From Savage Garden to Golden Child: My Pop Music Timeline

As The Bias List continues to grow, I’ve been thinking a lot about my musical influences and preferences, and how my history with pop music has shaped the reviews that I write today. With this in mind, I thought it would be fun to take a day for a more personal post. More than anything, I trace my life by the music that soundtracks it. The “about” page on this site hasn’t been updated for over three years, so take today’s post as an unofficial revamping.

The first cd I ever owned (yes, we were still listening to cds back then) was Savage Garden’s self-titled 1997 debut. That, along with Janet Jackson’s The Velvet Rope and No Doubt’s Tragic Kingdom became my trio of pop music roots. As any pop-loving teen would, I then branched back to classics by many of the industry’s icons: Michael and Janet, Madonna, Prince and the like. As my personality is prone to do, I quickly formed an all-encompassing understanding of American pop music throughout the decades. I became a massive fan of the Jackson family discography – particularly Janet. I still consider Rhythm Nation 1814 to be the finest pop album ever recorded.

My first experience with pop music from East Asia came in the form of J-pop idol group Dream’s 2001 single Private Wars. That might seem ridiculously random, but it’s important to remember that every K-pop/J-pop track is somebody’s first.

Instantly, I found the sound of Private Wars to be intoxicating. It was so immense and bombastic and stuffed to the brim with sounds. In a world of Britneys and Backstreet Boys, it felt like it had emerged from a different planet entirely. To this day, the song’s opening bars still give me chills. What I didn’t know at the time was that this late 90’s/early 00’s techno dance explosion was a particularly fun era for J-pop as a whole (worth exploring further if you’re willing to go down the rabbit hole).

Rather than usher in a fascination with Asian pop music, Private Wars became more of a one-off for me. I was in college at the time, and imported music still wasn’t readily accessible. Instead, my attention moved toward an emerging – and decidedly retro – branch of indie pop that was beginning to make waves in the global music scene.

It was the era of bands, with acts like The Killers and Scissor Sisters ruling my playlists. Beyond these two groups, all the worthwhile music seemed to be coming out of Europe. My attention focused first on the UK, but later on Sweden – who was experiencing a renaissance of cool pop sounds with indie sensibilities. I became obsessed with the glam-pop band The Ark (still my favorite band of all time), and their colorful cohorts Melody Club, The Mo, and the Sounds. Pop acts like Robyn and Bodies Without Organs began to rock my world, and eventually led to the creation of my first music blog, #1 Hits From Another Planet.

I started Alienhits, as it became known by many, in February of 2006. The blog is still accessible, though many of the song links are likely dead and the graphic design leaves something to be desired. Blogging was in a different place thirteen years ago, and not as many of us were doing it. It was easier to gain an audience right away, and I quickly found myself embraced by a host of like-minded pop blogs. The Bias List is different by design, but many of its roots lie in my work with Alienhits.

All of this obsession with European music led me to take a teaching internship at a British school in the spring of 2006. This internship was a chance to hone my teaching skills (it was… I swear it was!), but more than anything it was an excuse to follow my favorite bands around the continent. Thanks to my newfound proximity and the magic of budget airlines, I was constantly in and out of Sweden, attending concerts in amusement parks, glorified block parties and three-day, camp-in-the-Scandinavian-farmlands music festivals. Anything to see my favorite acts.

I checked in with K-pop here and there from about 2009 on, but the floodgates really opened in 2012. Between EXO’s debut, Bigbang’s Alive album, TVXQ’s Catch Me and (of course) Infinite’s The Chaser, K-pop began to lure me in beyond the “oh, that’s kind of cool” novelty I’d associated with the industry in the past. You can see this fascination start to bloom on my old blog, where K-pop posts began to mix in with the usual music from Western artists.

This burgeoning fascination grew steadily, until Korean variety and weekly music shows began to creep into my daily habits around late 2013. So much of K-pop’s appeal runs below the surface of the actual music, and up to this point I hadn’t really bothered getting to know the idols that performed my favorite songs. But as many can attest to, once you start falling for the personality-driven charms of these groups, there’s no coming back. I was undeniably hooked.

