music Bank, and M.net’s M-Countdown. Her

Empire Entertainment made waves with their hit song “One More Time,” and

next song, “Hey Mr. Big,” also topped SBS’s Popular Songs. It was the first time that Lee Hyori had topped the charts as a solo artist in the nine years since Fin. K.L disbanded. Other great songs of 2008 included Rain’s “Rainism” and Baek Jiyoung’s “Like Being Hit By A Bullet .”

1

Front Page Wonder Girls

1 SHINee

2 Jewelry

2


54

Chapter 3. Contemporary Korean Pop Music

K-Pop Beyond Asia

of the Year Award at M.net’s KM Music Festival for their song “Haru Haru.” The

rose to fame for a second time

group also stayed at the top of the K-Chart of KBS Music Bank for five weeks

with the popularity of the song

and dominated M.net’s M-Countdown and was the Mutizen Song of SBS’s

“ET Dance.” In February 2008,

Popular Songs for three weeks. Another achievement of the group that year was

Davichi of Core Entertainment

their release of a remake of Lee Moonse’s “Sunset Glow.”

made a name for themselves

55

with the ballads “I Love You Even In the meantime, IU of Loen Entertainment made her debut in 2008. A

Though I Hate You” and “Putting

combination of “I” and “You,” the name “IU” refers to the power of music

on Lipstick” from their debut

to bring people together. She made her debut performance on MNet’s

album <Amaranth>, while that

M-Countdown with the title song “Mia” from her first mini-album <Lost and

summer, they established their

Found> on September 18, 2008, and first performed on public TV on MBC’s

status as a female duo with incredible singing ability by releasing the dance

Show! Music Core two days later. Actually, the song “Mia,” which is a hybrid

song “Love and War.” Also that year, Brown Eyed Girls showed off their vocal

pop ballad with an electronic sound and hip hop rhythm, failed to earn acclaim,

prowess and genuine emotion in their song “L.O.V.E,” which became incredibly

but she gained recognition for her remarkable singing ability and broad range,

popular immediately upon its release. Lee Hyori of Fin.K.L, considered to be one

transitioning from a chorus to aria with the smooth, angelic voice of a 15-year-

of the first generation of idol girl groups in Korea, found success with the hit

old girl. As a result, her album was selected for the “Selection of the Best New

song “U-Go-Girl” and released her third album <It's Hyorish>, which received

Singer’s Album of the Month and Public Relations Project” of the Ministry of

mostly favorable reviews. It was the top-selling album among all female singers

Culture, Sports, and Tourism.

that year and dominated the Korean music charts in 2008, selling 100,000 copies

by 2010. The title song of the album “U-Go-Girl,” featuring Natsun, took top

The year 2008 was a great year for many Korean girl groups. Jewelry of Star

spot in SBS’s Popular Songs, KBS’s Music Bank, and M.net’s M-Countdown. Her

Empire Entertainment made waves with their hit song “One More Time,” and

next song, “Hey Mr. Big,” also topped SBS’s Popular Songs. It was the first time that Lee Hyori had topped the charts as a solo artist in the nine years since Fin. K.L disbanded. Other great songs of 2008 included Rain’s “Rainism” and Baek Jiyoung’s “Like Being Hit By A Bullet .”

1

Front Page Wonder Girls

1 SHINee

2 Jewelry

2


56

Chapter 3. Contemporary Korean Pop Music

3-10 2009: The Meteoric Rise of Idol Groups in Korea In 2009, GIRLS' GENERATION reached the peak of their career, and numerous girl groups made their debut. With two of their songs, “Tell Me Your Wish” and “Gee,” becoming huge hits, GIRLS' GENERATION dominated the Korean pop music scene with a fan base estimated at about one million people, spanning people of all ages. Their famous song “Gee” was written by E-Tribe. On January 10, 2009, the group held a comeback performance at Show! Music Core, which was their first performance in nine months. As soon as the song “Gee” was released, the positive reaction of their fans was overwhelming. One day after releasing the music video for “Gee” through Gom TV, it got one million views and soared to the top of numerous music charts, including M-Net, Melon, and Dosirak, in only two days. Starting in March, the song was ranked first in the charts for nine consecutive weeks, breaking the seven-week record held by BIGBANG (for “Haru Haru”) and Baek Jiyoung (for “Like Being Hit By A Bullet”). On KBS’s Music Bank, the song stood at the top for nine weeks as well, breaking the seven-week record held by Jewelry for “One More Time,” but three years later, PSY would break GIRLS' GENERATION’s nine-week record when his song “Gangnam Style” stayed at the top for 10 weeks, holding the top ranking for a total of 16 weeks overall. “Gee” won the Triple Crown on SBS’s Popular Songs, after having held the No. 1 spot for three weeks. Due to its incredible popularity, parodies of “Gee” began surfacing on the Internet and TV talk shows. Also, the skinny jeans and white T-shirts that the girls wore in the video, as well as their dance, became new trends. Their next song “Tell Me Your Wish” was released on June 22, and jumped to the top of most music charts in only four days. On June 26, the group staged a performance of the song on KBS’s Music Bank, where it was named the “Best Song of the First Half of the Year,” along with “Gee.” Following this, the group changed their image by adopting a military fashion concept over their typical feminine look. And their dance, the “Jegichagi,” became a controversial issue for how much leg it exposed, leading to the creation of numerous parodies on TV shows. In 2009, their album <Oh!>, with the title track “Tell Me

K-Pop Beyond Asia

copies. The title track of the album held the top spot of the K-Chart on KBS Music Bank and was a Mutizen Song on SBS Popular Songs for two weeks in July. The B2S TOP20, a music chart in Thailand, ranked the song No. 1 for four weeks (July 27~August 23). Also in 2009, SUPER JUNIOR, a boy group produced by S.M. Entertainment, was awarded the Grand Prize at the Golden Disk Awards for their song “Sorry, Sorry,” highlighting the success of S.M.-produced idol groups. JYP’s boy group 2PM was a great success in 2009. Their song “Again & Again” topped the charts of M.net M-Countdown, was a Mutizen Song of SBS Popular Songs for three weeks (Triple Crown), and dominated the K-Chart of KBS Music Bank. Another of their songs, “I Hate You,” also held the No. 1 spot on M.Net M-Countdown for three weeks and rose to the top of the K-Chart of KBS Music Bank. “Heartbeat” was ranked No. 1 in the K-Chart for four weeks and was a Mutizen Song of SBS Popular Songs for three weeks. J.Y. Park's song “No Love, No More” and 2AM’s “A Friend's Confession” were also the songs released by JYP Entertainment that ranked high in the charts. Many girl groups made their debut in 2009. The first of them was 4MINUTE, a five-member girl group produced by Cube. The name of the group has two meanings: one is a promise to captivate audiences in only four minutes with each member’s charm, and the other is that they will do their best every minute. The group released its first single Hot Issue on June 15, 2009, and its first album <For Muzik> was released in August 2009, with the title track “Muzik” became a major hit. Next, the girl group f(X), created by S.M. Entertainment, debuted on September 5 with its single <La Chata>. The name of this group derives from a mathematical function, the result of which changes according to the value of x. This is supposed to represent how the members strive to give diverse performances featuring the unique talents of each member. In addition,

Your Wish,” sold over 100,000 copies, making GIRLS' GENERATION the only girl group to release three albums in a row in three years that all sold over 100,000

57

1 2PM, 1st Album <01:59PM>

1


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Chapter 3. Contemporary Korean Pop Music

3-10 2009: The Meteoric Rise of Idol Groups in Korea In 2009, GIRLS' GENERATION reached the peak of their career, and numerous girl groups made their debut. With two of their songs, “Tell Me Your Wish” and “Gee,” becoming huge hits, GIRLS' GENERATION dominated the Korean pop music scene with a fan base estimated at about one million people, spanning people of all ages. Their famous song “Gee” was written by E-Tribe. On January 10, 2009, the group held a comeback performance at Show! Music Core, which was their first performance in nine months. As soon as the song “Gee” was released, the positive reaction of their fans was overwhelming. One day after releasing the music video for “Gee” through Gom TV, it got one million views and soared to the top of numerous music charts, including M-Net, Melon, and Dosirak, in only two days. Starting in March, the song was ranked first in the charts for nine consecutive weeks, breaking the seven-week record held by BIGBANG (for “Haru Haru”) and Baek Jiyoung (for “Like Being Hit By A Bullet”). On KBS’s Music Bank, the song stood at the top for nine weeks as well, breaking the seven-week record held by Jewelry for “One More Time,” but three years later, PSY would break GIRLS' GENERATION’s nine-week record when his song “Gangnam Style” stayed at the top for 10 weeks, holding the top ranking for a total of 16 weeks overall. “Gee” won the Triple Crown on SBS’s Popular Songs, after having held the No. 1 spot for three weeks. Due to its incredible popularity, parodies of “Gee” began surfacing on the Internet and TV talk shows. Also, the skinny jeans and white T-shirts that the girls wore in the video, as well as their dance, became new trends. Their next song “Tell Me Your Wish” was released on June 22, and jumped to the top of most music charts in only four days. On June 26, the group staged a performance of the song on KBS’s Music Bank, where it was named the “Best Song of the First Half of the Year,” along with “Gee.” Following this, the group changed their image by adopting a military fashion concept over their typical feminine look. And their dance, the “Jegichagi,” became a controversial issue for how much leg it exposed, leading to the creation of numerous parodies on TV shows. In 2009, their album <Oh!>, with the title track “Tell Me

