Thoughts on IU & Suga’s ‘eight’

Animated image of IU looking out a plane window in the music video of "eight" by IU and BTS's Suga.

I don’t really know what “eight” is about, but while listening to it there was a lot flying through my head. IU and Suga have both been longtime loves of mine, people whose music I often turn to when I’m sad and need to find kinship in the music of those who have put their feelings and thoughts on adulthood and life into the world. Many artists do it, and, of course, I listen to many others, but this pair are two I especially turn to time and time again when I get introspective. So when they announced their collaboration, I knew immediately that it would be devastating and something I seek solace in. Once I read that the song by the soloist and the BTS rapper-songwriter is about their feelings of being 28 (as per Korean age reckoning) and the latest in IU’s series of age-based reflective singles, I knew I was going to be spending a lot of time thinking about it once I heard it.

Waking up this morning to a text from a friend about whether I had heard the song yet, I sat there staring at my phone. I couldn’t. I knew I needed to shower and have coffee before I was remotely in the mental space where I could absorb it; I have been having a lot of sleep problems lately, and I knew that I wasn’t in a state of receptiveness for something I was sure was going to make a sizable impact on me. That was a bit of a mistake on my part, though, because as I was checking my email and Twitter while making coffee I inevitably saw other responses to the song, and went into it and its music video with some preconceived notions, the most notable one being, based on a series of connections audiences had made, that the song is about Sulli and Jonghyun, two stars IU was close to before their untimely passings, both of whom have relations with the number “eight”: Jonghyun’s birthday was April 8, 1990, and Sulli and IU were friends in the public eye for eight years.

Watching the music video, I feel inclined to believe that there is the potential of that interpretation being intentional, considering that IU’s “Love Poem” similarly felt reflective and, more importantly, the animation adds to this theory: the cartoon IU exists in reality, on a plane crying, while watching the fantastical view of another woman flying around on the back of a dragon after the futuristic, real-life IU tears up when the woman jumps onto the dragon’s back. The woman she’s looking upon is clearly not IU herself; she doesn’t have the singer’s iconic beauty mark. Is she Sulli? I don’t know; she too had a beauty mark and the animated woman does not. But it feels like that’s who she is an allusion of, similarly to how the dragon is a near-reference to Jonghyun’s well-known dinosaur-like features. Does this mean the song is about the pair, and that’s who the woman and the dragon are representing? I don’t really know; I may be looking too deep into it and they’re mere representations of childhood whimsy that’s been left behind. We won’t really know unless someone who worked on the song and/or music video lets us know that, but I’d like to think that they’re homages to the pair, with the song’s lyrics expressing how beautiful goodbyes take place in memories.

The girl and the dragon in IU and Suga's "eight"
The girl and the dragon in IU and Suga’s “eight”


While I wouldn’t put it beyond the pair to dedicate the song to the duo of beloved individuals, and I’ve thought much of the same about other recent songs from IU, I’ve spent a lot of the morning (it’s around 2PM as I’m writing, but I woke up at 10:30am so… don’t judge) thinking about how the song may not, or not only, be about lost loved ones but also lost selves, with “eight” serving as a reflection of an apparent conversation between the self of the present and the self of the past, an individual who travels between memories. In fact, even though I already had the idea that people were interpreting “eight” to be a memorial song, this was what took up the forefront of my mind as I was watching the music video for the first time; I could see the connections to the lost pair, but I was drawn more to the allusions I saw towards the past of IU herself.

Not only are the lyrics reflective, poignant in the way they look back on the past, but the music video jumped out at me with what I thought might be intentional references to past IU music videos, such as with the white dress she wears not only reflecting the color of mourning in Korean culture but also the dress she wore in “Mia (Lost Child)” while the maroon shirt with a peter pan collar immediately recalled what she wore in “You&I,” which fit in the trend of IU self-referencing past releases in her work. While watching again, I also saw glimpses that reminded me of “Palette” and “Twenty-Three,” but I couldn’t decide if I was looking too hard for a pattern.

In “eight,” IU is singing about being “forever young” and happiness, and the music video begins with her actively choosing to save her memories; it’s unclear based on the futuristic setting whether she’s offloading her memories to a storage system entirely, or merely saving them beyond her own mind because they’re something of value that she wants to make a backup of. Either way, the interpretation can align with the emotions expressed in the song, about how memories are beautiful things that remain “forever young,” the way they were, as memories crumble into the sands of time, with only the “sandcastle” of memory, as Suga adds, impermanent and impossible to recreate in the exact same way, with the exact same specifics, ever again, both wonderful and poignant.

To be honest, I haven’t watched the music video for “eight” enough times, and I haven’t listened enough times yet. In part because there’s no such thing as “enough,” and in part because I constantly reassess art as I interact with it in different moods, and that’s the most wonderful thing about art, in my opinion: it changes and shifts as we as humans do. I’ll probably watch a few dozen more times before the end of this week, as I try to get lost in the artistry rather than in my own thoughts. “eight,” like so many IU and Suga songs, make me think about how we, as humans, interact with our thoughts and memories, how those memories shape how we interact with the world, and how everyone’s interpretation of memories and the past is different, so I wanted to turn some thoughts into words before I lost this stream of consciousness as I found comfort, and contemplation, in “eight.”

What are your thoughts on “eight?” Let us know 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.

SHINee’s ‘Good Evening’ music video & ‘The Story of Light’ EP.1’ album review

It’s been 10 years since SHINee debuted, a top-notch and versatile boy group that soon became one of Korea’s biggest pop acts of the late 2000s and 2010s.

Flash forward to 2018, where SHINee returns in the wake of the loss of the group’s fifth member, 27-year-old Kim Jonghyun. Jonghyun took his own life in December 2017, leaving behind remnants of his profound struggle with depression in a letter posted on social media.

But SHINee’s comeback music video titled “Good Evening” and album The Story of Light EP.1 reprise yet another seamless and moving presentation. It’s not an album nor a music video that wallows in the pain of what came before; it’s instead an everlasting memorial. In fact, one of the most breathtaking aspects of all is that SHINee returns with not simply four members but five, standing strong in light of Jonghyun’s passing as well as remembering him as he was.

The Music Video

The first six seconds of the music video are brief. In fact, if you simply watch with a devil-may-care attitude, you could miss it. However, you can see it, a vacant chair positioned with purpose for a member who is not eternally gone but always will be.

It’s a brief moment but nonetheless it hurts. Because it’s a clear and beautiful sentiment; it’s a chair seemingly left for Jonghyun.

Yes, it’s painful. But it’s a metaphysical message, saying that Jonghyun isn’t actually gone; his essence is still there.

Regarding aesthetics, Key returns with a white bandana as he flits from blonde hair to pink. Taemin greets us with plush pink lips, a Gucci T-Shirt and deep maroon hair. Onew sports tangerine orange hair, while Minho walks with class in pinstriped decor.

Their comeback music video for “데리러가” (Good Evening) places them in a kaleidoscope of color paired with an ambiance of flickering TV screens and old time movie projections. The four of them pose and prance like kings as video cameras surround them to capture their glory.

The choreography and vocals work together to create a succinct and tranquil atmosphere, a space that is also simultaneously filled with tension and wonder. And as they move, the miniature TV screens mimic in an unsteady haze.

The visuals feel intricately complicated but not in an intrusive way; it’s mesmerizing to watch. In fact, the barrage of colors and light help create a remarkable world built and solely composed by the kings themselves. And what the viewer witnesses isn’t solely based on sadness.

Also on KultScene: (G)I-dle’s “Latata’ Song Review

There are scenes of laughter and playful banter, as the group members run under rays of sunshine, sequences that feel genuine and strong. Pair this with moments of desperation, where the members can be seen frantically moving under water, attempting to reach the lover in question. This sense of urgency proves an inspiration for fighting against all odds to reach the one you love.

The Song

The song itself is a pulsating beat intertwined with glossy vocals reminiscent of a dream. Vocally, it’s an instant and unmistakable throwback to ‘90s R&B, mixed with a compilation of new age sound. Because frankly, this is the era in which SHINee has always excelled.

