The Nugget

The Rise of K-Pop

Sarah Mull, Writer

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If you scroll through social media sites such as Twitter, you will often see top trending tags you don’t understand, such as #BTSSelca or #Army. These tags are specific to a genre of music known as K-pop aka Korean pop music. Throughout the past few years K-pop has been expanding in popularity outside of South Korea and surrounding East Asian countries. What is this style of music exactly and why is it beginning to gain worldwide attention? One group in particular, BTS, or Beyond The Scene, broke an album record this year by being ranked #1 on iTunes top albums charts in three continents. This record was also followed by the group’s latest music video gaining around 20 million views in less than 24 hours, breaking the viewing records of many popular celebrities such as Katy Perry, Rhianna, and Taylor Swift.

Michaela Maslanka, an avid K-pop listener, declares she has been a fan of the genre since 8th grade when she discovered it through her YouTube recommendations. When asked who some of her favorite K-pop groups were, Maslanka had a lengthy list of names such as BTS, Seventeen, Black Pink, Red Velvet, BtoB, and Block B. “I love the music and all of the groups are so cute,” she states. When asked what she thought about K-pop music becoming mainstream she responded, “I don’t want it to be mainstream. I want to feel special.” She suggests if anyone wants to get into K-pop they should “just watch some videos and search it up.” Maslanka then went on the say that because of K-pop she has learned more about Korean culture and is currently studying the Korean language.

On the opposite spectrum, Amber Lewis, an outsider to the K-pop community states, “I’ve listened to a couple songs but I wasn’t into it.” She affirms she has heard of some K-pop groups such as BTS and Monster X, but she also indicated that she had trouble distinguishing between Korean pop and Japanese pop groups. “Is Baby Metal one or is that Japan?” She asked in her interview. She commented that her first impression of K-pop was, “I couldn’t understand what they were saying, but I thought it was lit. I think it’s interesting as long as you don’t take it too far, then I’m all for it.”

Brenda Shultz, another person less knowledgeable of K-pop, claims that she heard about it through two of her friends. She says when she listened to K-pop she “couldn’t understand it.” After asking about the genre, Shultz replied, “it’s not weird, I just wouldn’t listen to it.” Her opinion on K-pop becoming more mainstream is, “cool, people should just do what they want to do.”

Throughout these various opinions, it can be concluded that K-pop is definitely on the rise. Although some still see K-pop as an odd and eccentric genre of music, there is no doubt that more people are opening up to this style of music than ever before. If anyone is interested in this genre of music they can check out groups such as BTS, EXO, Black Pink, and 4Minute.

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The Rise of K-Pop