21 Best Korean Music Videos of 2021
From BTS, BLACKPINK’s LISA to Dreamcatcher, Stray Kids, TWICE and more. Here are the 21 captivating Korean music videos of 2021
21. “After School”- Weeekly
Debuting during the pandemic, the K-pop girl group forged an identity for all things pop and spirited with their March 2021 release “After School.” Arguably their biggest release to date, “After School” immediately transports you to your fresh and upbeat high school days. Conceptualized around bright, vibrant sets, the music video sees the members go from a high school corridor to a gaming zone, and then finally to what seems to be an alternate dimension. The bubbly, animated concept suits the group’s youthful personality well as they occasionally serve catchy choreographed steps to match the pop-synth soundscape of the track. With “After School,” Weekly delivered a promising future, establishing the group as one of the groups to watch out for this year. – D.D.
20. “The Feels” – TWICE
Listed on TWICE’s latest EP Formula of Love: O+T=<3, “The Feels”, is the girl group’s first official all-English single. The bubbly song summarizes the giddying feeling of falling for someone new and feeling an instant, unspoken connection with them. In the energetic music video for “The Feels,” the TWICE members are their usual vivacious selves, as they receive an invitation to attend prom night. The dreamy music video then follows the journey of the nine divas, as they get ready for a night full of disco and dancing in a massive, bright pink walk-in closet. The video is abundantly interspersed with shots of the members grooving to the undeniably catchy choreography on the red carpet, the dance floor and the auditorium stage. Dripping with happy vibes and the charismatic personalities of the nine girls, the music video finally draws to an end on a high, but not before flashing a poster teasing TWICE’S upcoming schedule and activities. – O.M.
19. “Maverick”- THE BOYZ
With Squid Game and Alice In Borderland making waves in the global pop culture scene, K-pop group THE BOYZ tap into the exhilarating world of survival games with “Maverick.” When it comes to the survival genre, we usually see the participants of said games pushed to the limits when faced with some tough challenges (these usually involve bloodshed and massacre.) Take for instance Squid Game, where 456 participants competed in a twisted version of playground games, or in Alice In Borderland where players undertake tasks testing various abilities ranging from strength to teamwork. While some elements of this genre are preserved in “Maverick,” THE BOYZ take a slightly different approach in their alternate universe. Focused on becoming the best versions of themselves, the survival game (named Maverick Game) builds its foundation on one directive — there are no rules. To survive, players must tap into their individuality and refrain from seeking vengeance. Donned in all-black ensembles, the members are seen taking up various challenges in the music video. Though the exact nature of these tasks is not clear, the members look determined and headstrong to hit the bullseye on every challenge. The music video also sees the members wearing an electronic neck collar with the word ‘Maverick’ flickering on its screen. To the fans of the Japanese Netflix drama, Alice In Borderland, this is an instant reminder of the neck collars Arisu and friends wore in the third episode of the global hit show. Within the context of the music video, this frame reflects on the player’s task of becoming an independent-minded person. – D.D.
18. “Loco” (ITZY)
From their much-awaited studio album Crazy In Love, we get ITZY’s latest smash hit “Loco” — wherein the group switches it up from their usual confident, teen crush concept to a more audacious, love-struck one. “Loco” (Spanish for ‘eccentric’ or ’fool’) as the name suggests, talks about how love makes us commit the most insane acts, and highlights the obsessive push-pull effect that falling in love often incites. Just as eccentric as the track’s concept itself, is the track’s official music video. If we had to go with just one word to summarize it, we’d pick the 2019 Met Gala theme, ‘Camp.’ The lively, vibrant music video is a display of loud, flashy colors and patterns — flaunting an inane blend of neon lights, giant blue plushies, levitating emoticons and more. What also caught our eye was the quirky fashion statements by the members, ranging from colorful corset dresses and bright patchwork denim, to hot pink feathery one-pieces and leopard-print camis. The music, concept and lyrics embody ‘Loco’ in its truest sense, and is a truly admirable effort by ITZY and JYPE. – O.M.
