5 Favorite K-pop MVs of 2015

There were so many great comebacks this year, but these are the videos I was watching on repeat.  And I definitely know some of the dances by now…

  1. “Crazy” by 4Minute

I swear half of this video’s 43,000,000 views are from me.  In general I like tough hip-hop concepts better than cutesy pop ones, and the girls of 4Minute (including Hyuna of “Gangnam Style” fame) pulled this one off perfectly.  The song is fierce, with great dance and rap parts.  I love the effect of the black and white with occasional pops of color.  And those hats!

2. “Dope” by BTS

BTS is a younger group but they’re already one of my favorites.  This song is a total earworm, and the video’s choreography is probably my favorite this year.  I love the “profession” costumes the boys are in, both because it fits thematically also because it helps the viewer tell them apart.

BTS always has very personal lyrics (rappers Suga and Rap Monster in particular always write their own parts); at first I liked how they’re proclaiming their hard work, but after watching so many times, Suga’s line about “Even if our youth rots in the studio” started to make me sad.  That’s kind of the double edge of K-pop.  I like the product, but it’s important to remember that there are real people underneath.

3. “Like Ooh-Ahh” by Twice

Can you believe this is their debut?  Although this is more on the cutesy side, it’s also energetic, funny, a little sexy, and shows the girls’ personalities.  Plus zombies are always cool.  The first time I heard this song I was already singing along to it.  I also love the fact that this group includes three Japanese members and one from Taiwan; it’s a big group but they are all so talented.  I can’t wait to see what’s next for them.

4. “Lion Heart” by Girls’ Generation

Despite losing a member, Girls’ Generation had a big year with a great Japanese single and three Korean hits.  I kind of liked the tough concept for “You Think” better, but “Lion Heart”‘s video is just so original.  It has a cute story in addition to fun choreography, and the girls all look so beautiful.  I love the different period costumes and styling, and I love how colorful it is—that’s something that just screams GG to me.

5. “Just Right” by GOT7

You have got to turn on the closed captions and read the lyrics of this song while you watch.  This concept of the doll-sized guys running around a little girl’s room could totally have ended up creepy, but instead it is just so sweet.  I think this is the most touching, uplifting music video I saw all year.

Other Honorable Mentions:

  • “Shake That Brass” by Amber feat. Taeyeon—f(x)’s rapper gets a solo with fun attitude and cameos by all her K-pop friends.  Plus you can watch her whip and nae nae.
  • “Only You” by miss A—The everyday scenes in this veteran girl group’s video make it feel very relate-able.
  • “Ice Cream Cake” and “Dumb Dumb” by Red Velvet—These girls were rookies last year but have managed to have two of the biggest hits this year, both with creative concepts and fun choreography.
  • “Zutter” by GD&T.O.P—BIGBANG released a slew of new videos this year, each weirder than the last.  This rap video is hilarious, disturbing, confusing, and artsy, with a lot of references to other media (and apparently some wordplay in the lyrics).  It’s kind of on another level.
  • “Hold On” by Axodus feat. Key—An EDM song with vocals by SHINee member Key; the video is composed of a series of clips that transcend their mundane nature to become beautiful and expressive.
  • “Twenty-three” by IU—The solo artist has a winning combination of meaningful lyrics, a catchy tune, and a whimsical Alice in Wonderland concept.


K-pop MVs: Girls’ Generation’s “I Got A Boy”

Girls’ Generation (or SNSD, an abbreviation of their name in Korean) is one of the most popular girl groups in K-pop, and this is one of their most popular videos.  It even won Video of the Year at the inaugural YouTube Music Awards  in 2013.

The song is so eclectic I didn’t know what to make of it at first.  And the video looks like Rainbow Brite threw up all over it, what with the multicolored, BeDazzled 80s fashions.

Tiffany and Jessica often speak English lines during SNSD’s songs;  in IGAB, Tiffany does an intro just before the minute mark (“Hey let me introduce myself…) and Jessica transitions back to the chorus around 4:00 (Don’t stop…).  These two girls were actually born in the US and spent their early childhood there, so they have perfect American accents when they speak English.  (Several other members speak English very well also.)

The members (in the order they start singing):

  • Sooyoung (0:31)—vocalist, lead dancer
  • Yuri (0:44)—vocalist, lead dancer
  • Tiffany (0:57)—lead vocalist
  • Jessica (1:11)—main vocalist (she recently left the group)
  • Taeyeon (1:13)—leader, main vocalist
  • Seohyun (1:24)—lead vocalist, maknae
  • Sunny (1:34)—lead vocalist
  • Yoona (2:40)—vocalist, lead dancer, visual
  • Hyoyeon (2:46)—main dancer (often raps as well)

“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:

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: