Towards the end of the year, the ever-busy K-pop scene slows down. Although the season of winter may be associated largely with holiday singles and sentimental ballads, MVs from the past months of November and December were surprisingly imaginative.

For this edition of Unsung Artists, we feature a few MVs with cosmic themes and alternate universes that bring some dimension to an often-bleak season.


Now into her 16th year as a singer, Younha only seems to show more artistic certainty with each new release. “Stardust”, the title track off her latest full album End Theory, is cosmic in sound and theme. In the song, she muses over her reason for being, and the chance meetings she has on the small star of planet Earth that lies within a vast universe.

The MV opens on a fittingly mystical note. A comet falls slowly towards Earth—an image that might remind longtime fans of Younha’s widely successful Japanese single, “Houkiboshi“—as she watches on. Wisps of aurora colours spread through the mountains, and Younha follows them with wonder and joy in her eyes.

As the piano instrumentals and a low reverbing synth introduce warmth into the song, the visuals transform accordingly. Through hazy, sun-drenched scenes and gentle camera movements, we see a younger Younha smile up at her family. “Even if I were made by mistake / I like this star,” Younha concludes, grateful for the encounters life has granted her. There are no bells and whistles in either the song or MV, but “Stardust” is deeply moving in its simplicity.

Billlie—”Snowy Night”

New group Billlie made an unusual debut with a mysterious MV that promised more lore to come. “Snowy Night” isn’t as hard-hitting as “Ring x Ring”, but it’s richer with detail and imagination. Its stuttering, almost stop-motion style shots and use of intertitles recall the visuals of silent films. The group’s journey to the moon, and subsequent encounter with a monster, are a whimsical reimagining of George Méliès’ “Le Voyage dans la Lune“.

The adventure is framed as an escapist fantasy for the listless girls, who seem to be stuck indoors because of the winter weather. They shed their sweaters and beanies for fun pastel shift dresses, and dance in a kind of cosmic desert landscape. The wonder they experience while exploring the strange lands soon becomes replaced by unease, however, as two girls disappear mysteriously. They’ve been kidnapped by a cute yeti-like monster, who gives them bunny ears and condemns them to the hard work of cutting paper snowflakes.

The other members stage a rescue operation, and by the time they return from their parallel universe and their real selves wake up, the sun is out. It all seems like a harmless dream, but the MV comes to a mysterious end when Tsuki looks in the mirror, and sees herself with the bunny ears from her kidnapping. Mystic Story seem to have found Billlie a good niche that spans whimsy and horror, and “Snowy Night” left me intrigued for the group’s next release.


Much like “Stardust” and “Snowy Night”, Mino‘s “Tang!♡” dives into a parallel universe. Mino enters a Western film-style virtual reality in which he has all resources at his disposal to win the heart of a love interest. He makes other guests in the salon vanish with a snap of his fingers, shows off his bank account balance, and even produces a cute puppy out of nowhere.

However, virtual Mino is in for a nasty shock: his love interest wants none of it. But he doesn’t give up, dreaming up a sea of red roses and personally hauling a mountain of gifts to his crush. She’s still unimpressed, and his virtual reality begins to glitch under the pressure of this unexpected outcome. He gives the fantasy another try, but it finally goes up in flames, signalling his realisation that this approach isn’t working out.

We return to real Mino in his messy room. He sets aside his VR headset, picks up his phone, and goes in for the most direct course of action: arranging to meet his crush and confess to her in person. We don’t know the outcome, but the MV’s message is clear: sincerity, however clumsily expressed, beats out affectations.

Chungha—”Killing Me”

Tonally, Chungha‘s “Killing Me” is like “Tang!♡” in reverse. The MV begins on a hope-filled note: Chungha wakes up on a day she has been looking forward to, in a cosy room that’s all florals and frills and gentle, glowing lights. As she gets ready to blow out the candles on her cake, a package arrives.

The gift is a matryoshka doll, and opening the first layer transforms the warm room into a nightmarish set. Chaos ensues: Furnishings and decorations tumble to the floor and break, and Chungha’s psyche likewise begins to fragment. She’s haunted by happy memories of past birthday celebrations with her friends, a scene that strikes a contrast with her current state of solitude.

However, Chungha is not content to let her breakdown happen without putting up a fight. She bravely tries to deface the smallest matryoshka—perhaps symbolic of the deepest parts of herself that she was previously hesitant to confront—and crush it.

This struggle seems to leave nothing but ruins in its wake, but by the end of the MV, something in Chungha has changed. She no longer gazes listlessly off-screen or casts haunted stares, and instead looks unflinchingly at the camera. She has risen from the ashes, and she’s ready for a new beginning.

(YouTube [1][2][3][4][5]. News1. Images via C9 Entertainment, MNH Entertainment, Mystic Story. Lyrics via Melon.)