Thursday, February 02, 2012

Kpop worldwide

   Oh good, I need to feed my starved dark heart and will for bashing with something, since I actually feel no joy whatsoever in mopping the floor with Diva. He's already below that. On KoreaTimes there was an article, stubbornly repeating the mantra about Kpop in U.S. and some success (or not). My opinion is as follows - Kpop will never be successful in U.S. And not because American music is of better quality, it's not, it's a crap, but few factors are easily forgotten by those who eagerly want to open the champagne.

   First and foremost - language barrier. Have you seen Kids watch Kpop (or sth like that?) where kids said it's bad because they 'don't understand it'. It also applies to all society. On this ground, Kpop can be warmer received in Europe, but this little, irrelevant country between Korea and USA is of no interest to Hanguk, me seems. Why in Europe? U.S. is, generally speaking, one country with one language (yeah, spanish, chinese don't count). If something is not in English - it's labeled as bad. Europe, on the other hand, contrary to what Korea thinks, is a continent with many different countries, with languages belonging to different language families even (like Finnish or Hungarian). We, Europeans, like it or not, are naturally exposed to multilingual environment. We may not understand a word from a song sung in Portuguese, but we still can appreciate its value (or at least some of us). The song in other than our own language doesn't sound alien and unpleasant to our ears. I know not a word in Swahili, but I do have Khadja Nin songs on my lappie, better - I really like them. Of course in Europe also there are people who shun everything that is not in their language or English. I don't really care about them. They are pitiful people, they miss a lot.

   Second, oh and that comes as a surprise, Kpop is different. No matter how much influence western music had on Kpop, it is still something entirely different. What is perfectly normal in Kpop, turns out to be cheesy in western countries. Acting airhead, cutsy-wutsy kawaii girlies, or slutty girls in their late teens, although has (in)famous tradition in our music too, was never any standard, and usually groups drifted away from this image. Boys have broader range of images, but let's not delve into this any further, I will be eaten alive.
I love Kpop, I really do, with all its weirdness and mathematical MVs, but neither perfect quality of MVs, nor genuine talent of some artists will be a trampoline to success in U.S. It's too weird sometimes.

   Also, and it may sound unpleasant to many, usually 'western' people see all Asians as looking exactly the same. I've been exposed to Asian culture for almost 20 years now, but still, girls in girl groups look exactly the same as for me. Maybe I never paid more attention to learn them too, but having the same plastic surgeon to achieve this 'beauty ideal' as deemed by agencies, is not that great idea after all for them. Plastic-fantastic may also be a thing that hinders the success. (side note: I'm not against surgeries, no, double eyelid is fine with me, although I'm not a fan of it. But for fuck's sake, shaving the jaws as all them girls do??)

   Last, the target. Korean media like to exaggerate the success of this-and-this group or individual in WORLD (Japan, China, Philippines,Taiwan) or in U.S. BoA, ie. the very first Hallyu star, and a star on her own, wasn't successful in U.S., Rain was a flop, Wonder Girls were a flop too. Who will attend the concert of, let's say BEAST in US? Fandom and fandom only. I highly doubt any other country/boring-blues lover would.
-- Oh hey, you heard? Group BEAST comes to our town!
-- BEAST? How are they? Rip their shirts to show hairy chests and grinning fangs?
-- No, some boys in white feathers and eyeliner.
-- O---key.

Sorry to all BEAST fans, it was the first that came to mind, right after Infinite (too irrelevant still) and SHINee (they will never go there though).

  So yes, the success of albums sold will be measured only by fans. No one else will buy an album of unknown group who sings in some chinese (yup, I still have to fight with this kind of ignorance) where guys look better than your girlfriend. Quality has absolutely nothing to do with it. It's all about the fandom.
Why there is so much pressure still to go to hamburger land and be successful? As for me, it would be better for K-agencies to focus on producing music still, make glorious MVs (Korea probably has the best MVs right now, seriously) and promote it in a global way. Meaning - to make it easier for fans around the World (the real world) to listen, watch and buy.

   We are all exposed to Kpop, we accept its weirdness. Those who can't pass through it, will never get to know the many layers of it. If someone gets spasms just by hearing word 'pop music', they will never go into this funky town of insanity. Pop has its horrible aspects, but it also has its great sides. If someone puts all Kpop into 'horrible pop' basket without actually listening to some samples, they will never get a chance to find maybe something good. This is also the reason why Kpop will never be successful in U.S. - labeling. People will think Kpop its only Girls Generation's tooth-ache-sweet image and bubble pop. And they would not care to check further.
If groups start to sing in English, it will stop to be Kpop. It will be pop, blending into the currents, not standing out like now.
As I said, talent of some groups will not help in their eventual success. It will still be weird, odd and funny to some people.

Pray for those ignorant souls so that Shisus may send an enlightment upon them.