The Nation Wired

Students reflect on K-Pop

Alex Holmes

Alex Holmes


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K-pop: not a topic heavily studied or followed since “Gangnam Style” in 2012, racking up around 3.2 billion views on YouTube, and most definitely not the cover page of Times Magazine — until now. It’s 2018, and with new age comes new obsessions to the public, especially this one. It might not be a rare occurrence anymore to find someone booming K-pop down the streets, but it is interesting to follow along and see what our newest teen generation thinks.

Diving Deep

    Children and adults – or just people in general for that matter – all seem to hold and carry with them a certain individual liking. Whether that liking be cheap clothes from Old Navy, McDonald’s at 12 in the morning, or just the simple liking of K-pop, people tend to flourish under likeable and familiar surroundings. This is why asking a few high schoolers for an interview over Korean pop, seemed far-fetched.

    “Yeah, I don’t know about this,” said Zane Ornelas, 9, a student at Lehman High School. “It’s a little too girly for me.” That statement resembling the others’ beginning thoughts as well. K-pop is known for creating “weird” videos, the sensation that most first-timers tend to observe initially. Yet, little do some actually realize, that those concepts and ideas are just as second-natured to them as to our videos. Although, that not being the only observation to catch them off guard.

     “They got the most random outfits. One dude’s lookin’ like he’s from 1988, lookin’ like Elvis Presley…” Ornelas comments after watching the music video to Korean boy-group PENTAGON’s “Shine.” Generally, Korean pop industries tend to accessorize and perfect as much as possible on their idol’s MV’s (music videos). Much to the point where anything and everything on set matches the theme and common ground the video captures. Outfits, makeup, hair, facial expressions, video background, music and any other crucial points to perfecting an MV, are all taken into careful consideration. The filming and producing of Korea’s MV’s are delicately handled and are often times rewarded majorly for their efforts.

    “I’m not reading unless I’m forced to,” said Catherine Barkley, another freshman from Lehman High School. This objection is the seemingly hardest hurdle to jump for high schoolers. Since K-pop is obviously a foreign language, and subtitles or translations are required if you would like to understand anything they are saying, the thought of listening on a regular basis is a tough pill to swallow. Two out of the three interviewed (Catherine Barkley and Zane Ornelas) full-heartedly agreed that having to read while trying to enjoy their music was a tough task. “I wanna enjoy their music, not read the whole time.” states Barkley after finishing her reaction to PENTAGON’s “Naughty Boy.” 

One exception to the naysayers was Alex Holmes, Hays High School senior. “…a good thing with this generation of kids and stuff is that we’re all ridiculously diverse…” he said after finishing BTS’s “FAKE LOVE”. “…you have to be diverse, you can’t just listen to the same thing ‘cause it gets boring [after a while]. It’s good that something new has come in.”

Eight K-pop videos and four different groups later, the three high schoolers come to semi-different conclusions. “I have a different viewpoint on it now than I did before but… I’m not gonna take the time out of my day to listen to it.” says Holmes, concluding his interview.  “I am confused why americans like this.” comments Barkley. Finally Ornelas says: “This is trash. They’re wannabe-Americans.”

Here are some the comment highlights from these students as they watched some K-Pop:

“I can understand why girls like them so much… I can too, these dudes are hot.” -Alex

“Why are they holding their pants like a bunch of gangsters?” -Catherine

… this looks like they just came out of an anime.” 

“They already have better style than the boys.” -Zane

“I wish I was as beautiful as these people…” -Alex

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Students reflect on K-Pop