If you were born before the 1980s, it’s likely there’s a global cultural phenomenon that’s been puzzling you: why in the world is K-pop (Korean pop music) so... well, popular?
Click start to play today’s Crossword, where you can spot a famous K-pop singer.
It’s called ‘hallyu’ or the Korean wave – the notion that South Korean pop culture is sweeping across the world, as a major driver of global culture. Switch on Netflix, and you’ll see a whole slew of South Korean TV shows or K-dramas. Shop online, and you’ll find that K-beauty regimens are dominating the cosmetic and skincare industry.
And tune into the radio to peer into the heart of hallyu – K-pop music. Here are five quick facts that explain why K-pop is so uniquely popular:
1. Dance moves
Songs are more about just the lyrics and melody, in K-pop. The choreography and dance moves in Korean music are just as important, and K-pop singers are world famous for their seemingly effortless way of mastering complex, entertaining dances. They undergo rigorous training and put in a lot of hard work to deliver world-class, choreographed productions.
K-pop stars bring a whole new meaning to fashion. They don’t waste any opportunity to make a statement with their clothes and accessories, which are often reflective of their personalities. The celebrities – both men and women – also tend to dye their hair and use makeup regularly.
To take their songs to the next level, K-pop stars are known for their creative use of costumes and colour in music videos. Long before North America was even industrialised, Asia had a thriving art and graphics scene, and today’s K-pop stars are breaking new ground in the field. Their incredibly creative use of special effects, makeup, costumes and colour therapy are always tied to a greater theme and vision.
Although South Korean pop music is primarily sung in Korean, most K-pop artists are fluent in English, having learned it in schools from an early age. So, it’s common to find catchy English phrases blending in with Korean lyrics.
5. Marketing ability
Just as they’ve excelled at singing, choreographed dancing and theatrics, K-pop artists are masters in their marketing ability. Every Korean artist has a unique selling point (USP), which is played up. Korean pop stars spend a lot of time building international recognition through their music, merchandise, and other ventures, such as cameos or even starring roles in K-dramas. It’s no wonder they have a huge fan base, all around the world.