K-pop and “Korean Cool”: tunes hitting Seoul, Tokyo, and further afield
Michel Lebon and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
Korean pop (K-pop) is whirling its way throughout Asia and beyond because of great singers, fantastic imagery, passion, an abundance of talent, and sheer quality. Of course you will have great artists in all nations but currently it is the K-pop scene which is dynamic, forward thinking, and expressing “Korean cool.”
This article was written just before the beautiful and exquisite Kan Mi Youn releases her latest record called “Won’t Meet You” on September 29. Therefore, comments will be made once her latest tune is released but the teaser points to yet another powerful song like “Paparazzi” but with a completely different format.
Recent tunes that have made a big splash in South Korea in the last few months or have just been released include “Syndrome” by Chocolat, “So Cool” by Sistar, “Top Girl” by G.na, “I Remember” by Bang Yong Guk and “Step” by Kara. Other tunes have also hit the streets of South Korea, Japan and much further afield. However, these tracks stand out from an international point of view because of energy, connection and vibrancy.
“I Remember” by Bang Yong Guk was an instant success and the style, lyrics and video all came together. The ending of the video is a little over dramatic but the scene of the body on the ground while holding a lady was a good touch. If other tracks by Bang Yong Guk have the same energy and creativity then surely his career will bloom.
The track “I Remember” by Bang Yong Guk would certainly appeal internationally because despite the dramatic scenes of the video the singer gives you “a raw street image.”
“Syndrome” by Chocolat impacted on the charts and was full of energy and will appeal to the market it is aimed at. Not the raw energy of Bang Yong Guk but clearly a different style of music and shouldn’t really compare.
Clearly Chocolat have a bright future and “Syndrome” is a track which would do well in Japan. It will be interesting to see how these beautiful and talented ladies progress over the next twelve months because they have so much to offer and I can’t wait for their next track.
“Top Girl” by G.na was turned into a lovely track by this very elegant lady who sings with a lovely melodic voice. Energy is one thing that all these tracks have and clearly K-pop is doing this to a T.
The track “Top Girl” itself was average with regards to the lyrics but G.na made it special because of her individualistic style and vibrant nature. G.na is certainly adding to the K-pop buzz and long may she continue to bless the world with her talents.
“So Cool” by Sistar was a catchy tune but the video was a mismatch of energy, uncertainty of where it should go and then back to girl power. Music wise, a track which will appeal because of the raw energy of the group and the sex appeal adds to the dimension because they are all stunning ladies.
I get the feeling that Sistar are about to reach new heights because they certainly have something special about them. The track “So Cool” seemed to contain them in the video after reaching a high. Therefore, listening is where the power of the track belongs and these ladies provide such a positive image and work together elegantly.
“Step” by Kara had a great beat, lively lyrics despite simplicity, movement, vibrancy, and a strong connection with the listener who likes this style of music. All ladies ooze power, energy, freedom and you can feel their passion when you watch the video or you can hear their love of music when you listen to the track.
Kara is a group which is widely respected in Japan and they project such a positive image of K-pop.
Overall, in the last few months you have had many fantastic tunes coming out of the K-pop scene and clearly not all the great tracks have been mentioned. However, K-pop is rising and with so many groups and solo artists around then the future looks fantastic for “Korean cool.”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5wO8ejwVRI “Top Girl” by G.na
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zYoYoBtLqOY&ob=av2n “Step” by Kara
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ucP3UhrhF8 Chocolat – Syndrome
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nHrx5dWxcJ4 Bang Yong Guk – I Remember
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pj3q0ZChgFE Sistar – So Cool
http://www.thecnstar.com/ Magazine for latest K-pop/culture/entertainment
http://moderntokyotimes.com/2011/09/04/korean-pop-music-continues-to-hit-the-heights-in-japan/ – Article highlighting K-pop by Modern Tokyo Times
http://moderntokyotimes.com/2011/09/22/kanstyle-magazine-to-open-up-south-korean-fashion-k-pop-culture-in-japan/ – Highlighting Kanstyle Magazine