Millie’s Top Ten August K-Pop Music Videos

Millie’s Top Ten August K-Pop Music Videos 

More fun summer tracks, with the return of the solo artists! SME, JYP and YG have recently focused on the debut of the solo artists, and I can’t decide which is my favorite, they are all good. Henry came with his follow-up track “143”, Kang Seung Yoon made a 180 degree change from his rocker image with “Stealer” and Sun-mi made her return to the K-pop scene as a solo artist with the captivating “24 Hours”.

10. Ladies’ Code – Hate You

Ladies Code - Hate You

Ladies’ Code debuted earlier this year, but this girl group caught my attention with their second single “Hate You”. As titled, this song is about hating the one who broke your heart, but at the same time, hating yourself for still being in love with them. This theme is clearly represented with the creepily artistic music video. Ladies’ Code is dressed up as dolls, and they are surrounded by dolls that inspired their “looks” for the music video. In the dark and gloomy background settings, the girls are destroying the dolls (in a similar fashion as how little boys destroy their sister’s dolls, by burning them or pulling them apart); but everything that they do to their dolls happen to them.

9. M.Pire – Can’t Be Friends with You

M.Pire - Can't Be Friends With You

Six-member, rookie boy group M.Pire (pronounced “Empire”) debuted with “Can’t Be Friends with You” on August 1, a debut song that is worth a listen to. The music video has a vampire theme – with props and costumes inspired by the gothic elements of the undead; a dark setting to match the angry message of the song. Finding out that the girl they are dating has been using them as a “safe” option while they flirt and date other guys. They scoff at the girl’s request to stay friends because they know it’s just another web of lies.

8. Kim Hyung Joon and Kota [Sunny Hill] – Always Love You

Always Love you

This collaboration was done well; nothing necessarily original with the whole “summer love” theme of cute and cheesy dating scenes (ie. Sharing ice cream, camping with friends, water fights). But still, the voices are beautiful, the lyrics are pure and whole-hearted, and this song is just a simple (but great) addition to any K-pop summer mix.

7. Nu’est – Sleep Talking

Nu'est-Sleep Talking

Nu’est came back with “Sleep Talking” – a colorful new look from their more mature songs and videos. In the video all the boys are sleep in what seems to be some type of experiment and are all experiencing similar dreams – chasing this beautiful girl that always seems to be getting away and disappearing. She is the optimal dream girl that vanishes when they wake up. The choreography for this video is fun and matches the sleep theme perfectly – from the back-up dancers forming a make-shift bed, to the alarm, nodding off and yawning dance moves, this dance becomes a literal translation to the phrase “sleep walking”.

6. Lunafly – Hey Fox

Lunafly

K-pop artists often go on location to shoot their music videos. Lunafly was not so different, except they went to a unique vacation spot; Tunisia, Africa. And to add to the unusualness, they talk about a different kind of love. They are in love with a bad girl, a girl with a prickly attitude. He knows he shouldn’t love her, but he can’t help but be attracted. As beautiful as the music video was filmed, it matched the feel of the song but not the meaning behind it.

 5. Seungri – Gotta Talk To You

Seungri - Gotta Talk To You

Making his long awaited comeback, Seungri returned with his album “Let’s Talk about Love” that already received a lot of love from his dedicated fans. His title track, “Gotta Talk to You”, fits with his past songs and style of music, which was a pleasant surprise for me because I rather like his style. Darkly lit, with blurred scenes and blinding lights, Seungri gives the opposite of summer with this sexual (creeper?) song (he IS watching a girl though a glass box insisting on talking to her).

4. Sunmi – 24 hours

Sunmi-24 hours

Former member of Wonder Girls, Sunmi made her debut as a solo artist this month with her single “24 Hours”. Sunmi has made a strong first impression; not only is “24 hours” a great song but it has a wonderful music video, with a sexy provocative feel I’ve only seen present in BEG’s music videos. The song expresses the frustration of their only being 24 hours a day she can spend with the man she loves. The symbol of time is shown with the cinematography of the video, as some moments speed up while others slow down, all of sensual and romantic scenes of Sunmi and the lead male actor. Another aspect that makes this debut unique is that the performance is done barefoot.

3. N.CA – My Student Teacher

N.CA- My Student Teacher

The drama version of “My Student Teacher” stars Girl’s Day Hyeri as the love-struck high school girl who is in infatuated with her English student teacher. She sits back quietly with her puppy-dog love, taking pictures of him during their lectures secretly and trying to do anything to get this attention, from changing her appearance to studying harder to ace her tests. Nothing works until another student comes across her cell phone and shows everyone, including the student teacher, all the pictures she had taken of him. Mortified, she runs off crying and the music video ends with a surprising futuristic plot twist.

2. Kang Seung Yoon – Stealer

Kang Seung Yoon - Stealer

YG Solo artist Kang Seung Yoon debuted this summer with “Wild & Young”, but the soft and mellow “Stealer” is what won my heart over. A Romantic fantasy video with the giddy sensations of a love returned. Fields of flowers and computer added effects of love make this video an artistic pleasure to watch, and a cute creative take on a popular theme. Kang Seung Yoon calls his girl a “heart stealer” – because she has won him over completely.

