Saturday, February 4, 2012

K-Pop: Girls Generation Reviewed by Americans

K-Pop group Girls Generation appeared on Letterman on 1/31. Take a look at their performance:

Now, appearing on Letterman is a big freakin' deal for any musical act, so the fact that they scored this is pretty impressive. Of course, just because you've appeared on Letterman doesn't mean that your career is made and that you'll be taking the US by storm.

There have been several posts in the expat-in-Korea blogosphere about this over the past week:
From A Blog Abroad: It's an Asian Invasion!! Maybe.

I should probably add before I write anything else that if it's not oldies or 80's pop, I don't dig it, so I'm hardly the one to judge the potential for success of ANY pop act.... still, my thoughts:
1. It reminds me a little of Who Let the Dogs Out? Something about the way the phrase we bring the boys out matches up a little too well with the phrase who let the dogs out, and after hearing this song, it was Who Let the Dogs Out that was stuck in my head.
2. My least favorite part was every time they did the 'Girls Generation make you feel the heat' refrain, which just sounded wooden and rather ridiculous to me.
3. One of those chicks totally looks like she went to Janet Jackson's plastic surgeon:

It's the Korean Janet Jackson!

Anyway, I decided to post the GG video on Facebook to see what the reactions were from typical Americans:

American Man #1, never been to Korea: Well, as a man who likes women it obviously has a certain appeal... but basically, Pussycat Dolls. Now, don't get me wrong... Asian version of Pussycat Dolls > original Pussycat Dolls, but if they do break into the US their appeal will likely be superficial and ephemeral. I just didn't see much other than the fact that they are visibly Asian, attractive by some standards, and doing music that sounds similar to a lot of stuff on mainstream pop radio.

American Woman #1, lives in Korea: The chick hunched over on the left at the beginning looks like she really needs a toilet. I have a feeling that a clip of Dave saying 감사합니다 is going to be all over TV.... forever.

She really looks constipated.

American Woman #2, never been to Korea: I agree with [American Man #1] it was the pussy cat dolls all over again. they reminded me of a group of cheerleaders... no offense to any cheerleaders out there but I was waiting for the moment they would make a pyramid. 

American Man #2, lives in Korea: IMHO Their Korean version of that song and their performances in general are much better than what they displayed on that show. 

American Woman #3, never been to Korea: i like it. the ladies are very pretty. i think it's about time asian people were more in the spotlight. i mean lisa ling and lucy liu are like the only asian people in popular culture that's not a whole lot. and really where is the asian sitcom. 

American Man #3, lives in Korea: Here are some reasons why I think K-Pop will not "make it" in the states: Their biggest selling points aren't really anything special. Sexy people, yawn. What pop star isn't sexy these days? The dances are snap locked to the track with no fluidity or emotion (for the opposite, watch Beyonce's "Single Ladies"). Their singing isn't really singing. Backing track my ass. If it is the same volume as the singer, its not "backing" anything. They can't really be interviewed in English, and will have a more difficult time connecting with an audience, hence why Letterman didn't interview them. They exude gimmick. And in a group with 10 or so members, none of them really distinguish themselves from each other. Its a parade of forgettable people with no personality. Granted, before you start telling me how different they are from each other and talented and all that crap, please bear in mind I'm not referring to them personally or individually. Their persona as a group is forgettable. On the other hand, I bet they could sell a hell of a lot of chicken in the USA.

American Woman #4, used to live in Korea: It's as good as I've ever seen them, which means it's much better than the choked-up Wondergirls on So You Think You Can Dance a few years ago. However, I find the girls' gen to be really awkward in this song--it should be more in your face sexual and they're too cutesy cutesy to pull it off. In that way, they are inferior to the PCD. Just an opinion. I think 2ne1 with Will i am have a better shot at true notice in the US. 

Feel free to add your thoughts in the comments!


John from Daejeon said...

Had they been on the "Super Bowl" or "American Idol," it would have been a big Madonna-like deal, but the "Late Show with David Letterman" isn't even seen by 1% of the U.S. population on a nightly basis, and those who watch aren't exactly teeny boppers and tweens. It also didn't help when they aired on a night when CBS populated its Primetime line-up with repeats of it's top-rated "NCIS" franchises which always lowers of the amount of available viewers on those nights.

It amazes me that so many are making a mountain out of this mole hill.

John from Daejeon said...

They might want to catch Madonna's awesome Super Bowl halftime show to see how its done.

I'm no fan of hers, but this is the first time that I've ever watched an entire halftime performance in my life.