KOREA-CANADA BLOG 2018

Unusual Themes in Kpop MVs II

While Kpop MVs are often creative and unique, there are some ideas that are so intriguing, fun, or visually pleasing that multiple groups choose to incorporate them. These irresistible motifs span from physical objects to filming styles, and once you start noticing them you’ll begin to see them everywhere.

If you read part one of this series, you may already be attuned to the way familiar elements pop up in MVs, and can name some of these trends. As they are plentiful, I’ve selected a few more of my favorites to share today. A careful viewer will recognize that even among these new videos you can find some of the unusual themes from my previous post.

Puzzles

Whether you find jigsaw puzzles to be relaxing or boring, they do provide some strong imagery around concepts like completion and teamwork that can aid in the storytelling aspect of an MV. For the JJ Project in Tomorrow, Today, a puzzle is a lazy afternoon activity, while in VAV’s Flower it’s a way to demonstrate the frustration of not being able to achieve your goal. Kim Donghan searches for a lost puzzle piece in Good Night Kiss in the same way that he is seeking the one who kissed it. JBJ’s Fantasy threads puzzle pieces throughout to tie a series of events together, and in Queen’s History each member brings a puzzle piece to a throne to form an image. Before all of these, however, came the classic Super Junior song No Other, where Shindong uses a heart puzzle to represent his feelings.

Camping

There’s nothing quite like enjoying the outdoors while camping, and there are a myriad of ways to have that experience. If you’re Highlight, having a camper van as a backdrop is all you need, as shown in Plz Don’t Be Sad. VIXX LR and Pentagon decided to share the same camping vehicle as a set, but with very different aims; you can see artistic, mirrored angles in Whisper and a playful breakfast in Shine, respectively. When you want to camp in style, you can follow Laboum’s lead in Journey to Atlantis, but if you want a cozier set-up try JBJ’s Call Your Name. For the ultimate camping-through-the-screen feeling, follow along with Monsta X in Newton as they drive out to a lakeside to eat, play, and relax.

Empty Swimming Pools

If you thought a pool devoid of water was without purpose, think again! An abandoned pool can convey a lonely, wistful feeling, which suits KNK’s Knock exactly right, or it can be haunting and beautiful, as in the twilight of Wanna One’s Light. Conversely, it also has the potential to be bright and colorful, which JBJ accomplishes with a crisp white pool and iridescent lights in My Flower. Unit Black turns an empty pool into an artful stage for Steal Your Heart, cutting darkness with spotlights to make it seem like a different place altogether, while Oh My Girl embraces the water theme by turning a whole swimming complex into a tropical island for A-ing. The trophy for thinking outside the box, however, goes to BTS for adding a stage to transform a pool into a concert venue in Fire.

Reverse Filming

One of the more aesthetic trends among Kpop MVs is filming a scene in reverse, and this visual effect can be used on almost any scale. When DAY6’s Shoot Me first opens you can see a broken bottle slowly knitting itself back together, matching the early beats of the song. Black Suit also starts with this effect, but for Super Junior it is a way to illustrate the chaos that erupts at a private auction. In Wanna One’s Boomerang, reversal helps underscore the title as things return to their original state, while VIXX impressively sing G.R.8.U backwards to match how the video was filmed. Finally, as a relationship unravels in forward time in Se7en’s I’m Going Crazy, we watch the outcome of this emotional betrayal as a room is destroyed in reverse.

Dancing in Water

Choreography is always a highlight in Kpop, and to make it stand out even more one can add water to the equation. Early on this was pioneered by groups like SHINee (with Ring Ding Dong) and TVXQ (with Catch Me), where they had a fairly thin amount of liquid to stomp and slide into. This method has remained popular over the years, with The Boyz incorporating it into their recent release No Air just last month, and in other adaptations groups have used water stages to display incredible routines (see VIXX’s Shangri-La). Some have forsaken sets entirely to dance in more natural water sources, such as GFriend in Love Whisper and Lay in Namanana, and in these MVs gorgeous scenery enhances the performance. A rather creative turn on this theme comes from 100%, who agreed that swimming pools were a fun location but decided to keep the water inside for their song Heart.

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