On The Passing of Jonghyun

Like many K-pop fans, the members of KPK: Kpop Kollective are extremely heavy at heart about the passing of Jonghyun. Both Kaetrena and I are Shawols, and just saw the group in Dallas.  We know that for many, SHINee was the group that introduced them to K-pop, and Jonghyun was not only an integral part of the group, but shared his songwriting gifts with others.  He will be deeply missed.

Kaetrena has written “A Little Less SHINe(e), The Big Loss of Bling,” for her blog The Ink on the Page, which I believe is entirely fitting.

For Your Reading Pleasure: A Hallyu Bibliography, Part 11: WINTER SONATA

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

University of South Carolina Lancaster

Welcome to Part 11 of my ongoing series of bibliographic entries about Hallyu.   These entries are listed by year, not by author (TIP: If you know about a title or author and you want to see if it’s included in this listing, use the CTRL + F function).

To learn more about my searching parameters, information-gathering processes, and your ability to access these items, see my earlier essay titled For Your Reading Pleasure: Introducing A Hallyu Bibliography.”  Click for Part 1 , Part 2, Part 3, Part 4,  Part 5 , Part 6, Part 7 , Part 8, Part 9, and Part 10 of the bibliography.

This is a working post, so if you would like to submit items to this list or to the bibliography, please contact me directly at kaetrena@mailbox.sc.edu

NOTE:  In order to make it easier to locate authors (and where possible), I’ve modified these APA Style citations by adding full author names where possible.

Kaori, H. (2005).  Assessing the popularity of Winter Sonata. How do women’s emotions affect the public sphere in Japan. Media Consumption and the Korean Wave in East Asia

Lee, Sue Kyung. (2005). The Korean wave in Japan: Winter sonata and its implications through audience perceptions. Thesis, University of Texas, Austin.

Kim, D. (2006). Transcending Borders: Korean Soap Opera, Winter Sonata, Effects on Japanese Middle-Aged Women. Paper presented to the 56th annual convention of the International Communication Association, Dresden, Germany, June.

Han, Min Hwa et al. (2007). Forced invisibility to negotiating visibility: Winter Sonata, the Hanyru phenomenon and Zainichi Koreans in Japan. Keio Communication Review. 29: 155-174. Accessed from http://www.mediacom.keio.ac.jp/publication/pdf2007/pdf/Min%20Wha%20HAN.pdf

Hanaki, T., A. Singhal, M. Han, D.-K. Kim and K. Chitnis. (2007) Hanryu, the Korean Wave, Sweeps East Asia: Winter Sonata, a South Korean Television Series, Grips Japan,  The International Communication Gazette 69(3): 281–94. Accessed from http://utminers.utep.edu/asinghal/Reports/Hanaki_Singhal_Han_Kim_Chitnis_Gazette_2007.pdf

Han, Benjamin Min. (2008). Reliving Winter Sonata: memory, nostalgia and identity. Post Script, 27(3). Accessed from http://www.freepatentsonline.com/article/Post-Script/191765321.html

Han, Hee Joo & Jae-Sub Lee. (2008). A Study on the KBS drama Winter Sonata and its impact on Korea’s Hallyu tourism development. Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing, 24 (2/3): 115-126. 

Kim, Samuel Seongseop, Jerome Agrusa and Kaye Chon. (2008). The effects of Korean pop culture on Hong Kong residents’ perceptions of Korea as a potential tourist destination. Journal of Travel & Tourism, 24(2/3):  163-183.

Mori, Yoshitaka. (2008). Winter Sonata and cultural practices of active fans in Japan: Considering middle-aged women as cultural agents. In C.B. Huat and K. Iwabuchi (Eds.) East Asian Pop Culture: Analyzing the Korean Wave. pp. 127-X. Aberdeen: Hong Kong University Press. 

Kim, Do Hyun et al. (2009). Television drama, narrative engagement and audience buying behavior: The Effects of Winter Sonata in Japan.The International Communication Gazette, 71(7): 1-17. Accessed from http://utminers.utep.edu/asinghal/Articles%20and%20Chapters/Kim-Singhal-et-al-2009-Winter-Sonata-0purchasing-behavior-Gazette-1.pdf

Lee, Jonghoon. (2010). Winter sonata dreams: The influence of the Korean wave on Japanese society. Thesis, Florida State University. 

