Your World. Your Stories. Everyday.


Your World. Your Stories. Everyday.


Your World. Your Stories. Everyday.


K-pop fever sweeps across the west in record breaking time

Azaa Battsogt
The encore of the ENHYPEN concert with confetti and strings flowing down from the ceiling and the band hugging each other after another successful show.

There has been one band dominating the world music scene in the past five years. They go by multiple names; Bangtan, 7, Beyond the Scenes, and Bangtan Boys. However, the name that rings in everybody’s head when they hear “K-pop” is BTS. 

BTS, standing for Bangtan Sonyeodon or Bulletproof Boy Scouts, is a global phenomenon that rocked the world with hits “Fake Love”, “IDOL”, and their most popular “Boy With Luv”. These songs impacted South Korea and the world and introduced BTS to a new era that would change their lives forever. 

BTS went and changed the lives of everybody who listened to them, creating their infamous “army” fan base. BTS is a gateway for many people of all ages to find K-pop and the gifts that it has to give. 

K-pop has recently taken over the lives of many teenagers and young adults with its catchy songs, memorable dances, and fan interactions. It definitely changed my life with finding BTS’s music and then being introduced to more incredible groups such as TWICE or LESSERAFIM. But it is such a specific topic that people who are not  into it are confused. 

Why is it so popular? What is a bias? What is a ‘Jungkook’? Who’s New Jeans are we talking about?

According to Season one Episode 17 of “Explained” on Netflix, K-pop started with Seo-Taiji and Boys taking Korean music from patriotic and slow to upbeat and American with their song “I Know” which was received negatively by the previous generations. According to the South China Morning Post, “The show aired on Saturday…it was the biggest talking point among youth by Monday”. 

With baggy jeans, winter jackets, and rap, Seo-Taiji and Boys changed how Korea viewed their cultural economy. Because of Seo-Taiji and Boys’ efforts in what they believed South Korean music could be, almost 30 years later K-pop has become a global powerhouse.

This has given birth to iconic bands such as BTS who were named Entertainer of the Year in 2020, and Stray Kids who broke album sale records with five million pre-order sales and two million albums sold in one day, Which is something that Seo-Taiji and Boys could only dream of when they first stepped onto that stage. 

K-pop is not for everyone, like all types of music. The response to the introduction of K-pop in the West was not positive at first. Of course, you had your fangirls and fanboys of Shinee, Girls Generation, and IU. But everyone else did not like these sparkly guys dancing on stage and were weirded out by this new language everyone loved. The 2000s and early 2010s in America were a time of innovation in music but not necessarily other languages of music, besides a Spanglish track every now and then. K-pop needed to show this Western audience that its music is no different from their music. 

The biggest thing, besides music, that draws people in is the memorable dances that all groups have. You have the iconic “Fancy” by TWICE that every K-pop stan knows, EXO’s “Loveshot” and it is not a longshot to see how good this song is, and of course,옵-옵-옵-옵 오빤 강남스타일. Everyone knows this song, it was even the warm-up dance at the 2023 UDA summer camps, which I still remember every move. If anything, it is the most popular K-pop song, even if the meaning is not as upbeat as the song; it is a satire about the wealthy Gangnam area in Korea. K-pop is not some foreign wonder that teenage girls love, it is music that everyone can listen to and maybe even relate to. 

Another aspect of K-pop that draws attention is their fan involvement. K-pop bands are known for being close with their fans and treating their fans as if they are  family. Weverse, fan calls, and specific fandom names are all ways they get closer to their fans. It is  the reason why I became a fan of Stray Kids, they love their fans so much and will always make it known. Bangchan of Stray Kids has a YouTube series called “Chan’s Room” whose purpose is to connect with the Stray Kids fanbase. This has caused K-pop fan bases to trust the idols and want more content from them. 

To get different student views on how K-pop has affected them like Jovi Zeciroski, a sophomore, who typically leans towards rap and hip-hop genres.

“ Personally I do not see the appeal to it and recently I have been seeing more and more concerts and stuff around the area [involving] K-pop,” Zeciroski said. “Same thing with video games and music streams promoting a ton of groups, in most cases when listening to music, I do not get the appeal of listening to someone speak in a completely different language.It is just really sparking up and turning [into] a big thing recently.”

Zeciroski’s views on K-pop fans is that they can be intimidating with how passionate they are about these idol groups.
“I only know BTS and I am scared of them,” Zeciroski said.  “I heard a bunch from different groups, but never grew a hook for it or knew the group names. But some K-pop fans are [kind of] crazy with the different collectibles.” 

The collectables in question are photocards which come with almost every K-pop album and K-pop fans have immense collections of them. 

To get a contrasting opinion, Grace Gerubal, a senior, is a K-pop fan who can appreciate the hard work the idol groups put into their music and the effort to have a larger western fanbase. 

“I have only been into K-pop for almost two years, but I think it is nice that a lot of artists and groups branch out to different countries and sing in different languages,” Greubal said. “Music is something to be enjoyed by anyone no matter the place or language.”

Greubal has a popular K-pop opinion that Idols should stick to more Korean music as opposed to the primarily English tracks they have been releasing. 

“However, K-pop means Korean pop so I think they should primarily stick to what they have done before, but I do not see singing in other languages as a problem,”Greubal said. “I like it being appreciated in America as long as it does not become too Westernized,” 

K-pop is one of the most popular music genres of the modern age, with artists such as J-Hope being the highest ticket seller at Lollapalooza of all time. With K-pop just being one small genre in a sea of Korean-based music where you can have anything from K-rap to K-rock. Whether you are into slow R&B songs like “Yun” or adrenaline-infused beats like “Guerilla,” there is something for everyone. 

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About the Contributors
Isa is a sophomore, a Perspectives reporter, and on the Black and Gold podcast. She is excited for her first year on the Journalism team! When she’s in the podcast room you can see all the ideas flowing out of her head and simply just enjoying being with friends. She is a passionate artist, music lover (specifically K-pop), and avid movie critic on Letterboxd. When not in the podcast room she’s on the sidelines cheering with the Varsity Dance Team or in her room reading about Jo March’s adventures.
Azaa is in her second year of high school but her first being on staff. Azaa is a bubbly, talkative student who loves her friends more than she loves dressing up. She is part of the In and Out of Our Walls podcast and loves creating the graphics for it. Outside of school she can be found riding her bike to her best friend’s house, playing video games, or shopping for new clothes.

Comments (2)

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  • M

    MeenaNov 4, 2023 at 5:19 pm

    I love k pop and enhypen.

  • E

    eduardo homezNov 2, 2023 at 1:20 pm

    the kpop stans really liked this one