Korean popular music includes many genres – Jazz, Hip-Hop, Rock, Rhythm & Blues – even 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 Westernsinger/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 ballad “Before U Go,” (2011) which includes a partial guitar riff from the Isley Brother’s song “Voyage 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).
Welcome to Part 3 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).
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 email@example.com
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.
Iwabuchi, Koichi, Stephen Muecke, & Mandy Thomas. (2004). Rogue Flows: Trans-Asian Cultural Traffic. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.
Kim, J.H. (2004). Korean wave in Japanese culture. Journal of Human Subjectivity, 4(1): 85-95.
Park, Jung-sun. (2004). Korean American youth and transnational flows of popular culture across the Pacific. Amerasia Journal, 30(1): 147-169.
Fu Su Yin, Kelly, and Kai Khiun Liew. (2005). “Hallyu in Singapore: Korean Cosmopolitanism or the Consumption of Chineseness?” Korean Journal 45.4: 206-32.
Iwabuchi, Koichi. (2005). Discrepant intimacy: Popular culture flows in East Asia. In J.N. Erni and S.K. Chua (Eds.) Asian Media Studies: Politics of Subjectivities. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.
Jeon, G. and T. Yoon. (2005). Realizing the Korean wave into an Asiatic flow. Korean Journal of Broadcasting
Kwon, Haesoo and Chai Wonho. (2005). The diffusion of Korean Wave (Hallyu) as a cultural exchange. In 2005 Proceedings of the International Conference of Seoul Association for Public Administration (SAPA). pp. 1 -20.
Park, J.S. (2005). The Korean Wave: Transnational cultural flows in Northeast Asia. In C.K. Armstrong, G. Rozman, S.S. Kim & S. Kotkin (Eds.), Korea at the Center: Dynamics of Regionalism in Northeast Asia. London: M.E. Sharpe, Inc.
Seo, Yongseok. (2006). East Asian response to the globalization of culture: perceptional change and cultural policy. In J. Dator, Dick Pratt and Yongseok Soo (Eds.) Fairness, globalization and public institutions: East Asia and beyond. X: University of Hawai’i Press. pp. 319 – X.
Ju, Hyejung & Soobum Lee. (2015). The Korean wave and Asian Americans: the ethnic meanings of transnational Korean pop culture in the USA. Journal of Media & Cultural Studies, 29(3): 323-338.
Otmazgin, Nissim Kadosh. (2005). Cultural commodities and regionalization in East Asia. Contemporary Southeast Asia, 3: 499-523.
Park, J. B. (2005). Expanding and sustaining ‘Korean Wave’: by the way of developing killer contents. Korean Wave 2005! – Opportunities and Challenges, Seoul, Korea, Korean Wave Promotions & Policies Foundation.
Kim, Youna. (2006). ‘Rising East Asia ‘Wave’: Korean media go global’, in Thussu, Daya (ed.). Media on the Move: Global Flow and Contra Flow, London: Routledge, pp. 135-152.
Shin, Seung-il. (2006). Opening the second stage of Hallyu. Korea Focus, 14(2):65-66.
Arcodia, C., X Zhiang, D. Sohn & T. Lee. (2008). The sustainable development of the Korean cultural entertainment industry with the Korean wave (Hallyu). Sun Yat-Sen University. (more information: http://espace.library.uq.edu.au/view/UQ:160019)
Park, Kang Ah. (2008). The growth of the cultural industry and the role of government: the case of Korea. Thesis, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Accessed 2 November 2011 fromhttp://dspace.mit.edu/handle/1721.1/45761
Shim, Doobo. (2008). The growth of Korean cultural industries and the Korean wave. In C.B. Huat and K. Iwabuchi (Eds.) East Asian Pop Culture: Analyzing the Korean Wave. pp. 15 – 32. Aberdeen: Hong Kong University Press.
Otmazgin, Nissim. (2011). A tail that wags the dog? Cultural industry and cultural policy in Japan and South Korea. Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis: Research and Practice, 13(3): 307-325. doi: 10.1080/13876988.2011.565916
Seabrook, John. (2012). Factory girls. New Yorker, 88(31): 88-97.
Jang, Wonho & Youngsun Kim. (2013). Envisaging the sociocultural dynamics of K-pop: Time/space hybridity, Red Queen’s race, and cosmopolitan striving. Korea Journal, 53(4): 83-106.
Dal, Yong Jin. (2014). The power of the nation-state amid Net-liberal reform: Shifting cultural policies in the new Korean wave. Pacific Affairs, 87(1): 71-92.
Kim, Yeojin. (2014). A possibility of the Korean wave Renaissance construction through K-pop: Sustainable development of the Korean wave as a cultural industry. Hastings Communications & Entertainment Law Journal, 36(1): 59-88.
Kwon, Seung-ho & Joseph Kim. (2014). The cultural industry policies of the Korean government and the Korean wave. International Journal of Cultural Policy, 20(4): 422-439.
Baek, Young Min. (2016). Relationship between cultural distance and cross-cultural music video consumption on YouTube. Social Science Computer Review, 33(6): 730-748.
Chen, Steven. (2016). Cultural technology. International Marketing Review, 33(1): 25-50.