Generic Korean

The Generic Kpop Music Video

Posted on: August 26, 2011

In the early to mid 2000’s every music video suffered from what I call the “Jo Sung Mo Syndrome.”  Jo Sung Mo was one of the biggest Korean singers in the 00’s and his music videos were epic short movies starring huge names like Lee Byung Hun.  They usually had nothing to do with the song but almost every video was dramatic and had a tragic ending.  From the cinematography to the pyrotechnics, no expense was spared.  Due to the incredible popularity of these videos, many copy cats popped up and every ballad followed the same formula.  My favorite had to be Sky’s “Forever” starring Cha In Pyo and Jang Dong Gun.

I would show you the video but scumbag wordpress won’t let me embed the youtube video and is trying to make me upgrade by paying for a service I don’t want.  Now I remember why I stopped writing on this thing.

Anyways, after a while record labels started bleeding money because of illegal downloading and these videos were soon replaced with cheaper in studio videos.  Just change the backdrop, add some shiny accessories and BAM!  music video.  If you were watching Chae Yeon’s “Two of Us” video, then to Shinee’s “Ring Ding Dong” and then to Sistar’s “So Cool” you notice that almost 99% of the time there is no natural lighting because they’re not outside or on location.  Even in 2PM’s “Hand’s Up” video, it was so obvious how manufactured the club was.  Even though they were supposed to be inside a club it looked like they were inside a studio meant to look like a club.  Clubception.

Of course there are some videos that work this angle better than others.  YG Entertainment has consistently provided innovative videos despite working within these four corners.  For example, TOP’s “Turn it Up” video was a pretty awesome way to work around the restrictions that studio shot videos require and even 2ne1’s “Fire” and “I’m the Best” were definitely eye candy.

However YG seems to have forgotten how to work outside of the four walls.  Big Bang’s “Love Song” was just plain bad.  It consisted of the five boys in a las vegas desert brooding and walking around a car crash.  It was like watching an old 90’s video.  Replace Big Bang with Wilson Phillips and I wouldn’t even blink an eye.  While its admirable that they employed the one take technique, it doesn’t help if it looks cheap and unimaginative.

I think limitations force people to breed creativity.  Criminals don’t go to jail knowing how to make a shank out of a plastic fork, they create it because they can’t go down to their local Target and get a murder knife on isle three.  Wait, I don’t think I’m making a correct analogy here.  Strike that.

I think limitations force people to breed creativity:  No money?  Make a music video of dudes running on treadmills, become famous.

So despite kpop having a video seemingly released every other day why are they all so lackluster and unimaginative?  Shoot, go copy from U2 or Rage Against the Machine and start playing outside the Blue House or something.  Just do something other than the generic please.  man I love Rage Against the Machine.  I’d totally buy their album if they ever release another one.

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