Search Menu
Home Latest News Menu

21 in 2021: The music videos from Asia we couldn't stop watching

Clubs might have been (mostly) closed this year so a lot of artists channeled their creative energy into music videos

  • Mixmag Asia Crew
  • 10 December 2021

After collectively striking out in 2020 and then following suit in 2021, here's to hoping that the third time is the charm with the event/nightlife/music industry in 2022. That's not to say that 2021 didn't have its share of delightful moments from an industry that's been beaten, battered, bruised and stepped on repeatedly. In fact, 2021 was dotted by phenomenal video and visual outputs from some of the region's most notable artists, while others surprisingly stuck to our memories like chewed gum to the underside of a table. So rather than continually rag on 2021 for what could have been, we've chosen to highlight the bright spots of what was with our choice of the best videos from the past year. This collection has more range than a rainbow and encapsulates the industry's moods as they change like the weather from January to December. So let's all enjoy a collective sigh of relief while we revisit our selection of the 21 best music videos released in Asia in 2021.


Artist: RHYME SO
Label: 88INFINTY
Release: Out now, you can buy it here

Japanophiles rejoice! The year had no shortage of output from Asia’s musical gem that is the islands of Japan. Futurepop duo RHYME SO — made up of Shinichi Osawa aka Mondo Grosso and RHYME — helped lead the charge from the Land of the Rising Sun by minting 88Rising’s Japanese specific sub-label 88INFINITY with their eye-popping video for ‘POSEABLE’. Starring Mari Natsuki, who you might recognize from Spirited Away, the video takes place at an iconic capsule hotel in Shinjuku as well as an izakaya in Shibuya, which gives all of us Japanophiles a glimpse into a world we’re dying to get back to.

2. EuroTrash & Psycho Boys Club 'Trust You'

Title: Trust You
Artist: EuroTrash & Psycho Boys Club
Label: Barong Family
Release: Out now, you can buy it here

The big stage boys Yellow Claw who are known for their energy fueled hardcore bass music premiered a new techno alias called €URO TRA$H alongside their Barong Family label mates Psycho Boys Club with the lead video ‘Trust You’. The ‘made in Bali’ video was shot during their Hotel Barong music-intensive getaway with their label mates from all over the globe. ‘Trust You’ features vocals by Bonnie Strange and a kick drum courtesy of Psycho Boys Club that make us at Mixmag Asia extremely happy with this Dutch crews new direction. We’re here for this, and you should be too.


Title: A Tail
Artist: Khus Fir
Label: Consolidate
Release: Out now; you can buy it here

Bangalore's Rishabh Iyer allowed himself to be reincarnated, this time taking the mantle of Khus Fir with a new EP and accompanying visual for the single 'A Tail'. The video is a colourful yet heartrending music story depicting a rescued, anthropomorphic tiger cub and its attempt at assimilating into human and social conditioning, raising questions about moral ambiguities and existentialism. If you're a fan of animation, then this is a MUST watch.

4. Peggy Gou 'I Go'

Title: I Go
Artist: Peggy Gou
Label: Gudu Records
Release: Out now, you can buy it here

Peggy Gou continues to unilaterally deliver the goods whether it be music, fashion, drama or music videos and the visuals she mailed in for 'I Go' is no different. Taking five months to produce and acting as a tribute to the artist's 90s cultural upbringing, 'I Go' is an animation sensation starring Peggy Gou herself as the captain of an all-female fleet, a crew of killer rabbits and a golden giraffe. Directed by Peggy Gou and Inji Seo, the artwork comes via Inji Seo and is animated by Minjung Kim. Fingers crossed for more Gou-d videos from Peggy in the future.

5. Sonia Calico 'Mukbang Roller'

Title: Mukbang Roller
Artist: Sonia Calico
Label: Believe Music

Sonia Calico made us hit the brakes in 2021 when her video for ‘Mukbang Roller’ hit the internet. The visuals are built around mukbang, an online broadcast in which a host will eat large quantities of food while interacting with their audience. The trend was popularized in South Korea and has merged with ASMR on certain channels, and Sonia tapped into its vivid, high-definition sounds for the track. Gross or groundbreaking, we couldn’t look away.

6. Wanton Witch 'Daddy’s Girl'

Title: Daddy’s Girl
Artist: Wanton Witch
Label: Stroboscopic Artefacts
Release: Out now, you can buy it here

Malaysian-born and Bangkok-based Wanton Witch has a hyper-sensitive connection and approach to sound through performance. In her visuals for ‘Daddy’s Girl’, Witch’s performance is something of a coming of age epilogue, discovering the personality and person who lies within after escaping the isolation she experienced early on in her adolescence. With an early taste for trap and hip hop, she began working in the deconstructed club and techno scene where she discovered her musical voice.

7. Michael Cignarale 'She Takes Me Over'

Title: She Takes Me Over
Artist: Michael Cignarale
Label: Medusa Records
Release: Out now you can buy it here

Michael Cignarale launched the queer-centric Medusa Records from Shanghai with the visual treatment for his sex-driven vocal adventure that's been inspired by Shanghai's dancefloors in 'She Takes Me Over'. As the label is an extension of the esteemed party brand of the same name, Cignarale's visuals for 'She Takes Me Over' comes fiercely flamboyant and dripping with attitude, lust and — of course — glitter. If you want to experience the drag excellence of Medusa but cannot attend one of their events in person, this video should give you an idea of what to expect.

