UNIQ has been having a great year so far and their follow-up to EOEO is just another thing to love! Following the patter of EOEO, it's another dramatic departure from their previous release, swinging their image back towards the suave and sweet idea from their debut. It stands apart from anything else they've done because of it's relax, coffee-shop casual atmosphere and sweetly smooth acoustic elements. What I like most about it is the fact that the track manages to capture the relax coffee-shop acoustic vibe without losing the delightful melodic energy that is quickly becoming UNIQ's trademark sound. The setting and styling is all gorgeous and the video has a great mix of real-time cuteness and slo-mo glamour-shots. Over all, it's an adorable addition to UNIQ's MV list and I love it.
A Very Solid Debut!
Right off the bat I have to say that the thing I find most interesting here is that law enforcement is involved, and legal penalties are as well. Neither of those things make it into most music videos, particularly those depicting the stereotypical gangsta bad boy crew. The other interesting point is that they actually have a 'real' weapon. In most MVs the idea of a gun is alluded to through miming motions rather than a prop, and I've seen dramas where even knives are blurred out by the Censors... Those details made this a very interesting release, aside from the fact that it was an anticipated debut.
Over all it lived up to my expectations. It is my firm belief that ALL debuts should have names attached to the members in the MV, so that was a tick in the right column. The track is catchy and well-produced, with an aggressive slide of energy bridging between the backing track and both the melodic-vocal and rap-vocal sections. The MV mixes generalized adorable tom-foolery in the drama-scenes with aggressive bad-assery in the Choreo, giving the new group a perfectly balanced image right from the get-go. The parkour was pretty sweet, though it was very clearly just to be impressive rather than to actually facilitate an escape. Most of it would have actually slowed a would-be escapee down... it was still pretty cool to watch though. Most of the Styling is gorgeous, there's a few outfits the gave me pause, but they're only on-screen for a few seconds, so it's nothing to be concerned about. The only other thing I have worries about is the fact that their voices aren't terribly strong in this. It could just be how this track frames their voices, but it really feels like their vocals are rather weak over all. They have potential, certainly, and I'll be keeping an eye on them, but the fact stand that I was definitely rather less than impressed with their vocals. I haven't listened to the rest of their release, so I may rescind my statement, but for now...
The 'Special Cut' version was not my favorite bonus feature. It was very simple and all it really showed off was the fact that none of their cover-alls actually FIT them... But it was a unique extra I suppose.
Surprising, but Quite Satisfying.
This was quite a departure from the song that made me love these guys, but Falling in Love was a hard track to follow-up under any circumstances. EOEO is not at all what I was expecting, for many reasons... not the least of which is the fact that onomatopoeia siren-sound effects are normally considered cutesy-kid-stuff... which is NOT what UNIQ has given us here. The styling and the set aesthetic are gorgeous. The fashion is pretty standard for the genre, but that doesn't detract much of anything as there is more than enough going on to maintain visual interest. The use of lights and color, and the careful mix of camera shaking and glamour shots balance out very well. It's a bit too jarring for my tastes, but it's very well done and it suits the track very well.
Song-wise, I was certainly surprised, but once I got over myself and gave it a few listens I came to the conclusion that it's firmly over the line of being awesome. It moves well, the rap sections are punchy and impressive and balanced out by the smooth sax. The smooth vocal lines of the vamp and the chorus bring it all together and the siren-sound of EOEO ties in thematically, it makes the track having a unique vibe (the idea of these guys making siren sounds makes me want to giggle, but the tone of the vocal line, especially combined with the aggressive visual keeps me stunned into being quiet). The choreography is sexy as hell, aggressive and punchy and fabulously intense. What I like best about the Choreo is that it evolves: it gets progressively more and more sexual as the song rolls, with the first body rolls being focused on the chests and shoulder, the next ones on the hips and abs, and by the end it's entirely focused on the pelvic region, with some flashes of bare skin. Such sexiness isn't usually my cup of tea, but I'm not at all against it and I think it's done terribly well here. The moves have a lot of potential to be over-done sexually, but they're not here. The sexy imagery is well balanced through all the quick flashes of other images.
Over all, we've got great visuals, a track with a ton of interest, movement, and fabulous spatialization, and some hella hot choreo that deserves a dance practice vid. It already has an epic dance version and a fabulous Chinese version that are both incredible. There's also an adorable making vid. All in all I love it.
Charming & Whimsical
I've been loving all of Boyfriends recent fairy tale releases, from Peter Pan with *Obsession* to *Witch* to this delightful depiction of Alice in Wonderland. This version of the classic tale is awesome because it features Alice as the instigator rather than the passive victim. Our Alice enters the scene draped in red, a monastic mantra playing behind her. Whether this image is supposed to depict her as a monk or as a religious sacrifice, it's an image our Alice rejects by whipping off her cloak and revealing her true self. We see her sitting at a table, a bubbling brew beside her and an unopened book set before her while she decides what she wants her reality to be. We zip into the world of the book, to Alice's imagination, to find that everything is frozen, waiting for a thought to kickstart it. Throughout the MV, we see Alice holding the book in deep consideration, we see her gambling with a leap of creativity, and drawing herself ever-closer to the white rabbit. The world inside the the book, specifically the tea-part scene, only comes to life (outside of choreography) when Alice willingly enters the book herself. She holds the clock, controlling time's progression there (much like how things can only happen in your imagination while you're actively thinking about them). She drags everyone else into the rabbit hole with her and leaves them trying to find their own way out of the world she's built for him... it's all wonderfully topsy-turvy.
