K-pop Was Not Born Last Night

K-pop is old enough for us to recognize that it has a bonafide history, and the way we divide up that history affects the way we see K-pop. Some scholars place K-pop within a larger history of Korean popular music. In the article “Mapping K-pop Past and Present: Shifting the Modes of Exchange,” Keith Howard…

The Multiple Meanings of Manufacturing in K-pop

Media coverage and scholarly writing about K-pop often negatively characterizes it as a manufactured mode of music. However, there are other connotations of this term that more comprehensively address  the process by which K-pop is made. It is common for stories about “idol”-based K-pop (singers and groups who sing and dance, appear on television shows…

Why Is K-pop Coverage So Negative?

Much like the current tone of the Internet, wholly negative criticism threatens to skew our perceptions of K-pop. On any given day, one can wander out on social media and witness what has become the all-too-common negative critique of K-pop. A recent Twitter thread began by Yim Hyun-su pointed out how media tends to write…

Decennium: #TenYearsWithKPK

KPK: Kpop Kollective, the oldest aca-fansite for K-pop, celebrates its 10-year anniversary on these K-pop streets! BRIDES says that the traditional anniversary gift for the 10th anniversary is tin or aluminum, symbolizing flexibility and resiliency. It seems appropriate for KPK, because no matter if we are many or few, we are still here using our…

Labor from Below: What Neoliberal Capitalism Overlooks in K-pop

Crystal S. Anderson, PhD Director, KPK: Kpop Kollective Scholars frequently use the neoliberal capitalism frame to contextualize K-pop within the Korean wave, but the over-reliance on critiquing capitalist forces further silences the creative personnel of K-pop. If we approach K-pop using the “history from below” framework, we can reveal the perspectives of the individuals in…

#WheeWednesday: “Heaven,” EXO

Crystal S. Anderson, PhD Director, KPK: Kpop Kollective Last week, I kicked off the first #WheeWednesday with a song by an artist unfamiliar to many K-pop fans.  This #WheeWednesday, it’s a song by a group most K-pop fans know: EXO! EXO burst onto the K-pop scene seven years ago with 12 members and the Gregorian…

#WheeWednesday: “With Me,” Wheesung (2003)

Crystal S. Anderson, PhD Director, KPK: Kpop Kollective At KPK: Kpop Kollective, we are all about K-pop music. Kaetrena writes about the musical influences on K-pop in her series Let KPK Introduce You To… In that vein, I’m starting a new series, #WheeWednesday, where I share music by some of the lesser-known K-pop artists as well…

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

KPK Director Crystal S. Anderson writes about a different kind of masculinity in K-pop “However, members of 2PM are more than pretty faces and fit bodies. Like many K-pop idol groups, 2PM is heavily influenced by R&B. While the group has its share of uptempo tracks, it is are also known for ballads informed by R&B…

Black Popular Music and K-pop

Crystal S. Anderson, PhD Associate Professor of English, Longwood University One of the major forces driving the appeal of K-pop around the globe is the music, but it seems to receive the least attention.  When commentators do turn their attention to K-pop, they recognize that it draws from a variety of musical genres and styles….