Let KPK Introduce You To…Aaliyah

Kaetrena Davis Kendrick, M.S.L.S.

University of South Carolina Lancaster

Song: “Play Me (소나타)

Artist: Taemin

Album: Ace

Album Release Date: August 18, 2014

Press Play to Hear “Play Me (소나타)” by Taemin.

“Play Me (소나타)” echoes…

Song: “Rock the Boat”

Artist: Aaliyah

Album: Aaliyah

Album Release Date: July 7, 2001

Press Play to hear “Rock the Boat” by Aaliyah.


  • Similar use of synthesizers to bring out “floating” feeling.
  • Breathy vocals
  • Artists background vocals augmented with lower melody/harmony registers. (“ 공기가 차네요 커튼을 쳐봐요 저 달이 봐요 어서 내 그림자를 입어요” (Taemin); “Baby, I love your stroke” (Aaliyah)
  • Similar tempo and syncopation
  • Songs have definitive end (no fade out).


  • Aaliyah’s tempo carried by Latin percussive instruments (e.g, conga drums), beats, and rhythms vs. Taemin’s R&B -based human sounds (e.g. “finger-snapping”) bass drum and beats.
  • Aaliyah’s beats filled out with hi-hats vs. Taemin’s fill-outs with guitar.
  • Aaliyah’s one-note chorus line vs. Taemin’s varied chorus

Learn more about Aaliyah.

Happy Listening!

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Data Drop: Preliminary Results for Study on Longtime and Adult K-pop Fans

Image: Pixabay
Image: Pixabay

Preliminary results from an academic study on individuals who have been fans of K-pop five years or longer reveals the appeal of both new and veteran groups and a focus on vocals and choreography. 192 responses collected between September 9, 2016 and November 7, 2016 are in response to the  query, “Please list your bias (i.e. favorite) K-pop groups and solo artists and briefly explain why you like them.” The entire dataset can be accessed here.


Sechs Kies: Com’Back

Sechs Kies
Sechs Kies

Sechs Kies is one of most popular 1st-generation male K-pop “idol” groups, contemporaries of H.O.T.   The group is also one of a handful of 1st-generation “idol” groups to make a comeback after a multi-year hiatus, signing with Big Three Korean agency YG Entertainment in 2016. Attesting to the continued popularity of the group, “Hours before the 5 p.m. concert, Sechs Kies’ fans — many of whom were in their 30s and older and some accompanied by their children — swarmed Olympic Park to see their favorites stars of their youth” (Korea Herald).


NameSechs Kies, means “six pebbles” in German

MembersEun Ji Won, leader, Lee Jae Jin, Kim Jae Duk, Kang Sung Hoon, Jang Su Won, maknae

Former member: Ko Ji Yong

DebutApril 15, 1997

LabelDSP Entertainment (1997 – 2000), YG Entertainment (2016 -)

FandomPre-2016: DSF (Dear SechsKies Friend); Post-2016: YellowKies

Website:  http://www.ygfamily.com/artist/Main.asp?LANGDIV=K&ATYPE=2&ARTIDX=71


Big Bang | Psy | Mobb | Winner | IKON | Blackpink  Epik High | Akdong Musician | Lee Hi | Jinusean |




Image: 1


“Sechs Kies Calls Comeback Concert It’s ‘Dream Stage.” The Korea Herald. 12 Sept 2016, http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20160912000692 (3 Jan 2017).

45RPM: Boom Box


One of the first rap groups in South Korea, 45RPM recall the music landscape in the late 1990s: “‘Back then, there was nothing like what we call pure rap. You know how they have some sort of bridge, and then a little rap here and there. But when I started listening to LPs, I liked that with just rap, pure rap, I can express myself and thoroughly speak my mind,’ J-Kwondo said” (The Korea Herald).  Known for being staples in underground Korean hip-hop, they have collaborated with more mainstream artists, including K.Will (KpopStarz).


Name: 45RPM, 45 revolutions per minute, the speed of vinyl music

MembersJ-Kwondo (Park Jae Jin), Smash (Lee Hyun Bae)

Debut: 1999

LabelYG Entertainment (2005 – ?)