1. Henry – 143

Henry-143

A cute follow up song by SME’s new solo artist –Henry’s “143” is a song that manages to capture the feel of summer by being light-hearted and danceable. “143” expresses the modern day way of communication: texting. And as accommodating as this method is for the dating world, it also causes a lot of confusion and miscommunication with the vague interpretation that come from the simple worded messages. Confused as to what the girl is trying to tell him (via text messaging), he reverts back to the “old school” method of pagers and their teenage terminology, finally sending the message “143” meaning “I love you”.

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[BIBIMBEATS] Why We’re Obsessed: What to love about YG survival showdown “WIN: Who Is Next?”

YGWhoIsNext

I’ve never been a fan of Korean talent shows. Sure, watching JY Park’s all-too-enthusiastic reactions on KPop Star is entertaining. And the fact that The Voice Korea got big names like Kangta and Leessang’s Gil in judges’ chairs is impressive. But the reality is you can only listen to stiff covers of 2NE1’s “Lonely” so many times before it loses its luster, and the one-per-episode elimination pattern gets redundant after a while. Despite producing many more star singers than their American counterparts, Korean talent programs have become something of a dime a dozen. But then YG Entertainment CEO Yang Hyun-suk announced the premise of new boyband competition “WIN: Who Is Next?” and things started looking a little more cutthroat.

“WIN” introduces viewers to two groups of boy trainees – Team A, a group of five with the average age of 20, and Team B, six trainees averaging at around 17 years of age. Some trainees are familiar faces recruited from previous talent programs, while others have trained under YG for years, living apart from their families with the motivation that one day they would finally debut. Both teams had no idea about the competition until CEO Yang revealed it to them in the first episode. At the end of the year, one team will be chosen by viewers to debut under the name ‘WIN’. The other team will be disbanded, some returning to training and others losing their contracts entirely. The trainees that had once practiced alongside each other are now teams put against one another. The stakes are high, and knowing that the YG is preparing to pull the plug on some hard-working trainees’ dreams is as torturous to watch as it is addictive.

What initially drew me into the competition was the sheer talent of YG’s rapping trainees. Surely if you’re sharing a label with the likes of GD&TOP and Epik High, being able to rap and rap well is something of a prerequisite. The most buzzworthy rapper is Team B’s 18 year-old leader B.I. Far before being recruited as a trainee, B.I first got a taste of fame collaborating with MC Mong for the 2009 single “Indian Boy”. Now a teenager, his experience and confidence have given him wisdom enough to lead Team B, both producing tracks and choreographing for the group. Team A leader Song Mino is also a rapper worth watching. At 21 years old, he grew up in the underground hip-hop scene with idol rapper Zico. Like Zico, Mino was originally going to debut with Block B before alleged contract issues. Seeing B.I and Mino battle it out as both talented rappers and disciplined leaders is such a huge element of the show, as it seems like the moment you prefer one, the other does something that resets the bar.

The presence of former talent competition contestants also makes the show exciting. Over the summer, Superstar K2 semifinalist Kang Seung-yoon already enjoyed a solo debut through the company. However, on “WIN”, he trades his acoustic guitar in for a studded snapback and performs as a member of Team A, creating quite the juxtaposition. Seung-yoon could start off an episode preparing for a solo stage on M Countdown only to end it completely failing CEO Yang’s expectations for the month’s group assessment. Team B’s Koo Jun Hoe started off as just another contestant on the first season of KPop Star before being picked up by YG after the ending of the show. Having already faced public rejection on a previous program makes being a part of “WIN” an all-too-familiar scenario for him, something CEO Yang reminds him of throughout the program. In fact, having such past experiences is a constant theme for both trainees, a source of both anxiety and motivation during team challenges.

The changing themes keep the program varied and interesting. In addition to learning about the different trainees’ talents and backgrounds, the show begins each episode with a new challenge for both groups to work on. In one, Yang Hyun-suk brings in Taeyang and G-Dragon as coaches to each team, working with the trainees directly and teaching them a routine to present in competition at the end of the episode. In another, the teams meet with trainees from JYP Entertainment, battling it out through vocal, rap, and dance performances in something of a ‘label war’. The challenges in “WIN” take the otherwise well-honed trainees out of their comfort zone, often resulting in both new highs and new lows for the competing teams.

Personally, I love Team A’s mature image as much as I love Team B’s wild image. When watching an episode, I always envision how great it would be if YG just debuted them as one giant part-B.A.P, part-EXO supergroup. The response so far from viewers seems pretty split down the middle, but with good reason. It’s hard to see such promising talents and know that some of them won’t get a chance to debut. The optimist in me won’t rule out a twist ending, but of course, only time will tell. In the meantime, stay strong, fellow “WIN” viewers. As for Teams A and B, we’ll see you at the finish line.

US Fans: MNET offers full episodes of “WIN: Who Is Next?” on their official YouTube Channel complete with English subtitles. Check them out here.