17. “Fireworks (I’m The One)”- ATEEZ
Leave it to ATEEZ to produce a hype anthem with visuals just as stimulating as its fiery composition. Released on March 1st, 2021, “Fireworks (I’m The One)” forrayed in the group’s sixth EP Zero: Fever Part.2 in the most dynamic and fashionable way possible. Set in a post-apocalyptic setting, the music video opens with the group strutting towards a bare tree, rooted on a deserted land. The abandoned buildings in the background immediately evoke an unsettling feeling, almost post-apocalyptic, that oscillates between fear and adrenaline. The mood shifts with a change in scenery– huddled in a derelict subway, ATEEZ dress down to all-black ensembles, as they match the rhythmic trap beats with swanky choreographed moves. At this point we have little information about the storyline, but the plot thickens with the insertion of analog radio and weapons, narrating a possible rebellion scenario where the members must fight for survival. In a true ATEEZ fashion, the group concludes the music video on a fiery note with a powerful dance performance executed against fireworks and flames. The rapid, energetic moves coupled with the pulsating rhythm of EDM acts as a flavorful, saucy treat that’ll tempt you into clicking the replay button. -D.D.
16. “Dumb Dumb” – Jeon Somi
Included as a B-side track on Jeon Somi’s debut studio album XOXO, “Dumb Dumb” follows the storyline of a high-school diva who decides to play pretend in order to win the attention of a boy on the sports team. Shot as a coming-of-age flick, the playful, cinematic music video definitely stands out amidst the plethora of other exceptional storyline-focused music videos released this year. In the video, Jeon blossoms from a child playing dress-up before her mirror, to a drop-dead gorgeous high schooler. Starring as the main character of the plotline, the dreamy music video progresses as she plays a flirtatious, manipulative female lead who weaves an elaborate ploy to trick and elicit a confession out of her crush, by putting up a façade of innocence to fit into his ‘ideal type’ and impress him. The video is replete with all the pivotal elements of an endearing high school romcom: youthful, eye-catching fashion – from electric pink corset tops to red leather biker skirts, scenes of a mid-party restroom existential crisis and finally, a grand prom night where the ‘timid’ Jeon ultimately cuts loose and takes the center stage– all eyes are on her as she launches into the track’s catchy point dance move, sparkling under the spotlight. Here she is finally acknowledged by her crush, who instantly falls for her once she reveals this bodacious side of herself– and the twist comes when we realize that in reality, this had actually been her master plan all along. – O.M.
15. “On The Ground” – Rosé
BLACKPINK’s Rosé brings all the drama and glamour in her solo debut music video “On The Ground.” Best described as a pop galore, packed with breathtaking visuals and a heartening message, “On The Ground” brought Rosé’s listeners closer to her mindset and artistry. Aesthetically beguiling and cinematic, the single is a tribute to Roseanne Park — her identity before she debuted with BLACKPINK. It’s a message reinforced towards the end of the music video, where she is seen gazing upon a younger version of herself who’s cheerfully playing the piano. The frame instantly reminds you of the group’s Netflix documentary BLACKPINK: Light Up The Sky, where a young, bubbly Rosé is playing on the piano. With oversized hats, jewel-embellished dresses and luxurious fur coats, the vocalist dials up the drama, maintaining an air of opulence and swank. The wardrobe and makeup play an integral part in the visual storytelling, as we see the shift between Rosé and Roseanne Park marked by a shift in appearances. While Rosé is effortlessly glamorous with her high-end wardrobe, Roseanne Park introduces us to a delicate side of the singer, one donned daisy-shaped hair clips and soft make-up looks. The music video concludes on a picturesque note with Rosé levitating over a lush field, packed with fully bloomed pink and white roses. Paired with her breathy vocals and electro-pop soundscape, “On The Ground” captivated audiences from the get-go. – D.D.
14. “Ping Pong”- HyunA & DAWN
Serving an abundance of color and energy on a golden platter comes K-pop’s resident pop couple HyunA & DAWN’s September release “Ping Pong.” There’s an element of infectious energy the duo brings out in this release. From effective use of colors, bold costume ensembles to rapid camera movements, “Ping Pong” is a treat for anyone wanting to boost their spirits. Pair this with the couple’s undeniable chemistry, and you’ve got yourself a timeless music video. Penned by both artists, “Ping Pong,” is a vibrant moombahton track that commemorates the artists’ mutual admiration for music and of course, each other. HyunA & DAWN have consistently pushed the limits of their creative expression and “Ping Pong” is just another testament to this. Their confidence and allure come through with their animated expressions and powerful point dance becoming a trending challenge on TikTok. Amongst the innumerable K-pop music videos to have graced us last year, “Ping Pong,” was a particularly refreshing release, showing us the power of eccentricity, romance and positive energy. – D.D.
