The aim of ConceptLore (and it’s main counterpart on my design website) is to explain the concepts in Asian music mvs. More often than not you’ll find Korean pop mvs here but I’m open to explaining most genres from Asia.
If you want to request and mv you can stop my theask box or the submit page and let me know what you’d like to see.
There are already a whole host of mvs listed in the Index that you can check out too.
This latest Amoeba Culture production might draw people in because of the featured name, or even the producer, but the whole outfit are worth the watch.
Rhythm Power, Zion.T, and producer Primary are all Amoeba Culture artists that have seen underground success and have broken out into the mainstream well in Korea.
Rhythm Power are Amoeba Culture’s reinvention of the ‘idol’ group for the 21st century. Originally called Radioactivity when underground, their song Rhythm Power was so popular for its fresh sound that when the group joined Amoeba Culture they adopted the song name as their own.
Left to right: Boi B, Hangzoo, Geegooin
Bond Girl blends vibes from all three artists seamlessly and the mv incorporates both the fun of the group and sound, and the stylish edge of Bond.
The Rhythm Power members have customised shopping carts, driven by remote control by one of their Bond Girl dancers.
There is plenty of fun in the mv, with Rhythm Power joining the band as they play plastic instruments and even smash them up in true rock and roll style.
The styling mixes the group’s hip hop style with a sophisticated but youthful take on the James Bond suited style. Even when in their hip hop style Rhythm Power show a refinement to how they are presented to keep up the Bond concept.
The mv involves a sequence which highly objectifies the females featured. This isn’t something unknown to the Korean music Industry, or music in general, but the intention here would probably be purposeful. Many of the Bond Girls within the novels and films, if not objectified by Bond himself have been subject to some form of objectification in their past.
Rhythm Power are backed up by a band during their performance scenes in the mv this supporting the style of music in Bond Girl. The band includes producer Primary on keyboard and Zion.T providing additional vocals and harmonies.
Bond Girl is a great example of mainstream Korean hip hop that brings in influences from other styles.
SHINee are back with their new album Everybody, and its title track of the same name.
Everybody is SHINee’s reboot. Slowly we have seen SHINee growing up from their young image, though their last release Why So Serious?, which came from the album Misconceptions of Me, while keeping them young and edgy also brought the members styling that suited their age.
Everybody changes their styling once more, making it even more sophisticated and stylised, fitting the group even more now they are no longer teenagers.
SHINee have often been in the forefront in the fashion stakes, being a group that has a top Korean designer [ Ha:Sang;Beg ] behind the development of their now well known look namedSHINee Style, this look has matured with them.
Even in their military look for Everybody you can still see the markers of SHINee Style proud amongst the look in the customisation. Whether it be in the features such as Key’s shorts, or the pattern work in one of their uniforms their military style is always unique to SHINee.
Their comeback comes with a rebranded typographic logo and a symbol to represent the group.
As this is SHINee’s reboot the beginning of the mv sees them linked up to wiring before being plugged in and activated by masked, faceless droids.
Far from being just an SM Formula box mv full of SHINee choreography and solo shotsEverybody actually poses some interesting questions.
It’s quite important to have seen the Everybody Image Teaser to fill in a couple of gaps in the concept I’d feel.
In the moment of choreography that we see Minho control the others we can look to the image teaser for more information.
The Image Teaser has Minho playing a form of flute, like the Pied Piper of Hamelin he is in control. The other members have switches and keys that can be used to activate, them much like in the opening scene of the mv where all the members needed to be plugged in, four of them are under Minho’s control.
The military concept isn’t something that fits the lyrics, so what is it?
Teams and gangs are something we’ve seen a lot of in kpop concepts to show strength within the group, but emerging very recently from this idea are themes of military and rebellion. These could be emerging as social commentary, both regarding the country’s situation and as the male idols get older and have to think about their mandatory military service.
Maybe more interestingly is the visual commentary regarding the forerunners of the industry, particularly one at YG, within their solo shots.
Many of their solo styles are reminiscent of those worn by YG artists, or G Dragon in particular, and there are some scenes we can associate with his recent hit Coup D’etat, which takes on a concept of rebellion and had military-esque uniforms in its styling.
Jonghyun smashes up white art busts as G Dragon similarly does to symbolise becoming a new man. His styling is similar to the YG idol’s through the cane and glasses he often used during his One Of A Kind tour.
Taemin shows off his bare chest under a fur coat and numerous jewelled crosses, fashion statements G Dragon isn’t a stranger to.
One of Key’s military outfits sees him with long dark hair. Throughout his One Of A Kind era mvs and much of Coup D’etatG Dragon has long hair before becoming the new man he creates once his coup is successful at the end of his mv.