Over the next few years, #1 Hits From Another Planet became more and more of a K-pop focused blog, so much so that I felt I was doing a disservice to the readership I had built up to that point. I couldn’t hide my enthusiasm for everything K-pop, but I knew that not everyone who visited my blog felt the same way. Hits began to slowly dwindle, along with my passion for writing about Western music that I, quite frankly, didn’t think was all that great anymore. Add to that a burgeoning book deal, and I was unexpectedly spending the vast majority of my writing energy crafting a young adult sci-fi trilogy.

Around 2015, the global pop music scene seemed to change drastically. It was harder and harder to find Western sounds that I cared for. All the cool stuff was happening in K-pop (and J-pop, of course). Posting new entries on my old blog felt like a chore, so it was time to start over.

That’s where The Bias List comes in. When I founded this site at the beginning of 2016, I had a general idea of what I was going for. One of the things that had bothered me about Alienhits was that I had to love a song to write about it. The blog had always been designed as a music recommendation platform. With The Bias List, part of the fun is that I write about everything – the good and the bad. This makes the cultivation part of the process so much easier, especially since there are new songs released all the time in Korea. And, I think it makes the writing more interesting.

The Bias List has enjoyed rapid growth each year, and I’m proud of the community of readers that it has garnered. It’s now a more widely read site than Alienhits ever was, and K-pop’s ever-evolving release schedule makes it consistently engaging to write (except maybe during the industry’s coffeeshop-heavy periods). My music consumption is now drawn 100% from East Asia, though there are a handful of Western artists that still have the power to pull me in (my #1 pop music love Janet Jackson being chief among them).

So here I am in 2019. My tastes have changed as the years have gone on, but not drastically. At the core, I’m all about a killer melody, polished production and a dynamic performance. Current global trends have led me to more aggressively pursue bright pop sounds (hello, Golden Child!), but the bedrock of my pop music appreciation has been built on a diverse foundation. That open-mindedness is a perfect fit for K-pop, and I look forward to many more years of writing about the most exciting music industry on the planet!

Now it’s your turn! I’m curious, what was your first brush with K-pop? What were your earliest pop music obsessions?


34 thoughts on “From Savage Garden to Golden Child: My Pop Music Timeline

  1. I enjoy what you’re posting on this website! I personally prefer you than other music critics (few critics are just… ouch). I like that you stay positive for kpop, even if there are songs that might not be good/underwhleming. You’ve actually influenced me to make my own website for music recently. I’m focusing on kpop right now since that’s the genre I find appealing to me personally.

    American pop music nowadays just feels tiring for the most part, but that’s just my opinion. I like to see how good American music is realistically. That’s the next industry I want to focus on after being done with kpop.

    I’m also very excited to review j-pop in the future. I remember checking out a few songs from Babymetal several years ago. Also am eager to check out KAT-TUNE as well.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you for the kind words, and good luck with your website! There’s a LOT to check out with KAT-TUN (and Johnny’s Entertainment in general). Let me know if you want recommendations!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a fun and really interesting post! It’s cool to see how your tastes have evolved and where they’ve come from, especially because of how much longer you’ve been in the K-Pop world compared to most people I know. I wasn’t even alive when some of these songs came out! I only got into K-Pop in early 2016 (which, weirdly enough, makes me still kind of below the wave. I showed up a good six months before DNA blew up the scene), so after I spent some time settling in, it was only around the end of last year that I started to listen to some more classic stuff.

    I still have my Spotify playlist that existed when I got into K-Pop (it’s a mess), and it looks like among the first songs I listened to were B1A4’s Solo Day and NCT’s Limitless and Without You, the latter of which is still a masterpiece, it was my most played song of 2017. I also started with Sandeul’s Stay As You Are album and a couple of Japanese Block B tracks, with the first group I ever really got into being Astro. I think those first few months of being into an international genre are the coolest to look back on because your taste is such a mishmash of anything you can find and anything other people tell you about. My evolution has also been a fun one for me to track—here I am, totally into super bright, poppy music (among other things! My tastes have definitely expanded since I started with K-Pop), and I was raised by a fully classic rock family. As a kid, I used to burn CDs of my favorite songs and they’re a hilarious mix of little kid songs and The Beatles/The Eagles/Green Day. Who knows how any of us ended up here?

