If you're new to Kpop the biggest hurdle to overcome can be simply not knowing where to look. For those of us that live outside of Asia, there is no Kpop on TV or played on the radio or talked about on the news. Where do you start if you don't know any band names? How do you find what you haven't already heard?
Well, that's what this MUSIC page is for. It's a banquet table filled with all the major food groups, a variety of beverages, and a smattering of delicacies to choose from. Enough that you can try a little of everything and find out what you like best.
To keep up with the latest releases in Kpop, visit KPOPPY's sister blog, which is regularly updated by yours truly.
And if you're already a Kpop fan like I am, you'll bookmark the page for the sake of convenience. Honestly, I made it for myself. I wanted a way to quickly access my favorite songs and artists. After using it for months, almost daily, I figured it could be of similar use to my fellow fans. Hence, KPOPPY was born!
If all this material is still intimidating, I've curated some Youtube playlists to serve as an introductory course:
The up-and-coming generation is fully hitting their stride. These are the most dominant Kpop groups of the moment. It's likely that you've seen at least a few of these names trending on Twitter and seen their fandom activity in Youtube comment sections. Listed below the group name is the year of their debut, the number of members in the group, the company they belong to, and their official fandom name.
The list of links will open music videos at Youtube. The selections are based on my personal opinions of the groups' best work or on major hits. Note that some groups are quite new and have less material to choose from.
These groups are no longer in their most prime years of the 2nd and 3rd generations. Some are disbanded. Some still have major comebacks that light up the charts when they return. But the fast-paced competition of the younger groups is no longer necessary to make themselves known. Many of them have already achieved legendary status.
Groups are the most common manifestation of Kpop, but solo artists crop up occasionally. Some soloists are purely soloists. Others belong to an Idol group, but have their own solo work on the side. Examples: HyunA is from 4Minute. Gain is from Brown Eyed Girls. Xia Junsu is from JYJ. G-Dragon and Taeyang are from BIG BANG.
It's increasingly common that a group member will release a solo effort on occasion, but I tried to focus on artists who have a significant and distinctive solo career away from their group and have released multiple albums on their own.
Meet some iconic artists of the 1st and 2nd Generations who paved the way for the 3rd. These groups are representative of the early stages of Kpop's evolution. Check out those baggy clothes and that 90s hair!
TVXQ are largely responsible for launching the 2nd Generation. They raised standards of performance that few groups have equalled. Last I checked, they're still on record as having the largest official fanclub in the world (Cassiopeia). Having been intensely active for so many years, their discography is massive and diverse. Fan or not, if you don't know TVXQ, you don't know Kpop. It could be argued that TVXQ made Hallyu a thing before anyone else.
TVXQ reigned from their debut in 2003 until 2009. They were the first Korean group to be active in Japan with huge success. Live performances and tours were their specialty.
Three members of the group sued SM Entertainment for contractual problems in 2009. SME's response was to end the group's activities and promote only the two remaining members.
The three rebels formed JYJ and have persevered despite exile from mainstream music media and perpetual court cases. Their struggle brought the darker side of Kpop to public attention and inspired reform in the industry. ( Articles: 1 | 2 )
A big ol' list of everyone else. Everyone else worth listing at least! They are grouped by debut year. The links are best hits, debut singles, or a personal favorite (often not their debut). I do my best to keep it updated.
Hearts ( ) indicate hits that I recommend.
A faded group name and ( X ) indicates the group/artist has disbanded or is on indefinite hiatus.
I've also included a small section for comedy videos. They're practically their own genre. Sometimes comedians collaborate for a fun music video, but there are also groups like Norazo who always bring the humor.
KPOPPY is not meant to be a perfect archive. It's a place to get started!
If you're looking for a more expansive archival site, check out KpopInfo114.
Mainstream TV and radio are flooded with the Idol dance pop with which you are now familiar, but it's like the Top40 in the US. Many of us don't want to listen to Justin Bieber and Rihanna. There is plenty of great music being made beyond Idol pop. While there is a lot of diversity, I've narrowed the genres to five general categories: Rock, Hip-Hop, Ballad, Electronic, and Coffee Shop. Some of it will lean towards pop. Some of it will lean towards the obscure.
light to heavy rock (top to bottom) and punk
includes rapping and/or spoken word, R&B
emphasis on vocal range and slower songs
techno, house, keyboard, synthesized with rock or funk elements
acoustic guitar/piano, folk or jazz, gentle vocals
One more section is included for the Kpop in other languages. Some of it is pure novelty. Some is aimed purposefully at an International audience. Big companies have attempted to 'break into' the American music industry for years. None have been successful (so far). This may or may not change due to PSY's massively viral Gangnam Style. Non-Korean Kpop fans tend to think it's not a good idea to market to the US in the first place, but companies seem hellbent on it regardless. At any rate, I've included a group of songs all in English.
Japan hosts the 2nd largest music industry in the world. Due to proximity, some cultural compatibility, and the potential for far more revenue, Korean companies have put massive efforts into promoting their artists there. The initial push into the market with BoA and TVXQ started from the ground up with the idols studying Japanese to become fluent. Once the path had been paved to the top of the charts, other companies flooded in. This eventually created some serious backlash from Japan as more recent groups put little effort into learning the language or making new quality content. China now appears to be the more desirable conquest.
English Language : varied genres
Japanese language : varied genres