Trot music returns as most favored election campaign songs

April 10, 2020




With its addictive two-beat rhythm and express delivery of lyrics, trot music has long been favored by politicians launching election campaigns.

In the runup to the parliamentary elections set for next Wednesday, hit trot numbers have come back as campaign songs, including, most notably, “Redevelopment of Love,” a breakout hit song by popular comedian and TV show emcee Yoo Jae-suk.

“Redevelopment of Love” made it on the official lists of recommended campaign songs for the April 15 elections, compiled by the ruling and biggest opposition parties.

Last month, the ruling Democratic Party released its list of 10 songs recommended as campaign songs to be used by its member lawmakers running in the upcoming elections. Paying royalties to composers, politicians often pick a hit song and rewrite its lyrics to be used in promoting their election bids.

Including “Redevelopment of Love,” seven of the 10 songs recommended by the ruling party last month were of the trot genre.

The other trot recommendations included “Thumb Up,” a 2016 hit song by Hong Jin-young and “Popular Song” by veteran trot mater Song Dae-kwan.

The list also included “Yes or Yes” and “Dalla Dalla,” recent hit numbers by idol girl bands, TWICE and ITZY, respectively.

Besides “Redevelopment of Love”, the choice of the main opposition United Future Party (UFP) included “Piggy Back” by trot diva Jang Yoon-jeong, and Park Hyun-bin’s “Dead Drunk,” both long-running trot hits, according to the party’s list of campaign song recommendation released last month.

Including them, six of the 11 songs recommended were of the trot genre.

“Taking a cue from the ongoing popularity of trot music, (the party) made a recommendation for popular songs that easily appeal to the ears of the public,” the UFP said.

Trot’s straightforward lyrics and simple, repetitive beats make it perfect background music for political propaganda.

The ongoing trot boom in the entertainment sector made it all the more attractive for politicians this year to capitalize on the genre.

Last year, comedian Yoo made a sensation out of his trot EP, “Bbong For You,” which he released under stage name Yoo San-seul in a comedy project as part of a weekend TV show.

The music scene also recently saw the birth of rare young trot stars amid the popularity of music competition TV shows based on the trot genre, including TV Chosun’s “Miss Trot” and “Mr Trot.”

Nevertheless, this year’s campaign scene, unlike former election seasons, is unusually quiet with fewer campaign trucks equipped with loudspeakers blasting such campaign songs amid the country’s difficult fight against the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.