2012 has been a great year for k-pop. There were some strong comebacks from old favorites (i.e. ‘Sexy Free and Single‘ and ‘Fantastic Baby‘), and an even stronger amount of hit singles from fresh-faced rookie groups (most notably ‘Warrior‘ and ‘MAMA‘) that are sure to become k-pop classics. But like always, because of either timing, marketing, or just plain bad luck, some songs will inevitably get lost in the shuffle and won’t receive the recognition they truly deserve.
If the holidays are as big in South Korea as they are in the United States – which, given my last trip to the mall, I’m not quite sure is possible – then these following songs are sure to be a HIT. The American music industry this year has produced such bizarre duets like Cee-Lo and the Muppets, or John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John reuniting after 30-some years and innumerable rounds of Botox (for both of them). So can South Korea’s holiday cheer live up to such lofty expectations?
To get you in the holiday mood, I have carefully curated (read: I have perused some websites and picked out the only few songs I can recall at this moment) a selection of just-as-carefully crafted holiday music videos from various k-pop artists. What says ‘holiday spirit’ like people wearing Santa hats singing in a language I can’t understand? BASICALLY NOTHING.
I debated on this for a while, but I finally decided to do a review of this music video even though there’s not a ton going on in it because I find this song incredibly impressive for a rookie group.
Everyone hated on me when I said 100% had a lot of potential when they released their debut “Bad Boy”, but I knew. I KNEW. This isn’t a group to just toss aside, people! They can actually dance AND sing. THIS IS RARE IN THE K-POP INDUSTRY. Also surprisingly, 100% seems wildly different from their established labelmates Teen Top, which was more along the lines of what I was expecting. GOOD! Because just because the last Teen Top member is just about to leave teenage-hood doesn’t mean they need a carbon copy replacement.
First off, I’m going to be honest and put it on the record now that I am horribly biased towards male k-pop groups, which makes me so excited that there’s finally a (mostly) girl group that I can review with a smile. Sunny Hill has always been a group I’ve well respected, being one of the rare co-ed groups in the industry (Janghyun, the guy, is currently in the military so you won’t see him promoting this song), and for putting out some of the heaviest, most meaningful songs k-pop has to offer.
This song however, is the exact opposite of heavy and meaningful. In fact the chorus sounds downright J-poppy with its climbing vocals and synthesized beat. I love the piano chords and the funky bass beat in the beginning which really gives it a kind of retro 90’s feel to the intro, although every time I hear it I’m convinced the theme song to “Free Willy” is starting. (I’m sad if you don’t understand this reference, because that means you must have had a very deprived childhood.)
This is an improvement from Secret’s previous video, “Poison”. But if I’m honest, I would probably rank “Poison” only just below Hyuna’s “Ice Cream” on the scale of how much it enrages me.
The thing about this song/music video is that I think it tries to be something it’s not. But in the middle of some kind of symbolic, artistic set, the director/etc. realized it was hopeless and abandoned that idea altogether maybe halfway through. Basically, they took one look at the girls’ boobs and decided that those were gonna be the star.
OK so Nell isn’t exactly k-POP, but we here at KPWOP don’t discriminate. We welcome all forms of good music and many forms of absolutely terrible music, as long as it’s in Korean.
This music video was refreshingly dark compared to the usual cloying love sap you see in Korean music videos. It seemed almost to be a social commentary on marriage as a failed institution, with the ring being a symbol of oppression that the male lead clings to in the place of true love.
In case you were confused by the video, here’s the basic breakdown of the story:
The MV starts out in a dilapidated room full of holes and canisters and broken movie equipment. A girl wakes up and immediately starts choking, symbolizing the slow suffocation of the horrible relationship that has begun to extinguish the very life within her. As life drains out of her she desperately searches for oxygen among the ruins of an old movie projector, which is the physical manifestation of a happier, nostalgic facade that has long since fallen into disrepair. She stumbles out of the room and encounters the dead body of her husband, frozen over by a sheet of ice. Confused and horrified, she runs away, only to discover her own dead body lying in the adjacent room. Both had fallen pray to a slow and mutual destruction, blindly holding onto the memories of their past relationship and thus dooming themselves forever to a cold and white night.
OR IS THAT WHAT REALLY HAPPENED?