[Article] 2NE1 Mentioned in the New York Daily News: 5 Must-Hear Groups
The Korean invasion: New Yorkers are screaming for the new wave of pop stars
BY DAVID YI
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Korean pop is serious business, too. Since the turn of the millennium South Korea has been pumping out dramas and music videos as a means of influencing the broader culture throughout Asia. South Korean president Lee Myung-Bak ranked K-Pop as one of the country’s greatest achievements in an August speech celebrating Korea’s independence from Japan.
K-Pop videos are “just slick, extremely well produced, always have different themes that really capture audiences’ attentions,” says Cedarbough Saeji, a Ph.D. candidate at UCLA in culture and performance with a focus on Korean culture.
“The production value is very sophisticated. Every K-Pop video is as high-quality as any top American act like Lady Gaga or Britney Spears, but the image is a lot cleaner, less sexualization.”
Saeji says one appeal of Korean pop music is that the stars become friends with their audiences. And Korean singers perform multiple times on several TV networks a week.
“People like these Korean stars because they seem like someone they can be friends with,” she says. “They’re taught to be humble, friendly. There’s no diva attitude. And they’re fun.”
This sense of fondness for these artists has everyone from teens in London to singing groups in Vietnam remaking Korean pop songs or emulating their dance moves and fashion styles.
“Social media has definitely impacted how accessible and easy it is to find these groups,” says Young Ji Park, who founded a website dedicated to K-Pop called SeoulBeats. ”Twitter and Facebook have made these groups widely known and Korean pop groups are even featured on the top music videos of the day on Youtube. It’s very visible.”
So eye-catching in fact, that a live K-Pop invasion was inevitable. Here’s one example:
Hip-hop sensation 2NE1, a four-girl group that sings and raps about girl empowerment, has become designer Jeremy Scott‘s muses. Scott created a shoe: the JS Collage Wings x 2NE1, which will debut next month. The group’s look — high fashion with a colorful, punky twist — has even inspired some updated costumes in the new production of Broadway’s “Rent.”
Rapper and producer Will.I.Am from the Black Eyed Peas fell in love with the group after watching one of their videos online. He’s now producing their first all-English album.
5 MUST-HEAR GROUPS:
Ready to dip your toe into the Korean Wave? Here are the top five South Korean acts that will help immerse you in the world of K-Pop:
Unlike other Korean girl groups who capitalize on sex appeal or being saccharine and cutesy, this group rose to the top of the charts for their anthems on girl power and boy bashing. When they aren’t dominating the charts in Korea and Japan, the group — Dara, Bom, Minzy and leader CL — are making a statement in the fashion world. Often described as “fierce,” this fearless foursome express their style through fashion houses like Alexander McQueen, Gareth Pugh, Proenza Schouler, Balmain and Jeremy Scott, who has become one of the band’s biggest supporters. Catch them repping South Korea as one of the Best Bands of the World nominated by MTV Iggy.
Download this: “I Am the Best,” a catchy electronic beat with a bass-friendly undertone.
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