The world of k-pop is intimidating, that's no secret. Stans gatekeeping, lyrics in Korean, groups with multiple members, telling those members apart, and more.
As much as it is intimidating, it's also intriguing. Fancams everywhere, photocard-collecting, songs which are purely gems... the list goes on.
I'm somebody who has become recently interested in K-pop, and I've learned a few tips on how to explore the genre as a newbie.
Figure out if you prefer girl or boy groups
Girl groups versus boy groups, boy groups versus girl groups. This tip is pretty simple. Some people like both, some people like just one kind. I'm a fan of girl groups, but the person who introduced me to the genre prefers boy groups.
Brooklyn Clemets, who describes herself as a "huge stan" prefers boy groups.
"Since I'm a dancer, their dances are more complex to learn, and their music is very hype and entertaining," she said.
Start with popular groups and their popular songs
Obviously, popular things are popular for a reason.
That's why it's a good idea to start your K-pop journey with well-known groups and well-known songs.
BLACKPINK, K-pop's (and arguably the world's) most popular girl group is who I started with. I also tried out BTS (the most popular boy group), but I wasn't really a fan, and that's okay. You don't have to like famous groups, it's just a good idea to check them out.
Here is a list of well-known artists:
-BTS (boy group)
-BLACKPINK (girl group)
-TWICE (girl group)
-ITZY (girl group)
-RED VELVET (girl group)
-EXO (boy group)
-TOMORROW X TOGETHER (TXT) (boy group)
Check out Kprofiles.com
Kprofiles.com is about to be your best bud.
It has forums to talk to fellow K-Pop fans with, and it also has info dumps on groups and their members, from an idol's birthday, to their Myers-Briggs type, to their motto and more. This is where many fans go to learn about idols.
The forums also deserve to be talked about. There are threads with hundreds of comments, discussing things from rookie groups to which group is the best.
Look under a music video's suggested section
If you're watching a music video, look at the recommended videos below it, because a lot of them will be more K-pop music videos. This leads to finding a vast variety of new music, and also other songs from the group you're watching at that moment.
Learn about members of a group one at a time as to not overwhelm yourself
One important part of being a fan is to know about the group you are a fan of. It's harder to be a fan of a large group, though, because there are more members to learn about and more voices you have to recognize.
The solution? Researching fun facts and iconic moments from one member at a time. Doing things this way is less overwhelming, especially when the group you like has 10 or more members (ahem, ahem, NCT with its 23 members).
Don't be pressured to know the Korean lyrics
Yes, it is fun to sing along to your favorite songs, but when it comes to songs with lyrics in a foreign language, it can be hard (especially a language you don't hear spoken around you).
A fan, Jacob Woodard, said, "I think it is definitely something that is not easy."
Especially as a beginner, it's even harder to learn the lyrics, so don't let yourself be pressured.
Watch color-coded lyric videos
There's something interesting about K-pop lyric videos: they're color-coded.
This means when a certain member sings, their picture lights up a color specific to them. This is especially helpful when members don't have majorly different voices.
With these videos, you can learn members' individual voices, and also learn the lyrics.
When you are ready to learn the Korean lyrics, these lyric videos are more helpful than you think. This is because they don't only have the Hangul (Korean characters), but also Romaji, which is where Korean is spelled out with the English alphabet. Additionally, there is usually a translation from Korean to well-known languages like English, which is useful, especially if you like to decipher meanings of songs.
Find popular, long K-pop playlists on music streaming services
Do a quick search of "K-pop" into Spotify, Apple Music, or any other streaming service, and you'll find an endless amount of playlists for you to listen to (which can be over 25 hours long). This is a great way to find new music in the genre.
Some playlists are even categorized by boy group or girl group (sometimes they are called "bg"or "gg", so search with those terms as well).
Lastly, have fun with it. Liking a music genre shouldn't be stressful, including K-pop.
Sit back and enjoy the music.