24 K-Pop super-dynamic hit explosions!
The Korean pop music industry is an unabashed factory farm of boy- and girl-groups, all heavily market-researched, whose nearly-enslaved members star not only in glossy songs and elaborate videos, but even in reality-TV series documenting their lives in record-company dormitories.
This industry also produces a lot of the most exciting and imaginative pop music in the world. I don’t know why or how, exactly; but older factories like the Brill Building and Motown and Phil Spector’s studio, and TV shows like “The Monkees” have shown that brilliant pop can come out of such environments. And as far as I can tell, Korea is making the best pure pop music on the planet right now.
So if you squint past the commercialism, what you’ve got here is a scene full of charismatic kids who are ace singers and dancers, supported by some really imaginative songwriters, producers, choreographers and directors. The songs on this mix have hooks of fearsome tenacity, and some surprisingly deep production – I was noticing lots of little sonic details while tweaking the mix with my good headphones on.
Nearly all of these songs have videos, which are in many cases required watching. I’ve put together a companion YouTube playlist; They’re mostly high-budget eye-busters with a crazy level of detail and are often deeply, deeply weird. I give thanks to whatever fluke of economics allows millions of dollars to be spent on these.
(One exception that must be noted is FEMM, who are in fact Japanese not Korean; but to me they seem to fit in much better with the K-Pop scene than with J-Pop. I honestly don’t know if there’s an actual corporation behind them or whether they’re a self-run musical prank on the order of PiL, the KLF or Gorillaz. They’ve got a weird fictional back story that I don’t even have room to get into here.)
Co-mixing credit goes to my teenage daughter, aka chamomilecutie, who is the true K-Pop fan in the family. She discovered it, she found and collected these songs, and over many months she made a convert out of me by playing the songs and videos at every opportunity.
- 00:00 Super Junior — “Mr. Simple”
- 04:50 2NE1 — “I Am The Best”
- 08:16 FEMM — “Party All Night”
- 11:49 BIGBANG — “Fantastic Baby”
- 15:36 G-Dragon — “Crayon”
- 18:50 SHINee — “Ring Ding Dong”
- 22:41 f(x) — “Red Light”
- 26:06 Narsha — “Ppi-Ri-Ppa-Ppa”
- 29:22 SunnyHill — “Midnight Circus”
- 32:49 Lee Hi — “1, 2, 3, 4”
- 36:20 Red Velvet (feat. Taeyong) — “Be Natural”
- 40:59 EXID — “Up and Down”
- 44:08 Orange Caramel — “My Copycat”
- 47:27 SE7EN (feat. T.O.P.) — “Digital Bounce”
- 50:54 TVXQ — “Humanoids”
- 54:22 f(x) — “Rum Pum Pum Pum”
- 57:38 Topp Dogg — “Arario”
- 60:46 Block B — “Very Good”
- 64:04 Afterschool — “Let's Step Up”
- 65:40 FEMM — “Fxxk Boyz Get Money”
- 68:43 2NE1 (CL solo) — “MTBD”
- 71:55 Yong Jun Hyung, Feeldog & Lê — “You Got Some Nerve”
- 75:30 M.I.B. — “Gangkang Suwollae”
- 78:47 SPEED (Tae-Woon solo) — “Focus”