Our K-drama Flashback series is a modest effort to create a space with clues to recall memories. It’s an attempt to collect memories of that rich trove of classic Korean content — K-pop, K-drama, Korean variety shows, or Korean movies — that I periodically immerse myself in. So, while thinking about what to post for the series this weekend, I felt like rehashing a dozen iconic K-pop music videos featuring some of the best K-drama actors. I believe this selection of nostalgic music will lift your spirits.
Park Seo-joon in Bang Yong-guk’s “I Remember” (with Yang Yo-seop)
The critically acclaimed duo of South Korean rapper Bang Yong-guk and Beast singer Yang Yo-seop have been criticized by the Korean Broadcasting System for the extreme violence depicted in this music video. However, the hip-hop track with rock elements did very well in terms of traction. The most intriguing aspect of the MV is that it featured actor Park Seo-joon, who made his entertainment debut with “I Remember.” I always thought that this actor was an ace of expression. Whether in romantic scenes, in tragedies, in comedic timing, or whatever, his portrayal of emotions is on another level. This video undoubtedly confirmed Park’s acting prowess and rising star status. Although it has been over a decade since it first aired, listeners and viewers continue to revere it.
Lee Min-ho in Sandara Park’s “Kiss”
“Kiss” was performed by South Korean idol singer Sandara Park aka Dara, a member of girl group 2NE1. The track served as background music for a Cass Beer commercial film starring Dara alongside Lee Min-ho. Oriental Brewery said in 2009 that it selected the artists as the faces of its Cass 2x drinks brand, and the song was used as a result of this. The initial kiss sequence between the two has been dubbed one of the most memorable events of the year. A brief sequel was made in reaction to the positive response to the music video. Dara, who works as a bartender at an elite restaurant in the sequel, is baffled when she learns that Lee works there as well. Unlike “Kiss,” the video ends happily with the characters reconciling. By the way, you might have noticed that Kim Woo-bin also appeared in the video – it was one of his first acting projects, before making a name for himself as a K-drama star.
Song Joong-ki in Kim Jong-kook’s “All Men Are Like That”
The track “All Men Are Like That” belongs to the album Return trip, where the intensity of the lyrics stands out the most. The presence of Song Joong-ki, in addition to Kim Jong-kook’s excellent voice, adds another unique selling point to the MV. The story depicts the ebbs and flows of a romantic relationship. When it begins, hearts race and the lovers stay and take care of each other. However, with time and increasing obligations, feelings gradually become insignificant. The song conveys this from a man’s point of view, with lyrics like “I shook my hand for fear of losing it / I was sorry to part with you / I looked back again and again / I walk in front of you / I don’t”. I don’t look you in the eye when I speak / I don’t love you. The orchestral arrangement with Kim’s powerful voice expresses the melancholy that Song Joong-ki accentuates on screen.
Ji Chang-wook in K.will’s “I Need You”
“I Need You” is a song by South Korean singer Kim Hyung-soo, better known as K.Will, from his third mini album of the same name which was released on February 14, 2012. superstar Ji Chang-wook, SISTAR Bora, Yeo Jin-goo and Kim Bo-ra, in addition to the dramatic and passionate instrumental vocals. The ballad depicts the heart’s longing for the loved one, and one of its most notable features is its rhythmic progression. While the preparation of the chorus is skillfully executed, making apparent the grief underlying the lyrics, the romantic notes make for a beautiful love song, and Ji’s charm adds a unique touch to the grandeur of the tune.
Choi Woo-shik in “Congratulations” by DAY6
“Congratulations” is one of the best-known songs by South Korean pop-rock group DAY6. A moody Choi Woo-shik is seen in the video sitting on a train and brooding over his ex-girlfriend. Beautiful memories from the past become excruciatingly painful in the present when he finds her sitting on the same train with another man. I love the interplay of past and present, especially when it comes to the tone that lines up with the atmospheric details. While the colors of yesteryear are warm with a gritty texture, the present includes a desaturated color palette in tandem with the dark mood of the song.
