I’ve been on Tumblr for about six and half years now, and in that time, I’ve seen many of the blogs I follow go through many transitions. Changes in fandom, hobbies, or even sometimes location, all affect what people post. However, no change is as immediately apparent as when someone discovers Korean girl groups. Overnight, entire blogs change. Icons, URLs, content, even the blog’s layout, is completely different to reflect their new-found love of K-pop. If I’m honest this is probably the reason I had never even googled any Korean girl groups before today, I was slightly scared that I would become one of these people; that I would seemingly forget all other interests, and my life would be consumed.
Now I know this all sounds a bit over dramatic but this is genuinely what it seems like from my perspective. However, today this will all change, as it is finally time for me to take that leap into the world of Korean girl groups.
In order to even find a starting point, I looked on one these blogs I mentioned earlier…and was immediately overwhelmed. Just looking at tags I couldn’t tell what words were people’s names, or names of groups, or maybe even just unrelated words. Eventually though I did find three groups to look into: Mamamoo, Girl’s Generation, and Red Velvet. Of the three, Girl’s generation was the only group I had previously heard of, and even then, all I knew was that they had a lot of members.
In order to find videos to watch I went to find the different group’s YouTube channels. Mamamoo have their own YouTube channel, but Girl’s Generation and Red Velvet’s music videos are posted to their music labels channel, S.M. Entertainment (a music label to which both are signed).
The first video I watched was Girl’s Generation’s most viewed music video ‘I Got A Boy’. The video has nearly 200 million views and was released four years ago.
I just want to start by saying this video is a lot. There is a lot of girls, and a lot of locations, and different clothing changes. They’re also mostly singing in Korean which I don’t understand but they do occasionally sing some lines in English. The actual style of music seemed to constantly change and transition throughout. It pretty much feels like several songs smashed into one but in the best way possible. This is only the first video I’ve watched, and I think I loved it. I forgot to mention before but I’m a pretty big fan of girl groups already, and Girl’s Generation – just going off this one video – to me seems to be almost perfect. The level of production, the dance routines, the outfits, the signing (the harmonies!). In every aspect, the girls were individual but also cohesive as a unit. The video felt flirty but not overly sexually. I honestly would love to watch this a million more times, but I have other videos to watch.
The next video I watched was Red Velvet’s ‘Dumb Dumb’ music video. This video was released a year ago and has over 80 million views.
I really liked this one as well. I can already feel myself falling into a hole of Korean girl groups. This video felt a lot more stylised that the last, it was more focused on a certain aesthetic. Once again, I couldn’t understand most of what they were actually singing, but the song reminded me a lot of Ariana Grande. This group only had five girls, compared to nine in the last video, which made it a lot easier to focus on the girls as individuals, which was also help by the fact there was roughly half the amount of costume changes. Overall, although this didn’t impress my quite as much as the Girl’s Generation video, I was still really impressed. Just the sheer production value in these videos is incredible; it clear there is a lot of money behind these groups.
The third video I watched is Mamamoo’s music video for ‘Decalcomanie’. This video was released nine months ago, and has nearly 4 million views (which is much much less than the last two).
I don’t want to be too harsh, but this video felt almost boring compared to the last two. It could have almost been a live performance, as there was only one costume/location change, and the video seemed to focus mainly dancing. This video felt to have a lot lower budget than the last two, and overall was just less flashy. Don’t get me wrong, if a girl group I liked came out with a video like this I would still be happy with it, it just feels like a slight let down compared to how much I liked the first two.
Overall, I really enjoyed this delve into Korean girl groups. Mostly I’ve just been blow away by the high production value. I can really see how people become all consumed by the groups, seemingly overnight. As to whether my own Tumblr will be receiving a sudden transformation, at this point I’d say no, but I feel like I’ve only just scratched the surface. Watching these videos made me want to watch more, but it also made me wanted to know more about this industry; how much money is in it, who are the girls in these groups, and what are the companies and structure like behind the scenes? These are all question I’m actually kind of excited to look into.