As we continue to look back over the past year here at UnitedKpop, lets take a look at some of the best concepts K-pop had to offer in 2012 (in no particular order!).
First of all, Miss A with I Don’t Need A Man. This was a song with a confident and powerful message to spread. I Don’t Need A Man was a refreshing concept for K-pop. The song talked about being self-sufficient and depending upon nobody but yourself. It also poked fun at women desperate to find a partner and people relying on other (parents included) to support them. Even though there was a prominent heads-up to vocal sensation Beyoncé Knowles, Miss A proved they didn’t need to ride on her coat-tails (or any man’s!) to achieve success, as this song proved to be just as popular as all their previous singles.
Next up, Block B’s Nillili Mambo. After donning outfits that made them look like pirate-gangsters hybrids, Block B crashed back onto the K-pop charts with this top-tapping tune. Filmed in Vietnam, the music video was a well-fitting accompaniment to the song, showing off a comedic story-line. This concept was exciting for the main reason being that it wasn’t just another ‘we-are-cool-look-at-our-swag’ type of concept, as the members of Block B were able to show off their cool sides while having fun playing different characters, almost like a mini movie!
Here we have That XX by G-Dragon. One interpretation of the lyrics of this song is that G-Dragon lost the girl of his dreams to another man and is trying to win her back, whereas another is that he is singing the lyrics about himself, saying that he should treat his girlfriend better. It was this concept that set this song apart from other love songs, purely because by offering these two differing views That XX broke out of the typical love song mould. The song felt much more grown up than Crayon, another hit from G-Dragon in 2012 (but nobody can deny him his wackiness!).
Up fourth, SHINee with Sherlock. Taking inspiration from Sherlock Holmes (as made clear in the title), the members returned with this short story dressed in top hats and spectacles, along with a short appearance from Girls’ Generation’s Jessica. Similar to Block B, this detective concept took a movie approach. And, in the end, SHINee found the missing jewellery! (…Of course they did.) This concept proved to be a good choice for SHINee as they grow older, with this song being one of their most popular to date.
The girls of GLAM made their debut in 2012 with Party (XXO), a feel-good song with a cheerful message on a subject matter that is often looked down upon in South Korea. Masked within the song the lyrics hinted at accepting everyone, regardless of their sexuality. This concept was a brave move for GLAM’s debut but it seemed to pay off! Party (XXO)’s concept set it apart from other songs in the summer, although this concept can also be found hinted at in Nell’s The Day Before and K.Will’s Please Don’t.
The next song impressed many fans in 2012 because of its unusual concept. However, some fans found the story hard to follow due to the chronology being mixed up. In short, a girl dies leaving her boyfriend (played by Baro) distraught. Baro eventually gets hit by a car, which some fans consider to be his suicide as a cause of his depression over his girlfriend’s death. When Baro is shown in the city, he is still alive but when Baro is shown in nature, this is said to be showing his journey (or walk, to link back to the title) to heaven to meet his girlfriend again. Tried To Walkwas a new and interesting approach for B1A4 which they pulled off without a hitch.
According to fans, this could have been the biggest hit of the summer if Psy’s Gangnam Style hadn’t been such a hit. Yes, it’s the Wonder Girls with Like This. The Wonder Girls are pictured in this video surrounded by lots of people partaking in one huge flash-mob and it certainly looks like fun. The lyrics of Like This even explain how to do the dance! If you can’t understand the Korean, JYPE kindly added English subtitles to the video on YouTube, so just turn on the captions and join in! It’s easy once you know how!
Here we have Sistar with Alone and one of the most sultry, iconic dances of 2012. This concept was a sleek arrangement of red and black skintight dresses and propelled Sistar into the spotlight in once again last year. The video was brimming with sexy, sophisticated glamour and somehow managed to stay classy, even after the slits in the girls’ dresses and the all the PVC.
The penultimate concept, Yang Yoseob’s Caffeine. The Beast member made his solo debut late last year with this smooth, acoustic song, after having some help from the members of Prepix as backing dancers. Caffeine saw Yoseob giving a strange compliment to a girl with the line, “Girl, you’re like caffeine,” which could mean she kept him interested, she was lively and refreshing, he gained strength from her, but perhaps was addictive and also bad for him. Coupled with a beautiful artsy music video set in a coffee parlour and Yoseob shown levitating as he pulled off an elegant dance, this song was another unique take on the typical love song.
Last, but by no means least, Fantastic Baby, one of seven title songs released by Big Bang last year – if you include G-Dragon’s three – seven whole songs! This concept was wild and exciting, and ended up with three-fifths of Big Bang topless (!). Rippling muscles aside, this colourful video showed off an array of unique clothing and excitable gas-masked dancers. If we ignore G-Dragon’s weave, Fantastic Baby was an impressive large(ish)-scale production that was very different to Big Bang’s other video’s from 2012 (Blue, Bad Boy and Monster all had different sounds and concepts but greyish/blue scenes can be found in all three videos).
And that brings us to a close! Those were some of the best concepts in K-pop of 2012, but do you have any favourites from last year that you feel should have been on this list? Tell us your picks in the comment section below!