The Complete 17 Carat K-Pop Episode Guide (Part 1)
Part of my categorized list of the best of my 300-and-counting episodes of the podcast!
R&B artist ELHAE opens up about going independent, collaborating with I.M and Crush, the art forms besides music that inspire him, and what he has planned for the rest of the year!
Rolling Quartz discuss their musical influences, their new mini-album, and lots more!
WOOJAE opens up about his music, gives his rationale for NOT wanting to collaborate, shares some unexpected life advice, and much more!
JULE talks about his unique habit in the recording studio, his proudest work, reactions to his music, and much more!
Singer, songwriter, and producer H. Kenneth breaks down the making of “MY TREASURE” by TREASURE and “Ready to love” by SEVENTEEN! Plus, he gives hints about an artist’s changing sound, shares a great Ed Sheeran quote about creativity, and lots more!
K-pop reporter Jeff Benjamin discusses behind-the-scenes stories from interviewing K-pop stars, the elements of fair and beneficial K-pop media coverage, the relatively new openness K-pop stars have about their mental health, and much more!
In this conversation with Stephanie Kariuki, supervising producer at VICE, she and Hope discuss the making of the podcast Authentic: The Story of Tablo, the broader messages Tablo’s story sends, and the point of reporting on what “just happens online” in the first place.
Songwriter and producer Tushar Apte shares the stories behind songs from BTS, BLACKPINK, Lu Han, and more K-pop and C-pop stars!
Rolling Stone India’s K-pop columnist, senior writer, and video producer Riddhi Chakraborty talks about the massive K-pop fan base in India, elements of K-pop reminiscent of Bollywood films, cultural appropriation in the K-pop industry, and much more.
Singer-songwriter and founder of The Haus of Creativity Krysta Youngs talks about writing for BIGHIT artists, a song that almost went to BLACKPINK, working on “The View” by Stray Kids, experiences with songwriting camps, and more!
Maria Sherman, author of Larger Than Life, explains the often-overlooked parts of boy band history, the factors that led to One Direction’s massive popularity, how BTS is breaking boy band stereotypes, and much more!
Journalist Kat Moon talks about everything from K-drama recommendations to how K-pop journalism can describe fans and their idols in the best, most accurate way.
Songwriter Andy Love offers a behind-the-scenes look at the decisions and processes that go into making K-Pop songs, J-Pop songs, commercials, and TV show theme songs.
Max Cho talks about his management company, his experiences working with K-pop artists, the “wedding ring analogy” he uses to explain his management philosophy, parallels between working on movies and music, and more!
Ahn Ye Eun gives the inside scoop on her music and videos, from the folklore she turns to for inspiration to the ways she uses costumes to tell stories!
Nody Cika talks about songs that mean a lot to her, her time on The Voice of Korea, the pros and cons of being so hands-on in the making of her own music, and more!
Singer, producer, and songwriter STORYBOARDS talks about writing for EVERGLOW, the song that almost went to BTS, K-pop girl groups, and much more.
Singer-songwriter Jenny Lyric talks about the passion that goes into her work, how she's changed since being a member of CoCo Avenue, her future plans, the dream collaboration, and more!
Here is a quick Q&A with Luvabstract about his new music, his stage name, music video concepts, and more!
Here is a quick Q&A with Hamingu about his new single with Luvabstract, "SELECT," as well as the B-side, "Hint of Yellow"!
Gyubin addresses her “super rookie” label, shares why she admires IU, explains why she’s content with not clearly defining her musical style, and more!
Here is my first audio interview, with YouTuber and fellow K-pop fan Reiner Acuario!
SEVENTEENTH HEAVEN (Seventeen Talk, Vol. 15): A track-by-track guide to SEVENTEENTH HEAVEN, a rundown of all the Easter eggs in the “God of Music” video, and a summary of how SEVENTEEN’s new album is an excellent tribute to their past, present, and future!