FandomSa-Sip-Oh (45 in Korean)

Website: N/A




  1. 45RPM X DJ Doc. 리기동 + STREET LIFE Performance | 2. 45RPM X DJ Soulscape: 붐박스 [Boom Box] MV | 3. 45RPM X Lee Seung Hwan: This Is Love MV | 4. 45RPM X LOCO: Performance on Mnet K-pop


Image: 1

“45RPM Still Here and Not Going Anywhere.” The Korea Herald. 22 Dec 2013. http://www.koreaherald.com/common_prog/newsprint.php?ud=20131222000132&dt=2, (3 Jan 2017).  
Jackie Chung. “Group 45RPM Releases New Song Featuring K.Will.” 15 May 2015. http://www.kpopstarz.com/articles/201427/20150515/hip-hop-45rpm-releases-new-song-love-affair-with-k-wills-featuring.htm, (3 Jan 2017).  

만나서 반갑습니다: Let KPK Introduce You To…

Kaetrena Davis Kendrick, M.S.L.S.

University of South Carolina Lancaster

BTS is pleased to meet you!

Korean popular music includes many genres – Jazz, Hip-Hop, Rock, Rhythm & Blueseven Ska and Bossa Nova. One of the reasons Kpop is so addictive and has continued its growth globally is because, despite language differences, the music seems so familiar to its listeners, particularly for non-Asian audiences. Fuhr (2015) writes, “K-pop producers strongly follow the formulaic production standards set by Western mainstream pop songs…, but they combine all the well-known elements in a way that audiences in the East and West equally seem to receive as refreshingly new but also familiar.” (pp. 238-239)

Not only do Korean producers strive to mix (and remix) Eastern and Western musical elements, they work closely with Western singer/songwriters and producers or purchase western-based music tracks for use by Korean artists (Note: purchasing tracks is a popular practice in the global music industry. Demo tracks, guide vocals, backing vocals are some terms you can search to learn more).

KPK members have noted that Kpop fans may not be familiar with why many songs sound familiar to them. This realization was crystallized when TVXQ released their strong R&B balladBefore U Go,” (2011) which includes a partial guitar riff from the Isley Brother’s songVoyage to Atlantis(1977) – many people, instead, could only reference Chris Brown’s song “Take You Down” (2008)  – which still echoes the musical composition of the aforementioned Isley Brothers song. Moreover, recognition gaps go beyond music composition to include singing styles, choreography, and song instrumentation or arrangement. Additionally, we’ve found that such oversights are glaring in academic literature, which overwhelmingly focuses on K-pop music as a political tool or economic commodity (Lee 2008, Jang & Paik 2012, and see this bibliography).

The “Let KPK Introduce You To…” blogpost series hopes to help Kpop fans discover links between what they hear in Kpop songs (or see in Kpop promotions) and the recent history of American music and popular culture – from a particular song or a musician’s vocal runs to costuming, training, dancing, or overall presentation.  The primarily audio/visual – and brief – blog posts will open with the K-pop artist song,concept, or performance and then readers will be introduced to the “why it sounds familiar” song, concept, or performance. The entry will end with brief biographical or explanatory text of the “original” artist, sound, idea, or concept. Simple right?

Part lay ethnomusicology and part historiography, the series offers a gateway for music enthusiasts to contextualize the foundation and development of Kpop music, and for critics to move beyond discussions of cultural appropriation in K-pop and toward the more likely premise of global creative collaboration.

If you’ve ever heard or seen a Kpop song, dance, styling, or presentation  and and thought “that sounds like/looks like/feels like/reminds me of…,” this series is for you! Look forward to it.


Fuhr, Michael. Globalization and popular music in South Korea: Sounding out K-pop. New York: Routledge. (2015).

Jang, Gunjoo & Won K. Paik. Korean wave as tool for Korea’s new cultural diplomacy. Advances in Applied Sociology, 2(3): 196-202. (2012).  http://file.scirp.org/Html/22229.html (16 June 2016).

Lee, Keehyeung. Mapping out the cultural politics of the “Korean Wave” in contemporary South Korea. In C.B. Huat and K. Iwabuchi (Eds.) East Asian Pop Culture: Analyzing the Korean Wave. pp. 175 – 189. Aberdeen: Hong Kong University Press. (2008).

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Eru: Love Me Even If We Separate


Eru is a Korean-American male singer, the son of popular Korean trot singer, Tae Jin Ah. Eru is the face of Hallyu in Indonesia, and “the first Korean singer to stage performance on eight different music programs in Indonesia and top the local music chart” (Global Indonesian Voices). He has also made inroads into China as a result of participating in K-drama series like Temptation, which “has become quite popular in China, which has lead to the soundtrack receiving just as much attention and love from Chinese fans. YouTube videos are being made with the Korean lyrics of the tracks being translated into Chinese” (Kpopstarz).


