Sure, Taylor Swift is dominating the song charts since her new album dropped recently, but she probably never guessed she’d get some competition from an unlikely source: North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. The latest propaganda tune released by the communist Republic praising Kim as a god-like leader has inexplicably gone viral on TikTok.

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The boisterous song sounds a lot like K-pop, and unsuspecting listeners are loving it, many of them presumably unaware that the lyrics pour acclaim on the totalitarian state and its murderous leader. It is somewhat catchy, though, I must admit, if you like that sort of thing:

While the song might like a weird mix of Russian war songs and bubblegum pop, there’s actually a sophisticated effort behind the regime’s efforts to produce such anthems:

Friendly Father is just the latest in a line of propaganda pop songs churned out by the Communist state in the past 50 years.

It’s peppy, bright-tempoed and dangerously catchy – not that much different from Western pop hits.

But there is a certain Soviet-era tinge to it; Gen Z users describe it as “Abba-coded”, a reference to the Swedish superband.

“In this case, the song has Abba written all over it,“ says Peter Moody, a North Korea analyst at Korea University.

But there’s a purpose behind the music, and that purpose is to keep the repressed citizens in line and remain stalwart in their devotion to Kim, whom former President Donald Trump once called “little rocket man” and “a sick puppy.”

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…there’s more than just commercial considerations at play when writing a chart-topper in North Korea – authorities want an earworm that penetrates minds.

There’s no space for abstract phrasing or timing that’s overly complicated, says Alexandra Leonzini, a Cambridge University scholar who researches North Korean music.

Melodies have to be simple, accessible, something people can easily pick up.

Tunes also need to be pitched at a vocal range where they can be sung by most people. The masses can’t keep up with vocal gymnastics, so forget about multi-octave riffs.

Creative thought and artistic freedom are non-existent in North Korea—it’s illegal for musicians, painters, and writers to make music and art just for pleasure. Think of that as you watch the apparently ebullient masses dance and gaze adoringly at Kim.

“All artistic output in North Korea must serve the class education of citizens and more specifically educate them as to why they should feel a sense of gratitude, a sense of loyalty to the party,” Ms Leonzini says.

I couldn’t help but think as I watched the pretty young women singing and dancing that Un is a pervert and some of those young ladies may be his sex slaves. He reportedly has a handpicked “Pleasure Squad” of 25 virgins and is often surrounded by wide-eyed women who are probably only acting so lovingly because they know they’ll be executed otherwise.

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“It’s so dystopian in the catchiest way,” wrote one commenter on TikTok. “Gen Z TikTokers have switched admiration from Osama Bin Laden to Kim,” wrote another viewer on X. 

One can only hope that the many young people listening to this garbage aren’t aware that it’s in tribute to such a vile figure and that they just thought it was a catchy song. However, with so many college students out there openly supporting a terrorist group, we simply can’t be sure.


More:

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