21st century is the Korean wave era. The wave has been transmitted across the globe through the expansion of dramas, movies and music.
Some people who know me might think that i’m a Korean freak, but actually i’m not. I’m more into the drama because I think Korean dramas have a certain level of creativity and dynamic stories that can be compared with Hollywood drama. But i’m not going to talk about K-drama here. I’ve talked enough in my kdrama web. I’m gonna talk about K-pop.
Frankly saying, i’m not really into K-pop. I still prefer listening to Kelly Clarkson and Maroon 5. I’ve watched a talkshow where the CEO of soompi.com as the guest there. At the closure part of the interview, Kolleen Park, the presenter asked this young and bright Korean-American woman why it had to be the k-pop. And the woman said because it’s …(i forgot whether it’s “ridiculous” or “hilarously”) catchy. I think that’s a good answer. Yeah, k-pop music is catchy.
You probably have known that there’re so many Korean idol groups right now. Named them: Super Junior, 2 PM, 2AM, Shinee, UKiss, SNSD (Girls Generation), T-ara, Kara, and soooo many others. The second Korean wave era is showered by so many shooting stars. I remembered the time of first Korean wave which was around early 2000 (the phenomenal drama “Winter Sonata” made a big contribution in this) I just knew a few Korean idol groups. Shinwa was kind of the-Super-Junior-of-early-2000. They were very popular that time. They were like the coolest Korean boy band. And then JTL was quite a buzz with their single “A Better Day.” You must know the song if you hear it. The former band of JTL, HOT, wasn’t very popular here though at home they had quite a big name. TVXQ (Tong Bang Xin Qi) was also very fresh. And for solos, I knew Kangta (never really know his song, just know he was crazily famous) and Ryu for his voice in boxoffice dramas’ OST like “Winter Sonata” and “Hotelier” (both dramas were starred by Bae Yeong Joon).
If i’m not mistaken, the second Korean wave was started by the drama “Full House” which was around 2004. From then on, who doesn’t know the goddess-like Song Hye Kyeo and the go-international-obsessed Rain. And there came along the wave of K-pop music.
Nowadays, if you keep your attention to K-pop industry, you’ll get so many new stars are born…maybe almost every month (?) Music Bank maybe one of the best K-pop chart shows and if you regularly watch this show you’ll see there must be new faces and voices coming up into the chart. But my favourite Korean music show (i don’t think it’s appropriate to call it K-pop music show, sounds cheesy) is Yu HuiYeol’s Sketchbook, which is aired on KBS Channel. The Sketchbook wasn’t originally hosted by the famous musician Yu HuiYeol, he was the third or four host if i’m not mistaken. But this man is good.
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For me Yu Huiyeol’s Sketchbook is a very good alternative to know Korean music industry. I think it was like…the show only invite good quality singers/ groups. So I think that no matter famous a singer or a group is, if they’re not yet invited to perform in this show, they’re not yet good enough as musicians. This show has opened up my mind that Korean music is not only those hilarious and catchy songs. There’re so many great singers and various good songs. And when I say great singers mean they do have very good voices. Even if they’re “actor/actress slash singer” or “comedian slash singer”, if they’re invited into this show, they must have a certain level of talent. Actor Gong Yoo and comedian Lee Su Geun had performed in this show.
My favourite part of the show has to be “The Touch” where they have the brainy musician Lucid Fall as the co-host for this section. In “The Touch” they read stories from one or more audience(s) and then play a new arrangement song as the response of the story. Yu Huiyeol isn’t singer and Lucid Fall isn’t singing here. They always have a singer or a group to perform with them for a month period.
And for my favourite band (underline please, band, not boyband/idol group) is definitely CNBLUE. They just made their debut on early 2010 and made a hit. Many people say they’re the second FT Island, but i think their musics are different. FT Island is more like Japanese-kind-of-band’s-music-taste…you know, like Larc~en-Ciel’s songs which are more what i call as Japanese Rock, while CNBLUE is more pop-rock, kind of. My favourite songs are “I’m a Loner”, “Love Light” and the latest “Intuition”. Their music is a very good alternative for those who doesn’t really like an upbeat pop music that is the typical music of most of Korean idol groups.
One thing i’m worry about for CNBLUE. As the lead vocal Jung Yeong Hwa tends to be on small screen quite active (through drama and music show as a host) i really hope it won’t affect their creative music and great performance. They have to maintain their quality.
And they just made their first performance at Yu HuiYeol’s Sketchbook last April, where they performed 3 songs: Intuition, Wherever You Will Go, and Love. 😉