Korean pop groups end summer with new releases

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By Echo Dieu and Angela Lu

Korean pop music (k-pop) is a widely growing genre of music that has hit the United States with its uniqueness.  K-pop isn’t just music, however; what makes it so appealing is its combination of choreography, visuals, and idols’ personalities.  International audiences can experience all of these components in just music videos alone, which makes it easy to appeal newcomers.

“The appeal of it was its uniqueness rather than typical American music,” junior Sylvia Son said.  “I could feel the emotions from listening even if I don’t understand the language.”

Many k-pop groups are making a comeback this fall and fans at San Gabriel have expressed their excitement and expectations. Groups like Beyond the Scene (BTS), EXO, and DAY6 released previews to stir up enthusiasm before publishing their albums.

“I [was] so hyped for BTS’s comeback,” Son said. “This one is going to be just as good as the other ones like Spring day. The scenery was beautiful; it looked so aesthetic and the colors were so pleasing to look at.”

EXO uploaded their comeback music video “Power” on Sept. 5 and sold over 800,000 hits.  Their new album introduced new ideas and themes for their fans.

“I was really excited to learn that the album would be having a comic [and] sci-fi theme, because it’s a concept that is not really explored by other groups,” senior Kylie Chow said. “After watching ‘Power,’ I was absolutely thrilled.  Besides the content being very interesting and the song being very catchy, I really admired the amount of effort that was placed into this release.”

BTS released their fifth mini album titled BTS LOVE YOURSELF ‘Her’ on Sept. 18. Bringing an electronic dance influence to their music, BTS expresses passionate youthful love in their title track, “DNA.” They broke into Billboard’s ‘Hot 100’ list as No. 85 with this release.

“Their concepts for this album was very lovely,” junior Cindy Bui said.  “It centered toward the softer, and more honey-like concept whereas earlier albums were revolved around a darker theme.”

DAY6, a five-member rock band, uploaded their music video “I Loved You” on Sept. 5.

“I was excited for the new songs because I knew that the music video was going to be a continuation from their song [‘What Can I Do’],” senior Lexie Tang said. “I think that they did really well again this month and are slowly becoming more popular.”

K-pop has helped expand San Gabriel students’ social lives by creating a community of mutual interests. Like many others, Son was able to bond with their friends over a shared interest for it.

“I went to [my friend’s] house on Sunday and she asked if I watched the new BTS ‘Serendipity’ trailer,” Son said. “We watched it together and after that I learned more about the group and new boy groups.”

Chow mentions how Hallyu, a term for the spreading popularity of Korean entertainment, enabled her to meet new people.

“I have been able to make new friends and bond with people I have never talked to because of k-pop,” Chow said. “Talking about it in general with my friends just made all of our relationships become deeper.”

As k-pop continues to integrate itself into mainstream media, more students are able to bond over it. This summer wave of conceptual comebacks attracted a wide range of audiences and made its way into San Gabriel.

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