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What if Korea Had VMA Awards?

30 Aug

Two nights ago, the Video Music Awards were held in Los Angeles with lots of music guests and tons of performances including tributes to Amy Winehouse and Britney Spears. I love award shows and we’ll be covering some of my favorites later in the year (Next up will be the Emmy Awards! Yay TV shows). Anyway, I’d love to imagine a Korean version of the Video Music Awards considering K-pop has better music videos nowadays. Although the year isn’t over, I’d like to make a list of the videos that were released between January and August.

The VMAs do not necessarily nominate the best of the year. Heck, if they did I’m sure Adele wouldn’t have made it for sitting down in the chair while plates are being broken everywhere. They nominate what played very well and the popular ones and I’d like to be populist and honor videos that even if they weren’t the best of the year, proved certainly popular among viewers.

So here are my nominees (and winners) for the same categories that the VMAs this year offered with explanations as to why they’re nominated:

Video of the Year

1. 2NE1 – “I Am the Best”

2NE1 came back with a bumping song that was a big hit in Korea and across the world. This video has some fierce fashion, crazy guns, and intense hairdos. It’ll be hard to ignore such a fabulous group of girls especially since it seems like they’re going to be having a big year.

2. B2ST – “Fiction”

Every year, the video of the big hit song appears on this list. Like Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep”, this is that one big hit that surprises everyone. Not because B2ST or Adele aren’t talented, but nothing in their past suggested they had this greatness in them. This song is so addicting and B2ST won lots of awards from music shows for this incredibly moving song. That penguin slide dance? Totally in the k-pop lexicon now.

3. Big Bang – “Love Song”

Big Bang has cultivated a status as one of K-pop’s biggest name in the industry. Tonight wasn’t much of a fabulous video so I opted for the one with more flare especially since this 90’s-style video was gorgeous to look at with its beautiful cinematography and art design.

4. Leessang – “Turned off the TV”

There’s always that one video in this category that seems out of tune with the rest whether it be because there is real substance and quality in the video or the artist isn’t as famous as the rest. Leessang’s comeback stunned people with its beautiful song and simple but impeccable video.

5. Super Junior – “Mr. Simple”

We’ve seen this video before from Super Junior twice yet the formula still works. There choreography makes this video sick and I love the song so much and clearly Korea does too. SuJu won many awards from music shows. I guess “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” applies here.

Best New Artist

1. B1A4 – “OK”I LOVE B1A4. There. I said it. They’re my favorite debut of the year and has one of my favorite songs too. This isn’t it though. Although the video is charming, it’s not as awesome as their follow up “Only Learnt the Bad Things”

2. Block B – “Freeze”

I’m not a fan of Block B but they certainly made an impression on the industry with their debut song “Freeze”. Although I didn’t enjoy either the music or the video, I think they would have made it on this list nevertheless.

3. Boyfriend – “Boyfriend”

The cutest debut of the year, this was such a great song and the video actually had quality. They had some success but they’re gaining recognition for the hard work they’ve put into the video and dance of this tune.

4. HITT – “Good Night”

This group debuted over the summer with this song that has some powerful vocals and a mildly amusing video. They’ve raised some interest in Europe where their label Sony Entertainment obviously has muscle.

5. Rania – “Dr. Feel Good”

They made a splash for their very naughty style earlier this year with this raunchy video. They’re likened to western-style groups and have big endorsements from artists in the US. Sounds like a great debut to me.

Best Male Video

1. Jay Park – “Abandoned”

This comeback kid made a big splash in late April with this beautiful and touching song. The video proves that Jay Park can DANCE and sing well. With this song also, Jay Park has erased virtually all the bad press he attained in the last years.

2. Jang Woo Hyuk – “Time is [L]over”

As a legendary dancer from H.O.T., it was no surprise how impressive this video and dance was. Just look at the robotic dance style and the impeccable timing. There’s a sense of futuristic adventure here and I dig that.

3. K.Will – “My Heart is Beating”

This song earned some awards for K.Will, one of Korea’s most impressive singers. He’s totally adorable and this song is an impressive display of his vocals. The video is so sweet and cute, not unlike K.Will himself.