    Liked by 2 people

    • 2016 was a good year to get into K-pop. For me, it felt like the start of a new wave… much as 2019 has been so far.

      The first few months after I really dove into K-pop were exhilarating. So much good music all at once!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Warning: Incoherent teenage rambling ahead.

    As I am a whole generation younger, my music journey is way different! I’ve gone through many brief music ‘obsessions’, all typical teenage fare – scattered American pop songs which played on the radio, a capella covers of said pop songs, mid-2000s pop punk, etc. Although I didn’t know it back then, I don’t like to base my entire music taste in one genre/style. Kpop, being an industry that takes a million genres and amalgamates them into a polished cute-Asian package, was the perfect solution.

    But I’m getting ahead of myself. Being a normal suburban kid, I had my share of run-ins with kpop when the hallyu wave began, but it never registered with me as a distinct music industry because well, I was like ten. As I became a teenager, a lot of the people around me started getting into kpop and I, being obsessed with previously stated obsessions, did not understand what all the fuss was about; and my friends, try as they might, could not convince me to like kpop.

    Then, five years after it was released, I watched Fantastic Baby on a complete whim. Then I watched five different stages for it purely for GD’s long hair. (I’m not even joking – GD’s hair was what got me into kpop.) Before I knew it, I was hooked.

    At first I thought this would be another quick genre obsession, but it has turned out to be so much more than that. Yes, I haven’t been a kpop fan for nearly as long as some people, but in the two years since I first decided “hey, this kpop thing isn’t so bad after all” I’ve explored so much of the kpop catalogue, and I’ve gotten a much deeper appreciation for the crafting of pop music.

    Being a classical pianist with perfect pitch I wanted to make piano covers of the kpop songs I liked. And so I started listening closer to the songs, noticing the crazy chords kpop likes to pull out sometimes, appreciating well-written melodies. In the past two years since I got into kpop, the music theory I learned thanks to my classical music side really started to register in my brain, allowing me to analyze songs as I never could have before. (I’d be lying if I didn’t admit ReacttotheK helped on this front though.) Finding your blog last year then helped me learn about the production side of things, which is just as important!

    Yet despite (or maybe because) all this, kpop remains just as fun to me as it was when GD’s long hair first caught my eye. The kpop music scene, while it can drag on in places (coffee-shop ballads make me snooze too), is just so much crazy fun. I feel like kpop is really a movement. It can take influence from so many different genres yet it still retains its unique kpop identity. I love how in my playlists, one moment I could be listening to a hiphop ballad and then the next song will be bubblegum-pop bliss. And of course, idol personalities! Infinite’s Weekly Idol episodes still get me cackling. (Weekly Idol is trash now but back when Infinite and Teen Top were regulars… ahh those were the days!)

    Liked by 2 people

    • “Kpop, being an industry that takes a million genres and amalgamates them into a polished cute-Asian package, was the perfect solution.”

      THIS! This should be the opening salvo of every individual attempting to get those around then involved with this genre. Succinct, precise, and conclusive. Hats off to you, my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It bothers me when non-kpop fans say that kpop isn’t their style, because… well… which style are we talking about? If groups outside of BTS and Blackpink were given just a little attention I feel like the Western stigma around kpop would decrease significantly. One of my classmates originally disliked kpop, but when I recommended her Day6’s I’m Serious (she likes country music) her opinion changed. Though she doesn’t like kpop, per say, she isn’t biased against it anymore.

        I get that some people just don’t like the Korean language, fine, but I think that isn’t the major complaint against kpop nowadays. Unfortunately, said major complaint is stupid.