13. “Cold Blooded” – Jessi
Rapper and songwriter Jessi is one of the most powerful women in the Korean music industry and her single “Cold Blooded” celebrates this with a focus on femininity and strength. Released as a collaboration between the artist and Mnet’s massively successful reality dance competition Street Woman Fighter, the music video for “Cold Blooded” features all the show’s participants–a bright mix of female dance crews that stun with their confidence and attitude. Jessi doesn’t appear in the video until it’s more than halfway through, letting the various crews take the spotlight as they perform the choreography each of them had created as a challenge on the October 5th episode of the show. The trap single is a victory anthem as Jessi outlines her own (and Korea’s) success and drive when she raps, “Huh, I’m so cold blooded I’m so naughty/ We’re professionals, y’all just don’t comprehend it/ You’s a nobody with no body/ Fucking around on stage like a globe trotter/ You’ve set up a shop that blend in with spicy taste/ My kimchi so delicious need a Michelin.” “Cold Blooded” is bold, saucy, confident and a symbol of self-empowerment– much like Jessi herself. –R.C.
12. “Tail” – SUNMI
Included under a single album of the same name, the title track “Tail” highlights a darker, seductive side to the 29-year-old singer-songwriter. Notwithstanding the numerous criticisms she’s received for this track, we’d beg to differ and commend her on consistently exploring new sides to her artistic identity, and giving us the most intriguing, unconventional concepts with each comeback. In a society that shames women for being confident in their own skin, the powerful and feminine “Tail” serves to push multiple boundaries at once, and for that the K-pop veteran demands respect. “Tail” is a feisty number about a feline anti-heroine who’s on the lookout for a passionate love, and is unable to conceal her raw animalistic instincts. Fighting toxic patriarchy and juggling power dynamics through and through, the accompanying alluring music video is a direct nod to Michelle Pfeiffer’s 1992 adaptation of Selena Kyle, aka Catwoman. The first shot is a scene of Sunmi being administered a polygraph test by a man. Left at his mercy, she is pushed to her death from the high-rise by him, only to be found and resurrected by a cluster of cats swarming nearby. Sunmi comes back evidently stronger and fiercer than ever; donning black latex, commanding every scintilla of her sexuality and harbouring a murderous intent, much like a predator on the prowl for its next victim. The femme fatale manages to avenge herself by seducing the man who had betrayed her, only to leave him tied down to train tracks, for the sake of poetic justice. The most intriguing part of the music video though comes during the vocal bridge, as the (in)famous “cat tail” choreography wherein Sunmi and her dancers effortlessly contort their frames to sculpt a visual replica of the feline. – O.M
11. “Take Over” – Do Hanse
VICTON rapper Do Hanse made a stunning solo debut in 2021 with the EP Blaze and its lead single “Take Over.” The single begins with an infectious blend of thrumming basslines, trap and electro before delivering a sleek Nineties-style house drop as Do spits absolute fire during his verses. He sounds like a machine gun at points, using onomatopoeia and alliteration as bullets, a style that’s uniquely his and tremendously difficult to execute. All of this is accompanied by an avante garde music video that crowns Do the emperor of its psychedelic and glamorous kingdom. The rapper and songwriter embraces androgyny with waist-length platinum blonde locks, his delicate but sharp features and stunning avante garde, gender-bending fashion. Towards the end of the clip, Do is flanked by four of South Korea’s most famous drag artists, Nana Youngrong Kim, Vita Mikju, Bambi and Serena who vogue around him as he performs the final verse. The clip ends with the rapper seated regally upon a white horse–the imagery brings to mind the idea of a knight, which suggests he’s ready to fight his way to the top of the rap game. While Do has already built a reputation in the K-pop scene as one of the industry’s fastest rappers, his solo debut cements him as a musician with a grander artistic vision, similar to the likes of G-Dragon, CL and DAWN- R.C.
10. “Butter (Hotter Remix)” – BTS
Global mega stars BTS delivered plenty of fantastic music videos in 2021, making it incredibly difficult to choose our favorite for this list. While “Permission To Dance” came close to nabbing a spot here thanks to its brilliantly positive vibes and inclusion of sign language in its choreography, “Butter (Hotter Remix)” won out (rather unexpectedly) amongst our team thanks to BTS’ endearingly chaotic chemistry with each other in the music video. The clip keeps it simple with each member of the septet coming forward to perform their lines in the song while the rest of the band dance, perform stunts and generally keep each other entertained in the background. It’s hard not to smile–or laugh out loud– when watching this clip and it does a fantastic job of letting each member’s personality shine through while also giving audiences an idea of their dynamic as a team and family. A particularly hilarious moment is when the vocalists take turns to mime exaggerated versions of their lines while the rest of the members stand by them attempting to keep a straight face (Jung Kook fails spectacularly, and it’s adorable.) There are plenty of inside jokes, references to older choreography videos, and other hilarious unscripted antics to focus on, making it impossible to watch this video just once. –R.C.
