A review of some of the Christmas or winter-themed Kpop music videos that have been released this year.
Every year, several Christmas or winter-themed music videos are released, often with entire “families” (entertainment companies) in one video. All of them essentially have the same theme: have a happy holiday, fans! Most of the songs are decent but not great—cheerful and pleasant enough, but nothing edgy or catchy. The members all wear cute winter clothes and look awesome in them. Usually nothing happens in the videos, but if there is a dance or a storyline, it’s simple and adorable. They’re essentially fun bonus treats for fans to help everyone get into the holiday spirit.
Since reviewing them all individually would take weeks and be repetitive and dull, I thought I’d just do batch mini-reviews of a handful of the ones released this season for you starting today, two days before Christmas! (Since there were a ton released this month, please let me know if there are any you’d like mini-reviews for that I missed.) Sometimes the proceeds from the songs are donated to charities as part of getting into the Christmas spirit, so I encourage you to buy the songs if you enjoy them enough.
Without further ado, let’s get on with the reviews!
Mini Review: Boyfriend—“I’ll Be There”
That’s right, in addition to participating in Starship Planet’s “Pink Romance,” Boyfriend released a music video on their own! Unlike the other ones listed here, “I’ll Be There” is not overtly Christmassy, and it’s quite a polished music video, special dance stage and everything. In fact, take out the snow globe and the snow—which the guys seem to mostly ignore anyway by rubbing their knees in it and Youngmin not rolling up his car window (baby, it’s cold outside!)—and it’s basically a perfectly serviceable regular music video. Boyfriend looks chic and sophisticated in their grey/black wintery clothes and white suits (and Jeongmin in his fuzzy hat!). The music video also features former Five Girls/T-ara member Yang Jiwon.
The song starts off slow and sad (during the parts where they’re on a ship that looks like the Titanic) but quickly switches to an upbeat little tune, though still with kind of a sad message. I get the feeling that this song and video would resonate best with people who are depressed or lonely during the holidays, maybe due to a recent breakup like Boyfriend in the song.
“I hope that tiny little car has winter tires; it would get stuck in the snow banks so easily.” (So speaketh the Canadian.)
Mini-Review: Happy Pledis (After School, Son Dambi, and NU'EST/Pledis Boys)–“Love Letter”
This one was requested earlier, but I wanted to include it in the Christmas special. Thanks for waiting patiently, requester! :)
Both this song and music video have a lot more going on in them than the usual Christmas fare, so thanks, Pledis. The song is, yes, sweet and cute, but it maintains a driving pace at the beginning by having one member start a new line as the previous member finishes a line, leading to an interesting overlapping effect. Plus there’s an a cappella part at the end! It’s not particularly strong or anything, but it shows that they’re at least trying to get into the traditional choir style for a holiday party.
We get treated to some meta behind-the-scenes footage from the making of the music video and photoshoot, then we cut to what looks like quite a fun Christmas party. I’ll overlook the requisite sexism of the girls making the food while the guys move heavy stuff and fix lightbulbs because, well, SPARKLERS! I love sparklers, though generally you don’t light them inside. Also I always feel bad for idols when they’re around lots and lots of delicious-looking cakes and things because it’s doubtful if they’re allowed to eat much—or any—of it. Nor can they open those prettily wrapped presents. Sad face. Still, they make the atmosphere look convincingly lively and fun.
We also get our first look (though they don’t really sing) at the Pledis Boys, a new group set to debut soon (I hope!), plus the cute little girl, Park Junghyeon, who is a trainee. Here’s a picture of the Pledis Boys, so the next photo will hopefully be less confusing:
If you want to know more about the Pledis Boys, here is a great article. Minhyun was the lead in Orange Caramel’s “Shanghai Romance,” currently he and Ren are my favorites.
EDIT: So it turns out five of these guys are actually NU'EST! Minhyun, Ren, Aron, JR,
and Baekho (whom I don't think is pictured here?).