ALWAYS YOURS (Seventeen Talk, Vol. 14): How do SEVENTEEN manage to incorporate nods to ALL of their previous musical eras into one new music video?! How does “Ima” both continue their music video story and offer hints about its future? And how do their characters live like crosses between Don Quixote and Truman Burbank?! Hope answers these questions by breaking down the lyrics of SEVENTEEN’s new songs and symbolic moments throughout the “Ima” music video! But before assessing the fictional narrative, Hope spends a few minutes reflecting on the story’s very real components and what about SEVENTEEN’s musical storytelling resonates so deeply for her, specifically as an autistic person.
FML (Seventeen Talk, Vol. 13): A close reading of each song on SEVENTEEN’s new mini-album, all the hidden details in the “Life in a minute” video, and seventeen key parallels SEVENTEEN’s new era has to their previous ones!
DREAM (SEVENTEEN Talk, Vol. 12): After a recap of all the biggest SEVENTEEN moments of 2022, Hope shares her theories about the hidden details in the "DREAM" music video (starting around the 7:28 mark), plus the ways the video perfectly concludes the "Be the Sun" era!
Be the Sun Tour Review (Vol. 11): Seventeen things about SEVENTEEN’s Be the Sun Chicago tour stop worth discussing, from the setlist to the VCRs! After that recap, Hope compares and contrasts the Be the Sun and Ode to You tours to decide which show was better!
SEVENTEEN is Back! (Vol. 10): This episode describes seventeen things worth appreciating about SEVENTEEN's comeback! From hidden details in the "HOT" music video to the meaning of "DON QUIXOTE," this is a guide to all things Face the Sun!
Face the Sun Theories (Vol. 9): A close reading of all the Face the Sun Era teaser content, from Easter eggs in the teaser videos to the messages each SEVENTEEN member posted to their Instagram Stories on their solo teaser release days!
Darl+ing (Seventeen Talk, Vol. 8): Hope decodes the “Darl+ing” lyrics, points out some hidden details in the “NEW RINGS CEREMONY” comeback trailer, reacts to POWER OF LOVE : THE MOVIE, and more!
Seventeen Talk, Vol. 7: A close look at some examples of "storyshowing" in SEVENTEEN’s music videos, when they utilize everything from their wardrobe to camera angles to send layered messages through their work.
Attacca (Seventeen Talk, Vol. 6): A complement to Hope’s essay called "A Lyrical Exploration of SEVENTEEN's Storytelling," which explains how the lyrics from 17 Carat to Attacca come together to form a cohesive and intriguing story.
Seventeen Talk, Vol. 4: An overview of Joshua’s episode of Hit the Road, the story told in Jun’s “Silent Boarding Gate,” and an explanation for why some of SEVENTEEN’s music was temporarily removed from Spotify.
Seventeen Talk, Vol. 3: A review of SEVENTEEN’s online concert (and a theory about a hidden detail in it!) and a recap of Hoshi’s episode of Hit the Road.
Seventeen Talk, Vol. 2: A recap of what happened in S. Coups’ and Wonwoo’s episodes of Hit the Road.
Seventeen Talk, Vol. 1: A recap of the first episode of Hit the Road, which focuses on Woozi, and the confusion surrounding SEVENTEEN’s role in the KBS Song Festival.
Into the (Baseball) Diamond Life: A track-by-track recap of Semicolon, theories about how the album’s stories are connected to previous releases, a list of seventeen things to keep an eye out for in future SEVENTEEN comebacks, and more!
Episodes About Art and Literature References in K-Pop
Exploring the many ways K-pop artists have used doppelganger/clone symbolism in their music and that symbolism’s history in movies, books, and other material
DREAMCATCHER and Stephen King’s novels
LE SSERAFIM and “Good Bones”
CIX and The Divine Comedy
TXT and Peter Pan
More about TXT and Peter Pan
TXT and Something Wicked This Way Comes
VIXX and Greek mythology
Various other artists who reference Greek mythology
Various K-pop artists’ uses of famous artwork in their music videos and lyrics
BTS and various short stories
BTS and Demian
BTS and the short story “The One Who Walks Away from Omelas”
BTS and Into the Magic Shop
BTS and The Owl Service
BTS and Haruki Murakami’s Novels
The “RM’s Recs” Series of Episodes
Ep. 1: The Classics: All about The Catcher in the Rye, 1984, and The Stranger
Ep. 2: Utopias: All about Walden, Walden Two, and other writing on the possibility of a utopian society
Ep. 3: Almond: In this episode about the best book I have read in a long time, I summarize Almond, break down the main characters’ many layers, share the most powerful quotes, and open up about the power of seeing a fellow neurodivergent character represented in literature in such a refreshingly nuanced way.