K-Pop Beyond Asia

copies. The title track of the album held the top spot of the K-Chart on KBS Music Bank and was a Mutizen Song on SBS Popular Songs for two weeks in July. The B2S TOP20, a music chart in Thailand, ranked the song No. 1 for four weeks (July 27~August 23). Also in 2009, SUPER JUNIOR, a boy group produced by S.M. Entertainment, was awarded the Grand Prize at the Golden Disk Awards for their song “Sorry, Sorry,” highlighting the success of S.M.-produced idol groups. JYP’s boy group 2PM was a great success in 2009. Their song “Again & Again” topped the charts of M.net M-Countdown, was a Mutizen Song of SBS Popular Songs for three weeks (Triple Crown), and dominated the K-Chart of KBS Music Bank. Another of their songs, “I Hate You,” also held the No. 1 spot on M.Net M-Countdown for three weeks and rose to the top of the K-Chart of KBS Music Bank. “Heartbeat” was ranked No. 1 in the K-Chart for four weeks and was a Mutizen Song of SBS Popular Songs for three weeks. J.Y. Park's song “No Love, No More” and 2AM’s “A Friend's Confession” were also the songs released by JYP Entertainment that ranked high in the charts. Many girl groups made their debut in 2009. The first of them was 4MINUTE, a five-member girl group produced by Cube. The name of the group has two meanings: one is a promise to captivate audiences in only four minutes with each member’s charm, and the other is that they will do their best every minute. The group released its first single Hot Issue on June 15, 2009, and its first album <For Muzik> was released in August 2009, with the title track “Muzik” became a major hit. Next, the girl group f(X), created by S.M. Entertainment, debuted on September 5 with its single <La Chata>. The name of this group derives from a mathematical function, the result of which changes according to the value of x. This is supposed to represent how the members strive to give diverse performances featuring the unique talents of each member. In addition,

Your Wish,” sold over 100,000 copies, making GIRLS' GENERATION the only girl group to release three albums in a row in three years that all sold over 100,000

57

1 2PM, 1st Album <01:59PM>

1


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61

the “f” stands for flower, and the “x” represent the X chromosome (female), so

“In Big Trouble” by V.O.S. of Star Empire and “Marshmallow” by IU and “8282” by

the combination of the two letters could mean “a flower that looks like a girl.”

Davichi, both of Loen Entertainment.

The goal of f(x) has always been to become the best pop dance group in Asia.

After their debut album, the group released singles of electronic music, titled “Chu~” and “NU ABO”, in November. 2NE1 of YG debuted in May with its single <Fire>, and the group’s first mini album, <2NE1 1st Mini Album>, was released on July 8. The album’s title song “I Don't Care” became a massive hit, holding top spot on the Music Bank for five weeks over other popular, well-established idol groups. KARA of DSP released a dance video of “Honey,” which was selected as the next title song by a poll of fans after the song “Pretty Girl” in February. The group performed the song for the first time at Show, Music Core and released the music video for the song on February 16. The dance for their song “Honey,” known as the “Dipping in the Honey” dance became quite popular, and the song placed high on numerous music charts. On March 5, “Honey” finally put 2NE1 at No. 1 on the M-net M-Countdown for the first time since their debut two years earlier. On March 8, the song was awarded the Mutizen Song of SBS Popular Music and ranked first on numerous public TV charts. The girl group Brown Eyed Girls made it to the top of the music video charts with their song “Abracadabra,” along with its dance, the “Arrogant Dance.” As soon as the song was released, it skyrocketed to the top of all the music charts and public TV charts, beating out 2NE1, GIRLS' GENERATION, and G-DRAGON. It was named the Song of the Month in August

2

and won the Song of the Month Award at the Cyworld Digital Music Awards as well. T-ARA of Core Entertainment made their debut in 2009 with their song “Lie,” establishing a significant fan base. After School of Pledis Entertainment and Secret of TS made their debuts in 2009 as well. Some songs that were popular that year were

1

Front Page GIRLS' GENERATION

1 f(x)

2 KARA


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Chapter 3. Contemporary Korean Pop Music

K-Pop Beyond Asia

61

the “f” stands for flower, and the “x” represent the X chromosome (female), so

“In Big Trouble” by V.O.S. of Star Empire and “Marshmallow” by IU and “8282” by

the combination of the two letters could mean “a flower that looks like a girl.”

Davichi, both of Loen Entertainment.

The goal of f(x) has always been to become the best pop dance group in Asia.

After their debut album, the group released singles of electronic music, titled “Chu~” and “NU ABO”, in November. 2NE1 of YG debuted in May with its single <Fire>, and the group’s first mini album, <2NE1 1st Mini Album>, was released on July 8. The album’s title song “I Don't Care” became a massive hit, holding top spot on the Music Bank for five weeks over other popular, well-established idol groups. KARA of DSP released a dance video of “Honey,” which was selected as the next title song by a poll of fans after the song “Pretty Girl” in February. The group performed the song for the first time at Show, Music Core and released the music video for the song on February 16. The dance for their song “Honey,” known as the “Dipping in the Honey” dance became quite popular, and the song placed high on numerous music charts. On March 5, “Honey” finally put 2NE1 at No. 1 on the M-net M-Countdown for the first time since their debut two years earlier. On March 8, the song was awarded the Mutizen Song of SBS Popular Music and ranked first on numerous public TV charts. The girl group Brown Eyed Girls made it to the top of the music video charts with their song “Abracadabra,” along with its dance, the “Arrogant Dance.” As soon as the song was released, it skyrocketed to the top of all the music charts and public TV charts, beating out 2NE1, GIRLS' GENERATION, and G-DRAGON. It was named the Song of the Month in August

2

and won the Song of the Month Award at the Cyworld Digital Music Awards as well. T-ARA of Core Entertainment made their debut in 2009 with their song “Lie,” establishing a significant fan base. After School of Pledis Entertainment and Secret of TS made their debuts in 2009 as well. Some songs that were popular that year were

1

Front Page GIRLS' GENERATION

1 f(x)

2 KARA


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63

3-11 2010: The Korean Wave in the Asian Music Market With the growing popularity of GIRLS' GENERATION, KARA, and SUPER JUNIOR in the Asian music market, the year 2010 marked a new phase in the Korean Wave. DSP’s KARA, which made K-pop popular in Japan, released <Girls’ Talk>, its first album in Japan, which rose to second place on the Oricon Daily Chart. GIRLS' GENERATION’s second single in Japan, <Gee>, shot to the top of the Oricon Daily Chart and reached second place on the Oricon Weekly Chart. The group then released <Oh!>, their second album in Korea, in February 2010. The title song “Oh!” made it onto all music charts as well as the KBS Music Bank within only seven days of its release. The song held the top spot on the K-Chart of KBS Music Bank for five weeks in a row, and was chosen as the Mutizen Song for three weeks on SBS Popular Music. In March, GIRLS' GENERATION released “Run Devil Run,” along with a teaser video, album name, and title song, through “Bugs,” a music website. Following the release of this album, the group started performing in countries across Asia. “Genie” was GIRLS' GENERATION’s debut song in Japan, ranking second on the Oricon Daily Chart. Their second song, “Gee,” was released on October 20 and rose to the top of the Oricon Daily Chart and second on the Weekly Chart, selling 60,000 copies. The group’s next songs, “Mr. Taxi” and “Run Devil Run,” were similarly successful, selling over 150,000 copies in total. In November, their song “Hoot” topped the KBS Music Bank for five weeks and was chosen as the Mutizen Song as well. miss A of JYP Entertainment made their debut in 2010. Called the “new Wonder Girls,” the group was formed for the purpose of targeting Asian markets, including China. The name of the group, which is composed of four multinational female members, stands for “miss Asia” and “A, the highest rank or ability.” Following their debut performance of the song “Bad Girl Good Girl” at M-Countdown, where they showed off their excellent singing and fantastic good looks, miss A was chosen as the “Most Loved Singing Group” by Melon, significantly boosting their popularity. The group also performed at KBS Music Bank, MBC Show! Music

Another group from JYP Entertainment, 2PM was also quite active in 2010, releasing the songs “Without U” and “I'll Be Back.” Released in May, “Without U” topped the M-Countdown for three weeks as well as the K-Chart of KBS Music Bank, and was chosen as a Mutizen Song at SBS Popular Music for two weeks. The song “I'll Be Back” managed to hold the top position on the K-Chart of KBS

Core, and SBS Popular Songs, where they captivated their audiences with their sexy fashion and mature performance, looking nothing like the new stars they were.

1 miss A

1


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3-11 2010: The Korean Wave in the Asian Music Market With the growing popularity of GIRLS' GENERATION, KARA, and SUPER JUNIOR in the Asian music market, the year 2010 marked a new phase in the Korean Wave. DSP’s KARA, which made K-pop popular in Japan, released <Girls’ Talk>, its first album in Japan, which rose to second place on the Oricon Daily Chart. GIRLS' GENERATION’s second single in Japan, <Gee>, shot to the top of the Oricon Daily Chart and reached second place on the Oricon Weekly Chart. The group then released <Oh!>, their second album in Korea, in February 2010. The title song “Oh!” made it onto all music charts as well as the KBS Music Bank within only seven days of its release. The song held the top spot on the K-Chart of KBS Music Bank for five weeks in a row, and was chosen as the Mutizen Song for three weeks on SBS Popular Music. In March, GIRLS' GENERATION released “Run Devil Run,” along with a teaser video, album name, and title song, through “Bugs,” a music website. Following the release of this album, the group started performing in countries across Asia. “Genie” was GIRLS' GENERATION’s debut song in Japan, ranking second on the Oricon Daily Chart. Their second song, “Gee,” was released on October 20 and rose to the top of the Oricon Daily Chart and second on the Weekly Chart, selling 60,000 copies. The group’s next songs, “Mr. Taxi” and “Run Devil Run,” were similarly successful, selling over 150,000 copies in total. In November, their song “Hoot” topped the KBS Music Bank for five weeks and was chosen as the Mutizen Song as well. miss A of JYP Entertainment made their debut in 2010. Called the “new Wonder Girls,” the group was formed for the purpose of targeting Asian markets, including China. The name of the group, which is composed of four multinational female members, stands for “miss Asia” and “A, the highest rank or ability.” Following their debut performance of the song “Bad Girl Good Girl” at M-Countdown, where they showed off their excellent singing and fantastic good looks, miss A was chosen as the “Most Loved Singing Group” by Melon, significantly boosting their popularity. The group also performed at KBS Music Bank, MBC Show! Music

Another group from JYP Entertainment, 2PM was also quite active in 2010, releasing the songs “Without U” and “I'll Be Back.” Released in May, “Without U” topped the M-Countdown for three weeks as well as the K-Chart of KBS Music Bank, and was chosen as a Mutizen Song at SBS Popular Music for two weeks. The song “I'll Be Back” managed to hold the top position on the K-Chart of KBS

Core, and SBS Popular Songs, where they captivated their audiences with their sexy fashion and mature performance, looking nothing like the new stars they were.

