I know, I know, I said in my last post that I’d write part two of my “0330” post next. I also said I’d write it much sooner than I did. But I was just busy with other things and feeling a little bit unmotivated, and today I was just too lazy to write anything long. So instead I decided to write this useless, random post that I thought up the other day, and do the 0330 Pt. 2 post another day. Today, I want to talk about the difference between music genres and styles in the Western world and Korea.
You see, in America we have very defined music genres–rock, pop, rap, hip-hop, country, blues, etc. We even have defined sub-genres–bubblegum pop, heavy metal, electro-pop, and so on. And within those we have styles, wither it be cute, emo, or what have you. And groups and artists largely stick to one genre and style. Yes, they will change once in a while, but they always stick to one main concept. I’m not saying this is a bad thing. That’s just how it works here.
It is completely different in Korea. K-pop encompasses a large range of styles and sub-genres. But bands don’t stick to just one–not even close. They’ll have three or four completely different genres in a single album. Mournful ballads, electro-pop dance tracks, cute love songs, hard rock songs, they mix it all up. It’s really weird if you’re used to Western music. They’re not even little changes–they’ll have one song one style, and the next is completely opposite. It almost throws you off. It’s insane.
You might not think this is so strange until you start applying it to our artists out here. Take, say, Eminem. He’s pretty hardcore, right? Now imagine him dressing up like a girl and singing, “Walking On Sunshine.” That is how drastic it is. Or take Ashley Tisdale, dress her up all gangsta and get her to rap. Or maybe deck out the Jonas Brothers as Lady Gaga and make them sing “Telephone” (Super Junior did this. I will not provide a link because it is too embarrassing, and I do not even recommend watching it). A little bit scary, no? Well, that’s Korean pop culture for you. But in Korea that’s totally normal (okay, not always so extreme, but pretty often).
Although Koreans are big fans of dressing up as the opposite sex (as a joke) and performing their songs/dances live, they also do have drastic changes in their style within albums, or just randomly. A few of my favourite examples are TVXQ, Super Junior, and F.Cuz. Just for kicks, I’ll provide links for all of them.
For Super Junior (who are def my best example, because they have so many albums and have been around for so long), you first see them being all sexy and intense and badass (even though I don’t like that word) in Bonamana and Don’t Don. Then you suddenly see them being cutesy and adorably lame in Haengbok and SuJu-H in Cooking? Cooking! and Pajama Party. You also see them being emotional in It’s You. They change every time I see them. It’s so crazy. A big shock was Don’t Don to Marry U, which came right after–huuuuuge difference. They have a bunch of other examples by themselves, but you can find those for yourself. Anyways, this was my first introduction to the versatility of Korean boybands. Wow. But honestly, I love every side of SuJu. I love everything about them.
For TVXQ–I don’t honestly know them that well. But first you see their intense, badass side in Mirotic, and then suddenly you see them being the exact opposite in Balloons. The second one totally caught me off guard, especially because I saw this video at the very beginning of my k-pop journey. It’s a little scary. Major transformation.
For F.Cuz, I first saw them being adorable beyond belief in Wanna Be Your Love, and then hilariously lame in Jiggy, and then intense in No One. Also weird, but again, I love it all. I also love how Jiggy and No One are on the same album, as are Wanna Be Your Love and Midnight Sun. They’re just so…opposite.
I could spend all day spewing examples. I have a few in mind. Those were just a couple from the top of my head. But enough links for now, eh? Haha. But tell me–where can you find that in Western music? Not often. Both ways are perfectly fine, just very different. And that is the end of my rant.
PS-Happy Mother’s day!