Saturday, May 26, 2012

Rolling Stone picks 10 K-pop groups 'most likely to break in America'

By JONATHAN HICAP, Manila Bulletin
MANILA, Philippines - Rolling Stone website has picked 10 K-pop groups including 2NE1, Big Bang and Girls Generation that have the potential to break into the US music scene.
The website noted that while K-pop artists BoA and Se7en failed in their American debuts in the past, "K-pop has garnered a strong following without the help of any major American backing."
(Clockwise from top left) SHINee, BEAST, 2NE1 and SISTAR.
(Photos by

"K-Pop is a mixture of trendy Western music and high-energy Japanese pop (J-Pop), which preys on listeners' heads with repeated hooks, sometimes in English. It embraces genre fusion with both singing and rap, and emphasizes performance and strong visuals," it said.
Rolling Stone cited Girls Generation's "Gee" music video on YouTube, which has garnered 74 million views since it was released in 2009. While it attributes the 74 million views to Americans "alone," the graph on YouTube for the music video shows otherwise.
It said K-pop can penetrate the US' "Top 40 market "if correctly targeted at children and teenagers" and "as long as they're allowed to keep the same sounds and concepts that made them popular in Asia."
The 10 K-pop groups like to make it in America are:
2NE1 - Rolling Stone says, "2NE1’s genre-hopping and large personalities bring Nicki Minaj’s rap/singing approach to mind. Several of the members have strong English skills, and the group won the award for 'Best New Band In The World' for MTV Iggy, an MTV initiative that showcases music from all over the world."
Girls Generation - "Girls' Generation have proven to be one of the top acts in Asia topping the charts in both South Korea and Japan," according to the website, adding that the group's subunit Taetiseo made it to No. 126 on the Billboard 200 chart. "With concepts that range from adorable to sexy, Girls' Generation has both a versatility and coherence that define their broad appeal."
Big Bang - "Despite a nearly two-year hiatus, boy band BIGBANG continues to be one of K-Pop’s most established and popular groups," Rolling Stone said. It added that despite that Big Bang's new album "Alive" entered the Billboard 200 chart  "despite no physical release or active promotion in America."
Wonder Girls - "The five-member Wonder Girls stands as one of the few Korean acts to have a single chart on the Billboard Hot 100 with English-language single 'Nobody.'  The track peaked at Number 76 in 2007 following their opening for a Jonas Brothers tour as well as performances on 'Wendy Williams' and 'So You Think You Can Dance,'" the site says. The song actually charted on Billboard in 2009 when the Wonder Girls debuted in the US.
After School - Rolling Stone describes After School as the Korean version of the Pussycat Dolls. "After School was also the very first winner of the Billboard Japan award for K-Pop New Artist of the Year.," it says.
BEAST - The site says BEAST "embody a new wave of boy bands shaking things up" and focuses on vocals.
Ailee - Ailee is a Korean American who released her first single in Korea early this year. "Her debut single 'Heaven,' a huge, long-lasting hit in South Korea, is actually similar to 'Halo,' with big R&B beats amid both soft and powerful vocals," Rolling Stone said.
SISTAR - "High-energy female group Sistar may have gotten one of the best platforms for U.S. attention when they earned the inaugural Number One for the launch of Billboard’s new Korea K-Pop Hot 100 chart," the website said. SISTAR is composed of Bora, Hyorin, Soyou and Dasom.
SHINee - "With the recent success of boy bands like One Direction and The Wanted, it would be foolish not to take a group like SHINee as serious contenders for American crossover," the site says. SHINee's latest single "Sherlock" is comparable to the "vocal stylings of the Jackson 5."
Miss A - Rolling Stone says, "This four-member girl group has a versatile sound, from the earworm 'Goodbye Baby' to sexy tracks 'Touch' and 'Lips.'
Noticeably absent from the list are K-pop boy bands Super Junior and TVXQ.

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