Name:  Eru (Jo Sung Hyun)

Members: N/A

DebutSeptember 5, 2005

Label: ?

Fandom:  Eru Fund

Website: ?




  1. Eru X Yong Jun Hyung (BEAST): I Hate You | 2. Eru X Sule: Saranghaeyo | 3. Eru X Bae Seul Ki X Kim Hyun Joong: Black Glasses | 4. Eru X J Yo: Garosugil(가로수길)


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Eru X Yong Jun Hyung (BEAST): I Hate You. 1theK. “Eru(이루) _ I Hate You(미워요) (feat. Junhyung of BEAST) MV.” YouTube. 7 Aug 2012. https://youtu.be/TtTJbd2mM0I, (9 Dec 2016).

Eru X Sule: Saranghaeyo. FalconMusicIndonesia. “Eru 이루 Ft Sule – Saranghaeyo.” YouTube. 16 Mar 2013. https://youtu.be/kQllwjfRqPE, (9 Dec 2016).

Eru X Bae Seul Ki X Kim Hyun Joong: Black Glasses. MBCkpop. “Eru – Black Glasses(feat.Bae Seul-ki, Kim Hyun-joong), 이루 – 까만 안경(feat.배슬기, 김.” YouTube. 17 Feb 2012. https://youtu.be/Sy2dFdyl2l0, (9 Dec 2016).

Eru X J Yo: Garosugil(가로수길). 1theK. “[MV] Eru(이루), J-Yo (Lucky J(럭키제이)) _ Garosu-gil(가로수길).” YouTube. 25 Feb 2015. https://youtu.be/7VHjqvCxIDU, (9 Dec 2016).  


Arvelia Yardhika Ong. “Korean Singer Eru Cast as Male Lead in Indonesian FTV.” Global Indonesian Voices. 14 Oct 2014. Evernote.

Diana Shin. “Eru’s Popularity Spreads from Indonesia to China with New Drama OST.” Kpopstarz. 18 Aug 2014. Evernote.

Wonder Girls: Nobody for Anybody

Wonder Girls
Wonder Girls

Wonder Girls often makes the list of major female K-pop groups, along with 2NE1, S.E.S and Girls Generation. The group is credited with spearheading K-pop in the United States years before Psy (Billboard). The group also features a “signature retro sound and concept, which borrows from the 60s, 70s and 80s” (POPCRUSH).


Name:  Wonder Girls, from the television show “MTV Wonder Girls” that introduced them

Members:   Sunmi, (Lee Sun Mi), Yeeun (Park Ye Eun), Yoobin (Kim Yoo Bin), Hyelim, maknae (Woo Hye Lim),

Former members: Sunye, leader (Min Sun Ye), Hyuna (Kim Hyun Ah), Sohee (Ahn So Hee)

Debut:   February 13, 2007

Label:  JYP Entertainment

Fandom:  Wonderful, a combination of wonder and full, which describes fans

Website:  http://wondergirls.jype.com


Park Jin Young | 2AM | 2PM | Miss A | Day6 | Twice | G.Soul | Got 7


  1. Wonder Girls X Big Bang: Tell Me | 2. Wonder Girls X BigBang: 2008 MBC Gayo DaeJun | 3. Wonder Girls X Dynamic Duo: Nobody/Anybody | 4. Wonder Girls X 2PM: Nobody Tango  | 5. Wonder Girls X JYP: Irony/Tell Me/She Was Pretty | 6. Wonder Girls X KARA X Black Pearl X Girls’ Generation: Battle of the Princess | 7. Yubin (Wonder Girls) X IVY: I Dance/Sonata of Temptation | 8. Yubin (Wonder Girls) X Jonghyun (SHINee): Deja-Boo | 9. Wonder Girls X 2PM X Miss A: Heartbeat


Image: 1


Jeff Benjamin. “Top 10 K-pop Girl Groups You Need To Know.” Billboard. 30 Apr 2014. Evernote.

Jeff Benjamin. “Wonder Girls Are Back!” Billboard. 24 June 2015. Evernote.

