It’s the last day of the End of the Year Countdown! Click here to start from Day 1!
You know, everyone has been saying that 2016 was the worst year in history, and sure in some ways it was. However, after putting this list together, I can’t help but think that this was one of the best years in history. We got such good quality music this year. Of course, there was the same full range of good and bad as always, but the good videos that made it to the top were better than anything else I have seen in a long time.
Before I get into the last ten videos of my list, I need to admit something: I was wrong. I was wrong about SM’s Station project. When they announced their idea of weekly digital releases, I was so skeptical that this would do any good for anyone, but I was so wrong. EIGHT music videos on this list were SM Station songs. And if I were to go beyond 50 music videos, there would be so many more included. So I was wrong. SM Station was a pretty damn good idea.
Okay, on to the good stuff.
#10: BLACKPINK – Stay
Of all of BLACKPINK’s debut videos, this was the one I felt should be at the top. While their other videos focused primarily on introducing who they are, this one had an actual story that really made me feel things. If the word “bittersweet” could be portrayed as an image on a screen, it would be this video. Backed by a sweet and somber song, we see the girls of BLACKPINK wandering around a lonely, abandoned town. However by the end of the video, rather than stay sad, they turn the town into their own wonderland, keeping each other company and bringing back some of the joy that seemed so hard to find earlier in the video. Even though the overall theme of the video is sadness, I can’t help but feel uplifted by the end.
#9: Taeyeon – Why
SM has come a long way from their simple “dance in a box” videos, and they always manage to put the best of their outdoor shots into Taeyeon’s videos. We see Taeyeon experience a foreign land and cross out all of the things on her bucket list, only to find her at the end placing the photos of her adventures in front of a monument of some sort, which I see as a tribute to something or someone she previously lost. The writers did an amazing job at turning a fun video into something very meaningful. She isn’t having fun just for the heck of it, but rather she is living life to the fullest in memory of a loved one who was not able to.
#8: EXO – Lucky One
I think this is probably EXO’s most creative video to date, which is saying a lot for a group who debuted with the concept of being aliens with superpowers. This video not only has a catchy tune and interesting story, but it reinvents the same concept that they debuted with in a new and sophsticated way. The video captures the story of the EXO members as their former alien selves escaping the scrutiny of scientific study. As they flee the scientists, each of them use a small form of their Mama powers to distract and destroy the scientists. In the end however, it turns out that there was no escape and the whole ordeal was just another simulation for the study. They went Maze Runner on us, and it paid off so well. The fact that this video came out and is now probably their least talked about release of the year completely boggles my mind.
#7: BTS – Save Me
For a video done in one take, with one backdrop, and only one set of outfits, this video is flawlessly captivating from beginning to end. I am still in awe at how they managed to find such a breathtaking site. The choreography is just as enthralling. Just the part during the instrumental section is reason enough to love this dance, but they keep it fresh and dynamic throughout the entire song. The entire video is just so soft and artistic, in a way I would never have expected BTS to produce back in 2013 when they were rapping about being bulletproof with no more dreams.
#6: Baek A Yeon – So-So
This video features a story that I actually have yet to see in K-pop. Baek A Yeon is examined by doctors due to inexplicably not being able to feel any emotions. They try a bunch of different methods to trigger love or excitement from her, but nothing seems to work. What finally snaps her out of her stupor is seeing the guy play with the dog. I find this to be so cutely realistic, as well as interesting in meaning. When she sees the guy try to woo her, it doesn’t trigger anything because all he is doing is superficial flirtation. It is when she sees the genuine joy of him playing with the dog that her love is triggered again. Combined with having a meaningful story, it is such an aesthetically pleasing video, and they include just enough for the viewer to understand what is wrong with her while still keeping it dynamic and interesting.
#5: BTS – Fire
From the moment Suga takes the hand of the hooded stranger in the beginning all the way to the explosion at the end, this is one intense video. With a beat that never stops and a dance that never stops, this video shows all of who BTS are – a group who brings fire everywhere they go. It is all just so exciting. While Save Me was the epitome of their artistic side, Fire is the epitome of BTS’s rap and dance side. The cinematography and dance builds and builds excitement so well so that by the finale scene of everyone dancing, you really feel like you’re part of the crowd as well.
#4: Tiffany (ft. Simon Dominic) – Heartbreak Hotel
Breakup stories are so overdone in the music world, but I have to say that this one may be my favorite. The story essentially describes the relationship of a guy taking advantage of the trust of a vulnerable girl, making her feel safe and loved, and then ditching her for another girl. The pacing of the story is perfect in showing the development of the story and focusing on Tiffany’s emotions at each stage, and the lighting overall provides very appropriate accents. It isn’t a pleasant story, but I am so happy they decided to tell this one. Some guys are just looking for an opportunity, not a real relationship, and the video captured this in what could be a very real scenario.
#3: Block B – Toy
This was another surprisingly softer release by a rap group. The song and overall atmosphere of the video is so different from Block B’s usual chaotic and loud excitement, but they pull it off so well. There is not only an amazing song in here, but a meaningful and poetic story as well. In the video, the members of Block B are all lifeless toys being thrown away by the girl. Eventually, they realize that they are toys, try to break free from the prison, but then give up and embrace their roles in a way to mock the girl and her behavior. It is a meaningful message that is demonstrated so vividly in the acting and sets. Even the dance scenes reflect the direction of the story, with having them first simply sitting in chairs and then doing the full dance at the end of the video. It is such a unique concept, and they do such an amazing job with it all.
#2: VIXX – Fantasy
VIXX changed the game with this video. Fantasy felt like a full fledged musical rather than a simple music video. The sets, outfits, choreography and song all create this amazing fantasy world in which VIXX pulled us all in and took us through a story of manipulation and betrayal. The cohesiveness of each factor involved and the quality of every shot and scene is just not something you see in the regular music video. This is the number two video of the year because for those who saw it, this is definitely a music video that will not be forgotten for years. It was a whole production that should have had five minutes of credits following the end.
#1: BTS – Blood Sweat & Tears
While all of the videos on this list were amazing, none came close to the masterpiece that was Blood Sweat & Tears. All of the uniqueness and loyalty of a good concept, the addicting nature of a good song, and the art of a good dance, this video also tells an entire story of the initiation of members into some transcendental group of beings. I don’t even have a label I can put on this story or concept, because it is so deep and complex, and offers several different interpretations, all valid and interesting.
This year was clearly BTS’s year. Usually when a group rises to such fame and intense interest around the world, I would say that it is mostly hype, but this is different. BTS deserves all of the fame they have received. I said that last year was BTS’s year, but I guess this year was too. They have just been getting better and better, expanding their creative talents, and reaching goal after goal after goal. I didn’t think they could top what they did last year, but they managed to do it. I can’t wait to see what they have in store for 2017.
That’s it for the end of the year countdown! Thank you so much for tuning in. Let me know what your top 10 music videos were this year!
Happy New Year~
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