So the latest K-Pop playlist challenge (introduced by my Vingle homie @MattK95) is to make a playlist of songs you would use to get a friend or family member into listening to K-Pop. This is actually a really great challenge because a lot of people in North America tend to write off Korean music as inaccessible when it actually has a lot of similarities to the music we generally listen to here in the states. While Korea itself is a very different country, they get a lot of their musical influence from North American, European, and Australian artists, so the sounds and stories coming out of popular K-Pop songs are things I think most people could relate to and get into if they give it a fair shot!
Without further ado, here is my response to the playlist challenge. I decided to rework the playlist theme a little bit and show you some of the K-Pop songs I played for friends when they thought that Korean music was stupid, weird, or a whole lot of "Gangnam Style". I think a lot of you probably know most of these, but if you don't, I hope I've introduced you to some fun new Korean music!
"Gondry" - Primary feat. Kim Lim and Oh Hyuk
I showed this music video to a few friends who aren't into Korean music last week, and they loved it just as much as I did. One of my friends said she thought it was really interesting how a song that isn't in English can still make her feel a very specific emotion without her actually understanding the lyrics. (I then pointed out that the music video has English subtitles on it, and she yelled at me for making fun of her.)
"Bang Diggy Bang Bang" - MFBTY
This song has such a cool international vibe that reminds me of old Missy Elliot tracks. It doesn't hurt that the music video has a very strong Hype Williams feel to it too. I've played this song for friends, and they had very very similar reactions. One even said that the instrumental reminds them of a little bit of South African rap-rave duo, Die Antwoord.
"미치GO" - G-Dragon
I had to add this song to the list because it's by far my older sister's favorite K-Pop song. She doesn't really understand my obsession with Korean things and thinks it's really weird that I could be so fascinated by a country that I want to learn so much about it. But one thing she appreciates about my Korean culture nerdiness is how I was able to introduce her to GD's music. She listens to all of his solo albums on Spotify when she's doing people's taxes at her accounting firm! (She might be more of a VIP than even I am!)
"Bad" - Tablo feat. Jinsil of Mad Soul Child
This song is SO GOOD, and I remember this was one of the first songs I played for friends back when I was first getting into K-Pop. Tablo has a way with his verses that make them sound like really emotional spoken word poetry, and he is really good at conveying certain emotions and topics in a way that it transcends any specific language.
"Bar Bar Bar" - Crayon Pop
I have so many friends that hate me for getting this song stuck in their heads, but I think that, at the same time, this song gave them all a little soft spot for the girl group, Crayon Pop. Every time I have a big house party, everyone always keeps asking me to play 'that one weird K-Pop video'. I think it oddly became the song people come to my house specifically to watch?! (Not that I blame them or anything. This song is the CUTEST.)