iKON’s Music Video – “Airplane” Review

iKON – Airplane (Music Video)

Reviewed on November 28, 2015

Personal
Message:
First
off, to the requester, I do apologize for greatly delaying this review and for
not reviewing the song itself. I have been incredibly busy with university and
have only recently had the time to write this as I am on a short break, and
given the prior reviews of CNBlue and a Korean game, this review has been pushed back.
Nevertheless, thank you to the requester for sending this in. During this 4-day
break, I will attempt to catch up on reviews, and furthermore, with university
work and subtitling more Fiestar videos. After this review, I plan to wrap up
November with GOT7’s latest song, “If You Do,” and Hong Jinyoung’s “Cheer Up,”
a trot song. With the latter song, I very much do wish to review it as it is
trot, a genre that has been moreover miniscule and pushed aside as
“traditional” and of “the past.” But, with “Cheer Up,” though a slightly more
modern take is approached, it is all without compromising the trot genre itself.
Thus, I am very excited to review and share it as, personally, it induces
nostalgia (as shared before, trot and ballad were common genres in my childhood,
though specifically Chinese songs), but additionally, the song is very
beautifully composed and its lyrics possess an invaluable reminder to everyone.
The music video also further complements the song’s beauty. More will be
discussed in that review.

Returning to iKON, the group that is
supposed to have been discussed from the start, “Airplane” will be reviewed for
its music video. Given that I have not done a music video review in a while, I
do expect this to end up as a mediocre review, but I will attempt to maintain
quality. With “Airplane,” it is definitely an interesting music video, and even
after several sessions of watching, the complexity of the plot remains. In
terms of iKON themselves, they have been garnering much attention (and for more
than just music; I will address this later). There are seven members in iKON,
and if accurate, they are focused on hip-hop for the group’s genre (judging
from their current released songs). In fact, iKON has yet to officially debut,
but will certainly do so once their first performance occurs (it might have
already occurred; readers should correct me).

Since I will not be reviewing a song
directly from the group, I will hastily leave opinions regarding iKON in a
musical context. Truthfully, I have yet to hear an outstanding song from iKON;
at most, “My Type” is decent, but even with that song, none have proven to be outstandingly
impressive. If “Airplane” were to be reviewed, I would anticipate a lower
rating, or at best, a five. Positively, however, for what is appreciated with
the men’s songs, many—if not all—tend to be based on rhythm, rapping, flow, and
so forth. There are no exciting points for their songs, but rather, the listed
aspects are what are emphasized to attract listeners: pure music and not
manipulating “catchy” sounds. That said, iKON’s style of music is not what
deters me. In fact, that style is what attracted me to “My Type” in the first
place. Instead, it is the quality of their songs that are unappealing, examples
being the vocals, how certain sections in songs sound, and so on.

For what I wish to clarify, the
style of a song never influences review ratings—this being the genre, how
upbeat or calm a song is, and other similar details. As TWICE’s “Like Ooh-Ahh” addresses, the only biases that are
placed in reviews are the ones that dictate what is deemed “good” or “bad,”
such as with determining “good vocals” apart from “bad vocals.” These specific biases
are unavoidable in reviews and even music in general. In contrast, biases
toward music styles are certainly unacceptable for rating songs, and thus, I do
ensure that I rate based on quality and not likeability (if this is a word). Ailee’s “Insane” provides an example: “Insane”
scored quite well, but personally, while I admire the quality of the song, I
dislike its style as it simply is not my preference. Clearly, however, I did
not include that biased view as “Insane” scored well. Similarly with iKON, with
my earlier words, I do not wish to bash their style of music or even their
talents. What I am critiquing are the songs they have released, and this is significantly
different from critiquing their vocal skills or their music style.

Switching to another topic (feel
free to skip to the review now), as foreshadowed earlier, iKON has received
attention for more than music: they were involved in a bullying incident (I
will cover what happened). This was many months ago, and thus, there may be
readers who feel defensive at my mentioning of this; bringing up this topic is
seemingly mundane and seems to serve no purpose other than to degrade iKON. In
reply, I disagree: defensiveness should not occur, as to be explained, and
their news is certainly not something to quickly abandon. After all, discomfort
is generally a sign that discussing is in fact necessary. Before analyzing the situation
to uncover why it is a serious topic to ruminate over, especially once
accounting the general public’s reaction, I will first address the
defensiveness readers may have. Discussing iKON’s bullying news is not to
degrade any member or the group in whole. Unlike the past where, admittedly, I
have wrongly humiliated and shamed an idol in a Blog Opinion post, I will not
be replicating that mistake. Rather, I hope iKON’s incident will provide a
moment for reflection, education, and personal growth. In fact, what occurred
is less concerning than what resulted out of it—that is where I desire to focus
attention towards, as to be explained later.

To now showcase what did occur with
iKON so that readers understand, I will leave two sources versus attempting to
summarize the situation: the video, and a news article. Regardless of how one feels after
watching, there is a key point to remember: no one outside of iKON or their
company will ever know the truth to what did in fact occur. For all that is
known, iKON may very much love each other and are close and that, unluckily,
the camera was rolling when the group was at their most tired, stressed state
of mind. Likewise, however, this might have indeed revealed what truly occurs
in the group. No one knows. Realistically, iKON is probably a mixture of the
two points, as are any other artist group, and more generally, human being.
Even very loving, affectionate groups, whether it is Fiestar, Teen Top, or other
groups, have moments of arguments and fights. Again, in the most pessimistic
view possible, for all that is known, groups that are openly caring and loving
on camera may in fact very much despise one another. Now given that groups are
teams where every member shares a common goal of working hard to become popular
and to produce good music, it is likely that, even at worst, members do very
much sincerely care for one another—even if that just means seeing each other
as co-workers.

Overall, for the main point: it is
wrong to suddenly assume iKON are bullies toward specific members, or that B.I.
is horrendous person. Homogeneously, though, it is also wrong to suddenly
dismiss this entire incident and to claim that this was acceptable behavior.
Being accountable is what is important. This is similar to what occurred with TMZ and EXID: it is easy to label those TMZ
staff members as racist and atrocious, but what needs to be recalled is that
they are all humans—most likely even good humans, as hard as that may be to
accept. They may be limited in view with race, but to suddenly assume that
those staff members are all horrible people who wish the death of minoritized
groups is equally limiting in view (and this falls into the binary issue with
race regarding “racist and non-racist binaries”; an older review discusses this binary idea). Now of
course this does not mean being passive and compliant to everyone’s view—I very
much do and did challenge what TMZ said, for example—but it is about
understanding various viewpoints and still seeing others as equal beings and
not “less-than-human.” Thus, relating to iKON, this Personal Message digression
is not to bash them, but rather, to challenge what occurred and to, hopefully,
glean ideas and perspectives that aid in personal growth. Thankfully, iKON’s
situation is not in the realm of racism, though that is not to say bullying is
a minor topic in itself. For a final reminder to those who may feel defensive,
what matters is acknowledging mistakes that the group committed, and that both
iKON and fans should grow and learn from said mistakes.

Finally examining the scenario
itself, what did occur can be seen as unacceptable. Reiterating the prior
paragraphs, this is not to claim that iKON members are bad people (as binaries
never do exist, after all). Nevertheless, the hitting was certainly
unnecessary, as are any physical hits, and more so since it was far from being
playful, as observed by facial expressions and the force of the punches. On
this note, there is not much else to be said. Hitting is simply never
warranted, nor is inflicting pain to others even in an emotional way. After
all, the world would arguably be a lot better if people abided to that idea.
Specifically with the scene, there are many issues: the hitting in the first
place, as covered; secondly, however, the encouragement of hitting. It would
have been preferable if members did intervene, and not necessarily in a direct
way. The first hit should have been alarming enough and should have motivated
one member to step in with a remark of how that punch was too hard, and so on.
Every member can be held responsible, not just B.I.

Transitioning to the more troubling
aspect to this incident, as said, what occurred is not what greatly disturbed
me (but it still very much did; no one should ever be hit—unless if it is
playful and safe, such as with how MAMAMOO’s Solar shoves Moonbyul though then again Solar
shoves hard
). What is most bothering is the defensiveness that arisen
(as covered), but more specifically, a certain type of response: “Boys will be
boys” and “Boys are naturally aggressive; it’s in their nature to be rough,
they can’t help it.” In addition to evading a further discussion regarding
iKON’s behavior and holding them accountable, these related comments stretch
into a deeper, critical social layer: gender. Answering directly, “boy
excuses,” the term I will use, are never valid for anything—iKON related or
not. “Boy excuses” are, harshly stated, incredibly pathetic and too lacking to
ever be used.

When it comes to “boy excuses,” the
phrases carry an extremely false idea: that males are naturally aggressive;
that males are naturally leaders; that males are naturally whatever else.
Perhaps for other animals there may be a sense of “natural” male superiority,
but to translate that idea onto the human race, it is insulting. “Boy excuses”
downgrade the human race by assuming that human beings are nothing more than
wild animals that will always follow “natural instincts.” Optimistically, human
beings are far more sophisticated, and unequivocally, are not in the same
category as “natural creatures.” Until penguins walk around with smartphones,
develop a form of linguistic communications (if that is the right term; I am
referencing language, writing—ways to communicate), and casually listen and
share K-Pop with other penguins which all, by the way, would be actually amazing; I have a silly
wish that penguins will one day be domesticated pets, let alone have human-like
capabilities
, then perhaps I will retract the claim of humans not
being “natural creatures.” Humans are in many ways above natural, and that is
not inherently bad nor should it strike as impossible to ever deviate from
“natural.” This position means that humans have the ability to shape our very
own existences so that, for example, everyone regardless of who they are can at
least live a happy life. But, likewise, it also means that an opposite route
can be taken: creating situations where only certain people benefit at the
expenses of other people. “Boy excuses” fall in the latter; using these phrases
merely perpetuate the idea that humans are “natural” creatures who lack
intelligence, and that males are excused to be aggressive without punishment.

On topic, the idea of males being
“natural” at whatever it may be are not natural ideas—humans are not “natural”
minus biology (of which is essentially solely our bodies; in fact, “race” is
not biological but rather socially constructed, as a review will one day
discuss). Humans are socialized creatures, and as a result, these notions of
“boys excuse phrases” are merely ideas that have been taught and spread.
Dissecting the idea of boys being naturally aggressive for example, if this is
true, then every male should in fact be aggressive, no matter the
circumstances. However, this is far from true, as the following example will
show: a boy who was raised without ever being exposed to violence at all.
Obviously, in the actual world this is near impossible to do without entirely
sheltering the boy; violence is constantly displayed, and specifically, boys
are relentlessly socialized to be aggressive, as seen by superhero shows and
“boy activities” of rough-housing and so forth. Ignoring this aspect, though,
if it was possible to raise a boy from birth to death in a utopian-like world
of no violence, he would never showcase violence as there was never violence to
learn from. This is analogous to how a person who is never exposed to Korean at
all from birth to death will never speak or understand Korean. To her/him, the
Korean language simply does not exist. Likewise, for the hypothesized boy who
grew up with no violence in any form or degree, he will never be violent as the
concept of violence is nonexistent. Returning to the “naturally aggressive”
idea, however, if that is true, then the hypothesized boy should in fact be
violent, but as seen, that cannot be possible as the idea of violence has been
eradicated.

Clarifying, the minutiae of the last
example are not what I care about. I am confident that a dedicated person could
disprove my scenario and prove that, miraculously, someone could somehow know
Korean without ever experiencing anything related to Korean culture and
language from birth to death. That is not the point: the point is it is the
raising of the boy (and anyone) that produces behavior. A majority of societies
teach boys to tackle each other, to not cry, to be tough, and conversely, girls
are taught to be clean, neat, obedient, sweet, and so forth. No “natural” order
is involved; “nurture” order is the one involved. These specific teachings per
gender is what creates the seemingly “natural,” but as unveiled, teachings are
not natural but rather social ideas. Even other common “natural” ideas can be
debunked, such as with human sex drive (on this topic, a future review will
discuss sexualizing versus sexual expression). Since this topic is brought up,
I will also use it to explain why naturalism (if that is the term) is false—in
certain cases. With the human sex drive, it itself is absolutely natural. There
is no doubt that sex is a natural desire for women and men, and that this
natural concept includes every sexual orientation and not just heterosexuality.
However, there is a question to be asked: How much of said desire is natural?
That question is what requires deeper analysis.

Desiring sex is natural, but what is
not natural is, for example, excusing heterosexual boys to act as savages who
must have sex and sexualize females or else they would die. Again, certainly
heterosexual boys do desire sex with females as that is scientifically natural,
but the degree of such is simply the desire to have sex. This “natural” desire
should not extend to the point of justifying rape and objectifying females, or
to the point of how heterosexual boys are “naturally incapable” of being just
friends with females. This aspect to the natural human sex drive has been
socially constructed; the idea that heterosexual boys have to sexualize females
or are naturally inclined to see females friends as “more than” are ideas that
have been socialized into boys.

Peering into media unhealthy
portrayal of women (this is what I mean by sexualizing versus sexual
expression; sexual expression is certainly acceptable for both males and
females, but sexualizing is absolutely not, and in media, this is the culprit
behind socializing heterosexual boys to be overly sexually-driven) and what
boys police and say to one another are clear instances of how heterosexual boys
are in fact taught to be overly sexual when, naturally, the human sex desire
should not even be to these extents. Leaving a final point, there is also a
disparity that cannot be overlooked: Why are heterosexual females,
non-heterosexual males and females, or even “feminine” heterosexual males, not
seen as equally sex-driven? If “boys being naturally sex-driven” is true,
especially with non-heterosexual males and heterosexual “feminine” males, this
“natural” concept should indeed affect every single male, but it does not.
Unless if one is a male who follows toxic masculinity (“hegemonic masculinity” is
the proper term and less
passive-aggressive
; prior to learning this from my amazing sociology
professor, this is what I have been trying to reference in past reviews), then
absurdly, “natural” fails to be applied though “natural” implies all are
affected.

