This MV is incredible, and my current total favorite. Not just the style of the MV or the camera angles make it memorable, but I think it is more famous for the story behind it and what the group had to overcome to even get this released (Discussed further in the “Other Interesting Things” Section).
Even the title says a lot about this MV! Don’t Don is a fast rock-style song about money and society and waiting for the chaos to be over. The title is a play on korean words. While “Don” means Money, “Dondo” translates to Insanity. The title there for is both Money and Insanity, though it is most commonly referred to as “Don’t Don” and not by any translation (As in “Don’t put so much power into money” I guess). The lyrics are hard and blunt, and there is no romantic story involved at all, which is refreshing.
“Money, Insanity/ it’s a world all about money/ you, confined in a hole, what is your mind? (You’re outta control what Is your mind?)/ please look around, you can see the gazes of despair/stop, bangin’ my head, my eyes gone red”
The choreography for this song is hard and powerful, a lot of stomping and jumping, but they do it perfectly in sync with 12 boys (13 at one point). The dance is extremely powerful and leans majorly towards popping. Also, it was done in army-style boots with thick souls, which were heavy and cannot have been easy to keep up in!
This deserves its own paragraph: the MV features a “Guest Member” named Henry who has a violin solo near the middle of the song. This boy dances WHILE playing the violin! The choreography is understandable softer here (no jumping), but he still has a very powerful dance and performance. It fits perfectly with the MV and he even performed live with them in nearly every single show, giving the same powerful feel.
Most MVs don’t have stories, but this one has more of a set. They filmed in an old abandoned warehouse and used an extreme amount of explosives in the background (One member, who was resting in their van, rushed on set after an explosion because he thought there was an accident). There are some shots of fleeing the building as it burns and being chased by cars, but they do not occur enough to form a full story.
The MV is very nearly perfect, except for one little face management issue. After his solo “In this comedy-like world”, the singer (Ryeowook) goes back into the dance and flatlined his expression from the fierce scowl to a look of pure concentration on getting back to the choreography. That little half a second blip isn’t enough to take a full point off, and this MV is so great I’m tempted to give it a 6/5, so I’ll just take off a little tiny bit.
Other Interesting Things
Ok, as promised: the story behind this MV. “Don’t Don” is the title song from the groups second album, which was given the nickname of being “cursed”. The album was first delayed by a car accident involving a member who lost control on his way back from the funeral for another members father. He broke his leg badly and almost bit his tongue in half. After his return the album was back on track. But before recording was finished there was another car accident involving four members and two managers whose car flipped on the high way and skid. The leader was hospitalized and received 170 stitches to his back and forehead. More critically injured was the groups youngest member. He sustained, among other injuries, a broken rib which punctured his lung and it was unclear for some time if he would survive, let alone ever sing again.
After three months in the hospital the youngest member (Kyuhyun) was released, and just two months after that he made his comeback with the group even though the company wanted him to rest more. He performed onstage only for a short period in the song (immediately before the violin solo) and sat backstage for the rest of the performance. Later he even admitted to being in great pain while singing.
So why is this song part of a “Cursed” album? Because of two horrific car accidents which delayed it by around 6 months.
Now onto my second mini-rant! Yay, these are fun. There was another reason this MV was such a huge deal (other than the return of Kyuhyun I mean). Remember that extremely talented dancer/violin soloist Henry that I mentioned? Well, his presence in the MV and in live performances caused a hissy fit among the fangirls. They thought he was coming in to either replace Kyuhyun or that his presence meant a member would be leaving. Either way, he received extreme prejudice from many of the fans. Silent protests, and shouts during live shows are still an issue (he is currently a member of Super Junior- M, a sub-unit of the main group, though he is still their Don’t Don violinist). For more on this rant- see the rant section!