If PSY was your first introduction to Korean Popular music (hereafter referred to only as KPop) then you, my friend, have opened a Pandora’s box of music. Kpop is one of the fastest growing music genres in the world. For the sake of this article, KPop does not refer to Korean Pop music, but Korean Popular music, i.e. the more popular music in Korea right now. To make this easier to digest, we’ve broken things down into subgenres, each with musician/group recommendations for your listening pleasure.
So lets begin our journey!
The term “idol singer” does not mean someone who won a music contest show. In Korea, it means a singer who has trained under one of the massive talent agencies of Korea. The largest of these agencies are SM Entertainment, YG Entertainment, and JYP Entertainment. Idols are normally either a part of boy band, girl band, or a solo singer.
Idol boy bands are the real money makers of the KPop industry. These are boy bands in the traditional 1990s America sense of boy bands (think N’Sync, Backstreet Boys). They are groups of anywhere from 2 to 12 guys all singing and dancing and looking perfect. Boy bands will typically adopt their own personas.
First, you have the cute boy bands represented by groups like B1A4, FT Island, and Boyfriend. Then there are the cute girl bands like Orange Caramel, APink, and Kara. These guys and gals are more wholesome and produce upbeat, dancey pop music. They’re known for wearing extremely bright clothes and pulling aegyo faces so often that it might give you cavities.
Then there’s the sexy boy bands ruled majestically by groups like Big Bang, 2PM, Infinite, and MBLAQ. These guys are fighting to be just a sizzlingly hot as their sexy girl band counterparts like 2NE1, 4Minute, Sistar, and Miss A. Their music tends to be more club-oriented, with more aggressive beats and darker, sexier concepts. These guys and girls are not above showing off their *a-hem* assets in the most drool-worthy ways.
Now, I know any people with knowledge of KPop are getting your comments prepared for not seeing Girl’s Generation yet, but that’s because I consider them part of the transitional idol bands group. Groups that began as cute groups, but are slowly, and inconsistently, transitioning into sexy groups as their memebers come of age. Similar groups include Be2st (aka Beast), Wonder Girls, After School, and SHINee.
Click next for “Idol Solo Acts”
Margaret has been living and working in Seoul since 2011. Originally hailing from the United States (Maine and Tennessee, to be precise) she’s more than found a home amongst the wonders of Seoul. She eats more kimbap that could possibly be healthy for her and has a bad habit of bursting into KPop songs to which she does not know even 80% of the lyrics. Check out her blog at margarettriesbeing.com for more in-depth (that is to say, rambling) articles on Seoul How-To’s, Survival Tips, and excessive use of animated gifs.