The hectic year has come to an end.

In 2017, K-pop groups such as BTS and TWICE saw huge growth in popularity in both domestic and overseas markets. TVXQ and Super Junior returned from the military and made long-due comebacks. Solo artists like Taemin, Hyuna, Lee Hyori, IU and Sunmi were met with much love and attention for their great releases like “Move” and “Palette”. Even independent artists like Hyukoh and DEAN successfully entered the mainstream market and television.

In addition to successful comebacks, reporters were kept busy with celebrity breakups, girl group disbandment (Miss A, Sistar, Wonder Girls and I.O.I) and scandalsespecially over the latter half of the year.

Source: OSEN / Girls’ Generation Sooyoung, Seohyun & Tiffany

However, 2017 was mostly a year of new beginnings, with comedians like Shin Jung-hwan, Lee Soo-geun, and celebrities like singer Kim Hyun-joong and actor Park Si-hoo returning as active players in the industry. Artists like Sooyoung, Seohyun and Tiffany left their companies to carve out a new path for themselves in other fields.

What’s next?

Now is the time to kick out the old trends and say hello to the new. Here are five overused trends the K-pop industry would fare better without.

1. Idol Survival Shows. Will there ever be an end to them?

Nowadays, K-pop agencies tend to focus on following cliche success formulas to pump out groups accordingly. We saw an increase in idol survival reality shows and rebooting programs like “Mixnine” and “The Unit” this year, and it doesn’t seem like it’ll stop any time soon. Popular idol survival show Produce 101 is set for yet another season next year, but this time, as a collaborative project with Japan. It’s tiring watching all a hundred trainees go through Hunger games-esque training and receiving less helpful advice from the judges. (Anyone else find TWICE’s variety show “Sixteen” horribly cringe-worthy?)

Source: Mnet and JTBC / Produce 101 (left) and Mix Nine (right)

2. Crop Tops. Ah yes, the classic crop top and high-waist pant look.

Definitely a cute look that every girl group has worn at least once in their career. Apparently, exposing the midriff is now just as cute as it is sexy, but do we really need more? I don’t think I’ve ever seen TWICE’s Momo wear anything else but a crop top and shorts.

Source: JYP and Banana Culture / Twice (left) and EXID (right)

3. Romantic & Gender-specific Lyrics. How about some more creativity?

Have you ever read the lyrics to your favorite K-pop song? To be honest, most K-pop song lyrics are toxic as f**k and borderline stalker-level creepy. It’s hard to realize that when you’re watching a pastel-colored music video with your favorite idol wearing an oversized sweater and eating cute desserts in couple scenes, but let’s face the truth. Unless the lyrics are there to make a point about toxic relationships, talking about how you can’t live without someone and that you’re their prisoner is obviously not the way to go about it.

Zico’s “She’s a Baby” (left), Sunmi’s “Gashina” (right)

While you’re at it, how about non-gender-specific lyrics? Or including diverse representations of various genders? The “black-suited gentleman” and “high-heeled lady” has been used all too many times.

4. Fanmade Idol Reaction Videos & Fancam Reactions. 

It’s always hilarious to watch YouTuber’s reactions such as ReacttotheK and even idols’ reactions to their own music videos, but it’s hard to understand the point of watching fake idol reaction videos. The videos are easy to come across on sites like YouTube because they have such attention-grabbing titles like “BTS reacts to Hyuna”. You can’t possibly skip a video like that, can you? But once you realize it’s fake, the disappointment is real.

Source: KpopRAT88’s YouTube / BTS’ Reaction to GFRIEND and Seventeen

Also, why are people capturing idol reactions instead of watching the actual performance? All of this escapes me…

5. Random-ass Objects in Music Videos

Besides school uniforms, recent K-pop videos are following a minimalist trend. Most feature an item or symbol loosely related to the theme with a colorful background like in Seventeen’s “Change Up”. In the music video, cars (totally unrelated) and the Japanese word “ageru” (which does not directly translate to “change up”) are one of the many objects used. Some other music videos like Chung Ha’s “Why Don’t You Know” and Samuel’s “Candy” try and take “creative” liberties with random animals and machinery, both which do not tie into the songs’ lyrics whatsoever. Extra.

Source: 1theK’s YouTube / Samuel’s “Candy”

What are some things you think K-pop should lose for 2018?

By Janet Kang

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