Well, hello the bookish world!
After almost 3 month since I’ve joined the bookish world, and doing numerous bookish memes on a weekly basis, I thought that I should add some of my personal spice and make this blog look more like my actual online home, with everything I love dearly and willing to share with all of my followers and random newcomers!
So from today on, I’m cancelling my weekly Wednesday Shelf Control, and replacing it with another corner of my own called Wednesday K-pop! with Liliana, where, as you could’ve already guessed, I will talk about everything K-pop: introducing artists, sharing thoughts, news, recommending music, playlists, and even, if I manage to do that, my own contents like k-pop dance covers.
I personally think that, by blending my second obsession with the bookish niche of my blog, I will let you know a little bit more about my personality and my picks, and, since K-pop and books are on par for my life obsessions, I will put as much efforts and passion into this segment as I do to any other bookish corners I have here established.
I really hope you would like this corner, as well as you are willing to know about those wonderful artists from Korean showbiz.
~Welcome to Wednesday K-pop! with Liliana~
So today I will talk about basics for those who have no idea what the hell K-pop is!
Sure you might have read my posts regarding survival show called PRODUCE 101 Season 2, but it could have still left you absolutely confused with all the K-pop thingy. So here I am now, willing to help you to get lured into this wonderful world~
First of all: What the hell does K-pop stand for?
K-pop stands for Korean pop, a.k.a. is a musical genre originated in, as you could’ve guessed, South Korea, and you probably just thought “Oh, but this sounds exactly like Western pop, only in the other language, so what’s the point of making it a separate genre?”, but I will tell you – this term as of the past couple years already stopped being used only to describe a specific music style, but already covered many other spheres of Korean musical industry, since Korean pop music is a finely blendex mix of different musical styles like pop, rock, indie, hip hop, dance, and so on.
Probably you’ve heard of Gangnam style by PSY who blew up the world in 2012, breaking the world record on most watched video (almost hitting 3 billion as of 2017!)
Okay, I got it. Now what is it, K-pop idol?
The term Idol is used to describe all artists working within K-pop genre. To be an idol, you need not only singing talent, but also be able to dance, demonstrate your variety skills, and basically your job is to be an example for your fans/younger generation. Whatever you do as an idol is observed by your fans, and could be used as a good or bad example to the young society, depending on what you say and what you do.
Trainee, entertainment agency, debut, rookie, sunbae/hoobae, comeback, concept…
What the hell are those terms?!
Let’s settle these one by one~
Trainee in simple can be explained as a person who trains to become a K-pop idol. You thought that you can easily become a K-pop star? Nope, behind each debuted idol are years of strict training, from skills to manners – all so you can become an example for your fans. Training period can take from just few month to a decade.
Entertainment agency is basically your management company. They recruit trainees through scouts, auditions, invest in your training you, preparing your debut, producing all material for you to perform – literally your second home. Once you get accepted into agency, you sign a long-term contract, sometimes with pretty strict terms, and, of course, you have to share your earnings with the company. But at the first several years you work to pay off the money your agency invested in making you a K-pop idol. Harsh, huh? But thousands of young people still dream of becoming idols for their passion.
Debut is used the same way it used for any other field; in K-pop it’s used to descibe your first ever official appearance as a K-pop idol. Once you’ve debuted, you’re considered as a rookie for the first couple years.
Terms sunbae [선배, pronounced as sawn-bae] and hoobae [후배, pronounced as hoo-bae] in K-pop are used to refer to artists with more and less experience respectively. For example, you have debuted in 2008, and another artist debuted in 2010, so you’ll be referred to as sunbae, and the other one as hoobae. In this case, the biological age can be somewhat ignored even if the hoobae is older than his sunbae. Of course, when the two artists get closer to each other, they can talk to each informally and regarding to their biological age, but that will still not cancel the fact of their sunbae/hoobae relationship, and the hoobae must always show respect to his sunbae.
Comeback is used when an artist releases new material after debut. For instance, if you debuted in 2016, and six months later you release a new mini or full album, it’s called you’re making a comeback. Usually each comeback holds its own concept a.k.a. the main idea/theme of your new material. Sometimes you can see the term Concept-dols, which basically mean idols with a specific concept that they keep throughout several comebacks; for instance, a boy band VIXX is famous for their dark/horror concept, as they portrayed it through at least 2 albums.
Okay, now explain me what makes a K-pop band?
K-pop bands consists of several members, each of them holding their roles in the group. Most commonly, a K-pop group consists of: leader, main vocal, lead vocal, main dancer, lead dancer, face of the group, visual, maknae. Of course, one person can hold several positions in the group, depending on his/her own skills.
Leader is someone who leads the whole group, takes the most responsibility, usually being the main representative when giving speeches, and basically carries the whole group. Usually, in K-pop, due to strong age hierarchy in South Korea in general, the leader is also the oldest member of the group, so that the younger members listen to him/her properly, but there are many bands that have leaders not based on age, but on other things like leadership skills, overall charisma, and so on.
Main vocal is a vocalist who has the best abilities to hold higher register notes, while lead vocal is a vocalist who carries the whole song the best. Usually main vocals do all the high note adlibs, but there are many and many times when those adlibs are better performed by lead vocals. A K-pop group can consist of as many vocals as it can, there is no restriction on how many of them must be in a group.
Main rapper and lead rapper carry similar roles in a group, with only difference in being rap instead of vocals. Main rapper usually does more complicated rap parts, and there are also no limits on how many there should be in a group.
Every K-pop group also has their main and lead dancers. Lead dancers usually stands in the center a lot in order to carry the whole dance, while main dancers do difficult performances often called dance breaks.
Face of the group and Visual of the group are often confused to mean the same, but they, in fact, mean different roles in a K-pop group. Face of the group is someone who represents the whole group in promotions, be in advertisement or variety shows; it’s someone who’s literally responsible for the popularity of the group. Meanwhile, Visual is equal to the most beautiful/handsome member of the group; this person also carries a lot of responsibility for its group’s popularity and recognition. Both these roles are the overall image of a K-pop group.
Maknae is literally the youngest member of the group. Usually maknaes are much loved by older members, as well as they receive lots of love from fans (especially when he/she is younger than their fans). For instance, in NU’EST, 4 out of 5 members make a so-called maknae line, as they all were born in 1995, with Ren (the one in the middle of above posted picture) being the youngest a.k.a. born the latest out of ’95 line.
What else you have to explain to us, human???
Well, as for #Prologue post, I think I’ve covered more than enough basic information on K-pop vocabulary and its structure, but, of course, if there are even more terms not mentioned here, I will explain them all to you with references for easier understanding!
Are you actually interested in me holding this corner on my blog? Now that I have a separate segment for K-pop, I really hope I will be able to manage all my content in order, so that nothing gets overshadowed, and both my obsessions get enough exposure here on my blog!
Stay tuned for next week, where I will talk about most iconic K-pop songs of all time!