K-Pop: Korea’s Musical Explosion
By Stuart A. Kallen
Twenty-First Century Books, 2014. 64 pgs. Nonfiction.
Korean pop music, or K-pop, didn’t start really taking off in the U.S. until Psy’s hit song Gangnam Style, but K-pop has been around for decades. This book tracks it from its start in the 1950s when US soldiers brought American pop music into Korea, all the way to its modern incarnation.
I’ve been swept up by Hallyu (the Korean wave), so I was really looking forward to checking this book out. It didn’t disappoint. It’s definitely a beginner’s guide and touches on some of the biggest K-pop groups from the past (which was new to me), as well as current big names like Super Junior, Girls Generation, Big Bang, 2NE1, Rain, BoA, and of course Psy. One of the features I particularly liked was that as it discussed the different idols, it also gave a short suggested playlist to help the reader become familiar with the artist’s music.
For anyone just starting to get into K-pop, I would highly recommend this book. For those already quite familiar with the genre, you probably won’t find too much new information.