Tokita, Alison. (2010). Winter Sonata and the politics of memory. In Black, D., Stephen Epstein and Alison Tokita (Eds.) Complicated Currents. Clayton, Victoria, Australia: Monash University ePress. Accessed from http://books.publishing.monash.edu/apps/bookworm/view/Complicated+Currents/122/xhtml/chapter3.html

Happy Reading!

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The Music of INFINITE

The Music of INFINITE

Crystal S. Anderson, PhD

Longwood University

Infinite consistently produces electronic pop. While they have their share of fans, their releases receive few reviews. However, “Amazing” and “The Chaser” have received a positive reception. Arnold notes: “This song is spot on when it comes to fusing Infinite’s voices and a flawless pop arrangement. It’s got a classic drum section, with a sparkly piano line that helps lift this song off of the ground.”  Nicola Rivera writes that “The Chaser” “is Infinite inside out. . . . The Infinite synths are there, the rap part is ever so slightly familiar, and the melody is so well-done. Another thing I like so much about Infinite is how they make a potentially heavy song very light and flow-y, without losing character and punch.”

Spotlight Tracks: 1. Tic Toc, Over the Top (2011) | 2. The Chaser, Infinitize (2012) | 3. Paradise,  Paradise (2011) | 4. Only Tears, Infinitize (2012) | 5. Amazing, Over the Top, (2011) | 6. Cover Girl (2012) | 7. Julia, Over the Top (2011) | Real Story, Over the Top (2011)

For more information about the music of Infinite, see the digital exhibit Infinite: Over the Top.



alice101. “INFINITE reveal which artists they want to collaborate with.” allkpop. 7 Oct 2016. http://www.allkpop.com/article/2016/10/infinite-reveal-which-artists-they-want-to-collaborate-with (28 Jul 2017).


Arnold. “[Review] ‘Over the Top’ by INFINITE.” Allkpop. 1 Aug 2011. https://www.allkpop.com/article/2011/08/review-over-the-top-by-infinite. (29 Aug 2017).

Rivera, Nicola. “INFINITE – “INFINITIZE”” Pop Reviews Now. 15 May 2012. http://popreviewsnow.blogspot.com/2012/05/infinite-infinitize.html. (5 Sept 2017).


Let KPK Introduce You to…Johnny Gill

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

University of South Carolina Lancaster

Artist: Park Hyo Shin

Press Play to Hear “어느새 (Suddenly)” from Park Hyo Shin’s album Neoclassicism (released June 2, 2005).

Park Hyo Shin’s vocal styling echoes…

Artist: Johnny Gill

Press Play to hear “Lady Dujour” from Johnny Gill’s album Let’s Get the Mood Right (released October 8, 1996).


  • Wide vocal range, from falsetto to baritone.
  • Emotional vocal tones
  • Rich R&B instrumentation and arrangement.


Learn more about Johnny Gill.

Happy Listening!

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For Your Reading Pleasure: A Hallyu Bibliography, Part 9: IMAGE

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

University of South Carolina Lancaster

Welcome to Part 9 of my ongoing series of bibliographic entries about Hallyu.   These entries are listed by year, not by author (TIP: If you know about a title or author and you want to see if it’s included in this listing, use the CTRL + F function).

To learn more about my searching parameters, information-gathering processes, and your ability to access these items, see my earlier essay titled For Your Reading Pleasure: Introducing A Hallyu Bibliography.”  Click for Part 1 , Part 2, Part 3, Part 4,  Part 5 , Part 6, Part 7 , and Part 8 of the bibliography.

This is a working post, so if you would like to submit items to this list or to the bibliography, please contact me directly at kaetrena@mailbox.sc.edu

NOTE:  In order to make it easier to locate authors (and where possible), I’ve modified these APA Style citations by adding full author names where possible.

Chung, Heejoon. (2003). Sport star vs. Rock star in globalizing popular culture: Similarities, differences and paradoxes in discussion of celebrities. International review for the Sociology of Sport, 38(1): 99-108.

Park. G. (2004). An analysis of the effects of Hanlyu reflected in street fashion in China. Korean Journal of Human Ecology, 13(6): 967-983.