Think back to the fifth album, 1 of 1, or Odd, the fourth album. Both created an atmosphere filled with intricate beats not quite familiar with today’s diluted and exhausted compositions. And with this album — The Story of Light EP.1 — they’ve done so yet again. Because SHINee’s songs take us there, to fantastical worlds beyond our comprehension, making the music they create eternally stick with you.

It should be noted that the song and overall melody are clearly inspired and arguably sampled from the 1997 hit — “Cupid” — written and performed by contemporary American R&B group, 112. The sampling and SHINee’s retelling or reinterpretation work well together, inciting nostalgia while also taking us toward a brighter future.

As the song reaches its climax, Key whispers:

I can feel we’re looking at each other through this door. Let’s see … your eyes, nose, lips, cheek.

Also on KultScene: Eric Nam Talks “Honestly…” & Aspirations in Fanmeet in Singapore

His mournful cry paired with the pre-chorus is a powerful sentiment:

너무 늦기 전에 너를 데리러 가
Before it’s too late, I’ll come pick you up.

This strong affirmation could be interpreted as a message for Jonghyun or an unreachable lover, and says that no matter what obstacles arise and no matter how far the distance, nothing will keep them from reaching the one they love. And even though it’s a race against time as the 달빛 or “moonlight” approaches, their passion for the lover in question or the brother they will always love, is of cosmic proportions and cannot be broken.

What’s even more miraculous, is if you listen closely it’s almost as if you can hear Jonghyun’s voice riddled throughout both the album and the music video, a faint distant memory begging to be remembered.

And to be honest, this is a song that forces one to confront his or her demons or whatever emotional pain that lingers in waiting. The song operates as a necessary catharsis for allowing emotional bandwidth to take hold, even if just for a moment in time.

The Album

Transition to the group’s sixth album The Story of Light EP.1, a six-track EP that’s filled with both an embolden SHINee as well as songs reminiscent of the group’s past releases.

While “Good Evening” serves as a dreamy pop ballad, “All Day All Night” and “Undercover” both serve as a cross between hip-hop and electro pop. “JUMP” takes us back to the sound of SHINee’s 1 of 1, where suddenly we’re taken back a few decades to ‘90s pop.

The EP concludes with “You and Me,” an uplifting track that talks about memories past that features lyrics written by Key. It’s also a song that talks about the difficulties of moving on even when the pain one feels inside is completely unbearable.

아픈 건 나뿐이야
괜찮아 보이겠지만
네게 뛰고 있는 내 맘은 장식이 아냐

I am the only one who is sick
Although I may seem okay
The heart, which is beating toward you, is not a decoration

The love that is felt for the person in question is genuine and unbinding in spite of how much the pain consumes one’s psychosis.

The Message

The Story of Light EP.1 poses as a strong resolution and signifies the next chapter of the SHINee’s journey.

Because SHINee’s back, not just with four members, but five.

  • "Good Evening"
  • The Story of Light EP. 1

What do you think of this SHINee album? Share your thoughts 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.

Red Velvet’s ‘Peek-A-Boo’ song & music video review

red velvet peek-a-boo peekaboo mv music video song review

By Alexandra DiBenigno

Red Velvet returns to the K-pop music scene with the release of their spooky new song, “Peek-A-Boo,” off their second full album, Perfect Velvet. The group has been busy this year, releasing multiple singles like “Rookie” and the summery hit song “Red Flavor.” But, the girls throw away their cute image for a newer, darker one in their latest track, which will surely be on the top of everyone’s fall playlist.

red velvet peekaboo gir peek-a-boo review mv song

via kibaems @ Tumblr


The latest single by the five-member girl group demonstrates each member’s strength, while also showing off their strong harmonization skills. The song has a funky beat highlighted with a strong bass in the background and usual club house beats used commonly throughout their music. However, Red Velvet diverts from the usual by carrying the chorus with their heavenly harmonization and repetitive “peek-a-boo” line, bringing a singable chorus that many international ReVeluvs (their fandom name) to enjoy.

Yeri’s rap especially shines, with the maknae (youngest member) finally given multiple lines and showing if off with quick lyrics, seamless flow, and an overall strong delivery. Joy and Seulgi’s lower vocals bring a sexy addition to the already club boppin, mature song, while Irene delivers her usual strong rap with ease. Throughout the song, the main vocalist, Wendy, flaunts her impeccable vocals without actually overtaking the song, as was seen in “Red Flavor.” Instead, each member is given the opportunity to display their vocals or rap without any one individual hogging the spotlight. Overall, the song has fair line distribution, something ReVeluvs will surely appreciate.

red velvet peekaboo song gif mv peek-a-boo

via leaderirene @ Tumblr

“Peek-A-Boo” is a well-balanced song that includes obvious K-pop tropes, while keeping to the unique style that the girls have perfected after three years of successful comebacks. While this might not be everyone’s cup of tea, it’s a step in the right direction for the group as they continue to mature and leave their girly image behind.

Also on KultScene: Monsta X’s ‘Dramarama’ song & music video review

Music Video

red velvet peek-a-boo gif peekaboo mv

via the-overdose @ Tumblr

Overall, the music video is one of Red Velvet’s finest, showing off unique cinematography and filtering, plus sparkling outfits and eerie imagery. With obvious Halloween vibes, outfits, and settings, it’s a shame SM Entertainment didn’t make the decision to release the video prior to Oct. 31st because the music video screams “K-pop Halloween fun!” But, regardless of the release date, “Peek-A-Boo” is a fun homage to old-time scary movies and is the perfect transition video as the fall season winds down.

red velvet peek-a-boo gif review song mv peekaboo

via sowonis @ Tumblr

The music video is unusually violent for a girl group, with guns, knives, and razors being seen throughout. Not to mention that what seemingly appeared to be a storyline about a group of women who enjoy the thrill of new love, yet quick leave their men behind when it got boring, ended in a plot twist about them maybe disposing of the pizza delivery guy and a bunch of others.

The choreography is, as always, quick, difficult, and catchy. The girls never shy away from a challenge when it comes to their choreography, and this latest single is no different. Irene and Seulgi shine in the center during the chorus, both showing off the exceptional choreography that Red Velvet is always known for during their comebacks.

red velvet peekaboo peek-a-boo mv gif

via leaderirene @ Tumblr

With endless symbolism and imagery, their latest music video is surely to leave an everlasting impression on viewers and showcases the girls’ immense talent.

Also on KultScene: 6 Highlights from BewhY’s ‘The Blind Star’ Los Angeles stop


Red Velvet have grown as a group throughout the years and always bring a fresh, new style to each comeback that stands out amongst other K-pop girl groups. In comparison to their earlier singles this year, “Peek-A-Boo” showcases a maturer side to the group, both musically and physically. Previously, the group had showcased a sultrier sound through their “velvet” concept, mainly the R&B songs. But this track is the first where we see them actually drawing from both sides and make magic together. Released in February of this year, “Rookie” embodied the common imagery seen throughout K-pop girl groups, with frills and bright colors being displayed throughout the music video. Although slightly less evident, the summery hit “Red Flavor” still showed a younger, girlier side, too. But, with this latest single, the members have become women and aren’t afraid to show it off by incorporating sexier vocals and imagery, whether through their expressions or clothing. It’s a refreshing, and overall more appealing side to the already unique group.

While “Peek-A-Boo” can be seen as their sexiest comeback, Red Velvet still makes sure that their vocals, raps, and talents shine through whatever clothing or dance moves they might be displaying. It’s a song that appeals to both Koreans and international music fans alike, and enable them to continue to stand at the forefront as one of the strongest girl groups in K-pop.

Red Velvet’s ‘Peek-A-Boo’

What do you think of Red Velvet’s latest comeback single? Let us know your thoughts in the comment selection below! Be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all the K-pop news.

Monsta X’s ‘Dramarama’ song & music video review

monsta x dramarama review song music video mv kpop k-pop

Monsta X returned to the K-pop scene on Nov. 7th with “Dramarama” off of their fifth mini album titled The Code. This is the third comeback from Monsta X in 2017, after releasing “Beautiful,” “Shine Forever,” and “Newton” earlier this year. The title track intertwines distinctive guitar riffs to create groovy instrumentals and blends them with the group’s signature hip-hop sound.