Overall, humans are definitely
natural—in certain aspects, that is. It is true that humans have a natural sex
drive, it is also true that humans have sex differences in male and female and
even intersex, and that humans have other biological natural desires, like
eating and thirst. What are not natural are ideas that stem beyond these
biological differences, be it gender (sex and gender are not the same; sex is
biological and gender is social), race, and more. Current perpetuations of
“natural” all serve to normalize what are in fact socially constructed ideas,
such as with “females are naturally nurturing,” or that “boys are naturally
aggressive,” and other examples. Unfortunately, a lot of this “naturalizing” does
in fact serve a negative role. In the case of excusing boys for their acts
because they are boys, male privilege (this is one form of male privilege, as
are other thousands) is supported and is now “naturalized,” even though male
privilege is a socially constructed concept that benefits males over female.
Essentially, sexism is being “naturalized” when one says “boys will be boys” or
“boys are naturally aggressive,” and that is an exceptionally scare-inducing
thought. After all, consider what would be the situation if iKON were a female
group. To say the least, their actions would not be excused as “girls will be
girls,” and sadly, their career would be stunted—all because people have accepted
sexism as “normal,” as “natural.”

In the end, bringing back iKON, in
addition to the general layer of acknowledging their mistakes, it is worth
noting that excusing the men’s acts as “boys being boys,” or any other act and
similar phrase, are not acceptable. Using “boy excuse phrases” merely
perpetuate a false idea of naturalism, and it supports male privilege in that
it excuses boys from acts that they should not be excused from at all. Gender
as natural should, in general, not be assumed; a contradiction already exists
in that idea (“gender as natural” is saying “socialized is natural”). Thus, for
a final takeaway, remember that “natural” is never an excuse for human
behavior, especially in the realm of gender and “race” (though “race” is
socialized and not biologically true, it is still “real” in the sense of being
socially real and in its consequences, hence why I do continue to use the
term).

Digression aside, and perhaps the
longest one I have wrote in a while, in terms of iKON, I do hope they come out
with an apology or an explanation for their prior behavior. Despite that,
however, iKON are all very hardworking and skilled men, and “Airplane” ‘s music
video showcases that. I may need an “Airplane” trip before the review, however.

_________________

Plot
Score: 6/10

Given how lengthy the digression is,
I do feel that it would have been better to review the song itself and not the
music video as, to confess, I doubt I will write much. My video reviewing
skills are mediocre unless if including a social analysis. I will attempt my
best, and to compensate, I will review the song itself as a bonus. No
explanations will be given, but the numerical values will be for those who are curious
(such as the requester) in a bonus review post.


Analysis
: Though I
do tend to include a personal summary of how I interpret a music video’s plot,
I will exclude it for this review and onwards. This is to allow readers to
develop personal interpretations without any extraneous influences. Nonetheless,
I will leave a disclaimer of how this rating is still based on a personal take
of the video, and that I do have two main views for this music video’s plot:
the first is related to romance; the second is related to “life,” though that
is horribly said as everything relates to “life.”

Elaborating, the first version is
how romantic feelings disrupt the three close friends’ relationships with each
other. The two men both begin to have romantic feelings toward the woman and
from such, conflict begins to occur between everyone until, ultimately, the
woman decides to fly away and ends the three’s friendship so that no one is
hurt. A better solution
might just be that they all decide to be just friends since males and females
are not “naturally inclined to be more than friends” as discussed, though I am
sure readers have heard enough of this
. The second interpretation is
similar to the first, except that it is not based on romance, but rather, that
the lady has to move away for unknown reasons. One of the men (Bobby) knows of
this while the other (B.I.) does not. This leads to misunderstandings as B.I.
begins to feel jealous towards Bobby, and may even assume that the two have
romantic feelings when, in reality, it is Bobby being additionally kind knowing
that the three will no longer be together as one of them is moving away.

No “right” interpretation exists as
every is valid. My first take is based on the lyrics and interpreting certain
gestures as flirting, and my second take is based on how Bobby appears to be
reflecting and sad, most likely due to knowing their friend was moving away,
and that certain gestures were regular friendly ones and not flirting. No
matter the view, “Airplane” receives a six for its plot.

Focusing on the story, what occurs
is not quite appealing. There are no plot twists or any events that render
striking, but nevertheless, for the plot itself of being about three friends
and their relationship, that does hold as enticing and unique. With the song’s
lyrics, it would be expected that the plot revolves around a couple who are
parting ways, not three close friends that are now splitting for whatever
reasons. Addressing the positives to the plot score, the included details are
praiseworthy: various, subtle, and complex.

For example, the second scene
discloses the closeness of the three friends, but the plot still remains vague—in
a positive manner. The lady, from one perspective, appears to be romantically
interested in Bobby, though he does not reciprocate those feelings. However,
none of what occurs necessarily implies romantic interests; this could all
simply be showing how close the three friends are. Thus, the plot is left open
for various interpretations, and that is always beneficial for increasing a
plot’s appeal. Another scene is also worth scrutinizing. The woman (I do wish
she had a known character name; it feels, for a lack of words, rather rude to
just refer to her as “the woman/lady”) points out to an airplane, but shortly after,
this causes Bobby to dishearteningly look out towards the distance. From here,
the plot still holds as exceptionally complex. Bobby may be reminded of her
inevitable departure, but if that is true, B.I for some reason was not equally informed.
Furthermore, to add onto the confusion of the three’s relationship, B.I and her
seem to share their own sort of secret, and hinted by their “fistbump.”

In the end, with the music video’s
detailed scenes increasing the depth and complexity of “Airplane” ‘s plot, the
rating remains at a six. The plot itself is not inherently appealing, but once
factoring the level of details and how said details are delivered, the plot
scores decently.

_________________

Structural
Score: 6/10

For the Structural Score, of which
can be considered as the aesthetics to the music video, a six is also given.

Covering the basics, the music video
is alluring in those categories. Multiple backgrounds are used, such as a
rooftop, an airport, or even a bedroom. This, expectedly, helps keep the music
video varied, and thus, enticing as every second discloses a new location.
Adding on, the time of the day also changes. Because of this added aspect,
besides adding in more visual content, this does construct “Airplane” ‘s tone
of being calm and realistic, and similarly, the diverse scenarios also further
complement the video’s overarching tone. “Airplane” in essence is depicting the
normal, casual life of three close friends. Even the alternating of group and
plot does not obstruct that main tone; when iKON in whole arrives, it all still
relates to the notion of airplanes and of serenity. Therefore, for an outcome, “Airplane”
retains high visual appeal, even despite not using active editing or ostentatious
colors. Simplistic is certainly beautiful, and that is what “Airplane”
emphasizes.

_________________

Overall
Score: 6/10
(6/10
raw score)

_________________

Concluding, iKON’s music video of “Airplane”
does score as a six, a slightly above average video. To the requester and
readers, I have also reviewed
“Airplane” as a song
, though no explanations are given. Looking over this music
video review, it can be deemed moreover a discussion on iKON’s bullying
incident than an actual review, but I do hope the bonus review of the song
slightly compensates for the less thorough analysis here.

As always, thank you very much for
reading this review. To the requester, huge apologies for the delays, and also
apologies for not genuinely reviewing the song itself. Due to time, I simply
cannot review both in full, and thus, I do hope the current two reviews are
still satisfying. Also, thank you for the request. I greatly appreciate it.
Since November will be ending in a few days, I doubt I will be able to release
a review in time. Positively, though, many reviews are in store, and with
December being a whole month of no classes, I will be able to catch up on many
songs. GOT7 and Hong Jinyoung are most likely to be the artists reviewed next,
though I may opt to review EXID’s “Hot Pink” as it has been trending (the
ladies deserve it) and would provide an interesting review. Despite whichever
comes first, I am determined to review all of the artists’ latest songs.

Stay tuned for one of those reviews.
I will work hard to return the blog on track “because I don’t wanna let you go
like this.” Keep checking back for, most likely, Hong Jinyoung’s “Cheer Up” or
EXID’s “Hot Pink.”

Girls’ Generation’s Music Video – “Lion Heart” Review

Reviewed on September 1, 2015

Girls’ Generation – Lion Heart (Music Video)

image

Personal Message: With college occurring in less than a week (as of the time of this sentence), I have been busy organizing and retrieving materials, finishing write-ups, and for other events, collaborating with a friend for subtitling a video, and therefore, was unable to write for a few days. Also, for a side note, I may, in a video, share my current feelings regarding university, and for what readers may be interested in, advice regarding careers and future goals. On topic, with everything nearly cleared, I am returning to writing reviews, and specifically, for a partially requested one: Girls’ Generation’s “Lion Heart.” Clarifying the term of  “partially,” I am stating such as, though a reader did request both of the group’s latest songs, “Lion Heart” and “You Think,” solely the latter will be reviewed in a standard song format. For “Lion Heart,” I have personally decided to review its music video for the purpose of time and variety.

Addressing the music video, besides regretfully watching it at night and getting hungry, I absolutely adore it. From a biased standpoint, I find the plot and layout to be incredibly alluring and comical (and more seriously, empowering, as to be discussed), but even from a realistic perspective, higher ratings would still be justified. Though to be explained within the review itself, with a significant plot twist occurring, the music video is able to retain a higher score. If it were not for the drastic change in story, statistically, “Lion Heart” would fare equally to ZE:A J’s “Marry Me” ‘s music video. In essence, both videos are identical: every character (member) is followed with their own romantic scenario. Differently, however, with “Lion Heart,” rather than a plot instilled with pure, sweet romance, bitterness appears at the end, and that change is valuable.

To already digress, with mentioning how the music video is empowering (for readers who wish for the review, skip ahead), intentional or not, the video sheds light onto a prevalent issue: sexism, but more specifically, subtle sexism. “Sexism comes with a smile,” as the phrase is, and with the term “phrase,” to prevent copyright related issues, if correct, I am referencing an article title. On a more serious note, however, to utilize the mentioned phrase, Girls’ Generation’s video highlights it. Furthermore, with this topic, other oppressions are also truly uncovered: racism, classism, and so forth. Often time these oppressions are rendered as blunt, heinous acts, but in reality, that is not always the case, and realistically, many of these social issues are discreet.

To bring an understandable example, racism tends to provide the most clarity. Derogatory remarks, physical assaults, and similar, blatant acts fueled by racism appear as the main forms of it, but seldom are, for examples, remarks of “Asians are math geniuses” or “I love Koreans” regarded as racist. Very few incidents, in fact, are intentionally racist, but many are subconsciously, hence why education should appear versus aggressive retaliation and defensiveness (as to be discussed in the next review), but specifically for the upcoming discussion, why understanding what oppression (sexism, racism, etc.) truly is, in the context of appearances, needs to be discussed. Offering a final example, as a few readers may already connote the prior examples as racist, for a more complex one, especially in the lens of America, police provide such. Many now correlate police officers as racist people: it is assumed that police officers wake up and look out into the horizon, hands on hip and gun handle, and that they will state, “What a great day to shoot down a non-White civilian.”

Although, due to human diversity, there will always be officers that are, indeed, ominously racist, in truth, many are not–on the conscious level (and this applies to every human). Yet, if the prior statement is true, then police brutality cases affecting predominantly minoritized races would cease. This is where the discussion of “oppression comes with a smile” appears. To continue the current example, while a significant, vast majority of police officers are not consciously racist, in a life-and-death, high-stress situation, subconsciousness takes over, and sadly, in that state of mind, the officers may be racist, and that is not their fault. It derives from society. It derives from society showcasing, and perpetuating, the idea that, for example, African Americans are “gangsters” and “dangerous.” Needless to say, that standard is incredibly racist and pathetic, but returning to the main point, subconscious oppression matters and needs to be equally addressed as conscious, blatant oppression.

To now fully focus on subconscious sexism as it relates to this review directly (though not to say it is not worth discussing how racism, classism, and other oppressions break down; even if a topic is indirectly related to a review, it is worth ruminating over, and in another review, “intersectionality” will be discussed), “Lion Heart” ‘s music video is a perfect depiction of it. Specifically with “sexism comes with a smile,” to continue usage of the phrase, a few reviews have already partially dived into the topic: a show review on “Channel Fiestar” and even at an older music video review. Nevertheless, a full discussion will now take place, and perfectly, with “Lion Heart” as example.

First, in isolation, Lion’s acts (for simplicity, the lion character’s created name will be unembellished) in themselves are genuinely friendly. Essentially, per Girls’ Generation member, a very kind gesture was made. On the surface, Lion cannot be sexist; Lion cannot be assumed as sexist when, for one, he has permission from the ladies, and secondly, his sweet acts and gifts are all delightful. Unfortunately, he is certainly sexist. Unequivocally sexist. The reason for such is his “kind” gestures, ironically, are motivated by a horrendous one: winning women, as if women are trophies and objects to be won (refer to “Channel Fiestar” ‘s review for more information). Thus, Girls’ Generation’s music video deserves much praise for its given message. Easily, the song could have potentially adopted ZE:A J’s video’s route: pure, perfect love. Instead, the music video director opted to showcase a live, active social issue, and implicitly, she/he delivers a potent message through the members’ acting: it is not acceptable to be “sexist with a smile.” After all, doing so results in having Hyoyeon decapitate males no rewards, but instead, beatings and hatred.

Now, although the music video has been shortly analyzed, it would be pitiful to end the discussion at that point when many other highly subtle acts are still rife. With “Lion Heart” giving perfect background, more examples will be presented: “I can’t hit you since you’re a girl”; “I’ll pay for the dinner since you’re a girl”; “I’ll be the one to ask you out since you’re the girl”; “I’ll handle all the physical work since you’re a girl.” Certainly, many other phrases exist, but these appear as common ones that would grant more insight into “sexism with a smile.” Reiterating the prior paragraph, these acts seem sweet; the listed acts would seem endearing as it saves females money, hassles, and gives protection. False. And false privileges. Though these points appear as privilege, to state that females are privileged would be to state questionable, cheesy jokes from my high school professor a joke. Females are not privileged. Males are. “Sexism with a smile,” as given by the list, merely covers real privilege and attempts to veil current gender inequities.

Finally critiquing each of those statements, all are heavily rooted in sexism. Those seemingly charming acts are not so once deconstructed. In terms of “I can’t hit you since you’re a girl,” it is laugh-inducing. If that statement is true, there is definitely a flaw as females are, in fact, abundantly physically hit by boys, as given by domestic violence statistics, and though not exactly “hit,” cases of rape and sexual assault, of which are physical harm. Therefore, already, that phrase is moot. Besides the hypocrisy in those words, there is still sexism involved: asking why. Why are males unallowed to hurt females (though, again, many boys fail to follow the standard in the first place). Similar to the “trophy” idea, the same could also translate: females cannot be hit as it would be hitting a trophy, and thus, harming an object is certainly wrong. Jocularly, rather than “I can’t hit you since you’re a human being,” it is “girl” as, inequitably and wrongly, that can be objectified.

