Surface Pro 3 Says 내가 제일 잘 나가 (I am the Best)

I love it when songs I like pop up in commercials; it happens most often in tech commercials, where there’s no dialogue, just pictures of pretty tech over a pumping beat or acoustic melodies.  Microsoft in particular has used Alex Clare’s “Too Close” in an IE9 commercial and Fall Out Boy’s “Young Volcanoes” in one for cross-platform Windows OS.

I heard this commercial on TV the other night, and, no surprise, started singing along.


Then I realized…those lyrics aren’t English.  It’s one of my favorite K-pop songs, “I Am The Best” by 2NE1.



I love that K-pop has gotten so popular here in the US.  I am actually more of a J-pop fan, so I often listen to the Japanese versions of K-pop songs; that way I can at least pronounce the words to sing along, and I can pick out some words I understand.  The Japanese version of “I Am The Best actually has a lot of the rap parts in English.  It’s worth listening to just to hear cute Korean girls say “ERRRBODY.”



I totally played this video about 15 times while writing this post.  So damn catchy.

Also, the Surface Pro 3 looks pretty cool, right?

K-pop MVs: SHINee’s “RingDingDong”

Many of you probably only know K-pop from Psy’s Gangam Style and Gentleman, so let’s begin your real K-pop education now.  Every month or so I’ll feature one of my favorite music videos for your enjoyment.  Let’s start with one of the first MVs I watched:

This is SHINee, my favorite Korean boy group, and the song is Ring Ding Dong, released in 2009.  It’s a great catchy song, although it’s a little heavy on the Auto-Tune (which these guys don’t need…).

The members (in the order they start singing):

  • Jonghyun (0:02)—main vocalist
  • Key (0:33)—vocalist, lead rapper
  • Onew (0:39)—leader, lead vocalist
  • Taemin (0:48)—main dancer, vocalist, maknae
  • Minho (2:20)—main rapper, visual

“Main” is ranked higher than “lead” in these positions.  The leader is typically the oldest, and the maknae is the baby of the group.  The visual is basically the most attractive member.

Things I love about this video:

  • Jonghyun’s hair.  This is probably my favorite look for him, especially in the white jacket.
  • Taemin randomly drinking milk at 0:49.
  • The choreography is fabulous (and the water is visually cool).  It really highlights Taemin, who is one of the best dancers in K-pop.
  • Ok, so my drinking game for SHINee would be a shot every time one of them touches his mouth in some way.  Seriously, watch again and tell me it’s not true.

 More from SHINee:

K-pop MVs: 2NE1’s “Clap Your Hands”

2NE1 is my favorite K-pop group bar none.  You’ve seen me feature them before in my post about the Surface Pro 3 commercial; “I Am the Best” is their most famous song and one of the best K-pop videos of all time.  Here’s another from them:

This song/video leans a little toward hip-hop.  The choreography, especially the ways they use the bench in each set, is top notch.  Speaking of sets, the video opens in an alleyway that looks like the one from their debut Fire (Street version) video.

This video also does a great job of cutting back and forth between group shots and close-ups of the current singer.  The clothes, sets, etc. all provide great visual interest, and the different sets contrast well with each other.  I always liked that you can tell who’s who easily in this video because they don’t keep changing hair colors throughout!

The members (in the order they start singing):

  • Minzy (0:18)—main dancer, lead vocalist, lead rapper, maknae
  • Dara (0:23)—visual, vocalist
  • CL (0:32)—leader, main rapper, lead vocalist
  • Bom (1:00)—main vocalist

“Main” is ranked higher than “lead” in these positions.  CL is actually not the oldest but simply has the personality to be the leader.  The “maknae” is the baby of the group.  The visual is basically the most attractive member who does promotional activities.

More things I love about this video:

  • Dara is not the group’s strongest singer, so this is one of the few songs where she’s really highlighted, and she pretty much kills it.
  • Raps from both Minzy and CL, who is one of the best female rappers in K-pop.
  • Everybody looks great! No complaints about the hair/makeup/sartorial choices.

