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20 Tacky, Sensual and Warm: three favourite 2PM’s MVs

Music videos have become a significant promotional tool in contemporary Korean music industry. Although some companies still rely on videos that focus on choreography, some spend more money and effort to create artsy visualization of the songs. Truth be told, 2PM doesn’t have visually mind-blowing MVs. Most of their videos expose their choreography more, or if there’s any plot it’s not a surprising one (Tik Tok might be one exception). Nevertheless, they still have videos that you can watch again and again for its eye-catchiness. Here are three of my favourites, and I basically chose them because each manages to capture the essence of the song.

Hands Up

Hands Up is a tacky party anthem, and the MV does a great job in visualizing this spirit. Shot in a club in Singapore, the MV portrays everything that is shiny, entertaining and wild. This formula works well. Hands Up  sent 2PM to huge popularity.

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Besides the club setting, the MV builds the party atmosphere by its effective use of camera. For solo shots, a camera is strapped to the member’s hips and it sways (and sometimes rocks) everytime the member moves. This technique of camera positioning allows viewers to see the members’ ecstatic face, as you can see from Chansung’s shot here.

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The fast-cut editing depicts the craziness of the party, and to follow the beat of the songs, the MV uses this kind of ‘stuttering’ cuts in some scenes. The setting, the outfits and the cinematography: everything is just unified in Hands Up MV. No wonder it’s a massive success.

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A.D.T.O.Y

If in Come Back When You Heart This Song MV each member of 2PM represents one deadly sin, in A.D.T.O.Y  it seems that 2PM portrays only one, which is lust. It can’t be ignored that the MV sells sensuality, but like Nichkhun said A.D.T.O.Y is “sexy but not overly done”. That, I agree with.

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For A.D.T.O.Y, black and white tone is used. While it makes the MV look classic, at the same time it conveys the duality of the feeling. Is it love or lust? Or maybe both?

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You know what’s so good about A.D.T.O.Y MV? The sex is there and is also not there. The MV uses fast-cut editing to follow the tempo of the song, but this editing also succeeds in building the emotion. The make-out scenes are mostly shown in quick, close-up shots. Before they kiss or move on to higher level of steaminess, the camera already moves to another scene. We hardly have time to identify the girl’s face. But that’s what makes this MV so tense and thrilling.

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Only You

2PM’s MVs like Without You and Masquerade highlight their muscular and manly figures, and fans go crazy over them. Funnily, it’s when they show less I fall in love with them even more. In Only You MV, the boys basically just hang around, enjoying the wine and the sunlight, and everything looks warm and peaceful. If I could live in one MV, it would be in Only You.

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The natural lighting and soft filter contribute warmth and serenity to the MV. Meanwhile, close-up shots are applied in capturing the member’s expression when, for example, reading fans’ letters. Long shots are also used to portray the six members in one frame, displaying their togetherness.

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More sweet moments are shown in a scene when the members are flipping their album photobooks, remembering what they’ve been through and achieved. Released as the single from 2PM Member’s Selection, Only You also reminds us that 2PM doesn’t depend on their muscles only. They could just sit down and still captivate our hearts.

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19 A Winter Tale: on 2PM’s Winter Games

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The phrase ‘winter games’ might remind you of people racing and skiing in the midst of snow, but for 2PM, Winter Games is about being broken-hearted but still looking gorgeous in a trench coat. For their seventh Japanese single, 2PM took the grief of the season and put it into a great combination of song, choreography and appearance. In their Yazoo fanmeeting in Japan, 2PM performed Winter Games for the first time, leaving Hottests in awe. But does the recorded version have the similar charm?

Written by Super Changdai, Winter Games  is an emotional, upbeat track about passionately longing for a lost lover. The orchestra and the banging drum in the chorus add thrill to the desperate love story, and the harp-like sound brings a winter fairy-tale effect. Overall, I like the construction of the song. The verses, the chorus and the rap parts are arranged well. If it’s a short story, I would say it’s a well-plotted one and rightly set in bleak winter. In vocal department, 2PM does a good job. It’s not their strongest performance, but their vocals contain enough feeling and power needed for the song. However, this is also where the problem lies. Winter Games is overly autotuned it ruins some parts of the song. I don’t mind additional effects to vocal to create a certain atmosphere, like in Hot or A.D.T.O.Y, but Winter Games doesn’t need that. The melody itself is already beautiful and deep, no autotune is necessary.

Thankfully, what hurts me from Winter Games is healed by the charming Stay Here. It might be only a b-side but it champions over Winter Games in several aspects. 2PM’s vocals are autotune free here, and we can hear how they’ve become more comfortable in singing Japanese songs. I also enjoy the flow of Stay Here. Wooyoung starts the song softly, continued by Chansung’s deep, comforting voice. Junho elevates the tension of the song in the chorus, and it gets even more touching when Jun K fervently begs the lover to ‘stay here’. I’m not a big fan of Taecyeon’s rap but even his rap tempo feels right here. And let’s not forget our Nichkhun who contributes his sweet vocal, completing the feeling of the track. Listening to the instrumental version makes me adore the song even more. There are some bass and guitar elements of New Order circa Regret there, and the piano reminds me of Keane. This comparison isn’t made to show that 2PM isn’t original, but it’s nice to hear that they’re not stuck in the same genre and always develop new sounds.

In version B, the Japanese version of Come Back  When You Hear The Song is added. It’s not much different from the original one although it misses the catchy ‘dorawa’ part. After Give Me Love and Winter Games, I expect that a new Japanese album will be released soon. If they’re consistent with the music offered by those two singles (and the two worth-listening b-sides), I believe their next album will beat their own amazing Legend of 2PM and help them soar to another level of musical appreciation and respect from pop music lovers, not just from Hottests. We’re anticipating, 2PM.