Progressing on, for the phrase of “I’ll pay for the dinner since you’re a girl,” and homogeneously, “I’ll be the one to ask you out since you’re the girl,” though money lost and social trepidation are prevented, and thus, the phrases appear as benefits, once again, sexism is stemmed from. Incapability is what is implied, specifically when tied to gender norms. There is a momentous difference between casually paying and paying on the basis of gender, the latter being what the phrase is focusing on (I will clarify differences between genuine acts later). With males deciding to be the payer as “it is a man’s role,” doing so is, discreetly, stating that females cannot afford to pay for themselves (though gender wage disparities is another topic), and more critically, that, in general, females cannot take care of themselves. In terms of the second phrase, the same trend is followed: females are helpless and passive, and resultly, that males must always take the initiative, such as for proposal. Even the final phrase of “I’ll handle all the physical work since you’re a girl” follows suit.

Now, to address a rebuttal that this may be overly sensitizing the phrases, to clarify, these acts should not be prohibited. There is nothing wrong, in itself, with a male deciding to propose first, or for another example, to entirely handle heavy physical labor. What is worthy of scrutinizing is the motive for such. After all, stealing Tiffany’s words, “Ladies,” and of course, gentlemen, “y’all know what I’m talking about, right?” Sexism and genuine kindness are easily differentiated. If a man’s reason for entirely paying a dinner is due to it being a gift for a beloved partner, there is no issue. However, if, in opposite, it was motivated not on the premise of being affectionate, but instead, because of having to comply with “being a man,” issues are present. Likewise, for individually handling physical labor, if the justification resides with being kind and sparing a partner from sores versus, for example, the pressure to utterly “protect” a female since that is a “man’s job,” then it is fine.

Overall, the main message is not to prohibit males from sweet acts, but rather, to bring awareness to subtle sexism. Males’ kind acts towards females should be exactly such; whenever a male decides to do a friendly favor for a female, it should not be fueled by “winning” females or expecting to receive a date, but instead, because kindness is always worthy of granting and spreading. Males should not hit females simply since “they are girls,” males should not hit females because no human deserves to be physically assaulted. Males should not pay for entire meals because it is a “man’s role,” but because it is always sweet to pay for anyone’s meal. Similarly, males should not feel pressured to be the proposer because of gender norms, but instead, since they want to create a (hopefully) romantic situation for a dearly loved  person. Lastly, for females, subtle sexism should also be disengaged: females should also be willing to propose first and to pay entirely for meals, as breaking down current standards equally challenges, and removes, sexism. It is all about shifting sincere, sweet acts to being stemmed in actual kindness and not inequitable norms.

Digression aside, to finally return to Girls’ Generation’s “Lion Heart,” repeating the earlier praise, this music video deserves much positive attention for its message that promotes equity for both males and females. Additionally, if not for the more veiled aspect to the video, for the blatant layer, female protagonists and showcasing that femininity is as desired as masculinity are always empowering points as, sadly, the opposites are exceptionally more common. On topic with the review itself, with high visual appeal and an equally pleasing plot, the ladies’ latest music video can be predicted to score well.

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Plot Score: 6/10

Though to explain at the end, this review has been delayed momentously. University is beginning tomorrow, and therefore, I will be busy (and already was), but optimistically, more studious times will exist for peaceful writing. Updates aside, before critiquing the music video’s plot, a personal, short summary will be given so that readers understand where criticism, if any, will derive from.

“Lion Heart” begins with eight characters (Girls’ Generation) enjoying pizza. Soon, the ladies decide to watch a film, of which the music video then adopts for its main content. After a transition, Yoona, a character (members’ names will be used for simplicity), is seen holding a ticket close to her. It is not the ticket she treasures, but rather, the love-interest who gave it: a boy named “Lion” (or at least will now be named as such), as to be discovered later.

Continuing, in a new scene, Taeyeon is introduced, and also, Lion as well. Taeyeon instantly becomes captivated by his appearance. Afterwards, identical to Taeyeon, Sooyoung also falls for Lion’s appearance as, while busy with her painting, his arrival leads to utter shock. Yoona is then shown again, though at a point prior to receiving the ticket: she is bored on a train ride until Lion visits her. Predictably, similar scenes are disclosed, though different in scenarios: Tiffany has Lion repair her broken car; Seohyun, reading in a cafe, has Lion catch her book before it hits the floor; Sunny, a bakery shop owner, bumps into Lion, but in response, he kindly picks up her dropped items; Hyoyeon, during a solo picnic, has Lion abruptly appearing and offering her wine though, realistically and to ruin the plot’ mood, this scene is rather “creepy” as this stranger is excessively intimate; and lastly, Yuri and Lion are observed in a boat where Lion performs music and magic.

Hastily progressing to changes in story, Lion now gives a date to every member for, assumingly, when to meet him. Every member is witnessed with her own way of receiving: Yuri gets the date to appear on her cloth due to a magic trick; Seohyun has it written in her novel; Taeyeon, simply, has a paper slip given; Tiffany, during a drive, had Lion tell her (or that he completely changed out her license plate to show the date, but this being more unrealistic); Sooyoung discovers the date in a portrait of herself, of which Lion drew; Yoona, as reflected at the music video’s beginning, received a ticket with the date; and lastly, Hyoyeon and Sunny, while ambiguous on how they received their notes, it can be assumed they have also.

Fast forwarding, the members are all now at a train station to, based on their notes, meet Lion. Interestingly, a strange incident occurs: all of the ladies are in the same scene. Lion’s romantic acts were not exclusive per member. Eventually, Yoona discovers him, conspicuously, hiding behind a newspaper, and shortly after, the remaining characters gather. Confusion exists, but solely for a few seconds: upon them realizing that Lion delivered “sexism with a smile,” they all decided to remove said smile. After some physical hitting on Lion, his phonebook drops. Planned, multiple dates, are written, and now with even more anger, the ladies continue chasing him.

Ultimately, for the music video’s conclusion, it showcases Lion attempting to reconcile with the characters, but, clearly, it is all in vain. Whether through Yoona ignoring him as he attempts to chase after her train, or a tearful Yuri elbowing him and smacking him with an oar, or even Tiffany exploiting his ruined state to clean her car, Lion will not repair relationships, and rightfully so. Focusing on the very end, the music video returns to the outside plot of the eight friends enjoying a movie, though now all are asleep. Jocularly, they wake up to a nightmare: Lion is there in the room (perhaps to showcase that “Lion” is, indeed, a person who can exist in life). Like the ladies in their movie, they all begin hitting him, and from there, it can be happily assumed Lion would never pester anyone again.

– Analysis: Boring summary aside, though, as explained, it helps maintain understanding for what will now occur, for a score to the plot, a six for slightly above average will hold.

Addressing positive aspects to the plot, for the earlier phase, the eight varying scenarios of romance bring multiple benefits. Each member can be examined for their case and how supposed love unfolded, and furthermore, with each scenario significantly differing from the rest, the diversity grants automatic appeal. Nonetheless, in the end, with solely this part, like the prior music video review, a lower score would hold. While romantic and delightful, the plot lacks depth; the first section of “Lion Heart” merely discloses basic, flirtatious stories. No conflicts were present, and though each member’s scene is unique in itself, overall, all are still within identical styles.

That stated, the score is a six and not, for example, a four. A plot twist occurs, hence the higher rating. Upon the climactic point of the characters all encountering Lion, humor, distinction, and actual happenings are all present, and these attributes allow the plot to become enticing. Versus the chronological, repetitive nature of the plot’s earlier stage, the plot twist brings flexibility; the plot to “Lion Heart” is no longer of pure romance, but, jocularly, pure hatred. However, even with a welcomed surprise, the plot still fails to contain high complexity, and thus, no higher numerical rating will be given,  though not to discredit a six. In the end, the plot is still relatively linear, especially when accounting for how scenes, after the climactic point, replicate prior ones. Varied from earlier ones, the later scenes showcase hate versus attraction, but nevertheless, the same, linear sequenced shots still occur.

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Structural Score: 8/10

Switching to “Lion Heart” ‘s structural score, as foreshadowed for a majority of music videos, visual appeal is excellent. Although the plot remains moreover stagnant, visual content, conversely, remains exceptionally diverse. A plethora of backgrounds, as displayed per member’s scenario, and additionally, the various, chic and stunning clothing and makeup sets each member possessed, contribute to the music  video’s visual appeal. Each background, though akin to one another in the sense of theme and time, can  still be rendered as individual. For examples, Tiffany’s car scene provided an outdoor, road context, and in contrast, Sunny’s scene included an indoor area, and also, beautiful colors. Similarly, Girls’ Generation’s fashion follow equal trends: varied yet all are chic and captivating.

Besides blatant visual content, the structuring of said content is also endearing. Though traditional, “Lion Heart” utilizes an effective format: alternating between plot and choreography. Reiterating prior points in ZE:A J’s review of “Marry Me,” with the constant switching, additional visuals are able to be added, and with those additions, constant stimulation is maintained. Elaborating, due to the choreography being included, new types of scenes are granted: dancing becomes the main focus, and with such, new backgrounds and fashion are brought, all of which create more visual appeal as differences are unveiled. Adding on, for moreover what delivers and maintains high stimulation, shorter durations and hasty alternating of scenes can be credited. Minimal time exists to dissect a scene thoroughly, and thus, curiosity naturally accumulates, but with entirely new, alluring scenes occurring in a few seconds, the mentioned curiosity fails to fade.

An eight will hold as the structural score to “Lion Heart.” Visually, the music video is fabulous. From scenery to clothing, to acting and dancing, the video in the category of visuals is, basically phrased, good.

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Overall Score: 7/10 (7/10 raw score)

To confess, slight rushing did occur. However, considering music video reviews are bonuses, it is not entirely troubling. Truthfully, I am yearning to begin standard song reviews once again, and optimistically, many are to arrive (realistically, however, the usual rate of one or two per week may be it). Attention towards one of Girls’ Generation’s latest music videos, “Lion Heart” averages at a seven, of which indicates it is above average, and that is agreeable. While a “best” music video is nonexistent for my personal list, “Lion Heart” does reside with a few favorites, such as Juniel’s “I Think I’m In Love” (I may review her latest song). Overall, it is a respectable music video.

Leaving final remarks, for one, I greatly apologize for this review’s delay. University has started, and I have attended my first day. If time permits, I will share the experiences, but in short, I am loving college. With a more definite schedule in place, I have found a perfect time for reviews, and depending on how productive I am, many can be expected. That said, schoolwork will always, blatantly, be prioritized. Nevertheless, I do feel regretful for the delay and am thankful for readers’ patience. Also, thank you for reading, whether skimmed or read entirely. For the requester, though not in a standard song review, I do hope this review is still accepted. Thank you for your patience and for sending in the requests. “You Think” will be reviewed soon, though for purpose of reorientating with song reviews, it may be delayed for one song. Apologies if that occurs.

Summing up updates, more reviews are to come. For purpose of speed and due to personal critiques, 4Minute’s Hyuna’s comeback of “Roll Deep/Because I’m The Best” is most likely to be reviewed, but afterwards, I will, hopefully, return to finish the current request. Regardless, look forward to upcoming reviews and an improvement of publish rate. After all, “tell me why, why does my heart keep shaking?” Most likely due to being lethargic with writing reviews. Stay tuned for the next one.

ZE:A J’s Music Video – “Marry Me” Review

Reviewed on August 22, 2015

ZE:A J – Marry Me (Music Video)

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Personal Message: After skimming my prior review of Wonder Girls’ “I Feel You,” I do feel rather shameful. While the length is more concise, I feel that the conducted analyses were poor in quality, and thus, the reason for the conciseness; rather than the review being shorter due to proper compact writing, it is, most likely, due to the lack of given analysis. Of course, however, instead of glooming over a horrendous review, moving on through reflection and correction will be done (and it was the second trial of a newly adjusted review outline). That said, in attempts to bring the blog back to its usual rate, and to slightly redeem the past review, a bonus one has been prepared: ZE:A J’s music video, “Marry Me.” Furthermore, to build upon the idea of “bonus,” rather than this being a Korean Pop song, it is a Chinese Pop song (or ballad, more accurately, and it is in Mandarin). To clarify, though, the group is a Korean group, and specifically, a sub-unit.

Partially continuing the latter topic, although ZE:A may be a Korean group, there are no issues with them deciding to tackle a Chinese song (minus potential pronunciation mistakes, but based on many, the men did well for this song). In fact, by them doing so, in a social lens, it is highly beneficial as it showcases acceptance of multiple cultures, languages, and so forth. Coincidentally, the miniature digression in the review of Wonder Girls’ “I Feel You” reflects here: music can be a catalyst to promote understanding and acceptance of differences. Due to already discussing this subject, for those interested, reading the mentioned review should be done.  

For what has yet to be discussed, however, and in the review itself, will not be as it is a music video review, to address “Marry Me” in a musical context, although it is not an exceptionally outstanding ballad, it is still rather solid. If it were to be reviewed (for its audio), I predict a seven for “above average.” The vocals are to ZE:A’s usual, high standard, and for other categories, such as with the instrumental and sections, all are equally promising. Now, in terms of the music video, offering brief opinions, biasedly, I adore it as I absolutely love romantic plots and wish, one day, I will be able to experience love due to its overarching theme, and furthermore, its appealing visual content. However, for what is disliked, a weaker plot does exist. Admittedly, however, with ZE:A being in spotlight, with the men being my favorite male group, automatic support is granted. Nevertheless, the review will determine, unbiasedly, if the music video is worth praising.

Before truly beginning, for a short digression based on ZE:A being a personal, beloved group (for those interested in solely the review, feel free to skip to it), interesting remarks were made from a friend when I shared the music video, and additionally, from discussing “ideal types.” As always, I do not intend to antagonize my friend or anyone, but, for the purpose of critically challenging certain replies, a discussion must take place. Many readers may relate to the given scenario, and thus, it is worth spending time to dissect it. With such, to offer context, though I was certainly quite excited with sharing the video, a friend responded with: “Stop fanboying this much, it’s not right and gross.” Peculiarly, though, when it comes to female groups, I have not received this reply from her, hence why this is can be considered more than a request to quit acting excessively (and with past “fanboying,” I was certainly more excited, such was with AOA’s “Heart Attack,” of which she accepted).

