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Is Kpop and Jpop Really Thrash?

Updated on January 29, 2015

The war between art and pop has been going on for as long as art and pop have existed. The most popular battle is pop music/pop stars versus legitimate musicians. Kpop and Jpop are common targets primarily because their local development and rise to the international scene has been fast and profitable.

I have already written a piece on why some people hate it. You can click here if you want to read about it. In gist, pop music, as we know it today, share their roots with prostitution. In the early days, when the youth were breaking away from slow tempo music and the Mozarts of this world, they went for high tempo music. Dancing halls were born. As the “Dancing Halls Generation” became older, young people thought of new ways to create their own identity. They started adding performances to songs. Naturally, they needed people that could perform and look good doing it. That's how they got singers to sing songs written by other people. These performers often get "booked" by audience members, if you know what I mean. Pubs and performance theaters t became the new hub of prostitution.

Want to watch the 10 Best Kpop Chereography of recent times? Click here.

Thus, succeeding generation started feeling disdain towards the singers believing the songwriter and composer should be the one admired. Eventually, even songwriters and composers started getting criticized for writing music that becomes popular instead of creating music that's aesthetically superior - form over substance.

They are accused of being sells outs or talentless with nothing to offer but their looks.

There's a lot of loopholes in this thinking and I will go through it one by one.

Art for Art's Sake

There are those who believe that art should not serve any other master or purpose but art itself. This principle is called ''l'art pour l'art''. It means that true and real art is void of any moral, social or didactic purpose. In other words, when an artist is creating art, his or her responsibility is to himself or herself. It is not meant to depict human experience or become the voice of society. It is meant to become whatever the artist wants it to become.

That’s just one school of thought, of course. There are those who believe that art should serve some social purpose. Neither is wrong and neither is right. It’s just a matter of preference.

Songwriters and composers are free to create the kind of music they want with complete disregard to social standards but just because it is not consistent with your taste doesn’t make it ugly. It only makes it incompatible with your taste. If these Kpop and JPop songwriters want to write songs that are catchy or talk about sex or love or broken heart, that’s their preference, that’s art for them.

An Introduction on the "Art for Art's Sake"

Songwriters That Don’t Like the Stage

It’s a given fact. There are those who express themselves better through the work they put out and there are those who can just as well sing as they write. Those who can’t perform well shouldn’t be barred from making a living out of the work they can do just because they don’t want to perform. Yes, those who want to write their own song should be allowed to do so and those who want to sing their own songs should be allowed to but those who want others to sing the songs they compose should also be given the tools to put their music out there.

Art is ALWAYS subjective

Just because someone's taste is not consistent with yours doesn't mean they are inferior. It simply means they are different.

Jung Yonghwa of CNBlue battled his management company after they were asked to sing songs written by other songwriters. Click here and read about him and other "real bad boys" of Korea.

There is Nothing Wrong With Pop[ularity]

People think that just because someone is popular, it means they sell out. Musicians work hard for to get their music noticed and when they get noticed, people assume it’s because they created songs meant only to be sold. Never mind the possibility that their years of hardwork is finally paying off.

Then there are those who think that when a musician experiments with other types of sound, they are selling out. Yeah, because artists don’t evolve but when they don’t change their sound, they are stagnant. Darn if they do, darn if they don’t.

MC Meta is one of the most respected but unpopular in mainstream hiphop artist in Korea. He also judged a talent show titled Show Me The Money.

Kpop and Jpop Sell Sexuality and Physical Beauty

Of course they do. When a group of girls gyrate their hips simulating the pumping act during a sexual act or wear a pair of shorts that could very well have been panties while rubbing their behind on a table, it's pretty pointless to deny it. I mean… come on. Why do you have to take your shirt off while singing? We know you've worked hard for those six pack but why do it while singing about missing the touch of a girl and her kisses? Not to mention, the abs have nothing to do with the message of the song.

First of all, for as long as you watch porn or find some pleasure, satisfaction or amusement with looking at sexy photos of women or men you have no right to judge.

