Jul 2, 2014

Beast Says "Good Luck" To You

When I think of Beast, I think of quality. I know I can always count on them to deliver genuinely good music and great live performances, so I'm always looking forward to their comebacks. Last year, they had a bit of a setback, if I may say so myself. There was nothing wrong with Shadow, and the Hard to Love, How to Love was a good album by all means, but their promotions were short, unmotivated and a bit underwhelming. Therefore, I was really hoping for Beast to comeback with something stronger and more powerful this time around, something that would really knock me off my feet. With their new MV I can definitely say they're well on their way.

To understand this video it would be good to do some research on a Hong Kong-Chinese movie called "2046", and for your convenience I have already done just so. The movie takes place in four different time periods, and follows a man named Chow Mo-Wan and his ventures with different women in those periods. The movie seems really complicated from what I've read, so I'll just try to explain how what is has to do with Beast's new video. In his early years, Chow moves into room 2047, which is the room next to 2046 where he used to have an affair with the now late Su Li-Zhen. As the movie goes on, different women occupy room 2046 and he gets involved with them. In the video, the very first scene features Doojoon as he tucks a seemingly drunk woman into bed in room 2046, which is similar to what Chow does in the movie. Kikwang on the other hand, is staying in the room next door, 2047, and is able to see into 2046 and catches Dongwoon getting it on with a woman he knows judging from the look of despair on his face. I'm not sure if it's the same woman or not, and I'm also not sure if he now is portraying Chow, but the parallels are still obvious. Since the movie takes place in China, there are Chinese neon signs where Hyunseung sings his solo bits and where a big part of the rest of the video takes place. Meanwhile, Junhyung sits at a long table reminiscent of "The Last Supper" and Yoseob is facing the harsh truth in complete darkness.

Ultimately, the first minute of the video is without the music of the actual track, and when the music starts the plot sort of disappears. All the members have their separate solo shots in the places they were in the beginning, well except for Dongwoon who's in the middle of a make-out session, but there's no real continuation of any kind of story line. However, the similarities between the movie 2046 and this video are too specific to be coincidental, and one can make the assumption that it was heavily inspired by the movie. It's possible that each member plays Chow but are doing so at different points in his life, as the movie does not take place in only one era of time. He encounters many people and has many relationships of various degrees of seriousness, so it's not impossible that they're all playing the same character at different stages in the movie. Now, I haven't actually seen the movie so I could be terribly mistaken, but this is what I've gathered from reading the synopsis. However, reading the synopsis makes me really excited about watching the movie.

The song "Good Luck" is, just like their last title track, a Junhyung production, and it's a very strong one indeed. While Shadow was more painfully suppressed and melancholic, this song is powerful right from the very start when Yoseob opens his mouth to belt out the first lines. Like one would expect from the title and video, the song is about saying goodbye to an ex and wishing them good luck in the future with a disappointed and frustrated heart. The tone of the video is therefore more angry and revengeful than sad, and the boys are rather regretful than heartbroken. It's made clear that the other party has made the decision to leave them, as can be seen when Yoseob is being walked out on in the beginning, and it's clear they feel betrayed and abandoned. It's possible they've even been cheated on, but that would be judging from the video rather than the lyrics although they could suggest such an incident as well. An interesting point that is worth mentioning is Junhyung's scene at the dining table where he is surrounded by similarly dressed women and is, in the end, stabbed by one of them. I previously mentioned "The Last Supper", and the tale of which it's based on truly ties up with what happens in the video. As Jesus is betrayed by Judas, Junhyung is betrayed by the women in the room. The fact that there are so many of them and that they all look extremely alike is interesting, and it also seems as if they work together to finish him off. Everyone in the room seems emotionless and apathetic, and the girls are all looking different directions and don't seem to have the slightest bit of bad conscience about killing Junhyung right there and then.

For the most part though, this video is heavily performance based. There's some short bits of plot thrown in here and there, but apart from the opening intro, the video mainly consists of dancing cuts and solo cuts. I really don't mind though, because Beast finally has an interesting choreography again. Being such a skilled group, they have had fairly easy choreography for their latest comebacks. For "Beautiful Night" there was a lot of improvisation and freestyle parts, and for "Shadow" they had back-up dancers doing bits the whole group could have done for a majority of the promotional period. Overall, their choreography has been way beneath their level of competence and has only made everyone apart from Hyunseung appear lazy and untalented. The truth is actually quite the opposite, because they're all above average and know how to execute difficult choreography. Prepix Haw, the dance crew Beast have been working with lately, are not the brain behind this dance routine, and you can instantly tell because what they're doing in this video is more complex and quick paced than what we've seen from them in years. It's not a routine they'll be remembered for and it's not as amazing as some of Bangtan Boys' and VIXX' work, but it's a step in the right direction. I personally enjoy the choreography, and it's honestly just so refreshing to see the boys put in some effort and dedication and show critics that they are a good dance group.

If I were to summarize the video in one word it would be strong. Beast have managed to turn the game up a notch and return with a far more powerful comeback than their 2013 one. The video is far from their best, but for being a performance video it still has a clear thought-out plot that can be analysed even further when compared to the movie 2046. The song is also very strong and full of attitude, and one can tell that Beast aren't drowning themselves in grief and sadness this time around. However, I do have one problem with this comeback song and video, and it's not really a big problem but it needs mentioning. There's nothing about it that instantly screams "Beast" when you watch it. Both the song and video are perfectly fine, but it feels like it could have been done by many other groups too. I don't know if generic is the right word, but for such an established group you would think they'd stand out a bit more than what this video does. Like I said, it's a great comeback, but I don't know if it's the kind of comeback Beast should be having.

Song: 3,75/5
MV: 3,8/5

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