Over the last two decades, K-Pop as we know it has grown considerably. It is a grab-all title referring to popular music in Korea, but it has a distinct worldwide image. One immediately associates the word “K-Pop” with highly stylized cinematography and visual aesthetics, coupled with a group of identical looking singer-dancers performing incredibly synchronized choreography. Korean Pop music is this and more, and above all it is an art form that is modern yet uniquely Korean. It draws heavily from Western influence while retaining a modernized, east Asian flavor, and it is the nature of this synthesis that draws audiences from around the world, both online and in person. K-Pop is talked about and absorbed at an alarming rate, and it is my humble desire to figure out some of the sources at work.
I am undertaking research on K-Pop as a final project in an undergraduate class at UC Davis concerned with East Asian musics, primarily from an ethnomusicological standpoint. Core to this study is the concept of intertextuality and globalization, specifically how Western music, dance and culture have influenced K-Pop, and also how K-Pop continues to influence the world as we know it. There is a unique and powerful interplay between K-Pop and the rest of the world, and I am anxious to get started digging in.
Over the span of the next two weeks, I’d like to cover a variety of topics, including but not limited to musical influences, dance influences, the history of K-Pop, worldwide influence, and media collaborations, highlighting the ways contemporary Western aesthetics have permeated the elements of K-Pop we know to day. At the end of each blog post, I will also do a spotlight feature on a group, a song, or a video that discusses some of the aforementioned subjects as a supplement.
As of now, I only know enough tidbits of information to make me insanely interested in what we’re about to study, but as the days move forward, I hope to grow in my knowledge and understanding of how everything we are now listening to and watching are linked in ways we are yet to discover.