1 miss A

1


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Music Bank and M-Countdown for two weeks, and was also chosen as a Mutizen Song. The success of these songs led 2PM to be awarded the Best Male Group of the Year Award at the 12th Mnet Asian Music Awards, held in November, and the Top 10 Award at the second Melon Music Awards. Starship Entertainment’s group SISTAR, which was composed of four girls (Hyolyn, Bora, SoYou, Dasom), made its debut with the song “Push Push” in June 2010. The name “SISTAR” is a compound word formed with “sister” and “star,” expressing the members’ intention of staying as close as sisters while becoming big stars in the music industry. Their second single <Shady Girl>, became quite popular, but it was their third single <You, Such a Trifle Man> that pushed them into the spotlight as one of the greatest girl groups of K-pop. ZE:A and 9MUSES of Star Empire made their debuts in 2010. Having held concerts at 50 venues across Korea starting in October 2009, ZE:A, a nine-member boy group, released its first single <Nativity> on January 7, 2010. The group gave its official debut performance at KBS Music Bank, having already attracted significant attention with their contracts with Warner Music and Sony Music. The 9MUSES, another group with Star Empire, made their debut with the song

“No Playboy” from the first mini album <Let's Have A Party>. Star Empire said that the group was formed to serve as a gateway for the members to become singers, MCs, models, and actors. After its first performance at M-Countdown in August 2010, the nine-member group went to make television appearances and engage in other activities for three weeks. Some hit songs of 2010 by entertainment company were: “Lucifer” by SHINee and “NU ABO” by f(x) with S.M. Entertainment, and “Go Away,” “Clap Your Hands,” and “Can't Nobody” by 2NE1 with YG Entertainment. There were also “2 Differenct Tears” by Wonder Girls, “Never Let You Go” by 2AM from JYP Entertainment, and “SHOCK” by BEAST and “HUH” by 4MINUTE for Cube. Also, DSP produced “Lupin” and “Jumping” by KARA, and Core produced “Bo Peep Bo Peep” by T-ARA. Other notable songs by idol groups included Davichi’s “Time, Please Stop,” CNBLUE’s “I'm A Loner,” and Secret’s “Magic.”

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Music Bank and M-Countdown for two weeks, and was also chosen as a Mutizen Song. The success of these songs led 2PM to be awarded the Best Male Group of the Year Award at the 12th Mnet Asian Music Awards, held in November, and the Top 10 Award at the second Melon Music Awards. Starship Entertainment’s group SISTAR, which was composed of four girls (Hyolyn, Bora, SoYou, Dasom), made its debut with the song “Push Push” in June 2010. The name “SISTAR” is a compound word formed with “sister” and “star,” expressing the members’ intention of staying as close as sisters while becoming big stars in the music industry. Their second single <Shady Girl>, became quite popular, but it was their third single <You, Such a Trifle Man> that pushed them into the spotlight as one of the greatest girl groups of K-pop. ZE:A and 9MUSES of Star Empire made their debuts in 2010. Having held concerts at 50 venues across Korea starting in October 2009, ZE:A, a nine-member boy group, released its first single <Nativity> on January 7, 2010. The group gave its official debut performance at KBS Music Bank, having already attracted significant attention with their contracts with Warner Music and Sony Music. The 9MUSES, another group with Star Empire, made their debut with the song

“No Playboy” from the first mini album <Let's Have A Party>. Star Empire said that the group was formed to serve as a gateway for the members to become singers, MCs, models, and actors. After its first performance at M-Countdown in August 2010, the nine-member group went to make television appearances and engage in other activities for three weeks. Some hit songs of 2010 by entertainment company were: “Lucifer” by SHINee and “NU ABO” by f(x) with S.M. Entertainment, and “Go Away,” “Clap Your Hands,” and “Can't Nobody” by 2NE1 with YG Entertainment. There were also “2 Differenct Tears” by Wonder Girls, “Never Let You Go” by 2AM from JYP Entertainment, and “SHOCK” by BEAST and “HUH” by 4MINUTE for Cube. Also, DSP produced “Lupin” and “Jumping” by KARA, and Core produced “Bo Peep Bo Peep” by T-ARA. Other notable songs by idol groups included Davichi’s “Time, Please Stop,” CNBLUE’s “I'm A Loner,” and Secret’s “Magic.”

1

1 9MUSES

2 CNBLUE

Next Page ZE:A

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3-12 2011: The Growing Influence of Girl Groups with each Major Record Company S.M. Entertainment’s GIRLS' GENERATION had the best year of its career in 2011, when the group won Best Song of the Year at the Golden Disk Awards. Actually, that was the third consecutive year the group won the award, firmly establishing it as the greatest K-pop group of the time. As soon as the title song, “The Boys,” of its third album was released, it shot to the top of all music charts and television music-ranking programs, including Music Bank, Popular Music, and M-Countdown. It also reached the top of the Gaon Digital Chart and Billboard Korea K-pop Hot 100. After sweeping most music charts, including the Gaon Album Chart and Hanteo Chart, GIRLS' GENERATION continued to gain popularity with their next song, “Mr. Taxi,” which was first released in Japan. On June 1, 2011, the group released their first album in Japan, <Girls' Generation>. On the day of its release in Japan, 73,583 copies were sold, putting it firmly at the top of the daily album chart. The album set the record for the most albums sold in a week by a foreign artist in Japan. In total, it sold about one million copies, making GIRLS' GENERATION the first Korean girl group to earn the “Million” album certification from the Recording Industry Association of Japan, and the second Korean singers to do so in the seven years since BoA received her “Million” album certification. Also in 2011, S.M.’s boy band SUPER JUNIOR introduced the title song “Mr. Simple” from its fifth album, also titled <Mr. Simple>. The song sarcastically depicts the contemporary lifestyle of people who have become so busy with their careers that they lose their love, dreams, and goals. The album was first released online on August 2, 2011, and was in stores the following day. It led SUPER JUNIOR to win Best Group of the Year from numerous music charts, including the Gaon Chart and MAMA, showing the great capability of S.M. as a recording agency. IU, of Loen Entertainment, was also quite popular in 2011, when she earned the nickname “Everyone’s Little Sister.” The song “Good Day” from her third minialbum, <Real>, was released in December 2010, mesmerizing listeners with her

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high three-step pitch. Making her especially popular among male fans, the song was widely regarded as the best song of the year. One day after the song was released, it was already at the top at all the music charts and TV music-ranking shows, including SBS Popular Music, KBS Music Bank, and Mnet M-Countdown. Another of her single albums, <Real+>, was released in February 2011, and it also shot to the top of all music charts on the day following its release. The November release of her second album, <Last Fantasy>, with the title song “You and I,” cemented her status as a K-pop star.  miss A’s song “Good-bye Baby,” which was the title song of their first album <A Class>, topped various real-time music charts, including the Gaon Chart, soon after its release. One week from its release, it had reached the top position on several TV music-ranking shows, including M-Countdown, Music Bank, and SBS Popular Music. The dance that went with the song, known as the ”Big Snake Dance,” also became a hit. Following the success of this album, miss A began preparing to enter the Chinese market, releasing their first special edition album in Taiwan on September 30 and then later in Hong Kong. The album topped all local music charts, and the group continued engaging in promotional activities, such television appearances and fan meetings. For their efforts, they were awarded the New Star Award at the Asia Song Festival as well as the China CETV’s Top 10 Asia Stars Award.  In 2011, YG Entertainment’s 2NE1 released several new songs, including “Don't Cry,” “Lonely,” “I Am the Best,” “Hate You,” and “Ugly,” with its incredibly successful second mini-album 2NE1 <2nd Mini Album>. The group announced its entry into the Japanese market with the release of its first album in Japan, <Collection>. Although they didn’t plan to perform the song “Lonely” from their new album on TV, they did it just once on SBS Popular Music on May 29 to great public fanfare, winning them the Mutizen Song Award. The song’s music video attracted significant attention from all over the world, getting 10 million views on YouTube, which made it the most-watched video of the first half of year in Korea. 2NE1’s second single, <I Am the Best>, also ranked in the top spot on the Gaon Chart twice in a row. Its third single, <Hate You>, topped numerous realtime music charts and ranked third on the Gaon Digital Chart. The mini-album’s


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3-12 2011: The Growing Influence of Girl Groups with each Major Record Company S.M. Entertainment’s GIRLS' GENERATION had the best year of its career in 2011, when the group won Best Song of the Year at the Golden Disk Awards. Actually, that was the third consecutive year the group won the award, firmly establishing it as the greatest K-pop group of the time. As soon as the title song, “The Boys,” of its third album was released, it shot to the top of all music charts and television music-ranking programs, including Music Bank, Popular Music, and M-Countdown. It also reached the top of the Gaon Digital Chart and Billboard Korea K-pop Hot 100. After sweeping most music charts, including the Gaon Album Chart and Hanteo Chart, GIRLS' GENERATION continued to gain popularity with their next song, “Mr. Taxi,” which was first released in Japan. On June 1, 2011, the group released their first album in Japan, <Girls' Generation>. On the day of its release in Japan, 73,583 copies were sold, putting it firmly at the top of the daily album chart. The album set the record for the most albums sold in a week by a foreign artist in Japan. In total, it sold about one million copies, making GIRLS' GENERATION the first Korean girl group to earn the “Million” album certification from the Recording Industry Association of Japan, and the second Korean singers to do so in the seven years since BoA received her “Million” album certification. Also in 2011, S.M.’s boy band SUPER JUNIOR introduced the title song “Mr. Simple” from its fifth album, also titled <Mr. Simple>. The song sarcastically depicts the contemporary lifestyle of people who have become so busy with their careers that they lose their love, dreams, and goals. The album was first released online on August 2, 2011, and was in stores the following day. It led SUPER JUNIOR to win Best Group of the Year from numerous music charts, including the Gaon Chart and MAMA, showing the great capability of S.M. as a recording agency. IU, of Loen Entertainment, was also quite popular in 2011, when she earned the nickname “Everyone’s Little Sister.” The song “Good Day” from her third minialbum, <Real>, was released in December 2010, mesmerizing listeners with her

