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Fast Take: BLACKPINK’s “Lovesick Girls”

Pull the windows down. You’re going 80 an hour on the freeway, and you and your friend just pulled into one of those long tunnels with endless rows of yellow, almost-strobing lights. “What can we say?” Jennie sings, her trademark attitude audible even in a four-word question. She has a point—what can we say? We’re […]

Fast Take: CL’s “+POST UP+”

A lot can happen in a decade. It’s true for all of us, but if you’re CL, you especially know what I mean. You ride the wave of success with 2NE1, only to face long hiatuses and disbandment near the group’s peak of international popularity. You mount a plan for global conquest, only to be […]

K-pop activism must go further than fancams

This year is quickly teaching everyone that K-pop fans never miss a single beat. Not when promoting their favorite artists, or even when involving themselves in racial and political movements. Their weapon of choice is none other than the fancam: the 2020 stan’s most powerful — and potentially problematic — online tool for building K-pop’s […]

Fast take: (G)I-DLE’s ‘Oh My God’ song review

Now almost two years into their blazing careers, the six women of (G)I-DLE have learned to express and perform with the style and individuality of K-pop greats. On their newest song “Oh My God,” however, they demonstrate a knack for genre-bending with innovative—and haunting—prowess.  The track’s intro rings through the air with the chilling aura […]

Debunking the “Factory” Narrative: K-Pop’s Authenticity and Shifting Gender Politics

In January 2012, the Fine Bros released “Kids React to K-Pop,” the latest weekly installment of their growing “React” series, which featured elementary school children watching and answering questions about videos—in this case, Korean pop music videos. For the Fine Bros, a pair of YouTube moguls whose 16 million subscriber base is built on videos […]

(G)I-DLE’s ‘LATATA’ song review

Longtime fans of K-pop girl groups have, in recent years, lamented the absence of fierce, powerful girl groups. As the onslaught of cute and innocent concepts among newer groups like TWICE, GFRIEND, WJSN, and more continues, girl groups with stronger concepts have become a fading minority in the K-pop world. But not if (G)I-DLE can […]

Female K-pop soloists owned 2017

Throughout this past year, K-pop as a genre, industry, and community reached taller heights and deeper lows than ever before. From BTS’s astronomical success in the international market to Kim Jonghyun’s tragic and untimely passing, 2017 has been a year of both exciting and depressing extremes for fans everywhere. The erratic up-then-down rhythm of this […]

BlackPink & 2NE1: Unexpectedly Different

On Aug. 8, 2016, YG Entertainment’s long-anticipated girl group BlackPink debuted with their first digital single album Square One with title tracks “Whistle” and “Boombayah.” Now a household name in the larger K-pop fandom, BlackPink was the label’s first girl group since 2NE1’s debut in 2009, a fact that immediately warranted comparisons to their predecessors […]