It’s low hanging fruit, I know, but sometimes it’s gotta be said:
I hate K-pop. I hated it when I got here seven years ago and I hate it now. Sure, there was a time when I attempted to open up and let the manufactured hooks enter my mind; I adopted a culturally relative posture and tried to see it for what it supposedly is: disposable fun. But fuck that. K-pop is evil and should be eradicated from the planet. It’s cancerous and is beginning to be taken seriously by folks who should know better. Every ten minutes on Korean TV I see some footage featuring chunky European adolescents awkwardly dancing and waving Korean flags while awaiting whatever abortion of a K-pop girl or boy group’s arrival at the airport of their cold, depressing city. I just traveled with my Korean fiance in Indonesia for a month, and every time the locals discovered that she was Korean, they foamed at the mouth and waxed poetic about how “great” K-pop is. I wanted to punch every single one of them in the throat. I’m sick of people pretending that this SHIT MUSIC is good, and here’s why:
1. IT MAKES OTHER ASIANS HATE THEMSELVES
All K-pop stars are young, obscenely skinny, and uber light-skinned. K-pop is huge in Southeast Asia, where people are darker and shorter than here on the Peninsula. The women especially eat these groups up like cheap cookies, and then despise themselves for not looking like their idols. Minhee, my fiance (who is quite beautiful, it must be said), sat down with an ardent K-pop fan at the ferry terminal in Banda Aceh. The girl in question worked the coffee shop and was very pretty, though much darker and shorter than any Korean, especially the ones marketed for mass consumption via the TV. “Korean singers are so beautiful,” she said. “So are you,” Minhee replied honestly. “You are very pretty.” “No, no…” the girl shook her head. “Too black skin. Wide nose. Not beauty.”
And… I could have said that it’s racist, but I won’t go there. Jenny Hyun, a prominent K-pop “songwriter”, already did.
2. THE LYRICS ARE STUPIDER THAN 1,000 GLUE-SNIFFING RETARDS
In a sad attempt to increase its international appeal, K-pop lyrics are often infused with lame, grammatically incorrect, fucked-up English. It’s fine that they mostly sing in Korean, as they should, because it is K-pop after all. But the English is just ridiculous and thrown in at the last minute. It’s awful and must be stopped.
3. ALL BOYS LOOK LIKE HYPER-FAGGY ALIENS
Case in point:
I could publish 10,000 more photos but I think you get the point.
4. IT’S MORE CORPORATE THAN BANK OF AMERICA OR HALIBURTON
Corporations have long had their hand in the music biz, but K-pop takes it to a new level. All the “management groups” that put together these acts are owned by massive conglomerates. The music is seen as a commodity, no different than toothpaste or sneakers. Profit is all that matters, and creativity doesn’t even take a back seat: It’s lucky if it can hitch a ride on the bumper. K-pop is saccharine pablum shoved down the throats of millions of people who have no clue about good music. It’s Plato’s Cave: It’s all they’ve ever listened to, so why should they even expect anything better?
5. IT’S NOT EVEN ART, BUT RATHER THE OPPOSITE: ANTI-ART
K-pop is never artist generated. It’s dreamed up in board rooms full of dudes in suits who reek of garlic and soju. The songwriting is farmed out to people whose job it is to shit sugary gold. The casting call goes out and the groups are formed based on looks alone. Dancing can be taught; singing can be dubbed or auto-tuned. These kids aren’t artists, they’re barely even performers. They’re circus animals who do as they’re told. Any trouble, any hint of rebellion, and it’s the door, kid. The look of the music – especially for the girls – is sexed-up, but in reality K-pop is as conservative as it gets. It dares not offend anyone, and in the process proves itself to be the unoriginal, uninspired, corporate produced SHIT that it is.
Koreans are actually incredibly creative people with enough collective angst to produce thousands of Kurt Cobains. There are punk bands in the city I live in; I personally know several dedicated and fucking soulful musicians who will never see the light of day here. Real music is rebellion. Real art is threatening and the capitalists will do whatever it takes to make sure that it’s never given a chance.
What annoys me is that K-pop is beginning to be taken seriously by more than just 14-year old girls. We can all forgive preteens for lapses in taste, but there are adults – Westerners even – who profess love for K-pop and even have blogs dedicated exclusively to it. It boggles the mind. And before any of you call me a bigot or some kind of Asia-hater for calling out K-pop for the utter vomit it is, I have always hated awful corporate music. I remember railing against New Kids on the Block in the late 80’s, as well as every atrocity of a boy band that was shat forth afterwards. I want ART in my art, and will never apologize. And usually I wouldn’t bother slamming something as obviously loathsome as K-pop, but these days far too many folks fail to see that the emperor wears no clothes.
Let us hope one day a real artist will come along and rip the guts out of this terrible, phony music, and cause the kids to wake the fuck up.
I, for one, ain’t holding my breath.