K-pop, South Korea’s greatest export, is taking over the world. Popular K-pop acts are now going on world tours, while international fans are boosting the country’s tourism. Companies like S.M. Entertainment and YG Entertainment recruit and assemble the groups, and the talentĀ must train for years, not unlike athletes, before they “debut” and become K-pop idols. Videos are often slick, colourful, high-budget productions, with crazy outfits and nonsensical storylines. A lot of talented people contribute to the creation of idols, but sometimes the star factory process can yield formulaic results.
But when K-pop is good, it’s amazing, not to mention addictive. The following videos I’d watch over and over again. American pop might seem boring after this.
G-Dragon – “Crooked”
This video blew me away. When I think K-pop, I don’t think ’70s British punk rock, but G-Dragon (from BIGBANG) has the swagger to pull off the look. This anthemĀ is a perfect blend of rebellion and heartbreak. He runs around East London raising hell. In so many outfit changes. GD is a bona fide fashionisto, rocking punk, glam and preppy looks, to just socks and Versace boxers. And that blue Vivienne Westwood suit, wow.
Crayon Pop – “Bar Bar Bar”
The helmets, the white gloves, the matching tracksuits, the pogo stick dance… why? Well, why not? And yes, you’re not crazy, two of the girls are twins. For more silly outfits and dance moves, check out “Uh-ee”Ā and “Lonely Christmas”. “Bing Bing”Ā and “Saturday Night” are also super catchy.
2NE1 – “Do You Love Me”
So many good 2NE1 videos, so little time.Ā Ultimately, I chose this one over the crazier videos because they look like they’re having a blast. Can I please party with these girls? You also can’t miss “I Am The best”, “Go Away”,Ā “I Don’t Care”, andĀ “Happy”.
Super Junior – “Sorry Sorry”Ā
A classic, along with “Bonamana”. A supergroup with about a million guys, you’re bound to have a favourite. Siwon is my guy (swoon). Anyone know what that intro is all about?
Orange Caramel – “Catallena”
Here, the members of Orange Caramel are mermaids/ pieces of sushiĀ that no one wants to buy. In the end, the human versions of themselves sadly eat their sushi counterparts. On the surface, this is a cute and quirky video, but fans speculate that there are deeper messages behind the imageryĀ that address the state of the K-pop industry. Check out “My Copycat” and “Lipstick” for more stylized weirdness.
BIGBANG – “Fantastic Baby”
“Wow, fantastic baby.” This video has a staggering 165 million views on Youtube so far, probably because it’s freaky and edgy in the funnest way. I love the part when T.O.P sings “Boomshakalaka” in that deep voice of his.
EXO – “Call Me Baby”
At first you think this is going to be your typical cheesy boy band video, but then the boys bust out the leather and THE DANCE. Another group with a million members, all dancing to perfectly synchronized choreography, dressed like a fashion spread come to life.Ā The video gets better every time you watch it.