You know Them. You might even be one of Them: a K-Pop Historian. The Elitist.

The Hallyu Wave “Old Head.”

The aristocratic long-term fan can either be a helpful gatekeeper for new listeners, or an annoyance greater than the current fandom-versus-fandom drama social media can conjure up. As a (Possibly? Still?) respected mid-level member of the Them, I’d like to offer up the following nuggets of dibi-dibi-wisdom. (No, it doesn’t technically fit. Yes, I tried it anyway.)

“Give us our free” to just talk


Old Heads cannot help it, they simply must talk about the past. It’s our happiness! It’s the good old days! And we are partially aware that we’re being absolutely, undeniably, ultra poetic about it all, even less than we are aware of how annoying it can come off! We’re that family member who insists on telling you about things that went on well before you were even thought of, jabbing at you with lines like, “The younger generation needs to know their history,” “What do they teach you in school,” and for those who know this one on an intimate level, “You don’t know nothin’ ’bout that.” Please nod and smile and say nothing. Let us shove ourselves into the imaginary Letterman jacket of the year we became a fan of the Hallyu Wave and wear it with pride. Glory can’t be smothered.

You’ve got to know the greats

sam jackson
Samuel L. Jackson said so and he’s in every movie so that means he knows everyone. Even K-pop fans. It’s not up for discussion.

At any given time, an Old Head is going to rant about the greats. Who are the greats? Who the hell knows except the Old Head! You might consider the past 5 years quite historic–without a doubt, MACG Magazine certainly does–but that might not be far enough in time for the likes of Old Heads. You’ll know the conversation is swan diving into the abyss when these groups are mentioned:

  • TVXQ (five, not two, although we love the two and the other three…five.)
  • BIGBANG (especially when MAMA statistics are in question)
  • Girls’ Generation
  • SHINee
  • Wonder Girls
  • 2NE1
  • T-Ara
  • KARA
  • BoA
  • Super Junior

On occasion, you’ll see EXO on this list. I don’t…I can’t explain why…ask another Old Head. Proceed with caution though.

Numbers aren’t just numbers

If an Old Head starts referring to artists you’ve never heard of within groups you have some knowledge of, inquire with ease and extend a tissue. Groups debut with a set number of members. When a member departs, for whatever reason, the mourning is hard and long. I can’t elaborate on this without wondering who is slicing and dicing onions nearby.

We don’t talk about SHINWHA

We don’t talk about them. We do not talk about them. They are legends. Their name even means it. Unless you are a tried-and-true, dyed in orange Changjo, we respect the reign of the group and its fans. They are the Supreme. We are not worthy.

We are Shinhwa Changio

There you have it–simple suggestions for surviving the scene with Old Heads. Let the possibilities of harmony on the horizon bring a smile upon your face. Allow the joy to wash over you like the enthusiasm you have for the Hallyu Wave!


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