        Liked by 1 person

        • The two biggest deal breakers for most people that I’ve exposed to K-Pop (or all Asian music in general) is:

          A. The Language Barrier: I understand this and, to an extent, I share it. Music is personal. Understanding the lyrics and being able to identify with the message in those lyrics further solidifies that connection. However, I also believe that the human voice is one of the most versatile and evocative musical instruments that you can add to a piece of music. Regardless of whether you can understand the words, the wavering tones of human singing heightens all of the other instruments and fills out the piece. I’ve always thought that orchestral strings and woodwinds were a composer’s way of humanizing a composition that was not going to include singing.

          B. Asian Artists: Many people are not attracted to Asian people. While this usually only applies to watching videos, versus listening to music, many people don’t want to embrace a new artist if they don’t find them visually appealing. The most common ribbing I get from people I try to expose Asian music to is, “Uh huh.. ..someone’s got yellow feeeeverrrr!” Yes, I like the Asian aesthetic and I find the culture has a lot of qualities lacking in some western regions, but I don’t “only” like Asians. I can find beauty in all races and nationalities.

          So, if you’re open minded to different cultures, appreciate physical differences, and can move past understanding the language by simply enjoying the tone and timbre of the human voice, then you win; they lose.


          • Yeah, and the fact that some people find Kpop to be too ‘dolled up’, in a sense. I guess that’s because kpop is a lot more transparent in its makeup and styling choices. This goes for boy groups especially.

            I’m glad I was kind of pre-programmed to be unbothered by these two deal breakers! Lyrics have never been more important to me than the quality of the songwriting and instrumental, and being Asian I’m unbothered by the aesthetic. (Too bad the rest of my school would disagree with me.)

            We’re all winning around here!

            Liked by 1 person

    • Just jumping in to say that I love that GD’s hair is what got you into K-pop, Khizuo! It definitely left an impression on me at the time, but I’m not sure it was necessarily a good one! Either way, it’s an iconic look now.


  4. Having read your post, I completely understand you rating standards now. With that background (which I am personally familiar with), I have gained insight and clarity to heart of this site. Thank you for taking the time to make this post.

    My notes from the OP:

    On Rythym Nation: I remember when “Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814” dropped in 1989. I had a massive crush on Janet from her appearances on TV and I knew she recorded music, but this album was explosive for me. I’d heard marching band percussion in music before, but the infusion of “military” marching band drums was an over the top “Yes, please!” from me. Rythym Nation will forever be in my “Reasons the human race is worth saving” list. An ear-to-ear smile crossed my face not too long ago when K-Pop’s Nature did a complete cover (singing & dancing) of this hit; this cover is worth your time to watch on YouTube.


    On Robyn: My experience with her was limited to one release; but man did I play the shit out of that CD. I heard “Show Me Love” on the radio and was so pulled in that I had the CD within an hour. “Robyn Is Here” was her 1995 U.S. debut/Swedish Re-release.

    While “Show Me Love” drew me to the CD, it was only one of thirteen pearls to be found in this oyster. “Robyn Is Here” is one of those rare releases where every single track (13 in total) will blissfully invade your soul. It’s got funk drenched tracks such as “Bumpy Ride”, “In My Heart”, and “Do You Know ( What It Takes )”. It has glistening examples of “Pop done right” with: “You’ve Got That Somethin'”, “Show Me The Love” and “How”. Then there’s laid-back tracks that are pure ear candy, such as: “Do You Really Want Me (Show Respect)”, “Just Another Girlfriend”, “Here We Go”, and the titular title track “Robyn Is Here”. I annoyed the hell out of everyone around me because this CD was all I listened to for weeks; and while they won’t admit it, I was doing them all a favor.


    My entry to K-Pop: I had two brushes with K-Pop before I discovered it was an entire genre. The first was BoA’s U.S. debut track “Eat You Up” (2008); which I really liked, but didn’t kickstart anything. The second was a TV appearance by Wonder Girls performing “Nobody” on “So You Think You Can Dance” in 2009. Again, I really liked the song, but it ended there. Third time’s a charm and my official “Hello, my name is..” name tag arrived in 2010 with Girl’s Generation’s “Run Devil Run”. I was bored and surfing YouTube. I wasn’t searching for anything in particular; just clicking links and following recommendations. Then.. ..out of nowhere.. ..a link to “Run Devil Run”, then a link to 2NE1’s “It Hurts (Slow)”, then KARA’s “Lupin”, Secret’s “Magic”, f(X)’s “Nu ABO”, 4minute’s “HuH”, Orange Caramel’s “A-ing”, miss A’s “Goodbye Baby”, BoA’s “Hurricane Venus”, Rainbow’s “Mach” & “A”. It was a VERY good moment in time to happen upon this genre as some of its most iconic acts were in their prime and releasing pure gold on a steady basis. The rest is history.

