Millie’s Top Ten January K-Pop Music Videos
2014 seemed to start off with a sexy wave as girl groups everywhere could be seen in tiny shorts, stockings and high heels. The males also strutted their feathers with confident songs about their looks. Both genders came to tease their fans this cold January, but despite the flash of skin, many of the songs that shined were the ones that focused on the vocals. And if they could combine a sexy song with powerful vocals, all the better. The ladies might have won over this month, but 2014 has just begun.
Note: This chart is just my personal favorites and does not reflect any music video views or digital/album sales.
10. Rainbow Blaxx – Cha Cha
I have never seen a K-pop music video with so many sexually suggestive food props – and macaroons at that! Vibrant colors, royal furniture, jewels, and desserts of all sorts make up Rainbow’s first sub-unit music video. Rainbow BLAXX is the four member sub-unit, that was one of the many groups to come back this year with the sexy theme (unusually for Rainbow since they usually do the cute concepts). “I wanna feel you, I wanna love you…” The girls act seducing in this video to match the lyrics, daring them to come closer before they get too impatient. I found the song really catchy and I liked it a lot, I just wish the side story in the music video wasn’t so weird…what is it with the random jewels popping out of their mouths, and the creepy ghost lady measuring them?
9. Got7 – Girls Girls Girls
JYP debuted a new seven member boy group, Got7. After seeing their debut music video “Girls, Girls, Girls” I got a mixed vibe of old school 2pm and JJ Project (very appropriate since both groups are from JYP Entertainment). The song sounded a lot like JJ Project’s single “Bounce”, which made sense since the duo JB and JR became members of this boy group, and the back-flips and other b-boy moves reminded me of 2pm’s debut song “10 out of 10”. When it came to the song, I preferred the verses and rap portions over the chorus which seemed boring for me and the lyrics where kind of a put off. But the music video did a good job in showing of the boys’ talent, especially with the split screen style that could show both the close up of the boy’s face and the rest of the group performing the choreography. “Girls, Girls, Girls” was alright for me – but it did make me extremely curious to see what this boy group has in store for the future.
8. B1A4 – Lonely
B1A4 made their comeback with “Lonely”, a sad song about the after effects of a break-up. The music video was not that original, in fact the lonely theme after a break-up has been done quite often, but what made the video different was B1A4’s little twist – the ex-girlfriend behaved like a balloon attached to the protagonist’s wrist (Jin-young, the leader, who starred in this music video). The magical element added B1A4’s style to it. Quite opposite from their last comeback that had the boys jumping up and down singing, “Lonely” was calm, yet beautiful, fully showing off the boys’ singing abilities. A perfect, sorrowful song for the ending of the winter season.
7. Spica – You Don’t Love Me
Spica displayed their powerful vocals once again with “You Don’t Love Me”. The girls also came back with a sexy concept of their own; very retro with an over-the-top sexy act that left it more comedic than anything. From singing into toilet paper rolls, to throwing around cereal and streamers, to the exaggerated butt pads, Spica definitely stood out from the sexy singles this month. I always like Spica songs, but this one is not one of my favorites. If I didn’t hear the phrase “You Don’t Love Me” every other line, maybe I would have liked the song more. But none the less, I liked Spica’s creative music video – they always manage to make them sexy but have other interesting elements that balance them out.
6. TVXQ – Something
TVXQ also went back in the past with the jazzy title track “Something”, a confident dance song about how hard it is when all the girls want you (how very modest of you boys). The dance is awesome in this video; with the dancers holding up string props to resemble bass strings that the boys strum too (Major props to all the back-up dancers who not only preformed but made seamless transitions through all the props). The song is upbeat and heavy on the vocals. The music video plays around with mirage special effects and upside down scene changes. It was quite a change from their last two hit songs that contained heavy audio effects and present day music styles, so this single was a nice, fresh new sound from the boys.
5. Sunny Hill – Don’t Say Anything
“Don’t Say Anything” narrates the moment someone goes through a break-up; the sudden realization, the heartbreak and the tears that follow. This song is sorrowful, but has beautiful poetic lyrics and is very raw and easy to relate to. Filmed with white backgrounds and hazy focusing, and has the soft piano playing throughout the song, Sunny Hill’s “Don’t Say Anything” is a solid song.