Rhee, Seung Chul. (2006). The average Korean attractive face. Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, 30(6): 729-730. doi: 10.1007/s00266-006-0157-x

Tsai, Eva. (2007). Caught in the terrains: an inter-referential inquiry of trans-border stardom and fandom. Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, 8(1): 135-154. ALSO PRINTED in:  Tsai, Eva. 2007. Caught in the terrains: an inter-referential inquiry of trans-border stardom and fandom. In K-H Chen and C.B. Huat (Eds.) The Inter-Asia Cultural Studies Reader. pp.323-344. Abingdon: Routledge.

Rhee, Seung Chul, Eun Sang Dhong and Eul Sik Yoon. (2009). Photogrammatic facial analysis of attractive Korean entertainers. Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, 33(2): 167-174.

Lee Soojin. (2010). Celebrity fandom and its relationship to tourism and leisure behaviors: the case of the Korean wave. Thesis, Texas A&M University.

Kim, Joo Mee and Se Yeong Shin. (2011). The study on fashion, beauty, design and emotional image by external image type of Korean male idol stars. Fashion Business, 15(6):71-84. abstract here: http://www.papersearch.net/view/detail.asp?detail_key=1k901120

Kim, Yeran. (2011). Idol republic: the global emergence of girl industries and the commercialization of girl bodies. Journal of Gender Studies, 20(4): 333-345. DOI:10.1080/09589236.2011.617604 

Park, Judy. (2011). The aesthetic style of Korean singers in Japan: A review of Hallyu from the perspective of fashion. International Journal of Business and Social Science, 2(19): 23- 34. Accessed from http://www.ijbssnet.com/journals/Vol_2_No_19_Special_Issue_October_2011/3.pdf

Maliangkay, Roald. (2012). The token non-conformist: The packaging of Korean boy and girl bands. Presented at the Nam Center for Korean Studies’ Hallyu 2.0: The Korean Wave in the Age of Social Media Symposium. Accessed from https://www.ii.umich.edu/ncks/news-events/events/conferences—symposia/hallyu-2-0–the-korean-wave-in-the-age-of-social-media/hallyu-program/hallyu-2-0–roald-maliangkay.html 

Sung, Sang-Yeon Loise. (2012). The role of Hallyu in the construction of East Asian regional identity in Vienna. European Journal of East Asian Studies. 11(1): 155-171.

Howard, Keith. (2015). Politics, parodies, and the paradox of Psy’s ‘Gangnam Style.’ Romanian Journal of Sociological Studies, (1): 14-29. Accessed from http://journalofsociology.ro/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Full-text-pdf.1.pdf

Unger. Michael A. (2015). The aphoria of presentation: Deconstructing the genre of K-pop girl group music videos in South Korea. Journal of Popular Music Studies, 27(1): 25-47.

Kim, Suk Young. (2016). The many faces of K-pop music videos: Revues, Motown, and Broadway in ‘Twinkle.’ Journal of Popular Culture, 49(1): 136-154.

Rocha, Nayelli Lopez. (2016). The role of Hallyu as pop culture in the creation and dissemination of the contemporary Korean woman’s image. Portes: Revista Mexicana de estudios sobre la Cuenca del Pacifico, 9(18): 171-195. Accessed 16 June 2016 from http://revistasacademicas.ucol.mx/index.php/portes/article/view/412

Happy Reading!

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3 Useful Things To Know About Cultural Appropriation and K-pop

3 Useful Things To Know About Cultural Appropriation and K-pop


It was great to be a part of the “Black Popular Music and K-pop” panel at #KCON17LA. The session was lively! In light of that discussion, here are three things that may be useful as people continue to think about the session or for those who could not attend. The session was important, not just for black K-pop fans to voice their experiences, but for ALL fans of K-pop, since we are getting joy from the influence of black popular music on K-pop.

What is Cultural Appropriation….REALLY?

Cultural appropriation is a term that comes from academia, used in a variety of scholarly fields, where it was a neutral concept. In Cultural Appropriation and the Arts, James O. Young notes that it has since come to mean something different:

It does not necessarily carry with it any moral baggage. Someone might prefer to use the concept of cultural appropriation to designate an objectionable class of transactions. Such people would distinguish cultural appropriation from cultural exchange or cultural borrowing, which could be unobjectionable. (5)

Young goes on to apply the concept “to any use of something developed in one cultural context by someone who belongs to another culture” (5). This is neutral. However, when people use the term in relation to K-pop, they often tend to do so to point out negative appropriation, where the cultural use is objectionable.