    I’ve since branched off into J-Pop (e.g., Tokyo Girls Style, Dream/Flower/Happiness, Koda Kumi, FEMM, Weather Girls, etc.), C-Pop (e.g., As One, Super Girls, Kimberley Chen, etc.), T-Pop (e.g., Dream Girls, G-Twenty, etc.), and other Asian offerings.


    • Yay! Another Rhythm Nation fan! For all the critical acclaim and incredible commercial success that album received, I still feel that it’s underrated — especially with this new generation of music fans. To me, there’s nothing that sounds remotely like it, even though new jack swing was definitely a trend during that era.

      With Robyn, it’s funny because I didn’t really get into her until her self-titled 2005 album. I definitely knew her 90’s singles, but I don’t think I ever delved into the album tracks at that time. Of course, back then there was no streaming (and barely no internet), so the only way to really hear album tracks was to buy the physical album. Crazy to think about.


  5. My pop music evolution goes something like this:

    I thought I hated pop music before I got into k-pop. American pop has, for the past few years, been insipid and terrible – and, growing up playing and listening to majority classical music meant that I was (and still am, tbh) a massive music snob.

    In 2014, my friend showed me some Kara, 2ne1, and SNSD hits, and I thought “oh that’s pretty cool,” but didn’t really pay much attention (clearly because I had zero taste).

    Then, in 2015, my friend showed me the first MADE album release by BigBang, and wow! I fell down that particular rabbit hole quickly! In a week, I was a self-identified VIP UNTIL WHENEVER Jiyong stan. I consumed all of the BB content I could find and thought that YG Ent was the best company ever because they let their talent have “artistic freedom.” In a stroke of utter rationality and critical thinking, I grew to dislike SM, JYP, girl groups, and everything that didn’t have “artistic freedom.” It was pretty cringe.

    Fast forward to fall of 2015, and I found Epik High off their rework of Eyes, Nose, Lips. Tablo wrote really great lyrics, and I was drawn to them a herd of ants to a grain of sugar. In a search of a Band With Real Instruments, I also found Nell. I listened to EH and Nell for hours on end and consumed a ridiculous amount of Korean indie, coming to the conclusion that any idol group that didn’t self-compose was probably trash. This sentiment was directed particularly at girl groups, which I thought were shallow and all the same (once again, zero taste).

    This woeful state continued until mid-2016, when something wonderful happened: I realized I had ears! And almost a lifetime of classical theory knowledge! Spurred by an unknown impulse, I did the unthinkable and listened to Stellar’s “Vibrato.” And Spica’s “Painkiller.” And Kara’s “Pandora.” And, despite being from the much-maligned girl group cohort, those songs all had something in common: surprisingly complex and rich arrangements, beautiful melodic lines, great harmony – it was just like classical music, but married to heavy metal and a metric ton of processed sugar. It was painfully clear that in my pretentious idiocy, I had missed the best of k-pop.

    After that, I started doing what I do now – judging music by its contents, instead of whether or not it was “self-composed.” I realized that girl groups were the best! As a side effect, I also became the Sweetune stan that I currently am.

    Not much has changed since then, and now I even blog about k-pop – in your comments section!

    Liked by 2 people

    • “SPICA – Painkiller”.. ..Stellar – Vibrato”.. ..KARA – Pandora”. I don’t think you realize (or maybe you do) how diverse and polarizing those three songs are in the K-pop-sphere and yet you’ve listed 3 songs that are on my all-time favorites list. Painkiller creates a wonderful marriage between powerful vocals and emotive music. Vibrato is a fantastic example of how adding small one-off instrumentation and sample sounds to a composition can form the perfect bridge between EDM and Pop; not to mention perfectly paced vocals. Pandora.. ..where do I begin? If you’ve ears and a pulse, how can you not be absorbed into its lavish production?

