open discussion

Open Discussion (July 10, 2022)

Open DiscussionIt’s Sunday, which means it’s time to end the week with an open discussion post!

To keep things civil, there are a few rules:

  1. Be kind and respectful to one another. Any harassing language will be deleted.
  2. This is not a place to state what you don’t like about me and/or my blog. Move elsewhere, trolls.
  3. Video/gif/image embedding is totally fine. Just try to limit yourself to a couple per comment. Otherwise my moderation filter goes crazy.

Each week, I’ll open with a question to get the conversation going. Feel free to chat about anything, but if you’re not sure what to write you can use this question as a starting point.

This week’s question:

The K-pop industry has many identifiable tropes and trends. Some of them are great, some of them are… not. With this in mind, what are your biggest K-pop pet peeves?

59 thoughts on “Open Discussion (July 10, 2022)

  1. Longtime readers will definitely be familiar with my musical pet peeve. I can’t stand those second verse half-time breakdowns that are in so many K-pop tracks. They were kind of interesting when they first popped up in 2018, but now they’re thrown in as part of a formula and constantly interrupt a song’s momentum. The amount of fantastic tracks they’ve weakened is almost countless. When will the madness end?? 😅

    Music aside, I find myself getting more and more annoyed with the canned introductions/responses/interviews agencies make idol groups recite. This is especially evident on music shows, where groups introduce their new comeback track. Apart from a few acts who can get away with breaking the mold and injecting more personality, the interviews are soooo stilted.

    The idols are basically reading cue cards from their memory, making interviews feel more like book reports than an exciting introduction of new music. And more recently, I’ve noticed a lot of rookie groups stumbling over their words and/or forgetting what they’re supposed to say. It’s uncomfortable to watch, and makes me wish the groups could just be real and have an actual conversation with the hosts.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Raps need to be BANNED, outlawed and made punishable in kpop. Lyricists write bad verses, and I feel as if idols who find a passion in rap would be displeased, even more so, idols who wish to sing but instead are given ‘rap’ lines (glorified talking). Despite this, the raps are a highlight in EXO’s History and Artificial Love, and NCT’s Summer 127.

      I also wish more effort went into kpop album covers. We thank LOONA for ++, Max & Match and Love & Live, but the [&] album cover was terrible, same with aespa’s Girls cover. In Red Velvet’s recent comeback, the teasers photos were brilliant and then they decided on THAT as the album cover?? TXT’s are all horrendous, I’m sorry. What’s worse is I love the songs and have to look at those vile images every time I click play.


      • It’s a tough call to ban, since IMO it’s one of the things that makes Kpop special. Wonder girls Yubin and Brown Eyed Girls Miryo dropping sick bars were huge factors in me getting into Kpop in 2010. I think the bigger problem is so few people are dropping sick bars anymore, and are instead rapping for like 2 bars with the same recycled flow. Also I think Kpop thinks anyone can rap and ignores how vocal tone plays a role.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Ooh yeah, I love Yubin’s raps (Why so lonely is amazing) and she has great tone and personality to make her verses unique (as you mentioned). In general, I’d just prefer a sung melody instead of a rap – even if the melody isn’t that great.


    • i can vouch for the trap breakdowns 😔 really liked drippin’s villain at first listen, then i heard the trap breakdown ….. checked their entire discography and there seems to be a pattern.


  2. Not at all related to your question (sorry) but- are you planning to see Brave Girls on their US tour? We saw them last night in Philadelphia and had such a great time and it was so fun to see & support them!


  3. There’s a kind of mushy, boring, super obvious, ultra generic ballad shoe-horned in 8 of each 10 k-pop albums no matter what, and after years of following k-pop I’m still not over it! Stop it! We need better ballads!

    PD: I think that this could be right up your alley, Nick!


  4. Title tracks nowadays are almost always picked according to:

    1. Which song suits the group’s “storyline” (ENHYPEN, aespa)

    2. Which song would produce the best choreography or most TikTok-viral worthy point dance, regardless of the actual musical quality

    That’s why all the best songs most of the time are always b-sides. This is painfully noticeable especially with 4th gen groups.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. My main pet peeves when it comes to K-pop are sing-talk, chanting, shouting, autotune and noisy ultra-generic hip-hop songs which all sound the same.
    Btw, I’ve been recently infected by one masterpiece which I keep listening to more often than other K-pop songs:

    I can’t help but wonder what would be Nick’s opinion after hearing it.