BUT, appropriation is inevitable when cultures come into contact with each other. Young says, “Almost all artists engage in some sort of appropriation in that they borrow ideas, motifs, plots, technical devices, and so forth from other artists (4).

So how can we tell the difference between the inevitable cultural exchange and negative appropriation? I like Elizabeth Jaikaran‘s three questions to pose when wondering if something is negative cultural appropriation in “The Discussion We Need to Have: Cultural Appropriation vs. Cultural Appreciation:”

Is the cultural element that is being used exclusive to my own cultural tradition?

Is the institution using this element a truly problematic one that is harmful to my culture’s dignity?

Based on the answers gleaned from 1 and 2, is this appropriation or appreciation?

This may be helpful for K-pop fans trying to make sense of what they may perceive as negative appropriation. This involves not only using an element of black popular culture, but doing so in a way that mocks or demeans. So, you can have feelings about some uses of black popular culture by K-pop, but it doesn’t necessarily rise to the level of negative cultural appropriation.

The Interracial Roots of Black Popular Music

Some people feel some kind of way about the influence of black music on K-pop. Black popular music been used by those who did not always acknowledge the source of the music, but it has also been made and appreciated by those outside of the culture. Black popular music itself appropriates (in the neutral sense!) from other cultures and it has operated as an inviting site where everyone is welcome.   For example, Robin D.G. Kelley notes that anyone can have soul:

Soul was a euphemism or a creative way of identifying what many believed was a black aesthetic or black style, and it was a synonym for black itself or a way to talk about being black without reference to color, which is why people of other ethnic groups could have soul. . . . It was almost never conceived by African Americans as an innate, genetically derived feature of black life (26-6).

To say that only black people can like, enjoy or participate in black music is essentialist and contradicted by the history of black music. Black popular music in the United States historically provided a space where black and white musicians could come together to make some of the most memorable music, including jazz, rock, R&B and hip-hop.  The documentary Muscle Shoals shows how white musicians from Alabama provided the instrumentation for some of the most soulful records ever produced during the segregation era.  Def Jam Records, iconic in American hip-hop, was founded by Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin, a white music producer who began as a college kid running music production out of his NYU dorm room.

Moreover, black people are very involved in the production of K-pop, including Ebony Rae Vanderveer and Bruce “Automatic” Vanderveer of InRage Entertainment, who were instrumental in bringing the “Black American Music and K-pop” panel to KCON. Looking at the production credits for K-pop music reveals a plethora of black music producers who have solid credentials in American R&B and hip-hop.

The heart of black popular music is not exclusionary and K-pop artists do recognize the roots of black music. This can be seen in recorded radio show appearances by K-pop artists like Starry Night, Kiss the Radio, and Shimshimtapa, where they often talk about their influences or through interviews.

A New View on Authenticity

At the heart of the discussions at the panel at KCON was the notion of authenticity, but authenticity can be subjective. It can be impacted by how much knowledge or actual experience a person has. John L. Jackson warns of the limits of authenticity when it is based on “guidelines for proper and improper behavior, for legitimate and illegitimate group membership, for social inclusion or ostracism” that ultimately function to “delimit individuals’ social options” (13). In the case of K-pop, calls for limited forms of authenticity could result in actually excluding people if they do not conform. Different people have notions of what is real, so one person’s opinion that a K-pop artist is being “real” may differ from another. What if one person’s notion of authenticity is based on wrong information? Who gets to decide who is authentic?

Jackson poses an alternative, suggesting that we use the concept of sincerity which recognizes subjectivity and avoids exclusion: “Sincerity privileges intent . . . allowing for the possibility of performative ad-libbing and inevitable acceptance of trust amid uncertainty as the only solution to interpersonal ambiguity” (18). Instead of starting from suspicion and accusations of theft, sincerity leaves room for the possibility that people do not mean harm. A person can be sincere and still get it wrong.  Jackson suggests that we leave open that possibility.



Jackson, John L. Real Black: Adventures in Racial Sincerity. University of Chicago Press, 2005.

Kelley, Robin D.G. Yo Mama’s Disfunktional! Fighting the Culture Wars in Urban America. Beacon Press, 1997.

Young James O. Cultural Appropriation and the Arts. Blackwell Publishing Ltd. doi: 10.1002/9780470694190.ch1

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3 Useful Things To Know About Cultural Appropriation and K-pop by Crystal S. Anderson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Panelist at KCON 2017 LA!