      KIHZUO (above) coined it perfectly: “Kpop takes a million genres and amalgamates them into a polished cute-Asian package” {paraphrased}. Part of K-Pop’s charm for me is way it culls the best parts of every musical genre, filters out the detritus, then distills an intoxicating tonic that is “good for what ails you”.

      With regard to your classical music background.. ..if you’re not already familiar with the React to the K Youtube channel (classically trained musicians reacting to K-Pop), you may want to check it out at the following link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPnsmwVKhDJoO7jLKfX0Wxw

      Additionally, I’d like to list some songs from my favorites list (200+ songs) that “might” appeal to you:
      4TEN – Severely
      4minute – Volume Up
      Berry Good – Angel
      Dal★shabet – Hit U
      EXID – I Feel Good
      Fiestar – You’re Pitiful
      Girls Girls – Deal
      Kang Min Hee (Miss $) – It’s You
      Kisum – 2 BEER
      Ladies’ Code – Bad Girl
      LOONA 1/3 – Sonatine
      Lovelyz – Twinkle
      mamamoo – Wind Flower
      PinkFantasy SHY – 12 O’Clock
      Red Velvet – Automatic
      Seo In Young – ANYMORE
      Sistar – Give It to Me
      SPICA.S – Give Your Love
      Sunny Hill – Here I Am
      WJSN – I-YAH

      Note: I closed my eyes and randomly selected songs from my “K-P/GG Faves” list. I was going to alter the list, but then it wouldn’t have been random, right?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Those three really are some of the best kpop songs ever written! I agree, k-pop is so good in large part because of its ability to cut and paste and polish to perfection. I’m also glad to here someone else likes “Severely” by 4TEN. That song is so under-appreciated and fantastic.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Glad to see some love for PinkFantasy SHY’s 12 o’ clock! It’s such brassy, cheesy fun stuffed full of delicious seventh chords, and I love how it seamlessly switches keys for the prechorus. Unfortunately the mixing feels vaguely muffled to me, but I’m willing to ignore that.

        Liked by 1 person

    • I love this. Oh, how the mighty YG has fallen.

      I’ve had bits of an opinion post called “The Case Against Authenticity” on my computer for the better part of a year, but I’ve never gotten around to fleshing it out into an actual piece of writing (mostly because I felt like I was already complaining about the current state of pop music too much last year). In short, I think the idea of musical authenticity is overrated. Give me artifice any day!

      This may sound cold, but when I listen to music I’m not really interested in learning the artist’s inner feelings. To me, music is a language that speaks differently than words and has the power to be more universal and transcendent in that way. That’s one of the reasons why I now prefer songs performed in languages I don’t understand. Words get in the way too often. It’s also why I rarely seek out K-pop lyric translations. This is all personal preference, but it’s why I adore K-pop/J-pop and abhor the likes of Taylor Swift. I mean, I just don’t care about pop stars’ dating lives and personal hang-ups… at least in the context of a pop song. I’m obviously empathetic towards them as a person, but self-indulgent pop is not my thing.

      Put on a show! Give me a high concept! Channel all that emotion into musical energy and give your performance some punch.

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s… exactly how I feel about “authenticity” in pop music. You really summed it up better than I could have.
        People often comment stuff like “but you can’t understand the lyrics!” when talking about k-pop, and I always think “yeah, that’s a huge positive, though. I prefer it that way!”

        Liked by 1 person

        • With that said, the perfect pop lyric — delivered by the right performer in the right song — can be life-changing. Not to harp on the Janet train, but her The Velvet Rope was hugely influential to me as young person. I just don’t seek out lyrics in the same way as I used to, nor do I think they’re as prominent in today’s mainstream pop music. But, that’s a conversation for another time (ie: the meme-ification of pop music)


      • You really know how to put things into words… it’s scary.

