But whether fans want to accept it or not, there is a point where it has gone "too far." I was watching B.A.P's "Skydive" not too long ago, and I was amazed by the quality and production value of the MV. There was obviously a lot of thought put into the plot, acting, costume, and more (despite it reminding me a lot of "One Shot"). I never thought angel Jongup would look so great as a psychopath. But at the end of the MV, I realized I was so taken by the plot and the twists that I had no idea what the song even sounded like. So I watched the MV again, got distracted by the plot again, and forgot about the song again. Eventually, I gave up and just decided to listen to the song from the album.
It got me thinking - what's the function of an MV? Ultimately, I think it's supposed to showcase songs, and when an MV distracts you so much from it, it hasn't really done its job.
We've seen something like this so many times.When T-ara did it years ago with "Cry Cry" and those series of MVs. It was a pretty novel idea and kind of cool to see all the work put into it. But you still didn't really listen to the song, especially since T-ara put in other songs into the MV. Then labelmates SPEED came out with another theatrical series with "That's My Fault", which basically did the same thing.
K-pop has had a lot of other big story MVs since then, most recently and notably BTS' 'HwaYangYeonHwa' series MVs. I actually thought the MVs to "Run" and "I Need U" were set up pretty well to be song-centric. Scenes would correspond with the mood of the songs, and change accordingly when the song changed verses. But then there was way too much 'hidden meaning', fans got into symbolism and received headaches trying to find the hidden meaning in it all, and the song kind of got lost behind the story.
Don't get me wrong - MVs like this are a great, great gift to fans. You not only get an amazing, high production and high-quality MV, but also get to see your idols acting in beautifully crafted stories and scenes made just for them. But while the fanbase is one of the most important (maybe the most important) audience for an MV, they aren't the only audience. MVs are also for the general public to learn about (and maybe start getting into) the groups, and also to spread word about the song - because in the end what pays the artists is not MV views (disregarding YouTube ad revenue), but album / song sales. Fans would have bought the song and album anyway. If an MV can't showcase its song to someone who wasn't originally a fan, that was a lost opportunity.
Does this mean artists can't ever put out anything artistic in an MV? Definitely not. There have definitely been MVs that are like the ones above but still managed to showcase songs. B.A.P's "One Shot" was actually a pretty good one, with all the shooting and gang themes going back to their actual choreography and song. I also think any of the BTS "Run", "I Need You", or "Blood, Sweat & Tears" would've been great by themselves instead of in a long string of MVs that held too many meanings. MONSTA X has a pretty good series in their 'The Clan' series, with "All In" and now "Fighter". VIXX's 'Conception' series - "Dynamite", "Fantasy", "The Closer" - are also all good story MVs that managed to be mysterious but not go overboard.
I think, though, a lot of labels go for the middle ground in mixing very light stories that aren't riddled with too many elements. We see a lot of them lately - GOT7's "Hard Carry" was kind of like that, as was something like Taeyeon's "I". The best example is probably Super Junior's "MAMACITA", which is completely song-centric but has a light plot that manages to be incredibly funny and memorable at the same time.
And of course, you have MVs like EXO's "Growl" or TWICE's "TT". These obviously took less time and production costs as grand MVs, but are still high quality, incredibly cute, fun to watch, and most important of all, song-centric and choreography-centric. They actually garner more views and set more records than other MVs. In fact, if you want to compare for the same artist, an MV such as BTS' "Dope" has way more views than "I Need U" (which came out earlier) or "Run" (which has a third of the views).
As a fan, of course, it's great to have MVs like "Skydive" or "Run". Both of them - and all others like them - are beautifully shot, intricately planned, and amazing to watch. But I think it's time to take a break and think about the fundamentals - what MVs are supposed to be doing. It may very well be that they are artistic outlets that feature the songs as background tracks, and that's why there are categories for 'Best MV' at awards. But it may also be that they're just another media for artists to spread their songs more. And if this is the case, it might be the tail that's wagging the dog instead of the other way around.