An overview of the five videos that have been nominated by the Mnet Asian Music Awards for 2012.
Yup, it’s that time of year again! The Mnet Asian Music Awards, or MAMAs, are a popular year-end K-pop music award ceremony, and I like doing a little overview of the vids nominated in the Best Music Video category.
If you’re interested, you can vote here. The poll runs until November 22, and you can vote once a day.
Jump links for the impatient:
Let’s kick this off with…
Mini-Review: Psy—“Gangnam Style”
I reviewed this music video in much more depth here, so I won’t re-hash it on this page: it’s not only fun but unexpectedly meaningful! But I would be remiss without mentioning that in terms of exposing Korean pop culture to the western world, they couldn’t have done much better than this song and video.
At the time of writing this, the vid has almost 700 million views—so, eh, not bad! :) It was just behind Justin Bieber’s “Baby” for the most-viewed Youtube video of all time—and has recently surpassed even that, which is quite the achievement!
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard this song on the radio, at movie theaters, and on TV, and there are tons of everyday people parodying the dance. I also heard that next season, they’re going to sing this—in Korean—on Glee. So I think that regardless of the quality of the rest of the music videos, this one is very likely to win for political reasons. And also, you know, because it’s awesome. :)
“Why does my football keep getting interrupted by the players dancing this in the endzone?”
Mini-Review: Brown Eyed Girls’ Ga-in—“Bloom”
The song is pretty catchy. I don’t like it enough to buy it, but I like the rock feel coupled with the sweeping vocals. There is a lot of very interesting (and grammatically correct) English phrasing, too (i.e. “chemical blue ocean” and what may or may not be a John Mayer reference with “you’re my wonderland.”)
The video is a metaphor for a woman’s sexual coming-of-age—or “blooming,” if you will. This idea is not a new one—see, for example, artist Georgia O’Keeffe’s close-up paintings of flowers that seem remarkably similar to female genitalia. But it’s interesting to see the idea so blatantly portrayed in Kpop.
At the beginning and end (in the old-style film flashbacks), Ga-in projects an innocent image of an inexperienced woman in love in an idyllic country setting. But after her first sexual encounter, the tone shifts dramatically, and the image is much raunchier—and frankly more fun, as well as more blatantly sexual. Then there’s the actual relatively hardcore sex scene that drives the message home. She also gets major points for having what seems like a masturbation scene in the kitchen (rawr!).
Kudos to Ga-in for creating a music video with a sex-positive message. It’s clear that she feels that sex between two loving and consenting individuals is a good thing worthy of celebration.
“With all those flowers, I’d hate to see the size of the bees.”
Mini-Review: Infinite—“The Chaser”
Funky guitar riffs give this song a retro sound, and it’s very listenable, though I much prefer “Before the Dawn” and “Paradise.” There’s just something that doesn’t appeal to me about “The Chaser” musically: it seems a bit unnecessarily dramatic, maybe, in a way that worked wonders for their previous songs but doesn’t seem to work here (for me, anyway).
I just have two words for this music video: SUNJONG!!!! SUNYEOL!!! Dear God, both are so incredibly hot here, and I’m not just saying that because they’re my biases: that is fact.
Um, but to be more professional: this music video is very Infinite: kind of smoky and wistful and, I’ll be frank, difficult to interpret. It seems like there’s a key, and all the boys are competing to get the key to the box that Sungjong eventually finds. The most dramatic thing happens to L, who gets in a ridiculous and rather unlikely car crash. Without resorting to symbolism for which there isn’t much evidence, it’s hard to tell what might be in the box that would make the boys kill for it.
Fortunately, though, the majority of the video is spent dancing in a kind of teepee with geometric shapes. Infinite’s dances just make me drool. The synchronicity, the crispness, the way the choreography makes use of the space and allows the members to interact with one another, and to use their seven members to their advantage. Everything is awesome.
“At least now we know how they roll.” (Can we get a collective groan?)
Last year at the MAMAs, BIGBANG’s excellent “Love Song” took home the award for Best Music Video (read my review of that here).
To me, this song and music video of a supernatural prison break lack the simple, gentle elegance of “Love Song” or “Blue,” or the outlandish fun of “Fantastic Baby.” But the more I listen to it, the more I love the catchy chorus: “I need you; baby, I’m not a monster.” BIGBANG seems to excel at this type of song.
Actually, the music video in “Monster” could be considered a dark version of “Fantastic Baby.” Like what might happen if the guys from “Fantastic Baby” were locked up and experimented on and one day decided to escape.
The boys’ hairstyles are absolutely off-the-wall ridiculous—even for BIGBANG’s standards, which is saying something! (Taeyang...just...what is happening?!) They also seem impeccably styled for guys caught amidst rubble, explosions, and collapsing buildings. I love T.O.P’s slouchy cowboy-esque hat, though.
Overall, the video is creative and unusual, and BIGBANG’s fanbase is expected to support them in the voting like last year.
“This video was very hurtful towards the glowing-eye population: just because your eyes glow doesn’t make you a monster.”
Mini-Review: Brown Eyed Soul’s NAUL—“Memory of the Wind”
NAUL from the quartet Brown Eyed Soul has released a lovely traditional ballad. He hits the high notes like crazy—this chorus is so dramatic and filled with emotion.
This music video reminds me of the movie War Horse with the loving shots of Lee Kiwoo athletically riding the horse in military-esque garb:
Here’s my summary for the video: On her wedding day, a young woman remembers how her father saved her from bombs (or meteors, or whatever) being dropped in their idyllic field when she was a child.
I knew as soon as I saw the father and daughter being happy and playing in the beginning that something horrible was going to happen to them. It’s just a rule.
“The most heroic of deaths for a father: sacrificing himself to protect his daughter from meteors.”
So which one was your favorite, or which music videos would you have liked to see in the nominees? I was pretty sad that Sunny Hill’s “The Grasshopper Song” wasn’t included in this list, for example, but maybe it came out too early in the year or something? I’m not sure of the nomination rules exactly.
EDIT: the MAMAs have now aired, and Psy won in this category. Congratulations! The full list of winners is here.
<< Go to the Best Music Video nominees for 2011