The girls’ sexy but demure style recalls groups of the early sixties-the Shirelles, the Crystals, and the Ronettes
“They look like cheerleaders,” my twenty-one-year-old niece hissed over my shoulder one day as I was watching “Gee” again. “Uncle Pervy!”
No, it was nothing like that. For pervy, try the J-pop group AKB48, a Japanese girl ensemble, with scores of members, who, affecting a schoolgirls-in-lingerie look in their video “Heavy Rotation,” pillow-fight, kiss, and share heart-shaped cookies mouth to mouth. Girls’ Generation is a group of preppy-looking young women in skinny trousers. When they wear hot pants, it’s to display the gams, not the glutes.
Neither the boys’ nor the girls’ lyrics or videos generally refer to sex, drinking, or clubbing-the great themes of Western hit-makers
“They take the love the fans feel for them, and they return it to the fans,” Toth told me. “When you see them onstage, it’s like they’ve come to see you.”
While the Korean singers and actors are young and the settings are often contemporary, their themes embody traditional values of family, friendship, and romantic love
“H_allyu”_ is the term that Asians use to describe the tsunami of South Korean culture that began flooding their countries at the turn of the twenty-first century. Korean TV dramas and, to a lesser extent, Korean films have, along with Korean pop music, become staples in markets formerly dominated by Japan and Hong Kong. (more…)