ToppDogg “TOPDOG” Music Video Review

Slowly but surely I’m getting their names! After watching this MV, I am officially a fan of Hansol.

Song

This is an extremely unique and creative song. The passionate, hip hop lyrics mixed with an orchestra background instrumental makes for one pretty epic song. The song begins very strongly with the orchestra followed by Sangdo’s intense “yeah!” and then the teasing rap with the orchestra background. I love how mysterious a lot of the singing lines are, especially right after the second chorus.

It is a great concept, but for a lot of the song, the rhythm of the lyrics messes it up for me. The singing after the first chorus does not follow one consistent rhythm. The following raps, done by Jenissi and A-tom, also disturb the rhythm of the song, making that entire portion of the song really messy.

I like that they bring back the “T-O-double P, D-O-double-G” from “Arario,” but it repeated way too much in this song.

Score: 3.5/5

Story

topdog1I love the story in this video. Although very subtle, it does have a really interesting plotline that makes a statement about how ToppDogg view themselves in the entertainment industry. B-Joo, the passionate free-spirit, battles Hansol, the straight-laced professional in an epic orchestra showdown. They are pretty evenly matched and become more and more intense in their attacks. In the end, B-Joo brings out the rest of the ToppDogg members and Hansol realizes that he has lost.

topdog7Hansol’s acting is superb in this. It is his facial acting that takes me through the plotline. He begins proud and confident, clearly judging B-Joo’s crazy and seemingly unprofessional style. During the competition, he gets really into it, still confident that he will win. In the end, however, when he realizes that B-Joo has actual talent, he trembles slightly, losing the confidence that he started with.

To me, the story symbolizes ToppDogg’s position in the entertainment industry. Hansol represents all of the experienced professionals in the industry – the ones who follow the rules they know will garner them success – while B-Joo represents ToppDogg – the underdogs who do things their own way, bringing in a new style of entertainment. While the professionals are experienced in the current system, ToppDogg is here to change the system completely. In the end, no matter how much “training” and perfection the professionals have, those with natural born talent, like B-Joo and ToppDogg, no matter how unconventional, can and will come out on top.

Score: 4/5

Cinematography

I find it interesting how both actors in this video are ToppDogg members, and while only one of them represents ToppDogg as a group, the way the video includes the other member in the dance scenes still keeps him as part of the group. It’s obvious how B-Joo represents ToppDogg – as part of his performance, he brings out the MV set and the members from the ground. Yet, Hansol, even though he represents the “enemy” of ToppDogg, he is still part of ToppDogg. That in and of itself expresses even more how ToppDogg has the unconventional nature of B-Joo, but the experience and talents of Hansol. The way that the editing includes Hansol as both B-Joo’s antagonist and a member of ToppDogg required a lot of care, and was pulled off really well.

I’m not sure why, but ToppDogg’s MV directors seem to be obsessed with snow. My complaints in “Follow Me” were that the constant spray of snow/dust in the screen made it so difficult to watch the video and see the members. This exact problem reoccurred in this video too. The members topdog3appear to be dancing in the middle of a desert, so the random snow just makes the video look too busy and chaotic.

My favorite part of this video would have to be the digital orchestra. It just looks really cool. I am still not sure what B-Joo and Hansol are doing exactly in their battle, but it looks pretty epic.

Score: 3/5

Wardrobe

topdog2I absolutely love the contrast between B-Joo and Hansol. B-Joo has crazy hair and a more “casual” style while Hansol is all serious and cleanly put together. Even though Hansol represents the conventional, he still looks interesting. The stark contrast in the wardrobe only adds to their characters in topdog4the story.

The outfits featuring the ToppDogg logo are great and perfect for this anthem song. The black and white outfits are pretty good. I like that they incorporate the orchestra style with the ToppDogg, pop-hip hop style. My favorite look in that scene would be Nakta’s.

My complaints (because it’s impossible to have so many outfits in one video without complaints):

topdogSangdo’s black and white outfit. It looks more like a woman’s coat than anything else.

A-tom’s hat and long hair. He needs a haircut. Enough said.

The red outfits. I don’t really understand what look they are trying to accomplish, but they do not fit with the rest of the wardrobe.

Score: 3.5/5

Dance


There is a lot of movement in this choreography, but for some reason, I don’t find it very interesting. A lot of the moves are repeated so many times, especially during the chorus. There are also a lot of pauses between many of the movements, leaving us with a lot of dull moments.

topdog5Of course there are some good moments in this dance. The whole sequence during the first rap is interesting to watch, and I like the moment when Hansol sings after the first chorus and all of the members crouch down behind him. The beginning is interesting, and it ends in a really nice pose too. As a whole though, I am not too happy with this dance.

There was a lot of dividing the members into two and three groups in this dance which is really good for a group with so many members! I really hope they keep doing this.

Score: 3/5

It took me forever to find a dance version to this song!

Overall, I find this video to be just okay. As I said, I really love the story. The battle between B-Joo and Hansol is really cool and I just find Hansol to be captivating in this. ToppDogg is on their way to the top, but I wouldn’t say they are quite there yet.

Apparently this video is also symbolic of the rivalry between historical musicians, Mozart and Salieri. If you want to read more about that, SeoulBeats explains it pretty well.

Overall Final Score: 3.6/5


Question of the Day:

I’ve seen really mixed comments on the song and video. What do you think of this comeback?

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One thought on “ToppDogg “TOPDOG” Music Video Review

  1. GREAT analysis especially of the storyline!
    I agree about Hansol he killed it but ToppDogg as a group is really charismatic.
    I loved the video just because the battle between the two was so freaking visually appealing…but the song was ruined by the spelling… or rather how often they chose to tell me how to spell their name:/
    I think overall I’d give this comeback a 3/5 for Toppdogg standards (I expected a lot after Arario) and a 3.5/5 in general

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