5 K-Pop Songs Inspired by Hollywood Films
From 'Drumline' to a Disney classic, vote for your favorite!
Without question, K-pop draws from Western music trends. But sometimes the music gets an extra dose of inspiration from Hollywood.
Rainbow are the most recent act to mix a little movie magic into their music with new single "Black Swan," but they're hardly the first to do so. Get the back story behind some of Korea's biggest hits to craft a concept based around popular Hollywood films.
1. Rainbow, "Black Swan" (Inspired by Black Swan)
The girl group's new sultry disco track is conceptualized around the film starring Natalie Portman. The girls sing about witnessing a change within themselves (translated lyrics include, "The reflection in the foggy mirror is not me / Who is it?") and the track ends with member Woori whispering, "It's perfect" -- nearly the exact line with which Portman ended her Oscar-winning performance.
While no one's turning into an actual swan, the film's psychological-thriller theme is further felt in the accompanying video; a dark, somewhat-creepy visual where the septet are terrified by the women they see themselves transforming into.
2. Brown Eyed Girls, "Kill Bill" (Inspired by Kill Bill)
In one of K-pop's most intricate homage to Hollywood, the girl group's 2013 single "Kill Bill" utilized the Quentin Tarantino classic's title, look and even sound. The track's crunchy synths and lively guitar strumming were embellished with Spaghetti Western music like cowboy whistles and crackling gun shots as the girls sang a story of revenge not unlike Uma Thurman's famous storyline.
In the epic, seven-and-a-half minute music video, the girls essentially recreate the Kill Bill movie, trying to murder one another with little visual nuances Tarantino fans will enjoy (e.g. every BEG member has a "codename"). There's even a cover of Nancy Sinatra's "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)" that's become synonymous with the film.
3. SHINee, "Sherlock" (Inspired by Sherlock Holmes)
Sherlock Holmes began to have a small resurgence around 2009 when Robert Downey, Jr., Jude Law and Rachel McAdams starred in action-mystery flick based around the famous literary character. That same year in Japan, a TV special for Case Closed (a popular anime inspired by Sherlock Holmes) also made waves. Undoubtedly, boy band SHINee picked up on the nostalgic feelings and crafted one of their best singles with a nod to the detective.
The music video also boasts loads of both old-school and modern-day references to the new Sherlock Holmes film with the video utilizing Victorian-themed setting, but also boasting an "iWatson" laptop.
4. After School, "Bang!" (Inspired by Drumline)
After member Kahi watched the Nick Cannon film, she knew she had to bring Drumline to the K-pop scene. She and her girl group worked for five months to master a drum line routine for "Bang!" that saw each member bang on her own personal drum in this sexy concept from 2009.
Even today, the group still performs their drum line routine as a regular part of their performance.
5. f(x), "Danger (Pinocchio)" (Inspired by Pinocchio)
While not as clear cut of an inspiration as the aforementioned singles, the quintet's quirky single talked about being dangerously infatuated with someone they call "Pinocchio." Like most f(x) singles, the track is rather an absurd-yet-brilliant piece of pop with most fans considering the Disney character's name to be a metaphor for being in love with a liar or someone who isn't mature enough for love.
Bonus: TOP, "Doom Dada" (Inspired by cult films)
While not directly inspired by Hollywood, the BIGBANG rapper released one of the best K-pop videos of 2013 thanks to cult films, which sometimes are Hollywood productions...that later get some dumped on so much that they become underground classics.
"When I first wrote the song 'Doom Dada,' I wanted to make a unique video that looks like a cult film with some fun elements," he told Fuse in 2014. "A video with a message. I wanted a lot of people to easily visualize the story behind the video."