Sunday, August 21, 2011

K-Pop #4: Dance

Remember what I said about K-Pop being unabashedly commercial? The spirit of the genre is to entertain and this is something they do very well. One consequence of this is the prevalence of Singles over Albums. Every year dozens of new groups debut and/or disband, making so-called 'one-hit wonders' de rigueur. It is what it is though, I for one don't lament the realities of the industry as they are and I don't have a contemptuous attitude towards the different way they do things. The continuously changing field of artists makes it extremely interesting to watch and read about, something I used to do often.

You remember such classic hits as this and this? The catchy tunes in conjunction with the music video and dance routine doubtless helped to cement them as classics of the pop genre. I call them classics of pop because that is what they are, regardless of whether you actually like the songs or not. For K-Pop artists the dances and/or music videos of their singles are considered almost as important as the songs themselves. A lot of the staying power for these songs comes from the memorable dances and this isn't lost on the creative minds behind the music. That's one thing I miss about those pop days. You don't get a lot of those intricate dance numbers making the videos anymore. This is one reason I think Beyonce's Single Ladies got so much attention. Alongside "...Baby One More Time" I don't think it would have stuck out so much because it wouldn't have been the only video to be comprised of dance routine. To be sure there are still dance routines in MVs but they don't make the videos. For example, take Lady Gaga's Telephone. It has a dance routine, sure, but it didn't draw specific attention. No one talks about it, praises it, or associates the dance with the song. It's just...there.
Not so with many of the hit K-Pop songs. Years later, these movements still evoke the song they came out with. Not to mention the hordes of talented fans you'll find on YouTube who upload dance covers for them. It's really quite awe inspiring to see so much fun coming out of this. And if you have a problem with fun... well, I don't know that we can be friends any more.... ~~(/>▂<)/

Observe, for your viewing pleasure, one of the best to have graced the stage:

Of particular note is the sway @2:00.

That group right there is TVXQ, the very same group that sang "'O' Jung Ban Hap", my first touch with K-Pop. In retrospect it makes perfect sense that this be so; TVXQ's fanbase is massive. Fun fact: the group has made the Guinness Book of Records twice, first in 2008 for having the largest official fan club in the world and subsequently in 2009 for being the world's most photographed celebrity group.