Sentimentality and EXO-K’s “Miracles in December”

Beautifully constructed to pull at already holiday-raw heartstrings, EXO-K’s “Miracles in December”, a vocal/orchestral piece with snowflakes, puppies, soulful “boys who are sorry” with amazing harmonic voices, compelled me to purchase this Christmas mini-album on iTunes after heading only the first minute.

…and I’m not the only one – apparently it rocketed to #1 on Korean charts almost immediately after its release.

I LOVE sentimental music, especially music this well-constructed, and Kpop does emotion very well. I’m not under the impression that these boys are as amazing as they sound in this track, but I full-on DGAF. I love how emotional music, especially sad romantic music, feels to listen to, and I know that these emotions are not “real” but remembered. That experience is one of my favorites, and a reason I love Asian pop music so much. It is often fun, but more often unashamedly sentimental.

In a recent study about why people like sad music, psychology researchers determined that sad music induces positive emotions, which, superficially, sounds counterintuitive, but all fans of sentiment know, is the gospel truth.

“One answer might be that in everyday life we typically experience emotions that have a direct connection to whatever object or situation gives rise to them. But when we listen to sad music (or watch a sad movie, or read a sad novel), we are inoculated from any real threat or danger that the music (or movie or novel) represents…the vicarious emotions are free from the essential unpleasantness of their genuine counterparts, while still drawing force from the similarity between the two.”

So you can have feelings but not be harmed by them. score.

There’s a lot to be said for the frictionless purchase process of Kpop tracks. I’m in America, not Korea, and on the American iTunes store. Doesn’t matter. The new K-pop hit was released 2 days ago, simultaneously in Korea and the US. No waiting. Unavailable on Amazon. This is the sign of a profit-making machine, and I am gloriously happy to participate.

 

UPDATE: This is pretty much the best video reaction post I’ve ever read. I wish this site had RSS.