By Alysa Shamid

Thoughts on KPOP

KPOP is a 2 hour and 15 minute Broadway musical which introduces the artists of RBY entertainment. It presents the story of MwE, a girl who devotes her childhood in order to make a name for herself as a singer. It reveals the hidden tension in the boy group F8, and the behind-the-scenes of the girl group, RTMIS. All of them perform elaborate choreographies with strong vocals in their numerous performances.

First, MwE is an excellent depiction of how people enter the K-pop industry at a very young age in hopes of success. Despite this, she lacks much control over her songs and choreographies, because she must listen to the company. This is also seen with RTMIS and F8, as they strictly follow the rules which their company has set. They refuse to go along with new changes, unless it has gone through their company. In this aspect, the musical did amazing in its depiction of K-pop, as it emphasizes how there are larger voices who somewhat control these idols.

The musical also did well in its choreographies. F8 features explosive moves and interesting formations, common of many boy groups like Stray Kids. RTMIS has a more simple yet fluid choreography, with many upper-body movements. This represents many girl groups such as Twice. They wear bright and flashy costumes, but also minimalist outfits for performances. These performances definitely make the show like art. The bright lights and fun vocals resembled a K-pop concert. The fact that it was live is even better, because the audience gets to enjoy the show along with the performers. This interactivity also can make the musical like art.

Thoughts on Spring Day

Spring Day is a 4 minute K-pop song by BTS in their album You Never Walk Alone. Two of the members, Suga and RM, worked on writing the lyrics. The seven members sing about missing someone, and longing to see them again. It features contemporary dance and nostalgic vocals, which is not very common in K-pop boy groups’ songs. Many title tracks tend to be either aggressive or playful, while Spring Day is a sadder song.

The song won many awards and received great acclaim by critics. It won Song of the Year at the 2017 Melon Music Awards. The Rolling Stone labeled it as one of the greatest songs of all time. It has also sold over 2.5 million copies just in Korea.

Spring Day is wonderful and art to me because of many great decisions. First, there is music which contains a distinct sound and meaningful lyrics that other people can relate to. Second, it is a great choice to use contemporary dance for the choreo, because it is extremely expressive since it combines many dance forms.

Third, the music video is successful in numerous areas. It includes heavy symbolism, such as a lighted matchstick and a train, in order to represent both desire and hope to see someone again. There is colorful yet muted cinematography in order to present the harshness of winter, but ends with warmer sunlight and tones to represent the hope of spring. The storytelling of the music video is art. Every time someone rewatches the music video, they will be able to find something new or interesting.

Overall, the nostalgic feeling and experience of the song make it art.

Thoughts on Both

I drew two illustrations in order to convey the differences between KPOP and Spring Day. The musical has F8 as a boy group which performs with flashy lights and strong choreographies. This definitely resembles a K-pop concert, however, they somewhat fail at presenting the variety of K-pop. For example, BTS sometimes performs sadder songs like Spring Day, with contemporary dance, fluider movements, and a slower pace.

My first illustration is a scene from Spring Day, and I intend to present a calmer scene with a single person by the ocean. Meanwhile, my second illustration is colorful and of a person dancing. This represents the vibrancy of a concert, especially with the bright lights. Thus, K-pop can be loud, bright, and flashy, however, I would also like to acknowledge the sadder and slower side of K-pop.

A man smiling while pointing forwards, background of a stage and colorful lights