K-pop could be America's next musical invasion, prof writes

K-pop boy band BTS

The international success of the South Korean boy band BTS may be the start of a musical “Asian invasion” not unlike the British Invasion of the 1960s, a UO professor writes in The Conversation.

Susanna Lim, associate professor of Korean and Russian studies, writes that the band’s recent performance at the Billboard Music Awards and its increasing popularity with young Americans show that the music genre known as “K-pop” in making mainstream inroads. K-pop is a style of South Korean pop music that incorporates many of the influences of American pop.

“But what about the K?” Lim asks. “This is where the unique Korean flair plays a role: infectious melodies sung mostly in Korean, a few English words strategically placed in the sing-along refrain, and single-sex groups made up of seven to 15 members.”

Through a “relentless pursuit of perfection” and perfectly synced dance moves, along with a savvy social media presence, Lim believes groups like BTS are overcoming American stereotypes of Asians and finding a bigger stage on which to perform.

“It might be too early to tell if BTS will be at the forefront of a “K-pop Invasion,” she writes. “But it’s clear that they’ve been able to bridge some of the divides that have prevented K-pop from catching on in the U.S.”

For the complete article, see “How Korean boy band BTS toppled Asian stereotypes — and took America by storm” in The Conversation. The story also was picked up by Salon.