4. Kim Hyun Joong – “Please”

I do not like Kim Hyun Joong as an actor but I can appreciate his singing much more though. Although I didn’t appreciate his first song from this album, I can appreciate this one more where he shows some emotion. The video is sexy fun too.

5. Seungri – “What Can I Do”

This is absolutely my favorite Seungri song and I adore the prettiness of this video. Seungri is a good singer even if it’s not apparent all the time. I love his vocals here as well and the video is a nice touch even if it’s a bit pedestrian with the story.

Best Female Video

1. Bom Park – ” Don’t Cry”

Bom Park’s dreamy fairytale of a video was a hit even though she only performed the song once on national television. Still, Bom Park has earned her status as one of the best singers among K-pop groups and she deserves it: she’s always emotional vocally and she has an alluring tone that listening to her is a great experience.

2. G.Na – “Black and White”

Oh G.Na, you are a very moving singer when you’re doing ballads and you’re a fun and flirty girl when you’re singing anything else. This is a song that reminds me how awesome you are as a singer and dancer. I love G.Na and I’m happy she came back again this week.

3. Hyuna – “Bubble Pop”

If you did not see this video this summer, I’ll be surprised. Hyuna was the big thing this summer and this video is delicious pop-art fun with its cheekiness as well as it sexual energy. I love Hyuna and I love this song.

4. IU – “The Story Only I Didn’t Know”

IU made a huge splash last winter and this February, she released this beautifully sad and painful song. She has great restrain and the video is a lovely and poignant one.

5. Lim Jeong Hee – “Golden Lady”

One of the most talented singers in Korea, Lim Jeong Hee turned a different direction with this beautiful fun song that displays Jeong Hee’s vocal prowess and versatility. The video is light and funny too.

Best Male Group Video*

1. 2PM – “Hands Up”

2PM is back and they didn’t make a depressing album either! This song follows up last year’s sad “I’ll Be Back” and I love it. I got tired of their sad songs and this very fun summer tune was the fix-me-up that I needed from their dreary music.

2. B2ST – “Fiction”

3. Big Bang – “Love Song”

4. Super Junior – “Mr. Simple”

5. TVXQ – “Before U Go”

TVXQ may be down to a duo but they still make good music. “Before U Go” is sexy to the highest degree and the video’s action-packed theme was impressive.

Best Female Group Video*

1. 2NE1 – “I Am The Best”

2. f(x) – “Pinocchio”

f(x) came up with one of the most addicting song this year with Pinocchio. This video presents one of the most adorable dances (glass-washing dance!) that is now part of the K-pop dance lexicon. F(x) made a huge splash in May and they won lots of awards for it.

3. Miss A – “Goodbye Baby”

Miss A made a huge comeback this summer with Good Bye Baby, one of many fantastic songs in their album. This is a very alluring video but the song is a little subdued for a dance song.

4. SECRET – “Starlight Moonlight”

Certainly the most refreshing and relaxing song of the summer, this surprise hit made SECRET a bigger star.

5. SISTAR19 – “Ma Boy”

SISTAR19 did a wonderful job with the song “Ma Boy”, still my favorite song from SISTAR even if it only had two people in the subgroup. Hyorin has never sounded as sexy and as vulnerable together and still the song is really sweet-sounding.

Best Pop Video

1. 2NE1 – “Ugly”

What a gorgeous song this was and the video had a very moving message even if it was a little subdued. 2NE1 keeps on impressing this summer with 4 back to back videos released.

2. HyunA – “Bubble Pop”

3. SECRET – “Starlight Moonlight”

4. Sunny Hill – “Midnight Circus”

They have one of the oddest videos ever and one of the best of the year. There is so much cool hipness to this song and video especially because it’s rather dark.

5. T-ara – “Roly Poly”

This fun disco track is a huge hit because of its retro styling and the cuteness of this video is matched by the adorable lyrics and singing of the girls.

Best R&B Video

1. Boni – “It Hurts”

Boni is one amazing singer and she breaks hearts and earns tears with this beautiful song featuring one of the best vocals this year. The music video is similarly heartbreaking and moving as well.