On a regular basis, it takes a couple of listens for me to capture the vibe of a song. With “Dramarama,” I was able to enjoy it after listening to it for the first time. Compared to the group’s previous title tracks like “Beautiful” and “All In,” which have been strong and in-your-face, this track has a funky vibe, thanks to the prominent guitar instrumental.

“Dramarama” is a stepping stone for the septet, showing a new side to listeners. It’s steadier than their previous title tracks, which have been fast-paced. It starts off at a steady pace, playing along with the guitar riffs, added by vocals. The build-up from the pre-chorus, led by Hyungwon, is a great transition into the chorus. The chorus is catchy, and I enjoyed the rap section because of Jooheon’s grittiness and I.M’s deep tone.

What I enjoyed about this track is the way they were able to attempt a different sound that is usually hip-hop with a mixture of EDM, but keeps the aggressive style Monsta X is known for. It was surprising to hear this type of sound from the group, since it’s something that listeners are not used to hearing from them.

Also on KultScene: Taemin’s ‘MOVE’ song & music video review

Music Video

The video for “Dramarama” explores the theme of time traveling and the price that comes along with it. The plot revolves around Kihyun, Minhyuk, and Wonho discovering a watch that allows them to time travel. It centers primarily around Kihyun, who goes back in time to save Jooheon’s life after a car accident, while Minhyuk is taken back to an alley where both he and I.M are being chased by men in dark suits, and Wonho goes back in time to kendo fight with Shownu. As for Hyungwon, it seems he’s a time traveler who skips around time to help the others by giving them the watch to fix or do something in the past.

Along with “Beautiful,” this is one of the group’s best videos to date. The symbols that are included within the video like the watches, the clue on the newspaper suggesting that Hyungwon is a time traveler, the voice over stating the watches are not allowed in first few seconds in the video helps viewers understand the storyline. But there are more questions that I have. What is the story behind Minhyuk and I.M’s friendship? What is the connection between Wonho and Shownu’s characters? Why is Hyungwon’s character so important?

The song and video relate to each other because in the song, the members talk about trying to figure out their “drama” with someone. In the video, Kihyun, Minhyuk, and Wonho are attempting to figure out their dilemmas by using the watches to prevent tragedy, win battles, and reunite with a longtime friend.

Between the narrative, choreography is included, where the members are dancing inside a tunnel, decked out in a mixture of red and black ensembles. Even though the video focused more on the narrative, I enjoyed the dancing, especially the shoulder shimmy and the little milly rock that Jooheon, Kihyun and Minhyuk do in Jooheon’s rap section.

Also on KultScene: The story of LOONA: ODD EYE CIRCLE


Monsta X has shown excellent growth this past year when it comes to music, and “Dramarama” is a good example of that progress. Compared to the other tracks released this year, which have been edgy and glitchy, “Dramarama” is slightly toned down. They are known for their powerful tracks and performances, so it’s refreshing to see a slight change in this song, while still fusing their original style into the track. Hopefully this will be the song that will encourage the group to experiment with different sounds in the future.

Monsta X's 'Dramarama'

What did you think of “Dramarama?” Are you liking this new vibe Monsta X are going for? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below. Be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Tumblr to keep up with al

DAY6 explores love & friendship through recent ‘Every DAY6’ releases

The end of 2017 is fast approaching, and with it comes the near conclusion of DAY6’s ambitious monthly project. Titled Every DAY6, the first band from JYP Entertainment released two songs every month beginning in January, and released their first full-length album “Sunrise” at the midway point in June.They’ve kept busy, and also held monthly concerts in Korea as well as fan-meets all around the world, and will be embarking on a North America tour in October.

While the music videos for most of the songs released as part of Every DAY6 have separate storylines and concepts, with the exception of “You Were Beautiful” which was a sequel to 2015’s “Congratulations,” the band seemingly chanced upon a winning formula in August. Their school-based music video that practically featured a love rectangle received much attention online, especially as fans tried to figure out the complex relationships between the members. The quartet also started to display their acting chops and had a great chemistry with the main female lead, which fans appreciated. Pre-planned or not, this led to an entire trilogy based around this plot, spanning into the music videos for September and October as well, creating what felt entirely like a youth melodrama.

Every DAY6 August: “What Can I Do”

The story starts off in a powerful and lively manner, backed up by Young K’s striking bass riff, which characterises most of the song. This first music video introduces the characters of each DAY6 member: Young K is the badass who has zero regard for what others think of him; Jae is the nice guy who is best friends with the female lead; Dowoon is the popular but moody student who just wants to sleep; Sungjin and Wonpil are long-time best friends. The relationship between the last pair became contentious throughout the music video however, as Sungjin gradually falls in love with the female lead and Wonpil observes his friend from afar. His bystander stance and facial expressions are kept carefully ambiguous and unreadable throughout the video, leaving fans to come up with theories about whether Wonpil had a one-sided crush on Sungjin as well.

Of course, the love square gets even more complicated when the female lead starts to fall for Young K instead, with the song and music video ending off unresolved, both musically through imperfect cadence and in terms of the storyline, since three characters basically ended up with one-sided loves, thus setting the stage for the sequel to this drama.

Also on Kultscene: DAY6’s ‘I’m Serious’ Song & Music Video Review

Every DAY6 September: “I Loved You”

As if to signal the calmer nature of the plot, the song begins with bird chirping noises, which was actually live-recorded by the band. Whistle sounds also distinguish this track right off the bat, as do its verses, which are definitely the most musically interesting parts of the track since the members use unique singing styles for each verse. The story takes on a sweeter and more emotional tone in this video, beginning with Wonpil pondering over his relationship and feelings toward Sungjin. Young K and the female lead develop an adorable bickering dynamic, despite Young K still not being interested in her, while Jae gets a love interest of his own in the form of a lady working at a coffee shop. Young K and Dowoon develop the second shippable bromance of this series when Young K saves Dowoon from getting hit at an arcade and the two class loners bond together at a convenience store.

The nature of Wonpil’s affections towards Sungjin become clearer in this music video however, with the “couple” keychain that the two have being a symbol of their relationship. The forlorn expression on his face in the epilogue of the music video when he realises that Sungjin left their couple keychain on the bus in his haste to run to the female lead says it all. Sungjin on the other hand, oblivious to Wonpil’s feelings, takes a brave step towards confessing his love to the female lead. This significant decision was marked by the most beautiful and heartbreaking part of the song, Wonpil’s high pitched “Loved You” at the end of the bridge.

Once again, the music video ended on a cliffhanger, with fans left wondering how the female lead would respond to Sungjin’s confession…

Also on Kultscene: NYC Goes ‘Wild’ Over K.A.R.D in Part 2 of Their First American Tour

Every DAY6 October: “When You Love Someone”

…and this is where “When You Love Someone” picks up. Released earlier than usual on the 29th of September due to South Korea being off for the Chuseok holiday, the music video begins with where “I Loved You” ended, but does not continue the scene immediately, rewinding instead to three days prior. The video returns to the other DAY6 members in their daily lives outside of school, starting with Dowoon. While his budding relationship with Young K was not explored further in this video, his life as a rich but extremely lonely man was fleshed out, adding to the more melancholic nature of this song. Jae continues his cute crush on the coffee shop lady, while Young K and the female lead finally make progress in this video when the female lead defends him when he gets into trouble working at a convenience store. He starts to see her in a different light from then on, possibly indicating that her love would soon be reciprocated (in future videos?) Sungjin and Wonpil enjoy some couple moments, wandering around music shops (of course this would be their favourite place) and even having a “Falling Slowly” moment.

Sungjin however, spots Young K and the female lead together, and realises that she would never like him back. Once again, this occurs at the bridge of the song, which is always used effectively in DAY6 music videos (at least in the ones with storylines) to signal a transformation or an attitude change in the characters.

