[Philippines] Crazy for K-Pop

Crazy for K-Pop
By Niño Mark Sablan
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines – The world has gone crazy over Korean pop. Very popular right now are boy bands and girl groups with members who harmonize beautifully and showcase well-choreographed dance steps. Good-looking, stylish, entertaining and hotter than kimchi, these are some of Korea’s most in-demand groups.

Wonder Girls

Breaking into the music scene in early 2007, the group—composed of Sohee, Mimi, Sun, Yenny and Hyuna—was introduced in an MTV show and became popular thanks to massive hits such as “Tell Me,” “So Hot” and “Nobody.”

Hyuna eventually had to be pulled out by her parents ostensibly for health reasons (she is now with another girl group called 4minute), but she was replaced by Yubin, who has a solo rap part in the new version of “Tell Me.”

The video for the song features a fun and easy-to-imitate choreography, which has resulted in a dance craze with fans from all over the world posting videos of themselves imitating the same moves.

The girls have performed in places like Bangkok and China and have invaded the US as well with an English version of “Nobody” and a front-act appearance for the Jonas Brothers. An English album is said to be in the works.

Big Bang

This all-male musical group consists of five talented singers/dancers—G-Dragon, Tae Yang, T.O.P., Daesung and Seung Ri — who, even before coming together as a group, were successful solo artists. G-Dragon and Tae Yang started their careers when they were 12 years old, while T.O.P. was an underground rapper.

Apart from releasing award-winning albums and mini-albums of hip-hop songs, the Big Bang boys are also famous for their freestyle and street dancing. They are trendsetters, too, with their slanted caps, cornrows, triangular scarves, shutter shades and faux-hawks.

Famous for hits like “Haru Haru,” “La-la-la,” and “Number 1,” the boys command legions of fans in places like Japan, where they have released Japanese versions of their songs.

2NE1

Tagged as the female version of Big Bang, 2NE1 counts CL, Bom, Minzy and Dara (more popularly known as Sandara Park to Pinoys) as its members. While they can all sing and dance (their choreography is very impressive), each girl is unique when it comes to voice quality, image and fashion style. Still, they complement one another and look fab as a group.

Their first single, “Lollipop,” was an advertisement song with Big Bang that was used to promote a phone. Their actual debut single as a group, however, is the very energetic and catchy song “Fire.” The song has two music videos, one of which was featured on Perez Hilton’s blog.

It has also been reported that Interscope Records is interested in an American album for the girls. Not bad for a group that appeared on the scene only a couple of months ago.

2NE1 is scheduled to release a mini-album next week, one that contains the reggae-tinged pop/R&B song called “I Don’t Care.” We can’t wait to hear if the rest of their stuff is as good as “Fire.”

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