2NE1′s “Try To Copy Me” PV: Everything I love about Korean pop

I would just like to preclude this by saying that you could screen grab anything from 2NE1’s “Try To Copy Me” and I would point to it and say EXACTLY, so my standards at this point are either totally unreliable or just plain obsessive. I like to think of them as eccentric.

Every moment in this promotional video is a photograph. Every shot, every pan, every object has been calculated to the point of mental instability. What is K-pop like in the 10’s? Everything I predicted and more. And like all the things I truly admire in this world, I’m torn between laughing at them and laughing with them.

The sets

The bright colors, the twinkling lights that could paralyze the retinas with their sheer brightness…; see also Big Bang’s “Lollipop Part.2” and F.Cuz’s “No One.”

It’s hard to have abstract sets that compete with all those clothes and props, but add a few mirrors and you’re bound to succeed.

These remind me of Hindi films and European music television shows, two things which have never seemed to catch on in America despite their huge popularity for various, exasperating, reasons.

Here’s one you’ve probably seen before.

The props

This pimp cane-cum-microphone is…well, just look at it.

This is so stupid and outrageous, it’s awesome. Just like that.

If Janis Martin were a pop star in 2010, this would be a screen shot from her video for “Bang Bang” in a bid to either expunge or cash in on the phallic imagery. You might find this sad, but I would not love her any less.

Apparently, this video is all about weapons.

The fashion

I easily concede that in five years, we will all look back at these clothes with a mixture of disdain and incredulity like any fashion decade, but I think this is one of the few points in time that we look at these clothes that way RIGHT NOW. But that’s the difference between Lady Gaga and Korean pop: Gaga wears crazy shit and that’s part of what makes it alluring; Korean pop stars wear crazy shit like they just threw something on to pop into the grocery store for some eggs. Gaga sells the unbelievable; 2NE1 sells aspiration. Everything they wear is an amalgamation of decades and decades of fashion, from zoot suits to zoobas. Let’s play count the fashion inspirations!

OK, this cryogenically frozen head thing has been done before, but never with such panache (please say last word with flashing jazz hands for full effect)!

You can call it Drag Queen Chic or Elizabeth Berkley circa Showgirls, but you actually can’t call it unusual.

This is probably the most normal hairstyle in the video.

Zoobas! It’s like 1986 all over again! I miss Salt-N-Pepa.

The concepts

Throw in some random pop culture references (random! pop culture! references! As if the whole video isn’t deep-fried in that trope); rinse and repeat.

It’s a sing-off, ya’ll!

Welcome to the jungle dance sequence.

Though there are so many instances of using videos to exemplify and enforce notions of gender roles in East Asian pop, there are so many ways in which they are subverted without necessarily meaning to; it’s 80s hair metal all over again (now with extra irony)! I imagine all the androgynous Big Bang or G-Dragon videos might make uber-straight men uncomfortable for the same reason disco, with its celebration of minority figures, did for male rock stars, and for that reason, I love it. It’s the epitome of a consumerist culture that goes to eleven; it’s also got a good beat and you can dance to it.


3 thoughts on “2NE1′s “Try To Copy Me” PV: Everything I love about Korean pop

  1. andylee June 25, 2010 / 3:53 pm

    hahaha your review is great!
    complete agree with basically everything you said.

    this video is so…
    argh, it leaves me speechless.

    so much awesomeness gathered in a few minutes, it’s amazing.

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