This new group from giant SM managed to make their debut song win in the singles poll, gaining 32% of the votes. Very impressive.
It’s such a strange song, and it took me quite a few listens to decide that yes, I do like it. This is like the music of the future, a dark and twisted future. The sound of the song is giving me Matrix-vibes, mixed with just a general unease. That’s not a bad thing, but this is not a song I can just unproblematically groove to. It’s to complicated for that. I’ll be very interested to see if they stick to this kind of style, because it’s definitely not mainstream kpop. It would be ballsy if they did.
Ten has next to no lines, and the rap that he does in those few lines isn’t very impressive. I’d say that Mark is the best rapper, he’s even (really?) good by SM standards, but I still prefer the talk-rapping done by Taeyong, his tone of voice suits me, and this song, very well. I think the vocalists, Doyoung and Jaehyun, both did pretty well, but I personally will definitely give the edge to Doyoung, his voice is just as pretty as his face.
This song is about some kind of dark apathy, about not facing the world, not understanding. At least that’s how I read it.
”In this cold world, I’m closing my eyes
Laying down in bed, covering my ears
Yesterday is today, today is yesterday
I’m only filled with late self-guilt”
This is what starts off the song and it immediately sets the tone.
The chorus is a repetition of the phrases ”Open your eyes, quietly open your eyes” and ”Open your eyes, now open your eyes”. Simple, and to the point. You have to wake up and see things for how they really are, no matter how cold the world is.
”Inside the irregularity that’s hard to understand
There’s a story that’s deeply hidden
Eyes are being opened through this song
Your dreams are being read
I’ve been awakened from a deep sleep
My seventh sense”
”Oh, this night came to me
A different dream is getting closer
Now I understand, as if everything is mine”
This is towards the very end of the song, and it has a more uplifting message than what came before it. If you do open your eyes, and face what is out there, there are good things out there. A different dream is approaching.
These lyrics are complex and far from straight-forward and I’m sure there are a million other possible interpretations than mine, so if you have another you’d like to share, then please go ahead!
There’s no story to this video, just some incredibly cool aesthetics. This is what SM does very well: cool videos, taken to it’s peak. It almost doesn’t function as a kpop video because it’s not always super easy to see what the members look like, which is crucial in a debut video, since there are so much cool effects covering them up.
The coloring of this video is just beautiful. All of these screenshots could be works of art.
I really love these effects in the solo shots. Especially that middle one of Doyoung, I would literally print that up huge and put it on every single one of my walls. So stunning, and almost haunting.
I love how they’ve put them in these tiny boxes within much bigger spaces; it both resonates well with the lyrics, and, in my mind, is a fun play on the stereotypical boxes that SM artists are always trapped in.
Is this not the most swag pose you’ve ever seen in a music video ever? Well even if it isn’t, it is.
Given that this is a group from SM I of course expect excellent dancing, and I did get it. This is a very different dance style from what SM’s boy groups usually do, and even though it’s not my personal favorite style, it’s very interesting to watch.
I think I see an edge in Ten and Taeyong, that Mark is middling and that Doyoung and Jaehyun are slightly more awkward than the rest, but I would love a second opinion from someone who actually knows something about dance.
The dance is slightly strange to me, but that definitely goes with the strangeness of the song and video in general.
Outfits and Styling
I’m not super into the clothes the boys wear, I have to be honest. I don’t hate all of it, and there is a certain level of fashionableness to it (the kind I don’t personally get) but I don’t think this is the best these boys can look.
I tried to get decent shots of the boys to comment on their hairstyles, but this video screwed me good. I mean, how many close-ups of them that aren’t covered in awesome effects is there even in there? So I will just use this shot, so that you know who I’m talking about:
Let’s start from the left with Jaehyun. Jaehyun is 19, Korean, and seems to be taking on a vocalist role in the group. And he’s very attractive, but I don’t think his curly hair in the video was absolutely ideal for him. He looks alright, but I think he has the potential to look a lot better.
Moving on to Mark. Mark is 16, Korean-Canadian, and a rapper. He’s super duper cute and adorable and looks even younger than he is. But not in the video. It’s like they tried to toughen him up or something, but I don’t think it quite worked. He looks a little strange in some scenes, especially the ones in the ”shower”. It just does not show him off to his full potential.
In the middle we have Taeyong. Taeyong is 20, Korean, and a dancer/rapper it seems. They absolutely nailed his look here, and he looks so damn stunning. Which I already knew that he was since I’ve been keeping half an eye on him even when he was still a trainee. The white hair is just gorgeous.
The redhead is called Doyoung. Doyoung is 20, Korean, and a vocalist. Doyoung is super cute usually, but in this video they managed to edge him up just a tiny bit through perfect styling. The redish-orange hair suits him very well. If I look at pictures of him he’s actually not that much my type, but he worked me very well in the video.
And finally we have Ten. Ten is 20, Thai, and seems to me so far to be primarily a dancer. He also seems like a leader to me, for a reason that I can’t explain. When I first saw him in the video I thought that he doesn’t at all look like an SM idol. And as I’ve now looked at a bunch of other pictures of him, I can definitively say that that’s due to styling. They’ve styled him in a very harsh way, that makes him give off a more ”tough” vibe that’s not so SM. But if they needed to change the image, he could definitely go way softer and cuter. I’ve seen it done.
I’m intrigued. I’m not super into them yet, nor am I super enthusiastic about the way NCT are going to be run, but I’ll still be keeping my eye on these guys. They’re doing something new, and when you’ve been in kpop for as long as I have, you appreciate that.