Seoul-searching

August 7, 2011 § Leave a comment

I haven’t published anything here in quite some time. Ironically, one of the reasons is that I have been spending my summer in Seoul. And before that, I was studying like crazy and to be honest not feeling too well. While immersing myself in various forms of escapism is one of my favourite strategies for coping with life when it’s too hard or boring, doing something out of that escapism is not as easy.

At the same time, my amazing, amazing summer in Seoul has not actually left me with enough time on my hands to be able to really keep track of what’s been happening in the k-pop world. On the other hand, something that probably changed the way I relate to k-pop was this: Instead of an obscure interest, shared with a few people around me and by most of my friends considered as another part of my general eccentricity, k-pop of course was everywhere. I’ve been to clubs where k-pop hits have been played as ironical floor fillers and making the whole crowd move together in sloppy, drunken choreographies. I’ve sung along to Big Bang songs played on a guitar in a bar. My first meeting with a couple of people sent us into music discussions that made the taxi ahjussi who drove us home turn up the volume on the radio, that played DBSK’s Mirotic. My Korean teacher made the whole class sing along to 2NE1 songs. You get it.

And while this was in many ways wonderful, it also made me realize how much of an elitist I am. I loved hearing k-pop everywhere, but I also noticed how important showing off my knowledge of other music became. And when I spoke to Korean girls my own age, the fact that they all told me stuff like “I used to be a fan of G.O.D. but now I only listen to hip hop” once more made me wonder how I would relate to k-pop if I were, in fact, Korean. Guilty pleasure? Ironical worship? Or just the same complete lack of interest that I today have in, say, Eurovision Song Contest (a huge deal in Sweden) and the music they play there? I don’t know. I guess I’ll just have to return to see what happens.

/Mis

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