At the start of the second millennium, the Korean wave began to sweep Arab media through television dramas and anime movies, which had been spreading like wildfire across the world since the 1990s. This was subsequently followed by the invasion of South Korean pop music, or K-pop, especially among post-millennials.
Kuwaiti teenager Dana Hussain’s passion about K-pop music pushed her, like other netizens, to read more about her favorite bands and follow their news. However, this wasn’t enough for her. The 13-year-old girl conducted a survey on the popularity of the most famous Korean band in her school – BTS – and got a response from 74 students. Fifty students from the participating group had heard about the band, which makes us question why would someone be so obsessed about music they can’t understand?
K-pop is a term that encompasses all types of traditional and modern Korean music. Meanwhile, modern K-pop is a unique musical genre. One song may comprise of hip-hop, pop, rock, rap and electric, while preserving the Korean musical heritage. The artistes are recruited by entertainment agencies such as JYP, SM, Cube Entertainment and Big Hit Entertainment. The process is extremely rigorous, where artistes undergo daily intensive dancing and singing drills. Some band members are banned from dating to maintain their popularity among their fans around the world.
“It is impossible to see someone in real life as perfect as a K-pop idol. They are of the highest quality standard,” gushed Dana. The perfection of the form and content of Korean pop music is an industry, and a normal human being cannot be this perfect. It really is unreal. A teenager may enter a maze of questions about his own self-worth if he isn’t following in the steps of his favorite idols, or his friends who resemble them. “My sister and I now prefer to borrow our parents’ tops because they appear loose on us. The baggy outfits of Korean pop stars are trending nowadays,” she told Kuwait Times.
It took Dana a long time to fall in love with Korean music. At first, she didn’t quite like it. Later, many of her friends encouraged her to give it another chance. This is scarcely a model that shows us how trends are spread, grow and last for a long time. In general, the shift of the world into a small village paved the way for the globalization of arts, music and literature. It also created a broad audience of devotees on the Internet.
It is also important to understand the positive aspects of the Korean wave, or Hallyu. More people are receptive to their culture and language. “I can read Korean alphabets and a few words. Also, I constantly read the translated lyrics on YouTube. The more I listen, the more I memorize its syllables,” Dana enthused.
The new Korean pop is a fusion of Western musical genres, yet pop stars hold on to the Korean culture, which has a clear impact on the lyrics they sing. It’s mostly about emotions, love and even the things we see around us, a consequence of moral values ??that were adopted thousands of years ago by the Korean people. Nonetheless, there’s an exception to every rule.
Dana loves to listen to BTS, Got7, Loona, Twice, Red Velvet, Zico and Black Pink. “Their lyrics are beautiful and catchy! But I have noticed that some teenagers hate BTS because of their ongoing feud with the EXO band. Others like to listen to K-pop, but they don’t recognize the names of the bands they listen to!” she exclaimed.
By Athoob Al-Shuaibi