Weekend Playlist: K-Pop for K-Town
One of my best kept secrets if you don’t know me very well, until recently, is my affinity for K-pop. I’m one of those, “If you name a genre, I’ll tell you 5 bands in it that I enjoy” people. My induction into the world of Hallyu was recent, but swift and effective. Once you’re hooked even just a little bit, you’re hooked. I’d like to say it’s a guilty pleasure, but I’m definitely not guilty about it. Despite the objectively questionable vocal talent of many Korean pop idols, they all work extremely hard to entertain. If there’s anything I respect, it’s good work ethic. But in the end, it’s just fun as hell to watch and listen to, especially if you follow a group closely and get to know the members. So, start your weekend off right and take a gander at some of these killer K-pop music videos.
But wait! Before we start, a quick K-pop vocab lesson, so you can make sense of the things I say about each video.
- bias: The member of a group you’re most partial to. Many will go to the grave defending their bias no matter what, it gets really intense. (i.e. Oh, you’re listening to EXID? Hani is totally my bias)
- idol: Every performer you’re about to witness. Korean pop idols are tirelessly trained from a very young age in various talents. Extremely professional and tightly supervised by the company that employs them
Without further ado, here we go!
- AOA – 사뿐사뿐(Like a Cat)
I’m very partial to AOA (short for Ace of Angels), as you can tell by my header gif selection. My AOA bias: Jimin, the rapper of the group who has short pink hair in this video. She’s known for her distinctive high pitched rapping voice (which isn’t autotuned, I might add), and she’s been writing most of her own lyrics recently. AOA’s been working with the notorious Korean producer Brave Brothers (weird name since he’s just one dude), so a lot of their 2014 comebacks were pretty formulaic, but I honestly can’t complain. It’s so catchy.
4MINUTE – 미쳐(Crazy)
I’ve never been big into 4minute, but their Crazy comeback just happened a couple days ago, and it’s probably one of the best comebacks I’ve seen since becoming a K-pop fan. The concept is amazing, the trap beat hits so hard, and they all look so badass. It’s a good omen for a post-Brave Brothers 4minute era, and I’m excited to see what they come out with from here. My 4minute bias: definitely Hyuna, again the rapper of the group. She had a killer solo moment last summer, and starts Crazy off with a really solid verse.
- f(x) – Rum Pum Pum Pum
f(x) has always been known as unique, especially coming from a company like SM, which is home to several mainstream K-pop powerhouses like Girl’s Generation and Super Junior. Their concepts have always been different, their sound changes in each comeback, and their style is hard to pin down. However, they really delivered in Rum Pum Pum Pum. My bias: Krystal, the one with the long, very red hair. My advice: wait for the chorus to hit after the Little Drummer Boy-esque breakdown. It’s worth it.
- EXO -으르렁(Growl)
Ah, what would a K-pop playlist be without what was arguably 2014’s most influential male idol group? EXO is a pretty huge group, and they’re really great dancers, as you can see here. My bias: Kai. That’s about all I need to say, EXO is… wow. Look at them go.
- Girl’s Generation: TaeTiSeo – Holler
TaeTiSeo, or TTS, is a subgroup of the aforementioned Girl’s Generation, consisting of Taeyeon, Tiffany, and Seohyun. They are basically the Destiny’s Child of K-pop (they even covered Cater 2 U). I’m obsessed with their recent Holler EP, of which this is the title track. My bias: Taeyeon, the one with the killer black coat with yellow trim– it’s a total look, I’m so here for it, she was born for this concept. Other highlights from the Holler EP are Whisper (very appropriate for Valentine’s Day) and Adrenaline.
- Sistar – Give it to Me
Sistar has been really on point lately, and gained a lot of well-deserved popularity for their recent comeback with Touch My Body. This song is reaching back a little bit into the archives, but it’s SO GOOD. My bias: Hyorin, the one who sings the Christina Aguilera-esque riff over the second part of the chorus. Sistar wowed in their live performances of this song as well, you can definitely spot Hyorin as the strongest singer in the group.
Hopefully, after getting a short glimpse into the lovely world of K-pop, you’ll keep coming back for more. It’s so fun, and the live performance videos are always a good time, if not musically awesome. Also, don’t judge me for this, everyone has their weird thing. Mine’s just more glamorous.