I think it’s important to get out of a cultural rut because so many times in different cultural settings, popular media and culture mirrors the culture at question. So if you refuse to accept and observe current popular culture, you can’t be an observant member of society. Like they said in the podcast, try not to refute current music, but be observant, and try to change your ways of just denying it. It’s totally a subjective matter that you don’t like that style. I personally like current music, but I am a huge fan of early 2000s and late 90s pop. So whenever I listen to current music, I like to be observant of how it reflects a certain style or sound.
When it comes to pop culture, Internet virality has a huge role, especially in the present decade. And nothing says internet virality quite like “Gangnam Style” by Korean pop artist PSY. This happened to be my first exposure to the music genre of Kpop and I never really revisited it unless it was my Korean-American friends showing me a music video here and there. I never really peaked my interest, they were saturated in pop-iness and seemed like just a produce-and-buy kind of scheme, but it seemed like the perfect topic for this assignment, so I decided to give it another go and the results were somewhat eyebrow-raising. I was completely at the feet of one of my friends, who has much more experience in this field, to recommend me a song and music video that I might like. She recommended to me the all female five-person band, Red Velvet and their newly released music video “Russian Roulette.” It was accessible on YouTube and from what I understand, Kpop is a major export of South Korea. I mean, the music video I looked up had about 14 million views, along with others that I saw in the 50mil view count.
From an aesthetics standpoint, I immediately liked the music video. It was quirky and had a pastel theme, definitely staying in trend with the current times. It had fun transitions and rly good cinematography. Though I was a little confused as to what the premised of the video was, they seemed like they were trying to kill each other with cereal bowls of screws which was probably to keep in the theme of the name. They were transitioning in between the storyline and a synchronized dance with was very cute and minimal. Outfits were on point! With kind of a 80s gym class kind of vibe and those cute running shorts from American Apparel, I can recognize them anywhere. Something I had been previously aware of was Kpop stars diverse hairstyles and this music video did not disappoint. It seemed to be in unity with the song, meaning it was produced to be sold along side with the song.
As for the song itself, I have always been a fan of pop music so I was thoroughly interested in this song too. It was fun and different sounding, a little unconventional from stuff that I hear in American pop. Hence, I didn’t really think it was expanding my view because it had very similar qualities with “Western” pop. Though I couldn’t help but get the feeling it was just another money making pop scheme, trying to follow trends in the styling and the music, since it’s probably the same all around the world. I work for the campus radio station so I have to review a lot of music, and that’s how I went about this as well. Knowing how the music industry works, these Korean pop companies are probably more interested in sales and promoting their product, which is more times than not the band. This is an aspect I think is important to popular media because many companies promote things for the benefits of sales. Overall, however, I thoroughly enjoyed the song, it was catchy and the music video was aesthetically fun to watch.
watch the video here