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Hook Songs and Popular Music in Korea

서정환 1

1동아대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This article will focus on hook songs to understand K-pop, which is at the center of what we call New Korean Wave. Hook songs can be understood as unique music performed mostly by girl groups and boy groups or the so-called idols, which are mass-produced by star systems. In practice, we regard hook songs as addictive commercial music, which emphasizes their choruses. In terms of music style, hook songs have a narrative structure that emphasizes the chorus extremely. In general,hook songs are criticized for their extremity and simplicity, but it is hard to find systematic analysis of hook songs. By trying to re-interpret hooks, which are the essence of hook songs,however, we can induce a new approach to hook songs. Hooks can be defined as some parts of music we remember from the moment we hear that music. We can approach hook songs holistically in all aspects inside and outside the music including the chorus referring to the definition of hooks as stated above. Hook songs cannot be simply considered as music that emphasizes choruses, and repetition and simplicity shown in hook songs cannot be seen negatively necessarily. For simplicity by repetition implies the possibility to open a new horizon in music by bringing up other elements of music. Hook songs reflect the desire of people, which goes beyond the limitation of existing music styles. This is also tied to social phenomena in this age. Destruction of forms and narratives, which is shown in hook songs, can also be understood in the same vein. It can be difficult to find narrative meaning in recent music, but such meaninglessness can be understood as forming unique rhythms and beats, which is meaningful in itself, not as meaning nothing. It can also be understood as delivering messages through musical elements other than lyrics, or seen as a way of hiding lyrics, that is, as another type of narrative. Therefore, hook songs can be recognized as a characteristic music style, going beyond analysis of melodies and harmony, which are the perspectives o f traditional mu sic analysis. Hook songs a re music that i s represented by hooks, their core, or they can be considered as music where hooks are embedded across various elements. Even though this music style can be criticized at this moment, we cannot deny that it is affecting significantly across popular music in Korea. Thus, hook songs need to be re-evaluated as a style that represents this age.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.