The video skips back to the beginning of the video, as Sungjin musters up the courage to confess to the female lead. With the new knowledge he has about who she likes however, it’s not the hopeful confession fans were expecting in “I Loved You,” rather it is a painful confession on Sungjin’s part that he made knowing that he would get rejected anyway. The way he tries to smile before walking away sadly and the way the two best friends comfort each other in quiet companionship made for a bittersweet conclusion to the video, which ties in perfectly with the sad autumn release. Sungjin getting his keychain back which symbolizes their restored relationship reduced the sadness of the video. I personally really do hope that this music video series continues, maybe up till the end of the year.

Several musical elements stand out in this track, beginning with Wonpil’s keyboard melody in the intro and verses. In particular, the harmonies, which are more predominant than usual in DAY6 songs, add a clear contrast to the melody in the pre-choruses, perhaps illustrating how we sometimes have to hide our true feelings to avoid hurting the people around us (case in point: quietly suffering Wonpil). The syncopated rhythm also creates a laid back atmosphere, which forms the base of the tune as the members show off their individual singing styles, proving why Jae professed this as “a song with many killing parts.”

In all, DAY6 has showcased a variety of musical styles throughout the year. Regardless of the continuity that this music video series has provided over the past three months in terms of directing style and storyline development, the band has continued to diversify itself with their relentless experimentation through different rhythms and instruments. With two more releases to go for the year, I’m looking forward to what the band has to show and am waiting in anticipation to see if this complicated relationship-filled story continues.

Have you been keeping up with Every DAY6? What did you think of the releases so far? Share your thoughts 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.

Wanna One’s ‘Energetic’ song & music video review

wanna one energetic produce 101 review song music video mv broduce kpop k-pop

Korea’s “national” boy group has finally made their grand debut. On Aug. 7, Wanna One released their upbeat EDM title song “Energetic” to the public. After being chosen by the public on the second season of Produce 101, the 11 members are ready to take the K-pop scene by storm with their charm. The title track was chosen by fans by voting between “Energetic” and “Burn It Up.” “Energetic” won the public vote with over 2,227,041 votes.

wanna one gif energetic mv music video song

via kimsjaehwan @ Tumblr

Also on KultScene: K.A.R.D’s ‘Hola Hola’ song & music video review


“Energetic” was produced by Flow Blow and Hui, a member of Cube Entertainment’s newest male group Pentagon. Hui and fellow Pentagon member Wooseok wrote the track. Notably, the duo also wrote the Produce 101 song “Never,” which did pretty well on the charts and was performed by most of the current Wanna One lineup. “Energetic” talks about the love of two people who have an instant attraction to each other, and how it sends sparks between them.

The song starts off with the sound of a piano, which is perfectly represented in the choreography, with the boys emulating playing a grand piano. We hear Minhyun’s vocals first, then Seongwoo and Jihoon’s vocals follow in. Seongwoo kicks off the chorus, which is strong and distinct. The chorus alone adds an extra punch, with the help of him leading the first couple of lines.

wanna one energetic choreography gif choreo song mv music video

via ong-seungwoo @ Tumblr

The line distribution in big groups is always tricky, especially a group with eleven members. Of course, members with stronger vocals will get more lines. On this particular song, it could have been a bit better if Jisung and Jihoon were given more lines. Guanlin receiving fewer lines is fair, since he is still learning Korean and the fact that the group has two other rappers. Daniel’s rapping was a surprise to me because I wasn’t expecting it, but he held his own and did a good job. Jaehwan and Sungwoon’s voices were showcased very well, which helps them stand out to listeners.

The response to the track has been overwhelming. After one hour of its release, “Energetic” went to number one on Melon and six online music charts, earning the group their first all-kill.

Music Video

The video gives a playful and relaxed vibe between the members. There were scenes of most of the members being pushed around inside grocery carts, spraying each other with water hoses, playing tee ball, eating doughnuts, knocking down plastic bowling pins while on a skateboard, and other fun antics. The choreography, for its part, is very strong in the scenes where the boys were decked out in denim. As aforementioned, the scene at the beginning where the boys formed a human piano stands out because it showed a lot of creativity.

wanna one energetic gif piano choreography choreo song mv music video

wanna one energetic choreography choreo gif piano mv music video song

wanna one energetic piano gif choreo choreography mv music video song

via kimsjaehwan @ Tumblr

Also on KultScene: KultScene’s K-Pop Unmuted: July roundup [podcast]


Wanna One is looking to be one of 2017’s successful rookie groups, which comes as no surprise due to the popularity of the members thanks to Produce 101. “Energetic” is a strong song to debut with, given it shows their charm. Just like I.O.I, Wanna One’s time is finite, given they’ll only promote for two years, so it will be interesting to see what they can show us within that time length. For future comebacks, it would be nice to test out different sounds, but keep that boy-next-door concept they have. Overall, this was a solid debut and makes us all look forward to what Wanna One keeps having in store for fans to see.

Wanna One 'Energetic'

How did you like Wanna One’s debut? Share your thoughts in the comment section below. Be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

12 visually appealing K-pop music videos

aesthetically visually pleasing kpop k-pop music videos mv mvs

K-pop is often too hastily branded as being overwhelmingly bright and obnoxiously over the top as far as music videos go. While some videos certainly do still fit this stereotype, K-pop has evolved into so much more. Creating music videos has now become an art form in its own right. Whether it’s boy groups or girl groups, rappers or solo vocalists, badass or cutesy concepts, all of these videos have one commonality: they’re all gorgeous to look at and therefore visually appealing.

1. “Star” by Heize

While slightly less successful than her collaborations have been, Heize’s “Star” is truly a visual masterpiece. Set in a childlike bedroom floating through space, the video has a very ethereal glow to it. Everything from the singer/rapper’s wavy hair to her bedroom sparkling with nightlights of all kinds, is covered in a pastel haze and highlighted by glitter. It expresses the concept of solitude as well as the space theme in a subtle way without taking either aspect too far over the top. This gives the video a peaceful and simple feeling, which stands out even more through its contrast to the dark night sky in the background.

2. “Don’t Believe” by Berry Good

Berry Good’s “Don’t Believe” marks the point where the group (finally!) took a step away from the overly cutesy concepts that they had done in the past with releases like “Love Letter” and “Angel.” Even though this video certainly doesn’t break any boundaries, it does give viewers something a little more interesting to look at other than girls dancing around in pretty white dresses. This includes the girls solemnly eating a meal of laceleaf flowers, rubber duckies floating in mysterious pink drinks, and watering cans raining pink paint. Very few of these elements make any sense regarding the meaning of the song, but that’s the beauty of an aesthetic based music video, they don’t have to.

3. “Home” by Ailee

Even the Queen of K-pop Vocalists herself has fallen victim to the neon overload side of the genre with videos like “Don’t Touch Me” and “U&I.” As fun as these videos are, it’s always nice to see a more sleek and subdued side of Ailee like she presents in “Home.” From her luxe velvet outfits to the gilded mirrors to the marble statue heads, this video is nothing if not beautiful. Whether she’s dancing with her crew or writhing around in the water, Ailee gives off a distinctly vampiric vibe. The video is dark and sophisticated and lush, what’s not to love?

Also on KultScene: The sonic identity of K-pop girl groups: the birth of a new generation

4. “Chained Up” by VIXX

Vixx has many interestingly filmed music videos, but “Chained Up” is one of the most well done. The rooftop shots as well as the close-ups of the members’ eyes bring a sophisticated beauty to the video that is often missing from boy group music videos. Lead vocal Ken’s setting stands out in particular. Surrounded by exotic flowers, this gives the video, otherwise draped in chains and metallic tones, a softer and more colorful side. Director GDW’s (Great Director Watanabe) devotion to the aesthetic of this video is clear to see by the amount of detail put into each scene.

5. “Love Me Right” by EXO

While the athletic football uniforms may be the most memorable part of EXO’s “Love Me Right,” it has so many other beautiful aspects to it that are often overlooked. Neon lit rooms, colored smoke, and snippets of grayscale filming just to name a few. The members show a sensitive and tender side to themselves in this video, that is while they’re not stalking around in football pads. The smoke and the nature shots give it an almost otherworldly feeling that makes viewers want to step right into it.