And here is all of Happy Pledis *deep breath*:
A portion of this song’s proceeds will go to UNICEF, so definitely buy it if you like the song.
“That is probably more food than any of them have eaten in the last year.”
Mini-Review: Infinite—“White Confession (Lately)”
Filmed in Japan, this music video features the Infinite guys wandering around shops browsing for Christmas gifts, sometimes with a train of fans following, and then meeting up for a meal together. The song is great for any time of year, with a serious rap part and a very listenable melody; it’s really only the strings and generally happy feeling that makes it a Christmas song.
So obviously of all the music videos released here, this one is by far my favorite—and not just because the more I see of Infinite, the more I love them. It’s continually interesting, completely genuine, and most of all a totally believable premise. Infinite, I applaud you.
“That’s the type of [w]rapping I like in my Kpop.”
Mini-Review: KARA–“Winter Magic”
There was originally a different version, but that’s been made private for some reason. So here is the “close-up version.”
In KARA’s cloyingly sweet Japanese track, the girls look like angels (especially Gyuri) dressed all in white and walking around a white city while snow drifts gently down without actually settling in their hair. (I wish I had a protective bubble around me when I go outside in the snow!) Fortunately they’re not really outside, as they’d be shivering in their light, summery clothes. Also I would not recommend silvery high heels in the snow to non-idols.
The song is a bit too cutesy for KARA, making them sound very generic, and the song itself belongs on the closing track of a romance anime. Still, the girls get points for at least having a dance, albeit a very simple one which consists of moving the shoulders back and forth.
Although I don’t particularly care for this song, I recommend checking out their Japanese album Super Girl, which has some pretty good tracks. I liked “Do It Do It” and “Dreaming Girl” in particular.
“I thought they were on figure skates at first. It’d be better on ice.”
Mini-Review: MBLAQ—“White Forever”
Thanks for waiting on this one, too, requester! This is a meta music video with similarities to Super Junior’s “Superman,” Starship Planet’s “Pink Romance,” Girl’s Day’s “Don’t Let Your Eyes Wander,” etc., meaning it’s basically footage from the recording studio, fan signings, live performances, backstage at concerts, and the like. It functions as an interesting retrospective for MBLAQ’s activities throughout 2011.
The song has some elements of a sweet holiday song with its general pleasantness and light piano, but underneath that is a heavy synthesizer. So it’s not entirely what I’d call a Christmas song (despite Seungho’s “I pray for you” line—oh sorry, make that: “I pray for U”), which makes it…rather refreshing amidst all this cutesy stuff, actually. And oh, man, the difference Mir makes to a song. His parts really stood out for me.
“Are there no heaters in Korea? People always seem to be wearing huge jackets indoors.”
Mini-Review: Park Ki Young–“The Christmas Time”
This is the first music video by singer/songwriter Park Ki Young I’ve ever seen, and it was a cute introduction. The song itself is cheery and repetitive, saying the word “Christmas” about a thousand times, but it has a cool rock guitar sequence I liked.
This music video is nice because, like Infinite’s “White Confession (Lately),” it feels fairly genuine. It’s an adult take on Christmas, where friends get together and drink wine and shoot fake snow from spray cans everywhere. Some thought was definitely put into the artistry of the video, especially the continuity with Ki Young throwing the ball to herself, a nice touch.
This song is part of a full Christmas album. If you want to know more about Ki Young, here is a great article that has lots of her music videos embedded.
“That red balloon is strangely sexy.”
Bonus! Here’s an amusing Christmas-themed video by Ryan Higa that makes fun of Christmas albums, amongst other things.
Whew! This is somewhat amusing: let me think of the “family” names—there’s SMTown, YG Family, JYP Nation, United Cube, Happy Pledis, Starship Planet, Star Empire…I don’t know if NH media or C-Jes have enough members to be a family yet.
So whose music video did you like best of today’s batch?