8. Pyra, Ramengvrl & YAYOI DAIMON 'Yellow Fever'

Title: Yellow Fever
Artist: Pyra feat. Ramengvrl & YAYOI DAIMON
Label: WMG
Release: Out now you can buy it here

One of our favourite videos of the year has to be the visual treatment of 'Yellow Fever' from Bangkok's princess of performance Pyra. Featuring Ramegvrl and YAYOI DAIMON, the amazing video is an ode to any girls who've been asked to do favours to quench the thirst of perverted men in person or in their DMs. The visuals take aim at foreigners coming to Asia with the hopes of finding submissive Asian women to please them, but flips the concept on its head. Costumes, makeup, performances, sets and cinematography are all on point. Do yourself a favor and watch this NOW. And then watch it again.

9. Claude Glass 'Isekai'

Title: Isekai
Artist: Claude Glass
Label: Alpha Pup Records
Release: Out now you can buy it here

Singapore's Claude Glass bubbles alternative realities to the surface in his animated video for 'Isekai'. The psychedelic animation was provided by Sadiq Mansor and is somewhat reminiscent of the Beatles' Yellow Submarine'. The visual tour de force works as an absurdly unique walk through the self-conscious as the viewer is guided through a 'date gone wrong'. It feels like a lifetime of hallucinations rolled into a three-minute animation clip.

10. Yaeji 'Pac-tive'

Artist: Yaeji
Release: Available to stream here

Yaeji was everywhere in 2021 and for good reason. The South Korean artist has been at the forefront of pushing boundaries with her music and this led to some really exciting projects including the visuals for ‘PAC-tive’. Directed by Aphex Twin collaborator WEiRDCORE, the Pac-Man inspired visuals delivers a heavy dose of nostalgia for anyone who grew up in the 80s. Yaeji’s own animated canine companion Woofa (fka Subwoofer) stars in the video where the 2D world we once knew is transformed into a surreal 3D universe where ghosts chase a Pac-Man / Woofa hybrid through the streets while he munches on power pellets before giving the ghosts a taste of their own medicine.

11. Amber Kuo 'NaKuNa'

Title: NaKuNa
Artist: Amber Kuo (AK)
Label: Nomad City Records

It was eight years between releases when Amber Kuo returned with 'NaKuNa'. Once the victim of cyberbullying, AK used her music as a form of therapy to express her emotions and reflect on the impact these incidents had on her. 'NaKuNa' offers a sympathetic message to others dealing with these issues, and exposes AK's sympathetic heart as she aims to help them with the healing process. The visuals are stunning and show the artist performing through a state of change and growth, slowly moving from scene to scene, changing outfits and backdrops as she sheds her cocoon and ultimately transforms into butterflies.

12. Random Bothers 'BUDAKKICK'

Artist: Random Brothers
Label: Dead Pepaya Records
Release: Out now, you can buy it here

Indonesian underground sensation Random Brothers weaved the fabrics of electro with monochrome to present the striking visuals for their single ‘BUDAKKICK’. The group (who actually are real brothers) enlisted Bandung-based visual artist Ario Wibhisono to provide a fitting visual accompaniment to the track and he delivered in spades. Wibhisono's applied the same vintage wet collodion style processing he uses in his photography to deliver the identity for the video, using a series of arresting images and sequences presented in dramatic monochrome. The look forces the viewer to pause and look more closely at the scenes which elicit strong emotional responses as a result.

13. Nomad City presents: Wherever In The Wild Wasteland

Title: Wherever In The Wild Wasteland
Artist: Nomad City Records
Label: Nomad City Records

Nomad City graced our pages with this unique and one of a kind music video treatment for the project called ‘Wherever in the Wild Wasteland’. Produced by label co-founder Yider, the visuals encapsulate a scope, scale and global participation that we’ve never witnessed before. A simple 4/4 beat was provided, which travelled through the digital landscape from contributor to the contributor as eleven artists recorded their own contributions in an alternating arrangement. The visuals transport the viewer across the globe from the scenic views of Inner Mongolia, to the Netherlands skyscapes, the streets of Beijing and on to Quebec, Los Angeles, Sobradinho, Melbourne and Italy, with each artist dialling in their appearance from their native land. Truly a one of a kind experience.

14. Diskoria, FLEUR!, Tara Basro 'SUARA DISKO'

Title: Suara Disko
Artist: Diskoria feat FLEUR!, Tara Basro
Label: Suara Disko
Release: Out now, you can stream it here

Studio Pop is a program based out of Jakarta that gives viewers those rarely seen behind the scenes processes of the artists at work. For ‘Suara Disko’, a collection of artists were charged with completing the recording within a 24-hour window — they managed to accomplish the task in just under 22 hours. Once the master was ready, former Potato Head Group creative director Michael Killian was brought in to help bring the song to life by way of a music video. As part of the Studio Pop challenge, Killian was given only one week to prepare. While Killian has several respectable accolades under his belt as visual artists, designer and co-founder of Pleasure and Zodiac, 'Suara Disko' was his debut wearing the video directors cap. But the results speak for themself.