First of all, to humorously continue the use of the term “fanboy,” nothing is wrong with, as a male, “fanboying” over male groups (or persons). There is no shame in admiring the men of ZE:A for their skills, sweet manners, intelligence, and even physical beauty. As shared in a past review, I greatly adore Kevin from ZE:A for his attitude and work ethics, and furthermore, for providing me confidence with using makeup as a male. Blatantly, there is nothing “gross” or “wrong” with that admiration (or using makeup, as discussed in Infinite’s “The Chaser”). Offering a disturbing find, for an opposite example, females “fangirling” over females tends to be accepted, or at least, more so than when a male does it, and most likely, that is not a mere coincidence. Arguably, gender norms are the reasons for why males tend to be shamed for admiring other males, and diving deeper with such leads to unfortunate discoveries.

Summarizing two main parts, male standards and, once again, undervaluing femininity, are the reasons for why it is “gross” for a male to highly admire males. Addressing the component of male standards, homophobia arrives: males are supposed to be heterosexuals; not being a heterosexual as a male can be equated to not even being a male. Therefore, with the possible chance of being associated with homosexuality, such as through affection for other males, many opt to hide any form of affection for males. The current result from such reflects in that, for males admiring other males, it is considered “gross.”

On that note, there are many issues with this current norm. Most importantly, for one aspect, homosexuality should not be considered as disgusting. It is highly inequitable for heterosexuality to be considered “right” when there is never a “correct” sexual orientation (heterosexuality has been socialized and pushed as “normal”). Furthermore, assumptions towards sexual orientation can never be made; it is impossible to gauge a person’s sexual orientation through behavior as, unlike what is often time showcased, sexual orientation does not relate to a person’s behavior (current stereotypes exist to degrade homosexuals as if they were savages and so forth). As I have already allocated much time towards the discussion of homophobia and its connection to masculinity, I will link the review that discusses it: Teen Top’s “Ah Ah.” Perfectly timed, the review uses an example of “fanboying,” and thus, for the purpose of time, I will halt the discussion here. (For a side note, it is pleasing to be able to link reviews that have already discussed certain social topics. This showcases how much I digress that many important, rarer discussions are taking place.)

That said, for the second piece of undervaluing femininity, though that has been ubiquitously discussed in my reviews, I have yet to do so in the context of male gender norms. In terms of how male-to-male admiration shaming reflects such, being affectionate is connoted as feminine; acting caring and loving is considered an act that females do. To clarify, though it is worth challenging why that trait has been socialized as a gender norm, it should also be acknowledged that being affectionate is not negative. In fact, it is a highly beneficial, essential trait that, arguably, the world is in shortage of. But, returning to the main topic, if being affectionate is far from negativity, it would then appear illogical for males to be shamed for showcasing such. Masculinity, or more accurately, toxic masculinity, and, as stated, undervaluing femininity, are why male affection is disapproved.

Males are socialized to be dominant, and with defining dominant, being open to opinions and displaying care, for examples, are not a part of the description (and if asking why males are taught that, it can be linked to continuing the idea of male superiority, and with it being continually perpetuated, it allows sexism to keep thriving). Therefore, for one aspect, being affectionate, especially towards another male, is failing to uphold the “manly” standard of being dominant and authoritative. Now, connecting the piece of undervaluing femininity, due to how affection is associated with females, males doing so are downgrading in social rank; a male acting feminine is disliked as, for androcentric societies, females are not rendered as equal to males, but rather, inferior. Disclosing an example, a woman who acts dominant and apathetic is often time praised as, with those behaviors, masculinity is in place, yet when a man displays emotions, such as crying to shows or greatly adoring male idols, he is insulted and shamed as, based on current norms, those feminine acts are repulsive, and more so when by a male and in no way am I coincidentally mentioning that I have fell into the latter via crying a river to “Jessica & Krystal” and highly adoring ZE:A.

For additional discussion, a much older review on Apink’s “Luv” dives into this gender value disparity. Overall, it is shameful that positive, feminine traits are disliked when, as explained, feminine traits are not poor. Also, to explain, masculine traits in themselves are not horrendous, but rather, current standards of those traits are. Instead of teaching males that being authoritative and dominant is to shut down various opinions and emotions, males should be taught that being authoritative is to advocate for those who are, indeed, ignored, and that it means to be open to opinions. Furthermore, males should not be limited to being taught “masculine” traits, but also, “feminine” ones, and anticipatedly, females should follow suit with being taught both “masculine” and “feminine”  traits as, if standards were equitable, both labels are worthy of praise, unlike the current standard where one is not.

Delivering a final message, and the one I simply told my friend (and could have stated at the start to save two hours), there is nothing wrong with “fanboying” over ZE:A, or other males, since, real men know how to love people, regardless of who they are. Rather than continuing the toxic trends of masculinity, it is best to reconstruct it so that, in the future, both masculinity and femininity is admired. In this specific case, and for a personal message to male readers, remember what “being a man” is truly: being sweet, friendly, smart, open for opinions, helpful, expressive, and so forth. It is manly to cry, to love, and to compliment other males. That said, it is also manly to love sports, cars, and other, typical male-related activities, but likewise, it is still manly to be into makeup, fashion, and so forth. In the end, being a man is to be able to embrace femininity and masculinity, and to be a kind, decent human being. It should not, and  does not, mean what the current, perplexing standards showcase.

As this digression has ran a longer length, I will save the embarrassing discussion of “ideal types” for a future review (in short, my friend and I shared qualities we would love in a partner, and with my list, she found it highly “absurd”). On topic, with the sub-unit group of ZE:A J, the five, lovely men, in addition to unveiling what real masculinity is, will also, hopefully, showcase a decent music video.

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Plot Score: 4/10

So that readers understand my personal interpretation of the plot, and thus, the reasons for possible criticism, I will offer my personal summary of the music video. Concerningly, however, the plot can already be summarized in one sentence: five men are followed, and each presents their own method on how they propose to their partner, or charmingly phrased, soon-to-be-wife.

Diving into specifics, the video opens with (for the purpose of simplicity, members’ names will be used for the characters) Dongjun and his partner walking under serene, vivid trees. The two hold hands, and later, decide to take pictures. Afterwards, a transition is made to another character: Heechul. He and his date enjoy a dinner. Hastily progressed, the music video then switches to Minwoo, the third character. Differentiating from the prior scenes, his date and him are not on land, but instead, on water: the two are in a rowboat in a pool. Fast forwarding, the song’s title is finally upheld: a toy boat arrives with a ring, and as depicted, Minwoo proposes to his love-interest. Continuing to the fourth character, Taeheon and his partner are witnessed playing games, such as pool and, for a lack of name, the “lucky alligator.” Lastly, for Kevin, a magic performance is given by him for his partner. After mystically changing his clothing and turning a rabbit plushie into an actual one, he unveils a final trick: placing a wedding veil over her head, of which can be considered his way of proposing.

With the remaining duration, and likewise, for other segments throughout the video, standard singing is showcased. Nonetheless, in terms of the music video’s plot, its end will be assumed at the wedding veil placement.

– Analysis: Although the plot is infatuating, that moreover is due to the general, sweet and romantic theme, not the plot directly; the plot, in essence, is plain, though on the surface, it appears as enticing due to its love concept. Praising a few notable aspects, however, for one, the use of five characters’ perspectives does allow variety. If the music video was centered on solely one member, a more stagnant, linear plot could have potentially been the outcome. Positively, with five characters in spotlight, rather than one affectionate relationship, five are observed. Furthermore, although it would be predicted that every character was to propose, solely Minwoo and Kevin did (or at least, for the depicted scenes). While inconsistency from such may seem troubling, in the case of “Marry Me,” with solely two characters proposing, redundancy is prevented. A few of the characters’ relationship were at the point of marriage, but for the others, different points existed, and that diversity aids in keeping “Marry Me” unique and interesting.

Switching to the negatives, and for why the score is a four, of which indicates a slightly below average plot, reiterating the earlier point, though the plot is lovely in the context of genuine love and marriage, that is solely what is displayed. There is no complexity to the music video’s plot. Utilizing the term of “eye-candy,” that is “Marry Me” ‘s music video; the video to ZE:A J’s song is one that focuses moreover on visual appeal than a mentally stimulating story. The plot is, sadly, lackluster, and even with the exclusive methods of proposing and the adorable scenes, there is a minimal story.

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Structural Score: 8/10

Optimistically, despite a lower score for its plot, for the structural score–the category that relates to visual content and how the music video is edited or “structured”–a higher-end rating exists: solid. “Marry Me” is fantastic in the realm of visual appeal, as stated earlier.

Addressing a usual, yet effective, component for music videos, “Marry Me” manipulates transitions between plot scenes and singing scenes. Elaborating, the loving, cuter scenes involving a character and partner would alternate to a single shot, or, at specific times, an entire group shot, involving the ZE:A J members. With a plethora of scenes lasting for shorter lengths of seconds, the constant alternating allows more visual content to be compacted in the music video’s timeframe. Additionally, with minimal time to truly consume every scene thoroughly, this constant switch maintains visual appeal as, overall, analyzing is relentless.     

Focusing moreover on the visual content, in the lens of settings, the multiple backgrounds were attractive: the walk under the blossoming trees; the single and group shots involving an ostentatious mansion; the outdoor, shining pool; the inside of said mansion where games were played; and lastly, the outdoors, though specifically at night. Although, overarchingly, the settings were of a single, general one involving a mansion and its surrounding, with precise attention towards certain points of the overall background, variety is still in place. Also, it is preferable that “Marry Me” adopts its current background route: rather than backgrounds that would be highly abstract and random to one another, with all of the settings relating, organization is in place, and of course, general consistency, both of which greatly build upon the music video’s romantic theme versus, for an undesirable outcome, distracting viewers.

For an ultimate piece to the video’s structural layer, for how the members and actress appeared, needless to state, all are very chic. The copious, stylish clothings and equally stunning hair styles for the men and lady are gorgeous, and furthermore, with it all flawlessly meshing with the given backgrounds, all of them unequivocally contribute to the music video’s visual appeal.

An eight will hold as the structural score. Though “Marry Me” possesses a weaker plot, with its visual component, much compensation occurs.

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Overall Score: 6/10 (6/10 raw score)

Averaging out the two categories, ZE:A J’s music video of “Marry Me” can be considered a slightly above average video, and that I partially agree to; biasedly, I hold this video at a seven, but realistically, as with the review, I do accept that it holds at a six. For a new release, the men of ZE:A J continue to showcase their charms, both with vocals and their acting, and personally, I am glad the group is active once more. It has been more than a year since the group as a whole returned, and although this is a sub-unit release, it is better than none. ZE:A is highly underrated despite their consistently proven talents.

Before proceeding further, once again, I am writing past midnight. Therefore, should the writing significantly falter, I do apologize. On topic, thank you very much for reading. As there has been a significant delay with the blog, I am relieved to have finished this within two days of the prior review. Nevertheless, with this being a music video review, and thus, exceptionally shorter than standard song reviews, that is to be expected. One more bonus review is planned: Girls’ Generation’s “Lion Heart,” and specifically, akin to this review, the ladies’ music video will be of focus. Due to a request for both of Girls’ Generation’s latest releases, “Lion Heart” and “You Think,” as time will restrict both songs from being reviewed, I have decided to split the request: “Lion Heart” will be reviewed for its music video, and “You Think” for the song itself. To the requester, I greatly apologize for modifying the request, but with time restraints, I hope for understanding.

Afterwards, unless if more requests arrive, the current, personal list will be continued. Because of university coming up on August 31, I will be attempting to post as many reviews as possible, and with this review taking solely two days, I feel encouraged. That said, as this is the end, thank you once again for reading, and stay tuned for another music video review. And though I would normally insert my reviews’ iconic conclusions, as I unfortunately do not speak Mandarin and that no translations have been posted, I am forced to confess my emotions: I hope readers “marry me.” And by the phrase, I do mean that many will continue reading my reviews. Keep checking back for a review on the music video to Girls’ Generation’s “Lion Heart.”

Girls’ Generation’s Music Video – “Party” Review

Reviewed on July 12, 2015

Girls’ Generation – Party (Music Video)

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Personal Message: Girls’ Generation’s summer comeback of “Party” was the “hidden” review, and I have decided on reviewing the music video for both variety and length, both of which will vastly help the blog. If dedicated, I am hoping for this review to be finished in two days, and I do anticipate so as I am still inept with deconstructing visual mediums, and in this case, with music videos. Nevertheless, since this review was supposed to be a celebration and reflection for the blog’s one year anniversary (I have instead done the reflection in a prior post), even with the poorer analysis, this review should be considered moreover a bonus versus a more sincere, serious one, such as standard song reviews. But, with that, I will still attempt a thorough cover of the music video.

For those curious on my stance of “Party” in a musical lens, offering an estimation on what would be the Song Score, a six would most likely be the maximum. Based on the review outline’s categories, the vocals, sections, lyrics, and instrumental, lean towards the average to slightly above average range (line distribution cannot be approximated), and thus, I will make a bold statement of claiming “Party,” musically, would most likely rate at a six. Of course, however, without truly dissecting it, no positive claims can be made. Nonetheless, personally, I have been enjoying the song as it offers a soothing, cheerful atmosphere; due to the prominent bass and fun, lighthearted singing and the song’s overall flow, it certainly suits a “summer song” theme, and therefore, is pleasing in those regards. Also, with the more joyful tone, it would prove fitting for a celebration of the blog, but more importantly, “Party” is a part of the relentlessly released summer comebacks (to add onto my review schedule, I have BTS, KARA’s Hara’s solo, and Apink). I may have to discover shortcuts or begin filtering songs as, gauging my current review list, it is impossible to cover each of them in a standard song review.

Worries aside, although the blog’s reflection already occurred, I have come across another discussion that, similarly, relates to peering back about a year ago and to music videos: Girl’s Day’s “Oh My God” music video (and for those desiring to read the review on Girls’ Generation, skip ahead). Illuminating my absurd, random mentioning of the ladies’ incredibly old video (back when Girl’s Day possessed five members versus the current four), I was reminded of an interesting scenario that took place relating to the group, and I desire to discuss it as many readers may also thoroughly understand: embarrassment for being into K-Pop. Though I was oblivious at the time, there are important social topics involved (and for Girl’s Day’s current situation, there is also much to discuss, though that will take place in their own review), but for readers who have felt, or still currently feel, embarrassed for being interested in K-Pop, to already offer my stance, there should never be any feelings of shame for such, and sadly, it is not a mere accident for that embarrassment to exist, as will be explained.

