K-Pop Korner: Brown Eyed Sex-Magick

December 21, 2009

The four-member Brown Eyed Girls actually made their debut in February 2006 but enjoyed only middling success for over three years until the release of their third album “Sound G” in July 2009. In what would prove a shrewd move, the group underwent an overhaul of their image from the Korean pop standard of cutesy, adolescent, day-glo pap to actually looking like alluring adult women. In a market saturated with increasingly dizzying amounts of kitsch, it made sense to change gears somewhat and embrace a look that was later described as being that of “independent and mature city girls”. As eye-catching as this makeover was, it was the subsequent release of the single “Abracadabra” and the accompanying music video, that was primarily intended to make the real impact. The music video of “Abracadabra” is, by Korean pop standards, probably the most daring and sexually suggestive video ever made by a domestic pop act.

For western audiences long desensitized to such decades-old, glossy ad-man depictions of sex and submerged in images of Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan’s bald, oddly sad-looking vaginas, the Brown Eyed Girl’s video isn’t anything to get excited about. Bear in mind, however, that Korea is a country that only months before saw significant controversy arise over a boy band merely singing the line “I got you under my skin”. That shitstorm prompted state intervention when the government censors stepped in, swinging their banhammers (in the end, to no avail). The video for “Abracadabra” featured images of a man handcuffed to a bed with the chick who probably just shagged him tugging down her mini-dress and, uh, arming a bomb strapped to the man’s chest. Later there are shots of a woman holding a riding crop, some almost-striptease, floor-humping dance moves, a steamy and passionate embrace between a couple that leads to the deliberate tearing of stockings and a final, lingering, almost lesbian kiss between two of the girls.

Despite the deliberately intense eroticism of the video, it appears to have provoked less controversy than the (non-sexual) lyrical transgression of Dong Bang Shin Gi late last year. There was no government involvement this time, but the reliably opinionated netizens expressed some outrage and called for cuts to be made to the video. With what some might recognize as suspicious haste, an alternate video soon appeared for “Abracadabra” that showed the Brown Eyed Girls performing the song on a live stage only, the popular hip-bumping dance the only feature remaining of the original video. This safe video was deemed more suitable for TV broadcasts.

It was all very well-played. Both the single and the Brown Eyed Girls won Korean music awards and the group was even parodied by their male peers, the boy band 2AM, who made a popular spoof version of the song called “Dirty Eyed Girls” for the comedy show Wild Bunny. The song itself, “Abracadabra”, appears to be about a girl attempting to win back a man she was once involved with but who is now frolicking in pastures anew with some other chick. The girl’s obsession is in danger of turning her “bad” and so she is deploying magic spells to bring the man back to her. Singer Ga-in was alleged to have studied porn films to help practice the dance moves in the video but she clarified in a TV interview later that she had only watched “sensual” films like 9½ Weeks. Ga-in is the girl with the short hair who paradoxically manages to look utterly bored and yet curiously cockthirsty at the same time.

Brown Eyed Girls – “Abracadabra”



  1. Yeah. I know this band. Did you ever hear the story of how one of the Ganghwa crowd made friends with the band?? Only in Korea.

  2. Get the fuck out! Who?

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