Sunday, February 28, 2010

Thoughts on K-Pop Vol. 2: F-f-f-f-f-f-funky Music

Part two of my k-pop discussion. I don't know where to start because there are so many issues, so I'm just going to start off with this video.

This band is a new band on the K-pop scene - the one that I mentioned last time as being dismissed as ugly by kpoppers (that still gets me mad... they're so not ugly. They may not be bishies, but I'd totally date them.) Anyway, I wanted to start this post with this video because these guys are basically going on their own - not under any of the big management companies in Korea and not having gone through the rigorous training and preparation that other idols had to go through, they're very different. Their music is also different - Kpop today, while heavily influenced by hip-hop and R&B, is still mainly electropop and dance. These guys, however, are bringing in a sound that is much more similar to the R&B and hip-hop that exists in the States right now. The song above is reminiscent of Ne-Yo's Closer from two years ago (the plagiarism accusations will come up v. soon. will get to that in a bit.) what I found interesting, however, was that most people said that their music was too Americanized, and not really Korean. Thsi accusation was also made about my fave bishie band MBLAQ's debut single, Oh Yeah. THEN MTV Iggy (mainly web-based MTV section that deals in "world music" i.e. Europe and Latin America, with K-pop but no Africa *fumes) dismissed One Way for being unoriginal. WTF is everyone's hang up about originality anyway? All of these things make me wonder: what makes a genre specific to a certain country? Is there a difference between Korean hip-hop and Israeli hip-hop? (OMAGAH i just remembered i need to write about the concert I went to! I limped for a week because i was jumping up and down so hard - it was THAT good. But i digress...) I also have questions about originality - what constitutes plagiarism in the arts? (i'm taking a class on translation so i have a bit of theory to back me up but i'm probably going out on a limb here anyway)? If you're doing something similar to people in one country, but different from people in your own country, are you unoriginal? or an innovator for introducing new sounds and ideas to people? These are all questions that I hope to address in this post. My argument is essentially that originality, like authenticity, doesn't really exist, and trying to hunt it down will only result in stress and unnecessary categorizations. I'll eventually get to a defense of pop music, but maybe not just yet...

*Oneway + R&B/Hip-Hop - TaeYang comparisons - can they live, goddammit?

Justin Timberlake - Lovestoned + My Love (2006) -> Ne-Yo Closer (2008) -> One Way (2010)
Rihanna - please don't stop the music (late 2007 ) where does this fit in the matrix?
Seungri - Strong Baby (nov, 2008), Taeyang (2008/2009)
-issues of white performers copying black artists?
-fascination with black performance?

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