9. “Drunk-Dazed” – ENHYPEN
ENHYPEN’s eerie April 2021 release “Drunk-Dazed” comprised bountiful theories for fans who hold a sweet spot for all things dark and supernatural. A modern vampire tale expressed through ENHYPEN’s youthful energy, “Drunk-Dazed” tells the story of seven vampires disguised as high school students: “Can’t control my body dance, dance, dance/ This sweet scent/ Fangs glowing red/ Revel in it, this carnival, wow, wow.” Although we don’t get to see the group slipping into a classic vampire demeanor (one with fangs and heavy black cloaks), ENHYPEN makes their hidden identity known through the symbolic use of blood, making this video slightly uncomfortable for anyone with hemophobia. From party cups filled with red drinks to red rainfall and a fountain sprouting red liquid, ENHYPEN makes it clear they’re out to quench their bloodlust. The storyline driving the video is dark and sinister, making “Drunk-Dazed” a must-watch for anyone who adores dissecting music videos for hidden meanings and theories. The tale kicks off with a high school girl lifting an invitation to a ‘bloody birthday party.’ The camera pans sideways with a chilling sound engulfing the scene. Here, we catch a glimpse of former I-Land participants (now members of HYBE Label’s Japanese boy group) K and EJ studying the girl from afar. While their physical form is that of a human, their werewolf-outlined shadow reveals their truth. The overall party setting, confetti and concoction of an EDM, pop, rock and synth soundscape is smoke and mirrors at best, covering up the motive of the party — to satiate the vampires. The group also brings in a taste of mania and terror through their choreography. Vaguely resembling zombies, the chorus sees the group left their arms up before leaping into the air. It’s the minor details such as these that leave you re-visiting the “Drunk-Dazed” repeatedly, guaranteeing a fresh discovery with every watch. – D.D.
8. “Paranoia” – Kang Daniel
In addition to dropping one of our favorite albums this year, Kang Daniel delivers excellence in the visual space with the music video for “Paranoia.” Serving as the lead single of his third EP Yellow, “Paranoia” addresses the anxiety, fear and constant self-reflection that depression can ignite. The video for the alt-rock trap number sees Kang attempting to hide and escape from a mysterious and monstrous dark figure. There are various scenes that allude to social anxiety, panic attacks and the track’s namesake paranoia, including a suffocating shot of Kang trapped underwater and moments where he’s walking through a crowded space, increasingly fearful and wary of everyone around him.
The video switches between shots of the singer-songwriter hiding alone in his bedroom and scenes of him performing crisp but manic choreography with confidence. The movements are a little reminiscent of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” but are much darker thanks to Kang’s eerie facial expressions and the track’s haunting lyrics: “Days are as dark as the night/ It’s getting scary/ In my lightless room/ It’s becoming routine, one by one/ Am I just crazy or dreaming awake?/ Now I can’t escape/ Every day repeats and I become numb.” At the end, he faces the dark monster and fights it as it attempts to kill him, but is shocked by the terrifying realization that the monster is himself and therefore he can never truly escape: “A dark night/ With the monster that lives inside/ Alone in the dark.” It’s a brilliant depiction of depression and anxiety, how the mind becomes our own enemy– extremely relatable and important to anyone who has struggled with any mental illness. –R.C.
7. “Hwaa” – (G)I-DLE
“Hwaa ” is the lead single on (G)I-DLE’s last music project as a sextet, I Burn. In Chinese characters, the term “Hwaa” can be translated to two different meanings ‘fire’ (火) and ‘flower’ (花). The track uses the metaphor of ice, burning fire and blooming flowers to express the journey of re-igniting the warmth within one’s heart, after thawing the ice built up from the aftermath of a cold breakup. True to (G)I-DLE’s profound, symbolism-rich music video aesthetic, “Hwaa” begins with the shot of a tree that was once brimming with hope and life, but has now lost its vigor due to the onset of winter. Donning all-white ensembles, the members carry out an intricate, dexterous choreography on an icy, barren field — exemplifying the frigid, empty state of their hearts. This is followed by a picturesque shot of the group’s leader and main rapper Soyeon, rapping her verse in a larger than life raven’s nest, following which the girls transition into floral, summery dresses and execute the dance routine on the sets of a greener, blooming field — signifying hope and their desire to reclaim control over the reins of their newfound life. The track’s ending verse denotes the final stage of resuscitation, and the members now transition into fiery all-red ensembles as they perform before a blazing red backdrop. The three sets ultimately come together to build-up one complete cycle of growth after loss: winter (death), flowers (hope) and fire (resurrection). – O.M.
