K Pop: A New Cultural Phenomenon

January 7, 2019 | By

Attention Asia-centered radio, you’ve official become a phenomenon all across the globe. It’s been a long time coming for Asian countries to become a relevant cultural force in the music world, and they’ve made it this far through creating a pop machine that it even more effective than the American pop world; hit-making producers and artists go and in out of studios every day creating the next monster singles and it is truly one of the most remarkable production phenomena since Motown in the 1960’s. The number of artists making the charts is certainly overwhelming, and even in the indie rock world, mainly dominated by U.S-centered music, even artists such as Kero Kero Bonito have adopted a fully Asian aesthetic to craft some of the most remarkable and creative music in recent years, expanding the absolute world domination of the phenomenon known as K-Pop.

Basic Concepts

Even after the overwhelmingly meme-generated reaction to Psy’s 2012 hit “Gangnam Style”, as a culture, we’ve been dutifully negligent in recognizing the values of the Asian pop machine and this has fully stopped in recent years and months, as the cultural phenomenon denominated as K-Pop has taken over, creating even more sells and fans than the last run-of-the-mill boy band that’s popular at any given time.

Different Kinds of World Domination: An Overview

Anime has had a long-standing home in western culture as one of the most representative art forms found in the Asian continent, and although K-Pop often references similar aesthetic choices and common artistic goals, it has been received with widespread attention and this is in no small part due to the space previously established by anime. However, dangerous clichés and generalizations still persist and the treatment of K-Pop stars in the media has long been criticized as inhumane and borderline creepy, but people are still clinging to the idea that it is a massive force that cannot be stopped, similar to the recent incorporation of Latino elements in popular hip-hop and pop music in western culture.

A Fight for Diversity

The previously mentioned fight for diversity in western culture has triggered the incorporation of foreign elements into a previously monochrome view of pop music, and is now a call for equity and worldliness that we must attend and continue to shine a light upon; we’re finally out of the confines of western culture and we must honored the place that our own cultures have in the modern world, an era where globalization is now the norm instead of an utopian ideal that seems far in the future.

With all of that said, if K-Pop is any indication, we will be hearing more and more from other relevant cultural forces in the near future and it is simply amazing to think of the possibility of magnificent fusions and sharing of social aspects that make up the ADN of our individual idiosyncrasies, even if it means only a grain of salt will eventually amount to an almost mechanic way of processing a super-pop machine with monster hit after monster hit.

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