However, before embarking on that discussion, I will share a personal story of scenarios where I have felt completely humiliated for being into K-Pop. With the start of senior year in high school, Girl’s Day’s “Oh My God” was showcased in a class, and humorously, my reaction can be equated to the song’s title. In truth, I was horrified that a K-Pop video was displayed; I felt that the video had no place in the class, and not on the premise of quality, but rather, that it was “bizarre” and “weird,” even though I was certainly into K-Pop (by around two years prior). Furthermore, fast forwarding slightly in the future, I did present AOA’s “Miniskirt” to the class for an assignment (for those curious, I discussed how the song is empowering to females versus the many claims of it being sexist), and still, the same feelings of shame and “awkwardness” existed.

Now that I ponder over those incidents, I feel ashamed; I feel ashamed at being ashamed. That said, very gratefully, though the class was where my “embarrassment” occurred, it is the class that gave knowledge and critical thinking so that, reflecting over, I am now able to understand why I felt negatively. In fact, if I were to ever present a K-Pop song once more, I would, unlike the past, be able to do so confidently. Elaborating, the reason for my shame was, though harshly stated, essentially me being racist, and I am glad that the class allowed me to now realize that. With such in mind, my racism was, obviously, not in the form of bluntly claiming “Koreans are weird,” but with what I did genuinely feel with my embarrassment, that was, essentially, my statement. I felt that “Oh My God” and “Miniskirt” were “weird” because of differences, even with the irony of loving K-Pop; due to both of those songs being in Korean culture versus American culture, I suddenly felt shame at the songs on the basis of cultural difference.

That is what needs to be discussed. Though I will be writing in the perspective of America, other places do follow a similar trend of “dominant group,” as to be explained, but the overarching idea of feeling shame for not fitting with dominant aspects, whether that is race, language, and more, is not purely a natural feeling, but rather, arguably, one that is fabricated; the feelings of embarrassment for one’s own personal identity, as listed above in terms of race, appearance, gender, and other traits, does not stem naturally due to merely not fitting, but instead, due to the repercussions of not fitting, of which exist purposefully. That is where the shame spawns: from what society showcases to those who do not fit the dominant ideas. Also, coincidentally and perfectly, this ties into the discussion that began at the review on AOA’s Mini-Album “Heart Attack.”

Diving in depth with my specific experiences, the feelings I felt were far from pride, and truthfully, at the very least, neutrality should have been my emotion, but with neither taking form, it does bring concern on how differences defaults in shame. Attempting to figure out why, an answer does hold: the videos were not “White.” Specifically in the case of living in America (as discussed in previous reviews, the dominant group changes per place, but nonetheless, generally still exists), though many would argue that White culture is understandably the dominant culture as, basically phrased, it is “majority” culture, this in itself is not the issue (also hence “dominant” culture versus “majority” culture; for example, males are the “dominant” gender when they are not the majority); I did not feel shame at purely not suiting the more common culture, but as mentioned, due to synthesized reasons. To enlighten said reasons, examples will be offered: not speaking English creates assumption of stupidity and inferiority; non-White cultures are deemed “exotic” rather than being respected as a separate culture, as witnessed by remarks of “this is weird” or grotesque mockery; non-White cultures are also constantly compared to White culture when any juxtapositions of cultures is erroneous.

Overall, the sense of inferiority stems from how varying cultures are treated, and thus, shame derives from those miniscule remarks of “only speak English” or “that is a weird custom.” If a more equitable, open perspective was in place, though White culture would remain as the “majority culture,” it would cease to be labeled as a dominant culture since, unlike its title, there would not be any dominating of other cultures; other cultures would be equally respected to White culture, even if less common. Sadly, there are still disparities in how non-White cultures are regarded, and therefore, relating back to the earlier point, I felt shameful in the past for the showcasing of K-Pop because of how non-White cultures are rendered as inferior.

For a final message, and for one many readers may appreciate, in addition to being aware of one’s own sincere feelings and treatment towards non-dominant cultures (reiterating, I spoke in the lens of America, but regardless of place, the same issues occur) so that equity and understanding are in place, addressing a more subtle layer of this similar topic, there should never be feelings of embarrassment for liking K-Pop. K-Pop should not carry embarrassment as, explained with the overarching argument, different is not bad, despite what society may showcase via mockery or direct, derogatory remarks. More importantly, however, for readers who have ever felt shame of their own personal identity, whether that relates to language, race, sexual orientation, or even discreet aspects of failing to fit gender norms, understand there is never a need to feel such a way. Embarrassment from differences is manufactured; it is not a natural phenomenon, but instead, one made to allow a dominant culture, language, or whichever aspect to thrive when, realistically, that is highly inequitable as everyone deserves respect for who they are. Therefore, at the very least, readers should feel neutral for liking K-Pop, but for what I do hope to grant, remembering to be critical and accepting of differences is my personal message. No one deserves to be degraded on the sole basis of who they are.

Finally transitioning to the music video review of Girls’ Generation, I have a few updates: I wrote the prior three paragraphs with my new laptop (a university gift from my parents, the old one is worn out and is not mobile), and I am very much enjoying the comfort it brings with typing, and as a bonus, additional materialistic motivation exists to write (though, of course, my drive to write lies towards writing itself versus materialism). Although I have considered reviewing the laptop for variety, considering professional reviews exist, it would be incredibly obsolete to do so, and as always, K-Pop reviews is where I feel most reassured. Truly discussing the eight ladies of Girls’ Generation and their latest comeback, briefly discussed, I do personally enjoy the song in a musical lens, and from a visual perspective, the visual component is also equally pleasing. Nevertheless, it is far from flawless. As such, through the review on Girls’ Generation’s “Party” music video, its rating will be determined. After all, “Hey girls” and boys, “do you know what time it is?” “It must be party time, here we go.”

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Plot Score: 3/10

Cringing once more at the questionable transition from above, before critiquing the plot of the music video, a summary will take place. This is to predominantly explain my personal interpretation, and thus, what I will be criticizing.

On topic, for “Party,” interestingly, a single line can sum up the plot: eight friends enjoy a full day of vacation, specifically at a beach. Also, with “beach,” it will be considered the overarching label for other places near the location, such as observed pools and clubs. Attempting to offer a more coherent and genuine summary, eight characters (Girls’ Generation members) fly to their vacation destination. Upon arrival, after, implicitly, usual routines of settling, they head to a beach and, shortly phrased, have fun. The ladies rest on hammocks, stroll near the water, and for places that are not of the beach, swimming pools and a club for dancing and pool (the game) are also other participated activities. All the characters have fun until the end of the day, as observed by the setting sun, and with such, the music video concludes (excluding the other scenes that are not chronologically positioned in terms of time).

– Analysis: Although heartwarming and joy-inducing, in essence, there is no plot. Arguably, the music video is orientated towards solely “eye candy,” as to be explained in the Structural Score category, hence why the existing plot is of a poor standard. There is little to be said as, for the depicted plot, no depth is observable; the plot follows an incredibly linear, bleak story. No events occur other than various activities of relaxing, and even with those activities, minimal insight is gleaned. Therefore, below average will hold, of which is numerically a three. “Party” does possess a plot, but with the lack of distinctive events and a sincere outline, it can be considered miniscule, and overall, meaningless as the music video is not thorough in story.

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Structural Score: 8/10

Continuing the prior idea, if “Party” is not allocated towards possessing an enticing plot, it leaves the structural component as its priority. Therefore, as stated, “Party” can be considered an “eye candy” music video; the music video is fashioned to garner attention via visual appeal, not through its plot. Miraculously, even with a lackluster story, the visual component does render well due to both utilized visuals, and also, how those visuals are portrayed.

First, in focus of the direct visuals, with the included beach setting, a welcoming, luring background exists as a vacation atmosphere is established: the water maintains a clear, glossy charm; the sand is palpable; the sun is directly overhead. Furthermore, additional settings are also disclosed, as noted by nighttime and the places that are not the beach itself. A potent aspect becomes extracted from those various locations: diversity. Though the beach is still the main spotlight, given its time duration, with other places utilized, it prevents mundanity; with a wider range of settings, it prevents the main background of the beach to lose its captivation as, if it were the sole scenery, its delightfulness would naturally fade due to excess exposure. Ignoring the background to the music video, in terms of the members’ contribution to “Party” ‘s visuals, Girls’ Generation’s fashion and makeup prove vital. Individual chic, infatuating outfits are appointed to every member, and thus, in that regard, “Party” benefits from every members’ own physical charms. Additionally, akin to the earlier example of variety, with them all holding their own styles, dullness fails to occur.

Swapping to the more pressing aspect of the music video, like the category’s title, the structural component, while inclusive of the direct visuals, is moreover about how said visuals are portrayed. The structural layer to “Party” is solid, but it is not because of the visuals themselves being enchanting, but rather, how the video is conducted so that the given visuals are exponentially more attractive.

Delivering the strongest, overarching structural point to the music video of “Party,” the layout of the scenes are phenomenal: concise and variated, yet notable. Scenes in the video seldom extend past five seconds, and thus, with the average scene consuming minimal time, and additionally, the existence of multiple types of scenes, a consistent, constant state of appeal is held. For example, individual spotlight towards a member may be showcased, but within a few seconds, a new, distinct type of scene, such as the choreography, becomes the highlight. Offering further understanding, the music video’s scene layout also allows multiple replays. Uniquely, high appeal is maintained even despite a plethora of playbacks. In many music videos, often time doing so is unviable as, blatantly, the initial charms of a video gradually fade. However, in “Party” ‘s case, additional, pleasing playings are plausible as, due to efficient, compact and varied scenes, a repetitive nature is less likely to persist. Overall, interest generates through the combination of time, or more accurately, scarcity time, and the scene topics alternating;  with minimal time existing to interpret the ongoing stream of lively, changing visuals, viewers become engrossed as attempts to deconstruct the video never halts.

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Overall Score: 6/10 (5.5/10 raw score)

Averaging the two categories, the Overall Score does round up to a six, and therefore, Girls’ Generation’s “Party” music video can be concluded as a slightly above average music video, and that is agreeable. While the plot lacks, “Party” does, in credit to its stronger structural portion, compensate by being an “eye candy” music video. From the entirety of Girls’ Generation latest comeback, though the song was not (and will not be) reviewed, I will claim it is a more satisfying comeback in comparison to many other groups as both the song and music video are decent.

As always, thank you very much for reading. I wholeheartedly appreciate the given time and support. On my part, I will apologize for a slightly longer publish date as I have been distracted by testing out the new laptop, but also, I apologize for a poorer review. Visual mediums are still rather difficult for me to deconstruct as I lack experience, and therefore, this review will be of lower quality. Over time, as more music video reviews are conducted (if correct, this may be the second one I have ever done), the quality will equally improve.

Revealing upcoming reviews, with, as expected, even more comebacks occurring, such as that with Infinite and GOT7 (and of course ones listed earlier), I will have to now be relatively selective. Most likely, I will delay groups that have already been reviewed and place priority towards artists that have yet to be  reviewed. Time will tell, however. Nonetheless, I will be continually updating my review schedule so that readers may glimpse at the songs themselves and on when the review will be posted (if the song is chosen for review). Answering exactly on what will next be for review, in truth, nothing is certain as of now. Therefore, I encourage readers to continually check with the schedule as it becomes more updated. Since I “can’t stop stop stop, it’s party time,” do anticipate for the undecided, upcoming review. Thank you once again for reading.

BESTie’s Music Video – “Excuse Me” Review

Reviewed on May 14, 2015

BESTie – Excuse Me (Music Video)

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Personal Message: A change of plans occurred: though I have started the (two votes) requested review of CLC’s “Pepe,” I will reserve it until this review is finished. That said, I am incredibly sorry to the requesters of “Pepe,” but also to the requester of “Ah Yeah” by EXID (it has been nearly 3 weeks of waiting if I am correct). After this review, I will certainly aim for only requested reviews, and afterwards, will definitely need to begin reviewing about 3 or 4 male groups/artists considering only female groups/artists have been of review these days. On a somewhat positive note, I have been improving my writing stamina, and thus, will be investing my entire free time to writing reviews versus watching videos of Fiestar and Dal Shabet miscellaneous activities that are obviously quite productive. After all, I would never prioritize video watching over writing reviews.

On topic of BESTie’s “Excuse Me,” I will now address why I am reviewing, specifically, the music video of “Excuse Me” and why CLC’s “Pepe” is delayed for such: “Excuse Me” is currently trending, and not just from a mechanical, industrial viewpoint; BESTie’s latest comeback is garnering much attention for its music video, both positive and negative, for, precisely, the portrayal of homosexual men in the music video. Therefore, with this music video being exceptionally popular due to social topics, rather than shying away, I will directly offer my opinion on said topics, but furthermore, dissect how the music video depicts those topics in positive, enlightening manner (and of course in a general sense of whether the music video is decent or not). Before continuing, I will leave credit to a friend for bringing this to attention. Though I question how our friendship thrives highly appreciate our different opinions and do not desire to vilify her, the music video was sent to me along with a claim that I would hate it due to being a “woman-loving feminist,” as she often time labels me as (construing labels is another discussion; in short, “gender equity-loving feminist” would be what is accurate). Surprisingly, my friend was wrong.

Perhaps she was sarcastic, but I adore the music video of “Excuse Me,” and this includes the mechanical and social layers, and also, the musical aspect. Quickly addressing the song itself, I have reviewed BESTie in the past due to a request, but I neither wrote judiciously or brought the group proper attention in terms of their vocals. “Excuse Me” is a huge improvement, and though I will not review the song in a musical sense, I will claim their vocals are properly utilized in their current comeback, of which have always been solid. Returning to the more vital and solemn subject, while there are viable arguments to prove why the music video is offensive to homosexual men, and in terms of gender, females, through my personal interpretation based on the video directing, I believe the utter opposite: unlike TMZ shoving in as much racism in 1 minute towards EXID, BESTie’s “Excuse Me” packs as much social justice in 3 minutes as possible. Of course, however, as long as sound arguments are made, whether the video is degrading or empowering will never be decided on (reviews of Dal Shabet’s “Joker” and Fiestar’s “One More” partially discuss this). Thus, having a personal opinion, a logical, thorough one, is what will matter.