2. Brian – “Love, When It’s Over”

Like his Fly to the Sky counterpart, Brian came back this year with a great song and emotionally raw song. The music video is depressing to boot.

3. Hwanhee – “Feel Like Dying”

Hwanhee is famous for being the other half of the legendary R&B duo Fly to the Sky and he makes good on that legendary status with this beautiful song and video.

4. Jay Park – “Abandoned”

5. TVXQ – “Before U Go”

Best Rock Video**

1. 10cm – “To Forget About it Like That”

Well it’s not exactly rock but the music sounds like a rock ballad and I love it too much to ignore it. 10cm is one of the most underappreciated groups in Korean music and this song and video is proof that they are more than deserving of any kind of recognition that other groups receive.

2. Bang Yong Gook – “I Remember”

This rock song may not be my favorite but the video is intense and dramatic and scary. It’s very passionate and scary but it fits the song quite well.

3. CN Blue – “Intuition”

CN Blue released a new song that sounded similar to their debut hit “I’m a Loner”. Still, “Intuition” is a great song and features the fun that their debut single had.

4. FT. Island – “Hello Hello”

FT Island is one of the best groups out there especially because of Lee Hongki’s impressive vocals. This is one of their best songs ever and I love the music video for it too.

5. Kim Hyung Rok – “How Can Love Change”

Kim Hyung Rok’s song and video doesn’t always seem the best fit together since the song is very rock and the music video is something otherwise. Still, the song is a great music and the video is sweet.

Best Hip-Hop Video

1. Crispi Crunch – “Thumbs Up”

Recently released, this song has some elements similar to 2PM’s “Hands Up” with its “thumbs up” message and it’s a great fun club song. The video is similar to GD and TOP’s High High video with its fun club scene.

2. GD & TOP – “Knock Out”

Knock Out is all-fun and seriously addicting with its catchy bass and it’s incredibly cocky lyrics. I love the styling of the video (especially TOP!)

3. Leessang – “Turned off the TV”

4. One Way – “Rainy Days”

This group is a cross between an R&B and Rap group but enough of their elements is hip-hop that I consider it a rap song. The song is beautiful and the video makes you feel blue too.

5. Urbanalog – “Blue’s Walk”

What a soulful song and what a simple but effective music video. This is the kind of relaxing music that I’d listen to anytime. I love the laid back beat and the simplicity of the video.

Best Art Direction

1. 2NE1 – “Ugly”

2. Big Bang – “Love Song”

3. Infinite – “Be Mine”

This tune from Infinite features some beautiful lighting and camera work that makes it a stand out from the cluster of videos that came out in the summer.

4. Leessang – “Turned off the TV”

5. Sunny Hill – “Midnight Circus”

Best Choreography

1. B2ST – “Fiction”

2. f(x) – “Pinocchio”

3. Jang Woo Hyuk – “Time is [L]over”

4. Jay Park – “Abandoned”

5. Super Junior – “Mr. Simple”

Best Cinematography

1. Big Bang – “Love Song”

2. Infinite – “Be Mine”

3. Sunny Hill – “Midnight Circus”

4. TVXQ – “Before U Go”

5. UKiss – “0330”

The shadows in this video are very beautiful and there are wonderful shades and colors of light that illuminate what’s happening in the video and highlight the emotions of each scene.

Best Direction

1. Big Bang – “Love Song”

2. GD & TOP – “Knock Out”

3. Hyuna – “Bubble Pop”

4. Sunny Hill – “Midnight Circus”

5. TVXQ – “Before U Go”

Best Editing

1. Big Bang – “Love Song”

2. Jang Woo Hyuk – “Time is [L]over”

3. Leessang – “Turned off the TV”

4. Sunny Hill – “Midnight Circus”

5. TVXQ – “Before U Go”

* These groups don’t exist in VMA North America but are important here in KPOP because there’s a lot of them.

** I blended acoustic music and rock music together. I don’t have a big knowledge of Korean rock to make it more diverse.

–Clarence

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