G-Dragon “COUP D’ETAT” Music Video Review

He is an artist. A true artist.

Song

I loved this song! The whole song almost sounded like G-Dragon was taunting us. There was such a sarcastic feel to it, which is so unique for a K-pop song. The sing-rapping in the chorus was done so well and really fit the message of the song. It was also super catchy and I found myself chanting “This is my coup d’etat” to myself for days.  The rhythm, lyrics, and simply his voice sounds like G-Dragon is down to his last nerve in this song and is about to break. There was something so desperate about it that totally drew me in and kept me lingering on his every word until the very last chilling sentence. I loved it. I would give this song a perfect score, but there is just something about the rap after the second chorus that didn’t sound as “perfect” as the rest of the song. It could have been a little more rhythmic.

Score: 4.9/5

Story

Everything about this story was incredibly powerful. The video starts out with a little kid, presumably G-Dragon himself, pledging his allegiance to some kind of statue. I take this as G-Dragon when he first entered entertainment, pledging his life away, which was the first step to bring him to who he is today. The old man represents the current G-Dragon, completely torn down by the stress and pressure of being in the spotlight and being told what and who to be. The other scenes where G-Dragon looks more or less like himself, he is just surrounded by his fame, not knowing what to do and unable to enjoy it. He needs a release from the pressure, so at the end of the video the old G-Dragon tears away his oldness, his weaknesses, and breaks the wall of control around him.

The whole old man scene was the most powerful thing for me. It was such a vivid picture of what fame can do to a person. The fame, the pressure to be perfect for the audience, and the pressure to make money by “The Company” eats away at G-Dragon until he becomes old and frail. Only when he breaks free from that can he truly be himself. The whole video was G-Dragon’s rebellion – against the pressure, against authority, and against his reputation and old image. It was so creative and powerful. (The only thing I found to be slightly out of place was the scene with the girls in the forest.)

Score: 4.5/5

Cinematography

I don’t even know how I can do justice to this cinematography, but I’ll do the best I can. Each scene not only related to the song, but had such a dark, sarcastic feel to it. In one of the scenes, it looks like G-Dragon is in a kitchen, but if you look closely, the pots are filled with money. In that scene he shows that even though he makes tons of money, it doesn’t do anything for him. Later, when he is writhing around in the chair, the room he is in is actually a dressing room. I thought it was so clever to show an actual room that he probably uses on a regular basis, implying that behind the scenes, he is not as clean and well-kept as he appears on stage after leaving the dressing room.  In another scene, he is surrounded by reporters, but unlike Ailee in her glamorous “U&I”, he looks so tired of them, and they just look like animals. Their faces are even covered to make them looks less human, only existing to invade more and more into G-Dragon’s life.

My favorite part about this video is his references to Heartbreaker. Heartbreaker was the beginning to his whole solo career, and he takes the same props from that video and completely destroys them in this one. The tree in the background of Heartbreaker was in this video, only instead of full and alive, it is dead in the middle of snow. The apples from his solo debut which were shaped into hearts are now shaped into skulls.  The pure white masks are now dripping with blackness.  In this video, he takes off the pure, innocent Heartbreaker mask to reveal his dark inner self. This was just unbelievably creative and holds so much meaning for him and his fans.

As for the end, I was pretty shocked. A scene of G-Dragon dressed in red surrounded by red flags in a dark room, to be honest the first thing that came to mind was North Korea. Red is consistently a symbol for communism, and North Korea is obviously the example of communism for South Korea. This red in this scene could just reflect how oppressed and suffocated G-Dragon feels from society and his fame, but would he really go so far as to reference South Korea’s arch enemy? This blog is the last place to have a political discussion, but I thought it was too much of a coincidence to ignore.

Score: 5/5

Wardrobe

The wardrobe was so fitting for this video. I really like how most of the outfits were just different suits, all similar to each other. The focus of this video was supposed to be on the cinematography and story, so the clothes were stylish, but nothing too attention-stealing. The suits gave him a classy image while his white and black hair gave him the edge he needs in this rebellious video. The color may have looked strange, but this is G-Dragon’s rebellion. He can have whatever hair color he wants. I thought having it white and black was very clever because it shows his youth, but at the same time shows how aged he has become from his experiences in the entertainment industry. I like that sometimes it was very neat and other times crazy and unruly. Each style fit the scene it was in very well.

I thought the use of masks was so well done in this video. G-Dragon wears a mask when he performs the way society wants him to perform, so this video is his way of taking off that mask. I also thought the end scene with the red mask was incredibly powerful. I could see that the old man suit was fake from the beginning, but that is the only detail I found that wasn’t perfect.

Score: 4.9/5

Overall, this was just an amazing video. This little review of it really doesn’t do it justice. It is probably the most artistic K-pop music video I have ever seen. I applaud you, G-Dragon. All I can say is that it is amazing.

Overall Final Score: 4.8/5


Question of the Day:

Thoughts on the cinematography or other meanings in this video that I missed?

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