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high three-step pitch. Making her especially popular among male fans, the song was widely regarded as the best song of the year. One day after the song was released, it was already at the top at all the music charts and TV music-ranking shows, including SBS Popular Music, KBS Music Bank, and Mnet M-Countdown. Another of her single albums, <Real+>, was released in February 2011, and it also shot to the top of all music charts on the day following its release. The November release of her second album, <Last Fantasy>, with the title song “You and I,” cemented her status as a K-pop star.  miss A’s song “Good-bye Baby,” which was the title song of their first album <A Class>, topped various real-time music charts, including the Gaon Chart, soon after its release. One week from its release, it had reached the top position on several TV music-ranking shows, including M-Countdown, Music Bank, and SBS Popular Music. The dance that went with the song, known as the ”Big Snake Dance,” also became a hit. Following the success of this album, miss A began preparing to enter the Chinese market, releasing their first special edition album in Taiwan on September 30 and then later in Hong Kong. The album topped all local music charts, and the group continued engaging in promotional activities, such television appearances and fan meetings. For their efforts, they were awarded the New Star Award at the Asia Song Festival as well as the China CETV’s Top 10 Asia Stars Award.  In 2011, YG Entertainment’s 2NE1 released several new songs, including “Don't Cry,” “Lonely,” “I Am the Best,” “Hate You,” and “Ugly,” with its incredibly successful second mini-album 2NE1 <2nd Mini Album>. The group announced its entry into the Japanese market with the release of its first album in Japan, <Collection>. Although they didn’t plan to perform the song “Lonely” from their new album on TV, they did it just once on SBS Popular Music on May 29 to great public fanfare, winning them the Mutizen Song Award. The song’s music video attracted significant attention from all over the world, getting 10 million views on YouTube, which made it the most-watched video of the first half of year in Korea. 2NE1’s second single, <I Am the Best>, also ranked in the top spot on the Gaon Chart twice in a row. Its third single, <Hate You>, topped numerous realtime music charts and ranked third on the Gaon Digital Chart. The mini-album’s


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title song, “Ugly,” which was released in July, ranked fifth at the time of its

This was also the year that Cube released “Mirror, Mirror” by 4MINUTE, “Bubble

release but rose to the top of the Gaon Chart by the second week of August. Of

Pop!” by HYUNA, and “On Rainy Days” by BEAST; DSP had “Step” by KARA;

the six songs on the album, five made it to the top of the charts, establishing

Starship released “So Cool” by SISTAR; and Core produced “Roly Poly” by T-ARA.

2NE1 as one of the greatest Korean girl groups of all time. In terms of new stars by entertainment company, the year 2011 saw the Hit songs of 2011 by entertainment company include: “Mr. Simple” by SUPER

emergence of Starship’s six-member boy group Boyfriend, which debuted with

JUNIOR, “Pinocchio” by f(x), and several songs by GIRLS' GENERATION, all with

the song “Boyfriend.” Loen’s Sunny Hill made a comeback with their new album

S.M. Entertainment; “Tonight” by BIGBANG and songs by 2NE1, both with YG

<Midnight Circus>. Having originally debuted in 2007 as a three-member boy

Entertainment; and “Be My Baby” by Wonder Girls, “Hands Up” by 2PM, and

and girl group, Sunny Hill got two more female members and lost Janghyun,

“Good-bye Baby” by miss A, all with JYP Entertainment. 2PM’s second album,

who became a producer, to became a four-member girl group.

<Hands Up>, was released in digital format on June 20, 2011, and the physical

Thanks to the incredible popularity of the TV show I’m a Singer, established

album was released the next day. From that album, the song “Hands Up” stayed

singers such as Kim Bumsoo, Yim Jaebeum, and Lena Park, rose to even greater

at the top of the Music Bank chart for four weeks and reached the top spot on

heights, while C2K's new six-member boy group N-SONIC, whose name is a

M-Countdown as well. It was also chosen as the Mutizen Song for two weeks. 1

combination of “new music” and “sonic,” released its first song, “Super Boy.”

Front Page 2NE1

1 N-SONIIC

Next Page SUPER JUNIOR, 2PM


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title song, “Ugly,” which was released in July, ranked fifth at the time of its

This was also the year that Cube released “Mirror, Mirror” by 4MINUTE, “Bubble

release but rose to the top of the Gaon Chart by the second week of August. Of

Pop!” by HYUNA, and “On Rainy Days” by BEAST; DSP had “Step” by KARA;

the six songs on the album, five made it to the top of the charts, establishing

Starship released “So Cool” by SISTAR; and Core produced “Roly Poly” by T-ARA.

2NE1 as one of the greatest Korean girl groups of all time. In terms of new stars by entertainment company, the year 2011 saw the Hit songs of 2011 by entertainment company include: “Mr. Simple” by SUPER

emergence of Starship’s six-member boy group Boyfriend, which debuted with

JUNIOR, “Pinocchio” by f(x), and several songs by GIRLS' GENERATION, all with

the song “Boyfriend.” Loen’s Sunny Hill made a comeback with their new album

S.M. Entertainment; “Tonight” by BIGBANG and songs by 2NE1, both with YG

<Midnight Circus>. Having originally debuted in 2007 as a three-member boy

Entertainment; and “Be My Baby” by Wonder Girls, “Hands Up” by 2PM, and

and girl group, Sunny Hill got two more female members and lost Janghyun,

“Good-bye Baby” by miss A, all with JYP Entertainment. 2PM’s second album,

who became a producer, to became a four-member girl group.

<Hands Up>, was released in digital format on June 20, 2011, and the physical

Thanks to the incredible popularity of the TV show I’m a Singer, established

album was released the next day. From that album, the song “Hands Up” stayed

singers such as Kim Bumsoo, Yim Jaebeum, and Lena Park, rose to even greater

at the top of the Music Bank chart for four weeks and reached the top spot on

heights, while C2K's new six-member boy group N-SONIC, whose name is a

M-Countdown as well. It was also chosen as the Mutizen Song for two weeks. 1

combination of “new music” and “sonic,” released its first song, “Super Boy.”

Front Page 2NE1

1 N-SONIIC

Next Page SUPER JUNIOR, 2PM


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Chapter 3. Contemporary Korean Pop Music

3-13 2012: PSY Syndrome By far, 2012 was dominated by the artist known as “PSY” with YG Entertainment, whose success led to the spread of the so-called “PSY Syndrome” all over the world. He hit it big with the legendary song “Gangnam Style,” which put his name all the way up to the second spot on America’s Billboard Hot 100, making him the only Korean musician to have ever ranked so high on the chart. The song held second place on the chart for seven weeks from November 17, 2012, and topped the iTunes charts in numerous countries around the world, including the US and UK. As of September 27, 2012, PSY was ranked No. 1 on the UK Singles Chart, and his music video got over 1.4 billion views on YouTube, setting a record that put him in the Guinness Book. He was awarded the Best Video Award at the MTV Europe Music Awards and the New Media Award at the 40th American Music Awards. His signature dance move, known as the “Horse Dance,” gained worldwide fame. “Gangnam Style” was No. 1 for 10 weeks on KBS’ Music Bank, breaking the nine-week record held by GIRLS' GENERATION and second only to “Invisible Love” by Shin Seunghun, which held top spot for 14 weeks in a row in 1992. However, “Gangnam Style” later regained top position and held it for 16 weeks, making it the longest top-ranking song in Korean music history. SISTAR of Starship was particularly active in 2012, releasing the mini-album <Alone> in April with the title song “Alone.” This song swept all the music charts and became famous for instigating the “Crane Dance Syndrome,” which is popular even today. It ranked top place on Music Bank and Popular Music for two weeks and took the top spot on five music-ranking television programs. Also, it stayed at the top of the Billboard K-pop Chart for four weeks, making SISTAR the best Korean girl group at the time. On June 28, the group released their summer special album <Loving U>, which featured seven songs, including two new songs, “Loving U” and “Holiday” and five remakes of their previous hit songs, among which, “Alone” shot to the top of most music charts. SISTAR held their first concert, called “Femme Fatal,” at Olympic Hall in Seoul Olympic Park

Right Page PSY

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3-13 2012: PSY Syndrome By far, 2012 was dominated by the artist known as “PSY” with YG Entertainment, whose success led to the spread of the so-called “PSY Syndrome” all over the world. He hit it big with the legendary song “Gangnam Style,” which put his name all the way up to the second spot on America’s Billboard Hot 100, making him the only Korean musician to have ever ranked so high on the chart. The song held second place on the chart for seven weeks from November 17, 2012, and topped the iTunes charts in numerous countries around the world, including the US and UK. As of September 27, 2012, PSY was ranked No. 1 on the UK Singles Chart, and his music video got over 1.4 billion views on YouTube, setting a record that put him in the Guinness Book. He was awarded the Best Video Award at the MTV Europe Music Awards and the New Media Award at the 40th American Music Awards. His signature dance move, known as the “Horse Dance,” gained worldwide fame. “Gangnam Style” was No. 1 for 10 weeks on KBS’ Music Bank, breaking the nine-week record held by GIRLS' GENERATION and second only to “Invisible Love” by Shin Seunghun, which held top spot for 14 weeks in a row in 1992. However, “Gangnam Style” later regained top position and held it for 16 weeks, making it the longest top-ranking song in Korean music history. SISTAR of Starship was particularly active in 2012, releasing the mini-album <Alone> in April with the title song “Alone.” This song swept all the music charts and became famous for instigating the “Crane Dance Syndrome,” which is popular even today. It ranked top place on Music Bank and Popular Music for two weeks and took the top spot on five music-ranking television programs. Also, it stayed at the top of the Billboard K-pop Chart for four weeks, making SISTAR the best Korean girl group at the time. On June 28, the group released their summer special album <Loving U>, which featured seven songs, including two new songs, “Loving U” and “Holiday” and five remakes of their previous hit songs, among which, “Alone” shot to the top of most music charts. SISTAR held their first concert, called “Femme Fatal,” at Olympic Hall in Seoul Olympic Park

