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Posted by gracelim0 pt Saturday, July 13, 2013

15 Familiar Themes Seen in K-pop Music Videos

Crayon Pop, Lee Hyori, 2NE1, 4minute, After School, B.A.P, Big Bang, Brown Eyed Girls, Miryo , BTOB, Dal Shabet, Hello Venus, INFINITE, KARA, MBLAQ, SECRET, SHINee, SISTAR, Super Junior, T-ara, T-ara N4, Psy, K.Will, Son Dam Bi, Lyn, Jang Woo Hyuk, Ailee, G.NA

Look, I'm not going to sugarcoat anything. K-pop has amped up its game when it comes to flirting with our dear bachelor homogeneity. The music, the image concepts, all matters concerning MV productions - the resemblance, it burns.

"Omg what is she even talking about...?" 

"Ew, like who does she think she is... some internationally sanctioned K-pop analyst?"

I hear it already - like music to my ears. But I won't retract anything. I'm just as entitled to my own opinions as you guys are to yours, so let's agree to disagree if need be. 

Putting all guards down, though, don't you find yourself sitting there from time to time, watching new MV releases thinking, "Oh my, it looks familiar... Now where have I seen it before?"


I'm prone to these situations, but hardly because of my superb memory (coming from someone who barely remembers what she ate for dinner the night before, that's bold). Here are some of the dangerous liaisons I find across overlapping MV concepts. 

Starting off with the basics... 

#1. Horde of guys go after one girl... 

(See also BTOB - "Second Confession")

...because we're certain it's true love after first sighting the fair maiden from way over yonder. Admittedly, there are different adaptations of said concept - four best friends turn on each other for one girl (2AM - "I Did Wrong"), five fresh faces go after one girl (SHINee - "Replay"), six well-sculpted guys go after one girl (2PM - "Come Back When You Hear This Song"). Oh the things I would give to be one girl

#2. Alternatively, group of mini-dress clad girls try to get guy to notice them...

(See also Dal Shabet - "Be Ambitious")

...this concept slightly branches out of the antique classic damsel in distress spiel and positions itself more towards the direction of, "Hello, good sir. We're a group of sexually frustrated girls who would find it so lovely if we could make some progress in our relationship because frankly, we're not very satisfied with where we are right now. That's all."  

#3. Summertime beach-chilling

(See also SECRET - "Yoohoo")

A summer release without the accompanying MV shot with a scenic beach background? Unheard of. We know the laws governing the natural rhythm of the universe are working fluidly when fresh, frothy summer beats are simultaneously released with equally sunny MV's. It's like chicken and beer, or bacon and eggs - the two need each other to be complete.    

#4. Dystopia... 

(See also Big Bang - "Fantastic Baby")


...because utopia is too mainstream for these pioneering artistes. It used to be once in a blue moon we'd come across an MV release that's fairly... well, imaginative. But nowadays, such dystopian, futuristic grunge societies aren't nearly as novel or brow-raising. Been there, seen that, on to the next. *Snaps fingers*

#5. Bland backdrop? No problem - nothing a couple of badass cars can't fix 

(See also 2NE1 - "I Am The Best")

Guys, the extent to how much we underestimate the work that goes into making an MV is tragic. The artist's team sit there for days, brainstorming sets, the texture of fabrics they're going to use on clothes, which accessories will look good with what, the individual makeup, the plot. It's an incredible undertaking. But they're only people, and as such, they're not immune to criticism or lapses in judgement. Sometimes the creative juices stop flowing while the time keeps running, and in that case, what better way to fill in the voids than by putting cars in the MV? The artists can be standing next to them, sitting in them, or dancing on top of them (SISTAR - 'Loving U'). Cars are like the baking soda of the K-pop music video stratosphere - you can use them anywhere, for basically anything. 

#6. Hello, kitty

(See also G.NA - "Oops!")

If cars are the baking soda in K-pop MV's, cute animals are the lip balms. You don't necessarily have to use the lip balm - by law you are free to have I-just-made-out-sandpaper chapped lips as you please. But when you do use the balm, not only do your lips look hella fine, but the world also seems like a more forgiving, rosier place. The same is applicable to K-pop MV's - the mood of the MV is that much better when artists feature adorable animals. Come on, what kind of heartless humanoid can say no to baby kittens or puppies with a straight face? 

#7. Mega not-hot girl becomes sexified bombshell 

(See also Ailee - "I'll show you")

In a nutshell: prudish looking girl with truly unfortunate hair, wearing glasses, her grandmother's frock and - god-forbid - lace socks with heels (a fate worse than death), gets a complete makeover and ends up not looking like a prospective nun. Train wreck averted, guys, rest assured. 