4. Kiss&Cry – Domino Game
Rookie girl group Kiss&Cry debuted with “Domino Game”, and wow did they make a debut! Defiantly one that is easily missed because of all the big named comebacks, but these girls made a great first impression. They weren’t just sexy, but confident, and have vocals that amazed me during live performances. These girls don’t act like rookies, which makes me excited to see how they will grow in the future. The lyrics tell the story of a girl who wants to stop playing this “game” with the boy she loves, as it seems he doesn’t match the same loving sentiments towards her.
3. Girl’s Day – Something
Girl’s Day started off 2014 strong with their New Year Day release of “Something”. Following the sexy singles from the last year that gained them so much popularity with “Expectations” and “Female President”, the four girls appeared with “Something”, a sexy but sad song about a girl’s suspicions of her boyfriend’s other ‘something’ on the sideline. Vocally this was one of the Girl’s Day strongest song, but what gathered attention was their many new iconic dances; the “feather dance” where they tie feathers to their pinkies and sensually run them down their leg, the “cat dance” which mimics a cat’s movement on the floor, the teasing way they open up their skirts to give a peek of their legs and of course, the bouncing in the chorus.
2. Ailee – Singing Got Better
I don’t think it’s possible for Ailee’s singing to get better since it’s already fantastic. “Singing Got Better” is her latest song’ a powerful vocal piece that tells how a break-up improved her singing. She understood the lyrics and emotions behind a song from her own pain of a broken heart and transformed that into her strength. I love the originality of the song, and the simplicity behind it. Lee Joon from MBLAQ starred in this music video as her cheating boyfriend. Seems like another amazing song from Ailee!
1. Ga In – Fxxk U
When I say Ga In like to push the boundaries, I never thought she would take it this far – and I’m glad she did! Ga In as a solo artist likes to center her music videos and songs on taboo topics in South Korea. Her last single “Bloom” was completely about sex and female sexuality. This time around she hit on a darker note; “Fxxk U” is an emotional song about a girl in an abusive relationship, revealing that even sexual abuse can occur in relationships, and traumatic repercussions of rape. “Fxxk U” features Bumkey who sings his lines from the point of view of her abuser trying to convince her that it’s okay and to return to him once again. This song will probably be banned from music stations, not only because of the topic but simply because of the “overuse” of the word fuck. However, I hope that doesn’t stop Ga In from making more music videos like this one.
Millie’s Top Ten March K-Pop Music Videos
K-pop this year has already made so many comebacks. In March, there are many “spring” themed music videos, which means….pastel pants, beautiful scenery, and cute male and female artists, bringing out the “aegyo” they kept away during the sorrowful winter ballads.
Note: This chart is just my personal favorites and does not reflect any music video views or digital/album sales.
10. Lee Hi – It’s over
Rookie singer Lee Hi returned to the K-pop scene after her success with her debut track “1,2,3,4” with a cute music video that matches her young age. “It’s Over” is full of fresh pastel outfits, funky headpieces, stuffed animals and of course the highlight of the video being a giant blue teddy bear that symbolizes the boy Lee Hi is breaking up with (and that bares an awfully close resemblance to fellow YG artists, GD and Taeyang. A mere coincidence? I think not). And while I am not a huge fan of the jazz/soul music, Lee Hi defiantly knows how to belt out those low notes that leaves me speechless.
9. G.NA – Opps
Sexy icon G.NA returned once again with her latest single “Opps” as a…cat? (That’s right, because what’s sexier than a black cat). G.NA plays a cat that turns into a human when her handsome male owner goes out during the day. She dresses up and heads out to a club where he is at and they catch eyes, instantly feeling a connection. But before he can get too close she hurries back to change into a cat once more. By far, this is G.NA’s strangest music video (I’m even including the weirdness of the bodybuilder firemen of “2Hot” and this beats it). However, the song is cute without sounding overly sexy. And of course, before realizing all of this I spent the first couple of times watching this acting like a fangirl over BtoB’s Ilhoon who was featured in the song and music video for rap portions.
8. Davichi – Turtle
Pop-ballad duo group Davichi came back with their second studio album and two music videos; “Turtle” and “Just the Two of Us” with Turtle being my favorite of the two, due to its artistic fantasy music video that was inspired by “Alice in Wonderland”. 5Dolls’s Hyoyoung starred in the music video as a pink-haired “Alice”. As soon as vintage music box was wound up from the “mad hatter”, Alice begins to explore her surroundings. Traveling through baby-pink rose portals, following a cute white bunny with a pocket-watch, and landing in a tea party, this music video follows the familiar story line but has such beautiful visuals backing it up. The song itself is sung beautifully while telling the sad tale of a girl who finds comparison in a turtle who hides in its shell from the world.
