Just try to get either of these out of your head

I know this isn’t my typical subject matter, but two things I love have come together, and I have to share this with someone, and you guys are it.  One of my favorite K-pop groups, BTS, recently released a new single (or “comeback” in K-pop parlance).  You may have seen them performing it on America’s Got Talent.  Here’s the music video:

There is also a version for their collaboration with Nicki Minaj.  Both great videos: crazy, but entertaining.  The song is super catchy and has great, positive lyrics.

But wait, there’s more!

I’ve previously featured the Star Wars episodes of Bad Lip Reading, which is a YouTube channel that is exactly what it sounds like: the producer re-dubs video based on what it looks like the actors are saying.  He also occasionally makes songs out of it, and they are really good songs.  So thanks to him, BTS is now singing about a “Sample of My Pasta.”

My favorite part is at 0:43 where V yells “Cute bird!” because that seems like something he would do anyways in real life.  He is my favorite singer of the group (aka my “bias”) because he’s kinda weird and crazy (a “4D” personality).  He’s also sporting what looks like lemonade-colored hair in this video.

I’m happy to talk about BTS all day, so I’d love to answer any of your questions in the comments 😀

 

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5 Favorite K-pop MVs of 2017

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:

  1. “Shall We Dance” by Block B—Mainly for the adorable little girl showing off her moves with them.  Also P.O wearing Burberry lol.
  2. “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.
  3. “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.
  4. “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.
  5. “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).

 

5 Favorite K-pop MVs of 2016

Another wonderful year of K-pop music videos; here are some of my favorites.

  1. “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:

  1. “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.
  2. “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!
  3. “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.
  4. “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.
  5. “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!

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 (Star Wars Special): 2NE1’s “Follow Me”

We’re finishing out this series with my favorites 2NE1…and a surprising Star Wars cameo!

This is a typical crazy K-pop video, featuring motorcycles, fun dancing, and questionable sartorial decisions (including copious amounts of colored animal print??).

But then at 1:43…we get “Dara Vader” and her stormtroopers (later revealed to be Minzy and CL).  The first time I saw this, I was like WAIT WUT.  2NE1 and Star Wars together…so random, so awesome.

After watching it a few more times, I noticed that at the end of the video (around 2:55), they are all wearing Star Wars baseball caps!  I noticed Minzy’s R2-D2 one first; also, Bom has the stormtrooper, CL has Darth Vader, and Dara has C-3PO.  These hats were sold at the time of the video (2010) by New Era in Japan.  I would have loved to have one!

The members (in the order they start singing):

  • CL (0:02)—leader, main rapper, lead vocalist
  • Bom (0:44)—main vocalist
  • Dara (0:50)—visual, vocalist
  • Minzy (0:55)—main dancer, lead vocalist, lead rapper, maknae

“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 from 2NE1:

Also check out EXO’s Star Wars collaboration video “Lightsaber”