K-pop Queen, Lee Hyori, (who is Korea’s Beyonce, despite what you may have heard) has cranked up her comeback promotions with the release of a new single, “Bad Girls.” Like its chart-topping predecessor, “Miss Korea,” “Bad Girls” is a cheeky female empowerment anthem, but instead of encouraging the average woman to have the same level of confidence as a Korean beauty queen, it’s an ode to all the rule-breaking ladies who go after what they want and take no prisoners.
Like most of Hyori’s singles, “Bad Girls” steers clear of pop diva cliches by not going down the electronic dance-pop route. It’s a sixties-flavored throwback, with sassy guitar riffs and showy, Broadway style production courtesy of Norwegian producers, Dsign Music, who also did Girls’ Generation’s “I Got a Boy” and f(x)’s “Pinocchio (Danger).”
After taking a three-year break, it’s good to see that Hyori’s evolved musically and moved past the heavy urban beats of past hits like “U Go Girl” and “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.” But as great as “Bad Girls” the song is, the music video is even better. It opens with a bad girl being born while her mother dies during childbirth (it’s funnier than it sounds — we promise), and then follows her life through to adulthood and eventual imprisonment. She wreaks all kinds of havoc while growing up, from innocent mischief like pinching her stepmother’s lipstick, all the way through to chasing her classmates with a doberman and then hurling a stick of dynamite their way. She even recreates Sharon Stone’s infamous interrogation scene from Basic Instinct, but instead of giving a quick flash of the goodies, she goes full spread eagle.
Hyori pops up in multiple roles throughout the video, including the evil stepmother and the grown-up version of the bad girl. Despite rocking the hottest fashion trends of the moment, like chunky gold jewelry and dark lipstick, Hyori looks less Rihanna and more trashy chola for the most part. We don’t know if that was entirely intentional or not, but either way, she looks amazing.
English-language speech bubbles make the entire video easy to follow and viral-worthy, but whether or not “Bad Girls” will be able to attract the high level of Youtube views that K-pop’s top boy bands and girl groups pull in remains to be seen.
Looks like PSY now has some competition for the best K-pop video of the year.