Alexis Hodoyan-Gastelum. “Wonder Girls at Nine: The Ups and Downs of K-pop’s Enduring Girl Group.” POPCRUSH. 8 Feb 2016. Evernote.


Wonder Girls X BigBang: Tell Me.  myspace.com/ippandaish. “[HQ]Big Bang & Wonder Girls – Tell Me.” YouTube. 25 Sept 2009. https://youtu.be/Y3d2AinyB9E, (12 Dec 2016).

Wonder Girls X BigBang: 2008 MBC Gayo DaeJun. yannaisVIP. “[123108]MBC Gayo DaeJun Big Bang & Wonder Girls.” YouTube. 5 Jul 2009. https://youtu.be/NjqAzEnuZo8, (12 Dec 2016).

Wonder Girls X Dynamic Duo: Nobody/Anybody. Mneet K-POP. “Wondergirls & Dynamic Duo – Nobody/Anybody.” YouTube. 14 Jul 2009. https://youtu.be/dKrU_BsEmD8, (12 Dec 2016).

Wonder Girls X 2PM: Nobody Tango. Anti SNSD 4ever. “[Vietsub] Nobody Tango – Wonder Girls ft 2PM.” YouTube. https://youtu.be/FBVrBirb4AQ, (12 Dec 2016).

Wonder Girls X JYP: Irony/Tell Me/She Was Pretty. JYPGTeam02. “[Vietsub Kara] Irony + Tell me + She was pretty – Wonder Girls feat. JYP.” YouTube. 17 Feb 2013. https://youtu.be/3QyiZt3pzaY, (12 Dec 2016).

Wonder Girls X KARA X Black Pearl X Girls’ Generation: Battle of the Princess. Viet Le. “HD Wonder Girls (원더걸스), KARA, Black Pearl, and Girls Generation-Battle of the Princess.” YouTube. 16 May 2009. https://youtu.be/1KmxJIDsXpg, (12 Dec 2016).     

Yubin (Wonder Girls) X IVY: I Dance/Sonata of Temptation. Lokyan69. “【1080P】IVY ft.Yubin(Wonder Girls)- I Dance & Sonata of Temptation (14 July,2013).’ YouTube. https://youtu.be/sQeQNFXK6Zw, (12 Dec 2016).   

Yubin (Wonder Girls) X Jonghyun (SHINee): Deja-Boo. DonghaeELFSuJu. 151227 JONGHYUN 종현 (SHINee 샤이니) (feat. Wonder Girls Yubin (원더걸스 유빈))- 데자-부 (Déjà-Boo) @ 가요대전 Live.” YouTube. https://youtu.be/JLMZgMswtRM, (12 Dec 2016).  

Wonder Girls X 2PM X Miss A: Heartbeat. jennifer cb. “2pm ft wondergirls miss a heartbeat 111 1 nhk bshi jyp nation in japan 2 11.” YouTube. 14 Dec 2011. https://youtu.be/uUx83wVZo4U, (12 Dec 2016).  

BTS: Dark and Wild


BTS is a group that draws heavily from hip-hop but is also extensively involved in the production of the group’s music. As the group released music, “the sound started to morph from the clear underground hip-hop influence that the rappers brought in to something with more balance and depth. And as the boys experimented, they all started to become more comfortable with writing their own material” (The Daily Dot). Some have characterized the group as being more outspoken than the average K-pop group: “BTS isn’t the first Korean act to speak about substantial topics, but it is one of the acts doing it in a clever, shrewd way–and it’s only getting more popular by doing so” (Fuse).

Image: 1


Name: BTS, also known as Bangtan Boys, the Korean name of the group (Bangtan Sonyeondan)  translates to Bulletproof Boy Scouts

MembersRap Monster, leader  (Kim Nam Joon), Jin (Kim Seok Jin), Suga (Min Yoon Gi), J-Hope (Jung Ho Seok), Jimin (Park Ji Min), V (Kim Tae Hyung), Jungkook, maknae  (Jeon Jeong Guk)

Debut June 13, 2013

LabelBig HIt Entertainment

FandomARMY, an acronym for Adorable Representative MC for Youth. ARMY signifies the military in English, as the body and the military are always together, so too are BTS and ARMYs



Homme | Lee Chang-min | Lee Hyun | Rap Monster | 8eight


BTS X GOT7: 2015 MAMA | 2PM X VIXX X BTS: Power Performance MV | MFBTY X LE (EXID) X SUGA (BTS) + Rap Monster (BTS) X Baro (B1A4):  2014 Letv Dream Concert | Zion T X Jungkook: KBS Collaboration | SoYou X Rap Monster X Sandeul X CNU X P.O X Kyung: 2014 KBS Song Festival | BTS X Block B: 2014 MAMA | BTS X GFriend: Family Song MV



Jeff Benjamin. “K-pop’s Social Conscience.” fuse. 4 Dec 2015. (8 Dec 2016). Evernote.

