Oct 12, 2015

Oh My Girl Returns With The Magical, Whimsical And Absolutely Beautiful "Closer"

After splashing their way onto the K-pop scene back in April earlier this year, Oh My Girl are back with an upgraded image and concept. This eight-member girl group debuted with the cute, fun and energetic "Cupid", which I liked quite a lot and could already back then see potential in this group. The vocals were great, the dancing was sharp and synchronized and all the members were super pretty. When I saw the teasers for their comeback I was both surprised and excited. This time it seemed they were taking a different route than the cute and romantic angel-inspired concept, and this change of direction is what makes this comeback so unbelievably spectacular.

I've watched this video countless times now, desperately trying to figure out exactly what is going on, but I have still not come to a clear conclusion. Though I think I've managed to grasp the general idea and plot of the MV. The fact that this video is a bit difficult to understand and interpret is in itself something positive, because the difficulty isn't accidental but planned. There's a lot of symbolism, hidden messages and reading between the lines, and putting all the clues together to unveil the story of this MV is just as much fun as it is just enjoying it on its own.

To understand the video you may want to glance slightly at the lyrics, who might provide at least a little help in picking apart this story. "Closer" is, at first listen, a very unusual song to begin with. I personally adore this single, and I think they did great in picking a track that's so different from both their debut song (which was good, but didn't make them stand out much) and from the rest of the girl group scene right now. It has a mystical, distant and captivating feel to it, and it fits perfectly with the concept they're going for with this comeback. The song is at a surprisingly slow tempo, turning it almost into a electro-pop ballad, but the melody is everything and the girls sound lovely. Do I like this song? No, but I love it.

Back to the lyrics. They too have this kind of mystical, ambiguous nature. The song is essentially about longing for something or someone, as well as the loss of said object. It's not however your typical love song, as the words and phrases used are much more mature and sentimental than your average "cute" girl group.

So how does these thoughtful lyrics reflect what's happening in the video? As from what I've gathered while watching is that it's primarily about Yooa, who stars as the main character, going through a journey of discovery. The video begins as she wakes up after a slumber, confused and seemingly lost, in a beautiful hall that by the looks of it has been abandoned for some time judging by the overgrown trees and bushes. She then meets a mysterious guide, played by Binnie who looks suspiciously a lot like the Little Red Riding Hood, and leads her through a mirrored corridor all the way to a dark, misty lake where she gets sent off on a boat on her own. At last Yooa reaches the final destination, which is a mirror reflecting no one but herself, and as she touches it she is transported through time and space.

She returns to the hall she woke up in, but in the middle there is an abandoned car with youngest member Arin in it, covered by a white veil. As she touches her she's reliving her memories of a past time, and we see her trying to prevent the damage that Arin caused by biting into a golden apple, similar of that of Snow White or the Forbidden Fruit of Eden. There are flashbacks of all the members in colorful dresses eating and drinking together and enjoying themselves in a golden shimmer, but it all fades back to Yooa shedding a tear over Arin's still body in the car.

Now what all this means I am less confident about, but I think I got the main plot points correctly. The video is most likely all symbolic, with the story of Yooa's discovery and realization meaning something bigger and greater. Perhaps the longing that the lyrics imply are that of a friend, a sister or perhaps a younger self, as this analysis suggests.  Either way the effect the plot has is probably more important than what's actually supposed to occur, because it does, along with the beautiful scenography and magical vibe of the song and lyrics, provide an emotional impact on the viewer.

Every detail of this video is perfectly planned out and executed, and for being only the second release of this group I must say I am very impressed. The sets used in the video and gorgeous and sets the mood for this fantasy and fairytale-inspired video, and I must say that apart from the other references mentioned it also reminds me of scenography associated with The Chronicles of Narnia, Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings.

The choreography too must be applauded, but perhaps not for the reasons one may guess. In the lyrics mentions of stars, the sky and astrological constellations appear several times, most likely as a way to set this whimsical mood. However this usage of astronomy and astrology doesn't stop with only the lyrics.

While looking at the choreography from the front you will probably not notice anything particularly outstanding, apart from it being a beautiful routine with great formations and variations, but while looking at it from above it's another story. The members are at several instances forming the different zodiac signs, which is not only a new phenomenon to have a choreography having a deeper meaning from another perspective, but it's also really cool and perfect for this concept. It's one of the many good things about this comeback, and it shows that their team is thinking outside of the box and are coming up with new, creative ideas.

As a final word I must day that as I was watching this video for the first time it really surprised me, initially. Oh My Girl has succeeded in what many groups fail to do; bring something new and exciting to the table. Everything about this comeback has been absolutely magical, from the gorgeous and thought-provoking music video to the unique yet beautiful song. I love all the fantasy references and the scenography, as well as the interesting plot and original choreography. The eight members look unearthly because of how pretty they are, and the vocals are really great as well. All I can do is applaud WM Entertainment for spending so much time, effort and money on this comeback because the result is absolutely splendid, and I can't wait to see what this group will become of in the future.

Song: 4,5/5
Video: 4,2/5

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