Open Letters

An Open Letter to K-Pop

Dear K-pop,

Um, let’s talk about how awesome K-Pop is. I mean, first of all, thank you Psy for bringing K-pop to America. You are awesome and I have no idea what you are saying on Gangham Style but I love your tuxedo and your dance moves and your horses and I’m so on board whatever it is you’re selling me. Which, at this point in time, feels like an obsession with K-Pop. I’m sold.

Sure I’ve had the newest Mumford & Sons album on loop since I bought it and I await Taylor Swift’s new singles each Tuesday like it’s Christmas and the Fourth of July and Halloween all at once (my favorite holidays combined = Taylor Swift’s latest ditty on teen angst). But I find that most of my current musical curiosity tuns to K-Pop, and researching K-Pop, and reading interesting articles about K-Pop, and thinking about how I can get into K-Pop, and exploring the amazing nail art of the amazing female stars that comprise a lot of K-Pop, and seriously where can I learn all those sick dance moves?

I want to live inside a K-Pop music video. Seriously. Every K-Pop video I have ever seen (which is so far, around seven) is so much fun. Like a madhouse where everyone is all strung-out on pixie sticks and bubblegum and there are mist machines and techno lights and explosions and also yoga and like, an animated sequence. Everyone has super awesome fun dance moves that are performed in the style of the Step Up movies, as though the dancers are competing against some other group of people dancing, (possibly the viewer?), and everyone has bright colored eyes and hair and glowing skin and wildly inventive but still fashionable outfits and holy hotdog the nail art! I mean this is just some next level nail art. I think Katy Perry could be the closest thing we have to K-Pop. Katy Perry just scratches the surface of K-Pop.

The biggest struggle I’m having with K-Pop is that I don’t know what anyone is saying but I find that I don’t even care all that much because it’s obviously all about fun. I mean this is the most fun-loving subculture I’ve seen since San Francisco’s Summer of Love in 1967, which I obviously wasn’t around for, but have imagined to be dreamy and centered around fun-loving activities.

K-Pop is polished and succinct and is adored by, like, a gazillion people all over the world. We’re all enjoying this moment together! And I am so excited that we are getting into K-Pop here in the US of A because we were super behind on the Electronic Dance Music (EDM, duh) scene and that bums me out because we’re listening to jams that club kids were blasting in Ibiza circa 2002 and it makes me feel a little bit sad for us. It’s weird how 2002 is ten years ago. What was going on in K-Pop then? Sometimes I get super bummed about how all these amazing things are happening musically all over the world but we only get some of it. I want all the music, all the time. I’m proud of us that we’ve gotten on board Psy’s train because I think he’s really onto something with those beats and the moves and that tuxedo and those horses. Mostly the horses. I want to know more about them. I hope horses are a staple in K-Pop music videos going forward.




Still image of Psy from “Gagham Style” music video via PopDust

  • Lissell Paredes

    Love your article. First I became a bit interested in K-Pop because of Rain. Now because of Gangnam Style. That song took me to watch Hyuna vids and they are so fun! That Bubblepop song and Troublemaker… good stuff.

  • Chris Martinez

    I have a super mad crush on Rain. Thank you Stephen Colbert. RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAIN! :)

  • Megan Johndreau

    i currently live in south korea, and you just can’t even imagine what kpop is like here. it’s like *nsync and britney spears on steroids (what? i grew up in the 90s). most of what i’ve learned, i’ve learned from my students. apparently, the popular artists (aside from psy) are t-ara, i-u, beast, g-dragon, 2ne1 and girls generation. although i prefer lee sang.

  • Engelin Frei

    I too got obsessed with k-pop through PSY, and now I’m a fan of BigBang, especially G-Dragon, in my opinion, he’s a genius. Anyway, I’m now studying korean and learning to write in hangul which is super fun!

  • Wilma Faye Inocencio

    i started watching k-dramas a few years ago which led me to listen to k-pop and now I’m hooked! i’ve been to 4 concerts this year, and i’m going to k-con in october, where 4minute, vixx, b.a.p., exo-m, and will be having a concert. there’s something addicting about the music – maybe because it is reminiscent of late 90’s/early 2000’s bubble gum pop, and all the good times and fads it enlivens.

  • Angela Hooper

    I love this. K-pop is pure awesome!

  • Sandra Saleh

    I love “Gangnam Style”, is a catchy and funny song, but if you want to listen to k-pop go and check Super Junior, they are awesome and gorgeous <3

  • Kristina Jacinth

    Gangnam Style is actually about the overabundance of capitalism in South Korea. It’s satire, and to be fair, if you don’t speak Korean, you wouldn’t get it. “Oppa” translates to a “bigger brother” or boyfriend (sense any patrimony?) and “Gangnam” is a place that’s equivalent to Beverly Hills or 5th Avenue. The entire song is literally about how a man longs for a woman who represents all these superficial things so that he can live the “dream” that only money can buy.

    Check out his more serious interviews to see what he’s about. Or, read this:

  • Nessa Aref

    Dunno if this article has made the rounds yet, but if your interested it sorta dissects what Gangnam Style is about:

  • Sarah Elizabeth Hawkins

    Please tell me you have watched Hyuna videos because she is the Korean princess of my heart I LOVE HER. Also anything SNSD, of course!!

  • Andrea Workman

    I love the Wonder Girls! I had never heard of them before and they were on So You Think You Can Dance one night and blew my mind! That song Nobody is hella catchy, and the dancing? Fuhgeddaboudit!

  • Allie Chambers

    K pop < J Pop, just sayin

  • Lisa Hanson

    This is EXACTLY how I feel about k-pop music. I want to be a part of it all so bad. Check out Miss A’s Breathe. Kind of an oldie but still so catchy and awesome. YAY KPOP!

  • Mark Wellgrin Marcelo

    This is a great article. I’m glad that there are other people who appreciates K-Pop even if they cannot understand the lyrics. K-Pop is awesome and you should definitely check it out, let’s start with SM Entertainment Artists like Girls’ Generation and EXO.

  • Connor Davis

    I’m just going to leave this here.

  • Jlelelr Nuffsaid

    k-pop is pure entertain.

  • Anastasia Alaniz

    I personally haven’t heard much k-pop. I’m more into j-pop and c-pop. But nice article, haha.

  • Michelle Vertatschitsch

    Most KPOP videos have versions with english subs on you-tube :) Check out Fantastic Baby (BIGBANG), if you like crazy videos

  • Alyssa Christine Lladoc

    You should come here in Australia! I’ve got so many friends listening to K-pop like 24 hours and they’ve got a lot of knowledge about it too(not me though). It is fun, but not so much a fan of K-pop and people say I should be, cause I’m Asian, but it’s just not me:) But you’ll be so interested when you get to know more about K-pop especially from my friends:) Tey’ll be non-stop talking about it.:)

  • Colleen Lowery

    I didn`t even know what Kpop was untill now. Google`d it, and loved it :)

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