A Guide for Boomers to the K-pop Galaxy: An Age-Defying Journey into the World of K-pop

Jin Park
7 min readMay 3, 2023

Satire | Comedy | Humor | Educational | K-Pop

CINDY ORD//GETTY IMAGES

A Whole New World Awaits

Welcome, dear Boomers and others who have yet to discover the captivating world of K-pop! This guide will serve as your ultimate introduction to the K-pop universe, as we debunk some common myths and misconceptions, explore the most influential artists and groups, and suggest where to begin your listening journey. So, buckle up and get ready for a humorous, witty, and engaging ride into the K-pop galaxy!

1: Debunking the K-pop Myths

Myth 1: K-pop is just for teenagers Truth: K-pop has a diverse fan base, ranging from teens to adults, proving that age is just a number when it comes to enjoying music. For instance, in 2019, The Guardian reported that a British fan in her 40s became a devoted follower of the K-pop group BTS, even attending their concerts and learning Korean to better appreciate their music. Age clearly doesn’t matter when it comes to K-pop appreciation.

Myth 2: K-pop is only about flashy visuals and synchronized dancing Truth: While K-pop is undoubtedly known for its stunning visuals and intricate choreography, it also boasts a vast array of musical styles and exceptional vocal talent. Take the group MAMAMOO, for example. Their strong vocals and unique harmonies set them apart from other groups, and they’ve been recognized with numerous awards for their singing abilities.

Myth 3: All K-pop groups are manufactured and lack artistic integrity Truth: Many K-pop artists are actively involved in their music production, from songwriting to music composition, adding their unique touch to each masterpiece. G-Dragon from BIGBANG is an excellent example of an artist with creative control, having written and produced most of his group’s hits, as well as his solo work.

K-pop Hall of Fame — The Most Influential Artists and Groups

BTS: The record-breaking boy band that took the world by storm
BTS, also known as Bangtan Boys, is a South Korean boy band that has captured the hearts of millions worldwide. Their meaningful lyrics, exceptional stage presence, and charming personalities have contributed to their immense success. From breaking records with their album sales to making history as the first Korean act to top the Billboard Hot 100 chart, BTS has undoubtedly become a global phenomenon.

Blackpink: The fierce and fabulous girl group dominating the global stage
Blackpink, consisting of four talented members, has been taking the world by storm since its debut in 2016. With their powerful performances and catchy tunes like “DDU-DU DDU-DU” and “How You Like That,” the group has amassed a loyal fanbase and has even collaborated with international artists like Lady Gaga and Selena Gomez.

EXO: The multi-talented group known for their experimental music and powerful performances
EXO is a South Korean-Chinese boy band that debuted in 2012, captivating fans with their diverse music styles and exceptional performances. With hits like “Call Me Baby” and “Love Shot,” EXO has showcased their versatility, exploring various genres such as R&B, hip-hop, and electronic dance music.

TWICE: The charming and energetic girl group spreading love and positivity is a nine-member girl group, that has gained immense popularity with their infectious pop tunes and adorable concepts. Songs like “Cheer Up” and “TT” showcase the group’s ability to deliver catchy hooks and memorable dance moves, making them a favorite among K-pop fans of all ages.

BIGBANG: The trailblazing group that redefined K-pop and paved the way for future acts BIGBANG, often referred to as the “Kings of K-pop,” debuted in 2006 and quickly became a powerhouse in the industry. Their unique blend of hip-hop, R&B, and electronic dance music, coupled with their daring fashion choices and charismatic stage presence, has helped them maintain their status as one of the most influential K-pop acts of all time. Songs like “Fantastic Baby” and “Bang Bang Bang” have left an indelible mark on the K-pop landscape.

MAMAMOO: The vocal powerhouse with a touch of sass and sophistication MAMAMOO is a four-member girl group known for their impressive vocals, unique concepts, and strong stage presence. Unlike other groups that rely heavily on elaborate dance routines, MAMAMOO’s strength lies in their exceptional singing abilities and live performances. With hits like “Egotistic” and “Starry Night,” they’ve managed to stand out in a saturated market and garner a dedicated fan base.

JYP: (Park Jin-young) JYP, also known as Park Jin-young, is a highly influential figure in the K-pop industry. As a singer, songwriter, and record producer, he has played a significant role in shaping the K-pop scene since the 1990s. JYP began his career as a solo artist, achieving success with hits such as “Don’t Leave Me” and “She Was Pretty.” His unique blend of R&B, hip-hop, and pop helped define his signature sound, which would later become a staple of his company’s artists.

In 1997, JYP founded JYP Entertainment, which has since become one of the “Big 3” companies in the K-pop industry. Under his leadership, JYP Entertainment has produced some of the most successful K-pop acts, such as RAIN, Wonder Girls, Miss A, TWICE, GOT7, Day6, ITZY, and Stray Kids. JYP has also been known for his hands-on approach in nurturing his artists, personally participating in their training, songwriting, and production processes. As a result, his influence has been deeply ingrained in the K-pop landscape.

PSY: (Park Jae-sang) PSY, whose real name is Park Jae-sang, is a South Korean singer, rapper, songwriter, and record producer who skyrocketed to international fame with his hit single “Gangnam Style.” Released in 2012, the catchy tune and its iconic horse-riding dance quickly went viral, becoming the first YouTube video to reach 1 billion views. “Gangnam Style” held the title of the most-watched YouTube video for five years, propelling K-pop to new heights and capturing the world’s attention.

Before “Gangnam Style,” PSY was already a successful artist in South Korea, known for his humorous and unconventional performances. He debuted in 2001 with the album “PSY from the Psycho World!” and achieved domestic success with hits like “Champion” and “Right Now.” Following the global success of “Gangnam Style,” PSY released other international hits, such as “Gentleman” and “Hangover.” His unique style and infectious energy have made him a prominent figure in the K-pop industry and an ambassador for Korean music worldwide.

Your K-pop Starter Kit — Where to Begin

Spotify and Apple Music: Dive into the world of K-pop with curated playlists on popular streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music. Look for playlists such as “K-pop Daebak” and “K-pop Hits” to get started.

YouTube: A treasure trove of K-pop music videos, dance practices, and live performances await you on YouTube. Subscribe to channels like 1theK and SMTOWN for a wide variety of content from different artists and groups.

Social Media: Follow your favorite artists and groups on social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter to stay updated on their latest releases, behind-the-scenes content, and more.

Concerts and Fan Events: Once you’ve found your favorite artists and groups, look out for opportunities to attend concerts and fan events to truly immerse yourself in the K-pop experience.

The End of the Beginning

As you embark on your K-pop journey, you’ll discover that this vibrant world offers much more than catchy tunes and eye-catching visuals. From exploring new genres and finding inspiration in the stories behind the songs to connecting with fellow fans and making lifelong friends, the K-pop galaxy holds endless possibilities. So, don’t be afraid to venture into the unknown and see where the music takes you. Welcome to the K-pop universe, and enjoy the ride!

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