They are the songs that most Filipinos have a hard time to sing along in videoke bars. To sing a song of its kind is to chase lyrics with incomprehensible sounds. Teens and little children know how to sing these songs. The phenomenon of Filipinos’ enjoying songs they don’t understand is called K-pop.
The popularity of K-pop in the Philippines emerged as Asian telenovelas flourished in the country. Korean pop star Rain, after his soap opera Full House aired in GMA, gathered applause from Filipino audience. Sandara Park who lost her limelight is now back on stage. She is much better now as a member of Korean female pop group, than as a local celebrity. K-pop is becoming a fad. And, it is easier to get a last song syndrome in Korean songs than in OPM music.
Though K-Pop is a music from fellow Asians, it sounds Western. Nothing in their songs is Asian. The upbeat sound, the melody has no signs of Korean. It is just singing a different language in a Western music ranging from hip hop, electronic, pop to R&B. K-pop’s fame can be attributed to Filipino’s colonial mentality. This explains why there are Filipinos who prefer to collect CDs of K-pop artists over Filipino artists. Though Filipinos are fond of singing revivals, they do not write songs with much Western flavor. When a person hears an OPM song, he can immediately identify it as a Filipino song. Then he follows it with a remark, “baduy.” Koreans are quite successful in imitating foreign music. For instance, Koreans boy band TVXQ sing and dance like NSYNC. Rain with his sexy moves on concerts looks like Usher. Wonder girls are clothed with Dreamgirls sparkling costume.
Philippines is a home of great singers but the country has more solo artists and rock bands compared to female or male singing groups (Do we have those?). There are acoustic artists everywhere but where are pop female groups with miniskirts? K-pop has a lot to offer in terms of boy bands and girl bands. They do not only have youthful music but the fact that they are grouped together is refreshing. Watching a group of boys and girls dancing together in uniform steps motivates listener to groove and sing with the music. With girl/boy bands, blending voices in singing is possible.
K-pop brings another variant for novelty songs. Though its songs are not nonsensical and comical in nature, they have sound patterns which are catchy and entertaining. As a result, a lot of people get to learn their songs. Nobody by Wonder Girls has been a favorite party song whether it may be a corporate event or a birthday party. Its repetitive lines, “I want nobody, nobody but you” helps many Filipinos remember the song. The choreography,as well, is very teachable even people who can not dance, will eventually learn because of Nobody. Similarly, 2NE1 songs such as Fire and I don’t care make little teasing sounds, “eh eh eh.” It sticks on the listener’s head. Super Junior’s Sorry Sorry also has the kind of echoing effect.
K-pop is part of Filipino taste and thinking. K-pop fans want light music, regardless if the lyrics is meaningful or no-brainer. They are always amazed on what is in the other side of the world. They like watching pop stars with trendy clothes and hairstyle because that’s their idea of ‘idol.’