It’s Day 4 of the End of the Year Countdown! Click here to start from Day 1!
After watching and reviewing approximately 175 music videos, I have compiled a list of what are, in my opinion, the best K-pop music video to come out this year. 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 as well as how well the different factors balance each other out 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.
Here are #20-11 of the Top 50 Music Videos of 2016!
#20: HOMME – Dilemma
This is one beautiful and emotional song. The video shows the trajectory of a couple’s relationship, starting with them so in love, then eventually taking each other for granted, and then finally reflecting on their past relationship with sorrow. I love that the flashback scenes focused not on the typical hand-holding and shoe-tying, but rather the small, ordinary moments between the couple that end up being the most meaningful looking back. The video does a really good job at contrasting the life of being in love with the utter emptiness that is left when the love ends.
#19: Pentagon – Gorilla
Pentagon finally debuted! And this is a pretty strong debut. They sing about being gorillas, dance with animal-like moves, and have cage imagery everywhere. I am so impressed by all of the creative ways they show themselves in cages. That main pentagon cage in the picture above is incredibly symbolic. Not only does the cage indicate their concept for the album, but it is in the shape of a pentagon, which is the name of the group. That is a perfect introduction if I ever saw one. This comeback is so clean and well put together, and it really showcases their vocal and dance talents. It definitely makes me look forward to what Pentagon has in store for us.
#18: Jeong Eun Ji (Ft. Hareem) – Hopefully Sky
Big Sister relationships! In this video, we follow Eunji taking care of a young girl while listening to her sing a song for her father about how she is all grown up now. She keeps the girl company when she is feeling lonely, and acts as the adult figure that the girl needs in order to stay hopeful and cared for. It’s a unique concept in the music world, and one that is very appreciated. The whole video is put together really nicely, and touches on the special father-daughter relationship in both the lyrics and story, each in its own way.
#17: Jo Kwon – Crosswalk
This video went from 0 to 100 very quickly. The moment the split screen comes in, all of the themes and symbolism fall into place perfectly. As Suho leaves the girl and goes back home, he pictures in his mind – for us, on the left side of the screen – what could have happened if he had just turned back and returned to the crosswalk. The use of the crosswalk timer and disappearing crosswalk lines is so perfect in tying the concept in with the idea of time slipping away for the couple. While Jo Kwon may not have done much this year, he left a lasting impression with this video.
#16: Chen & Heize – Lil’ Something
It was one of the first SM Station videos to be released, and this is still one of the most memorable ones for me. It shows the developing romance between Chen and Heize, but in such a realistic way that I have rarely ever seen in a music video. Chen and Heize are staff members of a fashion show, and as they prepare for the show, the video follows Chen’s attempts to get the attention of Heize. His initial futile attempts to help her out are cute, and their teamwork in the end is even cuter. I can totally imagine something like this happening in the real world, and I appreciate how realistic and natural the video portrays the romance. It isn’t overt or too focused. It’s natural and subtle, and that is it’s charm. The song it pretty decent as well and has a very nice mix of singing and rap.
#15: Zico – I Am Me, You Are You
Upon my first time watching this video, I knew it would be making the list. Zico takes the age-old metaphor of mirroring lives, but gives it a creative spin. This drug store cashier notices the similarities between herself and Zico, and after a few days of wondering if he notices as well, he reveals that he has been fully aware of their similarities. Their identical appearances reflect their interest in each other, and by the end of the video, the two of them nearly become mirror images of each other, indicating that they are now a couple. It is a really cute and unique way to portray the story of a budding relationship, and the wardrobe is used quite perfectly to do so. The concept of mirror-images is so evident without the cliche use of an actual mirror.
#14: EXO – Monster
This video is half a year old, and I am still in shock at how utterly amazing the song is. It is not only one of the coolest and catchiest songs of 2016, but this is definitely one that will be remembered for years to come. EXO exudes confidence and unity in this story and dance. Amidst images of them creating unique choreographic formations, they give us a story of rebellion. The members fight against their oppressors throughout the whole video, however by the end, right when it looks like EXO has been defeated for good, Baekhyun comes in and cleverly frees them all. I see this story as transcending just a simple music video. It’s symbolic of who they are as artists.
#13: Eric Nam & Wendy – Spring Love
Okay. This is one cute video. The whole video shows the adorable relationship between Eric Nam and Wendy. We see them genuinely enjoying their time together, and not just filling the video with cheesy couple things. This story could totally apply to all levels of a relationship: best friends, couple, or shy crushes. The colors and picture concept make this video so lovely and cute. The two definitely have chemistry on camera as well as in their voices. The moments where they sing together are definitely the high points of the song.
#12: Jessi – Excessive Love
I honestly didn’t know Jessi was capable of singing like this. Jessi is able to pull off a high-toned voice in the verses and then bring out this deep, rich sound in the chorus. It is simply captivating. This whole video is done very nicely. There many scenes of Jessi outside, singing in the dark about the bitter end of her relationship. The feeling of regret and darkness comes across very well. The entire video takes place at night, the time in which all negative thoughts creep out from the shadows. The lyrics describe her fixation on her failed relationship, and from the different images of her alone, we can very vividly see just how dark this part of her life is.
#11: NCT U – The 7th Sense
This is one of the most impressive debuts of all time. NCT U captivated everyone, K-pop fan or not, with their insanely addicting and unique song. This is one solid video. The sound. The colors. The choreography. All of the different rap styles. SM has their high reputation for a reason. They always manage to come out with truly skilled dancers and high quality videos. This was an amazingly strong debut, and definitely convinced all of the skeptics, myself included, and NCT is going to be something great.
We’re almost done! Tomorrow is the final Top 10 videos of 2016, and then it’s off to the new year!
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