KIANA NORMAN-SLACK; Copy Editor; normanks@plu.edu

Welcome back, fam! It’s been a busy month in the K-Pop world. The iconic group, SHINee, has blessed us with their (possible) last album before their compulsory military deployment (all Korean men have to do about two years of military duty before they are 30-years-old), BTS is killin’ the game with their newest album and I.O.I is back together for the last time. Let’s dive in, shall we?

But first — if you are new to this world, let me apologize for being so rude and not properly introducing you.

VOCAB:

Hallyu: Refers to the increase of South Korean media since the 1990s; Also known as the Korean wave.

Aegyo: Behaving in a coquettish manner; cutesy displays of affection, often portrayed in cute/baby voices, facial expressions and gestures.

Concept: A central theme to a comeback. Some examples are: schoolgirl/boy, sexy, aegyo, retro and fantasy.

If you haven’t learned this quite yet, K-Pop means Korean pop. Korean pop music — mostly sung/performed in Korean with English words sometimes sprinkles in —  has been on the rise internationally for the last few years. Many popular K-Pop groups have traveled the world to hold concerts in places like Paris, Indonesia, Germany and, of course, the United States. The hallyu wave is sweeping the world, and you definitely don’t want to miss this.

So who should you listen to? There are so many sub-genres and different groups, it’s just so hard to start somewhere, right? Fear not my friends. Allow me to assist you with the beginning of your journey.

The two main sub-genres are simple: girl groups and boy groups. Both of these subgenres can range in the type of music they want to present. In terms of girl groups, the categories are as follows: sexy, aegyo and a tamer version of sexy. (Note: concepts for groups change all the time. There’s no rule saying that a group only has to do aegyo. In fact, please don’t, since girl groups can be so much more than just one of these categories.) If any of these girl group categories pique your interest, I suggest you check out these groups:

for sexy, check out SISTAR, EXID and AOA;

for aegyo, check out I.O.I, OH MY GIRL and GFriend;

for a tamer version of sexy, check out: Apink, FIESTAR and f(x).

Moving right along to boy groups: boy groups have the aegyo category, but they also have more of what a fan would describe as hip-hop/R&B vibes. Boy groups don’t have a sexy category, but believe me, that does not mean they’re not sexy.

for aegyo, check out: NCT DREAM and ASTRO.

for hip-hop/R&B vibes, check out: BTS, BLOCK Band BIGBANG.

There are a lot of my favorite boy groups that can’t really be lumped into a category, just because their music is very different, so here are a few that don’t necessarily fit but are still super great: INFINITE, GOT7, VIXX, EXO and SHINee.

Now, let’s get into it!

If you haven’t taken an hour out of your day to listen to BTS’s album “Wings,” you are seriously missing out. The album consists of 15 songs, with seven of them being individual songs from the boys! The entire album has kind of dark undertones to it, at least until you get to the last four songs. Check out the title track, “Blood Sweat & Tears” and (a personal favorite) “21st Century Girl.”

SHINee’s back! Their new album “1 of 1” takes us back to the ‘90s with the music and their range of fashion when performing. The title track, “1 of 1,” is a cute song that expresses love to one particular girl. “You’re already incomparable, you’re the only meaning to my world” as the lyrics translate. So sweet!

I.O.I is disbanding soon, but they couldn’t leave us without one last comeback as the full group. For a little background on their disband: I.O.I was formed during a Korean survival show called “PRODUCE 101.” At the end of the show, each of the 10 members of the group were signed to different labels. The full group agreed to promote for 10 full months, and that period is unfortunately coming to a quick end. The title track of their mini album, “miss me?,” is a really fun and cutesy song that pleads for a boy to speak up! “Very Very Very” gives a whole new spin on the saying that if you like someone, just tell them. When this promotion period ends for I.O.I, the members will all return to their respective labels.

What I’m Listening To:

BTS – “Blood Sweat & Tears” (from “WINGS”)

SHINee – “Prism” (from “1 of 1”)

Apink – “Only One” (from “Pink Revolution”)

I.O.I – “Very Very Very” (from “miss me?”)

Jay Park – “Me Like Yuh” (from “Everything You Wanted”)

What I’m Watching:

“Scarlet Heart: Ryeo” (ending soon)

“Jealousy Incarnate” (ending soon)

“The K2”

Next time, I’ll bring you up to speed on some of my favorite solo artists, and of course more K-Pop happenings. Keep up with me on Twitter (@kianashanice) for my YouTube clip of the week! Until next time!  ◼︎

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