Having successfully conquered the world, K-Pop is a global phenomenon that has swept the world off its feet. Its production value, the rich colours, the sounds and synchronised dances were enough to give a new listener a sensory overload and yet, still come back for more. Whilst these attributes may have attracted a large international audience, has it taken the domestic music scene by storm?
Not one to be limited to simply K-pop, the domestic music scene is actually very diverse. Popular to contrary belief, many South Koreans are not as avid of a Kpop fan as compared to the international listeners. In fact, there are other music genres that are contesting with K-Pop’s popularity. If you’re one of the many who wish to branch out from the Hallyu wave’s main music export, here are a few music genres that are celebrated amongst South Koreans.
1. Korean Hip Hop
All thanks to reality television shows such as Show Me The Money and Unpretty Rapstar, Korean hip hop found itself an avenue to flourish in mainstream media. Instantly welcomed by the public, this music genre steadily gained several fans and as such, enjoys a popularity that can easily rival K-Pop.
With big names such as Simon D, Zico, Flowsik, Jessie and more, what used to be a genre that only thrived in the underground scene, has now attained a sizeable international audience.
2. Korean RnB
Similar to the Western music scene, Korean hip hop and Korean RnB often overlap and share similar elements. With artists such as Heize, Dean and Crush whose sounds are a seamless blend of both genres, this genre’s audience reach is substantial.
Of course, there are artists who dwell with Korean RnB with little to no influence from Korean hip hop. Sam Kim is one such artist whose sound is a fusion of contemporary RnB, soul and jazz. Other RnB artists include Junny, Jimmy Brown, Nieh, Lee Hi and slchld.
3. Korean Indie
Despite often considered as a subculture, Korean indie has steadily risen in popularity due to the influence of mass and viral media. Whilst it may have recently blown up amongst international listeners, Korean indie music made its first impression back in 1987 with bands such as Crying Nut, Pippi Band and Seo Taiji and Boys.
Undoubtedly, the sound has evolved over the years. The incorporation of Western sounds and English lyrics has permeated the scene. Indie bands such as Hyukoh, Surl and Offonoff have managed to enrapture their audience with their mellow and acoustic sounds.
4. Korean Ballad
As the genre that can arguably beat the popularity of K-pop, Korean popular ballad has been nationally recognised and supremely popular since the 1960s. Over the years, it has influenced and evolved into several music styles and subgenres. Most popular intersection would be ballad and pop, ballad and trot, and ballad and rock. Artists that have made themselves known for their ballad sounds include IU, Park Hyo Shin, Davichii and Yim Jae Bum.
Korean Music Is More Than Just K-Pop
With a big of a phenomenon the Hallyu wave is, it’s easy to be overawed by K-Pop and its glamourous visuals and sounds. Many other music genres tend to be overshadowed, and as a result, can’t enjoy the same international exposure and accessibility as their counterparts.
Fortunately, the Internet and social media platforms are becoming great platforms to push these genres into the international scene. These music genres no longer have to limit themselves to a domestic audience, and can revel in the possibility of global success.
Supplement your Korean language courses with all the diverse types of music available in the Korean music scene. With more exposure to complex and diverse lyrics and narratives, you’d be able to further improve your vocabulary and proficiency in the language. Moreover, their catchy tunes make them the perfect accompaniment on your journey to and fro from your Korean language school. So step out of your music comfort zone and pursue the other side of Korean music and culture outside of K-Pop!