#8. Lo and behold, a zombie apocalypse

(See also T-ara - "Lovey Dovey" Zombie version)

*Massages temples* 

Try as I may, I can't seem to recall what exactly set off our obsession with supernatural creatures. The closest thing I can relate it to is the Twilight saga. But where did all the hype about zombie apocalypses come from, and who thought it'd be a good idea? Well for better or for worse, K-pop has certainly picked up on it and here's hoping they get rid of it really soon. It's not even cute anymore.  

#9. Look ma, I'm a mermaid

(See also Lyn - "Breakable Heart") 

I give major props to artists (or the MV actors) who film underwater. Imagine the time that goes into completing an MV shooting with two feet on the ground. Then try to imagine how much energy goes into completing an MV shot underwater. How draining. And the amazing thing is, in all these MV's that feature underwater frames, it always gets me how normal they look. You've been to a pool before, right? How is it that these artists get to look like magical mermaids and meanwhile we're standing over here, gasping for air like this?

#10. Amusement Park (for the child within)

(See also K.Will - "Love Blossom") 

It's no coincidence we see so many amusement parks featured in K-pop MV's. For one thing, they're fun - all those fruity colors and twirling rides excite our eyes. But more importantly, if you're a label and you need to support your girl group on a tight budget, take a hint from Crayon Pop's label and bring the girls to an abandoned amusement park for the MV shooting. Well played, Chrome Entertainment

#11. Pair-o-dee 

(See also UV - "I Want To Live With Her")

Smart MV's pull me in. And I don't mean smart as in "2400 on my SAT's, holla!" I mean it more towards, say, coming up with a clever idea and pulling through with it seamlessly. That being the case, I appreciate parody MV's for their wit - they're completely brilliant. Save the sappy romantic MV's with two glorious leads for someone else; the fastest way to this girl's heart is a damn ingenious idea that makes me think, "Ugh. Why didn't I think of that first?" All applicants inquire within.   

#12. Gunz 

(See also After School - "Flashback")

There always seems to be an MV to watch depending on where you stand in your relationship. Feeling like you're floating on cloud nine during your honeymoon stage? Watch a happy-go-lucky MV. Feeling like crap because your ex found him or herself a major upgrade? Watch a tear-jerking MV to console yourself. Feeling like the Terminator after you find out your ex had been cheating on you? Watch some no-nonsense, gun-wielding MV's and live vicariously through them. Ah, nothing's nearly as charming as saying "deuces" to your ex with a hefty pistol. 

Kidding, guys. Don't get any funny ideas. 

#13. Creepy Hospitals

(See also Miryo - "Dirty")


I never imagined I'd be phrasing this quite like so, but... hey, it seems like psychiatric wards are the place to be nowadays. In terms of MV productions, mind you. Sure it's definitely a nice change of pace from all those picturesque and postcard-worthy sceneries we're so used to, but really, the psychiatric ward of all places? It's all very reminiscent of Gaga, and that's never a direction K-pop should be following, no hard feelings toward the pop culture icon, of course.  

#14. Cohesiveness? So overrated 

(See also T-ara N4 - "Countryside Diary")

Contrary to popular belief, maybe we don't value continuity as much as we'd like to believe we do. Point in question? Look at Psy's "Gangnam Style" MV and T-ara N4's "Countryside Diary" MV for instance. What's the plot? If anything, where's the underlying theme that ties together the loose threads? Rather than bother with those mainstream drudgeries, some MV's opt to disregard said inconveniences altogether and focus entirely on dysfunctional randomness. So one completely irrelevant scene cuts into another equally nonsensical scene until the song ends. And somehow, despite all the "wth did I just watch" comments flooding through our heads, it just works... by some bewitching sorcery. 

...and now, perhaps my favorite of all things related to MV's... 

#15. ... the fierce dancing and posing in an equally fierce box room

(See also KARA -  "Pandora") 

If I could get paid half as much for lip syncing the lyrics, dancing the choreography, and standing there gazing smolderingly into the camera in a well-lit box room (Ugh, I keep doing that), I'd be a happy girl. 

  1. Crayon Pop
  2. Lee Hyori
  3. 2NE1
  4. 4minute
  5. After School
  6. B.A.P
  7. Big Bang
  8. Brown Eyed Girls
  9. Miryo
  10. BTOB
  11. Dal Shabet
  12. Hello Venus
  14. KARA
  15. MBLAQ
  16. SECRET
  17. SHINee
  18. SISTAR
  19. Super Junior
  20. T-ara
  21. T-ara N4
  22. Psy
  23. K.Will
  24. Son Dam Bi
  25. Lyn
  26. Jang Woo Hyuk
  27. Ailee
  28. G.NA
  29. STOP IT
  33. LOVING U
  34. YOOHOO
  40. OOPS
  41. U-GO-GIRL
  45. CRY
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