7. Heo Young Saeng – Art of Seduction
Solo artist Heo Young Saeng came out this month with “Art of Seduction” – a very eccentric music video that shows the possessiveness of fangirls. One particular fangirl had gone past the point of no return and kidnapped her precious “oppa” (Heo Young Saeng). The music video went back and forth between the fangirl’s point of view where she somehow became delusional and really believed that he came of his own free will and was gladly partaking in her couple-like activities But in reality, it shows the same instances with Heo Young Saeng tied up and forced to please the crazy girl who kidnapped him.
6. Glam – In Front of the Mirror
Rookie group Glam came back with “In Front of the Mirror”, their new single after debut song “I like that”. And while their debut was very funny and quirky, their latest song and music video took on a more serious note. The music video shows the different members coming home; they take off their high heels, wipe off their make-up and change into some more comfortable clothing. Yet, as they do so they are sad, because in front of the mirror they don’t feel pretty and have no confidence about themselves. Glam have proven so far to be strong rookies this year.
5. Rania – Just Go
Rania came back with a new sexy single “Just Go” and only five members once again. None the less, they still brought their sexy moves and seducing stares with their new captivating music video. “Goodbye being the new hello” as their anthem, this song because very catchy and popular with the famous butt moves throughout the chorus.
4. Girl’s Day – Expectation
Girl’s Day made a 180 degree turn with this new comeback. Known for their over the top cute “aegyo” songs, Girl’s Day came back with a more serious note with “Don’t Forget Me” and now their latest “Expectation” has the girls giving sexy looks to the camera with their suggestive moves. But even with this drastic change, the girls pull of this mature concept with their red lipsticks and signature “suspenders” dance. The song talks about a girl who is captivate by a guy she is determined to make come after her.
3. 2am – One Spring Day
2am always have beautiful music videos to match their beautiful voices, with “One Spring Day” being no exception. Yet, their ballads usually bring sorrowful messages along with them. “One Spring Day” is about a long-term couple that just broke up and the man does not know how to get over this break-up (because he still cares deeply about the girl he was with), and decides that he has to leave behind the memories and traces of her in his life. This music video stands out among the rest for being a “spring” themed video with snow falling.
2. U-Kiss – Standing Still
Underrated U-Kiss came back once more with “Standing Still”, the title track to their third full length album. A simple dance music video in which the U-Kiss boys are homeless (once again) in an abandon building, in agony over the girl who is just watching him burn (figuratively, not literally!). The song, dance and music video are all simple in comparison to U-Kiss’s previous work but the song still finds a way to get stuck in my head at odds times of the day. And this was the song where member AJ returned after taking a six month break to study in the United States.
1. Infinite – Man in Love
Number one on the charts and number one in my heart ( shh, don’t tell Shinee and U-Kiss…), Infinite came back with “Man in Love”. And if you could not already tell by the title, the song and music video both portray young men in love; from waiting for a text message, to planning a surprise event, to buying her gifts or making her food, the boys show cute ways that they would please the ones they are in love with. the song fit perfectly with the rest of Infinite leaving them with their very consistent track record. The dance group did not fail to disappoint with another great, complicated dance, and in the traditional K-pop style had funky clothing, weird hats and pastel pants. Oh yes, and there was an adorable kitten that rivaled the boys as being the cutest character in the music video.
Anticipation builds as the “Countdown to Lee Min Ho” continues. March 10th is coming up soon! I see no has has come up with any great gift ideas. Thanks.
“City Hunter” is Lee Min Ho’s big Action Drama, proving that Romantic Comedy is not the only genre for which he is well suited. City Hunter, the modern day Hong Gil Dong, righter-of-wrongs, dark hero and wounded vengeful soul, is the hero of an action-packed Korean adaptation of the Japanese novel by Tsukasa Hojo.
Storyline/Synopsis: My rating 8/10
The story begins with high impact action and drama and seldom slows down. The drama literally opens with the Lee Yoon Sung’s difficult birth and goes on to tell the story of how the country’s highest officials betray his father and his father’s fellow elite soldiers. Lee Yoon Sung (Lee Min Ho) is kidnapped as an infant after his father’s death by his father’s best friend, Lee Jin Pyo (Kim Sang Joong) and is brought up as part of an elaborate revenge plan against the government. Episode 1 is jam-packed and lays down a sound foundation for the storyline that follows.
