It’s that time once again, the new academic year is starting and students everywhere are beginning or going back to school, university or college. It can be a time of happiness, nervousness and even dread for many of us. Those of us who are now full-time workers also probably look back upon their school years with mixed feelings of warm nostalgia and perhaps, a little relief that they no longer have to endure their most hated lessons.
Whatever your age, you have probably noticed that schools serve as a popular background for many a Korean MV, drama and film. It is easy to see why this is the case – a school setting can provide the perfect backdrop for drama, first love, friendship and fighting. To celebrate this dynamic time of year, we have decided to select a few K-Pop MVs that feature a school theme.
Do you have a favourite?
1. U-KISS – ‘0330’
Here we have a sweet love story evolving between two young students. This MV captures the shy and gentle nature of first love, where both people are quite hesitant and unsure of how to illustrate their newfound feelings to one another. This video also showcases Shin Dongho’s acting talent and will now probably cause a lot of heartache for fans who miss him as a member of the group since he left last year. Thankfully though, he still updates fairly frequently on social media and seems to even be trying his hand at DJing nowadays!
2. Teen Top – ‘Applause/Clap’
Ever slammed your pen down in frustration while studying? Yeah, Ricky has too. In this MV, we see the members of Teen Top show off their good looks in a school uniform as they deal with losing a fellow student and loved one that has seemingly died in a plane crash. Slightly confusing concept aside, this MV probably has girls everywhere wishing that they had classmates like Teen Top to brighten up their boring maths lessons. One would hope that Ricky would refrain from breaking into a frustrated dance during every class though.
3. BEAST – ‘Beautiful’ and ‘I Like You The Best’
These two songs have music videos that make up a two-part drama. Member Kikwang is the new kid in school and rapper Junhyung begins to notice that his crush (played by Apink’s Naeun) is getting along with the new guy a little too well for his liking. Junhyung and his friends Yoseob, Dongwoon and Doojoon decide to show him who is boss by beating him up. After this places Kikwang in hospital, the others see the errors of their ways and form a truce with Kikwang. This music video also revolves around an awesome dance competition, which allows you to see all of the BEAST members flaunt their awesome dance moves.
4. Jin, Rap Monster and SUGA [of BANGTAN BOYS]– ‘School of Tears’
This song is very powerful and the lyrics so poignant. I am sure that it speaks to many people who have had to endure a tough school life surrounded by bullies. It is suggested here that school can make for a hierarchical environment in which many students can feel trapped. This makes school become more of a place to fight through day by day rather than a place to learn and make lifelong friends. To truly do give this song a justified explanation would require an entire article in itself, so instead, here is the video with English subtitles.
5. NU’EST – ‘Face’
Much like the previous song, this track and MV show that darker side of classrooms and school corridors. It acknowledges that many young children have no option other than to form a hard outer shell and put on a brave face when entering a place where they are subject to constant abuse from their cohort. It shows that school can be a very cruel place, but also communicates the idea that you are tough enough to beat it.
6. JJ Project – ‘Bounce’
Of course, before JB and Jr. were members of GOT7, they worked as the duo JJ Project. This song shows the pair ready to party at school, encouraging everyone around them to get up and bounce around! This song is incredibly catchy and I defy anyone to not bounce and shake along even just slightly while listening to it. I’m sure many of us have wanted to jump and dance around instead of being stuck studying in a particularly sleep-inducing class at school.
7. 2AM – ‘I Was Wrong’ Parts 1 and 2
In this 2 part music video drama, 2AM play young students that each have their own talents – DJing, basketball, hockey and motorcycle riding. When their collective childhood sweetheart enters their school as a new student, the boys become very competitive as they all vie for her attention – this results in a lot of fighting, much to the girl’s annoyance. When she becomes ill, however, the boys begin to see that coming together, being with others and cherishing your time together is much more important than fighting over things.
This song is quite different from what 2AM often bring to the table. It has a quite bouncy and club-like vibe that you would probably expect from their brother group 2PM. It’s a great track that still shows of some of their vocal skill, though some fans may dislike the use of auto tune effects in some areas.
8. Bang&ZELO – ‘Never Give Up!’
Before B.A.P’s debut, leader Yong Guk and rapper maknae ZELO gave us this inspirational and upbeat song as a duo. The style of the MV is very colourful and bright, but it is also nice to see a segment that pays tribute to that bad boy B.A.P vibe that would come a little later. The clothing and sets for this MV are very cool, it’s almost as if someone has taken a typically drab and boring school setting and injected it with some crazy K-Pop style!
The two guys take control of the school when they are both too bored with class to bother, yeah, not a great influence on the younger generation! Who could refuse a dance with these guys over studying though? Fellow label mate and Secret member Hyosung certainly can’t as seen in this video.
9. EXO – Drama Episodes 1 and 2
Another 2 part music video drama here, but that this time utilises multiple tracks from the group’s back catalogue in order to communicate it’s very dramatic narrative. Admittedly, the school setting doesn’t feature a lot in this MV, but there is the beginning of a love story that takes place within a classroom – so that’s enough for us to include it, right?!
Member Luhan finds himself in the firing line of the rest of EXO when he spends a little too much time with the pretty girl (Joy from rookie group Red Velvet), a lot of gang fighting ensues. That is not forgetting the mysterious powers bestowed upon Luhan by Kris, which seems to worsen his image in the eyes of those who already dislike him. When another gang come for him though, we see his fellow EXO boys come to his aid. These drama MVs are full of action, which each EXO song complements very well. Unfortunately, the departure of member Kris means that this drama will most likely remain unfinished.
10. Lee Hyori – ‘Bad Girls’
In this brightly coloured and chaotic MV, Lee Hyori once again shows her good sense of humour as she stands up for all the tough women out there. The protagonist of this video is a girl that doesn’t suffer fools lightly, and certainly isn’t afraid to fight back against everyone who does her wrong or winds her up. Many of her victims in this MV include mean school classmates and perverted teachers. If you haven’t seen this MV already, click play. It is full of wonderful visuals and silly comedy.
UnitedKpop wishes every student out there the best of luck in the new academic year! Fighting!
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