As we’ve stated before, K-Pop songs are mostly focused on love related topics; breakups, first loves, revenge, you name it… And they’re cute and all, but sometimes they’re just not the best message for impressionable young women. That’s why we dig through the archives to compile lists of Girl Power Anthems that are empowering.
On this latest edition, the songs touch upon topics such as sex, self-confidence, friendship, and more.
1. Orange Caramel – Catallena
It may be difficult to look past Catallena’s music video. And with the sushi concept, the girls dressed as mermaids, and even eating themselves at the end, who can blame you? However, the song is actually about a girl named Catallena, who is the Regina George (pre-demise) of their world in that she’s the girl everyone wants to be or have as a friend –especially this trio.
Lizzy, Nana, and Rania compliment Catallena calling her “chic and proud,” “great,” and even admitting that they have fallen for her and want to dance with her. In the song, Orange Caramel is singing about having a girl crush, which is perfectly normal. Being a hetereosexual woman, having a girl crush can be romantic, but it’s not sexual. Girl crushes are all about admiration, so while a lot of artists, in and out of K-Pop, like to focus on putting other women down in order to pull themselves up, Orange Caramel is promoting healthy relationships between women with this song.
2. Gain – Bloom
Gain is not one to shy away from sexy concepts, but with Bloom she took it to a whole different level by talking about the O word. Yes, orgasms. You can’t get any less cliche than relating a woman’s sexual awakening with a flower blooming, but since K-Pop tends to be conservative, it’s the best metaphor in order to not be banned from promoting the song.
Even though the song’s lyrics are far coyer and making it seem romantic, the rated 19+ music video shows Gain masturbating and having sex. This means that her “wonderland” and “whole new world” is not necessarily a guy, but orgasms. Gain is a grown woman and should be singing about topics that relate to her, and sex is one of those.
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3. Sunny Hill – Is the White Horse Coming?
Sunny Hill is known for their social commentary songs, and Is the White Horse Coming? is no different. The lyrics talk about having your life under society’s scrutiny when it comes to dating, and how you shouldn’t lead your life seeing yourself and potential suitors as pieces of meat. It criticizes society’s vanity and encourages people to cut the bs and just be themselves. With this song, the girls deliver probably the most positive song in K-Pop by saying,
Stop being self-conscious toward others, this isn’t some show
Stop looking for something to display, come on
Stop crying because you’re lonely, stop looking far away
Just look near you, come on
4. Lee Hyori – Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
KultScene has featured Lee Hyori on this list’s first and second editions because she epitomizes the strong female artist image. But this time, it’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang that made the cut for being an anthem for independent women. Despite the title being, well, odd and irrelevant, the lyrics are actually about a boss lady in control of her life and work and being proud about what she achieved on her own. If that doesn’t scream “girl power,” I don’t know what does…
5. miss A – Ma Style
miss A is another regular in our girl power lists, and now we bring you Ma Style. This song talks about meeting a guy —sans specs, six pack, and playboys– who is just their style and being bold enough to voice that to them. While the K-Pop and K-Drama industries generally portray women as passive and not as assertive when it comes to having a crush, it’s refreshing that there is one group –miss A –that is all about being strong women who know what they want and how to get it.
6. Wonder Girls – G.N.O
G.N.O stands for “girls’ night out,” so this song by the Wonder Girls is exactly that; a party song about hitting the town with your friends wearing high heels and tight dresses. It’s an upbeat and fun jam that celebrates friendship and letting loose. In the lyrics, they mention leaving their “boo” back home in order to go out with their girlfriends, perfectly portraying how you should put your friends before your significant other.
7. 2NE1 – Pretty Boy
On Pretty Boy, 2NE1 puts a guy on blast for being vain and all talk and no action. It criticizes “pretty boys” who think they can get by with their looks only with girls, rather than personality and character. 2NE1 flipped the situation, since women normally have these prejudices held against them, and put the spotlight on those men out there who are all about appearances and no heart. They these type of guys,
Hey pretty boy, you’re lacking something
You don’t have any charm, you’re just pretty
Hey pretty boy, put some effort into it
More like a man, more with personality
You’re too P.R.E.T.T.Y
Don’t just rely on your pretty face to steal a girl’s heart
You’re not for me, I’m not for you
The song does come off pretty strong, but given it’s a hip hop track, the disses are understandable.
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8. Brown Eyed Girls – Glam Girl
Brown Eyed Girls are also a group of women who follow the sexy concept but always push the “strong woman” image. Their music videos and performances exude confidence, but with Glam Girl, it’s all about self confidence. Taking the “glam” in its actual definition, the girls sing about them being fashionable and fierce and super hot. If you look past all the superficial aspects of the track, the message is actually about being comfortable and confident in one’s skin. Hey, if you don’t think you’re “G.O.R.G.E.O.U.S” yourself, who will? But being a Glam Girl doesn’t just apply to them. Brown Eyed Girls tell listeners that they can be one too if they truly believe it.