Some Helpful Tips for K-Pop Producers

Don’t get me wrong. I love watching pretty Asians frolicking to strong beats amidst gorgeous costumes and high production values. But a few things about K-Pop videos make me crazy.

English Lyrics

There’s much to be said for not being able to understand the lyrics to pop songs. That goes for most pop songs regardless of origin. Most pop lyrics are inane and it’s better not to delve too deeply into their message or the way they’re expressed if you want to enjoy the music. On the other hand, I don’t mind some English lyrics either, as long as they aren’t certain recurring phrases that have come to sound like incantations. One is “Baby baby.” The other is “Bye bye.” Please do not EVER say those phrases as they make the skins of most English speakers crawl when they jump out from among otherwise unintelligible lyrics.

Gangsta Style

I don’t know where K-Pop artists hail from, and don’t care. I do know that they don’t come from South Central L.A. (because I’ve never seen any Asians there except maybe the liquor store owners and a few cops). Yet I keep seeing many K-Pop videos with both boys and girls acting and dressed like gangstas from the hood — the massive chains, earrings, tats, grills. Seeing that non-indigenous style paired with Asian faces is like an unwelcome slap of inauthenticity to the listener. In other words, it makes me feel silly for even listening/watching.

Eye Shadow and Eyeliner

I don’t mind eye makeup on the babes in those incredibly skinny troupes that make up K-Pop girl groups. But as a straight female I get nauseous when I see it on the guys of Beast, MBLAQ, 2PM or any of dozens of other K-Pop boy bands. To the producers of these groups — please do yourselves and your acts a favor and lose the eye shadow and eyeliner! They are heinous impediments to music stardom among most peoples of the world.

Politically Correct Gender Roles

Yes, I know it’s considered politically correct to depict male-female relations as though females enjoy utter domination over passive, infinitely accommodating males. On very rare occasions it can be a cute fantasy. But to most people the predictably imperious capriciousness of the females and the dogged submissiveness of the males in your music videos simply scream out “False!” The whole These-boots-are-gonna-walk-all-over-you thing was old practically the moment Nancy Sinatra sang it in the 50s! There’s nothing wrong with showing gender roles the way they are in real life — callow guys and ditzy chicks (I happen to be one of the latter), or manly men and womanly women (ditto), or whatever. Free yourselves from the prisons of political correctness if you want to liberate the genre from charges of being copycat.

Production Values

I have no complaints about the incredible production values in an astounding number of K-pop music videos. It’s a boon to the Asian image and the Asian American image to have so many gorgeously dressed Asians strutting their stuff in such stunning settings to the beat of generally pleasing rhythms. Props to your stylists, set designers, CGI geniuses, music engineers, choreographers, makeup artists, and of course all those pretty young people who spend hours a day to get those pimpin’ moves down cold.