Ladies' Code was probably the only rookie girl group that caught my eye last year with Bad Girl, and they really hit home with Pretty Pretty, keeping a consistent, original sound and style. I adore Sojung's husky, jazzy voice and the rest of the members are pretty much on par with each other, which is always a good thing. Usually with groups (especially those with many members), there's always at least one that is not on the same level as the others. I'm not mentioning names, but there are quite a few well known "black holes".
Moving on, I had high expectations for this comeback, because the concept looked really interesting judging from the teaser photos and video.
A bit about the song first- I like it, but it's too similar to Pretty Pretty. It's a really good song, and it definitely gets stuck in your head, but it sounds just like the twin sister to their latest release. The use of the same musical instruments, song structure and even Sojung's adlibs at the end really disappoints me. It feels like they're trying to ride the wave of the success that was Pretty Pretty by releasing and promoting a song that sounds just like it.
However, I still enjoy the song a lot, apart from those adlibs at the end because those felt totally misplaced.
For the video, the girls portray mannequins, lifeless and passive. The lyrics speak of being left by a man who still make the their hearts flutter, they still love him and can't forget him. All the members are shown in various settings as their doll-like selves; Sojung is in an abandoned fitting room, sitting still by herself as the featuring man of the video comes up to her and fixes her clothes and hair just like a mannequin. However, when he looks away, she can move again and longs desperately for her lost lover.
Rise is partly, as seen above, covered in plastic. She lies on the floor, unable to move or do anything. She is later at the man's "workplace", I presume, with missing limbs, again playing on the mannequin concept,where the body parts are interchangeable. He also brings out his palette and starts painting her lips and skin, as well as sewing and building new arms for her. I find this really interesting, because along with the lyrics it kind of makes sense. They've been abandoned by someone they still love, so to him they feel like mannequins, non-living objects that he still plays with. They are still hanging on faithfully, but he has already moved on.
Another aspect to back my theory up is member EunB's plot, as she's seen from two different sides; his and hers. From the man's point of view she's merely a mannequin sitting prettily in a display window, but on the other side of the window she is reaching out to him. She wants to touch him and be with him, but there's a wall between them. He doesn't see her the way she sees him nor the way she wants to be seen.
Ashley and Zuny are in similar positions, both being stuck behind glass. Zuny is in company with other mannequins, all of them bearing a striking similarity to her. She is exchangeable, one among many others who also have been ditched and replaced.
The video ends with Rise walking proudly in her high heels, very much alive, and she meets up with the man who now has transformed into a mannequin himself. She strokes his cheek as he is frozen is his crouched position.
It's a very dark video, with practically no lights at all. The colors are mostly black and white with very little color, representing the darker, sadder theme of the song. The song and video could have easily clashed with each other, because the video is quite sad and gloomy, but the song is still reasonably up-tempo and cheerful in a way. But there's still something about the song that doesn't make it as happy as Pretty Pretty and while the video could have been different, they still fit together more than well.
The styling is good but nothing exceptional, in fact it looks like the clothes from Pretty Pretty only darker. The same goes with the choreography, with moves that look really similar to previously seen ones. The decision to involve microphone stands was a good one, I think. Although the image that immediately comes to mind is Wonder Girls' Nobody, because they did exactly the same thing back in the day and were enormously successful with it. There's not only the stands that are similar to the Wonder Girls, the retro sound is certainly familiar too, but i suppose they're free to snatch that position because the other group is pretty done for.
Overall, I like this video but it's not my favorite of theirs. If the plot would have been a bit more developed, I feel like it would have been a much better video. The song too, is a bit underwhelming for reasons mentioned previously, but they still hold their own really well and I applaud them for already having found their niche, something older groups that have been in the game for a much longer time struggle with.