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I recently booked two days in Seoul, South Korea and I’d like to say it’s only because I miss my friends, the food, and the language, but really, I want to go back and bask in the culture that invented, and unashamedly basks, in the skin-perfecting glow of K-pop. Korean pop music groups are Goliaths in the industry. They are on every young girl’s backpack, notebooks, stickers of them are pasted on desks and lockers, and their faces are used to sell everything from alcohol to lipstick. To live in Korea and not love K-pop is to turn your back on an essential part of the culture.

As a pre-teen who had stacks of N-Sync, Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys, and even Mandy Moore CD’s, this cute and manufactured brand of music was right up my alley. Manufactured is not an overstatement. These boys and girls train from a very young age, depend entirely on their company for guidance, money, and even to be fed, carefully craft a persona/style, and then make their debut with ten other boys or girls and hope that Korea will fall in love with them. If they don’t, another group will be on their heels. The music they make is like eating a donut. It’s light, airy, sweet as fuck, and has very little substance, but damn, it makes you feel good.

My personal favorites were (the now very old) 2ne1 and Big Bang. They were the “alternative” K-pop groups because they rapped, dressed like punks sometimes, and appeared to have personalities. They didn’t do “aeygo” or playing cute, in their videos. Instead, they wore ridiculous fashion and rocked straight-up confidence. Now, G-Dragon (from Big Bang) and CL (from 2ne1) have become popular performing in the USA and even collaborated on a song with Diplo.

K-pop is not for everyone. Especially not many straight, American guys. I usually am asked “are they gay?” or “what the hell is this?”

This, my friends, is K-pop. Don’t question it and let the random English lyrics amuse you.

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