6. “Sweet Girl” by B1A4

B1A4’s “Sweet Girl” starts off in a retro club with the members prepared to start performing on the stage. It’s clear from that moment that this is going to be a much more aesthetically pleasing music video than some of their others. Each member has their own theme:, maknae Gongchan’s Prince Charming theme and lead dancer CNU’s magician theme, for example. While all of the settings are beautiful and very detailed in their own ways, leader Jinyoung and lead vocalist Sandeul’s themes stand out the most. Jinyoung’s gauzy and tropical Peter Pan-esque fort and Sandeul’s cotton candy wonderland truly shine in this video.

7. “Wee Woo” by Pristin

Formerly known as Pledis Girlz, the full 10 member group recently debuted under their new name Pristin with the bubbly single “Wee Woo.” In this video, the girls take the classic school girl concept and elevate it with unique aspects, like poster plastered walls, flashing police lights, and exploding milkshakes. What it lacks in cohesiveness, it makes up for with bright colors and pure playfulness. Scenes such as leader Nayoung’s indoor rain shower, vocalist Yuha’s neon exercise room, and sub vocalist Xiyeon’s ghostly visitor are what set this video apart from others sharing the same concept.

Also on KultScene: 8 misheard K-pop lyrics pt. 7

8. “She’s A Baby” by Zico

Occasionally with his solo music, the leader and main rapper for Block B chooses to show fans a softer side of himself. Aesthetically similar to his video for “I Am You, You Are Me,” Zico’s newest release is a pastel dreamland that does not disappoint. The video has a minimalist design to it but the bright pastel color palette keeps it from coming off as stark and cold. The filming is what adds the most, aesthetically speaking, to the video. Birdseye views, profile shots, and even Zico filmed as if looking through binoculars all keep the video fresh and exciting as it frequently switches perspectives. Zico’s love interest is the focus for some of the most interesting scenes, from her being pelted with multi-colored ping pong balls to her knitting a sweater with oversized yarn. This video definitely takes more than one viewing to catch all of the beautiful little details.

9. “Navillera” by GFRIEND

While most of their prior music videos followed the typical sweet schoolgirl concept, GFRIEND’s “Navillera” finally gives viewers a chance to see the girls in a new and unique setting. Being set in a retro roller rink gives it a vintage feeling without losing its freshness and youth. The video has a warm coffee colored tint to it, offset by the group’s soft pastel outfits. The filming focuses in on little details, such as the plaits in vocalist Yuju’s braids or the pleats in their skirts, which enhances the beauty of the video and shows how much focus was put into the aesthetic of it. Everything, from main dancer Sinbi polishing her trophies to the group sitting by the poolside to even the choreographed scenes, is arranged so that it’ll be the most visually pleasing to viewers.

10. “Sugar and Me” by San E & Raina

Korean rapper San E and Orange Caramel’s Raina released this junk food overload of a video a little less than a year ago. The main focus, however, isn’t so much on the two artists but rather on IOI’s Doyeon, who plays the main character. Aside from the hazy pinkness of the video, the most aesthetically pleasing aspect are the incredibly well shot scenes of all the delicious food Doyeon is devouring. Chocolate cake, cherries and whipped cream, sprinkle covered donuts; it all looks like you could reach through the screen and take a bite. The standout scene would have to be when Doyeon is shown eating food in reverse, a fun effect that is both a little unnerving and addicting to watch. As far as visually appealing videos go, this is not one to miss. Be careful though, multiple viewings of it may give you a cavity.

11. “You & Me” by Kisum & Jooyoung

Unpretty Rapstar Season 1 alum Kisum and soloist Jooyoung teamed up to make this irresistibly catchy song and the spring-like music video to go with it. The prettiest scenes in this video focus on rapper Kisum and her soft, ethereal beauty that’s accentuated by scenery filled with pastel colors. Whether she’s playing with bubbles on a private rooftop or listening to music on a set of school bleachers, normal and rather boring settings are given new life through fun colors and quirky props like bright yellow umbrellas and ice cream-shaped cellophane balloons. One scene in particular stands out near the end of the video, in which Kisum sits with a small flower held in her mouth while several water pistols are pointed at her head. Backed by any other song or displayed with any other color scheme, this would have come off as rather morbid but in this video it seems to fit perfectly.

12. “Shooting Love” by Laboum

Up until “Shooting Love,” Laboum’s music videos had been low budget and rather low quality despite the potential they had. This was the video that finally allowed Laboum to shine to their full potential and used its unique visuals to catch and hold viewers’ attention. Everything from the settings to the members’ outfits and even their hair was colored in bright blues, vivid reds, and neon pinks. Bejeweled guns and flower-covered spyware turned these girls into deadly assassins with a cute, Kawaii flair. This design choice not only put a fun spin on the typical femme fatale concept, but it also added the visual appeal that their previous videos had so greatly lacked.

What’s your favorite aesthetically pleasing K-pop music video? Let us know your picks and thoughts in the comment section below. Be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

Monsta X’s ‘Beautiful’ song & music video review

On March 21, Monsta X released their energetic and heartfelt song “Beautiful” and, paired with its equally beautiful music video, it might just earn them their very first music show win. Ever since this young group debuted in 2015, they’ve increasingly improved their talents and proven that they are not a group to be ignored.


This is one of Monsta X’s most musically cohesive and infectious songs yet. At times, the rap verses of K-pop songs can feel forced or too intense for the song they’re featured in. Thankfully, that is not true in this situation. The falsetto-heavy chorus pairs very well with rappers Jooheon and I.M’s hard-hitting lyrics. All of the members’ talents were also nicely showcased in this song without any of members seemingly overshadowing the others. Main vocalist Kihyun shined as always, but we also got a nice look at the vocal abilities of members like Minhyuk and Hyungwon — whose talents may be overlooked at times.

This song was pretty heavy handed in its use of EDM and, while that can tend to be overwhelming if not done correctly, it works to its advantage. The electronic beats in the background allowed the members’ choreography to really be the focus when they weren’t busy singing. It’s nice that Monsta X have seemingly gone back to their debut sound but with the maturity that has come with their growth as artists.

Also on Kultscene: CNBLUE’s ‘Between Us’ music video & song review

Music Video

Monsta X does an excellent job at producing exciting music videos that instantly catch the attention of viewers, and this one was no different. The video is reminiscent of those from “The Clan” series (“All In” and “Fighter”), but with more symbolism and less of a storyline. Each member got their own themed room that highlighted the strong visuals of this group.

“Beautiful” is a lot more aesthetically pleasing than some of their previous videos like “Rush,” and it was nice to see a more subtle side to the group. The only criticism is that it would’ve been nice to have a stronger plot, or at least for it to not have been quite so difficult to figure out what was going on.

Also on Kultscene: KCON 2017 Mexico’s M! Countdown Day 2 Concert Recap


This is one of Monsta X’s strongest comebacks yet and it will surely gain them the popularity and respect they deserve. “Beautiful” is a song that portrays the strengths of every member. Vocalists Shownu, Wonho, Kihyun, and Minhyuk’s harmonizations and falsetto give the song an ethereal feeling that matches the dreamy music video, while the rapper line (Jooheon and I.M.) brings it all back to earth. And, of course, no review would be complete without applauding lead dancer Hyungwon’s excellent execution of the music video’s choreography.

This is a song that works in many aspects and has the ability to succeed in both radio stations as well as through live performances. Whether it’s the choreography, the vocals, or the visuals, this release excels and inspires excitement in Monsta X’s fans (Monbebes) about what they will do next.

  • Monsta X's "Beautiful"

What do you think of Monsta X’s “Beautiful”? Tell us what you think 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.

Best Korean MVs of 2016

Music videos, or MVs, and K-pop are practically synonymous at this point, and it’s rare for a song to do well without an accompanying music video. Hundreds upon hundreds Korean MVs are released each year: sad ones, happy ones, indie ones, blockbuster ones, short ones, long ones, etc. There are Korean music videos that that make no sense, and ones that have the Best Plot of the Year and others that are just visually attractive. The KultScene staff saw a lot of great MVs in 2016, and we now present you with our personal favorites.

