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A brief history of K-pop

January 19, 2017

Today I’d like to talk about music, especially one genre, K-pop, a short for Korean pop.

Korean pop music emerged at the beginning of the 1990’s and has been known worldwide for being different from  any pop music around the world for its incredible choreographies, weird outfits and massive production. The k-pop industry has many artists that are known for being created from A to Z by the companies: from the members themselves, to the style of the group and the personalities the members should have. This can be kind of shocking at first but this is only logical as everything is made to make the groups as successful as possible.

Since its beginning, it has evolved a lot, some groups disappeared letting their place to other groups , but some of them are still going strong despite being seniors. Two examples are SHINee and Big Bang, who have been active for respectively 8 and 10 years.

Big Bang is the group which contributed to making k-pop popular not only in Korea but also throughout East Asia, and the world. Under YG entertainment, they debuted in 2006 with “La-La-La”. You can watch the Music video below.

https://youtu.be/rc-cHSzK5-U

Their last release is a full album called “MADE” with the two title tracks “Last dance” and “FXXK IT”

bigbang

Last dance: https://youtu.be/–zku6TB5NY

FXXK IT : https://youtu.be/iIPH8LFYFRk

Despite being 10 years old, Big Bang is still relevant today and considered as one of the biggest and most influential group in Kpop.

Shinee also contributed to what some call “Hallyu”, or the Korean wave since their debut on May 25th 2008. They debuted under SM entertainment with their mini album and their single “Replay”, you can watch the music video below.

https://youtu.be/VTASffPQGhY

Their last releases are the album “1of1” with their title song being 1of1 and their repackage album “1and1” with the title song being “Tell me what to do”. They showed their versatility with 1of1 being a retro 90’s like pop song and Tell me what to do sporting a more r&b and edm vibe.

shinee

1of1 : https://youtu.be/WJua7KEP_oE

Tell me what to do : https://youtu.be/nchkAmc49p4

Two girl-group equivalents to Big Bang or Shinee are Wonder Girls and Girls’ Generation (also called snsd).

When they both debuted in 2007, there weren’t many girl-groups around and both contributed to making them more popular and to inspiring entertainment companies to create more of them, but also to show to the world women can have a powerful and independent image.

Wonder Girls debuted with the single “irony” on February 10th 2007. It was a success and the single stayed #1 on the Korean charts for weeks. They became the first k-pop act to enter the US charts in 2009 with the English version of their track “Nobody”.

Irony : https://youtu.be/uxFxoLxmcdg

Nobody (English version) : https://youtu.be/BA7fdSkp8ds

They came back in 2016 with a mini album entitled “Why so lonely” which is also the name of their title track.

wonder-girls

You can listen to it here : https://youtu.be/PYGODWJgR-c

Girls’ generation debuted on August 3rd 2007 with the single “Into the new world”, but their real breakthrough on both the Korean and international stages was in 2009 when they released their song “Gee” which stayed first on the Korean charts for 9 consecutive weeks and was named most popular song of the 2000’s in South Korea.

Into the new world : https://youtu.be/0k2Zzkw_-0I

Gee : https://youtu.be/U7mPqycQ0tQ

Their most recent album was released in 2015, and is called “Lion heart”. The girls promoted two songs after this release, “Lion heart” and “You think”.

snsd

Lion Heart : https://youtu.be/nVCubhQ454c

You Think : https://youtu.be/hJYGddE0vHc

Today, k-pop has evolved a lot and is now way more known worldwide; k-pop acts are organising concerts outside of Asia and more groups are climbing the billboard charts. Some major groups are Exo, BTS or Infinite for the boys; AOA, Mamamoo, Twice or Gfriend for the girls.
Kcons (short for Korean convention/concert) are being organised in the USA, in South America and Europe, k-pop is really becoming more well-known nowadays and the number of fans increases each day. CL, who used to be part of the group 2NE1, has made her official US debut this year and it is rumored more artists will choose this path as well.

Camille

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