It is now the coldest season which means MVs full of muted colors, sorrowful plots, and emotional ballads. This December we were treated with gems like Red Velvet’s “Psycho” as well as the return of CL after leaving YG Entertainment. However, there were other tracks with MVs that deserved recognition for their sincerity, intriguing concepts, and unique camerawork.

JYP – “Fever”

To start off the list, the legendary JYP is a blast from the past, with a swing track titled, “Fever.” This single is the outlier on a list full of angsty and touching MVs. For the comical plot, JYP fantasizes about his conservative neighbor who is played by Cho Yeo-Jeong. He imagines K-drama-like scenarios like being stuck in an elevator together and catching her in a bathrobe on her balcony.  The MV is in line with the lyrics of the song which is about obsessively thinking of his crush. 

On top of funny moments, the MV has a great dance sequence that fits in with the jazz beat of the song. JYP provocatively dances with a female dancer in the beginning. It eventually leads into an energetic dance number with other dancers set against a red and gold stage. 

Overall, the MV and song tick off pretty much everything JYP’s formulaic comebacks. However, he still manages to keep things interesting and gifts us a fiery MV for this cold season.

U-Kwon, “Rise Up”

U-Kwon’s MV for “Rise Up” has no plot and instead focuses on interesting camera work. In connection with the lyrics, the MV is mostly shot from a low point creating “height” in the MV. The shot works with the trees, wheat fields, and other tall backgrounds. The sun is also noticeably at its peak which creates strong shadows that back out parts of the background. In addition, the shots in the MV changes constantly. We hardly see U-Kwon’s face and if we do it is a blurry image or he is shrouded in a dark shadow.

Ultimately, the camera work gives U-Kwon a pensive and sometimes mysterious tone.  While the backgrounds seem as if U-Kwon is trying to escape from his busy world. This coincides with the lyrics in which U-Kwon speaks about wanting to lift up his spirits in spite of the pressures of fame. 

Holland, “Loved You Better”

Holland delivers a personal and sorrowful ballad with “Loved You Better.” The MV’s plot contains a story of bullying that eventually leads to positive transformation. Holland’s character is noticeably bruised and enduring bullying from other students as he is in a school setting. There is a powerful scene that implies that he was suicidal as he points his fingers to his face creating a blast of confetti. However, in the second part of the MV Holland is in dark makeup in clothing showing his feminine side. With this drastic change, he also carries a more confident attitude. 

While the lyrics of the song may seem like they are talking about a lover. The persona is actually referring to himself wishing that he would have been kinder to himself. However, he has at least learn from his mistakes and is now more accepting of himself. The MV beautifully expresses the struggle with the depression that comes with being bullied for who you are. Despite such a dark story, it ends on a positive note which coincides with the lyrics of the song:

Sweep your hair aside and open your eyes
Let everyone see you
Ignore their stares, just look ahead
That’s your way, that’s the answer
Now I treat myself like a queen…

BoA, “Starry Night”

BoA, another veteran in the K-pop industry, stars in an MV with a hopeful message. The MV tells the story of several characters that are going through mishaps like a motorcycle that will not start and someone’s dog running away. BoA plays two characters with one being a person who is struggling to write music. The second character she portrays a singer in a silver dress on a center stage. In the climax of the MV, everyone’s luck turns around after they turn to the glittery dressed BoA. BoA’s alternate personality symbolizes a brighter look at their situation with happy endings all around. Ultimately, it carries a positive message in the midst of several relatable inconveniences.

Se. A, “U”

Similarly to Rise Up, Se.A’s MV experiments with unique camera work that transforms what would have been a dull MV. A majority of the MV is shot from the reflection of a side-view mirror. The MV has more similarities to Rise Up–it is also filmed in a forest and wheat field. Additionally, the images of Se.A tend to be out of focus with random shots of her clothes, hair, and hands. In contrast to Rise Up, though, this MV has a more calming tone that fits in with the slow-paced song. Se.A  sings about being in love in a sultry voice that further creates a soothing and romantic atmosphere.

Primary, “Slow Down”

Primary also chooses an interesting concept for their MV which is entirely in black and white. The MV shows a person in different backgrounds walking slowly and awkwardly. The MV is mostly shot showing the back of this person who is wearing a suit with long and free hair. His movements are always awkward but still seem to coincide with his setting. In the desert, he looks like he stumbling and struggling. While in a European setting, he is dancing with energy. While his movements vary, the scenes are depicted in slow motion which connects with the concept of the song. The song itself is about slowing down, relaxing, and enjoying life.

(Youtube [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]; Images via SM Entertainment, JYP Entertainment, Seven Seasons, Holland Entertainment, and Se.A Entertainment. Lyrics via Lyrics Kpop.)