O hai Big Bang. But I have to ask, Taeyang – what’s up with that turtleneck? Sneeeeaky.
(Apologies in advance for the folks for whom this post is entirely irrelevant. When I asked my husband if he was into NKOTB when he was a younger person, he went, “NKOT who?” And then I felt silly.)
So when I was a younger-type person, boy bands were a big thing. All my friends were into New Kids on the Block, primarily Donnie, I think? Well, as you do, we all had our favorites. We liked their music (I still have a fondness for “The Right Stuff,” even if it transforms into Weird Al Yankovic’s “The White Stuff” whenever I try to remember how it sounds). We wore their merchandise. We had Trapper Keepers with their faces emblazoned on the covers. One of my friends even went to a concert!
But I? Not I. I mean, I wanted to. I really did! The one album I owned was their Christmas special, given to me as a gift by a sympathetic aunt. But my parents are quintessential hippies/beatniks, and looked down their noses at that whole pop music/boy supergroup thing.
By the time my cousin had gotten into her serious Backstreet Boys phase (and swore up and down that the Backstreet Boys were in every way superior to NSYNC), I had found the one boy group that my parents were ok with me listening to – the Beatles.
Hooray for the Beatles, right? Their contribution to modern pop music is hugely significant, and while I poke fun at myself, the White Album is, in my opinion, one of the best albums of the modern era. The Beatles influence everybody, including Michael Jackson, who in turn influences everybody else.
The one problem? I was 13 at the height of my Beatlemania, and while the music was a thing I was into, the Fab Four themselves were the ones I really swooned over. HOWEVER, as everybody knows, well, they’re not young men any more. In fact, by the time I discovered their existence, John had already been gone for over 10 years.
Also a bummer.
Let’s take a fast-forward to 2012, as a strange and oddly amazing video makes its way around YouTube like Genghis Khan around Asia. I had heard about Psy’s Gangnam Style, and then didn’t watch the video. Finally I gave in, and saw this list of related videos on the sidebar. So I clicked. I like clicking links. You find great (and also awful) stuff clicking links.
And that led to f(x), which led to 2NE1, which led to Big Bang, which led to a deep (and for WH, irritating) obsession with KPop.
I was watching variety programs starring the members of Big Bang on YouTube the other night, and realized with a start that this is what it must have felt like to be a Monkees fan back when the Monkees were in their heyday. Or the Beatles. Or NKOTB. We really don’t have an equivalent in America right now, and I don’t recall our groups ever having been as phenomenally flashy as the K-Pop groups, but it’s still the same sort of thing.
I’m kind of loving this feeling. I feel like I’m getting to live a little bit of my youth over again, a part of it that I missed the first go around. It’s on me if I indulge in some swanning over megagroups.
(The other crucial bit of information that I realized is that this new thing is actually an extension of an old thing, in that I’ve always preferred electronic music to other genres, and there’s been a major adoption of electronic music by megagroups and pop stars. I don’t know what it comes from – Skrillex? Hip hop? It’s probably a far more complex origin than I realize, but whatever it is, I’m very happy that there are more ways to access electropop than there were 10 years ago, when you kind of had to know where to look for it. Like my favorite fringe preferences that become mainstream, I’m going to enjoy them while they’re easy to get, and not beat myself up over the fact that they’re mainstream. I’m not that much of a hipster.)
And I really can’t wait to see what T.O.P. is doing in 5 or 10 years. I don’t know what the longevity of your average Korean idol group is, but that man has some serious potential, and I’m anxious to see what he does with it.