“Selfish & Beautiful Girl” by Block B BASTARZ

After a year and a half, Block B’s subgroup BASTARZ finally made a comeback. And while they released a couple of singles that didn’t really live up to last year’s hype, the music video for “Selfish & Beautiful Girl” made up for it. First off, it’s very appreciated when K-pop acts release music videos with an actual plot. Add that it’s quirky and fun, and you have a winner. Following the lyrics about a selfish girl the narrator is in a relationship with, the storyline follows this girl and how she annoys her neighbor for being unruly. She disrupts his sleep because she’s dancing to a Just Dance-like game. In this video game, the BASTARZ members are the characters, with each member representing a style in the song’s tempo change; from disco to hip-hop to pop. Moreover, the actress — bless her soul — while a bad dancer, her tattoos and piercings were a different sight for a K-pop video girl, but interesting nonetheless. In a time when all Korean music videos started to look the same thanks to many acts using the same directors, “Selfish & Beautiful Girl” found an ingenious, amusing way to follow the groove of the song perfectly.

— Alexis

“Blood Sweat & Tears” by BTS

Creative director Lumpens has been working with BTS ever since their debut, but their collaboration reached its pinnacle by far with the visually pleasing and highly produced music video for “Blood Sweat & Tears.” You do not have to be an art history buff to appreciate the various nods to Michelangelo and Pieter Bruegel, of which whose sculptures and paintings all depict a fall from grace. Nor do you have to understand, or even know, Hermann Hesse’s Demian, the 1919 work that inspired their second full-length album Wings, as seen by the use of recurring bird motifs and even direct quotes from the text. Every aspect serves to further ideas of temptation, freedom, and escapism that the song and the album collectively convey, thus nothing about this six-minute music video is done out of pure aesthetics. Of course, that is also not to say that it cannot be enjoyed for face value. There’s an undeniable homoerotic subtext to the plot, which is at once political and indulgent. Other cinematographic choices, such as the various uses of crimsons and other warm hues, are jarring yet arresting. This music video successfully projects the extravagant lifestyle we all wish we had, while warning us against the dangers of seduction, overall leaving room for lots of potential analysis.

— Shelley

“Carnival (The Last Day)” by Ga-In

Like the song itself, Ga-In’s music video for “Carnival (The Last Day)” is a celebration of life and death. Approaching death in a way few artists in the world would, Ga-In and her director Han Sa Min depict a joyous while reverent look at passing. This is all seen through some of the most interesting images K-pop has ever seen, particularly Ga-In’s funeral and her angelic ascendancy during her procession. Bright pastels dominate, fireworks explode in rainbows, and Ga-In dances with her umbrella as if the all the weight has fallen from her shoulders. The melancholy only remains with the living as we see Ga-In’s former lover pay his respects. Yet, maybe it is his memories we see of their time together: even he is choosing to see the qualities of life rather than the tragedy of death.

— Joe

Also on KultScene: Top Korean Music Videos of 2015

“One of These Nights” by Red Velvet

The Korean title of Red Velvet’s first single of 2016 is “7th Day of 7th Month,” referencing the Korean lunar holiday Chilseok and its tale of separated lovers. But rather than depicting a romance-driven storyline, the music video for “One Of These Nights” is a bit of a mystery. Bright colors contrast with dreary sets, the members are surrounded and flooded by water, and there is what appears to be an ethereal, woodsy afterlife where some members don white, the traditional Asian color for post-mortem shrouds. But the video’s subtle references to 2014’s Sewol Ferry accident, which took the lives of over 100 high school students, makes “One Of These Nights” all that more poignant: references to the Sewol and the tragedy appear throughout the sets, while the five Red Velvet members appear to take on abstract portrayals of the victims and survivors. It’s an ambient, thought-provoking, and altogether beautiful work of cinematography.

— Tamar

“Hard Carry” by GOT7

The entirety of GOT7’s “Hard Carry” music video is strikingly attractive; from Jackson’s sleeveless outfits and quick one-two, his “let me just casually lift up my shirt” scene at the beginning, to a white room filled with lively green (and not so lively brown) pine trees. Even when it was dark and you could barely see the members faces and all that is visible is the fire lit up behind them, it’s visually appealing. No to mention the neon lights during the dance scenes are captivating. Overall, the videography, combined with the meaning of the lyrics, portrays the effort one must take to “carry” the team, as seen in the the scene where all the members dive into the water in order to “save” Jinyoung. However, more than being solely visually attractive, the music video together with how they employed the lyrics into the theme is a proper representation of what GOT7 is all about: teamwork, helping each other out to strive collectively.

— Tam

“11:11” by Taeyeon”

While not the regular dance-visual overload that K-pop fans are used to, Taeyeon’s “11:11” succeeds at quite the opposite — fitting the somber, sentimental nature of the song perfectly. Shots of Taeyeon and her anonymous significant-other are filmed beautifully against fading sunlight, flashing lights, or pale white walls. They accurately frame the song’s sentiments, which deal with the end of a relationship. The song’s warm, delicate nature is captured perfectly by frames of Taeyeon sleeping in a thick white sweater, or laying in a fluffy king-sized mattress sprawled out next to the waves. Along with “Rain,” “11:11” seeks to alter Taeyeon’s image. Instead of group-leader dance-pop star, Taeyeon is now a serious, musically-oriented soloist, and one of Korea’s most successful at that. With its autumnal color scheme and brilliant visuals, “11:11” depicts both Taeyeon and the emotional impact of a breakup in a creative and memorable way.

— Kushal

“Décalcomanie” by MAMAMOO

If Zanybros are producing a music video, you know you’re in for an optical treat. MAMAMOO’s video for “Décalcomanie” is visually stunning and tastefully (considering the edited version and not the original) done, considering the video is full of visual metaphors for a woman coming into her sexuality. The girls start off being attracted to the man in their respective scenes, and as the desire between both of them grows, they kiss and then… fruits explode (if you don’t understand that metaphor, you can ask your parents). The girls untie their blindfolds to symbolize loss of innocence or coming to fully see/understand their desires and feelings. The mirror scenes and the mirrored images also play a nice homage to the title of the song, which is the French word for a technique that transfers an image or pattern from one medium to another. In other words, imprinting on another or making a copy. Aside from the bit of controversy that surrounded the original version, which resulted in a horrific scene depicting sexual assault getting removed from the music video, the video for “Décalcomanie” shows off the group’s femme fatale concept that they wanted to portray.

— Katherine

“I Am You, You Are Me” by Zico

Known to be a hard-hitting rapper, Zico ventured this year into R&B ballads and showcased his vocalist chops by releasing “I Am You, You Are Me” at the beginning of the year. So what called for this unforeseeable change in style and concept? Love. Love turns the bad boy into a good guy. Right off the bat in his first verse after the opening chorus, Zico sings I only ever listened to hip-hop/Now I’ve turned acoustic, setting the tone for the song. “I Am You, You Are Me” is about being in the lovey-dovey phase in a relationship when the couple starts emulating each other. The music video, in brief, is aesthetics galore. Zico displayed his trendy and colorful style, and in order to go with the theme of the song, the lead actress dressed exactly the same or similarly to the rapper to equate how they mirror each other. The setting, a convenience store, allowed a beautifully diverse color palette in the photography, from pastels to neons to neutrals. The overall aesthetics of the music video — dreamy with an electric tinge — paired perfectly with the equally tender yet lustful song. Not so tough now, right, cookie?

— Alexis

“Secret” by Cosmic Girls

Recently directors have been getting better at making the standard idols sing and dance towards camera in pretty settings more interesting while not losing the essence of that. Kim Zi Yong in particular has been great at this thanks to his visual effects skills. His highlight in K-pop is clearly “Secret” by Cosmic Girls. The video shows the 12 original members summoning new member Yeon Jung in their own unique ways. The quality of animation and sense of scale Kim brings to it is the best of the year and a quality befitting these otherworldly girls. Not to mention it’s drop dead gorgeous at every turn. Also, I’m sure everyone can agree that the shot of Cheng Xiao growing her wings is the coolest thing ever.