Right Page PSY

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on September 15, 2012, attracting an audience of 2,500 fans. Another of JYP Entertainment's girl group, Wonder Girls impressed their fans with the new song “Like This,” which rose to top place on the Melon Monthly Chart in June. Hit songs in 2012 by entertainment company included: “History,” the song that ushered in the brilliant debut of EXO; “Twinkle” by GIRLS' GENERATION-TTS, a group composed of GIRLS' GENERATION members Taeyeon, Tiffany, and Seohyun, and “Electric Shock” by f(x), all with S.M.; “I Love You” by 2NE1 and “Blue” and “Fantastic Baby” by BIGBANG, both with YG; and “I Don’t Need A Man” by miss A and “Like This” by Wonder Girls, both with JYP. Also, Cube Entertainment released “Trouble Maker” by Trouble Maker; Core Entertainment produced “Lovey-Dovey” and “Day By Day” by T-ARA; and FNC had “Severely” by FT Island. Fiestar, a five-member girl group with Loen that spent two years preparing for their debut, burst onto the K-pop scene with the single <Vista>. Thanks to their perfect teamwork and consistently excellent live performances, the group was awarded the Asia Star and Culture Awards at the 2012 Seoul Success Awards.

1 SISTAR

Right Page GIRLS' GENERATION-TTS

Next Page BIGBANG

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on September 15, 2012, attracting an audience of 2,500 fans. Another of JYP Entertainment's girl group, Wonder Girls impressed their fans with the new song “Like This,” which rose to top place on the Melon Monthly Chart in June. Hit songs in 2012 by entertainment company included: “History,” the song that ushered in the brilliant debut of EXO; “Twinkle” by GIRLS' GENERATION-TTS, a group composed of GIRLS' GENERATION members Taeyeon, Tiffany, and Seohyun, and “Electric Shock” by f(x), all with S.M.; “I Love You” by 2NE1 and “Blue” and “Fantastic Baby” by BIGBANG, both with YG; and “I Don’t Need A Man” by miss A and “Like This” by Wonder Girls, both with JYP. Also, Cube Entertainment released “Trouble Maker” by Trouble Maker; Core Entertainment produced “Lovey-Dovey” and “Day By Day” by T-ARA; and FNC had “Severely” by FT Island. Fiestar, a five-member girl group with Loen that spent two years preparing for their debut, burst onto the K-pop scene with the single <Vista>. Thanks to their perfect teamwork and consistently excellent live performances, the group was awarded the Asia Star and Culture Awards at the 2012 Seoul Success Awards.

1 SISTAR

Right Page GIRLS' GENERATION-TTS

Next Page BIGBANG

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3-14 2013: Competition between Old K-pop Artists and Idol Groups In the K-pop music scene, the year 2013 was a time of fierce conflict between up-and-coming boy bands and veteran singers. <XOXO>, the first studio album by EXO, one of S.M. Entertainment’s boy bands, featuring the title song “Growl,” sold about 1.5 million copies worldwide, winning the Album of the Year Award at the 2013 Mnet Asian Music Awards (MAMA). Following their debut in 2012, the boy band catapulted to stardom overnight. EXO was also honored with the Song of the Year Award at the KBS Music Festival in December 2013, followed by the Grand Prize at the Golden Disk Awards in January 16, 2014. A few days later, on January 23, the group received three more awards at the Seoul Music Awards, 2

firmly establishing themselves as a K-pop sensation by winning five of the top prizes at major K-pop music awards.

the M-Net Asian Music Awards, and “Bounce” was named Song of the Year. The song was highly praised for its excellent musical quality not only by fans but

In 2013, the success of Cho Yongpil, one

also other musicians and critics. Another hit song of 2013 was PSY’s “Gentleman,”

of the most established singers in Korea,

produced by YG Entertainment. His hit song the year before, “Gangnam Style,”

shook the K-pop industry down to its roots.

went down in Korean pop music history when its music video reached 100

In April 2013, he made a comeback with

million views on YouTube in only 40 hours after its release. And the views kept

his 19th album <Hello>. As soon as the

growing, reaching 300 million in May, 600 million in December, and is still

album hit the shelves, it dominated all of

increasing (over 700 million views as of 2014), making a major contribution to

Korea’s music charts. Furthermore, on the

the global appeal of K-pop.

day of its release, countless people of all ages stood in line at music stores to get a

Other major hit songs of 2013 by entertainment company included: “I Got a

copy, foreshadowing how this album would

Boy” and “Dancing Queen” by GIRLS' GENERATION, “Rum Pum Pum Pum” by f(x),

revive the stagnant music market. Four

and “Dream Girl” by SHINee, all with S.M., and “Missing You” and “Do You Love

years after Seo Taiji’s success in 2009, the

Me” by 2NE1 and “Crooked” by G-DRAGON, both with YG. G-DRAGON, a member

song “Bounce” was released. First made available online, the song skyrocketed to the top of the Billboard Korea K-pop Chart and reached fifth spot on Music Bank, showing that older, well-established singers still had considerable appeal. On May 3, 2014, Cho Yongpil was ranked

of boy group BIGBANG, attracted an audience of 570,000 fan from all over the 1

world for his first world tour concert series, ”2013 World Tour,” proving his star power in the eighth year of his career. Moreover, his next song “Coup d’etat” accelerated his rise to fame.

No. 1 on a TV music-ranking show for the first time in 23 years, and in December, he was named MVP of the Year by Music Bank. He also won three awards at

Front Page SHINee

1 Cho Yongpil

2 Crayon Pop


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3-14 2013: Competition between Old K-pop Artists and Idol Groups In the K-pop music scene, the year 2013 was a time of fierce conflict between up-and-coming boy bands and veteran singers. <XOXO>, the first studio album by EXO, one of S.M. Entertainment’s boy bands, featuring the title song “Growl,” sold about 1.5 million copies worldwide, winning the Album of the Year Award at the 2013 Mnet Asian Music Awards (MAMA). Following their debut in 2012, the boy band catapulted to stardom overnight. EXO was also honored with the Song of the Year Award at the KBS Music Festival in December 2013, followed by the Grand Prize at the Golden Disk Awards in January 16, 2014. A few days later, on January 23, the group received three more awards at the Seoul Music Awards, 2

firmly establishing themselves as a K-pop sensation by winning five of the top prizes at major K-pop music awards.

the M-Net Asian Music Awards, and “Bounce” was named Song of the Year. The song was highly praised for its excellent musical quality not only by fans but

In 2013, the success of Cho Yongpil, one

also other musicians and critics. Another hit song of 2013 was PSY’s “Gentleman,”

of the most established singers in Korea,

produced by YG Entertainment. His hit song the year before, “Gangnam Style,”

shook the K-pop industry down to its roots.

went down in Korean pop music history when its music video reached 100

In April 2013, he made a comeback with

million views on YouTube in only 40 hours after its release. And the views kept

his 19th album <Hello>. As soon as the

growing, reaching 300 million in May, 600 million in December, and is still

album hit the shelves, it dominated all of

increasing (over 700 million views as of 2014), making a major contribution to

Korea’s music charts. Furthermore, on the

the global appeal of K-pop.

day of its release, countless people of all ages stood in line at music stores to get a

Other major hit songs of 2013 by entertainment company included: “I Got a

copy, foreshadowing how this album would

Boy” and “Dancing Queen” by GIRLS' GENERATION, “Rum Pum Pum Pum” by f(x),

revive the stagnant music market. Four

and “Dream Girl” by SHINee, all with S.M., and “Missing You” and “Do You Love

years after Seo Taiji’s success in 2009, the

Me” by 2NE1 and “Crooked” by G-DRAGON, both with YG. G-DRAGON, a member

song “Bounce” was released. First made available online, the song skyrocketed to the top of the Billboard Korea K-pop Chart and reached fifth spot on Music Bank, showing that older, well-established singers still had considerable appeal. On May 3, 2014, Cho Yongpil was ranked

of boy group BIGBANG, attracted an audience of 570,000 fan from all over the 1

world for his first world tour concert series, ”2013 World Tour,” proving his star power in the eighth year of his career. Moreover, his next song “Coup d’etat” accelerated his rise to fame.

