5 Favorite K-pop MVs of 2020

One of my biggest ways of de-stressing is listening to music, so I was so thankful for the consistent output of great songs and MVs from the K-pop industry this year. It was a bright spot for me in a rough year; here are a few of my favorites that I’d like to share with you as usual. Interestingly, these all feature female artists and groups! I guess I was just feeling the girl power this year.

1. “Not Shy” by ITZY

For the second year in a row, the group of five ITZY takes the top spot on the strength of their powerful, fast-paced, and clever choreography. Plus who can resist a Wild West outlaw theme? The ending has just the right touch of cuteness. They are definitely not rookies anymore!

2. “Nonstop” by Oh My Girl

After their breakout on the TV show Queendom last year, seven-member group OMG had two huge hits this year, including “Nonstop.” This fun video shows their versatility as a group, handling concepts from cute to funny to fashionable. This song in particular makes good use of their rapper Mimi. Add some nice choreography and (another) Wild West theme and you’ve got a hit.

3. “Stay Tonight” by Chung ha

Just when I think I can’t be any more impressed by Chung ha’s choreography and dancing, she takes it up another level. It’s amazing how such a small woman can ooze so much charisma and style. She’s like a group unto herself. As always, I love her fashion-forward styling, dramatic lighting, and the use of her dancers.

4. “What Do I Call You” by Taeyeon

This MV was just released a few weeks ago but I’ve already played it so much. As expected from the main vocalist of Girls Generation, the song is excellent and surprisingly catchy despite being about the aftermath of a breakup. I love the sci-fi concept of the MV, where people collect all the mementos of their exes (mugs, figurines, their sweater) and take them to a company to have their memories relating to these things erased.

5. “Queen” by 3YE

This group of three (their name is apparently pronounced “third eye”) debuted last year and have been going pretty strong with that girl crush concept that I love. I particularly loved this song because not only is it catchy with some great rap parts, but the video is visually awesome. In addition to a bit of choreography, there is a hint of a storyline where the three members are rival mafia bosses or something. I really want to read a story like this!

Honorable Mention: “Fadeaway”

So, this is actually just a Nike ad. But it is the best dang Nike ad I’ve ever seen! This is probably the video I played most this year. It has an incredible line-up of artists contributing, a fun little quasi-futuristic/scifi storyline about the Jordan shoes, and a horse (why not?).

I am so grateful that even during the pandemic we were still able to get amazing live performances from our favorite K-pop artists. I think the live performance is one aspect that really sets K-pop apart from its American counterpart, and I’m so glad the industry was able to continue that safely (though maybe not any longer, as cases in S Korea are spiking right now). Several groups were able to perform “remotely” for US late night shows, including this awesome comeback performance by CL. And here’s American-born singer/rapper Jessi, whose live vocals in this song are somehow even better than the recorded ones.

“NUNU NANA” by Jessi

I’ve also gotten into some Korean music-related reality shows that feature K-pop idols. I loved Sister’s Slam Dunk and Queendom, and this year I was hooked on Good Girl, which featured performances from some of my favorite idols and introduced me to some new artists that I love. My favorite performance was a fierce collaboration from five talented women, probably my most listened-to song this year.

“Witch” from Good Girl

Phew that was a lot of videos! There were soooo many other good videos this year, including new releases from Blackpink and BTS, and I wish I had room to share them all! What did you guys listen to this year? Has anyone ever come away from one of these posts with a newfound appreciation for K-pop? 🤣🤣

Lens-Artists Challenge #128 – And Here Comes the Holiday Season…

My kid’s first ornament

It is a strange, surreal holiday season for sure. Things are the same and yet completely different. It’s our first Christmas with two kids, yet also our first not visiting any family. How to cope? To my mind, it’s a matter of holding on to what traditions we can, while keeping an open heart to starting new traditions.

An ornament from my childhood

So here are two ornaments from our Christmas tree this year. The first is an ornament made by my oldest, the first ornament he’s ever made himself. It’s the first year he’s been old enough to make something like this, and I’m looking forward to having it on our tree for years to come. He even helped me decorate the tree this year, too!

The other is one of my favorite ornaments from my childhood, a carousel horse. I always make sure to hang it right by one of the lights so it catches the color. The box of ornaments I happened to open first had many ornaments from my husband’s childhood as well, so opening every ornament was full of special memories for us all.

(The Christmas tree is also new. I normally like having a real tree, but it just seemed like too much work this year, so we ordered this one that has color changing lights! It is great! I had the lights set to twinkling teal when I took the pictures.)

Merry Christmas to you all, and many blessings to you and yours in the new year!

You can find more holidays at the original Lens-Artist challenge.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #127: Precious Moments

Enjoying the first big snowfall

When I started to ponder the precious moments in my memories for this challenge, I began to think through all my travels and the amazing things I’ve seen…but my mind kept coming back to memories of time spent with my kids. More and more I’m using my phone’s camera to try to capture these little moments that I want to remember in future years.

A magical day

Whether it’s a once-in-a-lifetime event like a day at Disney World (pre-pandemic), or just exploring some new-fallen snow in our yard this winter, I will treasure these memories of my kids learning, exploring, and growing. And I often learn so much by seeing things from their perspective!

You can find more precious moments at the original Lens-Artist challenge.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #126: An Alphabet Challenge–”A”

A is for…

Aqueduct

The impressive aqueduct in Segovia, Spain dates from Roman times and has been carefully maintained and restored through the years. It was used up until the mid – 19th century.

Aix-en-Provence

One of my best friends did a study abroad here, a charming southern French city known for its fountains, its Gothic cathedral, and being the birthplace of Cezanne.

Alhambra

The Alhambra palace and Generalife gardens are one of the jewels of the Andalucía (another “A” word…) region of southern Spain. Aside from being beautiful, they are very educational about the history of the Moors in Spain.

You can find more things that begin with “A” at the original Lens-Artists challenge.

Lens-Artists Challenge #125 – You Pick It!

I’m writing this post from my phone, so my pick is one of my recent photos from daily life. We’re moving into winter here in Ohio, and bushes that were recently full of red and gold leaves now have ice on their berried branches.

I was playing around with framing and focus here and this was my favorite of the ones I took.

You can find more picks at the original Lens-Artist challenge.