Post # 39 – International fans of K-pop are very much familiar with the names on this TOP 10 list of music videos.  A TOP 100 would have worked better, and surely would have made more people happy. For those who just recently got the k-pop bug, these ten videos are a crash course on what’s hot and trendy, as well as superbly executed.  The selection is meant to be a representation of what was going on in 2017 mostly in a visual sense. It is simply impossible to choose ten best songs, or bands, or groups, so we focused on the visual staging of some of the best songs of the year. Many incredible acts are not mentioned, while some had way more than one video worth mentioning. With that being said, we hope you enjoy the picks.

KARD makes it into the 10th place with “You in Me”. The video is haunting. The four members of the group have amazing chemistry.  There are not many mixed groups of ladies and gents, so they stand out through their concept as well as through their beautifully matched vocals.

HEIZE gets the 9th place with “You, Clouds, Rain” a graphically beautiful video almost entirely filmed in black and white, featuring Shin Yong Jae. The song is subtle but powerful at the same time.

The eighth place goes to China’s most beloved Korean son, JACKSON WANG and his song “Papillon”. For those familiar with Jackson, it is obvious that the excesses shown in this video are veiled in humor. Taking a short break from his group GOT 7 for a solo album, the rapper lets his imagination go wild in all the colors of the rainbow for this video.

On seventh place we listed WANNA ONE with their beautiful song “Beautiful”.  The very young group can’t help but make pretty videos, crying ‘I miss you so much’ while performing a routine infused with ballet moves, even through the rap sections.

The slightly older young men from MONSTA X take the sixth spot with their very successful “Dramarama”.  The video is a complex story of survival, friendship, hardship and turning-back-time, intertwined with their explosive dance routine. Monsta X is one of the hidden gems of K-pop with a very bright future, already showing that they are capable and eager to get all away to the top.

In fifth place comes JUNG YONG HWA, with the song “That Girl”. At barely 28 Yonghwa is a veteran of K-pop-rock. He is the leader of the band CNBLUE, with a strong solo career as well.  A Korean “Despacito”, this video is incredibly fun to watch; the song is infectious; Yong has some cool moves; and his interaction and flirting with the audience on the other side of the screen is shameless. Special props: the song is an own composition, and as a band member playing several instruments, he rarely dances.

Fourth place goes to TAEYANG, member of Big Bang, for his solo album song “Darling”. Despite his fierce look, Taeyang is a true romantic.  The song is pure romance, more on the deep passion side, which he easily highlights through his outstanding dancing skills.  The video is stunning. Filmed partially in Alaska, the scenery does his voice justice and vice-versa. “Darling” is just one of the many superb Taeyang videos out in 2017.

Third spot belongs to TAEMIN for the song “Move”. This member of the group Shinee has developed an impressive solo career. Taemin has been many times named the best K-pop dancer, and with good reason.  This video shows what he is capable of. Braking stereotypes, Taemin worked on a choreography that is not gender specific. Through his approach he is turning a big page in K-pop, taking more freedom of expression and turning k-pop dancing into a new form of art.

The silver medal goes to BTS. Their remix of “MIC Drop” is impressive, their success is impressive, their dance moves are impressive, and we are running out of words in the vocabulary to express what their raise to international fame means for K-pop. There are many more songs and videos of BTS that could be on this list, but there is only space for one. What Aoki gives BTS is the spectacular drop to go with their wild moves, and obsess club-goers worldwide. What BTS gives Aoki is an ARMY.

The top spot on this list belongs to Kwon Ji Yong, aka G-Dragon, the genius of K-pop, for his song “Untitled 2014”. The video was filmed in less than two hours.  It is powerful through its simplicity, full of emotion, highlighting the slender and vulnerable figure of the singer paining for his past love. Composed a few years back, the song saw the light of day in 2017 becoming an anthem in South Korea where it incessantly resounds from doors and windows. While other songs come and go, Untitled 2014 lingers. The red tint of the video and of Ji Yong’s clothes has spilled into the world, influencing fashion trends.  This is the power of GD, and this is one of his masterpieces.

Author

“A long and sinuous Silk Road unites all our cultures, a road full of colors, hardships, and hopes. If given the chance to travel this road over and over again, overlapping images would melt into a warm human fabric, full of labor, sweat and dreams. This fabric inspires my work. Its resilience is my hope for a common road into a harmonious future.” Ellie Perla

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