No. 1 on a TV music-ranking show for the first time in 23 years, and in December, he was named MVP of the Year by Music Bank. He also won three awards at

Front Page SHINee

1 Cho Yongpil

2 Crayon Pop


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Chapter 3. Contemporary Korean Pop Music

Also released in 2013 were “Hush” by miss A and “One Spring Day” by 2AM. miss A, sometimes referred to as “the second Wonder Girls,” rose to the top of the charts with “Hush,” including SBS Popular Music, M-Net M Countdown, and KBS Music Bank, and received the Main Digital Album Award at the Golden Disk Awards and the Main Award at the Seoul Music Awards. Also in 2013, Cube Entertainment released “Now (There is No Tomorrow)” by Trouble Maker, “What’s Your Name?” by 4MINUTE, and “No, No, No” by Apink. Starship Entertainment produced “Gone Not Around Any Longer,” “19” (Hyolyn and Bora), and “Give It To Me” by SISTAR. Based on its work this year, SISTAR was ranked No. 1 on the M.net Music Countdown three weeks in a row, held top spot on SBS Popular Music for two weeks, and was named the Champion Song at the MBC Music Show Champion, becoming one of the top three girl bands in Korea, along with GIRLS' GENERATION and 2NE1. In October, IU of Loen released “The Red Shoes” on her album <Modern Times>. The song was named Champion Song at MBC Music Show Champion, reached the top of SBS Popular Music, and held No. 1 on Music Countdown for two weeks. Among new K-pop groups in 2013, History, a five-member alternative boy group produced by Loen, released their debut single, Dreamer, with the goal of captivating music fans with their own unique musical style. The title song, “Dreamer (Narr. IU),” was particularly popular among fans. Mad Clown, a male rapper with Starship who debuted in 2008, started making television appearances for the release of his digital single <Stupid in Love>, made in collaboration with SoYou of SISTAR. The song “Bar Bar Bar” by Crayon Pop was a huge hit with its unique “Popping Dance.” Also in 2013, N-SONIC of C2K released their second single,<LIE>, and EP album, <Into The Light>.

Left Page G-DRAGON

Next Page f(x)

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Chapter 3. Contemporary Korean Pop Music

Also released in 2013 were “Hush” by miss A and “One Spring Day” by 2AM. miss A, sometimes referred to as “the second Wonder Girls,” rose to the top of the charts with “Hush,” including SBS Popular Music, M-Net M Countdown, and KBS Music Bank, and received the Main Digital Album Award at the Golden Disk Awards and the Main Award at the Seoul Music Awards. Also in 2013, Cube Entertainment released “Now (There is No Tomorrow)” by Trouble Maker, “What’s Your Name?” by 4MINUTE, and “No, No, No” by Apink. Starship Entertainment produced “Gone Not Around Any Longer,” “19” (Hyolyn and Bora), and “Give It To Me” by SISTAR. Based on its work this year, SISTAR was ranked No. 1 on the M.net Music Countdown three weeks in a row, held top spot on SBS Popular Music for two weeks, and was named the Champion Song at the MBC Music Show Champion, becoming one of the top three girl bands in Korea, along with GIRLS' GENERATION and 2NE1. In October, IU of Loen released “The Red Shoes” on her album <Modern Times>. The song was named Champion Song at MBC Music Show Champion, reached the top of SBS Popular Music, and held No. 1 on Music Countdown for two weeks. Among new K-pop groups in 2013, History, a five-member alternative boy group produced by Loen, released their debut single, Dreamer, with the goal of captivating music fans with their own unique musical style. The title song, “Dreamer (Narr. IU),” was particularly popular among fans. Mad Clown, a male rapper with Starship who debuted in 2008, started making television appearances for the release of his digital single <Stupid in Love>, made in collaboration with SoYou of SISTAR. The song “Bar Bar Bar” by Crayon Pop was a huge hit with its unique “Popping Dance.” Also in 2013, N-SONIC of C2K released their second single,<LIE>, and EP album, <Into The Light>.

Left Page G-DRAGON

Next Page f(x)

K-Pop Beyond Asia

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Chapter 3. Contemporary Korean Pop Music

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3-15 2014: Hit Collaborations

97

format, which involved making two songs and two music videos for the same love story but from both the man’s and woman’s perspective. Also, her duet “When Would It Be” with Yoon Hyunsang and “Summer Love” with Ulala Session were particular well-received by fans. Also, “Overdose” by EXO-K, a boy band with S.M. Entertainment, was a big hit in 2014. EXO-K became so prominent that they were awarded the Best Boy Band of the Year Award at MAMA. In June and July, YG’s Taeyang put his song “Eyes, Nose, Lips” high on the music charts, for which he was awarded Best Male Singer of the Year at MAMA. Furthermore, 2NE1, also of YG Entertainment, released “Crush,” which shot to the No. 1 spot on the online music charts, strengthening YG Entertainment’s position in the K-pop market. Another YG singer, PSY was active in 2014 as well. His music video for “Hangover,” which 1

features the world famous Snoop Dogg, got over 160 million views on YouTube, confirming his status as a global star once again.

The year 2014 was a year of numerous musical collaborations. Immediately upon its release in February 2014, “Some,” by SoYou of girl group SISTAR and

In 2014, GIRL'S DAY was recognized as one of the best girl groups for their song

hip hop singer JunggiGo, ranked on the eight major music charts, topped Music

“Something,” which performed well on all music charts and TV music ranking

Bank for five weeks, and was incredibly well-received by the public. SoYou had

programs. It was also the year when many established singers revived their

already made a splash with her duet with Geeks “Officially Missing You, Too” in

careers. Seo Taiji’s ninth album,

2012 and the X-Project single <Stupid in Love> with Mad Clown in 2013. “Erase,”

<Quiet Night>, his first in five

by Hyolyn of SISTAR and Jooyoung, was also a successful collaboration project.

years, was released on October 20, 2014. As soon as it was released,

In 2014, IU of Loen Entertainment

it stole the public spotlight. Other

r e l e a s e d a r e - m a k e a l b u m , < A F l ow e r

singers who have been active

Bookmark>, featuring her arrangement and

in the 1990s and then released

reinterpretation of hit songs of other singers,

new albums in 2014 included:

including Jo Deok-bae and Kim Chang-wan.

Kim Dongryool with <Walking

As her name implies “togetherness”—“IU”

with>; god with <Chapter 8>,

is a reference to how music brings people

its eighth album; Toy with <Da

together, she has collaborated with artists

Capo>, its seventh album; and Lee

in various genres, increasing her appeal

3

Seunghwan with <Fall to Fly>, his

across generations of all ages. For her duet album, <Sogyeokdong>, with Seo Taiji, who reappeared on the music scene after a fiveyear hiatus, she experimented with a new

2

Front Page GIRL'S DAY

1 SoYou and JunggiGo

2 IU

3 god

Next Page EXO


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Chapter 3. Contemporary Korean Pop Music

K-Pop Beyond Asia

3-15 2014: Hit Collaborations

97

format, which involved making two songs and two music videos for the same love story but from both the man’s and woman’s perspective. Also, her duet “When Would It Be” with Yoon Hyunsang and “Summer Love” with Ulala Session were particular well-received by fans. Also, “Overdose” by EXO-K, a boy band with S.M. Entertainment, was a big hit in 2014. EXO-K became so prominent that they were awarded the Best Boy Band of the Year Award at MAMA. In June and July, YG’s Taeyang put his song “Eyes, Nose, Lips” high on the music charts, for which he was awarded Best Male Singer of the Year at MAMA. Furthermore, 2NE1, also of YG Entertainment, released “Crush,” which shot to the No. 1 spot on the online music charts, strengthening YG Entertainment’s position in the K-pop market. Another YG singer, PSY was active in 2014 as well. His music video for “Hangover,” which 1

features the world famous Snoop Dogg, got over 160 million views on YouTube, confirming his status as a global star once again.

The year 2014 was a year of numerous musical collaborations. Immediately upon its release in February 2014, “Some,” by SoYou of girl group SISTAR and

In 2014, GIRL'S DAY was recognized as one of the best girl groups for their song

hip hop singer JunggiGo, ranked on the eight major music charts, topped Music

“Something,” which performed well on all music charts and TV music ranking

Bank for five weeks, and was incredibly well-received by the public. SoYou had

programs. It was also the year when many established singers revived their

already made a splash with her duet with Geeks “Officially Missing You, Too” in

careers. Seo Taiji’s ninth album,

2012 and the X-Project single <Stupid in Love> with Mad Clown in 2013. “Erase,”

<Quiet Night>, his first in five

by Hyolyn of SISTAR and Jooyoung, was also a successful collaboration project.

years, was released on October 20, 2014. As soon as it was released,

In 2014, IU of Loen Entertainment

it stole the public spotlight. Other

r e l e a s e d a r e - m a k e a l b u m , < A F l ow e r

singers who have been active

Bookmark>, featuring her arrangement and

in the 1990s and then released

reinterpretation of hit songs of other singers,

new albums in 2014 included:

including Jo Deok-bae and Kim Chang-wan.

Kim Dongryool with <Walking

As her name implies “togetherness”—“IU”

with>; god with <Chapter 8>,

is a reference to how music brings people

its eighth album; Toy with <Da

together, she has collaborated with artists

Capo>, its seventh album; and Lee

in various genres, increasing her appeal

3

Seunghwan with <Fall to Fly>, his

across generations of all ages. For her duet album, <Sogyeokdong>, with Seo Taiji, who reappeared on the music scene after a fiveyear hiatus, she experimented with a new

2

Front Page GIRL'S DAY

1 SoYou and JunggiGo

2 IU

3 god

Next Page EXO


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100

Chapter 3. Contemporary Korean Pop Music

11th album. Having been in the industry for 10 years, V.O.S., a singer/songwriter ballad band with Star Empire, released two digital singles, <Cry and Run> and <The End>, once again proving their ability as accomplished musicians. Some of the representative albums released by each entertainment company in 2014 include: <Mr. Mr.> by GIRLS' GENERATION, <Red Light> by f(x), and <Overdose> by EXO-K, all with S.M. Entertainment, and “Eyes, Nose, Lips” by Taeyang, “Come Back Home” and <Crush> by 2NE1, and “200%” by Akdong Musician, all with YG Entertainment. Akdong Musician’s debut album, <Play>, was produced by band member Lee Chanhyuk and showed the unique style of this brother and sister band. WINNER, one of YG’s new boy bands, gained recognition by handling all aspects of the creation of their own songs, including lyrics, composition, choreography, and production. After a year of preparations, they released their high-quality debut album <2014 S/S>, with title song “Empty,” for which they were awarded Rookie of the Year at MAMA. Also in 2014, JYP released <GO CRAZY!> by 2PM, while Cube produced “Red” by HYUNA, <Good Luck> and “12:30” by BEAST, and “Mr. Chu” and “LUV” by Apink. Produced by Starship Entertainment, SoYou and JunggiGo’s duet “Some” and “Touch My Body” and “I Swear” by SISTAR were huge hits in 2014. Park Hyoshin of Jellyfish Entertainment released “Wild Flower,” while IU of Loen Entertainment came out with the chart-topping songs “See You on Friday,” “The Meaning of You,” and “My Old Story.” Another singer/songwriter with Loen, Yoon Hyunsang released his first acoustic mini-album, <Pianoforte>, featuring his clear voice. Actually, Yoon Hyunsang was a participant in “SBS K-POP Star Season 1.“ Also, he released a duet with IU called “When Would It Be,” which was very well received by the public and led him to be recognized as one of the next generation of singer/songwriter along with Akdong Musician. Loen Entertainment also produced a new girl group, Melody Day. Introducing their first song, “Another Parting,” the group depicted a clear image of female

