When you hear the word K-pop, it’s likely that the first group that pops into your mind is BTS or Psy.
Both of which has broken into the global music industry with much popularity.
For me, the earliest memories of K-pop was listening to a group called Seo Taiji and Boys on cassette tape back in the early 90s — a group that helped define K-pop.
Their song, 난 알아요 (“I Know”, in English) was so different from what I had ever listened to and it was catchy. Not to mention, seeing them on music shows with their dance moves were both entertaining and captivating.
I recently discovered the K-pop Throwback playlist on Apply Music a couple of weeks back.
Seo Taiji and Boys as well as many 90s K-pop groups in which I grew up listening to were on the list.
While listening to, “I Know”, I did a Wikipedia search on Seo Taiji and Boys, curious to learn more about the group I that had listened to growing up.
To my surprise, their career as a group was short-lived — only four years.
I then learned that in an interview in 2014, Seo Taiji was reluctant to put on a reunion performance.
The biggest obstacle is that in the past, we put on really beautiful performances, which fans remember, but if we get back together now, I worry we might disappoint, so I am not confident. I lack more and more confidence as I get older. I don’t think I’d be able to dance as fiercely as I had in the past.
Seo Taiji is an entertainer and his biggest blocker to doing a reunion was worries about his inabilities to entertain the audience and give the fans a great experience. He then goes on to point out that age is an inhibitor because he won’t be able to dance as fiercely as in his youth.
Going down the Internet rabbit hole that all too commonly opens up when you’re in Wikipedia, I did a quick search in Youtube for Seo Taiji and Youtube returned “Seo Taiji 25th anniversary with BTS” — an anniversary concert that took place in 2017.
Watching parts of the video, I thought it was super clever how Seo Taiji had overcome the issues with age he spoke about just three years earlier to the concert, by letting a much younger, just as industry-defining group, BTS do the heavy lifting.
In the original Seo Taiji and Boys group, the Boys were Yang Hyun-suk and Lee Juno, which provided vocals and dancing. In the anniversary special, BTS provides the vocals and dancing in place of the Boys.
In many segments of the concert, you see the younger, BTS members doing the more complex dance routines, while Seo Taiji — who was 45 years old at the time of the concert — is seen doing more subtle moves in the background and providing vocals.
As someone who is nearing their 40s, I can definitely relate to the physical limitations that age brings, so I can understand Seo Taiji’s hesitation back in 2014.
But it’s cool to see that he was still able to throw an anniversary concert that shared the spotlight with a much younger group and accomplished in overcoming his worries of not being able to entertain his fans.
Seeing the camera pan many times during the concert to a very large and entertained crowd, I think he accomplished in entertaining his fans and overcoming his fears.
I was definitely entertained.