    Liked by 1 person

      • No problem😄
        Btw, I have an interesting idea for this blog.
        Sometimes, your readers may pin videos on the comments, including music videos. If you listened to some of these and one song or another caught your attention, then why not review it actually? Something like a buried treasure, but not buried treasure exactly😂What do you think?

        Example: that track I included in my comment here


        • Nick does sometimes but not always. Usually it is because the ones we suggest are a bit more obscure, and he has only so much time in the day for reviews, especially when some of these may be 8’s or 9’s to us but 7’s or low 8’s for Nick.

          But perhaps a semi-regular feature of the little ones we love. Open thread for the peanut gallery.

          My favorite pet project Yunsae released another song a few days – written, produced, recorded, performed, all by Yunsae herself. I am still baffled why some larger agency doesn’t scoop her up for songwriting duties.


          • Wow, I’m in love with this song! I’ve been recently suffering from a lack of such big, maximalist summer bops😩


            • Yunsae is a favorite of mine so composing performing etc etc these little sweet and cute girly songs that are so well done. I am not big on girly girl style, but when it is like this, it is the best sweet milkshake with whipped cream with a cherry on top ever.

              May I also suggest “Feeling of You” from a few years ago, here a live live version – two girls, one guitar, one mini-keyboard and all heart.


  6. I think an update to the pet peeves short list is in order.
    As soon as I saw the title I thought “Nick will say second verse half-time rap” right away without missing a half-time beat.
    What BaeJaeHoon said above about sing song sing talk chanting shouting autotune noise, and will raise him mush mouth fako deep voice highly affected rap timbre. Drives me nuts. Its trying too hard to be effective but comes off inauthentic.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. my biggest kpop pet peeve has to be the awkward english lines / phrases that just don’t fit in or doesn’t make sense. i.e ‘try to warn yah we was coming in’ in SuperM’s One – the grammer just makes me cringe so badly every time

    Liked by 3 people

  8. off the top of my head the biggest pet peeve of mine is when companies try to shoehorn a rapper into their group (ESPECIALLY if they dont have any prior rap experience) like its SO obvious when they dont have a sense of flow or bars or whatever and dont follow any known rappers like it feels like theyre just reading words off a screen


  9. those drop choruses that are just a few notes recorded over and over again with a couple of words spoken over them. plus i feel like kpop is slowly shifting into generic midtempo trap music and i hate it

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I’m not into K-pop acts who make music that sound just like soulless western pop. These all too obvious Hip-Hop and EDM concepts have no heart and no soul. This is why I have much love for TWICE. Instead of choosing Hip-Hop or EDM as their sonic base, they make the K-pop bubblegum sound appeal to western audiences. And they have massive success with it. Quite unique!


    • definitely agree with this. however, i remembered when the first time i listened to hello (namochaeng track), i couldn’t help but to feel worried that they might go in this direction on future releases😭😭

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah! I don’t like Hello at all. Usually when TWICE does EDM or Hip-Hop, they have album tracks in that style, I like them a lot because they don’t go for the soulless stuff, but Hello is just something that I never listen to. I hope they will stay far away from anything like it in the future :p But I won’t be too sad about it. Every artists has lesser songs in their discography and the rest of Formula of Love is really great. Most of TWICE’s discography is really impressive to me. It’s very diverse and I feel like the girls really put a lot of soul and effort into it because they enjoy doing so for the fans.


  11. Oh, Nick. I’m going to have to beg your forgiveness for this vent.

    My biggest pet peeve is the same as it’s been for several years now: the lack of honesty and transparency, especially with regards to the treatment of idols. Seeing the revelations of the Burning Molka scandals dissolve into pretty much no visible change in the industry whatsoever was disheartening. Your complaint about the canned interviews is part of this, but it’s not just canned interviews: it’s also canned variety-show appearances, canned YouTube shows, canned Instagram posts, canned livestreams… everything so carefully presented that it feels like we can’t trust that the people on stage are actually happy to see us and enjoying their work, because if they weren’t, that information would be suppressed.

