Of our very diverse blog posts, some of the most popular are about hallyu, the export of Korean pop culture. While still very much a subculture outside of Asia, the idea of k-pop music used as psychological warfare against North Korea is being considered — in a similar way to the use of the music of Nine Inch Nails, Pantera, Queen, and Sesame Street was used at Guantánamo.
So who are potential psychological weapons of cute pop music? Some of the most likely candidates are Girls Generation (song above that will get stuck in your head — and yes, that is a sample of New Order), Brown Eyed Girls (video directly above) and the Wonder Girls. The Wonder Girls especially have been marketing themselves for a worldwide audience, including websites directed to the U.S. and other English speaking audiences.
But one of the most unique aspects of the Wonder Girls is that they carefully have crafted a plan to market themselves to the U.S. audience, including a recent tour — and reaching out to niche American media. And including Bobby Lee, formerly of MadTV, and one of the most recognizable Korean-Americans (to a U.S. audience) in their latest video (same video/song but in Korean).
While I wish k-pop victory in really hitting the English-speaking market, I think there are significant roadblocks that have everything to with the U.S. audience and music industry, and nothing to do with the quality of the music. Even if pop music isn’t your thing, k-pop doesn’t differ from any other wave of international pop (except for in some cases, language). And considering that many of the writers and producers of k-pop and j-pop create music for U.S. performers, the music is more than essentially the same.
For example, once again, what about BoA? If U.S. hipster audiences can embrace Robyn and M.I.A, then why not k-pop?