6. “Odd Eye” – Dreamcatcher
Widely celebrated for their hauntingly dark and thought-provoking concepts, Dreamcatcher’s January 2021 release “Odd Eye” fits the group’s cinematic universe effortlessly. Driven by a prominent cyberpunk concept, “Odd Eye” takes symbolism and social commentary a step further with the group’s take on how social media distorts our reality. Dripping with captivating visual effects, Dreamcatcher makes the symbolism evident through a brief look at how the tree of language (a staple in the group’s cinematic universe) is tainted by technology as opposed to black magic. The critique continues through the group’s expressions around technology — rather than seeming gleeful and content, the members appear to glum and stoic around mobile phones, painting a picture of how excessive use of technology is making society robotic. High-budgeted, symbolic music videos have proven to play an integral role in the boom of K-pop, and seeing Dreamcatcher make remarkable contributions to the genre’s history with their unique concepts and pop-rock soundscape is an absolute treat. – D.D.
5. “Red Lights” – Stray Kids
While we absolutely adored the music video for “Thunderous” and love and appreciate all eight members, powerhouse group Stray Kids truly surprised us with their stylistic and sonic transformation on “Red Lights.” Featuring leader/vocalist Bang Chan and rapper/vocalist Hyunjin, the track is a B-side on their 2021 studio LP NOEASY and is a dark, seductive and dangerous affair. The music video sees the members tying each other down with ropes and chains, both desperate to escape, but determined to ensure the other stays bound. It’s a reflection of the song’s lyrics which outline an obsessive, push and pull relationship. Written and produced by Bang Chan and Hyunjin, “Red Lights” is an alternative R&B number built of intricate string sections during the verses with incredibly powerful electric guitar riffs and bass drops ripping through the chorus. There’s violence to it, as well as sadness, and the manic nature of the obsession is clear through the instrumentals alone. Bang Chan and Hyunjin work brilliantly as a team in the video, mirroring each other with every move and delivering emotions that cruise through anger, fear, desperation and casual indifference. The choreography is aggressive but graceful, incorporating moves with the chains and letting both artists use their skill sets as dancers to challenge and compliment each other. –R.C.
4. “Lalisa” – Lisa
Coming in fourth, we have BLACKPINK member Lisa’s electrifying lead single “Lalisa” from her solo debut album of the same name. Brimming with power and grandiose, the bold track expresses her unabashed desire to be adored for who she is, and is a celebration of everything that makes her Lisa.. Keeping in line with YG Entertainment’s god-tier production levels, the high-budget music video showcases the different, versatile shades of the artist. The first scene opens up with the Thai rapper confidently strutting down an alleyway lit up with neon signs, after which she transforms into a badass biker chick and a suit-clad special agent deployed with the task forces, followed by a seamless transition into a sultry, enigmatic pole dancer where the main dancer shows off her flawless skills, and finally a girl-next-door avatar. However, the highlight of the video by far comes in the rap bridge; sitting atop a gilded throne, adorned by a crystal-embellished, hand-embroidered gold brocade costume and the traditional Thai ‘Rad Klao Yod’ headgear, Lisa pays homage to her roots as she launches into a fiery rap verse. Overall, the music video is a celebration of the 24-year-old’s unique signature style — both in music and fashion — her Thai heritage and of course her stellar skills as a dancer. – O.M.
