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My daughter's been listening to KPop, like Girls' Generation Into the New World. You can watch the Ballad versions, with NO dancing, at the Tokyo Dome for the 2011 Girls Generation Tour, and Girls and Peace concert in Seoul. You can see their racking dancing in other parts of this same Tokyo Dome performance.

Here are the versions with dance, at their debut on Show! Music Core on 2007 08 11 and the nine girls practicing it.

  1. First, I don't understand what the racking dancing adds?

  2. Second, I can understand some easygoing dancing to accompany the music. But why's the dancing so toilsome? This dancing definitely wearies and wears out these youngsters. YouTube got so many videos of Idols fainting and collapsing.

I'm assuming that ordinary listeners aren't trained, and can't dance like this. Why don't these KPop Idols and KPop Management Companies stick to laid-back dancing or dancing that their fans can realistically mimic?

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    This seems more like an opinion than a question. It might be helpful to know what prompted it. – Aaron May 30 at 4:54
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This was going to be just a comment, but I'm going to put it in the answer space & take the downvotes like a grown-up ;)

If you want the cynical answer, it's because there's so little actual excitement in the music itself that they have to do something to fill the stage.

The material is identi-kit formulaic post-Stock, Aitken, Waterman that still seems to be churned out with little change 30 years later.

There are no visible musicians, just a bunch of fairly underwhelming singers banging along in unison. So, they dance to hide the fact there's nothing else interesting going on.
Guaranteed to fool the average pre-pubescent.

There's was no way I was going to watch it all, just a bit of each. The ones where there's actually some decent block BVs going on are mimed - go figure. I wonder who laid those down?

Lifting a couple of comments to the answer, as this seems to have picked up more attention than I initially envisaged…

"it seems to put the entirety of Korean Pop in the same basket"
Not to be jingoistic - I'm putting the entirety of pop in this basket. Pop has always been formulaic, but at least the formula used to change every few years. We have now been through 30 years with so little change that it long ago became tiresome. There are occasional bright points in this otherwise bland, grey landscape, but this type of stuff is not it. You could dial back 20 years & find something almost indistinguishable, from any country. Hence my post-SAW comment in the answer.

Q: Can you elaborate please? 1. "identi-kit formulaic post-Stock, Aitken, Waterman" Who are these people? How's Girl Generation's music similar to theirs? 2. Why do you find these girls "fairly underwhelming singers"? 3. "Guaranteed to fool the average pre-pubescent." How so? I see many adults in the audience. 4. "block BVs" What are these?

A: 1.SAW were one of the biggest writing/production teams in the UK, late 80s onwards. They developed a 'hit factory' style of writing & production. Stock Aitken Waterman. 2. they really don't seem to be able to sing well at all in the live tracks, very poor. 3. Young kids are not very discerning. The adults will be parents. 4. BVs are backing vocals. block means a lot of them. Compared to the live versions, the mimed versions are very polished - more than hinting that the visible performers had little to do with the actual records. It wouldn't be the first time… by a long way.


And, don't get me wrong, I have nothing whatsoever against Stock Aitken & Waterman. They found a style & a way of working that was really very clever. A modern version of Tin Pan Alley, with in-house everything. All they needed to do was bring in the right singer for each song - sometimes several artists would record vocals over the same track, then someone would choose the best [I guess, I never saw their actual working method on that].

A bit of background, for those of you who don't know me.
I used to work with Pete Waterman, also Phil Harding & Ian Curnow, who were a part of the team, before SAW was fully formed. I was actually in the studio upstairs at the Marquee recording something [a total non-hit, don't even ask;) whilst Pete was recording You Spin Me Round downstairs. I did get to visit "the Hit Factory", PWL studios before it was fully finished. The offices & small studios upstairs were finished, studio 1 downstairs was a building site with a table-tennis table in the middle of it. I never saw it finished.

My point is - they did this more than 30 years ago!

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  • I'm glad you posted this, it does make me wonder. Never have been much of a lover/hater of Asian Pop, but this makes me rethink the whole thing. – Clockwork May 30 at 13:25
  • Hi. Thanks for your cynical answer. Very helpful to me! Can you elaborate please? 1. "identi-kit formulaic post-Stock, Aitken, Waterman" Who are these people? How's Girl Generation's music similar to theirs? 2. Why do you find these girls "fairly underwhelming singers"? 3. "Guaranteed to fool the average pre-pubescent." How so? I see many adults in the audience. 4. "block BVs" What are these? – user52144 May 30 at 17:37
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    I had a little talk with my fiancée, and she pointed out that what she didn't like about this answer is the fact that it seems to put the entirety of Korean Pop in the same basket (as in, there are some of them who do more than just that). Personally, when I read this, I understood it as "generally speaking, a majority does this but not everyone", but I see why she's afraid it might be perceived as a generalisation. A bit like how I oftenly tell my friends that there are some rare pearls in Japanese animation, although lately I have been pushed away (cash grab stuffs vs genuine masterpieces) – Clockwork May 30 at 22:16
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    @Clockwork - not to be jingoistic - I'm putting the entirety of pop in this basket. Pop has always been formulaic, but at least the formula used to change every few years. We have now been through 30 years with so little change that it long ago became tiresome. There are occasional bright points in this otherwise bland, grey landscape, but this type of stuff is not it. You could dial back 20 years & find something almost indistinguishable, from any country. Hence my post-SAW comment in the answer. – Tetsujin May 31 at 8:56
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    An admin could sweep this thread off into its own room if it gets too much… but 'pop' is anything bought by many many people, mainly teens & younger. The word can also be used for a style of music which is slightly more specific; aimed directly at these people. Something 'not pop' can cross over & be 'a hit' whether or not it was intended for that market. It's complicated :) – Tetsujin May 31 at 10:19
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Music and dance have always been closely aligned, from folk traditions around the world, to the gavottes and minuets of the classical tradition, to the frenzied moshing of modern EDM concerts. It's nearly self-evident to note that music enhances dance, and dance enhances music --both are artistic reflections of the fundamental idea of rhythm.

Dance nearly always figures heavily in the American pop music performance tradition (think Elvis), probably bcause of the Black American influence. The most obvious antecedents of K-Pop bands are the American boy bands of the 80s, 90s and 2000s (NKOBT, Backstreet Boys, NSync), which in turn were based on Motown bands of the 60s and 70s, such as the Temptations and the Jackson 5. Elegant choreography was key to the Temptations' appeal and Jackson 5 frontman Michael Jackson was as celebrated for his legendary dancing as for his voice. Meanwhile, NKOBT, Backstreet and NSync all had their own signature dances, which might not have been as elegant and artistic as their predecessors' but which were notable for elaborate moves, and tight synchronization (if you follow the link, you'll see how similar NSync's dance moves are to those used in K-Pop).

This trend is taken to its logical extreme in K-Pop, where the manufactured nature of the experience is a central aesthetic element. Everything is highly produced and polished to a gleam. As with elite athletes, part of what you're paying for is an experience you could not yourself duplicate. Therefore, the difficulty of the choreography is a selling point. The fans are attracted by the hard work it takes to create the final experience.

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