14. Who’s Afraid of Korean Idols?: Five Keywords for Understanding Korean Idol Pop


1. H.O.T., “전사의 후예”

1. H.O.T., “Chŏnsa ŭi huye” (Descendant of Warrior)

From: We Hate All Kinds of Violence… SM Entertainment – KSC-8027, 1996, CD.

H.O.T.: vocal; Yoo Young-jin: music and lyrics.



H.O.T. is the first idol group which emerged in the mid-1990’s. They earned great popularity among teenagers. Most of idol group music of that time are categorized as dance music, but many of them used trendy hardcore beats.

2. TVXQ!, “Mirotic”

From: Mirotic, S.M. Entertainment – M34769-42, 2008, CD.

TVXQ: vocal; Yoo Young-jin: lyrics; Sigvardt, Mikkel Remee, Lucas Secon, Thomas Troelsen: music.



K-pop copies American pop music, and it is copied by East Asian and South American idol groups. These outside groups has most frequently copied Korean boy bands’ music. TVXQ’s “Mirotic” was copied by the Venezuela boy band Zivao.

3. 싸이, “강남스타일”

3. Psy, “Gangnam Style”

From: Psy Yukkap Part 1, 2012, compact disc.

Psy: music & lyrics, vocal; Yu Kŏn-hyŏng: music.



Psy’s “Gangnam Style” became an international sensation and a global phenomenon of K-pop, but at the same time, it absorbed various sounds of Korean popular music into strong dance music.