There isn't anything in the world of K-pop quite like the "Don't Mess With Me" video. Rocket-fired fists, high-flying martial arts and power plant explosions are just a few examples from the video's arsenal of impressive moments. Subtitled "The Fist of Vengeance" the director reimagines the five members of 2EYES as a group of vigilante fighters in a dark future resembling "Mad Max." Although highly overlooked by fans, ("Don't Mess With Me" has 135,000 YouTube views, a sharp contrast to the millions of views for the other videos on this list) the originality of the concept, a Tarantino-esque revenge fantasy, and the strength of the band's performance, was unmatched in 2013. But for all the visual pyrotechnics, one of the video's strongest sequences is also its most low budget-a scene where the members dance on a dusty back road feels gritty and real. Hopefully, the lack of attention for this brilliant video won't stop 2EYES from continuing to bring the feature film feel to their K-pop music videos. Michael Jackson would be proud.
The King of YouTube officially retired the one-hit wonder label with this record-breaking video. But beyond all the hype, what is most impressive about "Gentleman" is how Psy doubled down on the over-the-top persona he created on "Gangnam Style" by making himself the butt of the joke. While so many artists seem to value looking cool above all else, Psy showed the world that being silly is way more fun. In a society not revered by the rest of the world for knowing how to cut loose, ("Gentleman" was banned by the Korean Broadcasting System for the rapper's disrespectful treatment of a traffic cone), Psy's video has the irreverent sneer of a Sex Pistols song.
Lee Hyori went retro with highly successful results in the "Miss Korea" video. Shot in black and white, the minimalist directing style and use of silhouettes creates a freshly distinctive look. The decision to employ Golden Age of Hollywood techniques, like the split screen effect and integrating outfits into backgrounds, is inspired. The other various nods to the Jazz Age, like the drummer using brushes and the line of male dancers in 3D glasses, are also a nice touch. The stylized look is the perfect match for the song's jazzy inflection. Lee is at her most stunning in the video, appearing in a dazzling array of flattering outfits and cementing her status as South Korea's number one pop diva.