The Korean Wave in Pop Music Essay

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Korean music has changed dramatically over the past decade, most recently in the craze with pop. This essay will focus on the Korean Wave with emphasis on K-POP in terms of the sound history and culture it has created. I argue that a music genre has never been this successful in penetrating the outside world and combining culture. As this music genre is relatively new, just two decades, the traditional sense of the music must be taken with a grain of salt. I will space this paper out into three areas as stated above, touching on the history and culture, the sound itself, and performance of the genre. I will then take a case study of the most popular K-POP band Super Junior and their song “U.” In the song I will pull from my analysis of …show more content…
An interesting dynamic to note about the culture of the Korean Wave, or K-POP is how the South Korean government uses the popularity as a power tool. Soft power, as Joseph Nye defines it is the persuasion of others through co-opting them to do so (Nye, 2004). This is different from the regular way one would describe the power tool over another group: through coercion or payment. In this manner the South Korean government uses the success of K-POP and is leveraging it to become more liked and influential (Nye, 2004). The government believes that when foreigners listen to their music or engage in their shows they will embrace them and in turn be warmer to South Korea. To aid this, the government will promote the music travel from domestic to overseas. The government is hoping that the cultural spreading is bidirectional and that the world culture will also influence South Koreans, bringing them closer to others as well. As South Korea has been a topic of interest in the past few decades, the government aims at making peace with its northern relative as well as promote positive Korean image (Nye, 2004). The sound of K-POP is an interesting mix, and certainly the influence of genres across the globe can be seen in its composition. I am focusing on the boy bands of K-POP, more specifically with the (arguably) most popular group, Super Junior. This twelve person

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