One cannot simply mention K-pop without addressing its magnificent concepts. Aside from veteran themes that have been in the spotlight since the very first generation, more authentic ideas are added to the list year after year as they beautifully encapsulate the core of our favorite MVs. What makes these concepts even more popular is the fact that many K-pop idols adopt them when crafting their musicality.
With creativity being K-pop’s ultimate weapon, this past year was no different. Here are eight popular K-pop concepts that we were graced with in 2018!
1. Culture-based inspiration
Culture has been vastly appreciated this year both musically and visually through K-pop.
Not only did (G)I-DLE introduce an Arabian touch in both their MVs this year, but they also set the 2018 Melon Music Awards on fire with a hypnotizing Egyptian-inspired royal stage.
It is no news that Super Junior took Billboard’s Latin chart by storm with their hit “Lo Siento,” and knowing just how much we liked it, they granted us a second collaboration titled “One More Time (Otra Vez).”
MAMAMOO is another artist who had a Latin-infused comeback via their title track “Egotistic.” A dreamy guitar sound, a fiery choreography, and compelling aesthetics: these fine ladies definitely had us swooning!
While they also incorporated Latin vibes in “Airplane Pt. 2,” we are featuring BTS to acknowledge their record-breaking hit to date, “Idol,” where they paid homage to Korean culture by showcasing it through the song’s instrumental and lyrics as well as their modern hanbok look, which left us in complete awe.
Another idol who paid tribute to Korean culture is WINNER’s Song Mino with his song “Fiancé,” where he takes us back in time to a very traditional setting as he is seen chasing after the woman he once lost.
Since K-pop is often linked to cute themes, it always feels nice to see some groups come out of their shells with a badass image that has us gladly asking for more.
Throughout their MVs, EXO has always had a nudge for raw and resilient visuals, and “Tempo” fits in undoubtedly!
As for MONSTA X, their bad boy persona is simply untouchable as “Shoot Out” sends shivers down our spines with every beat.
Speaking of which, no one can handle bad boys like the Red Velvet members, who flawlessly show a flamboyant and hardcore side of themselves in their MV below.
Lastly, as they gracefully keep seesawing within their dual concept, BLACKPINK hit us with that “DDU-DU DDU-DU” and charmingly knocked us out in the process.
3. Movie adaptations
We all have a soft spot for the classics, and when a blockbuster resurfaces via a remake, the experience is doubly enjoyable. Albeit very concise, MVs sometimes deliver that exact feeling.
All while keeping their cheerful aura, TWICE amazed us by reproducing epic scenes from some of the best movies of all time. “La La Land” and “The Princess Diaries” are a couple of examples featured in this nostalgic MV!
Another idol who sought inspiration in an old classic is BIGBANG’s Seungri, who entertained us with a suave one-shot MV of “1, 2, 3!” which was heavily inspired by the legendary musical “Grease.”
Following in their labelmates’ footsteps, GOT7 takes us in a fantasy-fueled journey via “Lullaby” with a nod to some memorable film releases, such as “Harry Potter” and “Interstellar” to name a few.
4. Femme fatale
If we learned anything from the following messages, it’s that women are not to be messed with.
Sunmi, who never shies away from portraying her mystical spirit through her music, unveils yet another one of her mighty manifestations via “Siren.”
Another woman who knows her worth is BoA, and she shows us exactly what she’s made of in her MV for “Woman.”
Both delicate and fierce, Jennie elegantly proves to us through her recently launched solo that she can perfectly stand alone.
The retro pattern has been spotted quite significantly this year with a set of striking MVs that complement the groovy style.
Triple H’s “Retro Future” needs no introduction, as it literally embodies the design inside and out.
“Countless” is one of many MVs that is shelved on SHINee’s tremendously retro-flavored videography.
“I Love You” is indisputably the ideal retro feature as it marks EXID’s first five-member comeback in a while, just like the good old times.
Away from K-pop’s usual flashy wardrobe, this outfit gives the genre a whole new definition, and a fine one at that.
CLC looks more than dazzling in the “Black Dress” MV, paradoxically nailing their dance moves in black suits.
On their side, BTOB cleans up nicely as they rock monotone suits in a rather colorful set for their “Only One For Me” MV.
The universe is full of wonders, and the following acts ethereally trace back to its phenomenal beauty.
Oh My Girl took us on a fictional stroll in “Secret Garden,” where a captivating panorama can be spotted in the MV.
WJSN (Cosmic Girls) members are subliminally staying true to their name, as their dreams come true via the MV below.
8. Exotic vibes
Who doesn’t love beautiful scenery, good ambience, and great music?
WINNER is currently owning this theme with their yearly comebacks, and they continuously make us want to join in on the fun!
Thanks to Lovelyz, we’ve been served an exciting sound complemented with a pleasant feel through “Wag-Zak.”
And as per usual, KARD takes us on a chill ride as we jam to their vibrant and summery tunes.
Which popular K-pop concept caught your eye this past year? Let us know in the comments below!
Esmee L. is a Moroccan lively dreamer, writer, and Hallyu enthusiast.