Growing up as a Korean-American in the Los Angeles suburbs, I was naturally surrounded by karaoke culture. Epik High’s seminal 2007 hit Fan is one of those songs imprinted upon my memories, thanks to that heady era of my youth.
As someone who didn’t truly get into K-Pop until my college years (singing along to 80s-era trot notwithstanding), I always felt somewhat ostracized when my high school Korean friend group would suggest heading to the noraebang to belt out some tunes. I’d gamely sit there, clapping along, tapping the tambourine, but never really being part of the celebrations.
I took it upon myself to memorize some easy-to-sing songs so I could at least participate; Epik High’s rhythmic, easy-to-learn, yet powerful verses were a perfect fit. I learned how to sing Run, Umbrella, One, and most of all, Fan. I’m glad I did; Fan is a masterpiece, a perfect example of Epik High at their full strength. Orchestral, dramatic, yet poppy and powerful at the same time, Fan was one of those songs everyone could sing along to—or, at least, tap their foot to the rhythm.