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All about KPOP Concepts!

BTS or Bangtan Seonyeondan, this generation’s biggest KPOP group best known for their ballads and pop songs like their most recent chart-topping hit “Boy With Luv,” actually debuted as a hip-hop group, decked in black, oversized clothing and heavy eyeliners. Their visual style eventually evolved into something bolder, like brightly-colored hair and heavily-patterned outfits. This night and day difference is not a mere “glow up,” but has something more to do with the unique KPOP concepts.

BTS in 2013, 2 Cool 4 Skool

BTS in 2017, LOVE YOURSELF 承 ‘Her’

BTS in 2019, Map of the Soul: PERSONA

The concept pertains to the combined musical genre and aesthetic style of a group; it can be as simple as “cute concept,” “sexy concept,” “dark concept,” or as complicated as the convoluted plots that drive fans to come up with their own interpretations and theories.

A scene from EXO’s debut MV, “Mama”

When they debuted, EXO members were depicted as “mutants from Exoplanet.” with each member given a force they can control like water (Suho), fire (Chanyeol), air (Sehun), earth (D.O.), lightning and thunder (Chen) and others.

KARD in 2016, for their pre-debut single Oh NaNa

Aside from being one of the rare co-ed groups in the industry, K♠RD is also unique for their card-related concept: KARD stands for King (BM), Ace (J.Seph), JokeR (Somin and Jiwoo) and HiDden Kard which stands for the hidden features during their pre-debut, and now, their fandom name.

Concepts for idol groups can change from one song to another, usually to make a comeback more exciting for fans or to experiment with which works best. There are groups that stick to one concept, and there are groups who do a wide variety of concepts… there’s even one dubbed the “King of Concepts” or “Conceptdols!”

VIXX in 2013, Voodoo Doll

VIXX in 2015, Boys’ Record

VIXX in 2016, Fantasy

VIXX in 2017, Shangri-La

VIXX is the KPOP group acknowledged as “conceptdols” (a title given by the South Korean media) because they come up with concepts considered quite unusual in the industry. They came up with songs, visuals, as well as live performances inspired vampires, Jekyll and Hyde, voodoo dolls, Greek mythology and the legend of Shangri-la in their MVs among many others.

Even though it appears that most of the concepts have been exhausted by the first and second generation KPOP groups, some still continue to surprise like Dreamcatcher’s horror concept and (G)I-DLE’s culture-inspired concepts like Arabian and Egyptian.

This 2019, which group has done the most interesting concept so far?

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Written by Erie Ly

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