First, for the topic of homosexual men (and homosexual females), “Excuse Me” does not depict the men as absurd, stereotyped homosexuals. The music video opts to show viewers that, unlike what many are socialized with, sexual orientation is simply who a person finds attractive. Society has been taught, and reiterates, that sexual orientation includes behavioral traits when it is, as stated, merely who a person renders attractive. In “Excuse Me,” the men are dressed with usual clothing and not exaggerated ones of bright colors and such (though anyone of any gender and sexual orientation should feel free to wear whatever; I partially discuss clothing in a social context in Apink’s “Luv” review), and due to that, a forgotten, critical message is revived: homosexuality does not correlate with behavior.

Now continuing this idea, the kissing that occurs is, not one of exoticness as many claim, but rather, of regular kissing, though give or take the cheesy K-Drama styled kisses incredible acting. Although many claim the intimate gestures are overly exaggerated, and thus, creates an idea that homosexuals are sexually driven savages, in the context of the video, it is in scale. What many forget are the other characters that are depicted in “Excuse Me”: the heterosexual men were, arguably, even more “sexually driven savages” than the homosexual characters. With this juxtaposition in mind, it brings equality; “Excuse Me” is implying heterosexual people and homosexual people are equally sexually driven (though overly “sexually driven” people in general is another topic; refer to my earlier linked review of Fiestar “One More”), and therefore, the common belief that homosexual people are aggressive, lust-driven creatures is disengaged.

Overall, the video showcases homosexuals are not “creatures,” but instead, actual humans. It is pitiful that something as miniscule as sexual orientation is utilized to oppress people. “Excuse Me” should not be ridiculed for its poor portrayal of homosexuals when, once critically deconstructed, it is showcasing equity for sexual orientations.

For the side of gender, this video does an excellent job with promoting gender equity. I will first focus on the empowering side for females, and afterwards, also showcase that this music video is beneficial to males. For one topic, one that I constantly have to, and will, reiterate: nothing is wrong with being sexually attractive. The linked review of Dal Shabet’s “Joker” touches upon the subject, but more specifically, my review on Fiestar’s “You’re Pitiful.” As for BESTie’s music video, on the blatant surface, the ladies of Uji, Dahye, Hyeyeon, and Haeryeong are showcasing that being physically attractive is not a crime. Unfortunately, many are either attacking the act of being physically attractive or, ironically, supposedly defending the ladies by attacking their freedom to dress as they please. Dal Shabet’s “Joker” discusses this, and thus, to be efficient, I will transition to the music video itself.

In the scope of the music video, the portrayed female characters (the members) offer a discreet yet powerful message: even with obnoxious, disgusting boys around, females should not adapt to males’ low standards via “covering up” as if female bodies are shameful, but instead, remain confident and dress as desired to without regards for what males say or do. Especially in the context of sexual assaults, the given message is invaluable; often time during incidents of sexual accidents, females are criticised for their clothing or acts when, assuming a person has a few specks of intelligence, anyone should see that it is the male’s fault, not clothing. As such, for what “Excuse Me” reinforces, females should be able feel physically attractive due to desired, personal choices of makeup or clothing, and that males should be utterly irrelevant should a case of criticism occur. After all, females should be pushing boys back into place, hopefully figuratively but if necessary, literally as in the video.

Another promising aspect, though not as directly impactful yet still significant, is the setting of the music video: bright, charming, beautiful colors. Removing the optimistic perspective, for what many would deem the video’s scenery, many would claim it is “too girly,” and as many readers may know, those words have been construed to be negatively connotated versus one of compliments. Furthermore, the phrase “too boyish” is practically nonexistent, and in comparison to the latter phrase, that certainly holds true. My review on Apink’s “Luv” does handle this subject, but I will provide more clarity here, and specifically, why “Excuse Me” should be endlessly praised for its choice in scenery. Due to an androcentric society, the type of setting in “Excuse Me” rarely appears, or that, if it does appear, it is either criticised, mocked, or deemed as overly exaggerated. Since the used colors, ones associated with femininity (and for critical readers asking why that is in the first place, personal research should be conducted), are ubiquitously shown in a standard setting of a restaurant and outdoor cafe, the idea that the scenery is beautiful is promoted, even if it is “girly.” As an overarching image, with the use of those colors everywhere and in basic settings, it showcases femininity is equal to masculinity. The director could have easily went with a default setting, but instead, the decision to adopt specific colors delivers, in addition to basic pleasing aesthetics, an idea that “feminine colors” are equally viable as “masculine colors,” which unfortunately may also be called “default colors” since androcentric societies classify normal as masculine when, obviously, that is not an equitable standard.

Lastly, for another minor yet potent aspect, the protagonist of the music video (Haeryeong) deviates from gender norms; with most societies depicting males as the initiators for romantic dates, “Excuse Me” showcases the main character, a female, doing the initiating. Why this proves to be meaningful stems from the issue of “false privileges” that females are given. Elaborating “false privileges,” both males and females are socialized with the idea that females are privileged over males. In the specific context of dating (other examples include “not hitting females,” “be nice to females,” and more), females are seen to have benefits over males: there is no need to propose, dates are entirely paid for, and such. However, hence its label, “false privileges” are merely instilled in order to cover up real privilege: male privilege.

While it appears a privilege to not automatically be designated as the proposer, it simply provides a subtle layer for forcing females to be passive. For example, while it may be easier to accept and reject, should a female decide to propose first, she is often time shunned (along with the male; this is due to the earlier subject of valuing masculinity over femininity), and thus, is not truly privileged since restrictions are in place based on gender. Secondly, passivity becomes normalized; by being taught that, as a female, only receiving is acceptable versus acting, it creates a tendency for females to acquiesce to many acts, and in a general, long-term social scale, it allows an androcentric society to thrive as females are now accepting of any inequity. Also, for the category of having dates entirely paid for, this “privilege” is easily disengaged when real wage inequities are revealed: though I am unsure on specific statistics, it is unequivocal that having a meal covered does not even closely redeem the current disparity of how males are vastly more paid than females, all for the exact jobs as well. This is another example showcasing how “false privileges” given to females are merely excuses to justify gender inequity, and more accurately, male privilege. Relating back the music video, with “Excuse Me” directly going against a gender norm, one that discreetly promotes inequities via giving false equities, the overall idea of gender equity emanates.

Something to also note, however, is that not solely females benefit. If my arguments have antagonized males, that is not my intentions; while defensiveness naturally occurs (which I will explain later), this music video also grants positive messages, and reminders, to males. A basic example that relates to the prior point is a female proposing first: “Excuse Me” showcases such an act is utterly acceptable, and not, unlike current standards, an act that would “emasculate” males (and to be intimate and truthful to readers, I personally do not intend to propose first for future dates). Another point, a general one, is how, as the lyrics state, having a relationship of “wanting to sincerely love” is vital. Genuine love cannot be rushed, thus, males and females certainly benefit from this simplistic message, and if the main characters’ genders were reversed, many concepts could still apply (under the assumption of solely genders; if settings and characters became “masculine” many empowering messages would, blatantly, be lost).

Transitioning to more serious topics, especially the topic of defensiveness that may occur, the most common, necessary reminder “Excuse Me” provides to males is equitable, humane gender ideologies. With how many of the males (the ones in the restaurant) were portrayed in the music video, it is blatant the opposite occurred: those characters possessed an inequitable viewpoint of gender, and thus, their objectification of the female characters existed. Implicitly, “Excuse Me” is not encouraging such behavior, but instead, shaming it (as seen by how the female characters disregarded those boys). Even if a female is dressed prettily, it does not, at all, constitute objectifying slurs; “cat-calling” or blunt, derogatory remarks are never justified because of what a person wears. Human decency and basic intelligence should clearly showcase why such a type of behavior is, for a lack of words, stupid, and moreover, an act that merely promotes males as the superior gender due to degrading females.

Now of course, this should not be correlated with never complimenting a lady’s appearance; it is not wrong to tell a lady (or man) that they are pretty. What is an issue, however, is when a female is no longer seen as a human, but rather, an object, a sexual one in specific. Therefore, a proper context should be in place, and of course, seeing beyond physical beauty (which males should also see properly; every person, male or female, should always be considered pretty) so that non-physical beauty is also appreciated, is what will lead to an equitable mindset, and overall, the way to disassemble current inequities. As a final, clarifying point, it is not wrong to say a female is pretty, but it is wrong when solely physical beauty is emphasized, restrictive (such as only “skinny” or certain skin complexions), and when the complimented lady becomes viewed as an object.

Onto my final point, and looking over, I do apologize for the length (I did plan on writing for only 4 paragraphs), there is a subject I have yet to ever discuss: privilege. For male viewers and readers who do feel uncomfortable with the video or my words, and in a few ways, feel somewhat antagonized or attacked, that is certainly a genuine feeling; “Excuse Me” and what I say may appear to be bashing males, and that is not enjoyable. However, this defensive that occurs stems from, admitted or not, having privilege. Many would disagree with my arguments, such as claiming that “masculine colors” is not “basic/normal colors,” or that “not every male is like that,” but by doing so and reacting in such a way, it fogs many, if not all, points I am attempting to deliver. Through accepting and truly, thoroughly pondering over my words, which hold as true, or in a pessimistic perspective, at least viable, it creates understanding of exactly the privilege possessed by simply being a male. Therefore, instead of feeling defensive and finding ways to directly counteract my points and to claim everything is equal when, clearly, that is not the case, and by doing so, attempting to keep the status quo as is, it is far better and realistic to acknowledge current privilege and to do what is necessary: remove it.

Social superiority is not numerical; to fix inequities, it is not about giving minoritized groups boosts. Social superiority is instead a scale, one that tips in favor of dominant group members, and thus, to truly create equity, it is about equalizing the scale, and of course, that means being bereft of privileges, which many refuse to do. After all, it is far easier to harass a male for using makeup than to allow that to become a standard, and thus, a lost privilege in that males would now need to sincerely groom themselves (CLC’s “Pepe” will discuss makeup and beauty in a gender context). Overall, as the final, overbearing message to perhaps the longest Personal Message I have yet to write, besides the basic one of how BESTie’s music video of “Excuse Me” is incredible and that the director deserves to be hugged or kissed for her/his incredible work, being aware of current injustices is vital, and for those who are privileged, giving away said privilege is what needs to occur. Personally, though I am a minoritized member in the category of race, I definitely possess privilege in categories of being a male, a heterosexual, and other categories, and as a result, my job is to give away my unnecessary privilege so that equity does exist for those who are oppressed.

Now to truly focus on BESTie’s music video in an industrial sense, while this has arguably became my favorite music video (the best holds as The Ark’s “The Light,” though my prior favorites is perhaps Juniel’s “I Think I’m In Love” or Fiestar’s “You’re Pitiful”) due to its social component, its general layer is not as potent. Nevertheless, the music video still remains well done, and “excuse me” for my lengthier (yet necessary) digression.

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Plot Score: 6/10

Truthfully, I am predicting the Personal Message to be, embarrassingly, longer than the review itself. However, that is irrelevant, and on topic with the review, before offering my opinion on the plot, I will first give my personal interpretation on which I will base my criticism.

“Excuse Me” begins with 4 characters who are, for the purpose of simplicity, Uji, Dahye, Hyeyeon, and Haeryeong. The ladies have entered a restaurant and proceed with ordering. Afterwards, the friends begin to talk, assumingly, about Haeryeong’s desire to date or perhaps her ideal type. Miraculously, moments later, a man appears and Uji, noticing the chance, hastily prompts Haeryeong of his presence. Predictably, the friends usher her to the man, literally with a light shove and figuratively with encouraging cheers. Haeryeong, instilled with confidence, embarks on making the first move: she greets the man and receives positive feedback from both him and her laughing friends. With success gleaned, the ladies transition to outside of the restaurant as a celebration. Soon after, Uji’s eyes spot a shining object in a plant: glasses. After scrutinizing the glasses, and being oblivious to its special traits, she brings them out and Dahye, jocularly, encourages her to put them on. Laughter occurs as the glasses are in questionable fashion (though that is a rather arrogant statement coming from someone bereft of fashion). Without being fully exposed to the glasses’ utility, two men visit the ladies and hand out flyers for, presumably, a discount at the same restaurant or perhaps a special meal. Either way, it motivates the ladies to once more return to the restaurant.

Though the ladies are at the same spot, they are now in possession of peculiar glasses, and unfortunately, in the presence of equally peculiar boys. A waiter serves a few drinks, and a man greets them from afar, to which Dahye politely greets back. However, a major, climactic point occurs: Hyeyeon, the first person to genuinely wear the glasses, notices a highly unusual incident; upon wearing the glasses, the man who showcased friendliness is now seen as, simply summarized, rather licentious. As response, Hyeyeon becomes startled, points to the man in blue, and her friends are equally concerned, though for their friend and not the male. Confused, the other 3 ladies glance at the identified male, and blatantly, view nothing obscene. However, Hyeyeon, still wearing the glasses, continues to witness the consistent, obscene actions, but furthermore, from every character within the restaurant, though excluding her own friends (solely the males were grotesque). Even the waiter, a seemingly gentle, amiable person, unveils shady, sexually driven desires under the lens of the glasses, which is now worn by Haeryeong. This contrast is further emphasized with the following scene: upon removal of the glasses, a well-groomed and calm waiter appears. Deciding to once more observe the waiter through the glasses’ lens, Haeryeong witnesses, anticipatedly, the homogenous sexual acts, such as him lustfully peering at Uji’s legs. Frustrated by this man’s discreet desire, Haeryeong harshly and directly chastises the waiter, and as justification for her acts, Haeryeong delivers the glasses to Uji. Newly equipped with the glasses, Uji looks up and, horrifically, the man in blue appears with his usual, derogatory acts. Shocked at the disturbing images, Uji shoves back the approaching man and the 4 ladies briskly dash outside the restaurant. A prominent scene then occurs: for viewers being critical and proposing the glasses are creating false realities, that is not the case; for a few seconds, after the ladies’ departure, the scene reveals, without the lens of the glasses, the man in blue’s desire is still the same disturbing, inappropriate, salacious acts.