    To give a specific example from a group both you and I have been following more closely than we have most: I want to enjoy “Begin” and OnlyOneOf’s work more than I do, but I feel like I can’t measure how much control the members actually have over their presentation and choreography (not to mention how okay KB and Yoojung actually are with their coworking friendship, whatever it is/was, getting turned into a long-running BL quasi-comedy). I can make guesses, by trying to observe how comfortable they seem while performing, but that’s all I can do. Because if they *weren’t* comfortable, how would they communicate that? How did they feel about Jisung leaving/getting fired? Are they getting paid? Is 8D on track to become a financial remora a la TS Entertainment? I have no idea! And it may be because I follow the industry less closely than I used to — if someone has reassuring info about OOO, please do post it — but it feels like obfuscation and shallow reassurance is the norm, not the exception.

    A side pet peeve of the main pet peeve is the sheer amount of body modification: idols starving themselves to look stick thin or show their abs better, idols getting all kinds of plastic surgery (Infinite in 2022 looking younger and smoother than they did in 2015 is… discomfiting), and then (as Olivia Hye would remind us all) Photoshop applied on top of that. It’s all artifice. Not that it isn’t supposed to be a great deal of artifice, but it feels like there’s just no movement to balance all that artifice with any kind of transparency at all, financial or emotional. I’m glad BTS said what they said in their hiatus announcement but I’m not sure even they can move the needle at this point.


    • Your last point about body modification is really accurate and tragic. Unfortunately I would say that’s more of a problem with Korean society itself; body issues and plastic surgery are rampant among the general public, not just KPop idols.


    • ive recently seen a video by chaebin n out that goes into huge depth in this topic and how it influences fans, especially younger ones

      like, trying to lose as much weight as possible in a short amount of time isn’t healthy bro


  12. 1) Interviews conducted by American outlets that focus on questions that I can easily google the answers to. If a group has been around for a few years, I’m sure I can find out who their favorite Western artist is and what group member is the messiest in the dorm. There is so much more that can be asked!

    2) The way so many amazing vocalist decide to debut with, or focus their solo releases on ballads. The have the (literal) range to give us more that a sad slow song, and yet we often get a title track that lacks energy even with great high notes.

    3) The way certain concepts get boxed into a few sounds/genres. There are a lot ways to present a dark or cute concept without copying the same style of song 10 other groups use. I really want companies to be more creative, especially when they decide to make a concept change for their groups.

    4) Debates over line distribution. As someone who grew up listening to R&B and Pop groups from the West, I am used to people with the best or most unique voices getting most of the solo parts. To see Kpop fans literally track singing time to the tenth of a second to argue about why their favorite group member doesn’t sing more and is “mistreated” is just…..fatiguing and confusing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • nice response, CHACHASLIDE75….in a response to your point d, i guess i would be guilty of that, as each of the members not getting fair line distribution is one of my top 10 pet peeves in kpop….i will first say that i agree with your comparison of the best singers getting the best parts here in American music and i have no problem with the main vocalists and rappers getting the best parts, but in kpop, they also have lead vocalists and rappers, as well as sub vocalists and sub rappers….then they have dancers and visuals….the reason i bitch a fit over the unfair line distribution of kpop and not another group is as follows:

      let’s take the American R&B group New Edition….anyone that knows this group knows that Ralph, Johnny, Ricky, and Bobby (when he is with them) get the majority of the vocals, especially Ralph and Johnny, but that does not mean Mike and Ronnie are left out….Ronnie has some smooth raps that are on frequent display on their songs….Mike also is able to spit out some rhymes more often than not….even when the others dominate the songs with their outstanding vocals, Ronnie and Mike are still very active in the background vocals, rounding out their songs nicely….after all, it is a group concept, right?….if the person can’t sing, or at least hold a background note, then that person is most likely not going to be in the group, unless he or she is a very good to outstanding instrumentalist….

      you don’t (at least i don’t) see that often in kpop, if at all….it is supposed to be a group, but most often you don’t see even the sub-vocalist and sub-rap members getting any lines….they get scraps, and that’s even if they are lucky….ViVi of Loona is a very good example of this (there are many more, believe me)….if she is lucky, she may average several seconds on their comebacks, which is ridiculous, because if she can’t sing, why is she in the group?….on that note, many have said (about ViVi and others in the same boat), ‘well, they (the group) has a lot of members’….my rebuttal: the groups’ management agency chose to create a group that size, so they need to figure it out….

      if kpop’s definition of a group was like that of most other nation’s groups, then the kpop groups would include all the members in the lines and verses, and even though it may be fair for the mains to get most of the parts, at least the other members could band together and consistently sing the background, but that is not the case in most kpop groups that i have seen and even are a fan of….i hardly see the entire group singing background or adlib….i hardly even see the main singers crooning together on verses, or the main rappers both spitting fire on verses….the only two female kpop groups i remember seeing (and hearing) each member get fair lines, and even when the main vocalists and rappers got the majority of the lines, but the other members sung some solid backup is Spica and AOA….as far as the male groups, EXO and BigBang come to mind for the entire group concept….

