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[K-Friday] K-Music 101, Part 1

Gonna have to thank plainpastaandplainrice, if it wasn’t of them I would probably never came up with that post idea. They asked me a question about K-Pop. the question was what would i  suggest to someone who want to know a bit about K-Pop. While they where aware their question was open-ended, I still manage to give a pretty good answer, that you can read here. But this question made me wonder what is K-Pop to people, I mean other than the ones who are listening to it, what does the term K-Pop mean to the non-listener? Does it stop at Korean group or soloist, like BTS and other boy and girl group or Eric Nam, or it group together all the musical genre coming from the land of the kimchi?

This is my opinion and how I see the musical genre, like everything else, opinion can be different from a person to an other.

K-Pop, the Pop Music of Korea? 

~ All K-Pop Artist are Idol not All Idol are K-Pop artists ~

After asking the question around me, I realized that for probably a lot of people, K-Pop was petty much everything, with some exception, that was popular, like in the western country. However if yo ask the question to an avid K-Pop listener what they listen to, their answer will only contain name of boy group like BTS or EXO and girl group like TWICE or Black Pink, sometimes they will give you the of soloist like Eric Nam or Ailee, but most of the time their choice stop at group name.

Now if you ask the other people, like me, they will mostly answer they listen to «K-Music», which include all the genre, from K-pop to K-Rock passing by K-Hiphop. For some a band like F.T Island might me considered as K-pop, but the exact musical style would be K-Rock (think of J-Rock if you are an anime fan). Of course, in the western country Rock is Rock even when it’s mainstream, well it’s the same thing in South Korea, mainstream doesn’t necessarily mean pop music. If I take F.T. Island once again in example, they are a mainstream band, but they don’t performed what is considered as K-pop music.

K-Music Through the Generations

~ Your «Sunbae» is my «Hoobae» ~

This concept is not something that can be applied to the western pop music or any other kind of pop music, this really only something that can be found in K-Music, mainly K-Pop and at some extant K-Rock. The concept of generation is use to differentiate the different group era. Again this can change from one people to an other, while I personally think K-Pop is now in the 5th Generation, some other think it’s the 3rd Generation, it really depend to who you ask since other thing it’s the 6th Generation. The table below divide the generation with some group example.

1st Generation
1996 to 2000 Example:
2nd Generation
2001 to 2008 Example:
Super Junior, Girl’s Generation, BigBang
3rd Generation
2009 to 2011 Example:
Infinite, Block B, APink
4th Generation
2012 to 2014 Example:
5th Generation
2015 to present Example:
Day6, TWICE, Pentagon

Again this is how I divide the Generation, my logic behind it is mainly their sound, B.A.P (4th) doesn’t sound like SHINee (2nd), how they present themselves and also the number of group debuting, each generation see more group debuting than the previous one. When I combine the two, it give me the table above.

Pretty sure I Already Hear that Sound Somewhere

Of course, more they are group, more there is chance you hear similar sound, music arrangement or beat. In some cause it can be plagiarism, but most of the time it’s cause it’s a new trend or cause group share music composer, like when Infinite and Boyfriend were performing song composed by Sweetunes or more recently a lot of group have EDM type of track. Trend can also be apply into concept, when a new group debut and their concept work, other agency might try to do something similar. In example B.A.P whom debut in 2012 have a bad boy concept and BTS whom debut in 2013 also have that bad boy style. I’m not saying Big Hit decide to follow TS Entertainment path after seeing how B.A.P were received with their refreshing concept, I’m just pointing out that depending of what it is trending at the moment, you might fun group with similar concept.


As you can imagine, if the Generation concept was introduce, it is because of the number of group you can found on the k-pop market. For some fans the Generation concept is not important, for other it is since they «stan» only group of a certain Generation. Talking about fan, next time I will talk to you about the reason why there are so many group debuting year after year; the fans.

~ Thank you for reading ~

See you next time

12 thoughts on “[K-Friday] K-Music 101, Part 1 Leave a comment

  1. Good post, and very informative.
    From what I understood, when most talk about it being currently the 3rd generation, they’re mostly talking about hallyuu wave. This current 3rd generation is piercing the global markets, spearheaded by BTS. While the other 2 generations were TVXQ, and then BB, that were the face and forefront of Korean music spreading globally.
    But it’s true that it’s not really something we can call as right or as it being only 3 generations.
    Personally, what got me into Korean music was Lee Hi, when she was on Kpop Star after it went viral and I started watching the show, and Shinee. I still like both, and I listened to 2NE1 and BB too, ofc. They Korean market is really fast-paced though, so I ended up losing track of Shinee and now have no idea what they’ve been doing tbh. The only reason I didn’t lose track of Lee Hi was because she had a hiatus of 3 years, because if it was constant comebacks I’m not sure I’d have kept track back then.
    Social media like Twitter really helps me know when things immediately drop, which before I was clueless and then was overwhelmed with what I missed.
    Ah, whenever I think of when some groups debuted like BTS who were hip hop, and then slowly changed and matured, it brings warmth to my heart.

    Either way, sorry for the long comment. Feel free to ignore my ramblings of a reminiscing clueless fan 😹

    Hope to see more posts like this from you 👌

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for reading and your comment!! Yes there will be more post in the future, at least 2 more.

      About SHINee, their last comeback as a group was last year with “1 of 1” but Taemin just made his solo comeback with “Move” .

      Oh yes the Hallyu wave…that make sense, but I still found it weird to say Infinite and BTS are part of the same generation. 😅


      • You’re welcome, and I’m glad you’re making these posts ❤

        Last year? What is SM doing, they should have cb's every year smh.
        Yeah I heard about Taemin's solo, tho I haven't seen the video or music. I just feel like I can't jump into it when I haven't seen all their other stuff, but then I get lazy hehe

        I understand, tho I don't know and haven't heard Infinite yet, because it's always so weird to think of all the groups I've heard being from the same generation when they have such different sounds hehe XDD

        I found it interesting you put BTS and pop groups in the same generation, cause BTS came out as a hip hop group but I get it, because they've been experimenting with a lot of genres~

        Here to your K-Music's going well and turn out to be popular ❤


      • That’s why I explained what it K-pop. Even if BTS is mainly producing hip-hop track. They are still considered was an idol group. Like SHINee or BEAST (now Highlight). When I think of K-Hiphop, I more think of Epik High or Kang Gary. If you ask people in which category BTS belong, most of them will tell you kpop.

        You should totally give a look at Taemin latest MV, it’s different from what he was going with SHINee.

        Gonna have to introduce you to Infinite soon then 😆


      • Epik High is good, love all their tracks they collabed with Lee Hi aaah 💕💕
        Yeah, I get what you mean. They have a lot of choreo and dancing, which is idol trademarks 👌

        Have Shinee disbanded?? Or just on hiatus? Either way, I will have to check it out.

        I’ll await the introduction then! 😹👌


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