In recent years, certain styles of music have been making a resurgence in the K-Pop industry. Retro styles that have been popular in other countries in the 20th century have been popping up again in K-Pop, and a lot of songs that fit these genres have been highly successful! Here are 10 retro styles that K-Pop has adapted.
1. Disco/Funk – popular in the 1970s
Examples: “Dynamite” by VIXX, “Lucky One” by EXO
This genre of music is a type of “soul” music defined by its four-on-the-floor beats, electric instruments and synthesizers, string sections, and syncopated basslines.
2. Hip Hop – popular in the 1990s
Examples: “Uh-Oh” by G(I)-DLE, “Daydream” by J-Hope
Hip hop is generally known for its stylized rhythmic sound that is usually accompanied by rapping, and often includes sampling beats or bass lines.
3. Synthpop – popular in the late 1970s-1980s
Examples: “Platonic Love” by SNUPER, “I Feel You” by Wonder Girls
This music style is dominated by synthesizers as the main instrument used in these types of songs.
4. Trot – first popular in Korea in the 1950s
Examples: “Love Tonight” by Hong Jinyoung, “OPPANYONG” by JINA U
This type of music is defined by its use of repetitive rhythm and vocal inflections.
5. New Jack Swing – popular in the mid 1980s
Examples: “Call Me Baby” by EXO, “WOW” by BTOB
This style of music includes elements of funk, jazz, rhythm, rap, and blues, and is usually identified by its use of R&B style vocals sung over hip hop-style swing beats.
6. City Pop – popular in Japan in the 1980s
Examples: “LOVE GAME” by Iris, “Where Are You” by CLC
This style of music in Japan was inspired by Western-influenced “new music” in the 70s and 80s, and includes a wide variety of “urban”-type styles such as jazz, funk, boogie, and R&B.
7. R&B – became popular in the 1950s-1970s
Examples: “Automatic” by Red Velvet, “Galaxy” by Ladies Code
R&B, or “rhythm and blues”, includes emotionally charged lyrics while retaining a cool, relaxed sound, accompanied by mellow and lilting rhythms.
8. Deep House – gained popularity in the 1980s
Examples: “View” by SHINee, “4 Walls” by f(x)
This genre of music is identified by its muted basslines, spacious use of percussion instruments, soft keyboard sounds, and soulful vocals.
9. Jazz – popular in the 1920s
Examples: “Be Natural” by Red Velvet, “Piano Man” by MAMAMOO
Jazz music is typically peppy and energetic, and includes swing and blue notes, polyrhythms, call and response vocals, and improvisation.
10. Swing – popular in the 1930s-1940s
Examples: “WOOWA” by DIA, “I’m So Hot” by MOMOLAND
Swing music is a form of jazz music that is characterized by an off-beat pulse as well as a strong groove or drive.