Thursday, July 15, 2010

50 Most Influential K-Pop Artists: Just Missed the Cut (Part 2)

[Series Index]

It's been a long interruption due to the Korean's wedding and such, but the 50 Most Influential K-Pop Artists series is back. This is Part 2 of the roundup of K-Pop artists who were considered, organized by their debut year. Part 2 consists of the artists who debuted after 1990. After getting these names out of the way, the series will move along with a full head of steam.

All of these singers are all pretty famous, and their songs are worth listening to if you want to get the full context of the prevalent music within the genre and the era. The Korean included Korean names of the singers/bands so that readers may copy/paste the names in Youtube search window.



Yoon Jong-Shin (윤종신), 1991

In 15 words or less:  Creator of ballad songs that are not cheap and banal.
Maybe he should have been ranked because…  Nah, he shouldn’t have been ranked.
He was not ranked because…  He shouldn’t have been. His influence was just not that great.

Um Jeong-Hwa (엄정화), 1993

In 15 words or less:  A huge multi-talent who can sing, dance, act AND age gracefully.
Maybe she should have been ranked because…  She has turned an actress who can single-handedly carry a movie – a rarity in Korea.
She was not ranked because…  This chart is about music.


배반의 장미 ("Rose of Betrayal") by Um Jeong-Hwa

Cool, 1994

In 15 words or less:  Fairly popular dance group in the mid-1990s.
Maybe they should have been ranked because…  Their song Woman of the Beach (해변의 여인) is still the unofficial anthem of summer in Korea.
They were not ranked because…  One hit wonders don’t well on this chart.


해변의 여인 ("Woman on the Beach") by Cool

Cho Gwan-Woo (조관우), 1994

In 15 words or less:  One of the rarest voices in Korea, climbing five octaves.
Maybe he should have been ranked because…  His second album created a boom of remake albums.
He was not ranked because…  What have you done for me lately? He somehow could not parlay his massive success of his second album into better and better music.


꽃밭에서 ("At the Flowerpatch") by Cho Gwan-Woo

DJ Doc, 1994

In 15 words or less:  Arguably the hardest partiers in K-pop history, with the music to match.
Maybe they should have been ranked because…  Sex. Drugs. Scandals. Name it, DJ Doc did it – and they wrote some pissed-off songs in response. It may have been the first instance in K-pop history where an artist/band gave the public the middle finger.
They were not ranked because…  Musically they were not particularly special except for one album, and they were not the last one to be mired in scandals and gave the middle finger.

Kim Jin-Pyo (김진표), 1995

In 15 words or less:  Pioneering Korean rapper.
Maybe he should have been ranked because...  He elevated the very nascent Korean rap to another level of maturity.
He was not ranked because...  Close call, but did not last long enough to gain cultural significance like other rappers did. Legacy is also exaggerated because he was associated with Lee Jeok (이적), who was the mastermind of their band, Panic.


Fly by Kim Jin-Pyo

Kim Gyeong-Ho (김경호), 1995

In 15 words or less:  The man who kept Korean rock alive in the mid- to late 1990s.
Maybe he should have been ranked because...  He really was the only person who kept rock relevant to Korean pop culture for about five or six years.
He was not ranked because...  He sustained the genre, but did not exactly advance it.

Clon, 1996

In 15 words or less:  The group that could really dance and just have fun.
Maybe they should have been ranked because...  A couple of their songs are iconic. (One of them below.) Also, Gang Won-Rae's tragic motorcycle accident, which rendered him paraplegic, provided a much-needed boost for disabled people's rights in Korea.
They were not ranked because...  At the end of the day, not special musically. (And they also misspelled what was meant to be "Clone" -- not that it matters.)



꿍따리샤바라 ("Koongdarishabara") by Clon


Juju Club, 1996
In 15 words or less:  One of the pioneers of the weird.
Maybe they should have been ranked because...  Also has an iconic song that still plays today.
They were not ranked because...  Ended up being a one-album wonder, and were not as weird as they could have been either.


