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How Easy it is to open Your Mind to a different Sound: K-POP and J-Pop
Misconceptions and Music Intolerance
Many people are, even though they may not want to admit it, are not even willing to give another countries music a chance. Most of the time, people come up with conclusions from movies they have seen, that give a less then accurate portrayal of what any country has to offer musically.A common misconception about any Asian countries music, is that it is full of shrill voiced girls,in maid outfits. Another misconception, is that the hip-hop communities in these countries are just taking American rap and hip hop and copying the style of music, and the fashion and saying its there own.
These misconceptions are every where and many people still believe this is the case. However, many of these countries have developed there own styles, and genres of music, that offer a uniqueness of there own.
Many people who automatically dismiss the music of these countries are often intolerant. These people often have never heard or seen the music from these countries yet they claim to hate it. They may have also listened to one song from 1980 and have made up there mind about the modern stylings of music from these areas.
People always talk about become worldly and being tolerant and respectful of peoples culture, religions, and politics, but many people are very judgmental to other places music. If people would just reach out and listen to a small amount of another countries music it could open doors, to learning a new language, new customs, and possible a drive to explore the world.
Steps to Learning about New Music
1) Have a genre in mind
The first thing in looking into another countries music is to know what genre you want to look into. For example in Japan if your are into rock, go searching with that in mind, and you will find a lot of J-rock bands. Its important to go looking for specific genres and stick with them for a while. For one you will get used to the language, while maintaining a similar sound to the music your used to. The second is that if you go in searching through every genre you may become overwhelmed and decided to not go through with it at all. Lastly if you don't have a specific genre in mind, you might find the exact opposite of your musical interests and it will turn you off from any other music.
2) Places to look
Once you have a genre in mind it may be hard to find out where to go from there. Don't fret there are so many places available through the internet to search. Try google if your interested in rock, google rock groups in Korea, Japan or China. A lot may pop up but try the first couple of links, they are usually the best sites. IF google is to expansive to search for anything try jopasia.com. Jpopasia is a complete and concise site dedicated to all genres of J-pop and also has a vast list of K-pop and C-pop artists. If your looking for strictly k-pop try gokpop.com the sister site of jpopasia. You can even try wiki type in the genre of music jrock and a history and list of artists are sure to pop up.
3) Pick one to two artists.
Once you have successfully looked up some genres and found the artists, pick one or two artists to start with. Many artists have an extensive catalog and in order to actually like the artist for there musicality try to pick one or two to truly get to know. In the realm of J-pop, K-pop, and C-pop the artists themselves are as important as the music they create. So getting to know who is in the group and what they do is essential. Once you have gone through and picked a couple of starting groups, jpopasia, youtube, and many wordpress blog sites will display videos from these artists, along with singles, mini albums, and full length albums. Go through these and really enjoy the music. Don't bounce around from one group to another, because you may become overwhelmed, or find something that isn't exactly part of the genre you are looking for.
4) Building a collection
Everybody has a collection of music in there homes, whether it be in the form of Cd's, albums', cassettes, eight track, or the more modern iTunes. Building a tangible collection of music from other countries is essential to becoming more in tuned with the new music. iTunes has a lot of K-pop and C-pop that is ready for download. On iTunes you can find almost anything in these realms. As far as J-pop you can't rely to much on iTunes, but you can find a lot on yesasia.com. On this website you can find almost anything your heat desires, they are all in the forms of Cd's and many come with posters or something extra and are all reasonably priced.
These starting steps will get you on your way to developing a liking and appreciation for music in the realms of J-pop, K-pop and C-pop.
Expanding Your Collection
1) New Genres
Once you have established a bond with the genre of your choosing you can go out and explore others. Waiting until you have established a strong bond between the new music styles and langue is vital.If you just jump in head first you will more then likely find something you don't like and give up on finding anything you do. Now that you have a bond explore freely try pop, hip hop or even rap in China, Korea and Japan. Even look into unique styles of music like Visual Kei in Japan.
Now you can repeat steps two to four, and really expand your collection of artists, albums, singles, posters, and anything you can get your hands on. Once you have opened up to the music of these countries try a new country from somewhere else in the world.
For those of you who might still need some direction as to where too go here are some personal recommendations I hope will help you. I also have written a few reviews for some groups, and will continue in the future, so if you want an in depth, honest and unbiased opinion then please take a look at those.
As far as Japanese Music, I can't pick exactly one Genre that is my favorite, so here is a hodgepodge of my favorite groups, and solo artists.
Yuya Matushita - A wonderful solo artist whose music is inspired and inspiring. His talents range from dance pop, to sophisticated ballads my favorite song from him is "Lonley Rain" Youtube this and you won't be disappointed.
Namie Amuro - A brilliant female solo artist who will be celebrating her 20th anniversary. She has an amazing collective work. She has also collaborated with many different artists, throughout Japan and Korea.
Exile- Not your typical male group. Exile is in no way shape or form an idol group. These men from all sorts of artistic backgrounds come together to form a mature male group that anyone will like.
KAT-TUN- So they are an idol group, that doesn't mean they suck. They are actually really good and are all very talented. This group is my favorite. Listen to "Yuki no Hana" or "Sweet Chain" They are both sweet melodies. If your looking for a rock pop sound try their first single "Real Face"
ABC- Also known as acid black cherry. A really good band that mixes rock, pop, and ballads to create a really cool sound. Check out "Jigsaw" It is a great rock song and it revolves around a vampire theme.
ViViD- A relatively new band, they are really good. They will surprise you with a mellow look yet an in your face sound. "Dear" is the song to check out from them. It is really worth your while.
There are a lot of K-pop groups out there and many of them have similar sounds and styles. So it can be really intimidating as to where to begin. Also many groups are crossing over into the Japanese market and though they may make amazing K-pop songs, the same thing can't be said for their J-pop music.
Super Junior- A household name in Korea, they are a very large male idol group that has produced many of Korea's most internationally known songs. "Sorry Sorry" and "Mr. Simple" are both really good tracks and represent the style of super Junior. The former is one of their earliest songs, and the later more recent.
SISTAR- Though they have been out for a while, I recently noticed them with their latest album"Alone". Go check out the album and you will know what I am talking about.
B.A.P- I will not stop raving about this rookie group. They bring a new spin to the K-pop World. GO!GO!GO! Check them out. Be it there first Single "Warrior" or their second single "Power" Even if you think you are not going to like K-pop these guys will change your mind.
There are the few suggestions, If anyone wants any other information feel free to contact me.
There are many avenues to opening the world to you, music is just one of them. Take an in depth view of the music from Korean and Japan and you will not be disappointed.