Calling all K-Pop fans in Pakistan!
K-Pop, the more common form of Korean pop music has had a cult following the world over. Similarly, it has a very devoted fanbase in Pakistan as well. But as of late, the music seems to be getting more mainstream with the country’s most popular radio stations adding K-Pop songs to the mix and even talking at length about different K-Pop bands, much to some of the fans ire who would prefer not to make K-Pop mainstream in the country.
“I heard two Blackpink songs on the radio yesterday, of course, everyone will want to listen to them now”, complained an annoyed Pakistani K-Pop fan who wanted to keep the music close to herself
Two of the most popular K-Pop acts are a seven-member boy-band called BTS and a four-member girl band called Blackpink. These two have the biggest following worldwide and are gaining recognition even in the Western world with just this month Blackpink performing at Coachella, an American music festival and BTS performing on SNL.
I talked to several big fans of K-Pop music and tried to find out what draws them to the music and these artists considering the language barrier.
As the bands gain popularity worldwide, their fan-base in Pakistan is growing significantly as well. So I talked to a few fans to find out what makes them love these bands. And honestly, I was surprised at what I found out.
Fans of K-Pop are drawn to these groups because they offer a comforting, safe space. They’re inclusive of everyone who was excluded from the mainstream and that’s what young fans are drawn to
“I was going through an incredibly tough time when my friends and cousins basically peer pressured me (of sorts) to listen to them, and they just hit in all the right spots. They’re kind of a form of self-care at this point”, said one fan.
Another fan told me something similar, “I’ve had issues with anxiety and depression for a good while now and had gone through a rather break up of a sort…and my friend was like…oh hey, look at a video of these nut heads. It’s funny and will make you laugh”, after that she started listening to their music and fell in love with that too.
It’s amazing to see how despite the language barrier, as BTS and Black Pink’s lyrics are mostly Korean, how fans even in Pakistan connect to their music.
While the beat is catchy and even if you don’t look at the translation, you can still enjoy the music, I have found that fans tend to know what each song is about and actually focus on the lyrics as much as the music.
“And their lyrics: the messages are what the world needs to hear, you know? They talk about mental health and social issues. They talk about self-love and working towards your dream without overworking yourself. Without feeling like failures”, pretty amazing if you think about it.
A band singing in Korean feels relatable to those who don’t even understand the language; that is truly the power of music. But other than that, a lot of fans love the personalities of the band members themselves. Every BTS fan has one member who’s their favorite. But fans can’t help but love their overall chemistry and love their interviews as much as they love their music. “And all 7 of them come from different backgrounds, provinces, social classes even. They all have such different stories that you could never see them fitting together so wonderfully”, a fan told me.
While another confessed “But like…I really got into watching the bangtan bombs (which are basically short videos of them just doing their own thing) and they were funny… it distracted me from other issues I was going through”.
Even with only one BTS member being fluent in English, the band has somehow managed to touch a lot of lives and connect with fans despite the language barrier. BTS especially has dominated conversations regarding K-Pop and to my knowledge has the strongest fan-base in all K-Pop acts in Pakistan. And I think it’s going to gain even more popularity as time goes on and as K-Pop acts become a regular fixture in international music charts as well. And honestly, I am not complaining because the music is pretty damn good.
What do you think of K-Pop culture in Pakistan? Let us know in the comments below.
Cover Image Source: harpersbazaararabia.com / wikipedia.org