K-pop is making waves in American pop music unlike any other international genre.
National Standards: 7-9, 11
Prepare: Have the class read Seoul Music (page 32 of the student edition). The article discusses the success of k-pop group BTS, and the many factors behind what has fueled the music’s impact on America.
Key points in the article:
- In 2017, BTS broke several records: They became the first Korean artist to perform on New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, the first Korean group to break Billboard‘s Top 40, and were 2017’s most re-tweeted celebrity.
- In the 1990s, Seo Taiji and Boys set the template for modern k-pop by introducing dance music with rap.
- The power of k-pop is a surprise given how South Korea struggled in the wake of the Cold War in the mid-19th century, but is largely due to government support.
- BTS is set apart from other k-pop groups in that their production company gives them creative control over their production and songwriting.
Begin: Discuss with students the factors surrounding the success of k-pop. Topics may include:
- If BTS’s success is directly correlated to the members’ creative freedom
- How the South Korean government prioritizes “cultural exports” like k-pop groups
- How South Korea has developed one of the world’s leading economies by imitating other countries’ products and developing their own versions (cars, electronics, musical style)
Develop: Play the following video of the Steve Aoki Remix of BTS’s “Mic Drop”:
Which characteristics of the group’s style were described in the article?
- Blend of dance music and rap
- Lyrics in both Korean and English
- High quality group choreography and production
Expand: Now play the following video of “Trust Me” by K.A.R.D.:
K.A.R.D. is one of k-pop’s few co-ed groups. How does the style of this song compare from BTS’s?
- It incorporates female vocals
- The song is a slow ballad compared to the upbeat tempo of “Mic Drop”
- It’s similar in that there’s group choreography, high quality production, and rap