Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Unnie's Wednesday Write Up: Understanding KPop

I know its hard to believe, but I was not always a KPop fan.  {{GASP!!}}  I know, I know.  It kind of shocks me too.  I've talked about how my addiKtion to KPop began, it all leads back to the KDrama, Heartstrings & CNBlue's Jung Yong Hwa singing to Park Shin Hye The Comfort Song & You've Fallen For Me OST's.

{TCA AddiKtion Therapy Lesson#1: For you newbies, OST is short for Original Soundtrack, you probably already knew that but just in case.  Bear with me, it's kind of my job, as one of your 2 AddiKtion Therapists.}

But the world of KPop is huge!  And complicated & there are many, many KPop groups out there & some of the groups have SO many members, I'm talking to you SuJu & GG.

{TCA AddiKtion Thereapy Lesson #2: SuJu is Super Junior & GG is Girls Generation both are incredibly successful KPop groups.  Super Junior has anywhere between 9 - 13 members, their current "official" count is 10.  Some are pursuing acting careers, one was in the military, one left etc...  Girls Generation {also known as Sonyeo Shidae or So Nyuh Shi Dae - SNSD} has 9 girls.  These two respective groups are probably the most famous (in a worldwide capacity, & have been around for quite a number of years, 2005 for SuJu & 2007  for GG, to be exact.}.  

{{WOW!!  Unnie, lesson #2 was a big lesson!!  ~Well I hope you paid close attention AddiKts, there WILL be a pop quiz!  Just kidding. giggle }}   

And I adore both groups.  For very different reasons.  But I honestly knew nothing about them until GG made an appearance on two US TV shows.  Dongsaeng texted me one morning & asked if I had watched Live w/ Kelly Ripa that morning.  I am not a day time TV talk show kind of person, so my answer was an emphatic, "no".  But she found the video clip on YouTube & sent it to me.  And then that night they were on David Letterman.  They were performing their latest song, The Boyz.  They kind of remind me of a less trampy version of The Pussycat Dolls.  Now I must admit while I do enjoy GG, sometimes they just feel way too manufactured.  They all have similar body styles, heights, coloring, & of course they're put into coordinating outfits.  It doesn't help their cause that I like my music to have an edge to it.  Before I was a KPop fan girl I was a Linkoln Park, System of a Down, Nirvana, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Green Day, Blink 182 fan girl.  I like my music to have attitude & be loud & head banging.  I did not fall into the Brittany Spears/Jessica Simpson group of listeners.  I also like Pink, Avril Lavigne, Niki Minaj.  In short I tend to like the strong female rock/rap singer to the pretty girls.  Although I absolutely love Christina Aguilera's voice.  Diva has majorly powerful lungs.

After I discovered KDrama & had watched quite a few dramas, including Secret Garden, I came across something on Viki, about a year ago, called Big Bang Parody of Secret Garden.  I had just finished SG so I thought I have to watch this!  And I did & I about died laughing.  I had to know who this Big Bang was, so I used my favorite resource since discovering the K world, Google.

{{Seriously??  What the heck did we do before Google?!?!  Oh yeah those big square shaped buildings w/ books in them called libraries.  I forgot about them.}}

And I looked up Big Bang & discovered they were a KPop group.  I looked up some of their music videos on YouTube & discovered their songs; Haru Haru & Tonight & Love Song & this meant I had found another KPop group I liked.  No...scratch that... one I LOVED!

Then this last winter our favorite K website allKpop started showing the teaser trailers for the upcoming Big Bang album.  Yay!!  And I couldn't wait for it to come out.  Dongsaeng & I were constantly texting & talking about the newest MV, first up was Blue which was beautiful.  Then we watched Bad Boy & couldn't help ourselves laughing at the introduction of G Dragon's "seaweed" hair.  But then Fantastic Baby came out & we were floored & in love!!  We could NOT stop watching this group, this song.  We each managed to hook our kids on KPop because of Fantastic Baby.  It's that good!  As soon as I was hooked on BB I found another KPop group I loved... a girl group this time.  Only they weren't all cutesy & manufactured.  2NE1.  Serious girl power.  Rock & Rap all in one girl group.  Amidst all this is when I discovered the funny hubby/wife team over at Eat Your Kimchi.  And the world of KPop exploded for me!!!  I now have 113 KPop songs {{& growing everyday}} in my iPod "KPop Playlist".

But in the world of KPop, there is a lot of manufactured groups & sounds & songs.  There are several companies that produce the music.

The top 3 KPop Manufacturers are:
YG: {Who seems to like different & unique & artists that create.}
BB, 2NE1, Tablo, Se7en, PSY & Gummy

SM Town:  {IMHO Sm is more of a 'cookie cutter' manufacturer}
Super Junior, Girls Generation, EXO, F/X & SHINee.  
These are all good groups & they really do produce fun, diverse music.  

