Jul 11, 2014

Fiestar's "One More" (And A Rant)

I have literally no idea what kind of group Fiestar is, apart from that I listened to their debut song and thought it was alright and saw member Jei on dating show "Romantic and Idol". Aside from those two things, I'm clueless. I only know that one member and I have not yet grasped what kind of music they put out and what kind of concepts they normally do. Apparently their new single "One More" takes on a sexier approach than they have had before, but what really lured me in was the song itself. 

Anyone who has heard old 90's jam "Superstar" by Jamelia will definitely associate Fiestar's new track with said song. I wouldn't call it plagiarism in any way, but no one can deny how strikingly similar it is. In Fiestar's case, it's a good thing because the song is really good. Not as good as "Superstar" by any stretch of the imagination but for a K-pop song it's great. I think the girls do a good job with it too, especially the girl in black hair and bangs whom I think is called Linzy.

Onto the video, I wasn't quite sure what to expect since I have no prior experience with this group, but I actually quite like it. There are many aspects that are good, but then there are some problematic ones too. What I do find intriguing is the meaning of the song and the lyrics, because it's not a commonly assigned theme we're dealing with here. The lyrics are, completely openly, talking about their sex lives. For girl groups, sexy concepts are nothing new or groundbreaking, but the topic of sex is still hardly ever discussed. Idols sell sex, but without the actual sex which is not logical at all if you think about it. From what I've managed to gather, the lyrics for this song especially calls out the male counterpart and complains about the lackluster sex life. They say "We've been on the same level since yesterday", "If we keep going like this, it'll end in vain" and "If you're satisfied here, I won't be here next time". As I'm all for girls taking charge and not being afraid to be open and honest about their sexual desires, this really makes me happy. It's obvious the relationship is suffering because of it, so of course it's important to talk to your partner about it. Because of the lyrical content, it makes sense that the video plays up the sexy camera angles even more. Although people have been complaining about the objectifying shots of the girls' bodies, which I can agree are problematic, it would have been even more misplaced in a video that wasn't dealing with the topic of sex to begin with. For example, I found AOA's video for "Miniskirt" and all its surrounding promotions such as this dance practice video much creepier and a lot more uncomfortable to watch. The sexual objectification had never been more obvious, and the lyrics for the song didn't help either. Now, I'm not calling out AOA specifically and have nothing against any of the members, but I'm rather angry at the music industry itself and all the people who put together these kind of shoots.

For Fiestar's video though, I can partly overlook it because of the song's nature, but of course it's still there. There are more shots than what I would have wished for that are just of their bodies, and not even their faces are in the frame. Although the lyrics could be seen as empowering, at the end of the day what's marketed is something not fully so. I do appreciate the fact that there at least is a guy in the video, as with many girl group videos that do these kind of concepts there's no other person actually there, even though they're mentioned in the lyrics. The reason that is, in my opinion, is purely to objectify the girls and make them as desirable to the watching male viewer as possible. Although male groups face this dilemma at times too, there are nowhere near as many videos of guys flaunting their bodies for the camera as there is girls. While guys get to wear fairly normal clothing, girls are always dressed in clothing that show off their legs, butts and midriffs in sexual way rather than as regular body parts. And while guys get to try all kinds of different concepts, girls get to choose between sexy or cute (but even those who are cute are still dressed the same way). Personally I really love girl groups and I can definitely admire girls' bodies, but as a fellow female I find it both disturbing and uncomfortable to watch some groups so objectified you can't help but to almost feel sorry for them. I also feel terrible for all the girls who constantly get called sexist names and are tormented by the public for doing what they do. Sexual objectification is wrong, I know, but there's just something about female sexuality in general that ticks people off. I mean, there are so many male idols and actors that have gone topless to reveal their perfect abs, yet no one shames them for it. Those are the double standards we're surrounded by, and it's heartbreaking for me to see all these girls get torn apart by hateful, misogynist comments. At the end of the day, females are going to get hate whether they're sexual objects or subjects, so what can one do? It seems they can't win no matter what they do. This video is objectifying, yes, but almost every girl group video is these days so it's not really something you can detect points from, unfortunately.

Despite all this, there are more positive factors to the video, so let's focus on them for a second. The plot is, apart from some certain camera shots, pretty good. I've seen better, granted, but it makes sense and relates to the lyrics. As you can see on the picture above, there is a hotel involved in the love-making. Room 110 seems to be the place where all the magic happens, and judging from the lines of the song it appears it's a familiar place to the lovers. I don't know all too much about South Korea, but I do know about the existence of so-called "love hotels", where couples can book a room to do the deed. You might think it seems a bit silly, but for many people in the country it's the only way they can get some action with each other. It also then makes sense for some of the girls to have their solo shots on various furniture that might be found in a hotel room, except the laundry room that is (unless it's the hotel one of course, but it's still a bit random). There also scenes of a topless male boxer, but it appears he's not doing terribly well. Supposing he plays the role of the man in the relationship, it fits well with lyrics such as "You said you were so good, so why are you knocked out?". Whereas the girls seem to be the ones more in control, the guy is seen laying helplessly on the floor and being knocked onto the bed. 

As much as the small plot is fun and confident, what I enjoy the most about the video is the vibrant coloring and tinted camera filters. The color range is gorgeous and although it looks like it's taken directly from Instagram, it surely adds to the pleasurable viewing experience. The girls' outfits and makeup also pop especially, like Fei's pink lipstick and Linzy's blue pants. Speaking of pants, the styling for the video is fairly simple and definitely wearable, apart from the striped dresses maybe, but I really like the high-waist shorts and pants, as well as the basic tops. It definitely looks like something I would wear on a normal basis. There's nothing extraordinary or remarkable about the styling, as it's been done before in many adaptions, but looks great nonetheless. Since I have no experience with the individual members prior to this I can't tell if they look better or worse than what they have before, but judging from this video only I am pleased with the individual styling. Linzy definitely caught my attention the most, and although I am for the most part strictly against bangs, she looked crazy good with them. 

To conclude: I like this video, even though there are some parts of it that are not likable. The thing is though, that if you constantly get yourself hung up on all the objectification and sexism in music videos, you're never going to catch a break. It would be hard to enjoy anything at all if you kept on seeing all that's bad. I'm not saying it shouldn't be discussed or criticized, because it should, but it would be hard to live normally won't out going insane from all the inequality surrounding us everyday. For all of you who think I'm being a hypocrite because I love me some hot male bodies, let me tell you that if there was a video of boy groups only showcasing their body parts in various ways (I'm sure those exist), I wouldn't be very comfortable either. I still wound want the music to be the main focus because it should be a video for the music and not the other way around like many girl group videos are these days. All and all, I think this is a step forward for Fiestar because the song is really good and the video is not bad either, but I'm not sure how far it'll get them. 

Song: 4,25/5
MV: 3,8/5

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