Throwback to 2008-2012: The Golden Era of KPOP
Calling the years 2008 through 2012 of KPOP the "golden" era is still up for debate up to this day. With 3rd generation KPOP groups like BTS, BLACKPINK, EXO, and TWICE dominating the world right now, many new fans believe otherwise. But a lot of veteran KPOP fans think that those years were the most precious time of the Hallyu wave. Here are some of the reasons why and it's up to you to decide your chosen "golden" era of KPOP:
The Distinct Sounds and Dances
First generation of KPOP idols like Seo Taiji, Sech Kies, and H.O.T. focused on hip hop and techno music genres. But during the year 2008, idol groups started to experiment on different music styles and create their own identity. There were cute (KARA), girl crush (4minute), beastly (2PM), and colorful (After School) concepts present during this era.
Everyone was trying new sounds and styles. Idol groups focused more on their vocals, so there were less auto-tunes and other additional elements in the music process. Another thing, choreographies were repetitive in a good way and that made them addictive and iconic. You are a true KPOP fan if you can still do the moves of Sorry Sorry of Super Junior, Bang Bang Bang of BigBang, and Gee of Girl's Generation. Of course, music productions and stage performances are better nowadays, but second generation idols laid the foundation for them.
Closer Interaction Among Idols
Interaction on-cam among idols are rare nowadays, but second generation idols are known for their close interactions with each other. The main reason for this was probably the large number of idol variety shows and special stage collaborations during this era. MBC's Star Dance Battle was where idol groups compete with each other through dance covers. Other idol variety shows you can check are Invincible Youth, Hello Baby, AND 1000 Song Challenge.
Year-End Shows like Gayo Daejuns were the most-awaited events of the year for KPOP fans in this era. There were so much content and entertainment offered by your favorite idol groups. The first one was idol collaborations and covers. You can search on Youtube Wonder Boys or Boys Generation where they cover girl group dances and sometimes, vice versa.
And another one was the drama parodies. Your KPOP idols will act and dress as your favorite Korean drama characters. If you are new to KPOP, you might get culture shock when you see these videos.
KPOP Community is Exclusive
During this era, social media was not that developed yet. But KPOP fans all over the world found ways to connect to each other. There were forums, texting groups, Facebook pages, and other small online communities. KPOP community is exclusive because there were less fans compared to what the 3rd generation of idols have today. Even with their small number, they took their own initiatives in starting fan clubs, fan events, and even conventions in their respective countries.
There was a time when KPOP and the Hallyu Wave, in general, was not accepted by the general public as it is today. KPOP and K-drama foreign fans, especially, had to face discrimination for liking Koreans and supporting a different culture other than their own. But fortunately, the situation lightened up eventually through the years.
Definitely, you can say that the years 2008 through 2012 of KPOP has a different culture than it is today. Major concerts were rare too, especially in small countries. Fandoms were also not 100% peaceful. But all these reasons are what made this era distinctive and memorable. To the point of that a lot of KPOP fans consider it as "golden". And you will, probably, only realize it if you see it from their perspective.