Attempting to recover from the ominous events, the 4 ladies are outside in their prior spot. Very much unfortunately, the same men who gave out the flyers visit, but this time around, Dahye wears the glasses. Not surprisingly, the identical trend occurs in that the flyer boys are equally sexually driven as the ones in the restaurant. Dahye, losing hope in society’s boys disappointed and drained of the recurring incidents, removes her glasses. Thankfully, the males do leave without actually enacting on their subtle desires, and now with some privacy, the ladies discuss the glasses and, implicitly, on what they saw throughout every male. On that note, the friends still do possess hope in males: the earlier man Haeryeong showed interest in. Coincidentally, he arrives outside accompanied by his friend, and Haeryeong, after another round of encouragement from her friends, once more initiates a session. Though it appears that Haeryeong successfully set up a date, Dahye, from the table, wears the glasses once more and discovers that, while there is nothing to the extent of the prior boys’ inhumane acts, the sweet man would prove to be unfitting for Haeryeong: he is homosexual. As confirmation, Uji also checks and confirms the equal appearances, and Hyeyeon follows suit with uniform results. Both are, not disgusted at the fact that those men are homosexuals, but instead, dumbfounded by their luck, or more accurately, unluck, of finding a proper date for Haeryeong. (Many claim their expressions were signs of disgust, but as mentioned earlier, with proper, equitable depiction of the homosexual characters, it can be implied the female characters were “disgusted” at their failure to find their friend a proper date, not at homosexuality.)

Finished with the supposed success, Haeryeong returns to the table to share her news. Dahye, however, leaves a disagreement and offers the glasses so that Haeryeong may witness it for herself. Worried, Haeryeong hopes for the best, and puts on the glasses. Upon viewing the two men from the glasses, Haeryeong discovers, as unveiled by Dahye, that her fear is true: the two men are homosexuals, which is not an issue, but that does indicate her love-interest is no longer a compatible option. Furthermore, after glancing the entire surrounding, other potential dates, unfortunately for Haeryeong, are also homosexuals. Despairingly and humorously, Haeryeong becomes emotionally hurt and sheds tears. Thankfully, as throughout the plot, her friends are quick to be there; Dahye, Hyeyeon, and Uji comfort their tearful friend who is heartbroken as her personal desires to date are, so far, unmet.  

Offering my opinion towards the plot, it does remain highly unique in the realm of what is synthesized; dating and failing to find an intimate partner is not special on its own, nor is having an unusual object with surreal abilities, however, once meshed together, the outcoming plot remains original, and furthermore, rather humorous and, especially in a social aspect, positive. Elaborating on the latter, though a few scenes are far from humorous (the scenes with the restaurant males can be classified foolish at most), in the context of the female characters’ hunt of a proper man for Haeryeong, the overall chase and ultimate failure proves comical. The character of Haeryeong simply has no luck with finding an intimate partner, even after multiple attempts (bear in mind, dating should be a choice, as seen by “Excuse Me,” not a requirement; a life partner may be desirable, but overall, is not an essential part of life). In terms of the positive side, as lengthily discussed in the Personal Message, many empowering social messages are given. On a more general layer, one of mechanical and entertainment, positivity still translates over as, even despite repulsive actions from the restaurant’s males, the overall mood is still cheery (and that can be akin to its social aspect; despite certain inequitable issues, progressing in a mature manner should occur). Furthermore, with close friends as seen in the music video, even if vulgar incidents or failure to date occur, genuine, loving friends will always be there as support.

Continuing with other strong points, rather than a pure visual music video or one that purely emanates emotions, “Excuse Me” provides a plot that involves conflict, especially due to the provided lens of the glasses (the camerawork and directing will be analyzed below). Should the glasses be absent, the plot would not be as potent, and technically, nonexistent; the conflicts and issues of the plot stem solely from the lenses as, without such, the secret behaviors would not be revealed. Thus, a simple object deserves much credit for what it brings to the plot’s depth: levels of blatant and discreet, and with that, room to roam with multiple perspectives and ideas on what the plot truly consists of.

Nevertheless, although many solid points exist, “Excuse Me” possesses a few holes. For example, a highly absurd scenario in the plot is the incident of the flyers; after leaving the restaurant initially, the ladies return upon receiving the flyers. Though it is understandable that the music video is inflexible due to its time limit, returning to the previous location after merely a few seconds provides an awkward transition in the story, and thus, confusion spawns on the blatant, mechanical layer. Confusion due to purposeful vagueness is acceptable, but in this case, with the confusion deriving from poor transition, it does impair the plot’s outline.

Following the topic of confusion, perhaps due to my poorer noting of details, the men delivering flyers happen to be bisexual (though this might have been intended after some pondering). If accurate (as stated, they may be different characters), earlier in the video, they were seen to have sexual desires for the ladies, but at the end, they were seen to be intimate with one another. Through a social lens, this is highly acceptable as the music video would now also include bisexuals, but in terms of the plot, it does create confusion on tracking the characters. For what would have been preferable, if the director intended to showcase the men being bisexuals, showcasing such at the initial flyer scene (perhaps showing them be attracted to both the ladies and each other) would provide sound clarification. Lastly, as a final, miniscule issue with the plot, it lacks scenery in terms of the locations themselves; while the background is beautiful, there are only 2 spots: the restaurant and outside. In an overarching scale, there are sufficient settings due to accounting for the performance scenes, but with the plot’s locations, it lacks variety.

Overall, slightly above average will hold as the score. The issues that do exist are relatively minimal, though the desire for seconds after a few seconds does create a sillier detail in the plot. Ignoring those points however, the plot remains highly unique, possesses multiple layers for interpretation, and delivers a cheerier, lively and comical tone.

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Structural Score: 6/10

Switching to the Structural Score, focus towards the actual music video’s directing, such as camerawork, angles, acting, or even concealed symbolism, will be what is inspected.

Gauging the acting, the ladies of BESTie and men actors provided exceptional work. Due to the music video having a short duration, the acting required specific traits: clear and concise. Little time could be spared for clearly conveying a certain emotion, or desire, hence, those traits are vital in any short visual medium. However, with a restrictive time slot, overly exaggerated acting is often time an issue, but in “Excuse Me,” everything is in proper context: regular scenes appear as natural, and for scenes that did require excessive exaggeration, nothing was lacking.

To focus moreover on the technical work versus acting, as expected with music videos (or at least K-Pop ones), both plot and performance exist. Appeal is kept at a high peak due to the mixture: scenes involving the plot generate interest and deciphering, and for scenes of performance, basic visual entertainment is disclosed due to admiring the choreography’s artwork. Additionally, the alternation between the types of scenes augment the other; curiosity is exploited in the sense that plot related scenes become even more enticing once cut off, and similarly, the choreography.

For another aspect, arguably the most promising one, the video directing with the glasses is highly respectable. On the blatant surface, the contrast provided from standard vision to glasses vision may be noteworthy, but rather than mainly focusing on the general layer, the varying point of views utilized throughout the music video, specifically between third and first, a type of camerawork that is somewhat seldom, should be noticed (and though I personally dislike watching movies for many reasons, I will claim I am anticipating the first first-person movie). Due to including two types of perspectives, it grants both appeal and further details towards the plot. For example, with the general third-person shots, the entire atmosphere of a scene is unveiled: scenery is absorbed along with the ability to assess the feelings of multiple characters. However, upon switching to first-person, which occurs predominantly with the glasses, it creates empathy towards the main characters; viewers are able to distinguish exactly what the ladies see through the glasses, and at times, without the glasses, and therefore, have a further understanding of the plot’s situation.

Focusing moreover on “Excuse Me” ‘s visuals, as in many music videos, emphasis towards being appealing in a mechanical, visual sense is expected. Bright, lovely colors appear throughout the video, be it for the scenery or even the performance scenes. On the subject of scenery, though there are predominantly two settings, both remain stunning in terms of artwork and design. Also, to finally address the performance related scenes, of which are either a colored backdrop or the same restaurant in different lighting, it all remains equally visually pleasing as the plot related scenes. Other details, such as the different outfits, and of course, amazing makeup, are also worthy of praise.

In the end, homogenous to the Plot Score, slightly above average will be the rating. Although the scenery, costumes, and makeup are excellent, and furthermore, the different angles and camerawork for the glasses being potent, “Excuse Me” is not utterly impressive. In comparison to many other music videos, the occurring structural work is, as its rating, only slightly above average. Nevertheless, for what is irreplaceable and unique to “Excuse Me,” its structural component works in a fashion as to deliver essential, positive social messages. Thus, even if that is not accounted for in grading in order to be consistent with reviews, it is something to heavily admire.

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Overall Score: 6/10 (6/10 raw score)

With both the Plot Score and Structural Score holding at 6, BESTie’s music video of “Excuse Me” can be deemed as slightly above average, from an industrial viewpoint, of course. If accounting for the positive, empowering social messages, this music video is simply outstanding (but of course, based on my interpretation of said messages). In terms of the video itself, the plot remains enjoyable, and likewise, the visuals and structural work. Overall, BESTie, the male actors, and the director, have all contributed to the music video’s success. Speaking of BESTie, “Excuse Me” from a musical standpoint is decent, especially when glancing at prior releases. Though I did not bring proper attention to the group’s vocal capabilities, as mentioned much earlier, I do hope the group releases an admirable song, one that would be reviewed.

Future reviews will be on CLC’s “Pepe” and EXID’s “Ah Yeah,” both of which have been requested and rudely delayed. I cannot express enough guilt, I truly am sorry to the requesters. I do plan to finish “Pepe” by this weekend and “Ah Yeah” during the weekdays. Afterwards, I will be reviewing solely male groups as, once peering at my archive page, it is clear that I have been neglecting male groups, and of course, I could claim that was not intentional, but as I believe in honesty and as addressed in a Question and Answer, perhaps personal bias has influenced my decisions. Nevertheless, I will be redressing such by delivering 4 consecutive male groups/artists reviews. Even if males possess more attention than females, my current scale is overly compensating for female groups, and thus, I will be correcting it.

As I always say, thank you very much for reading this and for being patient with reviews. Also, to requesters, apologies and thank you for being incredibly patient. Considering how it is a huge honor to have my mediocre writing read (this review is rather lacking in truth; deconstructing visual mediums is still relatively new), my current rate of reviews, especially with requested reviews, is rather rude to readers. As such, thank you for continually returning despite my lag with my posting rate. Stay tuned for CLC’s “Pepe,” and soon after, EXID’s “Ah Yeah,” and after those songs, for an influx of reviews dedicated towards male groups/artists. After all, “excuse me, excuse me, I’m pretty busy,” but even then, I will certainly always allocate time for reviews. Keep checking back.

The Ark’s Music Video – “The Light” Review

Reviewed on April 26, 2015

The Ark – The Light (Music Video)

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Personal Message: Miraculously, I am returning to writing reviews despite how I was supposed to take a week off. Due to finishing work significantly sooner than expected, which may be in credit to writing for 6 hours straight, my latest milestone in terms of longest writing sessions, I am able to begin the reviews that have been requested. Girls’ Generation’s stamina in “Catch Me If You Can,” my previous review published 4 days ago (as of the time I wrote this sentence), thankfully transferred over. However of course, endurance does not predicate quality, of which is most likely lacking in the paper. Ignoring the strenuous research paper, to the person who requested The Ark’s music video of “The Light,” thank you very much for the request and for being incredibly patient. I feel incredibly guilty for the delay. Furthermore, future apologies if this review does become horrid; I truthfully struggle with reviewing any medium outside the realm of songs (as seen in my reality show review of “Channel Fiestar”). Thus, due to being bereft of the skills necessary for deconstructing a music video as this will be the first occasion, this review may falter heavily. It will be a learning experience at the least, and for what will certainly be beneficial, this review will provide readers variety along with being, predictively and hopefully, a shorter write.

Focusing on The Ark’s music video of “The Light,” or more accurately, on the group itself, The Ark is a newly debuted group of 5 members. Unlike traditional debuts with a standard K-Pop genre, their label company, K Entertainment/Music K, opted for a new route: a ballad. The marketing scheme behind this was to showcase The Ark’s musical capabilities, of which is certainly unveiled. From what I have heard, The Ark will be focused on K-Hip Hop. Perhaps future reviews will cover other releases, but as of now, this is my current knowledge regarding the group.

Now to truly focus on the music video, I have thoroughly enjoyed it, and definitely, it will remain a memorable music video for quite some time if not forever. If readers have yet to click the link, I will leave a few recommendations: watch alone if possible, and secondly, have a few tissues nearby. As mentioned in a previous post of acknowledging this review request, I did state, admittedly, that I cried due to the video and used 2 tissues. That said, however, being able to provoke me into crying simply requires saddening music and equally sad visuals, and thus, I do feel confident that many readers will be fine. Or perhaps people are rather heartless, such as my friend who shed zero tears and who also takes pride in her inhumane teasings mature and are capable of utterly controlling their emotions.

To explain why I did cry, many factors are at play: the video directing, and also, in part of a few personal choices. Regarding the personal choices, subconsciously, I placed myself in the mother’s position; the video was watched in the perspective of the mother and I attempted to understand her feelings. Before realizing it however, my attempts to understand became sincere emotions. I began to genuinely feel the mother’s depicted emotions, and expectedly, the agony and melancholy of losing a beloved daughter struck painfully. Furthermore, with, as mentioned in one or multiple past reviews, desiring two daughters should I have children in the future, I was also incredibly emotionally impacted as I did feel as if my daughter passed away. Now, in terms of giving credit to the director, she/he did a phenomenal job with details. Simplistic, minimal aspects were manipulated to deliver certain tones. I will save elaborating here for the review itself.   

Before beginning the review itself (feel free to skip to it by now), the mentioned topic of 2 daughters, and in fact, parenting, both elicit important discussions, ones that are related to the subject of gender. Specifically with the topic of 2 daughters, a seldom, yet necessary, concept is needed to be discussed: gender preference in terms of children. To offer personal background as I believe in blunt honesty and intimacy with readers, certain incidents have prompted this discussion: many friends, if not all, showcased complete distaste towards my claim of desiring daughters. Though defensive reactions generally render this situation as friends simply “disagreeing,” diving into a more critical perspective unveils more than disagree and agree; glancing closely and deeply on why many friends repulse the idea or, humorously phrased, offer “good luck,” discloses society’s valuing of males over females, even in the situation of having children.  

Arguably, the biggest remark heard is one claiming I would be incapable of “understanding” my daughter; as a father it would be impossible to even remotely comprehend her. Although the following words are not meant to be directed at any friends or persons who have said so, offering a harsher rebuttal, I believe I will understand my daughter as she is a rational human unlike the initial claim that is incredibly bereft of any form of logic whatsoever. It is incredibly pitiful on how society has socialized gender. Rather than viewing gender as simply “male” and “female” (and in fact other gender identifications, such as pansexual), society has created borders and divisions: gender is no longer a simple physical trait (gender norms is another discussion, though one for another time), it is now a justification for preventing genuine human relationships as gender is now seen as polar opposites, and thus, a reason to view someone of the opposite gender as “the other” exists. Relating back to the notion of being unable to understand a daughter, on the sole basis of gender, the claim exists; due to being a father, many are claiming I will be incapable of understanding my daughter. If I was told that I was horrible with children, and therefore, would lack the ability to connect with my daughter, it would be a sound reason. Unfortunately, with solely gender as a factor, it showcases a current rife issue of how society depicts “male” and “female” as sheer opposites and not humans. In that sense, as my daughter would be a human, I know unequivocally I would understand her, and moreover, be able to love her, regardless of gender.  

