By VICKY CHOU
As a new blogger who plans to write about K-pop – if not about Chinese, Taiwanese and Japanese forms of entertainment as well – I thought it would be nice to tell you guys a bit about how I got into K-pop in the first place. After all, it amazes even myself that I have been intrigued by music of a foreign language for so many years and counting.
My wonderful venture into the K-pop world began in the eighth grade, prior to which I was interested mainly in anime and manga and the occasional Taiwanese dramas that aired on television. As implied, my family and I watch Asian TV series as opposed to American ones, so it was inevitable for me to be exposed to K-pop at some point in my life. But when the Hallyu Wave first struck Taiwan with Super Junior’s “Sorry Sorry” and Wonder Girls’s “Nobody,” I was hesitant about accepting a new style of music that, to me, appeared out of nowhere. I did not understand why so many people enjoyed the songs if they couldn’t even understand the Korean lyrics. It wasn’t until a few years later that I saw how beautiful K-pop actually is and how unnecessary understanding the lyrics is as well.
My life completely changed in 2011. It was during lunch one day when I overheard my friends talking about who they wanted the female lead of a show to end up with. When I asked them what they were talking about, they told me the name of the show and all convinced me to watch it. That show – or drama – was Dream High and it became the first K-drama that I ever watched.
Dream High led to my researching the various K-pop groups that the actors and actresses were in because despite certain criticisms from netizens, I thought everyone in the drama was really talented.
Not long after, my mom’s friend recommended another drama – You’re Beautiful. I ended up liking Shin Woo’s character so much that I searched up the actor who played his role and fell in love with CNBLUE. But my love for CNBLUE will never compare to the one I had for DBSK and now EXO.
DBSK, or TVXQ as some people like to refer to them as, was the first group that I really followed. I watched most, if not all, of the variety show episodes that they appeared on, collected a few of their albums, influenced my cousin into loving them too and even made them my cover photo on Facebook. Unfortunately for me, however, by the time I even knew about DBSK, they had already disbanded. Three of the five members had filed a lawsuit against the company and ultimately created a new boy band called JYJ, while the remaining two members continued the legacy of DBSK. But as their situation is much more complicated than this one-sentence explanation, believe me when I say that it is the company’s fault and not any of the members’.
While I am still a fan of DBSK – I like to call the original five-member group DBSK and the new two-member group TVXQ – I found it disappointing to remain completely faithful to them because all of their shows and songs were years old. So after two years of only liking DBSK, I eventually found a new group to follow in my junior year of high school – EXO.
When EXO first came out, I thought that they were overrated despite constantly being on the news and having so many teasers for their debut. But when I took the time to watch EXO Showtime, I could not stop myself from becoming a fan. Each member is funny and talented in his own way, and being able to distinguish one member from another is such an accomplishment – you’ll know what I mean when you search them for the first time. Unfortunately, EXO is under the same company as DBSK, so a few members of EXO have also filed lawsuits and left the group. The EXO now will never be the same as the EXO in 2012 when they first debuted, but I still like them nonetheless.
Somewhere in my discovery of K-pop, SHINee’s “Lucifer” became the first K-pop music video that really caught my attention; while I do not remember exactly when I saw it, I can definitely say that Taemin’s long hair was unforgettable.
With that said, I would like to end here or else I won’t be able to stop gushing on and on about which music videos struck me the hardest and which groups I like the most. Keep in mind that this is only a tiny portion of my entire K-pop experience and that anyone, including you, can unknowingly fall into the trap that is K-pop, too.