Star-Spangled Kpop: The Best MVs Set in America

Just because it’s called Korean Pop music, doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate American Independence Day! And we’ve got the perfect playlist to help you do just that! Happy 4th of July, from Critical Kpop!

Below we rank our favorite Kpop music videos that were filmed in America. That’s right, the red, white, and blue is the inspiration for many great videos. So sit back, relax, and enjoy your favorite Kpop idols singing in the streets of America! Did we miss your favorite? Let us know in the comments!

New York

Of course, we have to start out in New York, the cultural mecca of America. The Big Apple is home to so many great music videos that we had to pick two.

In “Bad Boy,” Big Bang takes us on a walk through downtown New York, right beneath the elevated train tracks. There’s nothing to it but that. It’s music in motion. They walk. They sing. They dance while crossing the street. It’s a simplicity that allows the location to do the work for them. The producers washed out the color a bit to enhance the artistic vibrancy of the setting, but it would have shined through regardless.

Beast do some walking of their own through the streets of New York, but “Beautiful Night” focuses a bit more on hosting impromptu parties in alleys and on rooftops. Moreso than Big Bang, Beast seem focused on bringing the city to life. They accomplish just that with their incessantly jumpy song and personalities!


Second on our list of American destinations is Chicago, Chi-town, the Second City, and birthplace of Critical Kpop!

Chicago rarely gets the same attention as New York, so we’re still feeling giddy over Boyfriend’s “Alarm.” Though the producers hid it well, for those of us who know Chicago it’s obvious that the men of Boyfriend are filming during near freezing temperatures (yes, there’s snow on the ground). The vibrancy of the video is astonishing when you realize just how cold and uncomfortable filming must have been.


Detroit, the once booming Motor City, receives some unfortunate attention these days as a case-study in urban decline. Fortunately, Kpop takes a more romantic spin on things.

In B.A.P.’s “Badman,” the decline of Detroit appears to be a result of gang warfare as opposed to anything as boring as economic decay. Either way, the city creates a mesmerizing backdrop. Using the gutted interiors of once-beautiful buildings, B.A.P. brings romance to the post-apocalypse, something that’s not easy to do.

Los Angeles

Moving out West, put your hands up for Lalaland, Los Angeles, a city with a land area of over 469 square miles. Our favorite LA music video might surprise you!

But XIA’s “Uncommitted” does the best job of mixing music, story, and the city of angels. XIA, Junsu, whatever you call him, struggles to keep a relationship together in the backdrop of one of the greatest entertainment cities in the world. And for the rest of us, it’s pure artistry.

There are plenty of other great Los Angeles MVs out there, like SPEED’s “Focus” and Big Bang’s “Tonight” (also filmed in Vegas). We also have to give a shout-out to 2NE1 for “Happy,” but really, that could have been filmed anywhere.

Las Vegas

Las Vegas. Sin City. The Entertainment Capital of the World. That’s right, Kpop has a long reach.

It’s said that B.A.P. closed down part of the Vegas strip to film “Hurricane,” and it certainly looks that way. What amazes us is that we’ve never noticed how easily Kpop and Vegas blend together. It’s almost as though the city becomes a box for B.A.P. to dance inside of. In other words, they own this city.


Leaving the continental United States behind, we had a few contenders for Hawaii, but none that grabbed us like Sistar.

“Loving U” is the kind of easy fun that we want in summer. Even the coloration of the video is fresh and eye-catching! As the women of Sistar tool around Hawaii, we can’t help but want to join them. If ever there were a Kpop video that made us want to travel, this is it. The song’s not half-bad, either. Watch, and enjoy!

American Jetsetter Award

Finally, we’d like to announce the winner of the Critical Kpop American Jetsetter Award! None other than B.A.P.! Not only did B.A.P. top our list for the cities of Detroit and Las Vegas, but they filmed “Coffee Shop” in no less than five American cities, racking up some serious frequent flyer miles in the process. Truly impressive, and worthy of celebration on the 4th of July. See if you can spot all five cities as you watch: San Francisco, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, New York, and Washington D.C.


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