The Problem Of Stock Videos In K-pop

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K-pop is generally regarded fresh, colourful, creative and unique.

However, I have a major problem nowadays enjoying K-pop videos. It looks to me that most bands (rather the companies behind them) are running out of creative ideas and repeat the same themes all over again, creating so-called “stock videos” or schematic MVs. K-pop MVs are almost always high quality, with excellent cinematography and directing, attention to the smallest wardrobe and set details, boosted with high-tech special effects. So, my question to K-pop agencies is, if you spend so much money on making a quality video, why don’t you make an effort to actually make it unique? Instead, you pull out the good old same concepts again and again and again. It would be fine, actually, but with so many idol bands releasing comeback MVs every week, it gets more than boring.

So, what’s the problem?

The essential problem with the below “templates” is that it gets extremely repetitive, and after a while you feel like you are watching the same band doing something another released a few weeks, or even a couple of days before. It takes away the fun part of watching K-pop, it reinforces non-K-poppers’ claims that the genre is unoriginal and somehow means that the market is getting full and will slowly go over its capacity, with bands churning out similar songs and extremely similar concepts. Fan girls will vehemently defend their bias groups now, I can already hear the loud “no, my oppas are original” screams in my ears. But take just one moment, put away your fangirl persona for a second and think about the below examples:

We all cry for the same girl

Nothing gets more irritating for me than this concept for male bands. Get one female lead and let all of them brood over her loss, abscence, death, put your reason here. Let them look sadly, with tears in their eyes, dramatically breaking pieces of furniture, enhance it with some fading, slow-mo running and time lapse, color it dark, and there you go. No matter how artistically filmed, they all use the same base concepts and most of the time even the settings and props are similar.

VIXX dramatically cry over a beautiful lady in white in recent comeback MV

A few days before VIXX, Infinite were also frantically searching and brooding over one lady in white

Three months ago B.A.P. cried their eyes off for… a lady in white!

How to do it right?

BIGBANG applied almost the same concept in Haru Haru back in the days, but instead of artistic shots of members brooding all over the place, the concept was turned into a mini movie with a storyline.  Yes, it was still overly dramatic and we can also pick out stock elements of K-drama, but it still offers a fresh take on the languishing-oh-I-lost-my-love concept and is one of the best K-pop MVs to date.


So many boxes but it’s not even Christmas yet

The other utterly boring concept, which S.M. Entertainment seems to be in love with (though they are not the only one), is the flashy box type of music video set. I get it, it’s cheap(er), it’s easy, it’s recyclable. I can even understand that it may be better for heavily dancing bands like Super Junior, because you can focus on the choreography. But please, please don’t tell me you cannot film them from a wide shot in any other set.

Super Junior is the archetype of “we love to dance in flashing boxes”

Look, who’s dancing in a showy box?

f(x) also got their fair share

How to do it right?

If I could, I would eliminate these type of sets altogether, but if you really must use this technique, then mix it with a normal storyline or a very different setting, just like MBLAQ does in Y.

Or build a unique and magnificient box like those of 2NE1‘s, with the most interesting and intriguing props and costume creations. Not just… flashy walls. Please.

Sensual means go-go girl

I know, I know. This is a worldwide problem not specifically restricted to K-pop. Still, as K-pop fans like to pride in the genre being different from American pop, it is really annoying that K-agencies think sensual solely means swaying your body in underwear, with legwork a go-go girl in a night club could easily get envious of. Dear agencies, sensual does not equal slutty. You don’t need to wear panties and look like a lady in a brothel to ooze that type of attractiveness. Some of these MVs could easily get into nighttime adult channel programs.

The plot of Jiyeon‘s solo MV could actually be pretty interesting and engaging. But no, they had to make her “sensual”.

Stellar‘s coreography focuses on nothing else but… legs and behinds, and frankly, I wouldn’t want a kid to see this.

How to do it right?

No underwear, no sweeping the floor with your thighs and they are still sensual and magnetic. SNSD does sensually right!

And I just cannot walk past this:



What’s your opinion about stock videos in K-pop? Do you think they pose a problem or are you fine with the next box set from your favourite idol? Let us know in the comments!

Photo source: Harper’s Bazaar, meme creator: uncredited
Video sources: Respective YouTube channels

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