Monday, December 27, 2010

The 10 Best KPOP Videos of 2010

KPOP is the religion of young people in South Korea.  Outsiders looking into Korea might find it fun and amusing, but few may understand the phenomena or real cultural impact until they are immersed in Korean culture.  The songs are catchy and easy to sing along.  The lyrics are often a blend of English and Korea and the language half-breed might make no sense in either tongue.  The singers have rock hard bodies and perfect skin.  The fashion and hair is always on the edge.  Finally, the videos are what make or break the artist.  They include bright colors, double digit back-up dancers, and glimpses of love and pain.  Above all, you are just supposed to have fun watching them.

These are the ten best music videos of 2010 as chosen by an expert panel of Youtube surfing Waygooks. 

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#10 - "Turn It Up" by T.O.P (탑)
Release Date: June 21st, 2010

Special Honors: Best use of a monkey in a supporting role - Most likely to popularize mimes in Korea - Best dressed in checkerboard fashion



Big Bang's G-Dragon, Tae Yang, Dae Sung, and Seung Ri all have had their own solo songs.  It was time for T.O.P to release his own.  He went heavy on the bass and used hip hop beats for this black and white hit.  His career almost never was.  YG Entertainment deemed him too chubby to be a pop star when he first auditioned for Big Bang.  He has come a long way since then and is one of the hippest KPOP stars in Korea right now.


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#9 - "Lupin" (루팡) by Kara (카라)
Release Date: February 9th, 2010

Special Honors: Most likely to popularize capes in Korea - Least likely to make it out of a haunted castle alive - Best use of never blinking



No KPOP group has reinvented themselves so drastically and so frequently as Kara.  Every three months they tout a "come back" with a new and interesting image.  They can do cute.  They can do sexy.  They can do annoying.  For this song, they hit success with a more fierce looking image.  The song moves fast and the girls look great.  Their other big hit of the year was "Jumping", a fun video in which they do very little actual jumping.


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#8 - "BBI RI BOP A" (삐리빠빠) by Narsha (나르샤)
Release Date: July 12th, 2010

Special Honors: Most likely to have to have this song stuck in your head forever - Best use of a red head in black spandex - Least likely for a Korean mother to approve of you watching this music video


Narsha is a member of the Brown Eyed Girls and released a solo album this year.  She had several interesting music videos including "BBI RI BOP A" and "MAMMA MIA".  The former song is definetely one of the most unique songs and videos of the year in Korea.  This video is an electronica number with house beats and the visual imagery is something out of a Tim Burton or a Guillermo del Toro film.  KPOP could definitely use more innovation and edge like Narasha offered this year.


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#7 - "I Did Wrong" (잘못했어) by 2AM
Release Date: March 5th, 2010

Special Honors: Most likely to cry in their music video - Least likely to make it through Titanic without crying - Best use of a love pentagram plot line




As far as chart success goes, 2AM was the most successful boy group of the year, with every song they released eventually reaching number one on various KPOP rankings.  All of their songs share a melancholy theme and these guys always find a way to cry in their videos.  This is possibly their formula for success in a country full of Korean teens who hate their academic driven and sleep deprived lives. Their three big hits were "I Did Wrong" (잘못했어), "Like Crazy" (미친듯이), "You Wouldn't Answer My Calls" (전활받지않는너에게).  "I Did Wrong" incorporates both dance and ballad elements using strings, piano, euro beats, and drum.  The video follows the bizarre love pentagram between four boys (a club DJ, a basketball player, a hockey player, a biker), and one Korean girl whose looks are indistinguishable from every other teenage Korean girl in their 4th period social studies class.


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#6 - "Huh" by 4Minute
Release Date: May 19th, 2010

Special Honors: Most likely to get carded in a bar - Least likely to actually know how to drive a car - Most likely to suffer a zipper malfunction on their one piece mechanic jumpsuit


4Minute was one of 2009's top rookie groups.  They played it safe and cute last year with hits like "Hot Issue".  Their outfits last year looked like crayola boxes threw up on them and they made sure their bodies were covered to appease Korean mothers worried about their young ages.  In 2010 they made the choice to wear significantly less clothes and they turned some heads.  Their two big hits this year were "Huh" and "I My Me Mine".  Huh is supposed to be a response when you are laughed at, like "Huh! That's what you think!"


