I actually made a playlist of K-pop music on Spotify to take to the hospital with me while I was giving birth. I suspect that may have been a first for the Labor and Delivery unit. It’s been another wonderful year of K-pop music videos; here are some of my favorites.
1. “Yes I Am” by Mamamoo
There is so much to love about this song, this video, and this group. The song is so catchy and has the most body-positive and self-confident lyrics I’ve ever heard in a K-pop song. The video itself is colorful and cute, and they did the choreography themselves. But I can’t say enough about these four ladies as performers, because in my opinion they give the best live performances in all of K-pop. Their vocals are flawless and their stage presence is magnetic. They are known for changing their lyrics on stage and doing little ad libs. If you really want to see them at their best, check out some live performances of this song, like this one.
2. “MIC Drop (Steve Aoki Remix)” by BTS
BTS had another huge year, breaking further into the American audience with appearances at the AMAs and on Jimmy Kimmel and Ellen. I loved their first single “DNA,” but I was really struck by the video for their remix of “MIC Drop,” a song I already liked from the first time I saw it performed live. The remix version is what they’ve been performing recently, and while I like this new version of the song fine (it has more English lyrics), the video just blew me away with its visuals.
3. “Hobgoblin” by CLC
I love finding new, young groups, and CLC is one that came on my radar this year with their badass video for “Hobgoblin.” Hyuna apparently worked with them on this, and you can really feel the 4Minute vibe, which is very welcome since the disbandment of that group. Most young girl groups have a cutesy concept, which is not my thing, so it’s great to find a next generation capable of taking on the swag of groups like 4Minute and 2NE1.
4. “Rollin'” by Brave Girls
Here’s another group that came across my radar this year with a catchy song and great choreography. I normally don’t go for concepts that are “sexy,” but this one is on the classy side (I know the title says “Clean Version,” but all that was removed was a few clips of the girls lying in a pile. I dunno.) I absolutely love the use of the stools in the choreography. And in those high heels, too! Very impressive.
5. “Peek-a-Boo” by Red Velvet
I’ve been a fan of Red Velvet and their catchy songs for years, and they sure had a great year with two big hits. This is the most recent video on my list, but I’ve already played it on repeat so many times. It is such a bizarre concept: a cult of girls who lure pizza delivery guys to their house to kill them. Wearing shiny rainbow dresses. Or something. Somehow involving Jell-O. But Red Velvet pulls it off just like anything else.
Other Honorable Mentions:
- “Shall We Dance” by Block B—Mainly for the adorable little girl showing off her moves with them. Also P.O wearing Burberry lol.
- “Move” by Taemin—The maknae of SHINee once again turns out a killer video–actually three videos, but this one is my favorite. His style blends so well with Japanese choreographer Koharu Sugawara; they are just poetry in motion together. It has such an emotional and sensual feel in a very gender neutral way, without being overtly sexy. Beautiful.
- “Ninano” by Minzy—Speaking of great dancing, my bias from my favorite K-pop group 2NE1, made her solo debut, and Minzy is such a good dancer it was fun to see her collaborate with Marquese Scott in this video. It incorporates some of the original video choreography with freestyling.
- “Hola Hola” by KARD—This co-ed group is consistently churning out tropical house-style hits with awesome choreography. This video adds some beautiful scenery and a chance to display some personality of the members.
- “Love” by PSY feat. Taeyang—Though this song is by the K-pop idol most famous here in the US, he doesn’t appear in this video at all. Instead, we are treated to awesome dancing by Parris Goebel and her ReQuest Dance Crew (you may recognize them from Justin Bieber’s “Sorry” video).