How the New Hallyu Wave is Changing Kpop and My Thoughts On It

Kpop is having a very big presence worldwide and I think it’s mainly because of Psy, who paved the road with Gangnam Style. As someone who started to get into Kpop around 2011, I feel like I shouldn’t really have a say in this because 2011 was the point where things started to change. I don’t and won’t know how it feels to be an older Kpop fan who’ve seen more changes in Kpop, but I think I’ve seen enough to know what I’m writing about. For reference point, Gangnam Style came out in 2012 and at the point I’m writing this, it has 2 billion views. It frustrates me when people only think of Gangnam Style when they hear Kpop because that is NOT what Kpop is. In fact, I didn’t like Gangnam Style when it first came out, but everyone loves it because of how quirky and catchy it is. Seeing how popular Kpop can become, I feel like many companies are trying to tackle the American market. In fact, JYP tried it back then with the Wonder Girls and it didn’t turn out well, but things are different now.

The point of this post wasn’t to rant about Gangnam Style, I’m happy for Psy for getting all those views and money for it, but it’s the fact that there’s been a big change in Kpop that gets me wondering what happened. I’ve been listening to older songs (older as in around 2009-2012) and the style is just totally different. Back then, I felt like every group who came into fame had their own distinct style, but now, many groups are just trying to become famous by being sexy. Remember back when Hyuna caused a lot of trouble because her concepts were so sexy? But Bubble Pop or even Change (which was banned because she was dry humping a wall) was nothing compared to what’s out there now. It was also pretty funny to learn that one of Brown Eyed Girls’ songs got banned because Narsha’s look was too seductive, and not because she had a makeout scene in the video. These concepts and ideas on what is considered “sexy” is definitely changing and being a lot more accepted nowadays.

There’s also a lot of rookie groups that came out since 2012. With this much competition, it’s really hard to gain attention – many debut and were never heard of again. One great example of this was Kiss & Cry, who came out with Domino Game in 2014 and disbanded after debuting because they didn’t gain enough fame from that one song. Um, what? Many groups don’t become famous after debuting. It’s such a shame because all those members were so talented and I’m sure they would have became famous if they kept going. Well, now everyone went their own way, maybe gone solo or debuting in new groups (Haena’s new group is debuting this year!). I’m not totally against rookie groups, because some aren’t even that talented but some talent-less can become talent-full. I just feel like they’re replacing the older groups sometimes. I heard that After School didn’t make a comeback for a long time because their company didn’t have money. Well, more like their company is too busy promoting rookie groups instead of promoting After School.

In fact, I feel like there is a lot of members who are leaving other groups because it is difficult for them or just because they want to do other things. Kara disbanded, 2AM disbanded, Sulli left f(x) (or was she kicked out?), Jessica got kicked out of SNSD, Lee Joon and Thunder left MBLAQ, half the members of After School left and so many more that I can’t think of right now. It seems to me, the old wave is leaving and the new wave is coming in. I’m not saying I don’t like the new wave. I’ll welcome it with open arms because I know I will find things that I like, but I’m just nostalgic for the songs back then. I’m missing the older songs, the older concepts, the older members. It’s just a bittersweet experience for me.

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