For a slightly more reasonable side to the argument, many have mentioned the point of how biological differences can, supposedly, create a lack of understanding. For example, being able to assist with my daughter’s menstruation is claimed to be impossible. This idea simply reiterates the value of health class and learning about the human body the prior point, however. More aspects exist to create division, but furthermore, to atrociously devalue females. Interestingly, objectifying females occurs even on the level of having children; a widespread reason to prefer sons over daughters is to reduce “hassles.” Daughters are considered “hassles,” emotionally and biologically. What is never critically analyzed is how those claimed hassles are truly skewed and exaggerated, and strangely, not applied to males when they can certainly be emotional and possess their own biological hassles, even if not equivalent to menstruation (though male menstruations will be discussed later). Tying back to the topic of understanding, with the blessing of knowing basic human health, I will be able to explain to my daughter changes to her body, and furthermore, am also able to assist her in purchasing items for menstruation, of which is strangely, but not surprisingly, an alien idea for fathers. Division of gender applies to why the alienation exists, but also, parent/gender roles (which may be elaborated below if time/length permits).

Diverging to another discussion point, once more one that is vastly overlooked, menstruation is in mind. Periods are prime examples of showcasing how society socializes, discreetly, that males are superior to females due to “naturalism.” To bring in bitter humor and irritation, recalling “jokes” of periods will deliver context to the upcoming discussion. Phrases of “it’s that time of the month again,” “someone’s on their period,” or “she’s extra sensitive today since she’s on her period” are not jokes. At all. Those phrases are ones that perpetuate sexism as it presents an imagery of males being superior via having more maturity over emotions “naturally.” Firstly, observing those phrases and their focus, those sayings ironically do not present menstruations as “natural”; the phrases are not “it’s that time of the month again since she openly stated so,” instead, the phrases stem from a female showcasing anger or irritation. As such, periods are no longer natural biological happenings, but instead, periods become excuses for males to shut down females showcasing anger and emotions as females are now automatically “naturally” angry due to biology in the form of menstruation, not specific circumstances such as harassment, sexist jokes, and more.

Simply put, jokes regarding periods are connotated with sexist ideas, intentional or not. Utilizing those related phrases exploits “naturalism” so that females lose an active voice and are rendered miniscule if displaying anger and such. While menstruations may certainly cause discomfort, and thus, susceptibility to irritation, the current levels are overly blown out of proportions by existing phrases/jokes that merely socialize people with the idea that females are “naturally” more emotional than males, of which is incredibly false and simply reinforces the idea that females are inferior. Interestingly, males are never scrutinized or mocked for their own periods. Male readers may now be confused or even concerned for my mental health, but explanation will occur to soothe worries: males, while not possessing biological menstruation in the form of females, still have equal mood changes during certain periods. (Individual research should be done if readers are curious on sources and credibility of my words, which is good as being critical should always be in mind.) During certain phases, males are, like females’ menstruations, susceptible to being more emotional and irritable due to hormonal changes and such (the minutiae of biology is vague, though personal research will clarify so). As noticed, male privilege takes hold and never does society mention males having periods, but instead, solely females. This disparity unfortunately serves to favor males as they can seen as more emotionally stable when, scientifically proven, males do have their own menstruations and therefore are equally emotional.

How I digressed from the subject of understanding a daughter to periods will remain unknown forever, but as an overall, vital message to deliver to readers who decide to read this portion, being able to view differences and embracing such is what is necessary in this world. It would be blinding and ignorant to believe the idea of gender is nonexistent, similar to believing race is nonexistent. Differences of gender or even race are not issues; issues that are prevalent is the inability to tolerate and understand and to appreciate those differences. In the first scenario that began this digression, despite being a male, if I have a future daughter, I will be able to understand her as, though she is a female, gender does not dictate my ability to love and understand her, it solely exists to showcase that, blatantly put, she is a female while I am a male, and there is no issue in that difference. Of course, realistically, I would love my children despite they were male or female or even other traits such as sexual orientation.

With all of that said, and props to readers who read the incoherent prior section, in focus of the first music video review to be conducted, while I am incredibly inexperienced with analyzing a visual medium, The Ark’s “The Light” is a highly engrossing video and deserves thorough examination. Although the video may be tear-inducing, a music video requires more than pathos; multiple aspects will be inspected to gauge whether “The Light” has truly found the light to success.

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Plot Score: 8/10

Addressing the plot in “The Light,” it is an incredibly admirable one. Before critiquing it however, summarizing will take place (also in part of allowing readers to know my interpretation and therefore the basis from which I will rate the plot).

The music video initiates with a mother and daughter walking together on a rainy night. Before they nearly pass a store, the daughter shares her wish of a purple backpack on display in the story. Sadly for her, the mother rejects purchasing it as the daughter’s current backpack is still usable, and thus, the teenager does the stereotypical act of stomping away in frustration. For the next scene, it showcases the couple’s assumed daily morning routine: the mother prepares and gives a drink to the daughter who is finally waking up; she also finishes cooking shortly after, though only to have her daughter steal 1 piece right after showering; and afterwards, preparing the daughter’s backpack and applying makeup. Once the morning routine is completed, the two venture off to a bus stop in a comical, affectionate way as they both tease one another. Eventually, the daughter heads off to the arrived bus in addition to leaving her mother a reminder: smile. Progressing on afterwards, with the mother now at work in a restaurant, a TV broadcasts horrible news. Although vague, close inspection reveals a bus accident on the TV screen, and connecting the prior scenes, the daughter was in the bus and, quite sadly, is now dead.

Time is fast forwarded as the mother, now seen alone, walks past the same store with the purple backpack. With the music resuming, the mother is now replicating the earlier scenes: the mother takes a sip of the usual morning drink; she prepares the same dish prior to the accident in addition to a purple backpack; she applies makeup but adds a reminder to smile, as her deceased daughter has told her; lastly, she walks the same route to the bus stop. However, though there are similarities, two main differences exist: her daughter is gone and she is not heading towards work. For the final scene, to answer where the mother did travel to, while I have personally yet to come to a definite conclusion, due to the concrete bricks, it appears to be a road and, therefore presumably, where the bus accident occurred. The mother visited the place where her daughter died (though I have heard a few people claim it is a cemetery or park). She leaves container of food on top of the concrete bricks, and as a final act, the mother hugs the purple backpack as both tears and memories arrive. Ultimately, for the last seconds of the video, the daughter’s final reminder to smile plays out.

Truthfully, with rewatching the music video in detail to summarize it, it proved to be partially tear-inducing. Nevertheless, ignoring my pitiful, slightly watery eyes, while the plot itself is saddening, as mentioned, simply instilling tears does not constitute a solid story; the feelings and emotions that emanate from the video is not sufficient enough to deliver a high score. That said, “The Light” does still achieve a respectable score, and the reason for such is a potent tactic for any story: plot twist. Based on other music videos or films and how the characters were acting, a foresighted scenario would be that the mother dies. After all, the daughter showed little to no gratitude at times, the mother appeared rather exhausted unless if with her child, and for the most part, seldom do younger characters, in general, die in plots (though as a disclaimer, I rarely watch films and shows that are drama/story-based; variety and reality shows, for examples, are the ones I watch). Appallingly, the unexpected occurred of the daughter dying.

Overall, with a video that showcases the lost of genuine love between a mother and daughter due to a powerful plot twist, a high score will be granted. The story remains simplistic yet retaining of important details, and with an unexpected event taking place, “The Light” will hold as solid in regard to its plot.

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Structural Score: 9/10

Swapping to the Structural Score, this section will critique the video’s layout. Observed examples include miniscule details that deliver different emotions or messages, such as change in lighting or how scenes were conducted. In terms of “The Light,” the structural component of the music video is phenomenal, and overall, the predominant reason for provoking tears in viewers. Contrary to the surface belief of the plot eliciting tears, it is not necessarily the heartwrenching plot that does so, but rather, the delivery of said plot.

Peering at one example, the bus accident scene is incredibly influential; the sole scene that truly triggers emotional reactions is it, and it is not just due to the blatant layer. Elaborating, the bus scene is the climactic moment of “The Light”; the daughter dies during the scene and the mother finds out. Apathetically phrased, the death of the daughter itself is not sad. In fact, any person’s death is not sad in itself. Before misunderstandings occur, I will return to the initial argument: how this specific scene was executed is what makes “The Light” depressing and, along with other factors, what instills tears. Firstly, the news scene is incredibly short; according to my basic mathematical counting skills, 6 seconds at most is the total duration, and more accurately, 2 seconds if accounting for when solely the TV screen is displayed. Due to the short span of time and a blurred TV screen, many readers would dismiss the scene. Confusion takes place, or for those who did manage to glean the background, anxiety occurs as viewers fear a possible correlation of the daughter’s bus and the accident. Regardless of the route viewers adopt, the following scenes will, eventually, trigger comprehension: the daughter died. Once that realization is met, along with other aspects, tears will begin trickling, or at the very least, a solemn attitude arrives.  

Bringing another prime factor to the music video’s beauty, though I generally loathe repetition (refer to countless reviews), as in a few songs, repetition can certainly become a promising tool if utilized properly. In “The Light” ‘s case, the latter holds true; the music video exploits repetition in order to augment the sadness that is apparent. Pre and post death of the daughter have significant subtle changes, but all within a repetitive routine. Before the daughter’s death, the family’s daily routines and quirks are displayed. After her death, interestingly, the same, tedious routine does occur. However, there are two changes: blatantly, no daughter, and secondly, lighting. Viewers will notice the same schedule is conducted via the drink, same meal, preparing a backpack (although it is purple as, heartbreakingly, the mother bought her daughter’s final desired item), and even the reminder to smile. Everything is the same except for the mother’s child. Furthermore, with the lighting reflecting a duller, lifeless atmosphere, the tone is set to that of the mother’s; though her life, in essence, remains homogenous as before, it is dramatically different as her beloved daughter is gone. The genuine, loving bond the two had–and arguably more accurately phrased, have, as the mother still loves her daughter, dissipated. Therefore, for an overarching image, the repetition used emphasizes the couple’s love for one another via showing the emptiness the mother feels without her daughter, the sole, crucial missing aspect from her daily life.

In addition to what is visually depicted, many viewers also forget the impact of the song itself. Without the song, many would cease to cry, and personally speaking, I would have still been torn, but using 2 tissues would not happen if it were not for the sonic component. For those curious on when I did begin crying, 2:40 of the video is when. Answering why that is the case, a deeper look at the song will disclose such. The lyrics at that moment follow as “Whenever you call you know that I’m right by your side.” and once adding other layers to the song, the song begins to reflect not a third-person perspective, but instead, potentially the daughter’s. Ignoring the mechanical aspect of The Ark’s singing, in focus of the ladies’ style, “The Light” absurdly possesses a cheerier tone; for a song that is orientated towards a daughter dying, it is awfully and disturbingly happy. However, if the song is taken in the point of view of the daughter, the message behind it is seemingly for her mother, and in many ways, as if the daughter sang the song. “I didn’t know living for others could make me happy, now I will be there” and “Hold my hand when you need somebody, I’ll be that somebody somebody, we’re in this for life yeah,” a few lines from the song, showcase messages to the mother, and thus, once meshing this lyrics component to “The Light” in its entirety, additional sadness exists. This also explains the happier tone; the daughter, knowing her mother’s sorrow, wishes for her to remain happy, even despite her absence.

As a final, prominent detail, many viewers have found this music video’s  plot to, as the phrase goes, “hit home.” Potentially, this is not an accident; the director of the video could have decided to create a scenario that was relatable and not merely one of dramatization. Due to this mindset, it allows “The Light” to become understandable, and therefore, viewers are easily able to feel empathetic, of which results in tears and gloom. This situation does not have to be a daughter and mother: the plot could be a father and son, a mother and son, a father and daughter, both parents and a child, and more. Family does not even have to be the case; a situation of friends could also hold reasonably. Relationships is the focus. Love and compassion. Small details, such as waking up and having to ward off a sibling from preemptively eating food, is what is highlighted. Small acts and the people involved is what is important. As seen, the mother’s life has not physically changed; she still attends work, wakes up with the same drink, and more. However, obviously, her life has taken a dramatic change: her daughter is gone. Thus, with the plot remaining real in the sense of being able to comprehend the character’s lives, the music video remains potent with its emotional appeal and the overlooked, cliche message of how love matters.

In total, with many incredibly influencing factors at play, a very high score will be granted. “The Light” is simply beautifully directed. Many details are used to deliver specific emotions, and with it all being discreet yet effective, a 9 is well deserved.

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Overall Score: 9/10 (8.5/10 raw score)

In the end, The Ark’s music video of “The Light” holds at a 9, which, in translated terms, represents an amazing, fabulous video. I wholeheartedly agree to the score. Ignoring the emotional side, the director of the music video deserves much credit for her/his fantastic work. Music K (or whichever is the name of The Ark’s label company) chose excellently for the style of debut for The Ark. Although they will be revolving around K-Hip Hop, I do wish for future ballads, and if not such, at least for other artists to attempt their own trials for a music video concept similar to “The Light.”

As I always say, thank you very much for reading. To the person who requested this, apologies for subpar writing and analysis; many sentences are most likely incoherent, and the analysis could be more in-depth. If future music video reviews take place, I will continually revise this outline. Nevertheless, thank you to readers and requester, and I also apologize for the longer publishing. Though I did begin this review earlier than anticipated, a pause was necessary to catch up on newly arrived work.

For the upcoming review, Dal Shabet’s “Joker” will finally be critiqued. To the person who requested it, I will have it finished as soon as possible. I am quite excited to review it. With this being the end, thank you once more to readers and for being patient. Since “1 is loneliness and 2 is company, together we’re the A team, a match and gasoline,” I do hope that “when you need somebody, I’ll be that somebody somebody.” Stay tuned for an upcoming review of Dal Shabet’s “Joker.”