How K-pop Is Bringing Back The American Boy Band

Mar 2, 2019 | music

There is no doubt K-pop is influencing American music culture. Some have argued English is no longer the “default” language in American music, with a rapid trend of non-English songs charting. Beyond this, non-English songs, like the majority of K-pop, are placing greater emphasis on stage performance and attracting a wider variety of people in the Americas.

Hallyu Revolution: K-pop Overtaking America

Historically, most K-pop has been inspired by American pop, rhythm and blues, and hip-hop. Not to mention, the genre emulates The State’s music scene during the 1990s. In particular, K-pop is reminiscent of gendered boy- and girl-bands, like the Backstreet Boys, who also synchronized their moves and dawned matching stage outfits.

However, the ever-popular BTS has redefined “boy-band,” from this traditional perspective. The group has been immensely impactful in America, winning “Top Social Artist” at the Billboard Music Awards in 2017 and 2018, as well as “Favorite Social Artist” at the American Music Awards in 2018.

BTS at the Billboard Music Awards in 2017. (Image Courtesy of Naver x Dispatch).

BTS also landed in the Top 10 of the Billboard 200 and performed on American variety shows, like “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”

In light of their groundbreaking popularity, groups like BTS have turned the tables on Western artists. Many are electing to put more significance on stage performance, release continuous content throughout each year, and better acknowledge their international audiences.

Rebirth of 1990s-Early 2000s American Boy and Girl Groups

Recently, three-member group, the Jonas Brothers, returned from a six-year hiatus with their new single, “Sucker.”

In spite of their American roots, these brothers are no strangers to K-pop. The girl-group, Wonder Girls, opened for the Jonas Brothers’ world tour in 2009 and marked their debut overseas.

Wonder Girls was comprised of four members: Yubin, Yeeun, Sunmi, and Hyelim. They debuted under JYP Entertainment in 2007 and disbanded in 2017. (Image Courtesy of JYP Entertainment).

Back to the present, both BTS and Blackpink reportedly inspired the Jonas Brothers’ single. The brothers were especially enamored by the groups’ visuals, which can be seen throughout the “Sucker” music video. In particular, visuals are apparent in their stylistic choices: the video’s dramatic storytelling and “aesthetic,” mood-fitting outfit selections.

It seems fair to speculate the “Jo Bros’” long-awaited return was kindled by the impact of K-pop on American markets. It still remains to be seen whether other Western groups will follow similar trends.

Resources:

Bee, H. (2019). Jonas Brothers reveal that their ‘Suckers’ MV is inspired by BTS and Blackpink!. Annyeong Oppa. Retrieved from https://annyeongoppa.com/2019/03/05/jonas-brothers-reveal-that-their-suckers-mv-is-inspired-by-bts-and-blackpink/

BTS Score Top 10 Debut on Billboard 200 With ‘Love Yourself: Her’ Album. (n.d.). Billboard. Retrieved from https://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/k-town/7973914/bts-love-yourself-her-album-billboard-200-top-10

Cirisano, T. (2018). BTS Wins Top Social Artist Award at the 2018 Billboard Music Awards. Billboard. Retrieved from https://www.billboard.com/articles/news/bbma/8456936/bts-wins-top-social-artist-2018-billboard-music-awards

Gracie, B. (2018). BTS Wins Favorite Social Artist at 2018 AMAs. Billboard. Retrieved from https://www.billboard.com/articles/events/amas/8479129/bts-win-favorite-social-artist-2018-amas

Liu, M. (2009). Asian superstars Wonder Girls open for Jonas Brothers. The Seattle Times. Retrieved from https://www.seattletimes.com/entertainment/asian-superstars-wonder-girls-open-for-jonas-brothers/

Wolfson, S. (2018). English is no longer the default language of American pop. The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/music/2018/may/31/bts-love-yourself-kpop-us-charts-changing-american-culture-reggaetron

Zheng, M.H. (2018). Korean Pop Integration into American Music Culture. The Science Survey. Retrieved from https://thesciencesurvey.com/editorial/2018/03/01/korean-pop-integration-into-american-music-culture/