I used to have a thing for boy bands. Well, one in particular (Lance Bass will always make my heart sing, gay or not!) But here in the US, they have become a thing of the past as is per our lousy next bigger, better, louder, faster, one-hit-wonder custom. Lucky for me, the US isn't the only country putting out pop music.
I've spent time actually living in other countries. It's a sad fact to state that the US is completely wrapped up in their own music. When I lived in Germany, I heard French pop on the charts. I listened to German pop when I lived in Poland. Trust me, there are borders in Europe, but they are not quite as thickly defined as our own.
So where is the next generation of real pop coming from? Asia.
I've followed the Korean boy band machine that is Super Junior. They began as a 13 member all-boy super group. Due to their popularity (and smart business moves of their label) they have also been divided into smaller sub groups, simultaneously targeting different music industries and audiences. Super Junior KRY target a more mature audience using R&B ballads, Super Junior T use Trot music for their fanbase, and Super Junior Happy is all about the bubble gum pop. (You want to see real bubblegum pop? Check out their video for Happiness. It's so sweet it'll make you sick.) Super Junior M focuses on the Chinese market (they're actually the first international music group in the Chinese music industry to have members of both Chinese and Korean descent.)
What I love most about Super Junior is their simple style. They dance. They sing. Nothing is ever over the top. Story lines in their videos are never complicated or over-sexualized. Their music is fun and catchy. They are truly what pop is meant to be.
Here is the latest video from Super Junior M, Super Girl