K-Pop Vs American Pop

Posted on 27 February 2017

Although many people still don’t know what it is and wouldn’t be able to identify its characteristic features, K-pop is a growing genre of music across the world. K-pop, or Korean pop, is the popular music genre of South Korea, and has many distinctive features, which separate it from American pop music. Some of these are extremely obvious, especially to dedicated listeners, while others are difficult to hear and are anything but noticeable. Just a few of the areas in which K-pop and American pop differ include:

A focus on looks and appearance:

While anyone who is familiar with American pop music would argue that looks and appearance are a distinctive feature, they are much more important in K-pop. Often K-pop groups are created purely based on the physical attributes of the members rather than on their ability to sing or perform - this comes later with a lot of training.

The performance aspect of songs:

Korean songs tend to place a lot more emphasis on the performance of the music, while American artists are expected to produce music which has meaning and which listeners can relate to. While an English listener may not understand the lack of meaning in a K-pop song, a Korean audience doesn’t expect there to be any. The best way to think about it is to think of a K-pop song as an accompaniment to the dance routine, while an American pop song is accompanied by a dance or performance.

Most K-pop singers change careers relatively quickly:

The K-pop industry is based on superficial things such as looks, sex appeal, and the ability of the artist to burst onto the music scene. However, listeners soon become tired of them, demanding new music and new artists. The average K-pop singer moves on to a new career around 3-5 years after becoming a star. This career could include things like dancer, tv show presenter, or tv personality.

The source of the music is different:

Many American pop stars are singer songwriters - they usually compose their own music. However, this is rarely the case in Korea. Since most K-pop stars are chosen due to their looks and sexiness, they often don’t have any musical ability. Most K-pop music is composed by professional composers, while the accompanying dances are created by professional choreographers. All the artist does is performs - they have little to no say in the actual creative process.

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