KOREA-CANADA BLOG 2018

Unusual Themes in Kpop MVs III

MV creators have always found ways to make their videos stand out, and it’s not surprising that some great ideas catch on as trends. Yet there are a number of stylistic choices that seem a bit mysterious, from those that don’t match up quite right to the song to those that are embraced wholeheartedly by a swath of artists despite their oddities.

With so many MVs being released every month, it can be a lot of fun to look at how various groups have different takes on similar concepts. It’s natural that some themes will cross over, but I find it particularly fascinating which ideas catch on like wildfire. Let’s explore a few popular – and often strange – patterns in Kpop right now!

Flying Cars

Harry and Ron may have done it first, but Kpop stars have embraced flying cars with enthusiasm – and a lot of creativity! GOT7’s Jinyoung takes the classic approach by casually driving a teal car straight into the sky to drift along the clouds in Lullaby, while MXM playfully careen through space in their retro-feeling Diamond Girl (and end up with a parking ticket). In Ko Ko Bop, EXO members watch a car drive and suspend itself of its own accord, while for WJSN’s Secret, a car is a rocketship that can travel at warp speed – perfect for futuristic missions and life in the galaxy. And if you want to see what happens when the car takes the protagonist on an adventure instead of the other way around, check out Key’s unexpected blast in Forever Yours.

Laundromats

Most of us don’t associate doing laundry with a good time, but leave it to Kpop to turn laundromats into something a little more magical. If you’re Dino from Seventeen or Bitto from UP10TION, you like to spend time contemplating life and dancing or rapping in a laundromat, as they do in Don’t Wanna Cry and Attention, respectively. In BTS’s Spring Day, the members spend time waiting for their laundry together as part of the scenes of their daily life, and then progress to literally sitting on a mountain of clothing. BLACKPINK’s Whistle aesthetically places Lisa and Jennie in a small laundry room, which Jennie then upgrades to visiting a full-blown laundromat – albeit in a dramatic fashion – in her debut track Solo.

Encountering Yourself

If you’ve ever wondered what it might be like to meet yourself, you’re not alone – this is another common exploration in Kpop. In Can You Feel It, Pentagon members sit down across from themselves at a long table in challenge, while Infinite members face their reflections until they split off into actual beings in Bad. Lucente unknowingly square off against their doubles in Your Difference, while Cross Gene actively (and violently) take out their duplicates in Black or White. A more whimsical take can be found in Siren, where Sunmi’s reserved side meets her siren side and they display two halves of her personality. One of my favorites, however, is the way that TRCNG play with a mirroring concept to explore the different aspects of oneself and how to reconcile them in the aptly named Spectrum.

Fish

Fish can be diverting pets (or delicious meals) and aquariums are beautiful, but the Kpop version of life with fish is a level above. J-hope wakes up to a room swimming with fish in Daydream to set the tone for his fanciful MV. N. Flying shoot for the comedic with their tale of fishing for something a little different in The Real, while LOONA’s Jinsoul features an entire fish store experience in her Singing in the Rain MV before she herself dives in. NU’EST’s Good Bye Bye starts with a fish, which JR picks up and eats – but don’t fret, it’s back in the bowl by the end (and quite unharmed). Finally, between the real (safely bagged) fish hanging from the ceiling, fluorescently colored graphical fish, and iridescent fish superimposed over the final scene, NCT U’s Yestoday covers all fishy possibilities.

A Series of Mirrors

Filming with a multitude of mirrors is wildly popular in Kpop at the moment, and whether simple or complex, it delivers a great effect. Twice and VAV both use mirrored hallways to their advantage in Fancy and Thrilla Killa respectively, while Everglow opts for prism-like mirrors to display members in a kaleidoscope-like array for Bon Bon Chocolat. In Seventeen’s Trauma, the hip hop team performs in a room that gives the appearance of infinite mirrors and splits them into dozens of copies. Pristin V plays with a mirrored bench seat and a wedge-like mirror set to create a circular effect for Get It, adding a camera rotation to match. Perfectly suited to this motif is SF9’s recent comeback Enough, centred around the story of Narcissus and featuring layered mirrors, mirror rooms, and a tunnel-like split mirror effect.

If you’re looking for more unusual trends to spot, check out Part I and Part II!

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