Crystal S. Anderson (PhD), Director of KPK: Kpop Kollective will be a panelist at KCON 2017 LA! Panel 502B, “Black American Music and K-pop”, will be on Sunday, August 20, 2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Hope to see you there!

In the meantime, check out some of my work on Black American Music and K-pop.

Not Just Pretty Faces: K-pop Idols and Quiet Storm Masculinity

Black Popular Music and K-pop

Ethnicity, Glamour and Image in Korean Popular Music

How Does It Feel to be a Question?: That (Black) Girl and K-pop

K-pop and Hip Hop

Of Misconceptions About Cultural Appropriation in K-pop

Talking About Asians Behaving Badly: Fan Reaction to the Block B-Jenny Hyun-MBC Blackface Controversies


S.E.S: Remember

S.E.S: Remember

By Crystal S. Anderson, PhD

Research Scholar, Longwood University

Formed in 1997 by SM Entertainment, S.E.S debuted the same year as Baby V.O.X, Jinusean and Sechs Kies and became the first successful female group in the Hallyu K-pop era.  Arriving on the burgeoning K-pop scene in the wake of H.O.T’s success, S.E.S represents the beginning of the female K-pop group.  While some, like Yeran Kim, argue that the group “uniformly featured a girlie image mainly appealing to girl subculture groups,” S.E.S’s career shows how female K-pop groups developed its sound and image over time (338). Kim Chang Nam notes how S.E.S distinguished themselves from other female groups: “S.E.S started off with an image as cute-looking girls and later moved toward more mythical and unrealistic characters” (95).  Like many of the first generation idol groups, S.E.S disbanded within five years, in 2002. The members continued to have careers in the entertainment industry. Bada has gone on to appear in musicals, Eugene continued on as a singer as well as actor in K-dramas and Shoo has subsequently recorded music. In late 2016, S.E.S announced their comeback.


BoA | Kangta | J-Mi | Dana | Sunday | Henry | Taemin | Zhou Mi | Kyuhyun | Jonghyun | Amber | Taeyeon | Ryeowook | Yesung | Tiffany | Luna | Lay | Seohyun | Hyoyeon | TVXQ | TRAX | CSJH The Grace | Super Junior | Girls’ Generation | SHINee | f(x) | EXO | Red Velvet | NCT


  1. S.E.S X Fin.K.L X Baby V.O.X X H.O.T



“S.E.S 20th anniversary project group photo.png.” kpop wiki. http://kpop.wikia.com/wiki/File:S.E.S_20th_anniversary_project_group_photo.png (28 Jul 2017).


Kim, Chang Nam.  K-pop: Roots and Blossoming of Korean Popular Music. Seoul: Hollym, 2012.

Kim, Yeran. “Idol Republic: The Global Emergence of Girl Industries and the Commercialization of Girl Bodies.” Journal of Gender Studies 20.4 (2011): 333-345. DOI: 10.1080/09589236.2011.617604


YYgurl. “FinKL, SES, Baby VOX, HOT- Group Concert (1).” YouTube. 25 Oct 2008. https://youtu.be/uMvA8NTH3A0 (28 Jul 2017).

Infinite: Nothing’s Over

Infinite: Nothing’s Over

by Crystal S. Anderson, PhD

Research Scholar of Cultural Studies

Longwood University

Infinite debuted in 2010, the same year as CN Blue, Teen Top and ZE:A. The group is known for their synchronized and complex choreography, Dong-woo wants the group to be known for its music as well:  “Although ‘Come Back Again’ is an old song, when you listen to it again, it’s a song that has a firm structure with plush arrangements. We matured and were able to make a mark through singing and performing great songs” (billboard).


Dae Yoel & Jae Seok & Dong Hyun | Jang Jun & Young Taek | Joo Chan & So Yoon | Nam Woo Hyun | Lovelyz | Jisun | Joo


  1. INFINITE X EXO (2014 KBS Song Festival) | 2. INFINITE X N.EX.T X EXO X Beast (2014 KBS Song Festival) | 3. INFINITE X Teen Top (special stage) | 4. INFINITE X Super Junior X 4minute X f(x) (2011 KBS Music Festival) | 5. INFINITE X Lovelyz | 6. INFINITE X Teen Top (Music Bank K-Chart)


alice101. “INFINITE reveal which artists they want to collaborate with.” allkpop. 7 Oct 2016. http://www.allkpop.com/article/2016/10/infinite-reveal-which-artists-they-want-to-collaborate-with (28 Jul 2017).


