20131204_seoulbeats_vixx_sliderThere are hundreds of music videos released each year in K-pop. They range from cute, to sexy, to plot driven, to random, to artsy, to dance focused, and each viewer has their own opinion about which is the best, but occasionally there is an MV that stands out from the pack that wows fans and non-fans alike. It was a difficult choice this year because there were so many endeavors by K-pop groups to put out unique MVs that would set them apart from the crowed, but you all voted and here are your top four favorite MV concepts of the year.

Coming in first place is the colorful, whimsical, magical mic-stand genius of SHINee’s “Dream Girl.” There is no doubt that this was one of the most unique MV concepts and choreography concepts of the year. SHINee has a tendency to put out the stereotypical box MVs – thanks, SM Entertainment – so “Dream Girl” really took the viewers by surprise.

The distorted gravity and dream-like ambiance were executed perfectly with camerawork that stayed clean and focused and didn’t fall into the trap of giving viewers seizures or vertigo to “add” to the concept. Every set, costume, and dance move worked together in the MV to create a combination of the necessary elements of dancing, singing, solo shots, and artistic vision without overemphasizing or under-emphasizing any of them. Whether you liked the song or not, it is certainly one of the best MVs SHINee has ever done and deserving of the title of best concept of 2013.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhxjEXDAy6s]

In second place we have an MV with an entirely different vibe, VIXX’s “Voodoo Doll.” Even though it is a fairly recent release, it is obvious why it immediately rose to the top of K-pop fans’ list of MVs this year. With its intense and violent concept it speaks to the viewer’s darker feelings about love and control, tapping into a part of romance not often seen in K-pop.

The shock value keeps your eyes glued to the screen and the quality of the acting, production, and dancing keep you coming back for more. VIXX may be the only group that can pull off a gothic MV without it coming across as corny and “Voodoo Doll” is by far their most impressive work so far. When you devote yourself to perfecting a concept no one else is succeeding with, you are bound to get results, and we’re glad to see them here at second place being recognized for that.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOG7BexjPjM]

Third place goes to EXO’s “Growl,” yet another breed of MV and very innovative in its own way. At first glance, a boy group dancing together in school uniforms may not seem particularly unique, but it is the more subtle elements of camerawork and choreography execution that make this MV stand out from the crowd. The technique used in the “Growl” MV is what is known as “one-shot” camera work, and consists of one long take with no cuts and no editing.

This means that there can be no mistakes for a long period of time, which is particularly impressive when the focus of the MV is complicated large group choreography. The background is minimalistic, as are the outfits, clearly making the focus of the MV the fluid camera work and sexy dancing. Although some viewers may have found it dull; clearly, the majority sees the aesthetic appeal of a concept like this, making “Growl” a worthy third place.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I3dezFzsNss]

Finally, last but not least, our fourth most popular MV concept of 2013 is Sunmi’s “24 Hours.” This MV is effortlessly sexy and mature, with none of the overproduced “sexiness” we normally see from K-pop groups. This MV satisfies the audience’s need for romance in a story, something not exactly represented in the top three, and it does it in a way that captures the emotions of a passionate love more than simply showing two people “being romantic.”

The MV plays with the camera work and the concept of time in the plot to create a visually and mentally stimulating final product that is only further enhanced by the excellent dance performance by Sunmi. This dance has already been parodied by everyone and their mother, so it is no surprise that the MV made it to the top of the heap.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2UmDrsMlXXg]

Each music video is special in its own way and these four are only a small selection of the incredible MVs that came out this year. Each one of these four top MVs has something unique about it that sets it apart from the crowd, be it the concept, the camera work, or the overall feeling the MV creates. Let’s all hope that next year these same groups, and other groups as well, keep making the extra strides to keep their MV concepts interesting and engaging for the viewers so we can praise them just as highly in 2014.

(YouTube [1][2][3][4], SM Entertainment)