The adorable love triangle between Kim Nana (Park Min Young), Lee Yoon Sung and Prosecutor Kim Young Joo (Lee Joon Hyuk) is pure entertainment. In the beginning, Young Joo manages to stay one step ahead, much to Yoon Sung’s frustration. The acrimonious relationship between Yoon Sung and Young Joo evolves and matures throughout the episodes into an complex and interesting connection. The interaction and development of their characters is one of the better side stories seen in recent dramas.
The surprising twists that develop in the last few episodes are worth watching for.
Script/Acting: My rating 7/10
Lee Min Ho and Park Min Young worked quite well together as the main duo. Lee Min Ho successfully created a difficult character: driven for revenge, yet reluctant to kill, skilled at manipulation, deception and seduction, yet pure in motives and desires. While Park Min Young’s character did not require the same depth, the consistency of a well-acted part throughout drama was commendable.
My favorite giraffe from ‘Running Man’, Lee Kwang Soo plays Go Ki Joon, who is, as usual, a socially inept but loveable character. Seasoned, veteran actors galore are strewn throughout the cast as the 5 ‘villains’ and Lee Yoon Sung’s poor, pathetic mom and others. In fact, for the most part, this is an ‘all-star’ cast.
The story lost some of its energy in the last episode, as the last of the 5 conspirators is due to be brought to justice. I feel the problem is due in part to the fact that viewers empathize with this particular cohort and are loathe to see him brought down too far. Sympathies began to swing against our hero, at least for me, which made for troubled viewing.
Drama clichés spotted: dead parents; obligatory shower scene (really, who’s complaining?); in some respects it’s still a poor girl / filthy rich guy, but that’s certainly not the point of the drama; and is it me or is it becoming a thing for Lee Min Ho to wash and /or dry his woman’s hair?
Cinematography: My rating 7/10
Well-choreographed fight scenes, amazing action stunts, and cool settings (the Thai jungle?) all factored into to a viewing experience that proved worthwhile. The masterful use of lighting make many scenes more than memorable. And it’s not just Lee Yoon Sung who gets to fight with the bad guys and drop from high buildings – Kim Nana’s got some serious moves! Ninja girl!
Music: My rating 8/10
Lots of good music in this OST, including some really great instrumentals – “Nana’s Theme” being my favorite. It’s a soft, slow, piano take-off on “Cupid” (see below): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FG-XOlQ2pcQ
As for the vocal pieces, we have:
“Sarang” Kim Jae Bum http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nXUDGXl9mXo
“So Goodbye” Jonghyun (Yep, from SHINee) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8LYjToGNKCQ
“It’s Alright” Yang Hwajin http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5nRhz_DbEOs
Bouncy, cute and fun: “Cupid” Girl’s Day http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UsIFTuYfysI
“Suddenly” Kim Bo Kyung http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7KStsjgqkAc
“Lonely Day” J Symphony http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jSXpZ-xAvAk
Great Ballad: “I Only Look For You” Park Gyuri http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_rFEdaJustw
“You and I” Rainbow http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kI2S6U9bvZo
“Can’t Stop” Son Han Byeol http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3RZfVsXnz8
“I Love You, I Want You, I Need You” Apple Mango http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8QMwVksgu0I
“I Love You, I Want You, I Need You (Sweet Acoustic Version)” Goo Hara http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1Njid41Rp8
Various versions of “City Hunter” are currently available on iTunes.
Overall Charisma: My rating 8/10
While ‘City Hunter’ is not my favorite action drama, it is definitely a drama to put your must-see list. I give it well above average marks in cinematography, music, acting and script. The overall feel of the drama is also very good with the viewer anxiously anticipating the next episode, rooting for antagonist and protagonist alike, feeling angst over the inevitable unfairness of life. Heavy sigh.
However, despite the charisma, I found myself emotionally unmoved until the second to last episode. I’m not sure if the characters lacked the compelling nature required to really draw me in or if the script itself lacked the dramatic appeal or force necessary to command my emotional response. The ending is also somewhat weak in relation to the strength of the rest of the script.
That said, I have watched this drama three times, so the previous statements have not lessened the overall appeal for me to the extent that it has prevented multiple viewings!
And really, where else are you going to see Lee Min Ho riding an elephant?
Happy Drama Watching!