Edited by Seo Hayne
Translated by Kim Hoyeun
K-pop continues to captivate fans in various ways, from viral dance challenges on short-form platforms to fancams following live broadcasts. It’s hard to classify K-pop as merely “music you listen to” anymore. In this article, we highlight the visually compelling performances of multi-member idol groups, encapsulating the charm of K-pop as “music you watch.”
Stray Kids – “S-Class” (2023)
Preorders for Stray Kids’ third full album ★★★★★(5-STAR) hit an impressive 5.13 million copies, with their title track “S-Class” serving as a testament to their artistic identity, both musically and beyond. The song’s message, “We are the most unique among the unique, and we shine the brightest among the special,” is visually symbolized through a choreography that forms a star shape with hands. Notably, Changbin and Han’s parts bring a refreshing change of rhythm, exhibiting relaxed hip-hop steps reminiscent of the 90s old-school vibe. Undeniably, Stray Kids’ powerful performances showcased in their previous hits like “Back Door,” “God’s Menu,” “MANIAC,” and “CASE 143” have paved the way for this breakout moment.
SEVENTEEN – “Super” (2023)
“Super,” the title track of SEVENTEEN’s 10th mini-album FML, is a metaphorical song that parallels the growth of Son Goku through trials and tribulations to their own journey. The music video features over 200 dancers, amplifying the song’s intensity. Despite being shot on the same set throughout, the seamless integration of SEVENTEEN members and the dancers captivates viewers. In their dynamic and powerful group dance, SEVENTEEN’s playful wit remains evident. Lyrics like “ride clouds here and there” invoke the image of the cartoon Son Goku riding on clouds, and “rise way up to the sky, Power Pole” playfully portrays the Power Pole.
NCT 127 – “Kick It” (2020)
The music video for “Kick It,” the title track from NCT 127’s second studio album NCT #127 Neo Zone, resembles a thrilling martial arts film condensed into three minutes. Set on a stage paying homage to the movie Kill Bill, the nine members showcase dynamic yet precise choreography inspired by Bruce Lee’s martial arts moves. Moves like the nose-pinching gesture directly aligns with the lyrics, “I throw a straight punch right left Bruce Lee/I’m flying around all day long Bruce Lee.” Taeyong’s powerful dance break that starts midway, followed by Mark’s martial arts-like performance, knocking down the members as if they were opponents, is particularly memorable.
LOONA – “Butterfly” (2019)
LOONA, a group born out of a unique concept of revealing a new member each month, spent a year and a half introducing all 12 members before releasing a full-length album in 2016. “Butterfly” is one of the songs that perfectly encapsulates LOONA’s identity. Their performance for “Butterfly” presents a performance full of grace and fluidity, like a butterfly in motion. Starting with Haseul’s narration, “Butterflies do not perish,” the performance develops a storyline that evokes the image of a butterfly caught in a spider’s web, encapsulating LOONA’s dreamy and mystical atmosphere. LOONA showcased a different version of this song on the survival show Queendom 2.
IZ*ONE – “La Vie en Rose” (2018)
“La Vie en Rose” is the debut song of IZ*ONE, a project group formed through Produce 48. In the music video, the 12 members collectively create a blooming rose-like image. The formation, initially centering around Jang Wonyoung, evolves into a V-shaped formation, utilizing the change in paths and staggered timing to provide a dynamic visual experience. It’ll give an opportunity to observe the impressive prowess of the girls who are now actively performing in the K-pop scene as members of groups like IVE and LE SSERAFIM, as well as soloists like Choi Yena, Jo Yuri, Kwon Eunbi, and Lee Chaeyeon.
Editor Seo Hayne: I like actors as they faithfully lead through their long running-time. I also like idols who accomplish everything on stage within 3 minutes.