Colette Bennett. “How BTS is Changing K-pop for the Better.” The Daily Dot. 12 May. (8 Dec 2016). Evernote


BTS X GOT7: 2015 MAMA. Fatima Aliriza Aguil. “[151202] BTS and GOT7 Collaboration (Intro) + If You Do for MAMA 2015.” YouTube. 8 Dec 2015. https://youtu.be/bjZLVU-lmLE, (25 Nov 2016).

2PM X VIXX X BTS: Power Performance MV. KBS World TV. “2PM & VIXX & BTS – Power Performance [2014 KBS Song Festival / 2015.01.14].” YouTube. 23 Jan 2015. https://youtu.be/ZaE4F8R9Hag, (8 Dec 2016).

MFBTY X LE (EXID) X SUGA (BTS) + Rap Monster (BTS) X Baro (B1A4):  2014 Letv Dream Concert. “MFBTY ft. LE (EXID) + Suga + Rap Monster (BTS) + Baro (B1A4) – Monster @ Letv 2015 Dream Concert.” YouTube. 30 May 2015. https://youtu.be/kvwT7Di957Y, (8 Dec 2016).

Zion T X Jungkook: KBS Collaboration. “2015 KBS 가요대축제 1부 – Zion.T&정국(방탄소년단) – 양화대교. 20151230.” YouTube. 30 Dec 2015. https://youtu.be/VzNCyL2Tydc, (8 Dec 2016).

SoYou X Rap Monster X Sandeul X CNU X P.O X Kyung: 2014 KBS Song Festival. KBS World TV. “SoYou & Rap Monster, Sandeul, CNU, P.O, Kyung – Collaboration [2014 KBS Song Festival / 2015.01.14].” YouTube. 22 Jan 2015. https://youtu.be/yuIyTuIMvL4, (8 Dec 2016).

BTS X Block B: 2014 MAMA. Mnet K-POP. “2015 MAMA [Boys In Battle] BTS vs BlockB (2014 MAMA) 151127 EP.5.” YouTube. 30 Nov 2015. https://youtu.be/fnjQB4xpYG8, (8 Dec 2016).

BTS X GFriend: Family Song MV. Jungkookie. “[ENG SUB] BTS X GFRIEND Family song MV smart school uniform.” YouTube. 6 May 2016. https://youtu.be/z3tfGe2HH70, (8 Dec 2016).

Mini Data Note: Why Fans Like B.A.P!


Survey results suggest that BABYs, fans of the male K-pop group B. A.P, like the group because of its uniqueness, music and the extramusical activities of the members. These results come from the FAVORITE ARTIST: KARTIST3YR DATASET, part of the 3Year Korean Popular Music Survey. This data note is based on a small sample of 11 respondents.


Respondents point to the way that B.A.P differs from other K-pop “idol” groups.  One noted that “they have a different feeling to the Kpop industry” and another stated that “they don’t just have a pretty-boy sound.” This can be seen from their debut song, “Warrior.”



Respondents also referred to the group’s musical ability. One stated, “They have a wide variety of types of songs (‘Coffee Shop’ is mellow, ‘Hurricane’ is dance and ‘Badman’ is just hard).” Another stated, “They clearly have a passion for music and the music they make, even sometimes getting involved with its creation.”

Extramusical Activities

Several respondents noted the activities of the members beyond music making. One respondent noted, “They’re having a concert because of their charity works. They have the heart of helping others despite . . . their busy schedules.” Another stated, “The leader participates in helping children and the fans also participate in actions [by] UNICEF.”

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“FAVORITE ARTIST: KARTIST3YR DATASET,” KPOPCULTURE, accessed December 1, 2016, http://kpop.omeka.net/items/show/695.

TSENT 2008. “B.A.P – WARRIOR (워리어) M/V.” YouTube. 25 Jan 2012. https://youtu.be/5tLooPlf2Sw, *(9 Dec 2016).