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The Top 10 K-Pop Music Videos of 2021

Top 10 Music Videos of 2021While I don’t incorporate a song’s video into the reviews on this blog, I’m definitely not immune to a striking visual. Music videos are a vital part of the industry, and it’s time to celebrate my favorites of 2021.

2021 YEAR-END MASTERPOST


Honorable Mentions:

ONEWE – Rain To Be
U-Know – Thank U
Kingdom – Excalibur
Mirae – Killa
AKMU – Hey Kid, Close Your Eyes


10. JOY – HELLO

Sometimes simple concepts stand out most. So many 2021 music videos obsessed over painting their idols as badass warriors, but this whistle-stop tour of Jeju Island offered a shot of positivity. It’s the perfect match of video and song.


9. DO HANSE – TAKE OVER

The frenetic Take Over deserved an equally bonkers music video. Compared to most comebacks, this is decidedly low-budget. But, that’s part of its charm. It has the appeal of the underground, produced with K-pop’s polished standards in mind.


8. SUNMI – YOU CAN’T SIT WITH US

Sunmi’s kind of a constant on this list. No other artist uses visuals quite as successfully as her. You Can’t Sit With Us is another winner, delivering a campy zombie pastiche with a retro setting. It’s wonderfully weird and insistently captivating.


7. STRAY KIDS – CHRISTMAS EVEL

K-pop Christmas videos are often throwaway stopgaps between “real” comebacks, but Stray Kids turn those expectations on their head with the clever Christmas EveL. This is one of the year’s funniest videos, leaning heavily into the ridiculousness of the track itself.


6. ONF – BEAUTIFUL BEAUTIFUL

ONF welcome you to their colorful future world in an ambitious video that compliments the bright energy of the song. I love sci-fi in K-pop — especially when it doesn’t take itself too seriously. The dancing robots are the cherry on top.


5. BRAVE GIRLS – AFTER WE RIDE

After We Ride‘s video is all about mood and lighting. I’m a sucker for this particular color palette, making every frame of Ride a piece of art. There’s so many great images here, but my favorite is just before the bridge when we move from dancing alone with the mannequins to joining the band.


4. TXT – 0X1=LOVESONG / LO$ER=LO♡ER / FROST



I’m cheating a little bit and placing three of TXT’s videos in one spot. 0X1=LOVESONG and LO$ER=LO♡ER are emotional bookends, perfectly capturing the energy of each song in visual form. Meanwhile, Frost is more inscrutable and fantasy-like but elevates the song with its dynamic imagery.


3. ONLYONEOF – LIBIDO

When writing about libidO (the song), I highlighted its sense of danger. That carries into the music video, which feels stark and threatening. The cinematography emphasizes focus on small, striking moments that create a sense of tension echoed by the chugging instrumental and evocative performance.


2. KEY – BAD LOVE

Key wins the 2021 award for most cohesive concept. From album artwork to visuals to sounds, Bad Love knows exactly what it wants to be. The video further enhances its campy retro side without ever going full-on cheese. All the while, it puts the spotlight right where it should be: on Key himself.


1. GOLDEN CHILD – BURN IT

I’ll always appreciate ambition, and Burn It‘s seven-minute zombie apocalypse certainly fulfills that desire. Some may balk at its open-ended storyline or the occasional pausing of the song, but the video itself is incredibly memorable. Not only is it thrilling in the way a decent end-of-world film should be, but its extended coda is surprisingly resonant. It’s the only 2021 K-pop video I can remember that made me genuinely emotional. Maybe I’m reaching, but those last two minutes feel like they’re getting at something more complex and heavy than simple horror fantasy.

26 thoughts on “The Top 10 K-Pop Music Videos of 2021

  1. Pingback: Best of 2021 Masterpost | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  2. Burn It was basically a great everything – great song, great choreography, great music video, great album…..so while I would still put Christmas EveL above it, I can understand why it topped here.

    Also, Take Over makes the best use of a single LED screen in any music video ever – it really does prove that a small budget doesn’t necessarily mean a bad video.

    But, Waiting and Karma should also have been featured here somewhere too…..

    Liked by 1 person

    • They’re top ten for me as well. My bottom line for an MV is basically “do these visuals add to the experience of the music” and in both cases that is true.

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  3. My favorite music videos this year were Christmas EveL by skz, stereotype by StayC, I know I love you by TXT, and Fever by Enhypen to name a few.

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  4. I absolutely agree with first pick. The only mv to make me cry is Burn it, and I have friend who cries every time she watches the mv (no, I’m not kidding).
    The only criticism I have is Bomin’s arc. I feel like Tag’s and Joochan’s storyline should’ve been front and center with Jaehyun getting more limelight, but it’s still a tight, gripping story that makes me go silent when watching.

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  5. A little surprised to see YCSWU over Tail, as I felt Tail’s MV was far more cohesive with better storytelling. Also, surprised to see Hey Kid, Close Your Eyes, Thank U, and Rain to Be failing to make the list. Burn It deserves the love though!

    btw: You accidentally called it Rain to ‘Me’ lol.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Mirae’s Killa and Kingdom’s Excalibur (as well as Karma) would definitely make my list. I probably watched Excalibur more than any other MV this year, fantasy concepts are by far my personal favorite.

    Some of my other favorites were Ghost9’s Seoul, Just B’s Damage, and Pixy’s Addicted.

    I also loved Seventeen’s Anyone MV which had my favorite camera work of the year.

    Shinee’s Atlantis had my favorite color palette of the year. Its vibrant and fun without ever feeling cheesy or childish. Its also mostly Shinee colored (aqua) which I love. Easily my favorite SM MV of the year.

    Also Nick I thought you might be interested to know that Onewe did a rock band cover of Infinite’s The Chaser in front of Woohyun and Sungjong on midnight Idol 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  7. My top ten not really ranked except for #1
    OOO – IibidO
    The Boyz – Thrill Ride
    Do Hanse – Teh Gover (Nana cameo)
    Vanner – Form (another Nana cameo)
    The Chain G. Wicked Night/Love Again
    Twice – The Feels (husband approved)
    Kai – Peaches
    NCT Dream – Hot Sauce
    Taemin – Advice
    And #1
    Strawberry, berry, Gum! Ha Sung Woon and Don Mills.
    Strong song, fun story, and Sung Woon just oozes personality.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m happy to see Kingdom Excalibur in the honarable mentions atleast 😀 It is my fave kpop MV of the year hands down! The number of times I have watched it is insane! ❤️

    If I’m being honest most of the MV’s of Golcha are usually very low for me because I find it takes my attention away from the song 😅 and one of the biggest criteria for me when I think of my fave top MV’s is one which supports the song and does not overpower it.

    My other fave MV’s :
    Kang Daniel Paranoia
    Golcha Breathe (the exception lol)
    SKZ Thunderous
    Verivery Get Away
    Oneus Luna
    Dreamcatcher Odd Eye
    Pentagon Do or Not
    MCND Not Over
    Purple Kiss Zombie

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Pingback: The Top 10 K-Pop Music Videos of 2021 | Beatsway

  10. A lot of overlap with my favorites (TXT, Hanse, OOO, Key, AKMU, ONEWE) – weirdly, I don’t love the really CG heavy style of Beautiful Beautiful or Killa even if I love sci-fi generally. I think it feels like the flash takes away from the performance. Key hit the perfect balance by going the faux low-budget look and I loved it.

    The two MVs I’ve come back over and over again this year are KANG DANIEL’s “Paranoia” and HOSHI’s “Spider”. Both are rare instances where an incredible dance performance is enhanced by the MV (“Libido” goes in this category as well).

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