Another wonderful year of K-pop music videos; here are some of my favorites.
“Blood Sweat & Tears” by BTS
Just when I thought I couldn’t love BTS any more, they came out with their Wings album this year. This video, aside from the catchy song, has great choreography and complex scenery, plus the classic BTS cryptic/philosophical story. Normally I hate it when MVs put a break in the middle of the song, but I didn’t mind it so much here. Rap Monster is reciting lines from Hesse’s Demian; sales of this book have apparently jumped haha.
2. “Sayonara Hitori” by Taemin
Who knew SHINee’s maknae Taemin was actually an anime character? Between the special effects and Taemin’s dancing, this is probably the most visually amazing MV I saw all year. I also loved that this is the Japanese version (which I can understand better–and I think his Japanese has improved).
3. “Whistle” by BLACKPINK
I’m not the only one who loves this video, because it just won best MV at the 2016 MAMAs. This rookie group is helping to fill a part of the 2NE1-shaped hole in my heart. These four girls have such great style and attitude. They already have four great songs out (“Playing with Fire” is another favorite), and I have a feeling I’ll be a fan for years to come.
4. “Cheer Up” and “TT” by TWICE
TWICE is back again this year with two cute videos. I embedded “Cheer Up” because I think it’s marginally more original. Each of the girls is playing a character in a different genre of movie (horror, action, romantic drama, kawaii magical girl, etc.), which is a fun way to play up some different tropes and give each girl a distinct personality (kind of important when there’s nine of them). “TT” also has a cute use of Halloween costumes to achieve the same effect.
5. “I Like That” by SISTAR
While SISTAR is a very talented group, I’ve never really been a fan because their videos tend to be gratuitously sexy, to the point that I’m uncomfortable. But this video has a very classy style of sexy, with a Chinese theme and some interesting choreography using their drape skirts. The use of silhouettes near the end is also very striking.
Other Honorable Mentions:
- “Hate” by 4Minute—Before they broke up, Hyuna’s former group 4Minute gave us a follow-up to last year’s “Crazy.” This one was produced by Skrillex, so wait for the drop.
- “Liar Liar” by Oh My Girl—From another younger girl group, this video has some great transitions, and I liked the references to Pinocchio and Alice in Wonderland. They also did a dance version wearing roller skate shoes!
- “Queen” by History—We needed some more guys on this list, and who can resist guys in suits? I don’t know what the part with the puzzle is about at all, but the rest is pure eye candy.
- “I’m Jelly BABY” by AOA Cream—I know I’ve said I don’t like cutesy concepts, but this one by the subgroup of AOA is so over-the-top with its magical girl theme, I just can’t resist.
- “Why Not” by Bulldok—Also known as “How’s This?”–this song is the debut of another tough girl group. The first rapper looks straight out of Sucker Punch, and the second seems like she’s in a Final Fantasy game.
What do they (nearly) all have in common?
I was just reading this somewhere and it made me laugh; if you watch all these, you can see a trend appear: having all the members sit around a table. Four or five of these videos have that trope (you can even see it in the thumbnail for “Blood Sweat & Tears), plus a few others I can think of (like Red Velvet’s “Russian Roulette”). Too funny!