Lee Jung Hyung V

According to old-school K-pop fans, Lee Jung Hyun is Korea’s “Queen of Transformation” and “Techno Queen” who introduced the genre to K-pop in the late nineties, and has maintained a career for more than a decade through Madonna-like reinventions. I can’t personally vouch for that because I’ve only ever heard a few of her songs in the past while trapped in a Youtube K-hole, but I can say that her latest single, “V,” is fucking fabulous.

“V” brings back the heavy euro-trot style that was quietly introduced last year by Gangkiz’s trendsetting debut, “Honey Honey,” and then later ripped-off and brought to the top of the charts by Orange Caramel’s “Lipstick.” Jung Hyun expands the sound with sixties guitar strums that come surfing through, and an anthemtic, euro-dance pre-chorus that’s reminiscent of the watery club-pop of RedOne and David Guetta.

Lyrically, in what is most likely a nod to V For Vendetta, Jung Hyun repeatedly refers to herself as the song’s single letter title while singing about trying to free herself from a bad relationship. It’s clever and quirky, without being too bizarre (not that being too bizarre is a bad thing).

The official music video sees Jung Hyun teaming up with the director of Oldboy (yes, she seriously managed to score Park Chan-wook for this) to create a camp throwback to old Korean horror flicks. She plays a demented, slutty corpse bride who terrorizes a poor guy who finds himself trapped in her haunted house of doom after his car crashes nearby. It’s sexy, creepy, and hilarious, with an obvious nod to “Thriller.” And like most seasoned K-divas, Jung Hyun’s maintained her stunning beauty through plastic surgery, causing her to look a decade younger than her 33 years in certain scenes.

K-pop videos get a lot of shit for being too artificial and formulaic, but when they break out of the box like “V” does, they’re easily some of the best pop music has to offer.

On first listen, “V” can come off like a cheap and generic dance-pop throwaway, but it turns into an addictively good time if given a proper chance. Plus, Lee Jung Hyun is so damn royal and ferosh that denying her is nothing short of treason.

  • Laurence Nope

    I actually knew of her work as an actress first, then grew to love her even more when I discovered her music. She’s always been pretty cutting edge in both realms. In her film debut in 1996 she played a severely psychologically disturbed girl orphaned by the Gwangju Massacre who gets attached to a homeless man she’s convinced is her (actually dead) brother, who only ends up physically and sexually abusing her. Yikes! Still the most disturbing movie I’ve seen. When that’s your introduction to the world at age 16, you can pretty much get away with whatever you want at age 33.

  • Yeezus Croissants

    This is easily one of my favorite kpop MVs so far this year. Many of the videos have been good, but not very interesting. Leave it to a kpop diva to shake things up.

  • Josh Chinnery

    When I first say this, I was like, “lolwtf did I just watch XD”, but you’re right, this song is incredibly addictive. The music video is also super hilarious, and definitely worth the watch (even though it interrupts the music in the middle -_-). Could have done without that poorly tacked on key change, though; sounds like whoever produced this forgot to move *everything* to the new key, so ish sounds ultra weird.

  • Nicole Naeun

    I can see Gangkiz releasing this song and getting hated by netizens lol.
    I love the song!

  • Andi

    Literally can’t stop jamming to this song, and the MV is one of the best/most interesting I’ve seen come out K-Pop so far this year. I’ve been a total K-Diva kick this past month (mainly Seo In Young, Son Dam Bi, Kahi, and Lee Hyori) and it makes me sad to see that the diva isn’t as commonplace in K-Pop anymore. I know there are some female soloists like Lee Hi and Lim Kim out there, but they totally pale in comparison to the latter artists are mentioned.