In the last couple of days, a few K-pop artists and songs have been getting some good buzz on entertainment sites that aren’t primarily centered around K-music culture. Complex Music’s “25 Sexiest International Singers You’ve Never Heard Of” and Spin’s “21 Greatest K-Pop Songs of All Time” are cases made for both sites’ takes on the best of the genre. Their choices may not appeal to everyone, but it’s hard to argue that the presence of K-pop on these sites isn’t more evidence of the growing awareness of the genre.
Complex’s “25 Sexiest” list was compiled in an attempt to branch out from the “American radio saturated with Carly Rae Jepson, Rihanna and other [American] female superstars.” Of the represented 18 countries, only South Korea and four others (Denmark, England, Chile and Spain) made it onto the list more than once. Girls’ Generation was ranked at #21, with Complex acknowledging their dominance on the South Korean pop music market as well as their appearances on Late Show with David Letterman and Live! With Kelly earlier this year. 2NE1 clocks in a little higher at #11. We cringed a little at the site’s description of the edgy and fierce quartet as a “cutesy foursome,” but thankfully the rest of the piece gives them props for winning numerous accolades and awards, including the very first “Best New Band in the World” crown awarded by MTV Iggy.
Spin compiled 21 songs for their feature, “21 Greatest K-Pop Songs of All Time.” While we would have liked to see them dig a little deeper than tracks from the last two or three years (especially with the title boasting the best of “all time”), this list is a nice indicator of what artists and songs have caught the attention of Western music journalists as of late. “21 Greatest” had a serious late 2000′s SM/YG party going—a good portion of the selected songs are artists from the two powerhouse agencies, while all but two songs on the entire list were dated after 2008. Perhaps a more accurate title would have been “21 Greatest K-Pop Songs Since We Started Paying Attention to the Genre.”
If you could add one song or artist to one of the above lists, who and what song would they be? Let us know what you think in the comments section. By the way, stay tuned for a series of upcoming lists from yours truly, MTV K.