Ep. 4: The Noonday Demon: After a brief introduction to The Midnight Library by Matt Haig, I spend time covering the biological, social, psychological, and other dimensions of depression as reported on by Andrew Solomon, author of The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression.
Ep. 5: Both BTS’s music and member RM’s book recommendations tell stories of courage, compassion, and community. This episode draws parallels between the ways in which those themes are addressed in BTS’s work (especially throughout the Map of the Soul Era) and in three books: The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera, Please Look After Mom by Shin Kyung-sook, and The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm.
RM’s Favorite Art: This episode covers both specific artists and specific works of art RM of BTS (aka Kim Namjoon) has praised on social media and/or in interviews. From sculptures to paintings to video installations, RM has recommended a vast array of art, and each piece has a fascinating creator and unique story behind it!
Episodes About Movie and TV Show References in K-Pop
The “Fade to BLACKPINK” series: a series of episodes explaining the movie references, both overt and rumored, in K-pop songs and music videos!
BTS and Black Swan
BTS and Louder Than Bombs
NCT and The Matrix
NCT and Interview With The Vampire
More on the K-pop episode of Dave
A guide to the SMCU and aespa’s role in it
The top 50 most iconic K-pop style moments of all time, for better or for worse!
25 of the most underrated and/or unique K-pop girl groups of all time
A guide to the six main K-pop music shows
The stories behind the K-pop songs that are actually remakes!
What to expect from K-pop concerts and other K-pop fan gatherings
SM Entertainment’s past and present
Episodes About History, Politics, and the Hallyu Wave
J-Pop’s Past, Present, and Future: From the origins of karaoke to the ways J-pop laid the groundwork for K-pop boy bands, the Japanese music industry is filled with groundbreaking moments and surprising twists and turns. This episode chronologically walks through the biggest ones: a dramatic prank on fans who believed a rumor about their favorite band breaking up, the introduction of Winter Sonata to a Japanese audience, the time Lady Gaga's attempt to promote J-pop was shut down, and so many more!
P-Pop and T-Pop 1-1: How did the T-pop (Thai pop) and P-pop (Pinoy pop) industries get started? How do they differ from K-pop? What do their futures look like? Which T-pop and P-pop stars stand out the most? This episode answers all these questions and more, followed by some interesting facts about the Hallyu wave across Asia!
C-Pop 101: A brief overview of C-pop industry milestones and unforgettable moments, the ways many forms of music originated in China, the biggest stars in the C-pop world, the ways C-pop and K-pop differ, and heated reactions to the Hallyu wave among C-pop fans.
K-Dramas Past and Present: A brief history of K-dramas, a Squid Game primer, and an explanation of how and why Korean television became a massive hit globally.
The History of Noraebang: The history of karaoke, its particular cultural significance in Asia, and why promoting K-pop karaoke worldwide is an investment that can pay off on many levels.
The Art of the K-pop Music Video: The history of K-pop music videos, the origins of MTV and TRL, the ways K-pop does and does not follow the “TRL Formula,” and the psychological connections between dreaming and watching music videos!
C.R.O.W.N: An abridged history of C-rock and C-pop that adds context to the latest wave of restrictions on creative expression in China.
K-Pod Save the World: Some major headlines from China’s music and entertainment scene: the disbandment of a band after just four days, the disappearance of a famous billionaire, the banning of celebrity rankings, and more. Sociological and historical context is used to better understand why all these events are happening and what they all have in common.
BoA Fide Popstar: A look at each of the variables that combined to cause K-pop to dominate on YouTube and SM Entertainment’s marketing tactics to succeed beyond imagination.
