Playlist Sunday: Dystopian K-Pop Music Videos

dystopian K-pop playlist

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.


4 K-Pop Songs Casting ‘Harry Potter’ Spells


K-pop may be crazy about “Harry Potter.” The most popular work of fiction in the past era has been, without a doubt, the “Harry Potter” book series. The popular book and film series inspired some of Korea’s top musicians to write songs featuring “Harry Potter” tropes.

XIA Junsu “Tarantallegra” (2012)

When one of the best singers in K-pop tells you to dance, you do just that. The title of Junsu’s “Tarantallegra” is taken from the spell that makes people’s feet dance uncontrollably. The song was Junsu’s first as a soloist, and the title of his first solo album. It’s a dramatic song and music video, with a rap by Flowsik, and Junsu lives up to the name of the song by putting on one of the best dance performances in the history of K-pop.

The song makes it very clear that music is everything for Junsu, as shown by the repetitive question, “what music would you listen to?” and “tarantallegra, be intoxicated with music.” The lyrics were written by Junsu’s twin brother Juno, giving it a deeper personal touch for himu. And as for the music video, well, there’s a magically beautiful woman who makes an appearance when Junsu decides to change things up. Without a doubt, “Tarantallegra” is a piece of wizard art.

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Jo Kwon “Wingardium Leviosa” (2012)

A fast paced, techno dance song from the leader of 2AM was the total opposite of the group’s usual vocally expressive songs. However, the ever flamboyant Jo Kwon is a perfect fit for the bright dance song. Although it wasn’t the title track on his “I’m Da One” album, “Wingardium Leviosa” is built around a “Harry Potter” spell.

In “Harry Potter,” “Wingardium Leviosa” is a levitation spell that helps objects fly. And to Jo, that means an opportunity to play around. “I will make you fly” and “Let’s fly over there, follow me, let’s try, memorize this spell” are pretty straightforward lyrics, but Jo goes above and beyond and turns the spell into a verb, “The mood is wingar.” Whatever that means, we love it and want to be feeling it.

IU “Obliviate” (2013)

Soloist IU is as great as usual in a Latin inspired song “Obliviate.” With whispers of the memory removal spell, the meaning of the song is clear from the very beginning; the singer would like to remove her memories of a past relationship after it is over.

IU takes a bitter take on the spell, singing, “In the end, I cast the nonse spell of making bad memories disappear and having good memories stay” in a tone of voice that implies that it’s an impossibility. “Head, obliviate, heart, obliviate,” she sings. While other artists use “Harry Potter” for inspiration, IU’s song is the epitome of all of us “Harry Potter” fans out there, who wish we could use our favorite spells in our daily lives.

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Crucial Star “Owl” Feat. donutman

Crucial Star’s song is about working hard and being a pioneer to inspire others. and not quite as obviously based on “Harry Potter” as the previous songs in this list. But with a line like “I cast a spell like Harry, ”Aparecium, Alohamora, there’s no doubt that the lyrics take inspiration from “Harry Potter.” According to Harry Potter Wiki, Apercium is the revealing charm “that forces invisible ink or other hidden messages to appear,” while Alohamora is one of the first spells introduced in the Harry Potter series and is used to unlock locks.

And, as a fun bonus, even though it’s not a song, here’s Super Junior-M’s Henry getting yelled at on “Strong Heart” for mispronouncing Hermione’s name.

Which K-pop act do you want to make magical songs with? Share your picks in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.