5) The music
The brilliant thing about K-pop is it doesn’t have to deal with all that Western musical baggage like “consistency,” “authenticity,” and “credibility.” They just do whatever they want with sound as long as it’s catchy as all hell. The trend at the moment is to cram the hooks from three different songs back-to-back into one song and somewhere along the way – throw in an inexplicable dubstep breakdown. Sounds horrible right… but actually, after a while, it makes everything normal feel like child’s play.
4) The hype
A K-pop group (known as “idols”) won’t just release a “single.” They call it a “comeback” – even when they’ve only been gone for a couple months. This is how K-pop time works. Each month, seven or eight groups will make their comeback, essentially pressing the refresh button on everything that came before by competing for the most eye-catching or trendy concept out there. The dance gimmicks are flying, the music videos in-your-face, the fashun extreme – and because this is the plastic surgery capital of the world, your favourite idol might even comeback with a new face.
3) The swag
South Korea has a huge local underground hip-hop scene and it was a major influence on the rise of K-pop in the 90s and is still influential today. The beats in K-pop are no joke, and this is why you have producers like Diplo and Will.i.am down to collab. But as I said, K-pop is insane, and the swag is nothing like anything coming out of the hood. Lil’ Wayne is tame compared to someone like G Dragon. The girls rap just as much as the guys do too and they don’t have to front like Nicki to pull it off. You could see a cute 15 year old girl rapping in a sailor outfit and no one would even bat an eyelid.
2) The reality TV
Just like the Japanese, South Koreans know how to create hours of entertainment out of mindless drivel. Imagine a show where Beyonce, Rihanna, Taylor Swift and Katy Perry are sent to work on a farm together with a bunch of comedians and basically spend the whole time trolling around and falling into outhouse toilets. Or a show where all your favourite rappers play a giant and intense game of tag in an abandoned theme park. Not only that, comedians love to pull the most elaborate and intense pranks on unsuspecting K-pop stars. It’s the most excruciatingly addictive stuff… and it’s all subtitled on Youtube.
1) The fans
If you think Beliebers are bad then you need to meet K-pop fangirls and fanboys. Idols should be very afraid of their fans because once a bunch of netizens set their sights on you then shit really hits the fan. Two idols were ousted for dating when fans found a photo of the two together – through the reflection on a spoon. Another idol was recently swept up in a “straight faced controversy” for failing to greet fans with a smile. A fan recounted, “It scared us. Our hands are still shaking.” No, this is not a joke – it’s K-pop. The most insane and amazing thing happening in pop right now.