Music with Seoul: 5 characteristics of K-pop music videos

For those of you who didn’t know, The Los Angeles Korean Pop Festival is happening this saturday in memory of the 111th anniversary of Korean American immigration. For many of you out there when thinking of K-pop, the Youtube sensation ‘Gangnam Style‘ will come to mind.

Nevertheless, nobody can argue against the fact that in recent years the Korean music scene has grown out of obscurity to become a recognised entity in the online world. Whether that be through cheesy music videos from bands you’ve never heard of, or through a flood of GIFs of pretty boy bands that seem more suited to a mid 90s cover of Smash Hits magazine.

Regardless of these thoughts, here is my list of 5 characteristics of K-pop music videos that make the genre so great!

 

1. OVERLY LARGE POP GROUPS

When it comes to the size of pop groups the word ‘small’ doesn’t seem to exist in Korean vocabulary. With the ever popular girls group Girls’ Generation (소녀시대) having nine members and the boy band Super Junior (슈퍼주니어) having twelve. The example below features the twelve member group EXO (엑소) and their hit ‘Growl’ which, even though it was shot in just one take has an awe inspiring 31 million hits on youtube.

EXO – Growl MV

 

2. CATCHY TUNES

The world of Korean pop is overflowing with catchy tunes. This one from the group Wonder Girls (원더걸스) is a classic from as far back as 2007 (that’s a long time ago in K-pop years), full of everything a great video needs..super heroes, flashers and funky dance moves.

Wonder Girls -Tell Me MV

 

3. SEXY DANCE MOVES

Ok ok..the horse dance in ‘Gangnam Style’ may not be the sexiest but believe it or not the hall of K-pop fame is full of them. This music video by 4Minute (포미닛) girl group member HyunA (현아) and BEAST (비스트)  member Hyunseung (장현승) is one of my favourites.

HyunA and Hyunseung – Troublemaker MV.

 

4. HIGH VALUE PRODUCTION

When it comes to high quality music videos nothing beats Korean pop. This music video is of Big Bang (빅뱅)’s ‘Fantastic Baby’ , one of the most popular K-pop groups of all time, winning the “Best Worldwide Act” award at the 2011 MTV Europe Music Awards. This video alone has had over 100 million hits on youtube and is definitely worth a watch..

Big Bang – Fantastic Baby MV

 

5. CRAZY PLOTS

And of course Korean pop culture wouldn’t be Korean pop culture without mind-blowing plots and tear-jerking ballads. Beneath all of the glamour, beautiful tunes and gorgeous stars there is often a sad story waiting to break out and force you to reach for the tissues. This music video is from the Queens of ballads Davichi (다비치).

Davichi – Don’t Say Goodbye MV

There, that’s it. I hope this blog post has given you the confidence to explore K-pop and realise its true klout in the world of global pop music especially on the youtube scene. Even if it hasn’t gone that far, you’ll now realise that there is more to K-pop than seeing an estranged older relative doing the horse dance at a family disco. At least be thankful for that!

Ben White joined Future Media team in 2013 and has plagued us with his obsession for Korean pop music ever since. After discovering his love from first watching the Pops in Seoul television show over seven years ago Ben is determined to convince the western world of the allure of the K-pop brand.