Benjamin, Jeff. “Meet INFINITE: Video Q&A with Rising K-pop Superstars.” Billboard. 29 Jan 2013. http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/k-town/1535974/meet-infinite-video-qa-with-the-rising-k-pop-superstars (29 Jul 2017).


KBS World TV. “INFINITE & EXO – Collaboration [2014 KBS Song Festival / 2015.01.14].” YouTube. 25 Jan 2015. https://youtu.be/5ygpBlBxmP4  (28 Jul 2017).

KBS World TV. “N.EX.T & EXO & INFINITE & Beast – Shin Hae-chul’s Tribute [2014 KBS Song Festival / 2015.01.14].” YouTube. 24 Jan 2015. https://youtu.be/kV5DG27jWaU (28 Jul 2017).

enj ch. “[HD]Infinite & Teen Top – To You @Special stage.” YouTube. 18 Aug 2012. https://youtu.be/xBMtXACqAK0 (28 Jul 2017).

Hope Song. “111230 Super Junior INFINITE 4minute fx Shuffle Dance on 2011 KBS Music Festival 720.” YouTube. 7 Jul 2012. https://youtu.be/jh_4aKsUz3s (28 Jul 2017).

Lovelyz Turkey. “131227 INFINITE – Man in Love with Lovelyz.” YouTube. 6 Nov 2014. https://youtu.be/LO3ZTyRomcE (28 Jul 2017).

KBS World TV. “[Music Bank K-Chart] INFINITE & TEEN TOP – The Chaser & To You (2012.06.29).” YouTube. 3 Jul 2012. https://youtu.be/PPqmMc-lrdc (28 Ju 2017).


The Music of 2PM

The Music of 2PM

by Crystal S. Anderson, PhD

2PM’s albums consistently blend R&B-inspired tracks and party songs.

Reviewers do not have consensus on 01:59PM (2009), 2PM’s first album, and Go Crazy (2014). Critical response to the first album suggests that the group was still looking to establish its sound and make use of the individual talents of its members.  Reviewers liked the promotional track, “Heartbeat,” as well as the non-promotional track, “I Was Crazy About You.” Random J says:  ““The military style drums line and smooth piano melody provide a nice musical back drop and the 2PM boys sound strong. This is probably the song on the album where their vocals are strongest” (Random J-pop)Yeeun focuses on the rhythm:  “The steady bass riff physically causes my heart to race as if my pulse was attempting to catch up with the beat of the song” (Yeeun2Grace).   Reviewers of Go Crazy liked the title track, “Go Crazy,” as well as the non-promotional track “Mine,” linking it to artists like Michael Jackson and Prince. A reviewer for Adrienne Stanley says the song “delivers the album into the territory of ’90s inspired R&B, with lyrics by Chansung and Taecyeon. The track channels the sound of artists like Michael Jackson, in a unique and infectious way” (KPopStarz). L suggests that the song “caters to an adult party where everything is slow and sexy. I’m especially partial to the falsetto throughout the chorus as a nod to legendary funk artist, Prince.” (Critical K-pop).

Grown (2013) is 2PM’s most favorably reviewed album. There is critical consensus for “A.D.T.O.Y. (All Day I Think About You )” and “Come Back When You Hear This Song”, but reviewers liked several other tracks on the album. 2PM reaches a sonic achievement with the ballad “Love Song.” Cheyanne draws attention to the unique rhythm:  ““The beat behind their singing in this song is really different to the average K-pop fan. It has this live band vibe to it even though there wasn’t a live band present” (Soju and Koolaid) Krusty95 focuses on the vocals:  “This song had started so strongly. But, it was definitely the chorus with Wooyoung and Junho, singing together for the first time like ever (as I can recall) in the history of 2PM’s music, that sold me already and consolidated its position as my most loved song on the album” (The World of Krusty).  With “I’m Sorry,” 2PM solidifies its R&B credentials.  Cheyanne notes:  “I have to say, they really made a great song for the R&B fans out there. I would never expect a group like 2PM to pull off a song like this. All their voices fit really well with the beat. The harmonizing that is done by some members during their parts add a special, nostalgic feeling to those fans who like music like this.” seoulbeats focuses on the vocals:  “Those slides and slight harmonies in the chorus are to die for. For once, I don’t actually want to chuck the rap out the window, because here, it provides a nice break in all the “smooth like butter” vocal lines.”

