Dec 5, 2015
Vixx Are Back Sexier Than Ever With "Chained Up"
Vixx is a group with a pretty specific, unique image. Over the years they've worked their way up from the cute, colorful "Super Hero" days to the dark, mysterious concepts they do these days, often with elements of the supernatural or inhuman (with some lighter ones in between, like "Love Equation" earlier this year) However what all concepts have had in common is that they've been pretty sexy, but the past releases are nothing in terms of sexiness to their latest comeback that is "Chained Up".
As many of you may remember I really, really liked "Error" last year, as I felt it was a step forward for them in terms of musical complexity and maturity. Especially after "Eternity" earlier the same year the late 2014 comeback was a well-needed redemption for the group, as it showed me they could put out great songs and develop their sound. Now that they've come back with "Chained Up" it's like they've taken a step backwards instead.
The song has more of an authentic, old-school Vixx sound, say Vixx á 2013, but less good to put it simply. The chorus doesn't manage to pull me in, and the verses are not much better either. Musically the song has a much more hollow sound compared to some of their others, "Error" specifically, which makes it sound empty and sparse, and not in a good way. It's not by all means a bad song, in fact it is quite catchy, but to me it feels like a regression for them and overall a bit underwhelming.
The video doesn't exactly help the song appeal more interesting either, as it's one of their weaker ones in a long time. The production quality is about the same as their previous ones, but the execution is below their standard, at least in my opinion. Like I said before the concept for this round of promotion is very sexual, which the song definitely highlights, but the MV fails to live up to its full potential in terms of bringing out the theme. While videos like "Hyde" and most definitely "Voodoo Doll" were more graphic this one is nowhere near as daring, which I guess is understandable because of the song's provocative message.
The lyrics are pretty blatant in their sexual nature, as the song "Chained Up" is basically exactly what you'd think it is: a declaration of love and lust from a submissive to their dominatrix. I won't go into it much more here but it's clear to see this song has some obvious BDSM references, which is why I would have liked to see the MV include more of those kind of scenes. Make it 19+ for all I care, because it's annoying to watch the video as they tip-toe around the subject leaving it with much left to be desired.
Although there are some hints and indications of a BDSM relationship they are vague and too few for my liking, and not even the boys sexy outfits and indulging stares are enough in making the MV as hot as it could have been. There is a woman featured, yes, but her face is never shown and she's only ever observed from a distance, but then again the lyrics aren't particularly describing of her so I guess her anonymity isn't totally uncalled for. However I would have loved to see more of an interaction between her and the members, more than her handing out collars for them to wear.
Additionally the choreography does hint at the lyrics here and there, such as the move with them putting their hands together as if they were handcuffed, as well as them (Hongbin and Hyuk) controlling the other members like a puppet master and of course some obligatory body rolls. In its entirety I feel the choreo could have been much stronger in general as well as Vixx has done much better before, but it's still pretty sexy and they perform it as wonderfully as only they can.
For the rest of the video the scenes are mainly composed out of dancing sequences and individual shots, in which each member has their own set. Some of them can be linked to the theme of the comeback, but in a slightly ambiguous way. No one is actually chained up which is disappointing and Leo's drapery of golden chains that he is trapped in is as close as we get, but I get that the sets are trying to portray the feeling of submissiveness and being trapped by their dominatrix. Ken's flower box is gorgeous and Hongbin in a soaking wet bedroom does set my heart on fire, but in general the set designs aren't particularly impressive, with the other three members getting the short end of the stick.
Styling-wise there isn't much to be complained about at all because let's face it; the boys' looks are always on point. Well, counting out Ravi's hideous haircut (and hat) from the previous comeback. The members of the group have very diverse looks and styles which I think is a positive thing, and it means that they can switch it up quite a bit during the different promotional cycles as well. This time both Leo and Hyuk have gone blonde, and both look surprisingly great (I didn't like either of their prior blonde colors) and N has been blessed with some green highlights. The clothes are the best part however, because as I've said before and will say again; suits are always the best option and Vixx in suits are literally the perfect combination. The fact that they're revealing half their chests is just a bonus.
Overall, how do I feel about the video and comeback in general? At first I was a bit underwhelmed, both by the song and the video, but now I've grown to like them more. I do think more could have been done with the BDSM concept and MV, and the song definitely isn't their best but it's far from their worst too. I would say this comeback falls somewhere in the middle, which for a group that has a steady fan-base and a solid identity isn't necessarily a bad thing.