Though a number of Okay-pop acts can promote out stateside concert events in 2018, again in 2008 when woman group Wonder Girls launched “Nobody,” South Korea’s music scene was simply beginning to achieve prominence within the nation. Over the subsequent 12 months, the tune would develop into a phenomenon that propelled the act’s worldwide aspirations and finally made historical past when an English model of it grew to become the first K-pop song to look on the Hot 100.
Released on Sept. 22, 2008, the retro-inspired pop single got here out at a time when Okay-pop was solely simply beginning to make an impression exterior of Asia. Rather a lot has modified over the previous 10 years, and the one was an integral a part of making Okay-pop what it’s right now: Wonder Girls grew to become the primary Korean act to look on the Hot 100 with the English variant of “Nobody” when the tune debuted at No. 76 on the chart dated Oct. 16, 2008. It would take three extra years for Psy to develop into the subsequent Korean artist to look on it with “Gangnam Style” in 2012, and to today solely three different acts — CL, BTS, and BlackPink — have damaged into the Hot 100, with a complete of 11 songs.
As the primary tune to point out that Okay-pop may actually compete on the Hot 100, Wonder Girls’ “Nobody” was created amid the proper storm, when each the group and Korean music have been on the ascent internationally. Their 2007 single “Tell Me” was one of many first viral Okay-pop hits, racking up tens of millions of views from world wide on the then-burgeoning video streaming platform YouTube. It was adopted by the success of their tune “So Hot,” launched earlier in 2008, and Wonder Girls have been a family identify all through Asia by the point “Nobody” got here out. Its infectious, sleekly produced disco- and clap-driven pop sound mixed with easy-to-learn choreography primed it for virality — and for overseas exportation.
After turning into one of many largest hits in South Korea in 2008, “Nobody” was recreated in English in 2009, Chinese in 2010 and Japanese in 2012. But it wasn’t simply the tune’s success by itself that led to it charting: Okay-pop as a style had grown exponentially within the United States in 2008 and 2009, with YouTube’s development serving to extra folks than ever earlier than work together with Korean music. That 12 months noticed hits from Girls’ Generation, Super Junior, 2NE1, BIGBANG and plenty of others achieve worldwide prominence, and when Wonder Girls grew to become the most recent to launch English-language music, it was obtained enthusiastically. “Nobody” ended up making historical past on the Hot 100 in October, coming shortly after BoA’s self-titled English album grew to become the primary album by a Okay-pop star to debut on the Billboard 200 in April. The twin chartings proved that Okay-pop’s attraction had viability to seize consideration within the U.S, and Wonder Girls made a devoted try and develop into the primary Okay-pop group to actually break into the usscene.
Their devoted try at making it within the stateside market came about over a number of years, and included them touring with the Jonas Brothers and dealing with the likes of Akon. Despite exerting a lot effort and time, the woman group’s profession within the U.S. by no means actually discovered its means and, between specializing in numerous time within the States and lineup modifications, Wonder Girls misplaced their pacing in Asia. As they rode the success of “Nobody,” acts like Girls’ Generation and 2NE1 rose to dominance within the Okay-pop scene regardless of how far past the group the Wonder Girls had as soon as been.
“Nobody” was adopted by a number of singles, however it will take till the time the group rebranded as a four-member, band-oriented workforce in 2015 for them to actually reignite their profession with the discharge of the songs “I Feel You” and “Why So Lonely,” which rejuvenated their sonic legacy forward of the group’s disbandment final 12 months. The Girls who had been on high all through the late ‘00s became a cautionary tale, and no other K-pop act has ever since tried to do what they attempted; rather than bringing artists to live and tour extensively in the States, it’s now the norm for Korean artists to spend quick intervals of time there, holding concert events and performing some promotional appearances earlier than heading again to Asia.
While it was a double-edged sword for the group on an expert degree, “Nobody” undeniably impacted Okay-pop’s path within the decade since its launch. It made the unbelievable appear attainable, and quite than looming over the trade like a taunt, the Hot 100 singles chart grew to become a objective. Okay-pop’s presence within the U.S. has elevated exponentially, to the purpose that it’s now not a query of who or how a Korean artist would be the subsequent to look on the Hot 100, however when.
The tune additionally set a precedent for what it will take to maneuver into the U.S, which was tailoring the viral-ready Okay-pop sound to the native market, a lot as Korean artists do to interrupt into the Japanese and Chinese markets. That’s been the case for the previous decade, leading to a number of acts placing out English-language variants of their hits. Things are altering slowly now that the music charts within the States have gotten extra open to different languages, and each BTS and BlackPink have confirmed it’s not obligatory for Okay-pop teams to sing in English, however it’s nonetheless a typical observe; standard woman group Red Velvet re-released their hit “Bad Boy” in English as a B-side earlier this 12 months.
“You know I still love you baby, and it’ll never change,” says rapper Yubin at first of “Nobody.” Though the Wonder Girls are now not collectively and Okay-pop’s modified so much over the previous decade, their 2008 single’s impression is simple on the world of Okay-pop and the way the U.S. interacts with worldwide music.