'Aggressive' and 'Adorable' are NOT Mutually EXCLUSIVE:
High4 is not a band I've been terribly enamored with I loved their debut, but most of what they've done since just hasn't struck my fancy. This one is extremely different; I like it so much that it's even jumped the queue of MVs I should be reviewing!
From the moment I first saw it, my only reaction has been "Yep. That's it. We're done here. The most adorable song humanly possible has been produced. We can all go home, now". And that feeling hasn't dissipated at all in the two days I've been watching it while pretending to care about other things. And now I just HAVE to explain the full extent of its intricate weave of imagery, because there's much more than meets the eye to this release and it would be a shame for anyone to miss even the tiniest detail. What seems at first like a mess of contradictions is actually an array of perfectly inter-locking pieces that create a dynamic and accurate depiction of an enchanting reality.
It also has something very important in common with Beyonce (but we'll get to that later).
The only way to do this right is to start off at the beginning, because right from the start the track and the MV present an extraordinary and very precise depiction of the exact sort of cuteness-in-contrast idea the track is aiming to incite. One of the very first images we see is Alex with his Fushigi. The mysticism in contact juggling is perfect for this MV because it has traditionally invoked the idea of other-worldliness, of magic and enchantment. It also implies an idea of total control, of dominance and mastery. In the context of the rest of the picture, the control that Alex displays is trapped behind glass, impotent, and more than that, it's in a window that's irregular. In plain English, the image represents that the control Alex normally has over the mystical enchantments of the world, the control he usuall has over himself in situations that involve a girl who stands as a living enchantment, is rendered useless and impotent, trapped behind glass in exclusively one particular, and highly irregular situation.
One of the very next images we see is the car breaking down. It's a stereotype that men have total control over their vehicles, that they know the mechanical working of it. The fact that this one's broken down on them is a three-fold continuation of the previous image. First of all, the fact that we're first introduced to the scenario by zipping through the irregularly shaped window (which hold the same meaning her as it did for the Fushigi scene), is a direct link to the fact that the message of utter impotence in one particular scenario. That it's his car means he should know how it works, that he doesn't is odd. To take matters further, both cars and women are stereotypically referred to as a guy's "baby". So when he has no idea what's going on with the car, it's directly linked to the idea that he has no clue what's going on with the female object of his affections.
The fact that the overt display of confidence and strength in the lyrics continues until they get the car going and Alex emerges victories (with a hulk t-shirt no less) implies a dramatic edge of conquest and masculinity. It's a notion that stands firm, he knows who he is, what he wants and what he's capable of, at least inside the real and sensical world he's lived in for most of his life. They lyrics take us on the ride that over turns the notion of the narrator's personal competency. First, by swinging the feel of the song a complete 180, from hard-ass hip-hop to achingly cute pop, and then secondly by directly announcing that he's the strongest macho-manliest dude ever, except when he's with the girl he likes.
One thing to notice before we even get to a detailed analysis is that all the verbs are 'Hae/해' not 'HaeYo/해요', which is a banmal method of endearment that was explicitly referenced in their debut follow-up track with Lim Kim.
English Lyrics -
If I start, it’s game over for you
Wish for luck, four leaf clover
I don’t wanna see all the fakers
So I’ll step on them like a range over (vroom)
I’ll keep the tension like a V8 engine
Don’t have money but they
always pay attention to me
I’m a madman, Seoul city’s Batman
You attack me and I’ll hit you with a back hand, eat you all up, pacman
Ain’t no decision win, I only accept KOs
You can fight me 100 times but you’ll lose all 100 times
It’s you, it’s you, yes it’s you
Strangely, I only lose to you
I become a meek guy in front of you
I become soft, I become soft
Call me baby, call me yours
When I introduce you,
you’re my baby girl
But when it’s just us two,
I’m your baby boy
Baby boy, baby boy,
I become a baby boy
Baby bay, when it’s just us two, do it
Uh Uh Uh Do It
Baby Bay, when I’m next to you, do it
Uh Uh Uh
I've already explained most of what makes the first verse cute, because it's mostly how the lyrics relate to the imagery. The last line of the first half (Pay attention to me) ties into the fact that while she's in the hall of pictures she doesn't pay him much attention (it ties in later to the TV scene as well). The second half of the verse continues that same idea, specifically for it to be subverted by the chorus.
The first half of the Chorus is sweet, explaining what happens to the narrator around his crush, and the second half is all the sweeter for it. He's still trying to project the ultra-masculine vibe, by saying 'when it's just the two of us' so that he doesn't get embarrassed in front of his bros, but in front of her, he's too soft to really want her to call him anything else, so long as the bros aren't around.
The break between the chorus and the next verse serves mostly to connect the pop-bit back to the rap-bit and visually introduce the girl into the boys' world.
Y-Jun, 21 years old, I’m strong and fierce. A wild dog who will bite even his owner if he gets twisted. All the bunnies pretending to be lions get shocked. Hurry over, it’s your first time at a place like this, right? Hide carefully, I might see you. Hey step on it stronger
I don’t ever kneel except when I bow on New Years.
Look and see how far I go
Whether I try or not, the result is the same. I can’t help it, there’s nothing that I can lose it.
Except for one thing in the world
[Chorus A B]
If it’s not your words, I won’t listen
(You’re My Only One Love)
If it’s not your hands, I won’t hold it
When I look at you, when I hold you, I’m up in the sky. I can’t hold it in, I burn up, you make me high
[Chorus A B A]
YoungJun's verse continues the idea from Alex's rap that the narrator is strong and fierce and frightening, he's the hunter and everyone else is prey. The animal thing will come up again in a minute, but first, the sweetest line in the whole song. "I don't kneel ... New Year's" is achingly perfect because it proves the point of the chorus: the narrator is not nearly as bad-ass as he thinks he is. He's strong and powerful, but he's genuine and sweet and respectful when it counts, like bowing on New Years. It means that he was always going to be adorable to the girl that mattered, he just didn't know it yet. The point is hit home as YoungJun goes hard in the rap, putting on a hella impressive performance to prove his epic-ness.
The last bit of new lyric comes in the bridge, giving a bit of additional confirmation that this once scenario is rather exceptional, but doing it in such a way that adds a childish petulance to the assertion (therefore subverting it, yet again).
Where the girl was involved, the boys frequently had control taken away, from the moments where she was literally playing games with her little boy-toys to when she became the ringleader in their romantic circus. The sweetest lyric ever mentions that he never bows save on New Years, the first thing the boys do after YoungJun finishes the rap that announces the sentiment is bow. Also, the boy's bows are much deeper than the girl's. She controls everything about their universe, from the clothes they wear to the mechanics that show up to help fix the car, all of it happens at her whim or not at all. Looking back at the comparison to animals that YoungJun made, she claps her little hands and they jump to her heel, even with their petulant expressions, like well trained puppy-dogs. And there's hardly a second where they are anything but smiles about that fact.
The only complaints I have at all are the fact that the whiny sound at the beginning goes on just a bit too long and the video has no specifically active story. It's basically a pastoral, no forward motion, but a beautiful depiction of a static piece of scenery. I LOVE it, but sadly, it can't get a perfect score.