Right Page TaeYang

K-Pop Beyond Asia

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Chapter 3. Contemporary Korean Pop Music

11th album. Having been in the industry for 10 years, V.O.S., a singer/songwriter ballad band with Star Empire, released two digital singles, <Cry and Run> and <The End>, once again proving their ability as accomplished musicians. Some of the representative albums released by each entertainment company in 2014 include: <Mr. Mr.> by GIRLS' GENERATION, <Red Light> by f(x), and <Overdose> by EXO-K, all with S.M. Entertainment, and “Eyes, Nose, Lips” by Taeyang, “Come Back Home” and <Crush> by 2NE1, and “200%” by Akdong Musician, all with YG Entertainment. Akdong Musician’s debut album, <Play>, was produced by band member Lee Chanhyuk and showed the unique style of this brother and sister band. WINNER, one of YG’s new boy bands, gained recognition by handling all aspects of the creation of their own songs, including lyrics, composition, choreography, and production. After a year of preparations, they released their high-quality debut album <2014 S/S>, with title song “Empty,” for which they were awarded Rookie of the Year at MAMA. Also in 2014, JYP released <GO CRAZY!> by 2PM, while Cube produced “Red” by HYUNA, <Good Luck> and “12:30” by BEAST, and “Mr. Chu” and “LUV” by Apink. Produced by Starship Entertainment, SoYou and JunggiGo’s duet “Some” and “Touch My Body” and “I Swear” by SISTAR were huge hits in 2014. Park Hyoshin of Jellyfish Entertainment released “Wild Flower,” while IU of Loen Entertainment came out with the chart-topping songs “See You on Friday,” “The Meaning of You,” and “My Old Story.” Another singer/songwriter with Loen, Yoon Hyunsang released his first acoustic mini-album, <Pianoforte>, featuring his clear voice. Actually, Yoon Hyunsang was a participant in “SBS K-POP Star Season 1.“ Also, he released a duet with IU called “When Would It Be,” which was very well received by the public and led him to be recognized as one of the next generation of singer/songwriter along with Akdong Musician. Loen Entertainment also produced a new girl group, Melody Day. Introducing their first song, “Another Parting,” the group depicted a clear image of female

Right Page TaeYang

K-Pop Beyond Asia

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sensitivity. Star Empire’s song “So Real” served as a successful debut for V.O.S., and “My Heart Says,” the title song of their first mini album <So Real Story>, was a hit with the public. N-SONIC of C2K released their singles <Crazy>, and their title song “Crazy” was ranked at the top of the Hong Kong Metro Radio Hits Chart. Since their debut in 2011, N-SONIC has been growing and expanding their musical career in Asia by holding a concert in Japan, participating in media tours in China, and engaging in a range of other activities in Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

1 Akdong Musician

Right Page IKON

Next Page BTS, Red Velvet

1

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Chapter 3. Contemporary Korean Pop Music

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sensitivity. Star Empire’s song “So Real” served as a successful debut for V.O.S., and “My Heart Says,” the title song of their first mini album <So Real Story>, was a hit with the public. N-SONIC of C2K released their singles <Crazy>, and their title song “Crazy” was ranked at the top of the Hong Kong Metro Radio Hits Chart. Since their debut in 2011, N-SONIC has been growing and expanding their musical career in Asia by holding a concert in Japan, participating in media tours in China, and engaging in a range of other activities in Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

1 Akdong Musician

Right Page IKON

Next Page BTS, Red Velvet

1

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Chapter 3. Contemporary Korean Pop Music

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Chapter 3. Contemporary Korean Pop Music

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4

K-Pop: Evaluation and Prospects

4-1 Export-driven K-Pop, Going Beyond Korea, China, and Japan 4-2 The Spread of K-Pop through Social Media 4-3 The Global Appeal of K-Pop 4-4 K-Popâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Star-Making System 4-5 Benefits of Global Cultural Exchange beyond Asia

K-POP BEYOND ASIA


4

K-Pop: Evaluation and Prospects

4-1 Export-driven K-Pop, Going Beyond Korea, China, and Japan 4-2 The Spread of K-Pop through Social Media 4-3 The Global Appeal of K-Pop 4-4 K-Popâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Star-Making System 4-5 Benefits of Global Cultural Exchange beyond Asia

K-POP BEYOND ASIA


110

K-Pop Beyond Asia

Chapter 4. K-Pop: Evaluation and Prospects

111

Due to K-pop’s rapid growth and expansion into the global pop music market

fan base, also tried entering the pop music markets of nearby countries, such

since the late 1990s, numerous evaluations of the genre and its development

as China and Japan. Although these musicians achieved mixed results at first,

have been carried out. Some pointed out that, similar to the Korean economy’s

Korean pop music, under the new name of “K-pop,” eventually started to gain

heavy reliance on exports after the 1960s, K-pop was an export-driven cultural

recognition overseas. Since the late 2000s, there have been strong indications

industry. Some noted that the rapid development of new media, such as

that K-pop is expanding beyond China, Japan, Southeast Asia to Europe and

YouTube and SNS, in line with the IT revolution of the 21st century, made

the US. K-pop is solidifying its presence on the world stage. The past rapid,

K-pop’s remarkable progress possible, while others emphasized that K-pop

export-driven growth of the Korean economy is being outshined by the recent,

possesses both audio and visual strengths that suit the highly sensualized and

explosive growth of K-pop.

complex nature of the new media being developed. complex nature of the new media being developed.

4-2 The Spread of K-Pop through Social Media 4-1 Export-driven K-Pop, Going Beyond Korea, China, and Japan

In its early days, K-pop’s expansion was limited to East and Southeast Asia, but now it has spread throughout the world. Of course, PSY’s “Gangnam Style,” released in 2012, played a major role in making this happen, as well as the rapid spread of social media. While traditional media focused on covering new

As we saw previously, Korean idol music began leading the pop music industry

music and music with wide public appeal in order to attract as much attention

in Korea from the mid-1990s, and it was inevitable that it would expand

as possible from a limited consumer base, the recent developments in social

into overseas markets. Performing and gaining popularity domestically was

media and networking have allowed people to consume and distribute a much

important, but numerous idol groups, who had established a strong domestic

wider variety of music on a much broader scale. And this network of consumers is powerful, in that it enables people around the world to connect with each other, regardless of cultural differences or regional limits. Such was the case with “Gangnam Style.” Also, Wonder Girls was able to sign a contract with CAA, America’s largest entertainment agency, after Perez Hilton, a power blogger in America, uploaded a copy of their music video to her blog. Social media provides an incredible opportunity for not only K-pop artists but musicians in other countries in the world that are competing against Western pop music to present themselves to potential fans around the world. K-pop is an example of the success that can be achieved by acknowledging the value and characteristics of social media, and tailoring a product to suit it.

1

1 K-pop corner in Japan

Next Page PSY


110

K-Pop Beyond Asia

Chapter 4. K-Pop: Evaluation and Prospects

111

Due to K-pop’s rapid growth and expansion into the global pop music market

fan base, also tried entering the pop music markets of nearby countries, such

since the late 1990s, numerous evaluations of the genre and its development

as China and Japan. Although these musicians achieved mixed results at first,

have been carried out. Some pointed out that, similar to the Korean economy’s

Korean pop music, under the new name of “K-pop,” eventually started to gain

heavy reliance on exports after the 1960s, K-pop was an export-driven cultural

recognition overseas. Since the late 2000s, there have been strong indications

industry. Some noted that the rapid development of new media, such as

that K-pop is expanding beyond China, Japan, Southeast Asia to Europe and

YouTube and SNS, in line with the IT revolution of the 21st century, made

the US. K-pop is solidifying its presence on the world stage. The past rapid,

K-pop’s remarkable progress possible, while others emphasized that K-pop

export-driven growth of the Korean economy is being outshined by the recent,

possesses both audio and visual strengths that suit the highly sensualized and

explosive growth of K-pop.

complex nature of the new media being developed. complex nature of the new media being developed.

4-2 The Spread of K-Pop through Social Media 4-1 Export-driven K-Pop, Going Beyond Korea, China, and Japan

In its early days, K-pop’s expansion was limited to East and Southeast Asia, but now it has spread throughout the world. Of course, PSY’s “Gangnam Style,” released in 2012, played a major role in making this happen, as well as the rapid spread of social media. While traditional media focused on covering new

As we saw previously, Korean idol music began leading the pop music industry

music and music with wide public appeal in order to attract as much attention

in Korea from the mid-1990s, and it was inevitable that it would expand

as possible from a limited consumer base, the recent developments in social

into overseas markets. Performing and gaining popularity domestically was

media and networking have allowed people to consume and distribute a much

important, but numerous idol groups, who had established a strong domestic

wider variety of music on a much broader scale. And this network of consumers is powerful, in that it enables people around the world to connect with each other, regardless of cultural differences or regional limits. Such was the case with “Gangnam Style.” Also, Wonder Girls was able to sign a contract with CAA, America’s largest entertainment agency, after Perez Hilton, a power blogger in America, uploaded a copy of their music video to her blog. Social media provides an incredible opportunity for not only K-pop artists but musicians in other countries in the world that are competing against Western pop music to present themselves to potential fans around the world. K-pop is an example of the success that can be achieved by acknowledging the value and characteristics of social media, and tailoring a product to suit it.

