K-pop 101: #5 dark edition

by: Jeffrey posted: 4 years ago


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Dear readers and patients,

For those people who just watch the occasional K-pop video, it may seem that it’s all just fun and happiness in the K-pop world. However, when you dip your toes a bit further into the ocean that is K-pop, you will notice that scandals run rampant and video concept are not always light-hearted. Let me take you on a journey through the darkest places of K-pop.

VIXX – Hyde

VIXX flew under the radar of many people during their first singles, but they have proven themselves to be one of the best groups out there. They are an amazing group with music videos that have very high production value. This is very surprising, since they are under a relatively small record label. The music video for Hyde is one of the many videos with a dark concept that VIXX has. It’s about a subject that you don’t see very often: Jekyll and Hyde. This subject is very nicely portrait in the music video, as you can see the members in white and black clothing. The song lyrics also talk about how there is a crazy person inside them that they can’t control.

Lyn, Leo of VIXX - Blossom tears

Usually I am not a big fan of ballads, but this song was stuck in my head for several days after I first heard it. The reason why is probably because Leo and Lyn are both very talented singers. I had never heard of Lyn before this song. When I looked her up, it stated that she was a very successful R&B singer who had already released eight albums since 2001. The music video was very confusing to me the first time I watched it, because I missed the part where there were two girls in the video. At 1:48 in the video you can see a flashback that shows Leo had a different girlfriend first. She left him and because of this he is afraid his current girlfriend will also leave him. At the end of the video you can see what he does to keep her and her heart close to him forever.

Kim Jaejoong – Mine

It’s time for a little history lesson. Kim Jaejoong is currently a member of the trio JYJ. This was not always the case. The members of JYJ used to be part of the group highly successful group TVXQ. In mid-2009 the members of JYJ sued their record label because they were under, what they believed to be, a slave contract. The group has been in and out of court with several different parties since then, with the final one ending in February 2014. Although their old record label has stated that they wouldn’t meddle in each other’s affairs anymore, the trio has not been seen on any of the popular music shows in Korea. The music video for Jaejoong’s Mine has lots of hidden references to his struggle with his former employer. The easiest one you can notice is the part where he is chained up and muzzled. This signifies that he didn’t have a chance to be free and say what he wanted. There are lot more in there, but I will let you discover those on your own.

Sunny Hill – Pray

I don’t know why, but every time I watch this video it creeps me the hell out. It isn’t just the video which is very creepy, but the vocals, too. Sunny Hill started out as one of the few co-ed groups in K-pop with female members Jubee & Seung-ah and the male member Janghyun. After a label change, two new female members Kota and Misung joined the group. Because of Korea’s mandatory military service Janghyun left the group in January 2012 for a while. In October 2013 he came back, but it was later revealed that he decided to officially leave the group to pursue a career as a producer. Robbing us of yet another co-ed group. It seems like co-ed groups are doomed to either fail or to only be a short time thing. The only long-term co-ed group I can think of is Koyote.

Gain – Fxxk U

Let me warn you before you watch this video. This one is not for the faint of heart. It’s about a very touchy subject. Some say it’s about domestic rape, while others say it’s about being in an abusive relationship. I’ll let you decide which one for yourself. Turn on the subtitles for a better understanding of the song. Gain is part of the girl group Brown Eyed Girls, although I wouldn’t personally call them that anymore. They are women who don’t shy away from controversial subjects and they have become role models for a lot of women in Korea. The actor in the music video is Joo Ji Hoon. It was later revealed that they got really close during the shooting of the music video, in more ways than one, as you can see. They were friends before the shoot, but afterwards they started dating.


That was all pretty dark, wasn’t it? I hope that now you can see that K-pop is not all rainbows and sunshine. But let’s go back to some light-hearted K-pop, with K-pop 101 #6: cute girls edition, next time.

Yours sincerely,

Dr. Hallyu

K-pop 101: #4 over the top edition K-pop 101: #6 cute girls edition

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