Oct 10, 2015

Got7 Comes Back Dark And Angsty With The Awesome "If You Do"


GOT7 “MAD” Concept Photos (HD)

After making their comeback only a couple of months ago with the uplifting and inspring "Just Right", the boys of Got7 are back once again with a drastic change in concept. After going through several promotional cycles since their debut this is the first time they've truly switched up their image, which is exciting. All of their prior releases have been slightly different from each other but have all had a playful, boyish and more or less positive vibe to them. With "If You Do" however the mood is drastically different, as the members find themselves stuck in an unhealthy relationship.

Although the most dramatic change is in the concept and the image, there is a noticeable difference in the musical composition as well. "If You Do" sounds nothing like any of their other title tracks, and because of this it doesn't really sound like Got7 as we've come to know them either. This isn't a bad thing however, because it's easily their best title track right up there with "A". It has a certain old-school K-pop sound to it, and at parts it reminds me of some of 2PM's older stuff from five years ago or so, back when they embodied angst and heartbreak. Since I genuinely like 2PM's older material this song is a genuinely great listen, and it has a smooth, mature sound that this group generally isn't known for having. It's a nice change, but a bit unfamiliar at the same time.

[HQ] GOT7 for Mad 1333x2000ALL MADThe video, too, is reminiscent of 2PM in their prime days, mostly because of the dark and angsty vibe, but also very much of Beast who've done plenty of similar concepts back in the day. I'm not saying they're in any way copying these groups or their songs, but since it's a new territory for this group comparisons can't be helped. It makes one realize that Got7 did, in a way, have their own image and unique style with the releases they've put up until now, and suddenly it's all changed. I will say though, that if this is what they have to do to produce top quality music like "If You Do" then I'm all for it.

The darkness of this comeback is very apparent, and not just because of the video's aesthetic theme and the styling of the members. "If You Do" is an amazing song, yes, but the lyrics are absolutely heartbreaking. The members sing about being stuck in a destructive relationship, where the girl is emotionally abusive and it's tearing them apart. Whatever they do is wrong, but if she does it then it's fine and they feel like no matter what they do they never win. It's not the first time I've read lyrics from a boy group about being upset with a girl, but it's probably the first time I've read lyrics this upsetting and tormenting.

The trope of the "angry boyfriend" is nothing new, and it's a concept I've grown pretty used to seeing in K-pop, but for some reason they way Got7 and "If You Do" portrays this bad relationship strikes another chord with me. The nature of the lyrics is very realistic, and unlike other boy groups were they sing about jealousy and anger that's coming from a place of immaturity and casual misogyny, these ones feel real. That's both what makes this such an amazing and different release, but it's also very saddening to hear and watch the members being in the state of such despair and hopelessness.

Those exact feelings are what permeates this video, as it's about the members reacting to what they're going through in various ways. There's no physical presence of a female part, apart from the voice-over near the end of the song which is a great way to show how the girlfriend is acting towards the relationship (conscious passiveness and use of reverse psychology for example), and instead we see how the members are struggling to realize the terrible situation they're stuck in.

At first most of them are relatively calm and are merely looking miserable, but as the video progresses we see them get angrier and explode in outbursts of rage and tearful screaming. All of them take out their emotions differently, such as Jackson furiously punching a boxing bag, JB walking around a street at night hitting walls and trashcans and Junior throwing paintings around until finally breaking down crying. It's clear to see how affected they are, and although some of the acting is a bit forced and unnatural most of them pull it off just fine. You can definitely feel both the anger and the hurt, as well as the frustration about not knowing what to do.

Visually I found the video very enjoyable as well, despite being pretty standard formula K-pop. The use of gritty, dark sets set the mood for the MV well enough, and all the individual sets are great too. However the most visual value was definitely found in the members themselves, especially the styling and the choreography. I always love watching Got7 perform and they always look hot, but it's fair to say they've been victims of horrible styling in the past ("Girls Girls Girls" and "Stop Stop It" anyone?).

This time however they've totally nailed it, as each and everyone of the seven members looks amazing. The clothes are great, and I love both the denim-inspired rugged look and the black leather combo, and all of their hairstyles look perfect. Even Jackson's blonde hair, who I wasn't a huge fan of previously, looks ridiculously sexy thanks to the way it's been styled. I also don't ever want Mark to go back to dark hair and neither do I want anyone else to go any lighter. And BamBam in a choker? I'm dead.

If I were to summarize this comeback in three words it would probably be surprising but necessary. What I mean by that is that yes, this release is very different from what they've put out in the past not only musically but in terms of their entire brand and image. There are plenty of other groups who have this kind of concept as their specific image, but Got7 hasn't been one of them up until now.

It's a change that will take time getting used to, but I also think it's much needed for them to explore new territory. The boys haven't really gained any huge following outside of their own fandom, so it makes sense that JYP thought it was time to switch things up. I also think that this song is such a drastic improvement from their other, earlier material that even if it means leaving their old, playful boyfriend-like image behind it's worth it thanks to the, on my part, much awaited musical maturity.

Song: 4,25/5
Video: 4/5

In the meantime, please enjoy this live performance from last week's Inkigayo broadcast. Note that the instrumental for this version is slightly different from the studio one, with brass instrumentals added here and there. It's a great addition, in my opinion, as it gives the already amazing song even more thickness a more wholesome sound.

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