— Joe

“Re-Bye” by Akdong Musician

The dramatic “Re-Bye” music video by Akdong Musician, or Akmu, as they’re known, is a fun film-noir music video that fits the pair’s theatrical melody. In a year when many Korean music videos seemed to be lacking true plots in favor of seeming more avant-garde, “Re-Bye” fits a murder-mystery into its four-minute music video with an old-school flair. It’s a bit Sherlock Holmes meets Baz Luhrmann both in plot and color palette– they may as well have been singing the “Elephant Love Song Medley” from Moulin Rouge— and it’s absolutely delightful to watch. The sibling duo is supremely talented as musicians, but their youthful quirkiness in music videos like “Re-Bye” adds another element to their appeal.

— Tamar

“Skydive” by B.A.P

Who needs James Bond or a Quentin Tarantino film when you can watch a B.A.P’s blockbuster-like 10 minute music video for “Skydive?” The members gave subtle hints on their social media platforms and in their individual teasers prior the release that this music video was going to be the most intense music video, if not even more intense than their 2013 video for “One Shot,” they’ve ever done. That within itself was enough to have all their fans, known as Babyz, on edge because, really, what can be more extreme and vivid than the members engaged in a robbery, shoot out with some thugs, and then the sudden betrayal? “Skydive” not only incorporated yet another robbery, but an all ARMED robbery, with shots ringing left and right 35 seconds in. There’s a kidnapping/hostage situation, murder, and, yes, even more betrayal than the first time around! The anticipation was nonstop, every second of this video had one gasping for air. Because it was constantly scene after epic scene, you’d probably have to watch it several times to fully grasp each and every detail and hints that would later on give away the true culprit. This music video could’ve gone all sorts of wrong, but due to the amazingly shot cinematography and the members superb acting, “Skydive” was totally badass.

— Tam

“One More Day” by Sistar

SISTAR made a risky move with the music video for “One More Day,” their collaboration with Europop songwriter and producer Giorgio Moroder. Not only did the quartet not appear in the video, but the video’s protagonists were two female lovers, and the plot touched upon abuse. Now this may not be a big thing in Western cultures, where LGBTQ+ are somewhat prominent in entertainment and lifestyles, but in South Korea, the majority of the population still consider it a taboo subject. Now the fact that the female leads kill the abusive boyfriend may not be the best representation of the LGBTQ community, it does portray the love story in a dramatic matter and the dangers of an abusive relationship.

— Katherine

“Cheer Up” by TWICE

It’s no secret that TWICE dominated 2016, from album sales to song popularity and everything in between. They even topped our best Korean songs of 2016 list. But what is the source of their success — how did TWICE become the dominating girl group of 2016? At least in my opinion, it’s their music videos. From Jihyo’s cheerleader character to Chaeyoung’s cowboy outfits, the “Cheer Up” music video worked to create vibrant and colorful characters for each member, establishing each one as unique and worthy of individual attention within the larger group framework. With the music video’s changing lenses, there’s something for everyone — Dahyun is poised and regal, Tzuyu is beautiful and elegant, and Momo is badass and sexy, just to give a few examples. The creative direction of this music video highlights TWICE’s biggest strength as a group — personality. The “Cheer Up” music video sent the K-pop world a message loud and clear: TWICE, in all their beauty and stage personality, is here to dominate. And in 2016, they certainly did.

— Kushal

“Forest of Skyscrapers” by Neon Bunny

The only indie artist on our list this year (despite being a more well-known one), Neon Bunny clearly had an advantage when it comes to what she can depict. Given more time and presumably more freedom, director Kim Zi Yong delivered another video for the ages with “Forest of Skyscrapers.” They brought together a number of cinematic influences to comment on modern South Korea’s stagnant population. The sprawling neon cities of Akira and the ephemeral love stories of Wong Kar Wai come to mind as Seoulites try to navigate their lives. It suggests a sort of confusion, a literal kaleidoscope of colours and mind-numbing visuals. However hard they try to get away, speeding down highways on a motorbike, it seems impossible. The irrefutable pull of the neon monolith is punishing.

— Joe

Also on KultScene: Music Video Director Ian Gallagher on Working with Neon Bunny, Co-Directing WINNER

“Fantasy” by Fei

Torn between innocent and hypersexualized, K-pop idol stars are essentially built to fulfill audiences every “Fantasy” through their music videos and performances. 2016 outed Korean pop stars, or idols, as a “healthy” form of pornography, but nobody took it as far as Fei of miss A, who appears in her music video as a virtual peep show dancer. Her blatant, slightly shocking, approach to the topic of sexualizing women comes across as refreshing in an industry that makes numerous attempts to cover up the maturity of its stars. The music video for “Fantasy” is overtly sexual throughout, literally turning Fei into the object of desire for a male viewer, and things get all that much more interesting when virtual Fei comes to life, strips, and takes things to the next level just as the screen cuts to the title card. The video for “Fantasy” is beautifully shot, extremely sultry, and subversive of the industry’s narrative towards female stars.

— Tamar

“Emptiness” by MADTOWN

MADTOWN made an expected (but delightful) change by switching up their music styling and concept when the group released a rather mellow, mid-tempo ballad paired with the chic black and white music video for “Emptiness.” It showcased a tranquil and melancholic atmosphere, the polar opposite from the swaggy and high energy we’ve seen from the group in past videos. In order to match the song’s delicate melody, the music video was muted down a bit, hence the simplistic, clean choreography. MADTOWN’s elegant portrayal of their moments of despair and grief can lead the viewers to suddenly feeling the anguish and sorrow themselves, even if they were feeling happy go lucky prior to watching “Emptiness.” There are moments during the music video that makes one want to clench their chest, due to a sudden surge of heartache. It’s dramatic, but that’s just the effect of the music video.

— Tam

“The Eye” by INFINITE

When you’re preparing to watch an INFINITE music video, there are a few things you can be sure to look forward to: a whole lot of drama and a totally awesome dance break thrown in for good measure. The lyrics of the song suggest that a painful memory (of someone) is trapping the members like a hurricane (or “Typhoon,” as the Korean in the title suggests). And when they think they found peace, they are right in the eye of the storm, still surrounded by the painful memories. The video takes it to another level: L appears in a depressed or dire situation and is then transported to a state between realities where he is confronted by the other members who all represent different emotions. When each member interacts with L (who represents Sadness), the action represents him going through that emotion: Hoya represents Hate and aggressively pushes L, then turns into Woohyun, who represents Regret. All of this happens while L is moving towards a light, which may or may not represent death. In the end, L has the courage and resolve to return back to his reality and live. Director Hwang Soo Ah does a great job creating a complex, philosophical, and intriguing plot that keeps the viewers invested till the very end.

— Katherine

“All In” by Monsta X

Monsta X’s “All In” did wonders for the group in many ways, enabling the group to diversify their hackneyed hip-hop concept. With the music video, the septet deviated away from dance-based music videos to one with actual substance and narratives. Opening with the dystopian ending scene in which the members seem to be either running to or away from something, the video employs a nonlinear mode of storytelling that was not present in their previous videos. Admittedly, because the music video also deals with two storylines — one feautring Shownu and one surrounding Hyungwon and Minhyuk — it is very easy to miss certain nuances upon initial viewing. But even after watching it for the nth time, gleaning for said nuances, we cannot guarantee that all our questions will have an answer. The biggest mystery probably is the one surrounding the relationship between Minhyuk and Hyungwon’s characters, who mutually exhibit homoerotic tendencies especially towards the end in which Minhyuk drowns himself in the tub with Hyungwon while holding hands. The beauty of it all is exactly how director Dee Shin leaves many threads up for interpretation, allowing fans to engage in open-ended discourse and conjecture theories of their own. It’s been a rather popular form of storytelling as of late in K-pop, but is still nevertheless engaging and effective.

