K-pop. A stroke of genius. Apparently, the Korean Invasion across Asia paralleled the British Invasion in the sixties, but has made little to no impact in the west. Which, I guess is less surprising than with David Fonseca - k-pop ain't in no friendly English, but best of all it's refreshingly guileless, without the need for excessive cynicism or irony that is apparently a prerequisite these days.
In K-pop terms, there's perhaps no-one bigger than Seo Tai-Ji. And this is great, because here's a fella not content to stick within one style, kicking off in 1991 with his band the Boys dabbling in dance and rap, moving on to heavy metal, nu metal, hardcore, you name it. I'm finding it really tricky, given my non-existent grasp of Korean to give you any tracks to download, but you can find some via myplanet, which seems to be some sort of cosmically-themed MySpace variant. Try here and here for music from his albums Seotaiji & The Boys 1, and Seotaiji 5th, respectively.
It's worth checking out, if only for an interesting perspective on how a Far Eastern nation approaches Western fads.
The other k-pop sensation worth visiting is Lee Jung Hyun. With something of the elfin pop princess about her, she started off in movies at 16 before moving on. It's very much a commercial, Western pop sound, but a pretty sophisticated and sexy one. I was expecting k-pop to be like a tacky imitation in some ways, but where musical cues are certainly Britney Spears and Madonna, the music is equally the equal of those artists. The video is for Michyeo, a song about a girl who kills herself after her boyfriend cheats on her and she breaks her legs escaping from a fire. Fairly morbid, admittedly, but it's all set to a very friendly beat.
Buy Korean music here
Buy Seo Tai-Ji/Lee Jung Hyun
Tags: South Korea; World Cup; K-pop; Seo Tai-ji ; Lee Jung Hyun
CIA Factbook: South Korea