It would be an understatement to say that I was impressed with this song. I was completely blown away. First of all, I never expected to hear anything like this from a Korean artist. It spoke to my hard rock side, and reminded me of my Tokio Hotel and Linkin Park days. While very risky to produce a song so variant from the usual dance songs or ballads of which K-pop is comprised, it was a risk well taken. I was thoroughly entertained and impressed.
Right from the beginning, at the fading in of the instrumental I was hooked. Jaejoong’s voice went along perfectly with the electric guitar and fluctuated from gentle to near screaming flawlessly. While I am more accustomed to hearing him vocalize in more somber songs, this song was different and very refreshing from the usual K-pop. The aggressive guitar coupled with the beautifully elegant piano together made an incredible song. His vocals mixed with the instruments really conveyed meaning and feeling to the listener.
With the amazing song came an outstanding video. After initially wandering lost in a forest, Jaejoong’s character finds himself trapped in a chamber with violent-looking chains encasing his face and neck. After much struggle, he breaks free and the song softens as he runs against a flock of ravens. As the song picks up again, Jaejoong appears in a church, where he releases his wings, revealing his true character. I found the story of this fallen angel to be nothing short of poetic. He starts out lost, trapped in Hell, and confused about who he is. After he finally breaks free, the charge against the ravens symbolizes his struggle against all odds (and possibly society itself) to finally be able to rid himself of all masks and embrace his true self. The video concludes with Jaejoong spreading his wings, showing that he knows who he is and isn’t afraid to display it to the world. The irony of a fallen angel finding himself in the church was perfect. Instead of leaving Hell and entering what a church represents as Heaven, Jaejoong takes over the church, turning it into his own kingdom of Hell.
It is clear that the symbolism of the cinematography was very well thought out for this video. All of the rooms held a creepy and dark feel to it. In the second half of the video, with the church and the room where Jaejoong is wearing the jewel mask, both rooms alone could have been very elegant rooms, but were cluttered with wreckage and evil-looking objects, following very well the theme of the dark angel. The very final scene of devil Jaejoong spreading his wings in the church mirrored the image of crucifix, but was positioned in such a way as to replace it. It was as if Jaejoong was taking the church away from Jesus and turning it into his own kingdom. The poetry and irony of this final scene was just outstanding.
My one complaint is that I found the extra scenes of the wolf and the owl to be a little excessive. The animals were included to add to the dark feeling of the video (both animals representing nighttime and darkness), but after a while, the cuts to an owl flying and a wolf growling got a little old. The animals played no role in the actual story of the dark angel; they were just there, looking majestic in front of the camera.
As with a lot of K-pop videos, I was very torn between liking and disliking the wardrobe. Most of the different outfits were very appropriate for the character. My favorite was the outfit Jaejoong wore in the church. While black and evil-looking, it had a little bit of fashion and elegance to it. This may just be my weird brain, but I thought that outfit emphasized Jaejoong’s small figure, eluding to the angel side of him while still looking evil.
I also found the spikes on the various outfits to be refreshingly appropriate. A lot of times in K-pop videos, when spikes are added to an outfit, they have no relation whatsoever to the actual song or video (like in Super Junior’s “Sexy, Free, and Single”), but this time the spikes actually worked.
What didn’t work, however, was what EatYourKimchi calls the “Latex Rhino.” The solo singing shots in the beginning of Jaejoong where he is wearing some sort of horn mask-hat-thing just looked silly and unattractive. The oddity of the outfit could be contributing to the confused, crazy devil from Hell theme, but I thought they sufficiently got that point across with the other outfits and this one was just weird.
Overall, I was thoroughly impressed with this video. While I found some portions slightly lacking, the creativity and incredible story-telling of the rest of the video made up for it.
Overall Final Score: 4.8/5
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