1

1 K-pop corner in Japan

Next Page PSY


112

Chapter 4. K-Pop: Evaluation and Prospects

K-Pop Beyond Asia

113


112

Chapter 4. K-Pop: Evaluation and Prospects

K-Pop Beyond Asia

113


114

K-Pop Beyond Asia

Chapter 4. K-Pop: Evaluation and Prospects

4-3 The Global Appeal of K-Pop Since the mid-1990s, even before the use of social media became so widespread, Korea’s idol music already possessed several characteristics that would make it such a great fit for social media. These are the combination of a transnational musical style, musical chorus and group dances that are easy to follow, and unique fashion. The two idol groups that are representative of the late 1990s, H.O.T. and Sechs Kies, created hardcore rap, Euro-techno, disco-style electronic sounds, and Koreanized hip hop. Following them, SHINWHA, TVXQ!, SHINee, and BIGBANG produced a new kind of music by combining various genres based on hip hop. By accepting contemporary and trendier musical styles and expressing them in their unique and dynamic way, K-pop became more attractive to young music fans around the world. The participation of producers and composers from overseas with American and European musical sensitivities played an important role in the globalization of K-pop. Recently, more and more worldrenowned foreign producers and composers have been working with Korean idols, demonstrating that Korean musicians are capable of much more than just following the contemporary global music trend.

115

4-5 Benefits of Global Cultural Exchange beyond Asia The K-pop boom, or Hallyu, started in Asia, but the reason for this was not only geographic proximity. It is related to China and South East Asia’s reform and opening up of their economies as well as their rapid economic growth and the new international order formed after the end of the Cold War. Moreover, the birth of the largely formed “Asian Top 10 Markets” helped K-Pop spread rapidly throughout the region. Asian teenagers, who were adopting more Western and individualized perspectives and benefiting from the rapid economic growth of their countries, were attracted to K-pop when using the Internet as it comprised some of the most appealing content that was available to them at the time. Recognizing the small size of Korea’s domestic market and its fractured nature, the Korean pop music industry carried out strategic plans to develop and expand Asian pop music markets. The first generation of Hallyu and K-pop artists and performers in the late 1990s experienced mixed success, but, based on their accumulated knowledge and expertise, K-pop began to achieve consistent success in the 2000s. Before the mid-2000s, the media in Japan, China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan had showed great interest in Korean pop music, but now, media outlets from all around the world are paying close attention to

4-4 K-Pop’s Star-Making System

K-pop. In the past, it was Western and Japanese pop music that influenced Korean pop

The truth is, until the early 2000s, the dancing and singing skills of idol groups

music. And Korean musicians sought to achieve diversity in the Korean music

did not match their outstanding looks, and there were huge gaps between the

industry by recreating those songs through imitation and translation. However,

abilities of the group members. However, after the early 2000s, with the rise of

the situation has now completely reversed. Pop music fans from all around the

idol groups such as TVXQ!, GIRLS' GENERATION, and BIGBANG, each individual

world are recognizing and enjoying Korean pop music under the name of “K-pop.”

member of these groups began to earn their own fan bases with their unique

In this respect, K-pop should be acknowledged as a product of global cultural

characteristics and remarkable singing and dancing skills. This change was

exchange and communication. Moreover, K-pop does not belong to only Korea

a result of the unique star-making system created by Korea’s entertainment

or Asia, it belongs to young pop music fans all around the world.

and management companies in the early 2000s. In order for an idol group to make their debut, they must first go through a competitive audition, fierce competition, and then years of training in singing, dancing, and foreign language skills. This is how K-pop stars developed such exceptional abilities and took K-pop beyond the Korean Peninsula and onto the world stage.


114

K-Pop Beyond Asia

Chapter 4. K-Pop: Evaluation and Prospects

4-3 The Global Appeal of K-Pop Since the mid-1990s, even before the use of social media became so widespread, Korea’s idol music already possessed several characteristics that would make it such a great fit for social media. These are the combination of a transnational musical style, musical chorus and group dances that are easy to follow, and unique fashion. The two idol groups that are representative of the late 1990s, H.O.T. and Sechs Kies, created hardcore rap, Euro-techno, disco-style electronic sounds, and Koreanized hip hop. Following them, SHINWHA, TVXQ!, SHINee, and BIGBANG produced a new kind of music by combining various genres based on hip hop. By accepting contemporary and trendier musical styles and expressing them in their unique and dynamic way, K-pop became more attractive to young music fans around the world. The participation of producers and composers from overseas with American and European musical sensitivities played an important role in the globalization of K-pop. Recently, more and more worldrenowned foreign producers and composers have been working with Korean idols, demonstrating that Korean musicians are capable of much more than just following the contemporary global music trend.

115

4-5 Benefits of Global Cultural Exchange beyond Asia The K-pop boom, or Hallyu, started in Asia, but the reason for this was not only geographic proximity. It is related to China and South East Asia’s reform and opening up of their economies as well as their rapid economic growth and the new international order formed after the end of the Cold War. Moreover, the birth of the largely formed “Asian Top 10 Markets” helped K-Pop spread rapidly throughout the region. Asian teenagers, who were adopting more Western and individualized perspectives and benefiting from the rapid economic growth of their countries, were attracted to K-pop when using the Internet as it comprised some of the most appealing content that was available to them at the time. Recognizing the small size of Korea’s domestic market and its fractured nature, the Korean pop music industry carried out strategic plans to develop and expand Asian pop music markets. The first generation of Hallyu and K-pop artists and performers in the late 1990s experienced mixed success, but, based on their accumulated knowledge and expertise, K-pop began to achieve consistent success in the 2000s. Before the mid-2000s, the media in Japan, China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan had showed great interest in Korean pop music, but now, media outlets from all around the world are paying close attention to

4-4 K-Pop’s Star-Making System

K-pop. In the past, it was Western and Japanese pop music that influenced Korean pop

The truth is, until the early 2000s, the dancing and singing skills of idol groups

music. And Korean musicians sought to achieve diversity in the Korean music

did not match their outstanding looks, and there were huge gaps between the

industry by recreating those songs through imitation and translation. However,

abilities of the group members. However, after the early 2000s, with the rise of

the situation has now completely reversed. Pop music fans from all around the

idol groups such as TVXQ!, GIRLS' GENERATION, and BIGBANG, each individual

world are recognizing and enjoying Korean pop music under the name of “K-pop.”

member of these groups began to earn their own fan bases with their unique

In this respect, K-pop should be acknowledged as a product of global cultural

characteristics and remarkable singing and dancing skills. This change was

exchange and communication. Moreover, K-pop does not belong to only Korea

a result of the unique star-making system created by Korea’s entertainment

or Asia, it belongs to young pop music fans all around the world.

and management companies in the early 2000s. In order for an idol group to make their debut, they must first go through a competitive audition, fierce competition, and then years of training in singing, dancing, and foreign language skills. This is how K-pop stars developed such exceptional abilities and took K-pop beyond the Korean Peninsula and onto the world stage.


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Chapter 4. K-Pop: Evaluation and Prospects

K-Pop Beyond Asia

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Chapter 4. K-Pop: Evaluation and Prospects

K-Pop Beyond Asia

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CREDITS Published by Korean Culture and Information Service (KOCIS) Director (Assistant Minister) Younggoog Park Writer

Song Cheol-min

Produced by studio BAF Photographs Yonhap Photo 6, 7, 8, 29, 35, 39, 44, 45, 50, 54, 55, 60, 65, 80, 82, 89, 96(1), 97, 108, 108, 110, 112, 116, 118 JoongAng Photo 10, 32, 33, 34, 37, 41 S.M. Entertainment 6, 7, 17, 30, 58, 74, 83, 86, 92, 98, 106 YG Entertainment 7, 48, 70, 79, 84, 91, 101, 102, 103 JYP CORP 6, 14, 52, 57, 63, 76 STAR EMPIRE Entertainment 64, 66 YPC Production 27, 88 RAIN Company 6, 43 DreamT Entertainment 94 BIGHIT Entertainment 6, 12, 104 LOEN TREE 96(2) C2K Entertainment 72 DSP Media 61 Chrome Entertainment 7 Arts Council Korea 22 KoTPA 20 KOCIS 18, 23, 24, 25 Government Complex-Sejong, 14-1, 408, Galmae-ro, Sejong-si, Korea Tel: +82-44-203-3300 http://www.kocis.go.kr


Korean Culture No.2

The Korean Culture series is one of the Korean Culture and Information Service’s projects to furnish international readers with insights into and basic understanding of the dynamic and diverse aspects of contemporary Korean culture.

In its incipient stages, Korean pop music was strongly influenced by Western pop music, diversifying through many stages of copying, translation, and interpretation from the early 20th century. Those unique creations by experimental and creative Korean artists are now being received by international audiences in the form of “K-Pop,” an abbreviation for “Korean pop.” It is spreading beyond the regions of China, Japan, and Southeast Asia and into Europe and the United States. It is increasingly gaining recognition as something more than just a fad—as a phenomenon that has staying power with global audiences.

Korean Culture and Information Service

K - P O P Bey ond A s ia

About the series

K-POP BEYOND ASIA

What is K-Pop It was in the mid-1990s that Korean pop music first began gaining wider international attention under the name of “the Korean Wave,” or “Hallyu” in Korean. The term “K-Pop”—an abbreviation for “Korean pop”— entered wide use overseas during this period. One of the most common forms of the K-Pop song features a repetitive chorus with a synchronized group dance. Overseas fans of K-Pop copy the group dances and upload the videos onto YouTube, which promotes the rapid spread of K-Pop music.

K popbeyondasia en  
K popbeyondasia en  
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