“I feel nostalgic though I’ve never experienced the era” retro wind of 1980s blowing in music industry

연합뉴스 / 2022-05-15 15:20:12
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▲ This photo, provided by YG Entertainment, shows iKON. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)


▲ This photo, provided by FNC Entertainment, shows Cherry Bullet. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonahp)



▲ This file photo shows PSY, having a press listening party for his comeback with the 9th full-length album in April. (Yonhap)



SEOUL, May 15 (Yonhap) -- While K-pop industry is in its prime, retro trends of 1980s such as synth pop have been blowing in music industry.

It is said that there is a tendency of people getting tired of COVID-19 crisis trying to call memories of the past back and listen to ‘easy-listening’ music.’

According to the music industry on the 15th, K-pop boy group iKON tried a synth wave genre in their title song “BUT YOU” in the fourth mini album ‘FLASHBACK,’ reinterpreting the pop music of the 1980s.

In a press conference of their new album release on the 3rd, member JU-NE said, “I like the feeling of the past anyway,” introducing, “When I think of the 1980s, Michael Jackson comes up to my mind first, and such ‘bling-bling’ feelings are included in our music video.”

Kim Dong-hyuk said that “We added some retro feelings to synth wave genre,” explaining, “As this is our new challenge to our music genre, we are nervous about all these new preparations such as music video, recordings, and choreography. Please look forward to iKON’s new challenge.”

As this is a comeback for the the first time in 1 year and 2 months, iKON explained that they wanted to show different aspect to the point of people evaluating them as a group who ‘also performs this genre of music as well other than hip hop’.”

The music of 1980s is a great shot which is useful not only for boy groups, but also for girl groups.

In February this year, K-pop girl group Rocket Punch targeted the heart of fans with ‘CHIQUITA,’ a mixture of 1980s disco and the euro dance, and in March, group Cherry Bullet with a retro synth pop ‘Love In Space.’

‘CHIQUITA’ has excited the listeners through vintage synthesizer sound, and ‘Love In Space’ has been evaluated that its rapid-fire rap melody is addictive enough.

An official from A&R (Artists and Repertoire) team of woolim Entertainment, the agency of Rocket Punch, pointed out that “Due to the prolonged COVID-19 crisis, there has been a desire to go back to the past from people who are getting tired of life, and we thought that this is why people are listening to retro music.”

The official explained, “The public do not seem to search and listen to idol music than before, and since idol groups usually focus on ‘visible performance,’ listeners are feeling fatigue,” adding, “This is why we decided to create a music that people can hear and enjoy relatively easily.”

An official from FNC Entertainment, the agency of Cherry Bullet, also mentioned that “’Love In Space’ is a reinterpreted song following the trend of 1980s feelings, and we tried to express the feelings of the past through synthesizer sound,” adding, “We also tried to make a chance to get closer to fans along with the flow of music industry through retro pop, one of the fashionable genres these days.”

A South Korean solo singer PSY, who marks the 22nd anniversary of his debut, reinterpreted a song of Seoul Family’s ‘Now,’ with singer Hwa Sa from group MAMAMOO, in his 9th full-length album released last month. Seoul Family’s ‘Now’ is also a remake version of a duet song ‘When the Rain Begins to Fall’ sung by Jermaine Jackson and Pia Zadora.

In the listening party to celebrate his new album last month, PSY showed a great affection to this song saying, “When I was young, I used to think that I would sing this song with female vocalist if I became a singer later,” adding, “Through this album, I finally completed my project that I’ve longed for a long time.”

What’s interesting is that except for PSY who was born in 1977, none of the members of iKON, Cherry Bullet, and Rocket Punch, have experienced the era of 1980s.

Kim Dong-hyuk from iKON explained, “I asked advice to my parents most, related to the 1980s,” saying, “When I look in through the popular genre of home and abroad which my parents’ generation used to listen to, I found out that the similarity was pop. Therefore, during the music video shooting or sing recording process, I tried to focus on the feelings of pop.”

A pop columnist Jeong Min-jae analyed, “The 1980s was a worldwide heyday of highly commercial pop music, with the appearance of MTV and the hit of Michael Jackson and Duran Duran. It is noticeable that new wave and synthesizer music during this period are fun, pretty, and have easy-to-follow melody,” explaining, “The music of 1980s was recognized as outdated in the 2000s, and it became a trend once again in the 2020s.”

Also, he further explained, “For those who haven’t experienced the 1980s at all, music such as synth pop, disco, or new wave might be fun,” saying, “These genres have a strength that it is popular than classic rock or blues.”

Jeong then pointed out, “K-pop has a strong tendency to follow the trend of foreign pop industry, and it can be said that the revival of the music of 1980s overseas through The Weend and Dua Lipa affects the current retro wind in Korea.”

(This article is translated from Korean to English by Kim Jimin.)



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