The controversy about Korean musicians not getting their earnings from streaming and fee discrepancy. Understand it here.

Second, there is nothing wrong with making the most out of your beauty, physical beauty that is. Admit it or not, intelligence is something one is born with. Yes, hard work hones it but you can’t excel in it unless you have the right foundation. It’s the same with physical beauty. It’s not the person’s fault if they were born beautiful. Blame the parents, not the person. If they go around the city trying to hook up a rich partner so that they can have everything provided for them while they do nothing but breathe, that’s messed up.

However, for as long as they are working hard for their own money, don’t fault them for using the assets provided to them. In my books, that’s a pretty good strategy.

Third, I know some will say they send the wrong message, that they make children believe that it’s important to have good looks. Quite honestly, school and parents should make children realize that what they should work on is honing what they have. Again, music, movies and other forms of art should serve no other purpose but itself.

Fourth, what they do or what they wear has nothing to do with the song they are singing. What they do is marketing, that has nothing to do with their music. The clothes they wear, the way they move, talk and act outside of their music is a way for them to get attention and be recognized so people will be drawn to pay the songs they sing, movies and tv shows they act on and concerts they perform.

Do You Think Kpop and Jpop Idols Should Write Their Own Songs?

See results

Whitney Houston didn’t write the songs she sang but she’s still great.

There are other ways to market?

Sure, there is and one is no less evil or good than the other. It is all geared towards getting attention for people to buy their product. It’s geared towards selling.

And no, quality music doesn’t always equate to attention because there are physical and technological limitations. Different people move around different circles and they may not always know someone who knows about what quality music is. Sure, they should search for a higher form of music but in view of the fact that people have jobs, families and other priorities, sorry, but art will have to find its way towards them. Marketing, thus, is inevitable.

Do You Really Know What You Are Talking About?

If I had nickel for every time someone talks about something not being real hiphop or not being real rock or not being real music, I’d buy a country. Many of these people don’t even know what real is real rock and what is real hiphop.

The fact is that if we are to be conservative about hiphop, then no one else should be using the genre but Jamaicans and African Americans. If we are to be conservative about rock, then only the Christian churches should use it.

The fact is that genre is universal and you need to get into a deep understanding on what the genre was meant for and develop a sensitivity towards the natural evolution of humanity for you to approximate what it is, if at all.

People talk of the use of synthesizers or rifts or bass tempo or whatever. That, in itself, should not be much of a concern. Music is supposed to be in barest form. If you strip a song off all the technology used to make it and just stick with the words and beat, that’s when you’ll know its quality.

They All Sound The Same

Have you listened to hiphop battles in the Bronx where hiphop is in its rawest form? Have you listened to them? Have you listened to the rawest rock songs?

I Am Not a Fan Either

Of course it is you brain and you are free to think what you want to think... Or not.

What is wrong is wrong whether you act on it or just think it. You don't get to think Asians or African Americans or Jews are no less than human than you are. You don't get to think women are less capable than men. You don't get to think children shouldn't be given the right to choose. You don’t get to think someone’s music is thrash.

You can constructively criticize it but that’s a world removed from insulting it.

Well yeah, it's just music, right? It's not like someone will die if you are disgusted with what you think is pop. Besides, your opinion should t matter to them… besides you are the minority. It's never a matter of numbers. Arrogance, judgment, bullying and destructive and uninformed criticism is what it is by any other name.


There is a certain amount of hypocrisy when fans and singers claim that they hate artists who earn big from their craft. Those 95 percent, or more, of those are just sour graping. They can't have it, that's why they hate it.

Everyone who reads my blog regularly knows that I am not a fanboy of many Kpop and Jpop idols but I have always viewed them with as much objectivity as I can. For one, I don’t generalize. Just because someone is an idol doesn’t make them or their music thrash. Two, I listen before I deem something does or doesn’t fit me. Third, I actually listen… really listen. Fourth, I am not arrogant enough to think my taste is the “right” kind. Fifth, I isolate marketing with interpretation, marketing and the quality of their songs.


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