All forms of art are sources of inspiration. Whether you’re writing, painting or creating something else, literature is resourceful in terms of ideas.
It’s exciting to travel through the mind of a K-pop video maker and understand his vision as he strives to creatively shape written content into a visual, aural experience. The result is always a fantastic collection of songs and music videos that will make any music lover smile from ear to ear!
K-pop music can be comprehensive, making it difficult for new fans to know where to start because the industry is so vast and encompasses everything from hip hop and rock & roll to electronic dance and techno. It can be overwhelming!
We brought together 10 K-pop music videos inspired by famous literature titles we all know and love to narrow it down for you!
1. Hyde – (VIXX)
If there’s any group that knows how to bring dreams to life, it’s VIXX. The visual contrast between the dark and light times in this music video.
They genuinely show how duality plays its part in life. It is an adaptation of “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” by Louis Robert Stevenson, first published in 1886.
2. Sherlock – (SHINee)
The members put their detective hats on in this music video featuring Sherlock Holmes. The well-known fictional character Sherlock Holmes first appeared in a book written by author Arthur Conan Doyle in 1887.
SHINee knows the importance of wearing the right clothes for different activities. In addition, they know that dressing well will help them better ‘investigate’ their targets, which helps take necessary actions.
3. Blood, Sweat & Tears – (BTS)
The song was inspired by Hermann Hesse’s “Demian: The Story of Emil Sinclair’s Youth.” Despite this horrific side, “Blood, Sweat & Tears”, a widely beloved literary work, has a cult following of its own, with BTS enthralling fans worldwide.
In the music video, the members drew inspiration from Herman Hesse’s Demian through quotes and symbolic references – even using the book itself in the art piece. Furthermore, they channelled their inner demons by conveying temptation, self-struggle and growth within the music video. Truly an artful masterpiece worth closer inspection!
4. To Be Or Not To Be – (ONEUS)
“Hamlet”, written by Shakespeare, is a famous play about Prince Hamlet of Denmark who must deal with the stress of avenging his father’s murder.
Obviously, “To Be Or Not To Be” has been a famous phrase since the 1600s. Music group ONEUS chose it as the title of their main track, but they were inspired by its connotation implicitly represented in the music video.
5. Tarzan – (Wonder Boyz)
A combination of “Tarzan” and “James Bond” might not sound like the best idea because these two franchises are very diverse. But Wonder Boyz thought otherwise by creating an awesome music video featuring Girl’s Day’s Hyeri.
There’s romance, action, and suspense! Though this mashup might seem unusual, you can’t deny that this video is definitely worth watching!
6. Spring Day – (BTS)
BTS recorded a single based on Ursula K. Le Guin’s 1973 short story, The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas. This story is about a utopic town with a dark secret: a child must live in misery in exchange for the happiness of the town’s people.
Many fans believe that Jungkook is a “child” in this video, while the other members are “the ones who walk away”.
7. Love Me Right – (EXO)
Many fans believe this music video is based on Lewis Carroll’s classic children’s book. His book follows a little girl named Alice who falls through a rabbit hole and meets a motley crew of nonsensical Wonderland characters.
D.O. could be interpreted as Alice, travelling through a strange dream world filled with colourful members of EXO. The video includes a possible reference to Alice’s mad tea party (her encounter with the queen of hearts!).
8. The Red Shoes – (IU)
It’s interesting to guess that the music video is inspired by the fairy tale “The Red Shoes”, which happens to have an identical title. However, IU retells this famous tale written by Hans Christian Andersen in a happier tone.
Yet, the suspense in the video matches that of the original story since, just like in Andersen’s original tale, the shoes end up chasing after her.
9. Scentist – (VIXX)
Once you find out which book this music video is based on, it could prove to be much more enjoyable. Furthermore, this music video feels much more intriguing once you realize this song was inspired by the 1985 novel by German writer Patrick Süskind called ‘Perfume: The Story of a Murderer’.
The perfume from the serial killer storyline from The Story of a Perfumer that VIXX stars in apparently represents the scents of all of those who were murdered and preserved in liquid form. It’s so shocking and so creepy!
10. Chococo – (gugudan)
The visuals of this music video instantly remind us of the production design in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Even the background reminds us of ticket #6, the “golden ticket” mentioned in the famous 19th-century children’s story.
Needless to say, Gugudan has a weakness for chocolate and having to work in a chocolate factory does not help control their cravings!
- GOT7 – NOT BY THE MOON (Romeo and Juliet – W. Shakespeare)
- Bambam – Pandora (Based on Greek Mythology)
- Astro – All Night (The Beauty and the Beast)
- Ga In – Paradise Lost (Based on the classic epic poem)