JYP: {is the 3rd big time KPop Manufacturer} 
The Wonder Girls, {the incredibly yummy} Rain, 2AM, 2PM, Miss A & most recently JJ Project.  

Then there are the smaller, just starting out producers like:

Key East Ent: 
Kim Hyun Joong {my Hyun-y} 

C-JeS {who spend MOST of their time, not all, on}
JYJ  aka: Kim "Hero" Jaejoong, Park "Micky" Yuchun & Kim "Xiah" Junsu.

I guess you can tell from this WWU that I am partial to the YG family.

{{I mean other than my Hyun-y, he ALWAYS wins over EVERYONE!!!!  -  Uh. Unnie?  You're doing that scary thing again. ~Oh!  Sorry.  I'll try to tone it down a notch or two.~}}  

I just really like several of their artists as they appeal to me more than the other groups.  KPop is a fun, clean, sexy way to get to know Korea a little more.  Koreans love music, almost as much as they love food!!  Who doesn't love going to a Noraebang & singing along to their favorite songs & groups?  Okay I don't but Koreans love singing & dancing & they love doing it at a Noraebang.  Of course they're also heavy drinkers & therefore who cares if your entire office thinks you suck at singing, they're all drunk anyway.  Right?!?!  Noraebang + Soju = uproariously funny/off key/ not caring that you are singing like that, in front of your boss.  I don't care who ya are that's just awesome right there.   I WISH I had that kind of bravery!!

{{TCA AddiKtion Therapy Lesson #3: Noraebang is Korean for Karaoke.  And is featured prominently in A LOT of KDramas.}}

Something else that I found interesting, about KPop music, & it's artists.  Once they join the group or are picked to be a part of the group, they no longer have lives of their own.  They room w/ their group in a big dorm/house.  They are constantly working on dance moves, singing, language lessons, music lessons, making music videos, promoting the group, the album, the song, the production company they work for.  And probably 90% of them are under dating bans.  When they sign the contract they agree to no dating until such time as their production company says they can.  This includes the young groups like EXO-K, when these kids sign up in their teens & early 20s they're agreeing to no dating.  Until their company deems it okay.  Sandara Park of 2NE1 is 28 years old & YG just EXTENDED her dating ban, much to Dara's dismay.  She's been w/ 2NE1 since 2009, she was 25 at that time.  It is now 3 years later & I am betting she'd like to start having a life.  Of course, I am sure there are some that sneak in a little date time here & there but it cannot be easy to accomplish when you room with your entire band & your under constant to watch, and you're working 7 days a week on your career.  So even if they are a more manufactured sound or group, they are still worked incredibly hard & deserve that respect.

Plus, each group is assigned a "Leader" of the group.  One that is in charge of the rest of the members.  My Hyun-y was the Leader of his boy band...SS501.  Hence the nickname 'Leader'.   These kids are not out every night partying hard & sleeping around & getting out of cars without underwear like US singers & bands.  This is not to say there aren't members of the bands that aren't misbehaving.  I am sure there are but it's going to be a lot more difficult.  Besides if you screw up big in Korea, you'll get banned & your career is over.  Unlike US groups who seem to live under the concept of "there is no such thing as bad publicity".  These men & women are dedicated to their craft.  I sincerely respect that kind of dedication & devotion to following your dream.  And it kind of reminds me of Old Hollywood, when the stars were under the rule of the studio head.  You know back when Hollywood actually had glam & glitz & some class.  

So if you are looking into trying out some KPop for yourself, especially if it's for the first time, go slow.  Research the groups via YouTube.  There are so many & KPop, while new to you & slightly new to me, has actually been around since the early to mid 90s.  It has grown & morphed & mutated several times over, just like music does all over the world.  And music is an awesome way to find common ground & to find out that we all have a lot more in common than one might otherwise think.

CL of the "Leader" of 2NE1 is right...

Music is a Universal Language all on it's own.

So enjoy the music.  Dance, laugh, sing, laugh some more.  And enjoy the music.

That's it for this week's WWU AddiKts.  As always, we here at TCA appreciate your support & your love.  Now it's your turn.  Who are your favorite groups/artists?  How did you get turned on to KPop?  That handy dandy comments section down there is waiting for your comments.  OR maybe you have questions for Dongsaeng & myself or of our wonderful AddiKts?  Just post your KPop question there & we'll answer away.  But we can't recommend or answer or help if you don't ask first.

