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A Composer Breaks Down The Music Theory Behind Jung Kook’s “Standing Next To You”

We’ve all heard “K-pop” used as a catch-all term for boy/girl “idol” music emerging from South Korea. Colloquially, K-pop invokes the notion of an entire cultural ecosystem built around carefully manufactured star performers working in a hybrid mélange of music, dance, and fashion. As we’ve witnessed in recent years, the global audience for K-pop has exploded, with acts like BTS, Blackpink, EXO, Twice, and NewJeans attracting massive, obsessive fanbases outside of Korea, and even topping US pop charts. Is there something special about K-pop music that distinguishes it from, say, Western pop? What makes K-pop sound like K-pop?

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