Taeyong Me: The changing definitions of “clickbait” and “going viral,” which bring into question if there really is such a thing as authentically “going viral” in the first place.
eaJ and Open Your Eyes: A short history of chart manipulation and other “pay-for-play” tactics.
Hallyu and I: Exploring K-pop fandom identities from Europe to North America to Asia.
Dream (Ever)glow: The past, present, and future of Hallyu and explanations for why different music industries have not reached the same level of global success as the K-pop industry.
Thai Hopes: Considering the potential of “T-pop” to gain global popularity.
Todays’ LessON: A brief history of the phrase “world music” and what makes it so problematic.
Episodes Focused on Philosophy and Psychology
Taemin., Taemin’s Newest Act, and Taemin’s Encore: Theories about the dual roles Taemin plays in his music videos, where his characters’ stories go from here, and what philosophical theories form the foundation of the Taemin Music Video Universe.
Epik High is Here!: This episode explores the many layers of meaning in Epik High’s songs, the threads connecting the stories from their different musical eras, and the messages in Epik High is Here!
The Psychology of Fandom: This episode summarizes the findings from a variety of studies on the psychology of music preferences and the "fan economy." Why do some people love sad music? Are music tastes more biological or social? When do people "age out" of intentionally listening to new music? Which music preferences have been linked to vegetarianism?! This research answers all these questions and more!
House of KARDs: Theorizing about the symbolism, nods to literature, philosophy references, and overall messages in the music video universes created by BTS, NCT, SUPERM, SEVENTEEN, and other artists.
Episodes Focused on Economics and Marketing
HYBEs and Lows: Why has there been so much confusion surrounding SM Entertainment’s leadership shake-up? Why did HYBE recently acquire Quality Control and become one of SM Entertainment’s largest shareholders? What do recent trends in the broader music industry, such as artists selling their catalogs, have to do with HYBE’s and SM Entertainment’s mindsets? This episode breaks down the answers to these questions and many more.
For more recent story developments: check out “NCT Tok(ay-)yo”!
Dynafortnite: How are a digital Burning Man festival, a food-less eatery, and KCON related?! This episode breaks down what each of these experiences has to do with changes in consumer expectations over time and uses this historical context to predict if KCON will ever permanently become online-only. Plus: an update on TikTok legal drama, a look at how popular Kakao has become, and more.
De(Spoti)fiance: A K-pop edition of a video game, the “Spotify versus Kakao M'' drama, the context underlying a radio station’s non-apology, and more.
The SKai’s the Limit: A recap of Kai’s Hyundai mini-movie-meets-commercial and what it means for the future of music marketing.
Bambamboozled: Breaking down the short-term and long-term implications of HYBE acquiring Ithaca Holdings.
Episodes Focused on Social Commentary and Personal Stories
Autism and the Power of Music: Hope was a guest speaker at her alma mater for Autism Acceptance Month! This episode features the recording of her speech, which covers personal anecdotes related to the soundtrack of her life (SEVENTEEN, BTS, TXT…) and advice for those who want to be better allies to autistic people. Note: the oral and written versions of this speech differ; the presentation was not a word-for-word recitation. Follow this link to read the official text!
Autism and Fandom: Hope uses personal stories to share five things allies to the autistic community should know and reflects on how being autistic shapes her feelings around and involvement in fandom culture.
If I Could Turn Back Time, If I Could Find a Way(V): A deep dive into the world of Miquela and similar CGI characters taking over music, fashion, and Instagram, what this all means for the future of the music industry and pop culture as a whole, and what influence vocaloids like Miku have on social media discourse.
KCON Koverage Over Time: Hope conducted an original research project to quantify and analyze the ways in which KCON has been covered by the western media over the years. Here, she reveals the study’s results, recalls iconic KCON moments (for better and for worse...), and looks at KCON by the numbers over time.
Goblinto the Rhythm: The story of how a series of fateful, odd events led to Hope becoming a fan of A.C.E!
Check out parts 2 and 3 below!