The ‘sexy concept’ in K-Pop surrounded by much debate and controversy. While it is fairly common to see scantily-clad pop stars wiggling and ‘twerking’ away on Western television, South Korea is still trying to set up boundary lines as they walk between Eastern and Western cultures. What is acceptable and what is not in a modern industry trying to package distinctly ‘Asian’ content for the global market? Still, there is that old cliché: “Sex sells” that could be considered here, and even though K-Pop is still a relative newbie to producing sexualised content for mainstream consumption, many groups have had some very successful cracks at it. It is undeniable that most of the sexy concepts belong to the girls, instead of the boys though, which raises a lot of complex points about gender differences, patriarchal societies and female beauty expectations that we cannot go into here. In any case, whether you look forward to the sexy concepts with excitement, or if they make you blush and gasp uncontrollably, we have a selection for you here. You have been warned though, things will be getting quite risqué from now on, and the more sensitive among you should prepare for a nosebleed of epic proportions…!
1. Girl’s Day – ‘Something’
Girl’s Day debuted with a quite soft an girly image, in this music video however, a very different side is shown. Their tight, chiffon-style clothing show off their bodies and the high split up the leg allows for some playful choreography and they reveal and hide the bare legs intermittently. The inclusion of a feather in their hands adds to the overall sensuality of the piece.
2. SISTAR – ‘Alone’
This song was a huge success for the girls of SISTAR and it really propelled them into the image of mature and sexy ladies. When one sees the styling and watches the choreography, it’s easy to see why. The red and leather clothing, paired with the dark red lipstick are often items strongly associated with sexiness. The choreography focusing heavily on leg movement, bending over and swinging bottoms all adds to this hot image. Arguably, SISTAR are one of the pioneering female K-Pop groups to explore a more risqué side in the modern K-Pop scene.
On a side note, if you haven’t seen Kim Jong Kook dancing to this song, you can watch it here (specifically at the 8:34 mark). His performance is certainly something to behold…
3. AOA – ‘Miniskirt’
Ever since its arrival back in the 60s, the miniskirt has been a symbol of feminine liberation. It seems fitting then, that AOA chose it as a portrayal of their confidence in this song, which is about a guy seeming uninterested in a girl no matter how dressed up and sexy she looks. This video is certainly going to get many a little hot under the collar though, as there are frequent close-ups of the women’s bottoms as they bend over, and the choreography features a part where the girls pull a zip upwards on the sides of their skirts to reveal more of their thigh. There are also a lot of other sexualized tropes featured, such as strawberries and cream, bath and shower scenes and general undressing. Their figures certainly are enviable too (“Sigh…” *Proceeds to eat more cake*)
4. 2PM – ‘A.D.T.O.Y’
After all those sexy ladies, here is some much-needed testosterone in the form of the gorgeous 2PM! (Whoops sorry, my bias is showing). Here we see the guys getting up close and personal with a beautiful lady in a quite steamy black-and-white video. In between, we see a male version of the classic chair choreography and that rather feminine, yet still very sexy, tick-tock bottom movement. Don’t say you haven’t tried it at least once. Go on, stretch your arm across your waist and look behind you while you swing your hips from side to side. Feel silly? Yeah. WARNING: Pulling a back muscle is highly likely when attempting this move, especially if you are as unfit as I am!
5. HyunA – ‘Ice Cream’
Ah HyunA, another pioneer for pushing the boundaries of sexiness for the modern Korean female. Here we see HyunA with legs akimbo, and also in a swimming costume surrounding by a tonne of bubbly foam. She certainly pushes the limit, and is frequently hit with criticism about her overly-sexualised image. Thankfully though, this image does not overshadow the real creativity we can see in this video, the choreography is interesting and HyunA shows that she can keep up and mean business while doing it, showing that she isn’t all sex-symbol over substance.
6. Brown Eyed Girls – ‘Abracadabra’
These are a group that really aren’t afraid to push the envelope with their image, perhaps partly because they are considered to be older K-Pop idols (meaning 30+ – is that considered old now?!) This means that they can dispense with that cute, flowery girl image and openly show the world that they are experienced adults. A lot of B.E.G’s concepts are positively loaded with sexuality and sensuality, they have even had 19+ rated concerts in South Korea. This is arguably their most famous release, which includes that infamous ‘hip-dance’ and a lot of hot scenes.
7. Stella – ‘Marionette’
This is a single that seemed to get a lot more criticism and bad press than it did anything else. It all started during the pre-release promotion period when fans were encouraged to vote for what they would like the Stella members to do (thankfully, out of options provided). It is clear to see the thinking behind this was to extend the marionette metaphor further, however many criticised this for being too crude and an alluding to a disregard for human rights. The video itself is incredibly sexualised for the K-Pop scene, the girls are shown wear high-riding leotards with stocking and high-heels as the rub at their bottoms and bounce repeatedly with their knees spread wide. We also see a bath tub scene, and quite a bit of cleavage as some spilled drink trails down one of the member’s fronts. Personally, I feel that the song itself is quite good and that I would have preferred if the producers took the marionette/puppet-master theme a little more on board for the MV. Still, it certainly got the girls noticed, for bad reasons or good!
8. RaNia – ‘Dr. Feel Good’
This very catchy song was the debut track from this feisty female group. Much like the above song, this also caused a bit of a stir (some of it negative) when it was first released. The girls sing of wanting a drug to be prescribed to them by Dr. Feel Good and it also includes the lyrics: “Strap me down into my chair”. Oh my. The leather-clad ladies certainly brought out the sexiness here.
9. TVXQ – ‘Before U Go’
This song is actually very solemn and quite heart-breaking. It talks of letting someone go because you know that they deserve better than you, and letting them know of how much you felt for them before they finally leave. Despite this, the sound of this track might remind you of the cheesy slow jazz people play when trying to achieve a romantic atmosphere. The choreography is also full of subtly sexual movements, so of course, here we present to you the dance version of ‘Before U Go’! Get ready for some sexy Yunho and Changmin time!
10. U-KISS – ‘Quit Playing’
This MV has a 19+ rating as it involves the members getting pretty up close and personal with the ladies. The solo choreography sequence will undoubtedly make KISSMEs from the world quite jealous. Imagine if you could only get so touchy-feely with your bias! *Fangirl heart explosion* The song itself is nice and relaxing, and U-KISS showcase their great vocals.
BONUS: SEXY WAVE ! Rain – ‘Love Song’
Yes, a bonus track! How could we create a sexy concept playlist without including the King of the Sexy wave himself?! RAIN.
Rain is often accredited with helping to change the modern perception of the Asian male from geeky kids or Kung Fu masters to attractive and hunky studs in their own right. This classic K-Pop track has been mimicked and parodied more times than one can count, but no one can beat the original in the game, right? The song itself is also a great slow jam.
What do you think of this playlist? Any other sexy tracks/MVs you would add? Please let us know in the comment section!