While my comrades spent last weekend entrenched in the heady world of SXSW, surrounded by bands and bros and chicks and swag, I found myself inadvertently immersed in an Internet K-hole of K-pop. No offense to Austin, but I think I came out the winner.
My cursory K-pop research was kind of a slog, what with it mostly being written (presumably) by 10- to 15-year-old ESL girls — the kind of girls who make sure to include all of the lovingly inane details only a fandom of weirdos could provide. It was not dissimilar to reading about Buckethead. I ended up just clicking around on YouTube and asking a couple of like-minded dork friends what their preferences were, so forgive me for not providing a comprehensive breakdown. I honestly don’t know if the following acts are top-shelf N*Sync types, or the Korean equivalent of O-Town. All’s I know is, I like it! Road trip to Seoul, anyone?
Big Bang, “Bad Boy”
Sounds Like: An R&B slow jam; the song that plays in a 13-year-old girl’s mind when her crush dances with someone else; the nightmares of my dead grandfather
Sample YouTube Comment: “G DRAGON <3 G DRAGON <3 G DRAGON <3 G DRAGON <3 G DRAGON <3 G DRAGON <3 G DRAGON <3 G DRAGON <3 G DRAGON <3 G DRAGON <3 G DRAGON <3 G DRAGON <3”
B2ST/BEAST, “Bad Girl”
Sounds Like: Cheap Europop; the theme song to a live-action Nickelodeon show; closing time at a gay bar in outer space
Sample YouTube Comment: “OMG!! Ki Kwang's winks and flashing white teeth!! they make me collapse!!”
2NE1, “I am the Best”
Sounds Like: Adorable machine guns; the national anthem of a country populated only by cheerleaders; a title Brandon Jazz wishes he thought of
Sample YouTube Comment: “It was weird when they shot guns”
Brown Eyed Girls, “Abracadabra”
Sounds Like: Robot hookers; what I will listen to from now on when I get ready to go out
Sample YouTube Comment: “Getting so many freakin boners”