— Shelley

“Whistle” by BlackPink

With colorful settings, bright outfits, and memorable choreography, BlackPink‘s “Whistle” stood out in its ability to quickly establish the new group’s personality and musical style. Taking after their YG predecessors 2NE1 and BIGBANG, BlackPink quickly utilizes edgy and eye-popping visuals — Rosé casually sitting on both the Earth and cars buried in sand, Jisoo sitting cross-legged in the middle of three open doorways, Lisa’s hot pink turtle-neck contrasting with her blonde-blue hair — to make the group seem hardcore but also personable. Not to mention, clips of the group driving a car in circles wearing bandanas and baseball caps serve as the video’s main recurring visual element, further establishing the fun badassery concept. And, unlike other girl group music videos this year, “Whistle” boasts a notable lack of smiling, a subtle yet incredibly important aspect of the video. The group instead focuses on giving us the edgy smolder or mischievous glance, once again reinforcing the group’s personality in every closeup shot. The “Whistle” music video clearly sets BlackPink up for success — it sends the immediate message that, if you liked any of the edgier girl groups of K-pop eras past, you’ll love BlackPink just as much.

— Kushal

“The One” by EXO-CBX

Though technically not a music video for whatever reason — SM Entertainment prefers the term “special clip” — EXO-CBX’s music video for “The One” is just too golden not to include on the list. For the first time in an EXO production, the boys, or at least Chen, Baekhyun, and Xiumin, are able to show a different, more silly side to them as they dress up in ridiculous, mismatched clothes and act foolish. EXO’s leader Suho makes a cute cameo as well, filling in for just about every role from Yakult vendor to sanitation worker. Unfortunately, SM missed an opportune moment to cast him as the female love interest as well, which would have given the video a bit more cohesion. Nevertheless, everything about this is still hilariously good fun, and none of the humor comes off forced. At times, Suho even seems like he is going to burst out laughing himself. The video milks the comedy until the very end, where it cuts the accompanying music off before letting it finish completely, leaving a dancing Chen to sing alone and shifting the camera angle to make it seem like we were filming them the entire time. EXO-CBX’s “The One” is just the personal and playful break from the usual self-serious routine that they, and we, all need.

— Shelley

“Hold My Hand” by Lee Hi

While musically we didn’t get exactly what we wanted from Lee Hi’s much awaited comeback, the music video for “Hold My Hand” was near perfection. The aesthetic of the music video was a kawaii explosion, and a beautiful one at that. The pastel color palette, together with the 8-bit graphics, tied in perfectly with the romance and dreaminess of the song and lyrics. It’s all too sweet — just as Lee’s serenade. Plus, the inclusion of her doo-wop backup singers as her side kicks were a cute, quirky touch. Bright, multi color music videos have been a trend for quite some time now (thanks, Digipedi), but “Hold My Hand” managed to give something tried a lovely spin. From Lee holding hands with the camera to the styling to the real and 8-bit backgrounds, it all comes together to create this delightful, little heart skip that makes us all feel young and in love again.

— Alexis

What was your favorite Korean music video this year? Share your picks and thoughts 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.

Hoody ‘Like You’ Music Video & Song Review

Untitled design

Recently signed to AOMG from its parent company CJ E&M, singer-songwriter Hoody joined the likes of talented rappers such as GRAY, Loco, co-CEO Simon D, and CEO Jay Park. News of her addition (and, with it, its first female artist) to its expanding roster was already known ever since their official announcement at the label’s second anniversary celebration party back in December. A pregnant moment in AOMG history, this surely propagated any preexisting expectations for her solo “exclusive vocalist” debut.

Yet for Hoody, who was a former member of the all female underground hip-hop crew Amourette, and who we might remember as a feature on Jay Park’s 2015 single “Solo,” has already proven with her experience that she is more than capable of holding her own, especially in a male-dominated field. With her song and music video release for “Like You” on May 31st, the first AOMG lady once again slayed, tingeing the pool of testosterone with her provocative, gynic soul.


For a label like AOMG that is known for its Korean hip-hop, it was a little surprising that Hoody’s “Like You” was not. Nor did it feature any of the label’s notorious rappers (albeit Gray helped produce), which would certainly have helped bolster her debut or given her an edge. Perhaps this was her way of saying “Let me do this,” or perhaps AOMG is the only sensible label to realize that not every song needs a rap breakdown. Ultimately, it all worked out for the single that is R&B through and through. It was almost jarring because the song was so R&B that it resembled the American R&B style of Cassie when she was in her prime.

Although Hoody has a ways to go before becoming a standard as well, her voice is seriously something lovely. She effortlessly switches between a silvery and honeyed tone, maintaining the right amount to sound youthful girlish while simultaneously appearing sultry and sensuous. Like water spilling over and permeating every crack and crevice of its buffer, she transitions fluidly to fill out the song, an impressive feat for one that lacks in any apparent pre-chorus. On the other hand, the hook is firmly there and though it plays it safe in terms of key changes, any sort of shock factor would have detracted away from the sedative ambience.

Also on Kultscene: What We Learned at AOMG’s Los Angeles Show

Content-wise, it’s lo-fi without seeming underwhelming. She repeatedly croons the same words (“I was like you”) in a call-and-response manner in the chorus while the lyrics give a pithy overview of pining for an old lover. Threaded together by its 808 beats and ad-libs threatening on a higher tessitura, Hoody collaborated with Gray to produce a wondrous slow tempo track. Even when the dynamics grew loud, the texture still remained thin, creating an overall easy listen that is not boring even on the hundred and first listen.

Music Video

The music video takes an unfamiliar approach and divides itself into chapters at certain points of the song, evocative of a play or storybook. I’m not even going to pretend I understand the storyline of the music video, as it is one of the most interpretive pieces I have seen from AOMG, but it seems to depict the four stages of getting over a loved one through the lens of three different characters (symbolically they are probably the same person). The first chapter titled “Patients with the disease should be isolate” speaks to the seclusion and heartache of someone suffering from loss. It opens with one of the character – whom we shall call ‘A’ – voyeuristically watching another, ‘C,’ dance contemporary from the window of her trailer. ‘A’ can’t stomach her food and timidly reaches out to the outside world beyond her confined space, much like someone stuck in quarantine might. It’s evident that ‘C,’ dressed all in white and moving candidly in the open, represents the agency, the freedom, that ‘A’ so desperately yearns for.

via woe-is-tuli on Tumblr

The second verse cues in the second chapter, “pathogenic.her.him?,” which asks our character to investigate who exactly is the parasitic agent in this post-breakup relationship. Is he hurting you or are you hurting yourself? Here, the other character, ‘B,’ is introduced, and as we see in the following chapter, she acts as a liaison between ‘A’ and ‘B,’ provoking ‘A’ to come to her senses and allowing her to find herself in ‘C’.

Also on Kultscene: CLC’s “Nu.Clear” Album Review

The third chapter, “Angst Essen Seele Auf” piqued my interest in particular not only for the climax moment where ‘A’ finally makes her escape, but also for its title that pays homage to the German movie “Ali: Fear Eats the Soul.” Explained by the film’s male protagonist, “Angst Essen Seele Auf” is an expression often used by Arabs to describe the corrupt nature of fear. ‘B’ substitutes ‘A’s’ place in the trailer, in turn liberating ‘A’ and prompting her to confront her surroundings.

And with the conclusive chapter, titled “White Rabbit,” we have the final stage of all “X” step programs: acceptance. The moment when ‘B’ holds up a mirror to the camera is the moment ‘A’ meets herself in her own reflection in the room with ‘C.’ Everyone is where they ought to be and it seems to end happily, or at least as happily as an abstract cinema graphic piece of art can get. I also wonder if the three characters reproduces Freud’s psychoanalytic theory of the three levels of mind (the conscious, the preconscious/subconscious, and the unconscious), especially since the title of the last chapter “White Rabbit” is one of the mystical figures used to lead one down into the hole of psychological discovery. I am still unsure if I hit the nail on the head with this one, but the more I re-watch the video and the more I play around with ideas, the more plausible everything starts to become.

via woe-is-tuli on Tumblr

Overall Thoughts

“Like You” is as beautifully shot as its message and its harmonies. Hoody could not have made a stronger solo debut under the reputable label, and I definitely look forward to her future releases. And though she has already wowed us with her independent can-do attitude, it would also be a waste if she did not lend her much talents to other R&B artists; a Hoody x DΞΔN blend, imagine that.


What do you think of Hoody and “Like You”? Share your thoughts 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.