열여섯스물 ("Sixteen/Twenty") by Juju Club

Jinusean, 1997

In 15 words or less:  Another rap group that could really have fun.
Maybe they should have been ranked because...  They were one of the pioneers of the Korean-Americans-in-Korean-entertainment trend.
They were not ranked because...  Close call, but hard to rank too many rappers when rap/hiphop as a stand-alone genre is not that huge in Korea.

Lee Gi-Chan (이기찬), 1997

In 15 words or less:  Significant ballad singer.
Maybe he should have been ranked because...  He owned the ballad scene for about two years (2001-02).
He was not ranked because... That's not enough to be ranked, considering he did not innovate at all.



춤추는 나무 ("Dancing Tree") by Lee Gi-Chan

Lee Jeong-Hyeon (이정현), 1999

In 15 words or less:  The woman who made techno mainstream in Korea.
Maybe she should have been ranked because...  Anyone who can carry a genre by herself deserves a consideration.
She was not ranked because...  At the end of the day, not musically special, and not much commitment to the genre. Also, much of her fame was based on having the right lyrics ("change") that resonated with the popular politics at the time.

CB Mass, 2000

In 15 words or less:  At one point, might have been the top 2 rap group in Korea.
Maybe they should have been ranked because...  May have been the best pissed-off rappers in Korea.
They were not ranked because...  Given the relatively small influence of rap compared to the overall k-pop landscape, they could not jump ahead of the better rappers.


The Movement II by CB Mass

No Brain, 2000

In 15 words or less:  Significant punk rockers, particularly in the live scene.
Maybe they should have been ranked because...  Probably had the most unique sound in Korean punk rock to go with fantastic pissed-off lyrics.
They were not ranked because...  Similarly to CB Mass with rap, there are only so many punk rockers who can crack the top 50 given the relative influence of the entire genre.

Cherry Filter, 2000

In 15 words or less:  One of the best female-lead rock bands in Korea.
Maybe they should have been ranked because...  At least one of their songs made it HUGE.
They were not ranked because...  Ten years after their debut, their legacy is still not clear, hanging above one-hit wonder but below perennial hit makers.


낭만고양이 ("Romance Cat") by Cherry Filter

Big Mama, 2003

In 15 words or less:  Female group that bucked the trend.
Maybe they should have been ranked because...  At least for a year or so, presented a real way in which female singers could succeed with the merits of their voice alone.
They were not ranked because...  At the end of the day, nothing changed; that's no influence.


체념 ("Letting Go") by Big Mama

Jang Yoon-Jeong (장윤정), 2004

In 15 words or less:  Woman who singlehandedly brought trot back to life.
Maybe she should have been ranked because...  In terms of the level of difficulty, getting the young people interested in trot again was an enormous feat.
She was not ranked because...  Very close call, but not enough to outrank those above her. However, that might change depending on how the current trot trend shakes out.


어머나 ("Oh My") by Jang Yoon-Jeong

Wonder Girls, 2007

In 15 words or less:
  At one point, the hottest girl group in Korea.
Maybe they should have been ranked because...  See above.
They were not ranked because...  They sabotaged their own influence through an ill-advised U.S. venture.


Nobody by Wonder Girls

Got a question or a comment for the Korean? Email away at askakorean@gmail.com.

15 comments:

  1. lol... it figures that I'd never heard of any of the "real" influential ones... just a bunch of the almosts. :-p

    ReplyDelete
  2. If Kim Jin Pyo is rejected, does that mean that Panic (mmm... Panic...) also didn't make the cut? Or are solo artists that came from groups considered separate entities for the purposes of your 50 most influential?

    And... as much as I love the music of Cherry Filter, I definitely agree that their actual influence is limited, except for possibly encouraging a bunch of young Korean women to front rock bands--but then you have Jaurim to cover that as well and they can certainly be considered more influential than Cherry Filter.

    I'm looking forward to the big actual list. Although, since I listen to a ton of modern Korean indie music and Korean rock (including older bands) in general, I expect that much of what I listen to won't show up, because overall genre representation of rock (and certainly modern indie) is a bit weaker.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Cool not being on the all time list I can understand, but they are hardly one hit wonders. One hit wonders don't end up making 6 plus albums do they? I really felt like they were coming into their own in thier 5th and 6th albums.

