K-pop may center around music, but it’s really an all-encompassing media package that comprises video, fashion, makeup, choreography, and concept (among dozens of other factors).The album, then, is a strange and insular unit of measurement to apply: How are you supposed to gauge the success of a work when all you’re looking at is a cross-section? Still — since there’s no denying that K-pop is a significantly musical venture, there will always be value in tracing its sonic evolution, and the album is still the best way to do that. It’s a fortunate fact when you consider that the story of K-pop music in the 2010s reads more like a riddle than a novel. Obviously, it’s not far-fetched for a 2010 track to sound like it’s from a different universe than one released in 2019, but there’s a much more defined musical shift in the decade, originating somewhere around 2015, that spontaneously erupted into a bottomless schism separating two very different musical attitudes in K-pop. It’s the distance between the angsty chaos of BTS’ Dark & Wild (2014) and the heady sonic explorations of its followup, The Most Beautiful Moment in Life, Pt.1 (2015). It’s the gap separating 2NE1’s meteoric potential… Read full this story
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