Korean pop culture

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Friday, August 8, 2014


EVER since the mega-hit track Nobody of popular Korean girl group Wonder Girls hit our shores, it seems as if KPOP came to stay. In just five short years, Korean girl and boy groups are now familiar names to Filipino music lovers.

The language barrier proves to be no hindrance to the ever rising popularity of Korean pop music not just in the Philippines, but all over the world.

Certainly, Korean pop culture isn't the first of its kind. The West has had a long standing fascination with Japanese popular culture, as seen in the leagues of loyal anime, manga, JPOP, J-Rock, and Japanese subculture fashion fans.

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Japan, too, has a very unique and colorful pop culture. However, KPOP holds the upper hand as it has seeped into youth trends, whether one is a fan of Korean music or not - everyone has heard Gangnam Style, knows what the horse dance is, and automatically thinks of Psy when they see shades and a blue suit.

The Korean pop culture stays ahead of the curve by always creating a trend instead of following a popular fad. You can see it in their music, their movies, their fashion. What's popular in Korea now is bound to be popular everywhere else in the following weeks to a month. And with keeping its title as trendsetters, KPOP keeps in check with the seasons.

July and August are the summer months, and every year, expect the most popular artists to battle each other for the summer track in KPOP. The songs are usually upbeat, dance tracks to "cool" KPOP listeners during the hot, summer months.

Girls Day, a rising quartet from DreamTea Entertainment, came back this year with a summer song, 'Darling'. Their single is both sweet to the eyes and ears as the four girls charm their fans with heart melting aegyo (cute gestures) and bright, cheery vocals.

Girls Day quickly rose to fame after releasing a string of catchy and sexy singles starting with 'Expectation,' to 'Female President,' and the first hit of 2014, 'Something.'

Darling is a different step from their signature sultry style. In the video, the girls are shown in playful scenarios such as washing a car, baking pastries in the kitchen, and playing darts.

Shortly after Girls Day's release, comes another girl group with their own summer single. SISTAR, considered one of the top KPOP girl groups following Girls Generation and 2NE1, came back with a Rado and Choi Kyu Sung-produced single, Touch My Body, taking a break from their usual producers, Brave Brothers and Duble Sidekick.

SISTAR is no stranger to delivering KPOP hits after having cemented their top tier title with their 2012 single 'Alone'.

Though Touch My Body might be considered one of the 'weaker' SISTAR singles, the quartet still proves their popularity by garnering a number of music show trophies with their song.

Though the song may not be as impressive as their summer song last year, Loving U, the music video is still a vibrant and eye-catching three and a half minutes of the girls dancing by a pool in colorful bikinis and partying with friends.

The third, but definitely not the least popular release for the summer is by Hyuna, a member of popular group 4Minute and titled as 'sexy queen of KPOP'. Hyuna strayed from the summer trend of bouncy and flirty songs and, instead, released a hip hop inspired dance track titled Red.

Hyuna, who has previously released a summer track, Bubble Pop, captured the attention of KPOP fans and non-KPOP fans alike, establishing her as a successful solo artist. Red plays to Hyuna's strengths as a soloist, focusing more on catchy hooks, rap, and dancing.

In the music video, the singer shows off her charms in a more flirty and playful manner as compared to the usual strong and sexy charisma of 4Minute. But most of all, the music video is a big splash of red as Hyuna confidently claims in her song that the bright, fiery color that embodies passion is Hyuna and Hyuna is red.

Summer is a season for the girl groups as they can take advantage of the hot season to release a catchy song coupled with a colorful video filled with eye-candy. Though boy groups try not to fall far behind and release light-hearted songs for their fans, during the months of summer, it is usually the girl groups that come out on top with their songs of the season.

As we are to enter the next season, be sure to expect songs from Korean artists to fit the mood of autumn.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on August 08, 2014.

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