Hands Up (2011) was equally well-received. In addition to its titular track, the album also features several tracks that attracted reviewers attention. Jessie Zhao declares “Like a Movie” the best track of the album:  “It starts out all calm and soothing with the members’ beautiful vocals. A gorgeous piano melody is slowly combined with snare drums and the feeling builds up. This track could have easily been labeled as another ballad that a group inserts just for the heck of it, but with the harmonious vocals from 2PM and amazing composition, this track is able to stand out” (Ningin).  Arnold Artega describes “Don’t You Know” as a quintessential K-pop song: “It’s not trying too hard to sound Western like a lot of Kpop tends to do. Instead, 2PM polishes what Korean pop music is all about and lays down some catchy (but not gimmicky) melodies that are less pretentious and way more fun to jive to” (One Kpop).

However, 2PM has also mastered the up-tempo party track.  “Magic” from No.5 (2015) foregrounds its instrumentation. Eric_r_wirsing notes the song ““starts with insistent horns and has an urgent tone to it. It never loses its body-moving groove throughout, and there’s some hints of guitars in here as well. It’s a powerful, catchy tune and is just what the doctor ordered to shake things up some” (allkpop).  Elaine Lewis echoes this sentiment:  “The horns used in the song were amazing and definitely sped the tempo a little bit giving it a sense of urgency. The lyrics are also very flirty and playful” (Amino Apps).

Spotlight Tracks: 1. Heartbeat | 2. Go Crazy | 3. I Was Crazy About You | 4. Mine | 5. Love Song | 6. A.D.T.O.Y (All Day I Think About You | 7. I’m Sorry | 8. Come Back When You Hear This Song | 9. Magic | 10. Like A Movie | 11. Don’t You Know



“2PM – Grown (Photoshoot).” K-pop. 10 May 2013. http://kpop-u-luv.blogspot.com/2013/05/2pm-grown-photoshoot.html. (7 Aug 2016)



Artega, Arnold. 2012. “[Review] ‘Hands Up’ by 2PM.” Review of Hands Up, by 2PM. One Kpop, January 23, http://onekpop.com/693/review-hands-up-by-2pm/.

Cheyanne. 2013. “A Review on 2PM’s Album: Grown.” Review of Grown, by 2PM. Soju and Koolaid, May, http://sojuandkoolaid.blogspot.com/2013/05/a-review-on-2pms-album-grown.html.

Eric_r_wirsing. 2015. “[Album Review] 2PM.” Review of No. 5, by 2PM. allkpop, June 15, http://www.allkpop.com/review/2015/06/album-review-2pm-no-5.

Guest. 2013. “2PM, Let’s See How Much You’ve Grown.” Review of Grown, by 2PM. seoulbeats, May13, http://seoulbeats.com/2013/05/2pm-lets-see-how-much-youve-grown/.

Krusty95. “2PM ‘Grown’ Album Review.” Review of Grown, by 2PM. The World of Krusty, June 11, https://theworldofkrusty.wordpress.com/2013/06/11/2pm-grown-album-review/.

L. 2014. “Review: 2PM’s Go Crazy!” Review of Go Crazy, by 2PM. Critical K-pop, October 10, http://www.criticalkpop.com/2014/10/review-2pms-go-crazy.html.

Lewis, Elaine. 2016. “2PM – No.5 Album Review.” Review of No.5, by 2PM. K-pop Amino, January 9, http://aminoapps.com/page/k-pop/9888602/2pm-no-5-album-review.

Random J. 2010. “Album Review: 2PM – 1:59PM.” Review of 01:50PM, by 2PM. Random JPop, January 4, http://randomjpop.blogspot.com/2010/01/album-review-2pm-159pm.html.

Stanley, Adrienne. 2014. “Album Review: 2PM Delivers Jazzy Party Tracks on ‘Go Crazy![Audio].” Review of Go Crazy, by 2PM. KPopStarz, Sept 15, http://www.kpopstarz.com/articles/111688/20140915/album-review-2pm-delivers-jazzy-party-tracks-on-go-crazy-audio.htm.

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The Music of 2PM by Crystal S. Anderson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.