Kim Hyun-joong in Kim Hyun-joong’s “Unbreakable” (feat. Jay Park)
“Unbreakable” is a crossover hip-hop song with stunning orchestration and traditional Korean instruments. Plus, hip-hop artist Jay Park’s rap verses are grabbing attention. Kim Hyun-joong and Park’s marriage is masterfully integrated into “Unbreakable,” which captivates listeners. The music video – which features supercars, martial arts, sword dancing and wild animals – demonstrates unprecedented artistic beauty by harmonizing imagery from East and West, delivering a spectacle in the process. The choreography that reveals Kim’s muscular physique is a departure from her soft-natured characters in K-dramas such as playful kiss Where Boys above the flowers. “Unbreakable” is a killer track, confirming the dedication of the artist and the rigorous production process. Kim reportedly heralded a cataclysmic transition in the music industry with this number.
Park Min-young in BIGBANG’s “Haru Haru”
Park Min-young’s appearance in BIGBANG’s “Haru Haru” music video in 2006 increased his notoriety. G-Dragon appears in the video, claiming that his fiancée (Park) is cheating on him with his friend, TOP In reality, Park (presented as suffering from a terminal illness) and TOP deliberately misrepresented each other. G-Dragon realizes this too late and arrives at the hospital to find that his girlfriend is no longer alive. The music video was well received and is considered a classic due to its emotive premise.
Seo Yea-ji in BIGBANG’s “Let’s Not Fall in Love”
Lyrically, this pop-rock-infused dance track incorporates material that addresses the underlying concerns that come with teenage love — more self-centered and defensive than benevolent. The song received excellent reviews, with many praising the track’s distinctive and affective composition as well as the band’s dexterity with emotional and complicated subject matter. The music video follows the BIGBANG members running around a schoolyard, each taking on the role of boyfriends to five different girls, with actress Seo Yea-ji playing love interest G-Dragon.
Han So-hee in “Tell Me What To Do” by SHINee
The repackaged edition of SHINee’s album 1 and 1 was released on November 15, 2016, with five additional tracks, one of which was “Tell Me What to Do”. The group members, along with actress Han So-hee, were cast in the MV. Billboard’s Tamar Herman wrote of the song in an article, “Although the lyrics manage to convey the despair and confusion amidst a tumultuous relationship, it’s the members’ strong vocal performances, especially the belting belts. by Onew and Taemin, who made ‘Tell Me What To’ Do’ SHINee’s most emotional single in recent years. The group is known for their unique musical style and the members are some of the best live performers of K- pop. So if you like this song and the music video, I highly recommend you watch his live performance which is, in my opinion, one of SHINee’s finest stage acts.
Kim So Hyun in “I Yah” by BOYFRIEND
Famous Zanybros (a South Korean video production company specializing in music videos and commercial film production) created the video for the song “I Yah”, in which Kim So Hyun (a child actor at the time of its release in 2013) collaborated with the members of BOYFRIEND. to portray a beautiful and endearing love story.
Park Bo-young in “Only I Didn’t Know” by IU
The title song of Yoon Sang’s album TRUE+ is “Only I didn’t know.” The song’s composition and melodic arrangements, which include its characteristic melancholy chord work and melody, differ from conventional chords. The song, featuring the incredible Park Bo-young and IU, exudes a delicate feel due to the simplicity and sophistication of the authentic instrumentation while pairing well with the latter’s exquisite vocals and tonal quality.
Peakboy’s “Gyopo Hairstyle” (featuring Choi Woo-shik, Park Hyung-shik, BTS’ V, and Park Seo-joon)
Even though it’s not an old song and it was released recently (2021), I wanted to include it here. It has a one-of-a-kind cast that includes Park Hyung-shik, Choi Woo-shik, BTS’ V and Park Seo-joon from the famous Wooga Squad, while Han Hyun-min, a South Korean model and actor, appears also in the video. The song is by Kwon Sung-hwan, aka Peakboy, a South Korean rapper, record producer, and singer-songwriter. His tracks lyrically express his daily thoughts and feelings, as seen in “Gyopo Hairstyle.” It’s a song about a simple 90s hairstyle with an underlying message to be yourself.