We could even look at the symbol SHINee have rebranded with and compare this to G Dragon’s use of his adapted peace symbol as his own Coup D’etat logo.
Could images such as these be a statement that SHINee, and SM as a whole, should not be discarded when the forerunners of Kpop are being considered. People like G Dragon may take the throne temporarily via their musical revolution but ultimately the control shall lie with the masters at SM? Everybody implies SM have a very complex control, their ranks are vast and strong as represented by the droids we see, their idols’ power is varied and strong, and they can compete with anyone who throws down the gauntlet in the Kpop arena.
Even as a display of style and choreography Everybody is a stunning mv, and one you shouldn’t miss.
My most recent discovery in Kpop is a rather interesting one, debuting last month N.O.M, otherwise known as Nature of Man, have a rather unique angle to their group concept.
Search for N.O.M and you will find two groups that debuted around the same time, they couldn’t be anymore different. The particular one I am focussing on has four members, JK, KOM, Q and NIO. In fact finding much information on Nature of Man is harder than with most debuting Kpop groups, as in South Korea even their teaser images were censored and most sources just won’t write about them. If you haven’t seen this group already, you’ll quickly learn why this is as you read on.
Their debut release, A GUYS, is based on the concept 3rd sexuality. Sexualities aren’t necessarily defined as the first, second, third, etc though the genders are, and the third gender, or the third sex, is the intersex, neither man nor woman. Therefore could we look at 3rd sexuality as an umbrella for bisexuality, the attraction to both genders?
Exploring the mv might give us more of an idea.
A GUYS pushes the themes and styles many Kpop males use to their extremes. It highlights the ways it which females are sexualised in lyrics, and despite some highly confusing English diction pushes this as it aims.
I want you, Sexy voice I see you, body figure I like your nice legs
Alongside the lyrics the visual is one of great impact. It takes the way in which the male idols themselves are visually styled and captured: the already over adorned and sometimes lacking clothing of kpop males is even more exaggerated; the mixes of cute and suggestive choreography are amped up to be both effeminate and sexual; the focus on body parts to appeal to their audiences become more extreme due to the clothing and choreography.
The mv even pulls in a number of prominent concept themes that we have seen used this year and last. The main mv pulls much of its structure from the SM Formula having the group in a very basic room and focusing on the styling and choreography, and using addition computer generated graphics to add more detail. The cut away scenes to an outdoor setting add a supernatural element to the mv, used by groups such as EXO, VIXX, and BIGBANG.
As for the teaser images that have been censored in Korea, they too exaggerate the themes you’d see from male Kpop idols in their photo shoots and blur the lines of the artists’ orientation, as appears to be 3rd Sexuality’s intention.
3rd Sexuality somewhat mocks Korean pop for one of the things their world revolves around: objectification. It highlights the objectification of women within Kpop songs, and also the blurred gender stylings for many Kpop males despite the still more conservative attitude to sexual orientation the country has.
A GUYS may mock Kpop, but it is also a great example of their genre at its extreme.
BrandNew Music trainee Kanto has released his second mixtape Young Blood.
Kanto is a trainee with the group TROY, they consist of Bumkey who has recently re-launched as a solo artist, and two other trainees Jaewoong and Changwoo. All four can be seen in Bumkey’s debut under BNM, Bad Girl.
Left to right: Jaewoong, Bumkey, Changwoo, Kanto
Just hours ago Kanto and his company dropped free downloads of his mixtape on SoundCloud
Produced by BNM’s head producer MasterKey, the mixtape features the following tracks, contributors, and base instrumentals:
감정기복 (Meek Mill - Dreams And Nightmares instrumental)
해와 달 (Day Break) (feat. 강민희 of 미스에스 Kang Min Hee of Miss $) (Wale - Bad instrumental)
멋을 아는 놈 (feat. 스윙스 Swings)(Big Sean - Beware instrumental)
Tracks 2 and 7, Day Break and Fly High have mvs, in the form of one long split video.
I’m unsure whether the title card for Day Break is an intentional mistake. Daybreak means dawn, it is the time when sunlight first appears, and is the transition from night to day, therefore it could be that the use of ‘Day Night' instead of 'Day Break' is not a mistake, though this isn't something I can be sure off. Day Break features label mate Kang Min Hee of Miss $ and Fly High features fellow hip hop rappers Ollti & SIK-K. The Day Break mv, though set indoors, fits its title well. The dim blue lighting of most of the setting is met by the warm yellow hues of a room in the background. Much like the sunrise meeting the darkness of night - the meaning of day break.