    LOL

    Wondergirls going to U.S. was a huge mistake. Girls Generation owes a lot to their blunder.

    ReplyDelete
  4. RD,

    Solo artists who used to belong to a group are separate entities. But for groups where the solo artist was the heart of the group (e.g. Seo Taiji for Seo Taiji & Boys,) the solo artist takes the credit for the group's influence.

    TSS,

    Probably right that Cool is a little bit stronger than "one hit wonder," but their influence was nonetheless confined to that one song, more or less.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I kept thinking "No! How could you cut them?! They're awesome!", then immediately remembered that the list is about influence (mainly concerning Cherry Filter, No Brain, and Big Mama).

    I would have to disagree with you on Jang Yoon Jung not making the list though. Like you said, getting the younger generation interested in trot is very impressive. Plus, I think she made some significant innovative contributions to the genre... even if she also contributed to the creation of Park-"I can irritate Dalai Lama into punching me in the nose in anger"-Hyunbin

    Cool was quite popular (still remember humming '운명' while being picked up by a 학원 bus), but hardly influential. Mostly because every single one of their songs literally follow two formats and sound almost the same to each other. They didn't evolve, and sometimes that works for a music group.

    Personally looking forward to reading your take on 이적/패닉 (if he made the list).

    ReplyDelete
  6. You did well, that you left out those "rappers". They are either bling bling, or their music just sounds dead. ( On my list I would mention Garion, Dj Wegun, Superman Ivy and maybe Dj Soulscape. I'm looking forward who did you choose. )

    ReplyDelete
  7. Where to place 김현식 and 장윤정 was the hardest part.

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  8. It seems that 이적 goes by "Juck Lee" in English.

    ReplyDelete
  9. hhmm influence?

    how come Rain Bi didn't make either list.....is it cuz he hasn't been around long? *shrug* just curious.

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  10. I'm sorry but Cool was not a one hit wonder! They had plenty of hits! Unfortunately it's been a good 10 years since I've listened to Korean music so I can't remember the song titles at this moment... but... Ooongmyung was one. And I can sing the melody of at least four more. I loved Cool. I just listened to the youtube video you linked and sang my heart out and am now feeling giddy from the memories. So thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I disagree with you leaving out the Wonder Girls. Not my taste, and are not "great", but in terms of influence, they go along with big names such as 서태지. Just like K-Pop can be divided Before-Seo and After Seo, it also can be divided Before WG and After WG

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  12. Comparing to Wonder Girls to Seo Taiji deserves an immediate ban from this blog.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Oh I meant not in terms of the quality of music, but in their "influence", as the series' title says. In terms of quality, its like comparing Kobe and freakin Sasha Vujacic. But in terms of their influence, like it or not, WG represnts an important transition in Korean music history. That transition, of course, is an abomination and annoys the hell out of me. But sadly, it's true.

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  14. I have one thing to say...I looked through everything....all of the bands you have posted so far...I hope I will see them,but I am not sure...You didn't mention anything about TVXQ or Bi (Rain). I know that's a lot to say,but I believe they are legends. (I know you didn't post it yet,I'm just worried). Coming from me (a 13 y/o non-Korean American),I believe that TVXQ are definitely legends. They have the biggest fan club on the planet,yet are going through a lawsuit and possible break up. They have some of the most powerful voices that I've ever heard from South Korea. And,they have received over 60 awards. In Bi's (Rain's) case....he's awesome and he introduces me to Kpop,making me actually stick with and like the music the first time,TVXQ making me stay with it a second time. (The first time,the wonder girls and early 2pm ruined it)So yeah. That was my comment. I know I could've done more reasearch and stuff,but I'm 13,it's the weekend,and I already have enough things to study. Okay. Thanks for listening,MrTheKorean. Annyeonghigaseyo :D!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I wonder if in a few years, No Brain and Cherry Filter will move on the list, given their comebacks (I don't think Soju Shot had been released yet when you did this list; Cherry Filter just released a new album this month.) I would certainly love to see both of them have a larger presence again.

    ReplyDelete

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