When I heard the opening line of SHINee’s Ring Ding Dong for the first time, I had no idea what it would lead to. In fact, I really didn’t like it. That would be because it was the ringtone of a friend I met on my Foundation course, and so all I heard of K-pop for a long sixth months was the incessant warbling of ‘Baybaaayyyyy.’… I still have some issues with that song now.
However, this friend (who coincidentally also goes by the name of Sarah) eventually got me to listen to other K-pop songs in the form of Super Junior (There are how many members?!) and other SHINee songs (Is that a girl?).
And so began my downward spiral into the K-pop fandom.
To my surprise, I found I really enjoyed it (with the exception of that one dreaded line), from the songs themselves to the fabulous fashion choices, and rapidly became interested in many things Korean – music, art, fashion, TV, and the culture in general.
And that left me where I am today – a 21 year old art student with a fascination for a culture that I have yet to experience firsthand, and a slightly inappropriate hankering for pretty-faced men.
With that somewhat rambling, and quite uninformative introduction to me, all that’s left to do is to pick my top 5 K-pop videos.
I had serious issues narrowing it down to just 5… and if you ask me again tomorrow, it may well have changed, but for now (in no particular order):
BAP – Warrior
This has got to be the strongest debut song I have heard. The members work well with the camera without looking awkward, and the song itself is strong and aggressive, with an intelligently choreographed dance to match. Yongguk and Zelo are the first people in K-pop that I have actually thought were good rappers. The punk-style clothing works well (and makes me feel much better about myself when I’m dressed in my paint-splattered studio clothes). Despite continuing the trend for bizarrely abbreviated names, I loved this from the first watch.
Sistar – Loving U
This video is so vivid and bright and fun that it immediately makes me feel happier, no matter what mood I’m in. The song heavily features one of my favourite voices in K-pop (looking at you Hyorin, you beautiful woman) and has such a cheerful, upbeat tune that I don’t think I will ever get sick of it. Add to this that the video consist entirely of things I love to do (roller-skating, playing on the beach, swimming, watching attractive men, road trips, sunsets, campfires and holidaying with friends) and I just don’t see what there is to dislike.
SHINee – Dream Girl
SHINee are probably my favourite boy-group (despite the disaster start with Ring Ding Dong) so I’m probably a little biased, but I just think everything about this was wonderful. I love the song and the video concept. The dancing with the microphone stands worked really well and the interchanging sets matched perfectly with the dream concept. The only downside I can find is Taemin’s unfortunate pink and yellow outfit..that was a bad choice. However, it wouldn’t be K-pop without the occasional fashion terrorist showing up, so I love it non-the-less.
Brown Eyed Girls – Sixth Sense
I feel this video can be safely summed up with an, “In your face cutesy K-pop.” Now, don’t get me wrong, I do like the cute aspect to K-pop, but it can be taken too far (Gwiyomi.. why?!) and this song and video was such a breath of fresh air. The women (yes women, not girls) are strong and confident, and because of this they come across as so much more sexy than their cute counterparts. Powerful and full of symbolism, this song is exactly the punch in the face that K-pop needed.
GD – Crayon
This song was immediately catchy and definitely appeals to the art student in me. The whole concept is incredibly mad and I adore it for that. I don’t feel this can really be summed up into words, so with a huge appreciation for a truly clever use of the English language in K-pop, you should all go watch this for yourselves.
I only wish I had a tiny yellow car like that.
Special mentions to the poor people I had serious issues cutting out – CN Blue (Love Girl will always be a fall-back song for me), Girls Generation (K-pop is not really complete without these girls), EXO (the one-take nature of Growl is amazing, kudos to the cameraman), SPICA (wonderful paint fighting in their newest video), 2PM (how can you not love the ‘beast idols?’), and Infinite (their dancing, need I say more?).
Believe it or not, there were more, but I’m making myself stop here.
Now… no more.
Toodle-oo all xx