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#5 - "I'll Be There" by Tae Yang (태양)
Release Date: August 20th, 2010

Special Honors: Most likely to misplace his shirt while going to the corner store for some milk - Least likely to actually "be there" while you watch his video - Best use of a graveyard without getting too creepy about it






Tae Yang is one of the five members of Big Bang who have all released solo songs.  Tae Yang had a good year and many in the KPOP blogosphere awarded him the coveted title of sexiest man in KPOP.  He spends much of this video shirtless and it is hard not to have a crush on a guy who confidently sports a mohawk hair style.


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#4 - "Bang" (뱅) by After School (애프터스쿨)
Release Date: March 15th, 2010

Special Honors: Most likely to in fact be the hottest bitches on the planet - Least likely to be able to correctly spell "DEFENSE" at a pep rally - Best use of 19th century Prussian military fashion





This video oozes sex appeal.  It also projects a high level of confidence and fierceness that is rarely observed from a female KPOP group.  Even though it is so overtly sexual, it is in no way promoting the Asian-female sexual stereotypes of being submissive and weak.  This song kicked ass this year and the plethora of live performances available online never tire of being fun to watch.  The live performances (click here or search) are one of those rare instances where they are better than the actual music video.


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#3 - "Shock" by B2ST / Beast (비스트)
Release Date: March 1st, 2010

Special Honors: Least likely to be able to tell you how they spell their own group's name - Best use of gratuitous and unnecessary camera effects - Most likely to ask you if they can crash on your couch for a couple days and borrow $20



The group that gained the most popularity this year and proved to be the boy band to beat was Beast.  Their two big hits this year were "Shock" and "Breath".  Both videos gave us tons of stunning imagery to digest and enjoy.  Their advanced use of special effects made their videos stand out and their fashion and dancing were superb as well.


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#2 - "Bad Girl Good Girl" by Miss A (미쓰에이)
Release Date: June 30th, 2010

Special Honors: Best use of high heels while practicing ballet - Least likely to remember your name the next time you see each other again - Most likely to tell you to shut up to your face



Miss A debuted in a year that seemed to be flooded with carbon-copy girl groups.  However, these four girls managed to stand out in the thicket of bright colors and plastic faces.  The group claims to have trained for three years prior to their debut, and they must be doing something right.  Both of their hits, "Bad Girl Good Girl" and "Breathe" have made for two of the years most fun and entertaining videos.


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#1 - "Oh!" (오) by Girls' Generation (SNSD/소녀시대)
Release Date: Jan 28th, 2010

Special Honors: Least likely to be able to name a single professional football team - Most likely to be robots programmed to destroy the Earth by cuteness - Best use of an English alphabet letter to concept an entire song


Girls' Generation has been on a chart topping rampage for over two years now and no other group has rivaled their level of success or cuteness in that time.  The girls had a busy year releasing videos for "Oh!", "Run Devil Run", "Hoot!" and Japanese versions of their major hits last year: "Gee" and "Genie".  Their lasting appeal and relentless self-promotion comfortably won them the top honor and they remain the group to unseat when it comes to winning the admiration of KPOP fans around the world.  Their live performances were worth checking out as well.


My special apologies to f(x), Super Junior, 2NE1, MBLAQ, U-KISS, Secret, SHINee, and Sistar who all had amazing videos that I wish could have made it into the ranking.

3 comments:

Eat Your Kimchi said...

4Minute's "I My Me Mine" is actually my (Simon's) favorite video of the year. I totally love that song. Otherwise, this is a pretty great list (though Martina would probably argue to have Top on there a bit higher) :D

The Waygook Effect said...

I like the song "I My Me Mine" as well, but the video is not much to look at so I gave "Huh" the spot on the countdown to represent 4Minute.

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