Is the life of a K-Pop fanboy a difficult one?
I personally do not dip into the K-Pop world; my interest barely scrapes the surface of this fandom. I know some of the bands’ names, can recognize some of their songs and do appreciate the occasional music video, but that’s it. Alternatively, I know people who live and breathe K-Pop as if they grew up learning it—and, in a way, they did.
But because I’m on the outside and looking in, I also know there’s a bit of hesitation when it comes to this genre. There are a lot of questions and surprise when one is found out to be a member of this group or that. And while fangirls arguably have it easier, K-Pop fanboys are a little less…common. So into this part of this world we went.
I spoke with Albert, who just recently got into the fandom himself, after an afternoon in the office that called for a change in music and some perspective.
A fan of the likes of My Chemical Romance, Sum41, Panic! At The Disco, December Avenue and Mayonnaise, Albert logged onto YouTube for some suggestions outside of OPM and punk rock. What popped up was Twice’s What Is Love? and he was pretty much hooked.
Honestly, who can blame him? The visuals of this music video and the catchy beat of the song are incredibly hard to ignore.
When it comes to K-Pop as a whole, Albert shares that what really draws him in are the visuals, the beat of the music and the performers themselves. He sums it all up: “The uniqueness [of the] color selection, transitions and angles [of the music videos] are so catchy that you will not care about the lyrics and just listen to the music.” What language barrier, amirite?
But while he’s found a love and appreciation for Korean talent, he admits that sharing his being a K-Pop fanboy isn’t out in the open for everyone to learn. According to him, he can categorize his friends (at least, when it comes to the subject at hand) according to the following: hardcore fans, casual fans, in denial, neutrals and haters—the last of whom are apparently proud to bash K-Pop on social media.
To them and people like them, we’re with Albert when he says, “We cannot dictate people’s choices so let’s just [learn to] mind our own business.”
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For Miggy, it was Girls’ Generation that first caught his eye. His initial reaction (and introduction) to K-Pop was fairly simple. “I saw a cute girl on TV back in 2007,” he shares. “Turns out she was a member of a girl group called Girls’ Generation. I watched a few videos of their songs…and I was sucked into the K-Pop blackhole.”
Miggy followed this find with T-ara, KARA and TWICE, enjoying the songs and the quality of music videos that the groups churned out. But unlike Albert, Miggy’s friends are a little more inclusive (and are really just fans of the same).
“Sometimes we compare ‘biases’ like they’re our favorite sports athletes. We talk about their strengths as an idol and performer; their weaknesses, too. It can become toxic, competitive and personal…but it’s fun and I love it.”
As it usually does, there is one message that holds true: to each their own. Besides, how can someone ~else’s~ musical tastes hurt you?
Art Alexandra Lara