Golden Child – “Burn It”
Release Date: January 25
Rather than necessarily complement the song, the music video for “Burn It” is effectively Golden Child acting out a seven-minute zombie apocalypse movie and somehow packing more punch into it than some movies and television series in the genre. And honestly it’s a bit nostalgic in a way as well, being reminiscent of older melodramatic Korean music videos and putting a modern trend on it.
Like those past music videos, it does stick to the tropes, but the execution of the concept is where the strength lies. It’s the thrilling, emotional rollercoaster it should be, but makes sure to emphasize empathy and affection to bring the most out of the short time it has, and it’s incredibly effective at making a lasting impression on the viewer.
AKMU – “Hey Kid Close Your Eyes”
Album: ‘NEXT EPISODE’
Release Date: July 26
Perhaps the music video that best compliments its song, “Hey Kid Close Your Eyes” crafts a literal visual for the song’s metaphorical battlefield, using the powerful imagery of children at war to best showcase the daunting world of competition and judgment that is waiting for young adults in society. The black and white tone is an appropriate fit for such a haunting sound that depicts a loss of innocence, and the blank faces on the children reflects the kind of normalcy we treat the situation they’re thrust into, and it suggests perhaps one should reflect on the realities we’ve constructed for future generations. In fitting with the album’s theme, the conclusion seems to be a message that there will always be people there who are willing to help, giving it a realistic but hopeful end.
EZUZ – “JYP”
Release Date: June 2
Comedy is such a subjective thing, and I really have no right to argue with anybody who thinks this is lame or cringe or whatever. But for as many Korean groups (including EZUZ themselves, honestly) and soloists have tried to make comedic music videos over the years, there have been just so few that have connected for me, yet this random-ass JYP tribute/diss video had me actually laughing.
It basically just takes every JYP meme, mannerism, and look on the Internet, and spams it at the listener, and the fact that it’s a retro-themed song that revolves around JYP’s own heyday is just the cherry on top. Given that this very site’s own #Brand is basically having JYP pictures pop up out of nowhere in articles and comments to torture readers, there’s no way I can’t love everything about this.
KINGDOM – “Excalibur”
Album: ‘Kingdom History Of Kingdom: Part I – Arthur’
Release Date: February 18
If nothing else, I love a group that has a concept that stands out and sticks to executing it. KINGDOM are doing exactly that, dedicating themes of entire minis to every famous ruler their members represent, and it’s paying off with stunning music videos. The best was their debut “Excalibur“, expressing the Arthurian legend with the kind of sophistication and sleekness that a K-pop interpretation should deliver. It packs action and mythology into an appropriately dramatic and beautiful package, and things look fittingly royal and prestigious, especially for a company that unlikely had a huge budget.
In a way it’s really a nostalgic execution of concept, hailing back to previous generations when groups weren’t as self-conscious and self-serious, and were willing to chance getting camp or cheesy. While the concept itself is rather dark, it was ends up as a fun cinematic experience with the kind of zeal for their concept that I wish more groups would take a risk on.
Fromis 9 – “WE GO”
Album: ‘9 WAY TICKET’
Release Date: May 17
No real deep meaning or continued overarching storyline here, but it’s a clever and simple concept executed flawlessly. The music video for “WE GO” enhances the soundscape of an already elite-tier happy-go-lucky pop hit, using the summer sound and vacation trope but adapting it for the times of 2021 … and really any pandemic-stricken year before or (unfortunately) even after. In a way it’s kind of a dark reminder of what we lost during the pandemic, and the superb editing along with the idea of them having to do this through a zoom meeting and with photoshop was inspired.