(This post is part of the “Looking Past Korea” series which is a run down of all things I think are superficially important, culturally important, and things foreigners think are important but I think are pretty over rated. This is the 5th of 5 posts about Superficial things that stand out to me.)
Superficiality: Really sad music videos
Why it happens:
After watching countless music videos that involve bright colors, candy, roller blades and Wonder Woman, I have to think that the sad music videos are reactions to the little kid “bubble gum” pop that dominates South Korean pop music.
It’s artists who, believing they have actual talent, want to differentiate themselves from the pre-packaged groups such as Wonder Girls, Jewelry or Super Junior.
In essence, it’s Koreans answer to early 90’s grunge music. Only if instead of not caring about life in general, grunge was really sad because their girlfriend was put in the hospital by a vicious street gang while she was babysitting your mentally challenged friend who you were ashamed to be friends with but finally came around to when you began to get repeated nose bleeds and realized the shortness and importance of life.
What it says about Korea:
The question really goes back to why it happens. There’s the obvious answer I discussed above, but why is sadness necessary at all to show artistic ability?
Supposedly, misery loves company. So I guess happiness loves…not company? I always founds this statement to be odd as happy people tend to have more friends. Maybe it was a Korean who originally coined the phrase.
Korea is a society that, at it’s core, is constantly on the defensive. After a history that has been spent warding off foreign invaders Korea has developed a very “us vs. the world” mentality.
So, just like in middle and high school when you secretly believed the world was out to get you this defensive mindset could make a person, or in this case an entire society, a tad depressing. Korea is a goth kid.
This song gets me pretty excited when I here it while walking down the street. It feels like the video should be pretty happy, but then a little girl dies. Of course…why shouldn’t she?