3. “0X1=Lovesong (I Know I Love You)” – TOMORROW X TOGETHER
TXT’s full-length album The Chaos Chapter: Freeze features the rock-themed title track “0X1=Lovesong (I Know I Love You).” The song is performed from the perspective of a hopeless romantic, who believes in love as his only saving grace in an otherwise drab and dreary world. The music video starts with an impactful quote from author Kan Yujeong on ‘An Excellent Metaphor For A Hole In Life, Manhole’ that reads:
“A period of growth can be considered a universal hole that is placed in anyone’s life at a certain point. However big or small, as we pass that period of time, we experience spiritual hunger and an empty hole. But to some, the hole becomes such a complex shape too frequently and intrudes in their lives.”Filled with Easter eggs and references to the group’s previous eras, the cinematic music video follows the story of a protagonist (portrayed by the group’s rapper/dancer Yeonjun) caught in the midst of a heated argument between his parents, seemingly not for the first time. Visibly exhausted and seeking an escape from his troubled reality, he decides to run away from home. He steals his parents’ car to meet his friends (Soobin, Taehyun, Beomgyu and Huening Kai) and embark on the road trip of their lives. The music video proceeds to show the boys having a great time together, enjoying each other’s company in an abandoned pool house, performing in their own scaled-down rock concert in grungy black and white fits, and attempting to burn their garments in a fire pit, only to end up accidentally lighting their car on fire, leaving them with no way to return home. Ultimately, however, the music video ends on a cliffhanger as Yeonjun wakes up in a deserted lot all by himself, with no sign of his ‘friends’, and the supposedly ravaged car is now seen in its bona fide perfect shape, leaving us to wonder whether all the events were merely a dream sequence crafted by Yeonjun’s imagination in an attempt to fill the chasmal void left by isolation and loneliness. – O.M.
2. “Advice” – Taemin
Before enlisting for mandatory military service in 2021, SHINee member and K-pop veteran Taemin dropped his third solo EP Advice in May. The music video for its lead single of the same name was yet another brilliant example of Taemin’s emotional and versatile artistry, this time diving in to explore frustration. The vocalist contrasts gritty and dark visuals with his own beauty and elegance–he begins the clip by playing the piano while his bare upper body is smeared in black paint and tattoos. As the clip shifts scenes to bring in Taemin’s unmatched skills as a dancer, it takes a dangerous tone–the artist barely breaks eye-contact with the camera as he launches into lightning-fast choreography, his expression dangerous. His control over his own body is outstanding, visible when he shifts from faster moves to slow, intricate moments to match the strange but alluring trap-synth/piano blend of R&B.
There are certain clips in the music video for “Advice” that are particularly powerful, including when Taemin crashes the car he’s driving and is surrounded by glittering fragments of glass in slow motion, his body suspended in a pinkish-orange sky, and an outstanding transition that moves from a zoom in to his eye, through a locked door, into a room where he sits alone but barely contained, much larger than all the furniture around him. All of the clips are symbols that represent the message of the song itself–it is impossible to try and control or box him in: “The more you try to trap me, I’ll go off the rails so take a good look/ If you want to see the end, push my buttons/ It’s for you one advice/ Best take my own advice.” Taemin’s wardrobe throughout the clip is another point worth mentioning; he wears hair extensions, crop tops, smeared eyeliner, leather jackets, masks and a particularly sleek black and white suit while his team of dancers are clad in either color for coordination. “Advice” is the first time we are seeing anger in one of Taemin’s music videos and the execution is fierce and unforgettable. –R.C.
1. “Libido” – OnlyOneOf
OnlyOneOf took a major risk with the music video for “Libido”– the alternative R&B lead single off their EP Instinct Part. 1– and set the Internet ablaze. The video sees the group depict romantic same-sex relationships, with the members taking on the acting roles themselves. They divide into two couples and a conflicted love-triangle, outlining each story clearly and don’t shy away from physical touches on bare skin, intimate looks between each other and building sexual tension. There’s heartbreak, tenderness, mystery, jealousy and love in a music video that borders more into the territory of a powerful indie film. The choreography is most definitely risqué with moments that include vocalist Nine touching vocalist Love intimately (sparking outrage among more conservative viewers when the group performed the track live on music shows) and bold costumes– the “Guilty Pleasure Ver.” MV in particular– but it wasn’t all just for show.
Inspired by Sigmund Freud’s concepts of sexuality and the id, OnlyOneOf explained “Libido” is about impulsivity and suppressed emotions, stating, “The mind’s energy ‘libido’ is considered as a feeling that shouldn’t be openly talked about in real life and should be concealed, so its existence is often denied.” The point was to depict relationships that are usually swept under the rug in many conservative societies like South Korea or even here in India. Vocalist KB further explained, “This is a topic that other groups were careful about doing and was a taboo topic. However, many artists have turned what are human instincts into art even in the past and even the present. So, OnlyOneOf has sublimated the most basic parts of humans into music.” “Libido” opened up multiple discussions about sexuality, queer-baiting in the K-pop industry, same-sex relationships in Korea, taboos and more, accomplishing what OnlyOneOf had aimed to do–break boundaries and create meaningful conversation. While there was some criticism, OnlyOneOf were praised for representing those of us who are in the LGBTQ+ community and being brave enough to go where no K-pop group has before. –R.C.