1. VIXX’s “Scentist” – Perfume: The Story of a Murderer
This music video takes on a whole new meaning once you find out which book it is based on. Perfume: The Story of a Murderer is a 1985 novel by German writer Patrick Süskind. The story follows a perfumer with an exceptional sense of smell who begins murdering women in order to preserve their scent in perfume bottles. Suddenly, that red liquid in VIXX’s lab seems a whole lot creepier, doesn’t it?
2. BTS’s “Spring Day” – The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas
BTS has based a few of their videos on literary works, including 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 town’s happiness. Once the townspeople find out the truth, many accept it as a necessary evil and keep living in Omelas. The other walk away, and no one knows where they go. BTS directly references Omelas with a neon “Omelas” sign. Many fans believe that Jungkook is “child” in this video, while the other members are “the ones who walk away”.
3. SHINee’s “Good Evening” MV – The Little Prince
SHINee‘s The Story of Light comeback series is loosely based on Jonghyun‘s favorite book, The Little Prince by French author Antoine de Saint-Exupery. This classic novella is about a piolet who meets an unusual little “prince” after crashlanding in a desert. The boy tells the piolet about his journey from his tiny home planet to Earth, describing a number of being he met along the way. One is a fox who desires to be tamed. This fox makes an appearance in the “Good Evening” MV.
4. GFRIEND’s “Navillera” MV – Le Papillon des étoiles
“Navillera” is open to interpretation, but many fans believe it is loosely based on Le Papillon des étoiles (The Butterfly of the Stars), a 2006 novel by French author Bernard Werber. The book is about a ship that carries 144,000 people from Earth to an exoplanet over the course of 1000 years. By the end of the journey, only 4 humans (1 girl and 3 boys) are still alive. One of the 3 boys is chosen as the girl’s life partner and the two leave to star a new future together. “Navillera’s” lyrics, more so than its video, may reference this: “I hope we can build a future together/ You’re more than enough for me/ Let’s start fresh, you and me”. “Nabi” or “Navi” also means “butterfly” in Korea.
5. IU’s “The Red Shoes” MV – The Red Shoes
IU‘s music video is based of a classic fairytale of the same name by Hans Christian Andersen. In this story, a peasant girl who cannot resist a pair of magical red shoes that begin as a gift but end up a curse; she can’t stop dancing and is unable to remove them. In IU’s music video, IU plays a dancer who puts on a pair of magic red shoes that chase after her once she takes them off.
6. BTS’s “Blood, Sweat, & Tears” – Demian: The Story of Emil Sinclair’s Youth
Those who are new to BTS might not know that this music video is based on a 1919 novel by Hermann Hesse. The book’s main character, Emil Sinclair, struggles to live between two worlds: a world of light and a world of illusion. Like this book, BTS’s video explores themes of duality and the interdependence of good and evil.
7. LOONA’s “Heart Attack” – The Little Match Girl
Chuu‘s solo track and music video are based on this tragic fairytale by Hans Christian Anderson. In this story, a little girl decides to stay out all night in the frigid cold rather than face her father’s wrath when she fails to sell any matches. When the girl runs out of matches and good memories to keep herself warm, the spirit of her grandmother carries her soul up to Heaven to celebrate New Year’s with her. Like the little match girl, Chuu imagines moments of happiness before collapsing in the snow, and then is spirited away to a better place.
8. BTS’s “Serendipity” – The Little Prince
Like SHINee’s “Good Evening”, “Serendipity” is also based on The Little Prince, but focuses on a different part of the story: the little prince’s relationship with his rose. In the story, the little prince fell in love with a rose, but did not know how to show his love for her. In “Serendipity”, Jimin is the little prince. He sings about his love for the rose, while surrounded by whimsical space imagery.
9. 2PM’s “My House” – Fairytales
This music video is full of references to many fairytales and classic stories, including: Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Little Red Riding Hood, Romeo and Juliet, Snow White, and Alice in Wonderland. The heroine in this music video experiences a different romance with each 2PM member that is based on these stories.
10. EXO’s “Love Me Right” MV – Alice in Wonderland
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, traveling through a strange dream world filled with colourful EXO members. The video includes a possible reference to Alice’s mad tea party.
11. DIA’s “Mr. Potter” – The Harry Potter series and Fairytales
This vibrant video is based on both fairytales and the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. Like Harry, the DIA members travel on a train to a magical world and ride broomsticks. Their traveling companion is an rabbit, like the one from Alice in Wonderland. There is also a scene where the members wear red cloaks like girl in Little Red Riding Hood.