It’s hard to believe, but we’re already here for the end of the year countdown. It’s my fourth year doing this, and I swear this one came way faster than any of the others.
For those of you who are returning, you know the drill. For my new readers, let me lay it down for you:
After watching and reviewing approximately 175 music videos over the past year, I have compiled a list of what are, in my opinion, the best K-pop music videos released in 2016. This takes into account the song, story (if applicable), cinematography/appearance of the video, wardrobe, and dance (if applicable). The effectiveness of each factor in keeping a viewer entertained and how well the different factors complement each other all equally contribute to my ranking of them on this list.
Every day, for the next five days, I will share with you ten music videos, in order, that I feel were put together with the best care, starting today with #50 and ending with the #1 best music video of 2016 on New Years Eve.
Now I’m not going to pretend that this list is non-negotiable. Every listener experiences music differently. I have used a multi-factor number scale to try to objectify my scores, but of course that still leaves room for personal preference. I did my best not to let my personal biases influence which artists I include in this list, but of course, I’m only human.
According to the system I use to rate music videos, these are all videos that I rated higher than a 4.2/5. If your favorite video isn’t on the list, just remember that I had about 175 music videos from which to choose, so I had to make some cuts. If your list differs from mine, leave me a comment and I would love to read it!
I’ve been living and breathing this list for the past couple weeks. I’m so excited to finally share it with you all. So without further ado, here are the Top 50 Music Videos of 2016:
#50: Heechul & Min Kyeonghoon – Sweet Dream
You got the romance. You got the bromance. You got the comedy. You got the great vocals. Heechul surprised us all with this passionate and heartfelt song. It’s one of those songs that just makes you feel something while listening to it. The video is no different. There is something overly dramatic about the plot, but that adds this aspect of comedy that I can’t help but be okay with. If you can fully allow yourself to invest in this story, it’s a sweet one about friendship and love, with a light-hearted ending followed by an intriguing twist.
#49: Beenzino – Life in Color
This is one of those videos I wished I could have reviewed. Talk about aesthetically pleasing. Beenzino describes how life is more fulfilling when one adds a little bit of color, and demonstrates the idea quite literally through the use of color and paint in the video. The vividness of the colors against the blank white scenes make for such an enjoyable viewing experience. Everything about this video just looks so good together, and goes along so perfectly with the lyrics.
#48: Zico (ft. Crush, DEAN) – Bermuda Triangle
I have not properly appreciated any of these three artists until this song came out. They all have such different performing styles that come together so perfectly in this song. The video is poetic and symbolic of what life behind the camera is really like, showing us how mysterious and dark the glamorous life really is. It’s just real. From the colors to the somber expressions to the beautiful vocals that are saved for the very beginning and very end, this video demands both attention and respect.
#47: XIA (ft. The Quiett, Automatic) – Rock the World
XIA does it again. He puts on a show with every comeback, and this one was a real show. They sing about ruling the world, and they really do with the intense dances in elaborate sets. The scene with XIA surrounded by dancers in towering boxes is just iconic. Amidst all of the fantastic dancing, we see a “queen” luring XIA into her game, however by the end of the video, XIA stays true to his song and beats the queen at her own game. This video, like all of XIA’s solo videos, reminds me just how restrained he was when he was with SM. He has such a talent for entertainment and storytelling, and we are all so lucky to be able to witness that.
#46: Seventeen – Boom Boom
This video made me understand all of the hype around Seventeen. They are just consistently great performers. They defined their musical style and demonstrated it well with both of their major comebacks this year. In this video in particular, they use their numbers well in both the incredible dance and fun story. All of the members take different jobs on a secret spy mission – for what purpose? We’re not sure, but we don’t really care because it is just too fun seeing how they all approach their different jobs.
#45: KNK – Back Again
KNK definitely stood out among the 2016 K-pop rookies. This video was the perfect representation of that sound and style that is so classically K-pop. The passionate singing with the cool outfits and dances in interestingly designed rooms. All of the sets are put together very beautifully. They actually managed to flawlessly blend a nature look with futuristic, which is quite an accomplishment in and of itself. In addition, they hit all the marks of a good music video.
#44: BEAST – Butterfly
Despite moving on without my favorite member, BEAST managed to produce quite a beautiful post-controversy video. It’s gorgeous. So much of this video is absolutely gorgeous. I don’t know if this is a special camera or set or filter, but I simply cannot look away. The camera angles emphasize just how beautifully crafted each scene is. Of course the song and outfits complement the beauty and class of the sets, reminding us all how utterly talented both BEAST and their production team have been throughout their entire career.
#43: GOT7 – Hard Carry
GOT7 certainly stepped things up with this comeback. They took on a style that is relatively new for them and pulled it off surprisingly well. The sets and lighting are all pretty amazing in this video. Rather than having a specific plot, the video takes place in a falling plane and crash site, which is weaved so well throughout the entire video. When it comes to the dance, there are so many moments in which my jaw simply dropped. They perform this song so unbelievably well, and that is why this is also going on the list of best dances of 2016.
#42: iKON – #WYD
Romance is easily the most popular concept in music as a whole, so it takes special care to make a romantic storyline stand out. I think iKON does it here. They showcase the romantic relationships of each member, giving each couple a different, but equally endearing, kind of dynamic and perfectly emphasize how special those small moments are in a relationship. I was surprised to see a softer song pulled off so well by iKON, as this is very different from their style in their first album.
#41: KNK – Knock
Rounding off today’s list is KNK’s debut music video. Right from the beginning, they took me by surprise. I am to this day still surprised how they incorporated the word “knock” in their song and choreography and it work so well. The combination of sounds in that chorus is so addicting, and they definitely broke the rules of what is standard for choreography in the dance. They brought life to their name and sound so quickly, which is impressive and quite perfect for a debut.
I promise, the rest of the posts will have some female representation. It’s just a coincidence that this one ended up with all male artists. Hope you enjoyed the list and stop by tomorrow for #40-31!
Wanna talk K-pop? Follow me on Twitter @mystification86!