Blogging Archives #4: “Korean Pop in the Late 90’s”

For this post from the archives, it will be decidedly less serious.  I was studying for a church history exam on February 12, 2010, and as usual, I got distracted by youtube.  And for some odd reason, I started to think about a 1990’s K-pop group.  Some of these videos didn’t work anymore so I had re-locate them.  I asked Korean friends to help me translate one of the songs; it wasn’t good, but it’s better than I would have done, and it was funny.  I eventually had a friend who is fluent in Korean translate it for me, but that was in another post ;).


So, I’m trying to concentrate on studying for my Church History test tomorrow, but then I remember… Korean pop?  Eh?

I went to Korea for the whole summer in 1997 with my siblings and my mother.  I was eleven years old then and it was 8 years since I had been, and it would be eight more years until I would go again (2005).  Of the many things I remember about that trip, I remember this peculiar Korean pop group called UP (pronounced by saying the letters), who were especially corny and cheesy and whose songs had the feel of Sesame Street.  They were exceptionally popular at the time and their songs (well, just two of them) were constantly playing on TV and the radio.  In 2005, I remember being highly amused when I heard the song again, although the group had virtually disappeared.  Why do I remember this?  I do not know.  Sharon still has their CD.

It has been twelve and half years.  WOW.  So long ago.  Is it possible to find a trace of this group now?  Why yes… it’s the Internet, after all.  For comparison’s sake, I will also post videos of American pop during this time.  Behold, K-pop in the late 90’s in all its glory!  Or… er, shame.  Click on the videos to find other videos on youtube; for present purposes, I will list a music video and a live event of their two most popular songs, mostly because music videos alone in the 90’s (and now too) are annoyingly a random mixture of short scenes that make me dizzy.

If you squint, the girl lead singer sort of looks like Eunice… [note: a friend of mine, obviously, and I would make fun of her for this for a long time.]

And here is a live performance

Haha, wow.  Perhaps someone out there who is much more proficient at Korean will be kind enough to translate this for me.  Also, somebody please translate these dance moves for me, which are QUITE fascinating.  The second song is about a sea… or somebody being a body of water for someone else, since that’s so romantic.  Reminds me of Sesame Street.

[edit: new addition]

You want to see a 90’s K-pop boy band?  Here is H.O.T’s “Candy.”  I kid you not, when I first heard this song and saw a brief clip of the music video on a Korean variety show, I sincerely thought it was from a kiddie Korean show like Barney, not an actual boy band.

American pop?  Here we go:

Good heavens, what the heck is that move on 0:37?

Ricky Martin… the scourge of the earth.  I forgot how obnoxiously he performs.

Sharon’s favorite.

This is a Euro song… which makes sense, because this is one of the stupidest songs I’ve ever heard.  Still.

So who among these is the most cheesy and ridiculous?  We’ll leave out the Europeans because they’re freaking insane, so we’ll pit the Koreans’ happy songs against the emo boy bands.  I must say, as ridiculous as the boy bands often were, they never reached the corniness level of K-pop.  K-pop wins.  Or loses.  K-pop continues to mystify me to this day.

But before you young kids look down upon the 90’s, know that songs like this will soon be made fun of in the future as well:

GENIUS!  I had no idea “down” rhymed with ” down.”  High five, Jay Sean!

Okay… study break over.


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