Top 10 Korean Music Videos Of 2021: Honorable Mentions

Asian Junkie’s Best Of 2021

Top 10 Korean Music Videos Of 2021: Part 1

Top 10 Korean Music Videos Of 2021: Part 2

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ONEUS – “LUNA”

Album: ‘Blood Moon’

Release Date: November 9

Spotify | YouTube Music

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There are so many ways for music videos to be appealing, from an array of visuals to meaningful storytelling to fancy choreography and all the sub-categories between. And if there’s one thing idols have been particularly adept at throughout K-pop history is making releases appealing beyond just the music.

It’s appropriate then that we start off with a boy group in ONEUS and their stunning music video for “LUNA“. The traditional elements to this were instantly appealing, harkening back to VIXX‘s iconic “Shangri-La” motif, and this sense of beautiful serenity permeates everything from the set design to the cinematography to the hanboks. The narrative is centered around the moon as a constant presence, representative of love one can no longer reach, which adds depth to the experience, but the main draw here is still what a joy it is to watch the gorgeous music video unfold.

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Brave Girls – “After We Ride”

Album: ‘After We Ride’

Release Date: August 23

Spotify | YouTube Music

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At its core “After We Ride” is a simple story about getting shitfaced over failed relationships, desperately drunk dialing the ex, and the regret and shame of doing this. Perhaps the most relatable concept topically, and the execution is pitch perfect in expressing the emotional process, primarily thanks to excellent cinematography and use of expressive colors that make the feelings come alive.

In particular the choice to shoot Brave Girls against an empty cityscape to represent the feelings of loneliness made this feel particularly poignant, and giving them different vices and placing them at locations where their relationships once thrived elevated it as well. All of this further enhances the already great “After We Ride” experience, which is all the music video needed to do.

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HOSHI (SEVENTEEN) – “Spider”

Album: ‘Spider’

Release Date: April 2

Spotify | YouTube Music

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Honestly, there’s not a lot to say here, as it’s all rather simple. “Spider” as a song is addictive on its own, but it’s amplified exponentially when your senses get hit by choreography executed by somebody of HOSHI‘s performance talent along with a cleverly designed set that allows him to make great use of props. The camerawork is noteworthy as well, particularly the opening shot that really sets the tone for what’s to come. It’s a captivating experience and it really feels like I’m watching performance art or something.

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Dreamcatcher – “Odd Eye”

Album: ‘Dystopia: Road To Utopia’

Release Date: January 26

Spotify | YouTube Music

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While Dreamcatcher‘s music is plenty impressive in itself, their serialized music videos have helped elevate the group’s work since the start of their careers, putting impressive visuals to their amazing soundscapes. That continues with “Odd Eye“, which is littered with striking color choices, fierce choreography, and bold costume designs that hold plenty of appeal on their own towards making a notable music video.

Though in a rather amusing twist (to me), the concluding music video of their latest overarching plot does impart relatable wisdom in a surprising way. Set in a cyberpunk dystopia, Dreamcatcher have been working to stop people from spewing hate, but “Odd Eye” essentially says technology has made it impossible to prevent people from being assholes and any hope of changing that fate is dead, so utopia is ruined as well. I suppose a more optimistic takeaway would be to stop expecting the world to be perfect and center yourself instead, but the abrupt butchering of hope at the end in a short blurb is bleak as hell … and absolutely up my alley.

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DPR IAN – “Nerves”

Album: ‘Moodswings In This Order’

Release Date: March 12

Spotify | YouTube Music

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More than anything, this is just a hell of a performance by DPR IAN, as there’s not a whole lot other than him and quality editing for this music video. But he exudes charisma throughout, and in terms of being able to express how “Nerves” is the turning point in the album’s narrative — or even just as a depiction of somebody’s descent back into any kind of unwanted state — it’s basically pitch perfect from start to finish. “Nerves” matches the song’s rawness in its ability to show ongoing internal conflict, expressing the pain in a visceral way that makes it relatable. Simple but extremely effective.

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ONEWE – “Rain To Be”

Album: ‘Planet Nine : Alter Ego’

Release Date: June 16

Spotify | YouTube Music

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1. I’m a sucker for rain. It makes so many things look cooler.

2. All I could think about initially was the potential for electrocution if they were doing this for real.

Seriously though, it’s a well-conceived visual for the song, which associates rainy days with the person they love appearing. Thus the music video uses the band giving it their all and fighting through the downpour of rain to represent their passion to keep hope alive, whether in vain or not. And they make it look cool as hell, honestly.

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