In between all those fun and funky concepts and stories about love are some K-Pop songs that show idols aren’t always so happy with the industry. These songs can be quick to miss if you aren’t paying too close attention. So without further ado, here are some songs you may not have realized are totally criticising the entertainment industry.
1. EXID — “Ah Yeah”
If you couldn’t tell from the censored portions of the music video, the MV for “Ah Yeah” is all about the double standards for male and female groups. Meanwhile, the lyrics talk about fighting off unwanted attention from men and having to have a sexy stage presence while still maintaining the cute and innocent vibe. In other words, “Ah Yeah” is pointing out some of the major struggles girl groups have to deal with.
2. Heize — “Mianhae”
Heize‘s “Mianhae” directly talks about how there are some people who think that idols always need to maintain a perfect image. In the song, Heize pokes fun at the industry expectations when she apologizes for her personality and how she feels. The MV also fits in with the theme as Heize is an actual robot.
3. Tablo — “Dear TV”
Since this song is completely in English you probably noticed just how amazing the lyrics are! When he says things like “weaponized greed” and “you sell records, not me” you know exactly how he’s feeling!
4. 2NE1 — “Ugly”
A not so thinly veiled look at the beauty standards of K-Pop, 2NE1‘s “Ugly” critically addresses the obsession with looks in the industry and takes a look at people’s feelings of inadequacy.
5. Jonghyun — “#Hashtag (Waffle)”
The snappy tune of Jonghyun‘s song actually has a pretty awesome message in it. Although it isn’t really a direct critique of the industry, it talks about a direct byproduct of fame. The song critiques the habits of netizens gossiping and finding faults with idols just for fun.
6. Yongguk (B.A.P) — “AM 4:44”
This song was released during B.A.P‘s lawsuit with TS Entertainment for unfair profit distribution and treatment back in 2015. In the song, Yongguk delivers a personal message about his feelings and what led the group to file the suit. He also talks about his feelings of guilt for not protecting his members and the hopelessness of the situation while speaking out about how the greed of the industry can take a toll on the idols.
7. BTS — “Pied Piper”
BTS have a lot of songs that could be interpreted as a criticism of the industry but “Pied Piper” takes a look something that not many groups look at. In a light and somewhat teasing tone, it talks all about the obsessive fan culture that can happen within the industry.
8. IU — “23”
The fun and funky beat and the lyrics about growing up may have had you fooled but some people think there’s a hidden message in IU‘s song. That hidden message is that people want you to pretend or act one way as an idol even if you are growing out of that image.
9. Orange Caramel — “Catallena”
From the music video and lyrics of the song, you can tell that the girls are criticising the strict beauty standards of the industry. The lyrics do talk about how envious they are of “catallena” and the video shows them comparing themselves to the value of “catallena.”
10. Sunny Hill — “Midnight Circus”
With thought-provoking lyrics like “This is like a prison without bars. This is an entertaining party that fits everyone” you know that the girls aren’t really talking about a midnight circus.
11. Super Junior ft. f(x) — “Oops”
This gem of a song basically pokes fun at all of the things said about the groups and the image that each of them supposedly has. It’s more of a tongue-in-cheek kind of song that takes hurtful messages that the members of Super Junior have heard about themselves and turns them around. Throughout it all, f(x) takes on the role of the public and calls them out for the lies.