With all this time at home and a cascade of summer comebacks, it’s easy to find yourself watching dozens of Kpop MVs. As always, I can’t help but notice when many groups decide to adopt similar concepts and ideas – even if they are a little strange!
If you want your MV to stand out, then being creative or even eccentric can be a strength. Whether you’re trying to tell a story or evoke a certain aesthetic, props can be powerful tools to communicate your artistic vision to the audience. Today let’s look at some props that have been popular recently and how Kpop is using them in new ways!
Piles of Chairs
Chairs might seem like a simple prop, but Kpop directors have turned stacks of chairs into an art form. In AB6IX’s Breathe, a tangle of chairs serves as an aesthetic backdrop for Daehwi’s solo shots, while the haphazard pile of desks and chairs in NU’EST’s Face highlights the anti-bullying message of the song. Youngjae chooses to use chairs to tie his set and choreography together in Forever Love, as they are employed in both. In OnlyOneOf’s savanna, Mill rests against a stack of chairs that, in a sudden cut, are alight with fire. EVERGLOW’s Bon Bon Chocolat shows a progression from a lone, empty desk and chair to a massive tower of them, which the members then climb atop. For the main stage of CIX’s My New World, an assortment of chairs are assembled behind them to set the scene, but even more chairs are suspended in the air to cast evocative shadows.
Whether rendered in CGI or appearing in real life, animals are a popular inclusion in many Kpop MVs – and some of my favorites are those that pick exotic animals. In VIXX’s Scentist, they add mood and mystery with a chameleon and a snake, both of which are held by members on their shoulders. Rocket Punch playfully treats the CG leopard in their Bim Bam Bum video as if it were real, watching it tread past them as they hold their ending pose, while MAMAMOO’s Hwasa isn’t afraid to go face to face with her leopard before settling comfortably together in the same room in Egotistic. For NCT 127’s Mark, a tiger becomes his companion on the city streets in the English version of Regular, and unsurprisingly, G-DRAGON goes the extra mile to have a real baby tiger and baby bear in his One of a Kind MV. BTS’s epic ON MV features Namjoon standing with many different animals in a clear Noah’s ark reference. And the most whimsical of all is LUCY’s Jogging MV, where the members start to see animals of unusual size and in unusual places.
In the age of smartphones, telephone booths tend to have an old-fashioned appeal. In A Song Written Easily, ONEUS’s Hwanwoong makes a call from a classic red phone booth, while in B.A.P’s Where Are You? the members hilariously wait in line while Daehyun chats away in a phone booth on location in London. For ASTRO, the telephone booth is a perfect representation of their song All Night (or “Call Me” in Korean), where Rocky tries to connect with someone but seems to fail. VICTON opts to use one aesthetically in Time of Sorrow, with Subin standing inside a phone box set against a gorgeous nighttime view of a river. CRAVITY follows a similar path for their single Flame, where the main set is a barren landscape full of abandoned items and a telephone booth is among them. In Sorry Mama, DKB edges towards a futuristic feel, placing their phone booth at the edge of a roof that overlooks a mirrored cityscape. For The Boyz, a telephone booth is both setting and prop, as in No Air Sunwoo sits atop one for the daytime shots and New makes the most of the nighttime shots by singing in the booth, using the phone, and later sitting on its floor as butterflies flit around him.
Sight and vision are definitely strong themes to work with, and blindfolds can help draw attention to the line between seen and unseen. In BTS’s Blood, Sweat & Tears we have the classic scene of Jimin, blindfolded and tethered to a wall but reaching desperately for something beyond him. BLACKPINK goes in the opposite direction in How You Like That, where Jisoo casually removes a beautiful sheer blindfold covered in bright flowers. D-CRUNCH and DONGKIZ play with an eerie concept of rough, large bandages that almost cover one’s whole face in Pierrot and Beautiful, respectively, while Pentagon take it up a notch for Dr. Bebe, where Yeo One is both blindfolded and tied up in fabric strips. For ONEUS, blindfolds help to emphasize their transformation from kings to unearthly creatures in the epic fantasy tale of Come Back Home. In A.C.E’s debut song Cactus, even the styling is centred on blindfolds, so not only are the members bound and blindfolded but they also sport strips of cloth on their clothing to connect everything together.
Looking for more? Check out my Unusual Themes series (Part One here)!
Categories: KOREA-CANADA BLOG 2018