Just about any fan can tell you that K-pop doesn’t mess around when it comes to making music videos. They never hesitate to incorporate flashy digital effects or zany costumes that make a statement and stand out from the crowd. So it only makes sense that K-pop music videos regularly tread into psychedelic territory. Although there are plenty of ultra trippy music videos out there, this list focuses on those that tend to rely on lighting effects, bold colors, and kinetic transitions — rather than absurd, nonsensical imagery — to create mesmerizingly beautiful psychedelic experiences.
Without further ado, let’s dive right in!
SECRET NUMBER – “Got That Boom”
“Got That Boom” is dizzying and dazzling, thanks to its streaky, somewhat blown highlights that make everything feel a little out of focus, plus the girls’ sequin-heavy outfits. Digital effects are interspersed smartly as well, making it seem almost as if the members themselves are glitching out inside their LED paradise.
KARD – “GUNSHOT”
“GUNSHOT” takes colorful, psychedelic goodness and mixes it with something that is devilishly dark, giving the music video an almost nightmarish vibe. The shots of Jiwoo, in particular, make this music video extra chilling, due to the way she resembles a phantasm stemming from a sleep terror, if not something more horrifying.
Hyolyn & Changmo – “Blue Moon”
Celestial views and ocean waves double exposed over Hyolyn give “Blue Moon” an ethereal vibe, which is enhanced by the song’s undulating synth line. Meanwhile, the supernova-like hallucinatory imagery during Changmo’s verse adds an extra layer of out-of-this-worldness that really hits the spot.
DPR CREAM – “Color Drive”
This may not exactly be K-pop in the typical sense, but it seems almost criminal to not mention something from Dream Perfect Regime (if you know, you know). The shots of DPR CREAM jamming out on the keyboard are especially psychedelic, though this music video has plenty of other surreal scenes throughout.
CIX – “Jungle”
The combination of disorienting perspective shifts and a rippling, color-shifting overhead LED display makes “Jungle” quite the mind-bending watch. The recurring motif of outstretched hands grasping for that which is just out of reach also contributes to this music video’s trippy feel, not to mention it adds an air of creepiness.
KNK – “Sunset”
“Sunset” makes great use of double vision effects, high contrast shots, and a rainbow of brilliant colors to create a captivating experience that fluctuates between being Seoul Fashion Week-ready and delirium-inducing. The juxtaposition of low light scenes and blindingly vibrant monochrome ones is particularly nice, as it makes this music video all the more dynamic.
Ravi – “Nirvana”
While this music video probably won’t help you actually achieve Nirvana, it’s sure to make your head spin all the same, what with its intoxicating transitions and effects that distort both Ravi and the landscape around him. Plus, the use of vivid colors pulled straight from a lucid dream lends “Nirvana” a picturesque atmosphere that feels otherworldly yet familiar.
NCT U – “Make A Wish (Birthday Song)”
One needs only to look at the thumbnail of this music video to know it’s a real visual treat, and not just because of the NCT U boys themselves. “Make A Wish (Birthday Song)” pulls viewers into an alternate dimension, periodically using fisheye perspective and gorgeous kaleidoscopic effects, along with striking colors, to produce a wondrous, topsy-turvy realm.
TXT – “The Dream Chapter: MAGIC”
Though this is technically a concept trailer, not a true music video, it’s far too enchanting to not include here. It’s amazing how projected graphics and clever camerawork transform the simple canvas of a white room into an ever-changing dreamlike landscape, with the finishing touch being the members’ seemingly gravity-defying movements.
VICTON – “EYEZ EYEZ”
The soft bloom effect and luminous color scheme used in “EYEZ EYEZ,” along with the occasional distortion effect, give this music video a lovely iridescent, hazy look all around. Where this music video really shines, though, is during the intro and verses, especially when the shots melt and blur together as if being washed away by waves.
Chungha – “Roller Coaster”
Part astral fantasy, part warehouse rave, “Roller Coaster” is a stimulating watch from beginning to end. Though I prefer the shots where Chungha and her dancers don sparkling jackets amidst a blizzard of multi-colored orbs, the radioactive neon outfits are also quite the psychedelic sight, particularly when combined with glow-in-the-dark makeup.
BoA – “CAMO”
At times, this music video feels like a work of modern art fit for MoMA, especially when radiant roses creep their way up BoA’s leg, or when rich, abstract designs spill across her face. Not only that, but the concentric designs that cover the floor during the indoor dance scenes add another dimension to this music video, creating an optical illusion-like effect.
WJSN – “I Wish”
“I Wish” feels like a pleasant daydream, thanks to its Lisa Frank color palette and cotton candy skies. Though it may not be the most awe-inducing of the bunch, partly due to its general lack of frenetic effects, this music video nevertheless has a certain psychedelic quality that will leave you wondering if unicorns might be real after all.
A.C.E – “Callin’”
Ghosting, strobing colors, stuttering frames — as far as psychedelic effects go, you name it, this music video’s got it. In fact, there’s so much going on in “Callin’” that some may find it a little too chaotic, possibly to the point of being headache-triggering. That said, the wild, jumbled nature of this music video is precisely what makes it so spectacularly psychotropic and entrancing.
TWICE – “MORE & MORE”
“MORE & MORE” takes all the vibrancy and movement of a kaleidoscope and channels it into TWICE, creating a swirl of colors and patterns that clash yet perfectly complement each other at the same time. The effects used during the first chorus and the bridge are especially eye-catching and bewitchingly trippy.
Which psychedelic music videos do you find visually stunning? Let us know in the comments below!
seheee is a software engineer by day and an avid K-pop concert goer by night. She also occasionally makes an appearance on Twitter (@_seheee).
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