Color me impressed

Beast – “Bad Girl (Japanese Ver.)”:

Something tells me that I should start paying a little more attention to Beast.

I think I’ve had a big, fat crush on Yoseob for a few months running now, but I also thought for the longest time that he was born in 1994…so I guess that really goes to show how much I know about Beast, heh.

But I think my newfound adoration for Beast’s latest music video is directed more towards Cube than it is towards Beast itself. Admittedly, I don’t think I gave Beast enough credit in the past simply because I didn’t pay attention to them. Likewise for Cube, but after being introduced to Cube via the hot mess that is 4minute, I’m disinclined to believe that my reservations on Cube were entirely baseless.

The funny thing about 4minute, though, is that while the group itself boasts a questionable amount of talent, 4minute’s material – particularly their visual material – is really, ridiculously good. For that, we’ve got Cube and Cube alone to thank. That is – whomever is in charge of cinematography at Cube deserves a pat on the back and a nice firm handshake because they are doing an excellent job.

Having spent a lot of time in SM Town with SM music videos galore, I’ve come to realize that any music video can be successful so long as the idols in the video look good and have enough individual face time. In theory, an idol-churning machine like SM should have no problem accomplishing this. Nonetheless, it’s almost universally agreed that SM’s videos suck grandly. Why? They’re uninteresting, they have no substance, they use and abuse that matrix cam like no other, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

By those rules, Cube’s videos should suck just as bad – and yet I can say with confidence that Cube’s videos are perhaps some of the best in the industry. As aforementioned, I didn’t pay much detailed attention to Beast and Cube until I saw the video for the Japanese version of “Bad Girl” – and was subsequently blown away. Are all of their videos this pretty? I asked, skeptical. Yes, yes they are.

It’s obvious that Cube takes special care in the artistic direction of their videos. The lines and the coloring are always impeccable, and the cuts and editing don’t just respect the music – they fully throw the audience into the music and take them for a 3 minute and 14 second joyride “in the cube.” I’m not entirely sure where this “cube” is, but if it’s as much of a visual wonderland as Beast and 4minute’s music videos are, then by golly I am coming back for more.

The video for “Bad Girl” – or any one of Beast’s videos, really – is a prime example of what K-pop idol music videos should be. Because let’s face it – K-pop is not very imaginative, it’s not very original, it’s not very inspired, and it’s definitely not heavy in substance. But it places a big emphasis on two things: idols, and making the idols and everything surrounding the idols look pretty. This probably sounds incredibly shallow when you’re talking about an industry that should be centered on music, but what’s the one thing that sets K-pop apart from any other brand of pop music in the world? Visuals. The quality of K-pop music will always be questionable, but if there’s one thing that K-pop’s always been good at, it’s making things look aesthetically pleasing. And that should be celebrated. Or, at the least, executed well.

Hate to say it, but SM has been doing a really crappy job in their visuals department as of late, which is unfortunate because that’s all they’ve got going for them in the music video department. Not much more needs to be said about SM’s relative suckage at visual creativity (a brief comparison between DBSK’s Korean ‘Rising Sun’ MV and Japanese ‘Rising Sun’ MV should demonstrate this point well enough), but I’m not quite ready to trade in my SM pom-poms for Cube ones quite yet. With K-pop in the state that it’s currently in, it’s always nice to see new, high quality material, regardless of the company it’s coming from. But for whatever reason, I’m still rather attached to SM’s methods of operation and I’m patiently waiting for them to stop sucking.

And I’ll be waiting on my front porch, sitting in a white rocking chair with a needlepoint project, a perpetual scowl, and a pitcher of iced tea. Anyone care to join me?

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