15. NYX VX & A Mountain of One 'Custards Last Stand (Stars Planets Dust Me)'

Title: Custard's Last Stand
Artist: A Mountain Of One
Label: AMORE
Release: Out now, available for purchase here

Next on our list is a virtual reality walkthrough of nature built on the Unity Games platform by NYX VX. Blurring the lines or the surreal, psychedelic and straight-up feel-good weirdness, the psychotropic visuals feel like a reminiscent walkthrough of a video game world that we just conquered. An absolutely fitting accompaniment to the Balearic tinged audio track that they were designed for. A next surprise would be to let you know that the album is mastered by none other minimal house and techno connoisseur Ricardo Villalobos, with the mixdown being taken care of by Indonesian audio-buff Dea Barandana of Desa Potato Head's Studio Eksotika.

16. Foodman 'Yasuragi Land'

If you’re in the mood for food, then this next video is for you. Yokohama’s Foodman dropped a unique set of visuals to accompany the lead single from his first EP Yasuragi Land. For ‘Hoshikuzu Tenboudai’, the visuals were created by running thousands of images of Sushi through a computer. The pieces of raw fish strapped to rice hypnotically morph from one to another as animated images of computers and other illustrator items randomly appear on screen in matching fashion. There is something soothing about watching all this raw fish transform, is anyone else feeling hungry?

17. 박혜진 Park Hye Jin 'Let’s Sing Let’s Dance'

Title: Let’s Sing Let’s Dance
Artist: 박혜진 Park Hye Jin
Label: Ninja Tune
Release: Out now, available for purchase here

박혜진 Park Hye Jin takes us down the block in NYC to the neighbourhood bodega with her video for ‘Let’s Sing Let’s Dance’. As the lead actor flips the entrance sign from ‘open’ to ‘closed’, he breaks into dance as the bodega suddenly transforms, with Park Hye Jin appearing in the beverage aisle and neon lights flipping from red to blue. The simple yet effective visual treatment closes with some behind the scenes shots of the director coaching the lead while Jin chills on the rooftop with the NYC skyline in the background.

18. 'QQDBT' QQBBG ft. Laujan & Jason of David Boring

Title: QQDBT
Artist: QQBBGT ft. Laujan & Jason of David Boring
Label: Genome 6.66 Mbp
Release: Out now, available for purchase here

Hong Kong's QQBBG delivered seizure-inducing visuals for QQDBT with the help of Laujan and Jason of David Boring. The imagery is full of direct nods to Japanese idol culture and E-Girl aesthetic with cute intonations and anime inspirations throughout. Swing Ho directs as the spastic video features the artist's performance of their hardcore, breakcore and industrial sounds. Not for the faint of heart.

19. Rắn Cạp Đuôi 'Aztec Glue'

Title: Aztec Glue
Artist: Rắn Cạp Đuôi
Label: Subtext Recordings
Release: Out now, available for purchase here

‘Aztec Glue’ by Vietnamese trio Rắn Cạp Đuôi runs like a computer-simulated evolution of planet earth that’s bogged down by a virus. Glitchy images race from one to another, spliced together with static breaks as the multi-instrumental madmen are on a mission to explore the auditory spectrum with ferocity. Things get weird; we’re talking ‘dinosaur fetus’ and ‘digitally animated men with green punk hairdo’s discovering violence’ weird, but it is enjoyable. The animated woman at the end that’s is both tranquil and fear-inducing in equal measure.

20. Sunju Hargun 'フーイズカサンドラ("Who is Kassandra")'

Title: フーイズカサンドラ("Who is Kassandra")
Artist: Sunju Hargun
Label: JIN
Release: Out now, available for purchase here

Bangkok's Sunju Hargun delivered a unique set of visuals to accompany his single' フーイズカサンドラ("Who is Kassandra")' off the 4th JIN compilation. A female Godzilla (we'll assume she's female due to the wig) dances her way through snow-covered highways, city landscapes and fiery tornados before finding her way back to her room and sliding under the bed for a good night's sleep. There's something mesmerizing about the experience of watching Godzilla rave her way through the seven-minute clip to the acid laden track.

21. Mariya Takeuchi ‘Plastic Love'

Title: Plastic Love
Artists: Mariya Takeuchi
Label: Warner Music Japan
Release: Out now, available to stream here

Last but not least on our list is the feel-good story of the year. In 1984, Japan’s Mariya Takeuchi released the city pop track ‘Plastic Love’, but just recently, the track received a huge resurgence due to an unlicensed edit that was uploaded to YouTube and garnered 24 million views before being pulled down. The original track then began to climb the charts and found its way into Japan’s top 10 sales chart for the very first time. Warner Music Japan responded by giving the single a full video treatment. The video follows two lovers on a night out in Japan that gets tumultuous until the woman has had enough and finds solace with another man.

Next Page