Kanto shows his hip hop roots in the Fly High mv. The rappers perform in graffitied back streets wearing popular clothing brands amongst hip hop artists such as Hood By Air: Clothing, Bape X Stussy: Ill Collaboration and Supreme Clothing.
Kanto is another of the impressive rappers hitting the scene with both skills for speed and intensely low tones, and you might be surprised to learn he’s only nineteen. You can also hear Kanto on:
BIGBANG’s G Dragon and Seungri are both coming back with solo albums, and YGFamily have presented them with very different but equally impressive album teasers.
So let’s start with Seungri.
Note: this was posted on my website yesterday, I know Seungri’s mv is out now, there won’t be a post about it unless it is requested – this teaser covers the album as a whole however.
Despite being BIGBANG’s maknae the 22 year old member can’t quite be called innocent. Even discounting his possible discretions in his private life his solo album concept had themes of seduction in What Can I Do, fantasy in V.V.I.P., and strong sexual connotations in lyric, narrative and choreography in Strong Baby.
The Let’s Talk About Love teaser for the album is meant to imply a more mature image for Seungri.
Warning: This teaser is rated 19 and has been given an explicit content warning from YG.
Seungri is not the male in the teaser, though the gentleman that has been used holds a strong resemblance to the BIGBANG member.
As the warning states the teaser is ‘explicit’ in its referencing, the meaning clear. Seungri wants to ‘talk’ about love, but his actions in the teaser are lustful.
Alongside the explicit reference to sex also lies the implicit reference to the act.
Fruit, mainly apples, have long been used as literary devices to symbolise sin and sex. The apple is the forbidden fruit. The original fruit to cause to sin. In latin ‘Malum’ means both ‘apple’ and ‘evil’. There are many symbolic and sexual meanings given to the image of an apple, from the different parts of the female anatomy they may represent, to how they may have originated at the hands of the Greek God of Intoxication as a gift for the Goddess of Love.
As for Heinz Ketchup, that’s red, and apart from it’s colour I’m unsure the product holds anymore relevance to the subject.
It’s lust, not love. It’s not necessarily showing his maturity, just that he isn’t a child, which may be Seungri’s intention as the teaser images are far more sophisticated than the teaser trailer.
Which leads us to G Dragon.
Part two of G Dragon’sOne Of A Kind is to be called coup d’etat it appears.
A coup d’etat is when an organisation, typically a military body, overthrow the government and replace it by another body. The other body must establish a dominance for the success of the coup.
The name coup d’etat is quite a strong concept name for part 2 of G Dragon’s album for a number of reasons. Firstly, and most importantly, GD has established his dominance with One Of A Kind, therefore, success should be in reach with Part 2. Secondly, GD is a natural leader, he is leader of BIGBANG and he is very influential towards his ‘army’ of VIP fans.
This teaser sees him in three very distinct costumes and colours. Black, white, and red.
Each of these can reference a point in GD’s career but, the red is probably most prominent, so I will leave that one for last.
The black military style outfit could be reminiscent of the recent ALIVE era, in which BIGBANG donned many uniforms, many of which were black adorned largely in silver. Including these.
The white seems highly reminiscent of a famous 2009 Vogue Korea photo shoot by Hong Jang Hyun called ‘I’m Genie’.
The red becomes very obvious, not in the solo shot but where the symmetry comes in to play. G Dragon appears to form an apple core and this is reminiscent of his Heartbreaker mv. Coincidentally the apples in Heartbreaker have much the same meaning as the ones in Seungri’s teaser. You can read my post on Heartbreakerhere.
These are to very interesting teasers from YG, that show the progression of two of BIGBANG’s members in such different ways.
I see a lot of people trying to take the lyrics and compare them to other kpop artists, saying that Bang Yongguk is taking a shot at certain groups. This is nothing more than kpop fans being biased and protecting their favorites. If they didn’t act like that, they’d probably see that the message of this music video and song is much more important than that.
Also see a lot of people talking about racism with this video. I could go on a whole long rant about that, but I think this person covers that topic flawlessly.
"The lyrics are by leader and main rapper Bang Yong Guk. He was inspired by how we often hear the same issues in society on the news but can forget them easily. His lyrics tell of a world that fears and closes their eyes at what they don’t want to see. The artist however is the bad and evil and will remind you of it, because it exists in the world and will always come back, no matter how much you try to escape.”
It’s always great to see feedback from the artists fans on anything writing - and I think I wary about reaction to everything I had written about Badman.
This is one of the most wonderful reactions I’ve seen to any of my blogs, and I appreciate it wholeheartedly.