You may have noticed that we are in a brand new year! (I think I’ve finally quit putting “2021” on things…) I wanted to take a quick look back and share with you my top 10 favorite kpop music videos from 2021. Check them out, then let me know what yours are too!
(A quick note: Yes, BTS is missing. My favorite BTS MVs are ALL OF THEM, and I think it goes without saying that they would dominate my top 10 lists forever and ever.)
AKMU – “Everest” (feat. Sam Kim)
The lyrics of this song never fail to hit me right in the emotions with their anthem for those who dream the impossible and then work for it – “Oh, who climbs the mountain?” – but what I really love is the combination of Soo Hyun’s clear soprano with Sam Kim’s warm tenor. The MV is a lot of fun to watch – the abandoned building is full of light and soars upwards, but my favorite part is Sam Kim’s facial expressions. You can tell everything he’s feeling, which draws me further into the video. Soo Hyun’s calm confidence is compelling too.
Gaho – cover of Rose’s “On the Ground”
One of my favorite things about Gaho is that he sings with his whole body – he holds absolutely nothing back – and I can see it in his music videos. This one is one of my favorites because I can see that KAVE, Gaho’s backup band, is right there with him. I’m pretty sure every idol group has used that specific helicopter pad at sunrise/sunset, and it’s a perfect place to capture the golden light, but I like the message the setting conveys too. Gaho may be up high, performing where others have performed, but his feet are firmly on the ground.
ONEUS – “Lit” (Taekwondo version)
Oneus has been making a lot of moves lately to incorporate more traditional Korean elements into their MVs and their music. I’m not sure anything could be any more quintessentially Korean than kpop idols dancing in hanbok on palace grounds with taekwondo students as a portion of their backup dancers. I LOVE IT.
Dreamcatcher – “BEcause”
One of the reasons I enjoy Dreamcatcher so much is because they turn the typical girl group standards on their heads. Yes, they may be candy, but they’re candy goth, adding a darkness to balance out the sweetness and light that seems to be expected of most girl groups before they’ve established themselves. “BEcause” is an excellent example of that – the dark colors are balanced with vivid colors, the vocals are less breathy and more grounded, and the feminine imagery reaches beyond the “cute little girl” motif into something more.
IU – “Celebrity”
There are two things I adore about IU – her impeccable fashion taste, and her complete willingness to skewer the stereotypes she’s constantly being forced into. In “Celebrity,” IU takes the trappings of a celebrity and shows that the person she loves is the celebrity in her eyes, deserving of all the accolades that a celebrity is given.
ATEEZ – “The Real”
After their brilliant showing on the kpop show Kingdom this year, ATEEZ has continued to ascend. This fan favorite song from the show has been translated into an imagery-rich music video with strong anime elements, but overall, it showcases the idols’ talents, their fierce and free personalities, and their overall musical brilliance. They truly are The Pirate Kings of Kpop, and I never get tired of watching this video.
Taemin – “Advice”
Drama Geek and I have already written an extensive post on the symbolism and artistry and pure excellence of Taemin’s “Advice” back in May. I’ll just drop the MV here again as a reminder that Taemin is talented and brilliant and deserves all the love.
TXT – “0X1=LOVESONG” feat. Seori
To me, 2021 will always be the year that TXT found their voice and their style. They jumped from being a rookie group to a group that knows themselves and their sound and moved from hit to hit to hit. “0X1=LOVESONG” is representative of that, but I could say that about almost any track from The Chaos Chapter: FIGHT OR ESCAPE, including “Antiromantic” and “Frost”.
Kim Woojin – “Still Dream”
No top 10 list of mine could be posted without Kim Woojin on it. “Still Dream” is a great representation of his superb dancing skills, arresting visuals, and stellar, emotion-laden voice.
Onewe – “Rain to Be”
Onewe’s Planet Nine album was a beautiful addition to my playlists this year, and “Rain to Be” is a prime example. The strong imagery, their gorgeous vocals, and complexly brilliant instrumentals never fail to make my ears and my heart happy.
There were a LOT of MVs that I had to leave off my list to keep it to just 10, music fans. What MVs were your favorites in 2021? Share them in the comments below – I can’t wait to watch them!
Looking forward to more amazing MVs in 2022, I remain –
Karie the Maknae
Dramas with a Side of Kimchi