Now, because I heart you guys, I thought I'd include the SG parody videos from BB.  And then at the bottom of this post, I've embedded my YouTube playlist, as part of your KPop education.  There are around 70 MVs on there.  There has to be something you like.  LOL  And all the artists we love & listen to regularly are included on the sidebar...over there....--->  Just scroll over the black area & out pops the sidebar.  Towards the bottom is the link list of our favorite artists Official YouTube Channels.

Until next week AddiKts...


BB Secret Garden Parody Pt 1/2

 BB Secret Garden Parody Pt 2/2

Unnie's YouTube AddiKtion KPop Playlist:


  1. I absolutely love that Big Bang Secret Garden parody! For me, my KPop side started out slower. The first big push into it happened once I started watching Protect the Boss and fell head-over-heels for Jaejoong. Knowing that he was a singer led me to seeking him and his group out. At that point I discovered the video for Get Out and listened to it over and over and over again. I couldn't get enough. But even then, I still wouldn't say that I was in to KPop. I loved one song and one performer. My KPop addiKtion really truly developed with Big Bang's release of their Alive album and consequent videos. To this day, my top two bands are and forever will be Big Bang and JYJ if for no other reason than the fact that they were the ones that hooKed me. Now it is all I listen to most of the time. Any time I turn on the radio I hear the same old songs that I've heard for years. Boring. I love turning the music up loud and jamming to my favorite K-beats. And of course the kids eventually got hooKed as well. The Husband is still the last hold-out, and we'll probably never get him to our side, but at least he tolerates it sort of. KPop is awesome as was this post about it, so thank you Unnie for sharing the love of the musiK with us all!

    1. It is my pleasure Dongsaeng. I'm glad you liked the post. I was actually nervous about this one. There are no sexy pictures of kisses or Hott Oppas. GD in drag in the parody videos does not count. LOL And ME having the audacity to try to educate anyone about KPop & its exciting world was kind of scary. Especially as I am still learning myself. Learning, exploring & enjoying the adventure. So I'm glad you liked this week's WWU. And Get Out is still one of my all time favs. Every time I watch Jae sing & dance I still swoon to his yumminess. But now I appreciate the other JYJ band members just as much for their yumminess too. Now I heart my Junsu & Micky as much as your Jaejoong. And almost as much as I heart my Hyun-y. ;)

  2. Bigbang has ruined the word "FANTASTIC" for all of us VIPs. My fingers automatically add the "Baby" whenever I type that word ;)

    I started Kpop with dramas OSTs mostly. I love almost all the OSTs of the dramas that I'm shipping (most current one would be Taeyeon's Missing You Like Crazy from TK2H).

    I more of a fan of the song, instead of the singer or group.
    Even for Bigbang, their Alive album is THE album that makes me finally like them as a group. Before that I only like a few of their songs, like the oh-so-awesome Tonight.

    So it's very rare for me to really ship a singer or a group, well except Lee Seung Gi. But I ship him more his personality (1N2D) than his singing

    And then along comes Alex (he's Korean-Canadian btw, so he speaks perfect English). I first know of Alex from Hyun Bin's Late Autumn movie. Alex sang the OST for it and I just fell in love with the song and his voice. His voice is very distinctive and smooth as silk to my ears. When I dig somemore, I found out that he sang for My Name Is Kim Sam Soon's OST too, and I freaking adore that drama (Hyun Bin, Kim Sun Ah - what's not to like?)
    Then when I start watching We Got Married, Alex is one of the couple featured in WGM. Tho he's not my most favorite couple in WGM (that goes to the Ant Couple, Crown J and In Yong), but if you watch WGM, you'll see what a kind, nice, helpful and romantic guy Alex really is, I really adore him in WGM. I remember a scene where he and Shinae were having dinner at home, and then Shinae asked him to sing her a song... aigoo aigoo...spazz-fest!!!!
    I have to say Alex is the only singer whose entire songs I love completely.

    So here's some of the links of Alex' songs that I love.

    Check out how cute Alex is in this MV: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kuPSpZIZCZs
    Alex covers Oasis's Dont Look Back in Anger (my personal favorite of his live performance): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wfPXtNxcGPA&feature=related
    Alex sings to Shinae in WGM: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x9hfo9_alex-singing-like-a-child-for-shin_music?search_algo=1
    Late Autumn's OST: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFrxe7Qak2s

  3. I LOVE Alex Missy K. I have not seen him on WGM, but I Adore his voice. My other favorite is John Park, when he sings Falling oh my goodness, his voice is ah-mazing! Thank you so much for sharing the Alex love. I will definitely be checking out those links as soon as I finish this reply. :) Thank you for enabling my addiKtion to KPop. Once again I feel like a rock star. The simple act of hearing that you were interested in something I had to say makes me feel like I'm flying a million miles above the ground. Gamsahbnida!!


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