        I had a little conversation in the comments above about why people don’t want to get into Kpop, but I forgot to mention this! For some reason, audiences in the West have grown to prefer “authenticity” (in giant air quotes) in pop music. The one possible reason I can think of is that it may help teenagers feel more self-validated or something. I mean, it’s the whole “I want you to take me seriously” complaint but expressed in music. The likes of Halsey and Shawn Mendes certainly haven’t helped. Hence, the likes of Twice are looked down upon by non-Kpop fans!


  6. P.S. Sweden really does have great pop music songwriters. What’s up with that? Seriously, I have no idea? Why Sweden, of all places?

    Then and again, South Korea is a pretty random place too, so who knows

    Liked by 2 people

    • I remember reading an article a few years back that mentioned that Sweden subsidizes after-school music programs for students. For a country without a ton of natural resources, one of its ‘soft powers’ is pop music. South Korea’s not too dissimilar in this way. I’ve always been drawn to countries like this.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I have tried many times to correct the kids on the forums that “American music” is actually mostly Swedish these days. I mean Sweden, its a foreign country, its not the US.


  7. This must be the introduce ourselves post doubling as the kpop confessional post.
    Hello, my web alter ego is Myma, and I am a kpop addict.

    My first pop love was a-ha. There, now you can figure out my age. This was the Age of MTV, and also the age when one could bootleg cable quite easily if you knew how – my dad would climb the telephone pole and flip all the switches. I have an older brother, older sister, and younger sister, so among us we captured in our youth most pop and rock from about late 70’s to late 90’s.

    I remember the Rhythm Nation. The Control album was huge too – iirc my little sister owned that one. Janet Jackson was an important part of pop culture. I don’t think Destiny’s Child and Beyonce would exist without Janet Jackson.

    I got a stereo system for xmas one year, wow cool, vinyl double tape decks, radio, and = extra wow = a CD player. CD’s started, but they were more like $15 each, versus vinyl $10 each. If you liked a song you would have a blank tape cued up, and hit the record button off the radio. Friends shared copies via those dual tape decks. There was a radio show called “Rock over London” which was on at 11pm on Sunday night which was obligatory listening and taping. I listened to a lot of British New Wave, with a healthy dose of other European countries too, just to be cool. There were actual record stores then. You would actually buy sometimes without ever hearing a single song, based upon reputation, how cool it was, what the cover looked like, who was playing on it, and how much money was in your pocket.

    90’s – I was in school and then grad school, and in the lab for hours and hours. I had a little Sony radio with a tape deck which was indestructible. The soundtrack of my life alternated between radio and tapes. I had a whole drawer full of them. Fewer CD’s – only my late 90’s car had a CD player. I didn’t buy a lot as I was broke, and half of what I did buy is classical, then and now. I listened to a lot of singer-songwriters, folk music, and sang along liberally, as the lab can get loud anyway.

    The 00’s are a blur. But now I had money, so I bought a lot, some of it good, some replacements of the old tapes and vinyl, and some I don’t know what I was thinking. Hubby collects vinyl, mostly jazz and popular song, several bookcases full.

    I got into kpop after binge watching “The Moon embracing the Sun” on Netflix. That was 2015, but seems longer ago than that. In the modern world, there is youtube to watch just about anything you want to watch, any time any place. There are also these ipod things which hold gigs and gigs of music. I believe the first kpop video I watched was ZE:A “The Ghost of the Wind”. I also had a company-paid phone at the time, so I streamed endlessly, even while driving (and never saw a bill!).

    I tend towards several categories: songs to sing along to (pop or ballads), songs for the workout (eg Teen Top), songs for actual working (smoother, quieter), streaming compilation videos, and Super Junior. I’ll listen to anything once or twice. I am old enough to share my opinions freely. If you ever see the crazy soccer mom singing at the top of their lungs while toting the kids around, that is me.

    Liked by 2 people

    • D’oh! Tried to reply to you and made a separate post (below). That’ll teach me for going online before my coffee kicks in! 😦


    • Just chiming in to say that I’m thrilled to learn more about all of you, and discover how diverse the Bias List readership is! This is awesome stuff.

