This isn’t your average list. Look, I’m sick and tired of seeing “Weirdest Kpop Music Videos” lists that make no distinction between the truly weird and viral video hopefuls. So what is my definition of weird? I’m looking for something that’s unexplained, unexpected.
It’s not weird when 2NE1 tells us how different they are in “Follow Me,” or when G Dragon does it in “Coup d’Etat.” They do that in every song. It’s not weird when PSY sells himself as the funny Asian, or when TOP does his best G Dragon impression in “Doom Dada.” It’s very, very normal.
Instead, here are five music videos that are truly weird. And no, I’m not going to explain them to you.
1. Davichi - “Turtle”
Leading off is Davichi’s “Turtle,” featuring an Alice in Wonderland inspired dreamscape that has been haunting me for some time now. It’s a beautiful kind of weird that suspends belief just as the notes from the music box pause and never resume. You see, weird does not have to be ugly, or uncomfortable. It can be light and airy. You might recognize Hyo Young of Five Dolls in this video. There’s also a good chance you’ll see a rabbit, and an oversized forest vagina. That’s all part of the magic.
2. Kim Yeon Woo - “Move”
I’ve written about Kim Yeon Woo’s “Move” before, but it deserves it’s place on this list because it spins the traditional music video on it’s head. Literally. Kim Yeon Woo uses motion to create something fascinating and new, spinning traditional scenes on a platter. The ensuing motion disrupts the typical fast-cut timing sequence, and forces every scene to share the exact same amount of screentime. “Move” also extends perspective into something as near to 3-dimensions as you’ll get without funky glasses. “Move” is weird for the sheer audacity it displays in upending the music video norm.
3. B1A4 - “What’s Happening”
Before you think this list is only about artistic endeavors, take a look at B1A4’s “What’s Happening.” You see, weird can be fun and funny too. So long as it’s unexpected fun (for expected fun, see PSY). In this well-executed video, the men of B1A4 act as protectors of doll virginity. But that’s far too simple of an explanation. The set design is modeled after a dollhouse; there’s a real-life Barbie and Ken; even the men of B1A4 begin to take on a plastic cast. I love that B1A4 put together a concept that’s so outside the box.
4. Nell - “Four Times Around the Sun”
How many times do we hear artists singing about their broken heart while performing complicated dance numbers in flashy outfits? Nell is not that kind of artist. “Four Times Around the Sun” does a spectacular job of visualizing the pain of a broken heart. A man wakes up from an autopsy table. He clutches his heart under a romantic, but lonely sky. Gold glitter explodes from his chest. I do not recommend watching this video alone. It is that sad. But do watch it. Watch it because it’s beautiful, because it changes scenes effortlessly, and because it rejects the easy way to make a music video.
5. Lim Kim - “All Right”
Finishing out the list is Lim Kim’s “All Right.” I’ve been having nightmares about this music video. The ubiquitous man that watches Lim Kim through little holes in her house, asking is she all right is she all right my god it makes me so uncomfortable I can hardly watch. And then, Lim Kim hangs pictures over each and every hole, and suddenly, that man becomes the watched. It’s such a brilliant movement. No other Kpop artist has come close to examining the relationship between viewer and viewed, and the windows we all open up onto our privacy. When I search for weird Kpop music videos, I’m not looking for cheap thrills or artists hoping for the title of fashionista. I'm searching for videos that surprise and excite me with their audacity. I’d like to see more.
Zander Stachniak is a southern-born, Chicago-based writer who first discovered Kpop through ShoutCast Radio. His biases are f(x) and Block B.