Retro K-Pop Music Videos that Travel through the Decades!

Music video concepts play a very important role in a K-Pop idol or group’s comeback. Many different concepts have been used over the years, but the classic concepts and themes most often used are school-student, cute, dystopian, sexy, edgy or hip-hop.

Yet another widely used concept is the Retro one – whether it be a shout-out to the colourful style of the eighties or even a leap back in time to earlier days, these old fashioned MVs give us that prefect blend of K-Pop and nostalgia!

So in order to celebrate these time travelling music videos, we want to share some of our favourite retro K-Pop MVs with you. Take a look at some of the best styles we’ve found from different decades!


The Flying 40’s


©RE-BYE, 09.08.2018,

RE-BYE is an upbeat and jazzy-sounding song, which deeply compliments their MV. Choosing to go for the 1940’s prima donna concept, AKMU‘s RE-BYE tells the story of a young girl, played by Su-Hyun, who works for a famous musical performer – a role that is played to perfection by model and actress Lee Sung-Kyung.

As Su-hyun’s character longs to be on the stage herself, it seems as if hers and Chan-hyuk‘s characters are trying to sabotage the leading lady – doing everything from drugging her water to attempting to drop a chandelier on her (an homage to the celebrated musical Phantom of the Opera).

But as the music video progresses, we find out that our mysterious assailant is none other than one of the leading lady’s backup dancers. This clever plot twist, combined with the sophisticated and regal 1940’s backdrop, makes RE-BYE stand out among other MVs with retro concepts!


The Fabulous 50’s

Shy Boy (샤이보이) by Secret

©Secret, 09.08.2018,

To go with their preppy and upbeat track Shy BoySecret’s music video has many iconic and vintage elements that point it directly to the 1950’s – everything from the members’ massive hair rollers and colourful swing skirts to the retro-styled street and stereotypical ‘greaser’ characters is reminiscent of the famous musical Grease, which was probably the inspiration for this classy concept.

Although there’s not much of a plot to follow, the members of Secret make up for it with their beautiful array of era-appropriate outfits, their enthusiastic dancing, as well as their interactions with the many sets that showcase some of the most iconic 50’s hangouts – such as the milk bar and cinema.

And to top it all off, the Shy Boy music video features cameos by Bang Yong-guk, Kim Himchan and Moon Jongup from Secret’s fellow label-group B.A.P – which adds that extra level of fun to the already playful MV!


The Swingin’ 60’s 

Nobody by Wonder Girls

©Nobody, 09.08.2018,

Released in both Korean and English, the Wonder Girls smooth-sounding track Nobody is both charismatic and catchy, so, naturally, the music video used a 60’s theme to bring the group’s song to life.

The music video for Nobody runs a few minutes longer than usual MVs, the main reason for this is because the Wonder Girls, along with their former boss JYP, act out a full-on plot before and during the course of the video – which makes it even more interesting to watch.

Most of the MV takes place in a vintage styled recording studio, where we see JYP play the part of a famous singer – but just before his grand stage, in front of a live audience, he gets trapped in a bathroom. This gives his back up singers, the talented Wonder Girls, a chance to shine in the spotlight.


소녀시대 ‘훗’ (Hoot) by Girls Generation

©Hoot, 10.08.2018,

Another famous K-Pop MV with a 60’s concept is Hoot by Girls Generation! In this music video we see the members of SNSD adopt the image of classic Bond Girls – equipped with iconic 60’s styles such as go-go boots and metallic one pieces.

Seeing the members’ fun dance routines and shining 60’s outfits makes the Hoot MV extremely fun to watch, but you can’t have a James Bond concept without 007 himself – and, lucky for us, Girls Generation turned to label-mates to cast the perfect Agent Bond, who was played by none other than Super Junior‘s Choi Siwon!


The Disco Era 

Roly Poly by T-Ara

©Hoot, 10.08.2018,

In their music video Roly Poly, T-ara perfectly capture the style and essence of the 70’s – better known as the disco era! Seeing that T-ara’s second EP, which Roly Poly is from, is entitled John Travolta Wannabe, it’s not surprising that the group decided to go with a 70’s concept to compliment the theme of the album.

From their groovy dancing on a light-up discotheque floor to their colourful bellbottom pants and nifty sunglasses, the girls of T-ara keep up with the pace of their upbeat single whilst paying homage to some of the iconic styles of the 70’s!



The Neon 80’s 

Platonic Love by SNUPER

©Platonic Love, 19.08.2018,

When it comes to an 80’s concept, nothing looks or sounds more fitting than SNUPER‘s Platonic Love! Not only does the song itself have heavy 80’s elements and sounds, but the music video also serves up some impressively retro and aesthetic scenes.

Taking place in a rollerskating rink equipped with a vintage snack bar and flashing neon lights, Platonic Love packs as many iconic retro styles into the MV as it can – but, since the track already sounds like a hit 80’s pop song, the concept doesn’t feel forced at all.

Overall Platonic Love is fun to watch and really feels like it should be in the soundtrack for a preppy 1980’s teen flick!

1 of 1 by SHINee

©1 of 1, 19.08.2018,

Last, but certainly not least, is a song that we simply couldn’t skip – and that’s none other than SHINee‘s 1 of 1. Since 1 of 1 is both musically and visually inspired by the 70’s, 80’s AND 90’s, we found it difficult to pin the MV into one decade – so we thought it was a good idea to save the best till last!

There are many reasons why we love the 1 of 1 music video, the main reason being both the members’ and diverse back up dancers’ unique combination of outfit styles – which feature multicoloured plaid vests, boldly coloured suits and a range of interesting cardigans that could only look good on a member of SHINee.

The MV’s wardrobe, paired with the clean white backdrop and retro film transitions, give 1 of 1 an intense feeling of nostalgia – cementing it as our favourite retro concept ever!



Feature Image Source: ©1 of 1, 19.08.2018,

Claudia Deborah 이보라

Book-dealer by day, writer and illustrator by night—Instagram: @kikitsa.draws. Instant coffee and trot music get me through the day. My life is simple but I’m greatful for it. 나의 인생은 조금 심심하고 단순하지만, 이런 내 삶도 나에게 주어진 삶이 기 때문에 감사함을 느끼고 있습니다.



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