      in kpop, to me, the group concept is not the group concept….it’s more of individuals featured in groups….the main vocals and rappers get the majority of the songs, the visual’s face and body dominate the videos and public appearances, the main and lead dancers get most of the dance parts, and the center….well, i don’t honestly know what the center does, but whatever it is, i am sure he or she will dominate it….individuality is good….i mean, if everyone was the same, how boring would that be? Yet, i constantly seek more individuality than group concept, and if this is what the kpop management agencies are going to allow (more individuality than group concept), then as individual focus, all the members should get a fair amount o lines.

      anyway, that’s my spiel….

      t gumbo

      Liked by 1 person

      • You definitely make some good points T Gumbo. I wonder if some of the debates around line distribution are based in the way companies decide to push individuals within (or at the expense) of the group. Your Loona example makes me think of the complaints I saw for Everglow during their Dun Dun era where Mia sang a good chunk of the song, and essentially had a solo dance break that made the rest of the group look like background dancers. In those cases, I think there is room for complaints from fans since things like that lead to the infamous “XYZ idol and friends” image that groups can get labeled with. And, to your point, what is the point of having someone in a group if they are barely present in the music being released?

        However, I get concerned when people are fighting over someone singing 9.2 seconds versus another member singing 11.1 seconds when that difference doesn’t distract from the overall quality of the track. I’d rather members sing parts that are memorable and can easily be replicated in a live performance than line distribution being exactly (or somewhat) equal if the song and live performance will suffer. To sum up my thoughts, I will use something I heard a Youtuber say about Yiren from Everglow. “She may not get alot of lines, but you remember her parts because they are catchy and stand out.”


  13. of the pet peeves i have for kpop, there are many, but i will list my top 3:

    1. way too many inexperienced, fledgling, unprepared, and underfunded kpop management agencies popping up…most often, from what i have witnessed time after time, they are not properly prepared to manage an artist and ends up mistreating, overworking, harassing, and swindling the hoping individual(s) out of their (or their parents’ money), or even worse, they ‘enslave’ the individual(s) in a ridiculous contract, where it usually takes legal proceedings for the individual(s) to get out of their contract….

    2. in accordance with the above (inexperienced and unprepared management agencies), there are way too many trends in kpop where individual artists and groups are here today and gone tomorrow….even those who have the potential for success are often disbanded before they can even truly get started because of bad management….

    3. physical and mental health problems due to horrible management: in too many cases, we see kpop artists being so overworked, mistreated, and abused that it causes them physical and mental health problems, as well as psychological and emotional health issues….

    t gumbo

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I dislike KPop’s desperation to emulate Western music and appeal to Western audiences. Can you really call yourself an artist if you lack your own artistic identity?

    But what really infuriates me: when KPop artists mock and disrespect the very people they take ideas from. Examples include BTS’s RM saying the n-word continuously and RV’s Wendy mocking black women (she herself lived in Toronto, wtf). And of course, the dreadlocks need to stop.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Most “serious” pet peeves I have have been covered in-depth in this thread or elsewhere on the internet, so I’ll bring up my bizarre dislike of how vocoder sounds. I like Brave Girls’s “Thank You” and 9Muses’s “Glue”, but definitely listen to them less than I would without vocoder.

    Actually, I think warped vocal samples bother me in general. I hate the weird “re re re flaaavor” in RV’s “Red Flavor”. I like how “Love Dive” has the bassline as a harmonized, lower version of the vocals, though, so I guess mileage may vary.
    Off topic: I went to my first kpop concert recently (which was also first popular music concert; I’d only been to classical stuff, plays, and opera before then.) It was Dreamcatcher. I’m still recovering.

    It made me realize that I while love the flashy musical, dance, and visual elements of kpop, I’m a bit less infatuated with the “we love our fans” talkback stuff than I thought I’d be. I find it cute on Youtube I guess, but staged affection is far more off-putting to me in real life. It was nice to be around other fans who love their music, though. Very exciting.

    Some highlights:

    1. Yooyheon was performing her snippet of her solo, “For,” which is a sort of jazzy/sexy lounge song. Usually she has a male dancer she performs around, but they didn’t have any backup dancers, so she danced around Handong, who was being really dramatic about the attention.

