What do Korean Students think of North American Music Videos?
This week’s TL;DR comes from Maryland USA from mcbrayer77. He/she asks,
What do korean teens think of american music videos? really innocent (by u.s. standards) korean mv’s get banned all the time, what do they think of mv that are really promiscuous like one done by Beyoncé, lady gaga, and the pcd?
This was a great one for us to answer because both of us actually taught a lesson to our Korean students (back when we were teachers) about music videos and how to dissect them. It was an awesome lesson which we found tremendous success in. If you’re teaching in Korea, give it a shot. You can download it in our Winter Package here. Just make sure you prep your students with vocabulary and sentence structures because it can be a more challenging lesson. For Martina, she actually took three to four classes to fully teach this lesson. Otherwise the material can go over their heads and they will just watch the MV without interacting and speaking English afterwards.
Anyhow, in the lesson, we showed them some North American indie music videos,, mainstream pop music videos, and Kpop Music Videos. We included videos such as Justice – D.A.N.C.E, Hot Chip – Boys From School, Ok Go – End Love, Ok Go – Here It Goes Again
Along with these videos we would show the students some trendy Kpop Music Videos, and then we would compare and contrast Korean vs North American videos. It made for a great English discussion (and, apparently, the beginning of Kpop Music Mondays!) Anyhow, the point here is not to recap our lesson, but to explain that we’ve actually had experience hearing Korean teens’ opinions on North American style music videos. And, yes, we know Justice and Hot Chip don’t count for North American. Our bad!
If it was too artsy, it was deemed as “boring”, although, as pointed out in our TL;DR video, Simon also would have been bored of artsy videos in High School, and we’re guessing that some of you would be as well. It seems difficult to decide if it’s a cultural difference or just an age thing. I’m sure it doesn’t help that they can’t fully understand the lyrics, which often make an artsy fartsy video complete. Lastly, if it was a fun and interesting video, such as Ok Go, it got the classes attention, but only 1/4 of the class would love it. As for mainstream pop stuff. Most of the students already knew the singers we were showing, but they were always shocked by the amount of skin being shown (I’m looking at you Lady Gaga) or the passionate kissing that occurred.
Now, anyone who is an avid Korean/Japanese drama watcher can attest to the fact that KISSING IN THESE DRAMAS SUCCCCKSSSSSS and not in the good sucky way (<–does that sound wrong?), in the “dead-fish-two-faces-colliding-zero-passion-I’m-surprised-your-lips-aren’t-awkwardly-sticking-together-from-lack-moisture-as-the-camera-zoomz-in-awkwardly” kind of way. We really think that’s why these passionate MV kisses are so shocking. Take Justin Timberlake’s “Cry Me A River”. This is a pretty not-sexy video, but right near the end, he makes out with a girl, nibbles her lip, and on top of all of that…she is shirtless! That’s an OMG BRAIN EXPLODE right there.
But then again, we mentioned how different Europe is from North America. We think Korean’s are innocent minded and then us ol’innocent Canadians wonder over to Europe and see people at the beach who are shirtless or totally nude. OMG DOUBLE BRAIN EXPLODE!!! So I guess it really just depends on what you are exposed to as you are growing up.
This ramble all leads to a point. What’s acceptable in one place may not be acceptable in another, and a country’s media isn’t some magical art form that is created out of a vacuum. The context is highly relevant in the creation of that media and art. And so, what is popular in one country won’t necessarily be popular in another. And this is no reflection on the quality of the media or art, rather, it reflects a country’s culture. All this talk about Kpop taking over the world is great and all, because we’re glad that Kpop is getting more coverage, but we don’t think that Kpop, or any other music for that matter, can dominate a planet. North American pop isn’t popular here, not because it sucks, but because it doesn’t fit. Jpop isn’t popular in England because it doesn’t fit, and the same can be said for Chinese pop in Finland (we’re guessing that last one). Sure, there are niche audiences in different regions that will like another country’s music, but we doubt it can totally take over the mainstream airwaves.
Or could it?