Why does this song sound like k-pop?
June 19, 2013 5:43 AM   Subscribe

This song (The Way by Ariana Grande ft. Mac Miller) sounds like a kpop song to me. But it's not. Why do I think it is?

Something about it just screams k-pop to me, and I have to keep double-checking that yes, the lyrics are actually in English. I think it sounds a whole lot like a particular singer/group that I've heard before, and possibly a specific song, but I'm not sure which one. It's driving me crazy that it sounds so familiar. Can anyone point me in the direction of a k-pop group or some songs with a sound like this? Or even just verify that I'm not completely off the deep end here.
posted by specialagentwebb to Media & Arts (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
To me it sounds really familiar because Thalia and Fat Joe did essentially the same song using the same sample from "A Little Bit of Love". And Ariana's sound has been compared to early Mariah.
posted by acidic at 6:14 AM on June 19, 2013

(or "Still Not A Player")
posted by acidic at 6:20 AM on June 19, 2013

Best answer: Long time metafilter lurker that finally signed up just now to say: I totally agree and every time I hear the song I think "k-pop"! I hadn't looked the song up yet so thanks for the link, now I can analyze it more :)

I have been a metalhead for the last decade and started listening to kpop sometime last year which has made me listen to music differently than I had before. On the way home from work I have been listening to pop radio which is where I ran into this song. A few things that I have considered (forgive me for not having the language to properly discuss this topic).

The latin-inspired music is "classy", "cleanly" produced, and upbeat, all of which remind me of k-pop (but not all, of course, like F(x) etc.)

The vocals are strong but not overpowering. After seeing the video maybe this has to do with Ariana being somewhat petite, like many k-pop singers.

The lyrics reference sex/love but are clean, the same way a lot of k-pop songs are. They come across as somewhat innocent or naive "I love the way you make me feel", "I love it...". "I got a bad boy" sounds like a line straight out of a k-pop song because it's a little silly for an American to say so directly, IMO. Finally the group vocals "HEY" is the clincher to me and reminds me of big bang. I like gang vocals in all genres of music and I have never heard these before in my limited exposure to pop but k-pop uses them all the time.
posted by friendofstone at 6:26 AM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I'm not a linguist (and I hope someone who is can pop in to confirm or deny this) but they way she fails to pronounce her hard consonants and seems to start her vowel-starting words with an h sound (hon instead of on, "I looof the way hou mae me fee, I lof eh, I lof eh") sounds very similar to me to the way, for example, 2NE1 sounds in English (listen to this song from about the 30 second mark).
posted by AmandaA at 6:27 AM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: To me it sounds like j-pop rather than k-pop - e.g. melody or Boa's Japanese releases.
posted by needled at 9:25 AM on June 19, 2013

Response by poster: Awesome answers. At least I know I'm not crazy now! It's nice to be able to pick out the individual pieces that sound k-pop-ish, especially the way she pronounces consonants. It seems like what I'm hearing is some weird combination of BoA, f(x), and Younha.
posted by specialagentwebb at 12:14 PM on June 19, 2013

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