    Song: ends
    One of the members: ahhhh, it’s too much!
    Yoohyeon: (Says something to Handong)
    Translator: Every time I see you, I want to tease you.
    Me: (chokes on drink) “shoot, how will anyone buy this is an ‘all ages’ show now”

    2. The “No Dot” challenge, a reoccurring theme from city to city. This basically means “dance to the chorus of Sua’s solo,” which has kind of a sexy choreo, but most of the members also don’t know the choreo.

    Yoohyeon did it and was obsessed with doing one move over and over, and Sua was like “that’s the only move she knows” (fair).

    Siyeon did it and was broadly good/charismatic but then did this weird horse dance at the end. Then Sua laughed in her distinct “car engine + dolphin” way.

    Gahyeon did it because apparently she hadn’t had the chance yet and she was great but pretty shy.

    Then, the audience was like “Sua! Sua challenge!”

    And Sua was like “what the heck it’s my song”

    Then someone said “freestyle dance!”

    So Sua got on all fours and started dancing. Yoohyeon was like “OHHH NOOOO” and dragged her back to her seat.

    Who knows how much of it was staged, but the funky horse thing at least seemed pretty genuine.

    3. Any trance song (Can’t Get You Out of My Mind, Silent Night, In the Frozen) involved the audience jumping around wildly under flashing lights, which was definitely fun.


  16. Wisp mentioned english lyrics already, but I don’t like incorrect english lyrics if that makes sense. I don’t care if the lines are wacky, just please make them grammatically correct.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. the increasing amount of english lyrics and english choruses 💀 idk what my problem is but when a songs chorus is a repeated english phrase im most likely gonna hate it (fearless le sedhakg, zombie purple kiss for an example they both grew on me but at first listen it was hell)

    and idk if its just me but so far in 2022 i’ve been enjoying the music for a solid amount. i see so many people say how bad kpop got but did it really? or am i just easy with music 💀 idk but i find a lot of songs i like


  18. A disappointing drop / lack of chorus right after such an incredible build up.
    Latest 2 I can think of are

    Seventeen Dar+ling

    and Woosung Phase Me


  19. besides obvious stuff like cringy english lyrics, unecessary talk-rapping/chanting/shouting choruses that don’t make sense and incompetent management/toxic work environments, i think my number one pet peeve is the over processed vocals in kpop songs nowadays.

    it’s not even just hybe and whatever they’re doing with their groups, but even groups like aespa from sm. (winter’s highnotes in their latest comeback) that plus overproduction + shoddy mixing make some songs unlistenable.

    also, as someone else has already mentioned, the whole line distribution debate. with newer 4th gen groups debuting with positionless members (no set main vocalist, main dancer, etc.) it’s no wonder fans are constantly tearing at each other over whether or not their favourite member should have more lines than others. i wish stans especially would realise that less lines =/= less value in a group.


  20. 1. idols starting too young
    2. idols singing too high to the point of detriment
    3. too many releases for the bigger groups – I like CDs but don’t need repackages or multiple covers
    4. fandoms that don’t even know the basics of the music industry or music.
    5. Industry not geared for the long haul, which is sad because there are definitely performers who could perform their entire lives.


  21. This is neither a new nor novel criticism, but it’s one I think is pretty topical, especially with the rise of exclusively lip-synched performances for a given promotion period.

    It’s almost as if, in recent years, vocals have become a secondary trait of Kpop, with dancing (and even rap!) demanding more focus and training. Aside from select groups (STAYC, Billlie, etc.), 4th gen groups are coming into their own in an age where it is no longer required to be able to sing live as a performer. Often, in the rare case when a new group does sing live (often with backtrack and added autotune), the quality is simply not up to par. As newer songs are paired with increasingly tough choreographies, some of which making it near impossible to project your voice, it seems that live singing is gradually disappearing from the stages of Mcountdown and Show Champion. This really saddens me, as there are some killer voices out there (especially aespa, who are more than capable of singing live! coachella proved it!).

    However, when I first got into STAYC, I was pleasantly surprised to hear a group of girls speak out about their passion for singing live. They have something great going, and have instilled within me a new hope for the future of singing in kpop, so there’s that.


    • SO true! I would love to hear from a K-pop producer about what agencies are looking for these days, because I wouldn’t be surprised if they were actively seeking songs that didn’t require a lot of tough singing.


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