When it comes to getting into kpop, as a fan you always have that turning point. A pinnacle moment in your life where you start listening to Korean music. The discovery. Well at least that’s what it was like for me.
Most of the friends I have made are either veterans in the kpop scene or are baby fans. So all of our experiences are different from each other. Some of them were sucked in by our girls SNSD, some intrigued by PSY and his Gangnam style, and others getting swept up with BTS and BlackPink. We all have that first group that opened the Pandora’s box of kpop.
For myself that group was Got7. there isn’t anything more iconic then watching the ‘Just Right’ MV and simultaneously not knowing what is going on but trying to understand why those tiny men were in a bowl of cereal.
Before I found Kpop I was really sifting my way through different genre’s, without having one set genre that I liked. Back then I thought that was just a state of confusion but also my identity. I was listening to a mixture of metal and pop punk bands introduced to me by some college friends, rap and indie music introduced to me by university friends, and of course pop bands.
Individually, I had never really discovered music on my own, not music that I liked any way. So to suddenly click with Korean music was a shock, as apart from PSY I didn’t even really know it existed. Why is that? My discovery of Kpop was through a Try Guys video, and as they tried kpop, so did I. Now this was in 2015, Korean music wasn’t as accessible as it is now, I didn’t even know who BTS were, and I didn’t for maybe half a year after getting into the music. There was simply a lack of social awareness and representation of Asian music.
One thing I noticed from liking kpop then was the isolation. My friends hated it, they didn’t understand it therefore they were not going to interact with it. So, it was just me, myself and my Uni dorm room. Which is where I discovered my first groups. 4Minute, Got7, EXID, Red Velvet and BIGBANG.
What captured me was the cinematography, it was unlike any western music video I had ever seen. The work that goes into every detail of the music video to fit the artist, the sound and the aesthetic was outstanding. From EXID’s Ah Yeah MV to Got7’s Just Right. Everything was different. It was fresh.
Quite frankly, music in the west was starting to sound the same, and I was losing all interest in music. The excitement I got from listening to music was starting to diminish, but Korean music had something different. The different sounds and the experimentation of the artists was something I couldn’t get over. Where else could you hear a song like Red Velvet’s ‘Dumb Dumb’?
It wasn’t just the differentiating sound the music has from the West. It’s the experience you get with the music. The different concepts for the groups will get you even more hooked. Like EXO’s super powers. Each music video has a story behind it, a hidden message.
I’d never been into rap in the west, but if you take the voice of someone like HyunA, Suga, LE, there is no way you wouldn’t stop to listen to them. There are so many different voices to appreciate, Hani’s jazz tones, Chen’s high notes, Hwasa’s R&B flow. There is nothing stopping you from finding a musician you like. well maybe apart from ignorance.
Korean music, whether it’s Korean pop, rap, rock or even trot, has something amazing to offer. Kpop made me look at music differently. I listen more intently now, and i’m a lot more open to, not just different languages, but to different styles. Yes, Kpop isn’t for everyone, but maybe for a few minutes, put what you’re seeing on social media behind you for a second and click on that YouTube video, you might be surprised.