 More from 2NE1:

K-pop MVs: BIGBANG’s “Fantastic Baby”

Even if you haven’t watched any of the K-pop MVs I’ve posted so far, you’re going to want to see this one.

Sorry, Kanye, but this is one of the best videos of all time.  It’s the 5th most viewed K-pop video on YouTube (and the 4 above it are from PSY).

Where do I even start with this video? The fashion?  The dystopian theme?  The beat that makes you “wanna dance dance dance da-ance?”  I’m pretty sure it’s just summed up by: EPIC.

BIGBANG and 2NE1 are both signed by YG Entertainment, and have similar styles, so they’re kind of thought of as brother-sister groups.  They even collaborated on a commercial song Lollipop (now that is a terrible video).

The members (in the order they start singing):

  • G-Dragon (0:06)–main rapper, leader
  • Taeyang (0:21)–main vocalist, main dancer
  • TOP (1:10)–lead rapper
  • Daesung (1:32)–lead vocalist
  • Seungri (2:16)–vocalist, lead dancer, maknae

“Main” is ranked higher than “lead” in these positions.  G-Dragon is actually not the oldest but simply has the personality to be the leader.  The “maknae” is the baby of the group.  As for the visual (the “face” of the group), GD and TOP both could fill this role.

 Things I love about this video:

  • You’ll notice there’s no real choreography in this video.  That’s pretty common for BIGBANG; the songs do have choreography, but they use it for their live stage shows instead of their videos.
  • The members are kind of introduced one by one.  Poor Seungri doesn’t even appear in the video until nearly 2 minutes in.
  • Daesung’s blond hair. TOP’s blue hair. GD’s color-changing hair. EVERYBODY’S HAIR.
  • Taeyang’s tats (which are not real).
  • GD’s Dragonball tat (seen on his left shoulder at 1:48, which is real).
  • All the thrones in the end shot are seen previously in the video except Daesung’s.
  • Crowns are actually a symbol used by BIGBANG’s fan group members, called VIPs.

More from BIGBANG:

K-pop MVs: Girls’ Generation’s “Run Devil Run”

If there’s one group you should know that epitomizes K-pop as a genre, it would be Girls’ Generation, also known as GG or SNSD (an abbreviation of their name in Korean).

GG has so many great videos; I chose “Run Devil Run” to start for several reasons:

  • The clean, cool monochromatic visuals
  • Lens flare 😉
  • A transition to a sexier concept from their previous “cuter” concepts
  • First MV where I could tell all these girls apart!
  • One word: Ahri

Ahri the Nine-tailed Fox is a mage/assassin character from the multiplayer online battle arena game League of Legends.  She’s obviously Asian-inspired, based on East Asian mythology of nine-tail foxes (in Korea, the kumiho).  Her dance moves are taken directly from this MV.  Here’s a side-by-side comparison:

One of her skins, Popstar Ahri, is clearly based on Girls’ Generation and features dance moves from their “Genie” MV.  You can see that comparison here.

The members (in the order they start singing):

  • Jessica (0:12)—main vocalist (she recently left the group)
  • Yuri (0:19)—vocalist, lead dancer
  • Yoona (0:27)—vocalist, lead dancer, visual
  • Taeyeon (0:34)—leader, main vocalist
  • Tiffany (0:41)—lead vocalist
  • Sooyoung (0:49)—vocalist, lead dancer
  • Hyoyeon (0:53)—main dancer (often raps as well)
  • Sunny (1:00)—lead vocalist
  • Seohyun (1:08)—lead vocalist, maknae

“Main” is ranked higher than “lead” in these positions.  The leader is typically the oldest, and the “maknae” is the baby of the group.  The visual is basically the most attractive member, who does promotional work.

More from Girls’ Generation: