My K Addiction

The Spring of 2019 was the beginning of my fall down the deepest, darkest black hole of my life.  This was the beginning of my addiction to all things K. And by K, I mean K-Pop, K-Dramas, K-Celebrities, and K-Culture.  I give credit to the biggest boy band in the world, BTS, or 방탄소년단 (Bullet-Proof Boys), for being the white rabbit which led me into Alice’s hole.

This article is an appreciation and my introduction to K-Pop and the Korean culture.  I hope you enjoy! 

I was skeptical about K-Pop the few years I had heard snippets of the “biggest boy band in the world: BTS,” until one day I decided to be adventurous.  Honestly, Best Decision of My Life!  This all started when YouTube recommended BTS’s live performance of their song Make It Right (my all-time favorite BTS song).  Curious little me wanted to see what all the hype was about the group, so I decided to give the song a try.  I was instantly hooked and spent about four hours watching their music videos and interviews afterwards. 

I was so impressed how one group could have so many different styles of songs.  One song is a sweet love song, another is motivational, and the next makes you want to dance like there is no tomorrow.  Each band or group I listened to growing up in the US pretty much had a set style in music.  Occasionally, these bands would have a song or two not in their typical style, but BTS blew me away with their perfect variety.  (I later found that every K-Pop band has this level of variety in their music!) 

Some may wonder about the language barrier, but I see it as an opportunity.  I get the chance to fall in love all over again.  Listening to English songs, I pretty much fall in love, or not, the first time I listen to a song. But I feel like I get to fall in love with Korean music at least three times.  The first is, of course, the first time I hear the song.  The second is when I look up the meaning of the lyrics, and the third is when I listen to the song knowing the meaning.  I first realized I fall in love with K-songs songs three times when I was listening to the song “First Love” by BTS’s lead rapper, Suga, or 민윤기 (Min Yoon Gi).  K-Pop rappers take rap to a whole other level!  I had never been moved so much by rap.  Suga’s emotions can be felt through the way he raps and sings in “First Love.”  I cried the first time I heard “First Love.”  I cried when I read the lyrics, and I cried when I listened to the song knowing what Suga was singing/rapping about.    

This is a perfect segue into the lyrics of Korean songs.  I never knew a song could contain such deep meaning until I heard Korean songs.  Most K-Pop songs have small, English phrases which give you an imprint of what the song is about, but the Korean lyrics are often on another level.  Stray Kids’ “Hellavator” and NCT’s “Sun and Moon” are two such songs.  From the English titles, you can get a sense of what the songs are about, but the Korean lyrics unlock a new depth of love and admiration for both the song and the group.

Not only can the members of K-Pop groups sing beautifully, rap with strength and emotion, and write moving lyrics, they can also dance and are masters at performing!  Like their music, their performances hold variety.  They can be entrancing, moving, magical, and just downright cool!  SHINee’s, SuperM’s, and solo artist, Taemin, or 이태민 (Lee Taemin) is one artist whose performances are always magical and entrancing (look up his live performance of “Goodbye” in Japan to experience his entrancing vocals and dance). 

I won’t go into too much detail, but K-Pop has helped me both emotionally and mentally.  K-Pop was there for me when I was at my lowest and didn’t know what to do.  There is a song for your every mood.  When you want to cry, there is a perfect song for you to cry to and a perfect song to dry your tears.  When you want to dance, there is a whole collection of songs for you to dance to.  When you feel stuck and overwhelmed, there is a song to cheer you up and keep you moving.  K-Pop is the best and biggest motivator and comforter when you feel alone.

K-Pop bands do not only make music and perform around the world.  They also love and encourage their fans.  I have never seen artists who treasure their fans like K-Pop groups.  They try to interact with their fans as much as they can and keep them motivated with their content and support.  The genre of K-Pop is really just a giant family of artists and fans. 

K-Pop opened the door to K-culture.  K-culture holds so many treasures like K-foods and K-drinks, K-Dramas, the language, the people, the fashion, and the architecture. 

First, the food and drinks from Korea are delicious and addicting.  Tteokbokki (떡볶이) is a must try!  This is a spicy, and kind of sweet, dish made of rice cakes covered in a spicy sauce.  Kimbap (김밥) and kimchi jjigae (김치찌개) are two other delicious Korean food must-tries! 

Second, K-Dramas!  Each drama has a new or different plot and storyline with meaning and depth.  There are so many types of K-Dramas, and each introduces a new story and adventure.  I have found myself crying and/or laughing in nearly every Korean drama I have watched.  The acting, visuals, screenplay, soundtrack, script and storyline, and directing are on point!  I have never been bored while watching a Korean drama.  One feature of K-Dramas is that each drama is usually just one season.  I was surprised when I discovered this, but Korean dramas take that one season and tell beautiful, moving stories that will leave you amazed.  A plus is that numerous Korean dramas are available on Netflix and Viki!  (Check out my article “10 Of My Favorite K-Drama Recommendations” to find some great shows!)

Third, the Korean language, or 한글 (Hangul), is such a beautiful language!  The way the language flows is mesmerizing.  (I personally think it sounds very romantic when I hear a Korean man speaking his native language.)  I thought the Korean language was so beautiful that I began learning it and am working to become fluent. 

Last but not least, the fashion and architecture in South Korea are beautiful features of the Korean culture.  South Korea’s fashion is top tier and its architecture, both historical and modern, is exquisite. 

These aspects and qualities create the beautiful, dynamic culture of South Korea. 

I have been falling down this hole for nearly a year and a half, and I do not plan to stop falling.  K-Pop has opened a new world for me, and I am intrigued and cannot wait to discover more!  If you enjoyed this and are intrigued, I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and give all things K a try!  Who knows, you might find your rabbit hole 😉