Sep 8, 2015
Wonder Girls' "I Feel You" Is 80's Pop At Its Best
The Wonder Girls are back! The formation is not the same as last time we saw them, but they have charged their batteries and prepared long and hard to deliver this comeback. Since the news of them returning to the scene came out I was wondering what they would do to prove themselves to still be a huge name in the industry, but I never would have seen a band concept coming.
With Sunmi on bass, Yubin on drums, Hyerim on guitar and Yeeun on piano, the girls were coming back as a band and judging by the sound of their individual teasers a pretty good one too. They didn't however take the rock-pop route but instead went completely retro, with a nostalgia sound more fit for the 80's with title track "I Feel You".
My initial reaction upon watching the MV was that they absolutely nailed it. K-Pop is no stranger to retro concepts and videos inspired by different decades, but what Wonder Girls do here is a tribute like nothing I've ever seen before. The song itself is perfect and without knowing better I easily could've thought it belonged in the mid-80's. Everything that I (being born in 1996) know about 80's synth-pop is literally what this song is, from the synths to the drums and the catchy melody. I've written more about the song in my album review, but to briefly summarize it I can only say that I love the sound of the song as well as its mature and sensual lyrics.
To match the genre of music they've chosen for this comeback they've clearly drawn inspiration from many of the MV's that were released during this decade, both in terms of fashion, scenography and visual effects. You can tell how much research and effort that has gone into this project, because they're not playing around here.
The authenticity and realism is impressive, and unlike other groups that have done retro-concept the Wonder Girls go all in. What makes the MV for "I Feel You" different isn't the fact that it has gathered inspiration from the past, but the fact that it was made to look like it was from said era. Sure, it's not convincing enough to make anyone believe it actually was, but the dedication alone pretty much makes up for the few flaws.
The initial reactions for the sexy teaser photos with the girls holding their instruments in tight swimsuits were mixed to say the least, and I wasn't sure either how it would fare. Now when watching the video and hearing the song it seems just right, as this comeback is in all means very sexual. The lyrics for the song are packed with sexual tension, longing and passion, and it seems about right that this is reflected in the video as well. In fact, the swimsuits have little part of it when looking at the MV as a whole. I also think that they're not included just for being sexy, but to look like the unitards that I think we've all seen in some old 80's fitness video. Alternatively they're made to resemble the swimsuits from "Baywatch", which aired in the late 80's, but in either way they match the concept completely.
However the sexiness of the video is not restricted to the clothing only, as there are many different scenes that hint of sex and other kinds of adult content. I mean; the opening scene alone, with Sunmi literally inviting you into her pants by unzipping the fly of her shorts, says a lot about the level of maturity in this video. All of Yeeun's scenes are sizzling hot as well, as she's in her underwear touching herself sensually with a melting ice cube whilst singing about how she can still feel her lover's touch on her. There are also quite a few more sexually suggesting sub-plots that are subtle and not directly revealing but definitely loaded with ambiguity, considering the lyrics and the girls' sensual performances.
I will say though that that wasn't what impressed me the most while watching the video. The sheer visual aspect of it, that I mentioned earlier is made to look very 80's, is magical. The slightly grainy video quality, the warm tones and the faded finish all help give the video that retro look, and there's something about the color palette that too seems very typical for videos that were released back in the day. On the other hand it could be because I'm so used to either over-saturated videos or pale, under-saturated videos that I'm not just used to this type of coloring. Either way it does provide a certain type of mood for the MV, and it works wonderfully with the concept.
If that wasn't enough I also have to give huge praise for the scenography, as all the sets used are brilliant in different ways. I love the scene on which they dance and sing with their instruments, which by the way looks awesome as they've moderated their instruments to work with the synth-pop sound, and I love all the laser beams and stage effects that surround them as they perform.
Additionally I really enjoyed both Yeeun's solo set as well as Yubin's warm, sepia toned one, but I think the one that stood out to me the most was the one where they dance in front of a painting of the ocean with the light shining from behind. In that way only their silhouettes were shown and it looked fantastic as they were dancing without instruments wearing their swimsuits. I remember thinking when watching it that that scene in particular looked especially 80's-like.
Overall I have to say that this comeback has truly succeeded all my expectations. I wrote about this in my album review as well, but it bears repeating. The Wonder Girls have always been associated with retro concepts, but they've truly taken it to the next level with "I Feel You". The way they incorporated the instruments to fit the 80's synth sound was clever and the fact that they even made a choreography that actually works is more than impressive. All the members also look super hot, and Yubin specifically is the true MVP of this comeback; or more so her boobs. But honestly, they're all killing it and I'm just happy to see Sunmi perform again, whether it's alone or with the group.
There's not much left for me to say because the video leaves very little to complain about. It's not a perfect replica of a genuine 80's video but it doesn't have to be because it's freaking fantastic anyway.