Prior to getting into Kpop I was very skeptical about it. Much like everyone else, I thought it was all lip-syncing and annoying repetitive music. But when I was properly introduced to the genre (a few months ago), I realized it was so much more.
Fast forward to today…well yesterday…and watching BTS’s SNL performance showed people what Kpop really is about.
1. No they do not lip sync.
- It was obvious yes, during their performance they had a background track. But it was clear these guys were singing and rapping live. The background track was low and the audience could tell when a member was singing/rapping and when they were not. In Kpop, the artists must perform live, at least most of the time. It’s a standard in music shows in South Korea. Artists must sing/rap live (I know it varies with shows, but the standard is most of it has to be…live).
2. However, their dancing is totally in-sync.
- It’s hard enough for an artist to perfect choreography (by themselves). Dancing with a group…especially a group of seven makes it harder to stay on beat and everyone moving exactly the same. With the songs performed in Kpop most of them are fast paced and requires high energy. It’s extremely hard keeping up with the pace, singing/rapping, and of course everyone having to be in-sync and the obvious one…doing the choreography full out. Dancing in itself gets someone tired and out of breath, now having to sing/rap adds a whole other level of energy and strength needed.
3. Music that surpasses cultures and ties everything (and everyone) together.
- Despite BTS’s songs are all in Korean, and for the most part, international fans don’t understand what they are saying, there is some sort of connection. The well-produced tracks are catchy and super fun. But for some songs when fans read the lyrics it gives depth and meaning to it and an even deeper appreciation for the music. BTS don’t shy away from some hard topics in their music and music videos such as, depression, loneliness, fear and more. Their music balances these topics with hope and joy. Some songs may touch on a heavy subject but another song is a celebration of life and gives hope to the listener.
Everyday it seems more and more well produced Kpop songs are being released into the world. What seemed to be a “cookie-cutter” industry is actually a machine with various sounds, mixtures and unique stories.
BTS on SNL only showed the surface of what Kpop artists are. Of course no industry is perfect. These artists go through rigorous training in order to sing and dance and make it look effortless. Not to mention their teams working behind the scenes. Like everything else in society, there is a dark side to it. But I’ve realized, there’s no denying these artists put 200% in their craft which is often overlooked by the stereotype “cookie-cutter” title the world has given them.
This is a new era for Kpop and I’m excited to see where it goes.