thoughts on [k]pop vol 2: the plagiarism issue
I like it. It's not particularly sing-along-able, but it's a fun song that you can't help but play over and over again. This is not surprising, since SNSD tends to only release songs that will be hits. They may not be musical masterpieces, but they're carefully crafted and succeed in capturing the ears of listeners. Then it's up to the music video and performance to catch the eyes and hearts of fans and shoot them to number one on the charts. (See my last k-pop post for more on this.) [UPDATE: MV's OUT! Watch it here - And it's pretty cool, if basic. They'll be number one though, for sure.]
The track was originally composed by American songwriters, and Kesha did a test run for them. That track leaked before SNSD's track came out, and now everyone's screaming plagiarism*. K-pop is notorious for plagiarism scandals: G-Dragon, Lee Hyori, CNBlue, Kim Jong Kook and now SNSD for the second time, have all been accused of copying someone else's work**. Though only a few of them were actually legal accusations, they still manage to stir up trouble among netizens. Then again, netizens can stir up trouble about almost anything (topic of a later post, for now read Eccentric's post on netizens in k-pop).
I think it's interesting that these issues come up at all: pop music isn't particularly concerned with making something that no-one has ever heard before. The imperative is to sell CDs/mp3s, and human nature makes it so that people will buy a song if it sounds like something they heard before and liked. Thus, they write songs that people can easily acquaint themselves with. (Case in point: one of the reasons I like this song is because it's very similar to Britney Spear's "Radar", which I really like) That being said, I still think writers of pop music succeed in keeping things original when they try hard enough.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on this: Can pop music be original? Or is it full of copycats and plagiarizers? And is k-pop particularly susceptible to plagiarism or accusations of plagiarism because it's [allegedly] a manufactured genre?
I titled this post the Pop Chronicles because I think that the best way for me to write about pop music is to break it up into bits and pieces. So I'll write a couple more posts under this heading in the coming weeks.
* Check out the comments on this article on Allkpop.com to see how heated things can get.
** I have my own opinions on each of these plagiarism scandals, but in the interest of saving space I didn't put them here. Ask me if you're interested in my take on it.