K-Pop revolves around different concepts, with groups down to individual songs all possessing a certain theme that affects the music, video, and performances. And I have opinions on concepts we see often, so I’m ranking them.
I am not including every single concept ever done, but the most frequently done from what I have seen. There are also some concepts that you may think of but I consider more like subconcepts of these ones.
15. All Want One
No matter the number of concepts I could list, All Want One (also described as everyone wants one) would be my least favorite concept ever. This might be because I am an adult closer to my thirties than my tens, but I find this concept really cringey. It is always overexaggerated too, which adds to the cringe. If I never saw an All Want One concept again I would be happy.
There is nothing inherently wrong with cute concepts, I am just not a fan of them. They can lean a little childish sometimes and I think they lack depth, with the sole purpose being to be cute.
I’m mostly neutral with my thoughts on school concepts. They often lean cute which isn’t my taste. My low ranking is mostly because I’ve been distanced from high school for a decade now so I just don’t relate in any way. This is fine since there is no rule saying every K-Pop group must cater to my likes. But my likes and dislikes do affect my ranking.
My thoughts on sexy concepts are similar to my thoughts on cute concepts, which I know sounds weird. I find that, unless it is combined with another concept, sexy concepts lack depth. Being provocative for the sake of doing it is not for me, so sexy as a standalone concept isn’t one I necessarily enjoy. But I do prefer sexy over cute.
At first I had retro higher ranked, but after thinking about it I realized I don’t necessarily like retro concepts. I’m more of a take them or leave them kind of person and it vastly depends on the song. And if artists stopped doing retro concepts I wouldn’t be heartbroken. I think there are better concepts and that retro is very niche.
I don’t intentionally gravitate towards supernatural concepts, but they can be really great when done right. Supernatural concepts are quite diverse as well since it covers anything from vampires to zombies to aliens and more. I can’t recall a supernatural concept that I didn’t like, but I know I haven’t seen that many.
Summer is hard to mess up, but easy to do the stereotypical. Take an upbeat song, put the artist on the beach or at a pool, and that is 90% of summer concepts. It is a bit cliche, but sometimes there are unique spins on it that I appreciate. And overall it is a fun and lively concept that is hard to hate.
Bet you haven’t thought of this as a concept before. And neither did I necessarily until BTS’ Yet To Come came out. When the concept is nostalgic or sentimental for the group/artist’s career, that is what I consider here. It is rare which makes it hard to determine how good it is plus because nostalgia is involved, it is hard to say you dislike a comeback with this concept. So I’m keeping it in the middle of the rankings.
I find dark concepts visually interesting, which is why I tend to prefer them. However, it doesn’t rank higher because in my opinion the best dark concepts are paired with other concepts like supernatural, badass, etc.
6. Bad girls/boys
It’s interesting to see how, as groups mature, they end up receiving a bad boy/girl concept. TxT is the perfect example of this. Overall, I prefer dark and edgy concepts, so bad girls/boys is exactly that. It outranks the basic dark concept because it has more depth since the artists have some sort of motivation for why they are bad. However that motivation isn’t always clear so sometimes they are bad for the concepts sake and that is it.
This is similar to bad boy/girl but now the group/artist has a clear purpose. AleXa’s entire concept is this, and I wish there was more of it in mainstream K-Pop. The rebels concept makes for interesting music videos and music, which is why it is in my top five.
I am always wowed by historical concepts because they can be really beautiful. They tend to have huge sets and gorgeous outfits in the video and are overall just stunning. Historical concepts seem difficult to pull off so I found it impressive when we get one.
Elegant concepts are beautiful and, in my opinion, more mature. I find it an easier concept for me to enjoy and relate to in some way.
Futuristic concepts are growing in popularity, and I’m not surprised. Since they are experimental in nature, they can push boundaries. The music videos are always interesting even if the music isn’t necessarily everyone’s taste. Currently, AI seems to be the only futuristic element that agencies are focusing one which is what stops me from ranking futuristic/experimental higher.
Honorable Mention: Girl/Boy Next Door
I make girl/boy next door an honorable mention because it is never the sole concept. It is most often paired with cute, but I have seen it done in summer, retro, all want one, and more as well. I don’t think girl/boy next door can be done without being part of another concept, thus why it is an honorable mention.
1. Girl Crush/Badass
My preference when it comes to music in K-Pop leads directly to girl crush and badass concepts, so it is natural for me to prefer this concept over the rest. My one downside to girl crush/badass is the oversaturation of the concept now since it is so popular. But even a so-so badass take is still one I enjoy.
What is your favorite concept in K-Pop? Let me know with a comment below!