It’s no secret that K-pop is full of futuristic elements, and sometimes that future is bleak. This week’s Playlist Sunday features a variety of K-pop music videos that offer up a dystopian take on things. Whether it’s a bleak, post-apocalyptic world or a police state, K-pop doesn’t really think that this world is going to end well and we have a lot of dystopia to deal with. But this dark view of things has given us some of the most creative K-pop music videos of all time.
Not only is B.A.P known for their forceful sounds but also for their lyrics and influential messages that they convey to the listeners and public alike. The lyrics are, if not, even more powerful than the tunes itself. “Badman” lyrically and visually shows a side of reality that we as citizens sometimes tend to brush aside, much like this world’s corrupted governments. People only see what they want to see instead of trying to dig out the hidden meanings that’s been tucked away on purpose. “The despair that I hear in the darkness. The world that is ridden with fear,” sings B.A.P. It’s hard not to see what’s going on in the world everyday. Yet we turn the other way and ignore the fact that, although all these arising issues may not be affecting us directly as individuals, there are things that are ineed affecting and disrupting the society that surrounds us. What good will it do if we keep looking the other way, not batting a single eyelash, as if all the wrongs in the world will naturally go away on it’s own? B.A.P wants you to know that they too, see and hear everything that’s going on, but unlike some, they’ll be the ones to take things head on and fight for what’s right, right then and there.
INFINITE is one of my favorites and they are famous for their in sync dances. Since their debut, they have been striving hard to produce unique music. In January 2011, the band released the music video for “BTD (Before The Dawn).” While many of the fans and viewers are only familiar with the dance version of this song, “BTD” has a dark take on things. This dystopian music video shows the members imprisoned in an inescapable place, where a person has to kill another in order to free himself. Being friends, none of them are willing to harm each other. The lyrics describe the situation really well: I can’t let go like this, it’s suffocating. And I don’t know what to do….. I want to have you in the end no matter what. The members further question why they ended up in these circumstances? The title and music video of the song emphasizes on leaving this place before the dawn. The music video got +19 rating for being too violent. The group’s agency, Woollim Entertainment, stated that its intention was to visualise the inner conflict of the characters in the video, and not to display gratuitous violence.
Not many groups can pull off a dystopian concept well, but as mentioned above B.A.P certainly can. Their 2012 release “POWER” is a song filled with loud instrumentals and a forceful performance from the group in all aspects, singing, dancing and rapping. The accompanying music video is appropriately dark and graphic, filled with backdrops of war vehicles and fire. The whole video serves to bring out their strong lyrics, a call for action against the people who are oppressing and filling our world with lies. We got the power. Fight against them and don’t look at me with your angelic face. Everything is a lie. There’s probably no better fight song for a revolution than this.
If we’re talking dystopian, you can’t go without a casual mention of XIA Junsu’s “Flower.” The song itself is a fabulous, haunting track featuring Epik High’s Tablo, and all about finding light in the darkness. (It’s also the second collaboration of the two, since their equally dystopian AnyBand music videos.) The music video keeps the eeriness of the song, and transposes it into a post-apocalyptic world where Junsu is the god in a crumbling world. The world is quite literally falling apart as the devil dances, so to speak, with a king who doesn’t care about anything other than his own haven amidst a ruined world. There are hints of an anti-nuclear message (the mutated fish) from Junsu, but the whole music video is full of symbolism against excess, even towards Junsu himself, even while he is clearly on top of his game as a member of JYJ and a former TVXQ member. There are questions of innocence, there are questions of morality. It’s an artistic, philosophical take on the K-pop dystopian music video and we love it.