      Love A-ha. Love British new wave (and the newer wave that surged in the mid-00’s). And I’d go even farther to say that I don’t think 99% of today’s female pop acts would be the same without Janet (and Madonna, of course).


  8. 1. “Take On Me” is a classic. MTV changed the face of music; literally.
    2. Same household. My mother took me to see David Bowie’s Station to Station tour when I was twelve. My brother took me to see The Rolling Stones later that same year.
    3. “Control”, “Nasty”, “What Have You Done for Me Lately”, “The Pleasure Principle”, “When I Think Of You”, “Let’s Wait Awhile”. Not every song on the album made to to the airwaves, but most did.
    4. The All-In-One Stereo era.. ..Soundesign, Aiwa, Hitachi, Magnavox, Sony. Been there, did that.
    5. Vinyl!! Spending the day after payday flipping through the spinach bins for hidden gems. The “buy unheard” method yielded me some real treasure. Ryuichi Sakamoto’s “Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence OST”, an entire album filmed with Gagaku Japanese Court music, Django Reinhardt’s “Crazy Rhythm”. etc., etc., etc..
    6. The TV shows I tried to catch on the weekends were “New Wave Theatre” and “Some Bizzare Records Show” (both part of Night Flight), The Midnight Special, and Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert.
    7. My brother introduced me to Punk/New Wave. Examples: B.E.F./Heaven 17, Cabaret Voltaire, Blancmange, Depeche Mode, Haircut One Hundred, Yello, New Order, The The, Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark, Yaz, Soft Cell. Waaay to many to fully name.
    8. My mobile arsenal included the venerable Sony Walkman (best headphones EVER) and a Sanyo Boombox (8 D Cells of power! Raargh!!).
    9. The 90’s were my emergence into normal society. I’ve been paying for that mistake ever since.
    10. Tragically, my entire collection of vinyl (which included many rare and extremely hard to find pressings) ended up in a pile of black goo after a house fire. I stopped collecting “physical” music after that trauma because the loss never faded from me. Then along came digital music and I’m now collecting again; with multiple redundant backups.
    11. LONG LIVE K-POP! {super-secret handshake}

    Liked by 1 person

    • (Apparantly wordpress doesn’t let one paste pictures, which is probably a wise thing, so I have inserted a picture of all of my OMD vinyl albums as a very very tiny thumbnail picture.)

      Liked by 1 person

      • Wow.. ..my entry into them was Junk Culture. “Locomotion” was such a feel-good song. The album was trashed by critics, but I liked it; perhaps because it was my first time hearing them so I wasn’t biased by their past releases. I bought their next 2 albums (Crush & The Pacific Age), but I wasn’t buying much vinyl after that due to personal reasons and life changes. Great to find another OMD fan, but.. ..God I miss my old collection.

        {in my best Marvin, the Paranoid Android voice} “Life! Don’t talk to me about life.”


  9. Very interesting read and funny how I went through the opposite trajectory. I grew up listening to Asian music and a select bunch of mainstream western pop stars. All my life I’ve firmly believed that K-pop is the holy grail of pop music. Its sometimes not too subtle references to western music sparked a lot of curiosity and helped me dive into a brand new world of “obscure” Scandinavian pop acts, Eurovision, black metal and eventually legendary western rock bands. In the search for more good music, I explored other genres/industries and tried to see things from different perspectives. I ended up mainly developing a liking for things left of centre and gravitated towards avant-garde production, resonating with my bias for leftfield groups f(x), NCT and Stray Kids. After things came full circle, I became an indiehead. For me, indie rock/folk, alternative hip hop and crunchy Scandipop form the ultimate resort during underwhelming K-pop months. It feels great to exclaim that Robyn is my ultimate pop queen. What I learned in the process, as corny as it sounds, is that music transcends boundaries. Good music can be found just about anywhere and keeping an open mind is key. On that note, I happened to enjoy the last album by The Killers so much that its title has been in my bio since release.


  10. Pingback: Global Pop Round-Up: October 2022 Edition | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.