The K-Pop Evolution: 2007 vs. 2017

Time sure flies by so quickly. Cliché as it may sound but it really does. When you say 10 years ago, many (especially the 20-somethings) would think of the 1990s. But no, 10 years ago is 2007. That’s right: 2007 is already a decade ago! And a decade is a pretty long time to for a lot of changes to happen—in technology, fashion, norms, and yes, even K-Pop, among other things. Here are the seven things that shows how our beloved music genre has evolved over the last 10 years.

1. First of all, this is how K-Pop idols looked like in 2007

Shinhwa

TVXQ

Super Junior

Brown Eyed Girls

Look at the hairstyles. Look at all 13 members of Super Junior during their Don’t Don era. And all five members of TVXQ for their Japanese single Step by Step. Thankfully, both Brown Eyed Girls and Shinhwa made it through 10 years later with complete members and still look like they only aged three or five years. By 2007, legendary K-Pop groups had already disbanded or were no longer active like Sechskies (1998-2000), H.O.T. (1996-2001), S.E.S. (1997-2002), Fin.K.L. (1998; indefinite hiatus as a group since 2006), and Baby VOX (1997-2006).

2. The songs that amassed trophies from music shows and year-end awards

Music show wins reflect the popularity of the songs. Please note that MBC Show Champion was non-existing at the time (it did not air until 2012).

Epik High – Fan

Epik High’s single “Fan” from their 2007 album “Remapping the Human Soul” won Bonsang in Golden Disk Awards, Album of the Year in Mnet Asian Music Awards (MAMA), achieved Triple Crown at M Countdown, won twice in Inkigayo, and brought the group the Best Hip Hop Performance award from MAMA.

BIGBANG – Lies

It was only BIGBANG’s 2nd year in the industry when they released “Always” in 2007, which happens to be the very first in the industry marketed as a “mini album.” “Lies,” composed by G-Dragon, was the group’s break-out hit, topped the charts, won in Music Bank, and later hailed as the Song of the Decade by M Countdown.

Wonder Girls – Tell Me

From “The Wonder Years” album, “Tell Me” won Wonder Girls trophies from Music Bank and Triple Crown from Inkigayo. It was also named as the Best Dance and Electronic Song in Korean Music Awards.

It was surprising how many younger fans were not able to recognize “Rokkugo” when M&D performed the song during last year’s MBC Show Champion in Manila. “Rokkugo” by Super Junior-T was another chart-topping hit from 2007. For older fans, the performance was surely nostalgic and brought back a lot of feels!

3. These groups debuted 10 years ago

Wonder Girls – Irony

Many were heart-broken when the group announced their disbandment early this year, parting with “Thank You For Being So Wonderful” as last gift to ther loyal Wonderfuls.

KARA – Break It

While the group did not officially disband, the members are currently inactive as a group and focus on individual activities under different labels.

FT Island – Love Sick

Thankfully, the band is going strong until now.

Girls’ Generation – Into The New World

The girl group is said to release a new album in time for their 10th anniversary.

4. These idols, who were 20 years old in 2007, turn 30 this year (31 in Korea)

  1. Brown Eyed Girls’ Gain – born September 20, 1987, she is the group’s maknae.
  2. Super Junior’s Ryeowook, Siwon, and Kibum – Ryeowook, born June 21, 1987, is known as the band’s eternal maknae. Siwon was born on April 7, 1986 but was not officially registered until February 10, 1987. Hence, he “officially” turns 30 this year, too. Former member Kibum, born on August 21, 1987, would also turn 30 this year.
  3. BIGBANG’s TOP – born November 4, 1987, he is the group’s oldest member.
  4. f(x)’s Victoria – f(x)’s Chinese leader, born in February 2, 1987, doesn’t look at all like she’s already 30 years old.

5. And in 2007, the oppas/hyungs and unnies/noonas of today were little kids then

There are a lot more 97-liners in the industry and it would make a long list to complete it but here are some of the notable 97-liners of the new K-Pop generation:

  1. GOT7’s Bambam and Yugyeom – they were only 10 years old then (Yugyeom 11 years old in Korea), born in May 2 and November 17, 1997 respectively.
  2. BTS’s Jungkook – the group’s golden maknae was born September 1, 1997.
  3. 15&’s Yerin and Jimin – the two are both 97-liners, born in June 26 and July 5 respectively.
  4. NCT’s Jaehyun and Win Win – two of the youngest members of SM’s newest group, they were born on February 14 and October 28, 1997 respectively.
  5. GFriend’s Eunha and Yuju – Eunha was born on May 30, 1997 while Yuju was born on October 4, 1997.
  6. TWICE’s Jihyo – she was born on February 1, 1997.

6. The high quality videos of 2007

Today, we can enjoy the glorious 1080p resolution of our favourite music videos and variety shows. But in 2007, you would have watched everything HD in 360p. New fans can only imagine how the ate and the kuya of the fandom were able to endure that. Many of us couldn’t even get through a video in 480p now without complaining or cursing at least twice.

7. And how K-Pop fans basically fangirled and fanboyed 10 years ago

With the advent of technology in 2017, fans can download songs from every source there are: iTunes, Melon, Naver, and several various online downloaders. Back then, either you buy the actual album or download songs for your flip phone from file sharing software called LimeWire, which is kinda like BitTorrent except they bring more virus than files. While we spazz day in and out of Twitter, Facebook, KakaoTalk, fangirls and boys of yesteryears chat in forums! That’s where all the updates come from. And if before, fans could only watch variety shows from cable or YouTube (accessible through desktop computers), we can now enjoy the benefits of YouTube, VLive, and other video-streaming apps on our smartphones.

Sure, many things have changed in a span of 10 years but one thing remains true to this day: K-Pop is still awesome! What do guys think? Let us know in the comments section!

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