I LOVE the styling. We've got a gorgeous Hatter, and perfect twins to play the Tweedle Two. There's a lovely toy soldier for the Queen's army, too. The 'male alice' that I've seen Hyunseong reported as doesn't make sense to me, but seeing him as a chesspiece does; as a chesspiece he'd be an integral part of the world, a part of Alice. Perhaps he could be analyzed as a depiction of her desires in a significant other, that would explain the blue shirt rather well, certainly better than the idea that he's Gender-bent-Alice (while original-Alice is a present character). And Donghyun as the white rabbit also doesn't make sense to me. I see him as either the Cheshire Cat or the March Hare, both of which traditionally provide counsel and guidance that proves rather less than helpful. I personally would lean towards the March Hare because the original depiction of that character comes from the phrase "Mad as a March hare" which adds a sexual connotation to their interactions that is complimented by the visuals depicted (bunnies have always been thought of as busy little breeders people)... I clearly love the character styling, but even more than that, I adore how the hip-hop and military-chic outfits are worked in with flawless blend of fashionable interplay.
The choreography is gorgeous, and it suits the track extraordinarily well. The track itself is well rounded and balanced between hip-hop charm and synth-y pop fun. It's catchy as hell. The backing sounds are repetitive and so close to crossing the line towards being annoying rather than a decorative compliment to the vocal melody. Nothing in the instrumental is interesting enough to hold its own without the vocals but the vocal melody evolves well enough to mitigate most of my concern. Other than that, this is a slid release and, as always, Boyfriend's concept and styling is spot on. There's lot of visual throws to the 2010 Tim Burton version which I appreciate, and a lot of individual innovation on the styling system. I like it, as a whole.
Cute, & Sweetly Sad
I loved seeing their more or less overlapping lives, their perfectly compatible mornings, their not-quite entirely opposite afternoons, they way them come back together at the end . . . Sad MVs with happy endings are some of my favorites. I enjoyed the styling, though not the fashion was my favorite, they looked good. I dunno, I'm just not a huge fan of the sweater over a button-up look, I get J.C. Crew flashbacks. Anywho, the story progresses cutely, making everything very easy to understand and connecting all the dots.
Track-wise, I like it. K.Will's voice is flawless, it has such interesting harmonics; mainly low tones that have been smoothely pushed into a high register. The song evolves over the course of the track, but there's nothing very catching in it. The melody is nice to have running through your head, but it's not the sort of earworm that'll slide in and never leave. I definitely enjoy it and it's a lovely comeback.
I Give It A 6/10: Good Job.
Circus to Showgirl, Sexy Stardom to a T.
First of all I found it very interesting that they could go from eerie abandoned circus grounds to bright and colorful clean so well. It's beautifully done, the strategic outfit/setting changes and clever camera cuts. I really love the editing of it all, and they get it geared up right from the very beginning. There's something like 20 cuts in the first five seconds. Besides that the styling is absolutely gorgeous, all of the setting and costumes and hair/make-up arrangements compliment each other, and the girls, like very few other MVs released so far this year. They really managed to push their concept hard and still bring in some of the expected elements for a normal girl-group-summer-release. The choreography is elegant and clever (especially the drag-across-the-stage move, I really like that), and of course, sexy as hell. And the glitter. I like the glitter. All in all it's a very glamorous release and I think it suits Sistar perfectly.
Also, the BTS peek was the perfect touch. I LOVED it. Everything about this industry is caught in this tug of war between adorable-sweet and sexy-serious, but the BTS showed very easily that neither category is exclusive of the other, nor of any other sort of theme. All in all, this was a GREAT music video!
I would have liked to see a story, though honestly this song is probably better off without one. This way, the focus is on the girls and their glamour and the smootheness of the song and it's interactions with the MV's reality rather than on a complicated back story or the song's barely there shape. The song itself isn't terribly well suited for a story so choosing to forgo one is actually a wise decision.
Cute & Safe
This is an adorable, but rather bland release. The track is industry par, nothing very interesting. It's just cute coffee shop BGM. The MV's simple and remarkably unexciting. It's just some more BTS-style footage, carefully crafted cuteness designed to look unplanned. I'm sure some of it is actually the members' natural cuteness, but this whole thing reeks of being contrived. And considering the fact that the reason I fell for Boyfriend to begin with was the intensity of their choreography from their very first teaser and then their first single . . . pretty much everything they've released since then has been rather disappointing, but this is particularly dull.
Don't get me wrong, it's a fairly solid release, but it's just the industry standard with zero effort to be more.
3/10: I've Seen Worse.
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