I LOVE Music!!!!
Music heals! I tell people this all the time and there are studies that affirm this thought. I can listen to a song and it can instantly make me smile or get energized. Kpop is Korean pop. The thing about Kpop is that everything they do is OVER the TOP and we are HERE for it! Their choreography has professional dancers GAGGING, their videos are CGI and out of this world, and lets not talk about how beautiful these men are. OMG!
My Introduction to Kpop
Okay, I have friends that have been to Korea or are just fans of Kpop. And I kept hearing about this BTS group (SPOILER: They are NOT my “gateway” group) so I was like “Let me go to good ole Spotify and see what these folks are talking about”.
Instead of picking a group, I picked a playlist of all the Kpop groups and started to listen. A song came on that I liked so much, I put it on repeat. I was hooked! What was the song? El Dorado by a group called EXO. The song is beautiful. But then I made a fatal mistake: I went to YouTube to see if there was a video for that song. There was a live performance video of that song. I watched it with intensity and I saw two men that had a charisma that just JUMPED out at me.
Problem Number One: Telling Them Apart
Now, this is common knowledge BUT it is hard to tell people apart from a race different than yours. I can tell black people apart because I’m black BUT psychology says that sometimes it’s a bit hard to tell other races apart. Until I got friends of other races or learned the personality of the person, I used to think that they all looked alike (sorry, I’m human. Took me a while to tell the characters from Game of Thrones apart too).
In Kpop, there are groups with TONS of members and you have to really be told who is who. On Facebook, they have a lot of videos of “unhelpful guides” to groups. They will go down each of the members of the groups which helps me to know that I am not alone in this world.
One group that I recently got hooked on due to the group featured above was NCT and I believe they have 23 members. TWENTY THREE MEMBERS!!!! Okay, I’m getting ahead of myself.
In order to learn who my future “babies” would be, I had to ask one of my Kpop loving friends (she’s an ARMY, we’ll talk about that later) who happens to be Asian (shout out to my girl, Chalita. She is the REAL MVP). I would give her the time stamp and ask who the person was in the video. She was very helpful especially when I started wanting to learn about BTS. It was then that I found my bias(es). Okay, look, I cheated.
What in the WORLD is a bias?
A “bias” is your favorite person in a group. There’s some unwritten rule that we are to have one. Okay, so my first one was this beautiful specimen named Baekhyun (real name Byun Baek-hyun). This man has a ton of talent, can snatch your soul with a high note, and is extremely funny. But there was someone else that stole my heart. A “bias wrecker”.
What is a bias wrecker?
A “bias wrecker” is someone that takes your attention away from your bias, basically. These groups are full of beauty. They are just beautiful men. The guy that took me away from beautiful Baekhyun was Kai (real name Kim Jongin). Kai is a work of art. This man is such a work of art that he is KNOWN for his style as well as his collabs with big names in the fashion industry. He just did a campaign with Gucci that features my favorite thing as a child, bears. However, the main thing that he WAS known for (we are learning more and more about how talented he is due to his new self titled album) was his dancing. This man can DANCE!
The first time I found THAT out was when I watched an OLD video called “Call Me Baby” by EXO. This man…. You will just know him AND Baekyhun when you see them. Remember, VOICE (BH) and DANCE (Kai). By the way, this has been my ring tone for YEARS now.
All Downhill From Here
Once you start on that slippery slope, that’s it. You’re gone. Once you find that ONE group that you got hooked on, you just start looking for ALL their songs. Since I was late to the game with them, I had a LOT of catching up to do. And I sure did catch up. I also learned more about the members and Korean culture. I even tried to learn Korean using Duolingo (I am not doing that well, I have to admit). So, until you can learn the language, you just yell out crap that you think might SOUND like what they’re saying and call it a day.
BUT, the fun is that again, you are not alone. I am SO not alone that there are series on YouTube called Misheard Lyrics that crack me up. I am subscribed to a great one that really needs more subscribers because they are so funny. They are called RebEwel (Rebecca and Jewel). They do a lot of Kpop songs and it’s hilarious. But you have to have watch the video first because these men are so beautiful that you won’t be able to look at the subtitles. OMG! You see this guy here, that’s Chen. Another one that is known for his high notes. This man can SANG! He and Baekhyun are known for their beautiful high notes. The two of them together are unstoppable. Okay, let me get back on track. This might need to be like a five part series or something because there is so much I have to GIVE on this subject. LOL
Another fun thing that you can see on YouTube are reactions to the Kpop vids. They can come from YouTubers or the groups themselves (because many don’t see it until it has all been done. They just dance and jump around green screens until it comes out).
So we have BrisXLife who is another ARMY but just is a true fan of good music. I’m always yelling at him on his Instagram and Twitter about songs I need to see. He also has a love/hate relationship with one of the members of SuperM (a supergroup made up of SMs best members), Lucas (and he is another bias wrecker, OMG!).
BrisXLife Mad at Lucas
My BaeKai Reacting to Kai’s First Solo Single
Roles of Members of the Groups
In Kpop groups, everyone has a role. I will use EXO as an example and we might get into more Kpop terminology here.
- Leader (keeps the other members in line and starts off the intro for the group)- Suho
- Center (usually the person in the middle, draws your eye) – Kai
- Rapper (self explanatory) – Sehun and Chanyeol (sometimes Kai too)
- Dancer (self explanatory) – Xiumin, Kai, Sehun (I believe)
- Main Vocals (self explanatory) – D.O., Baekhyun, Chen
- Maknae (youngest member of the group) – Sehun
- Fake Maknae (looks like the youngest but isn’t) – Xiumin
I Really Do Have SO Much More to Give
Okay, so I’m going to stop here but we will talk about a lot of other things. I would like to stick to the light things for now but there are some dark things as well (as there are with anything).
I would like to touch on the following:
- fan wars
- mandatory military enlistment
- eating disorders
- why they were wearing masks before we had to
- how Kpop got me through the last 3 years
- Chinese vs Koreans ( this makes me sad because it really impacted EXO)
- going to a concert BY MYSELF to see SuperM (the featured pic) when I hate people AND crowds
- being old and having to tell these teenagers to calm down with the hate (LOL)
- light sticks and their importance
- why buying their CDs (even though no one plays CDs anymore) is a BIG DEAL!
So I will stop here. There is a lot more to Kpop than people know and I’m going to give you guys the Kpop for Dummies version. I also only like male Kpop groups for some reason so I won’t be talking about girl groups unless it applies to one of the members of a male group.. If you stick around, great, I would be happy. If not, like the President, BIDEN (bye den)!
Thanks for at least making it this far!
Part two is here: How Kpop Changed My Life – Part TWO: Fan Wars