THIS—IS—MBLAQ!! a.k.a. Joon becomes a supernatural assassin.
Did you like the song?
Powerful repetition can go a long way, and this song is proof. The chorus is manly and charismatic while still being melodic and having this sad feeling. I get the same kind of feeling from Infinite’s “BTD (Before the Dawn)” as I get from listening to this song. It’s probably related to the epic electric guitar and epic strings.
What was your favorite part of the song?
I really love the chorus, but my favorite part is right after the music goes dead and then comes back in with the chorus. Powerful stuff.
Does the English make you want to rip your eardrums out?
I keep wanting to translate the title as a kind of petulant “This means war!” *stomps foot* Other than that, Seungho’s “no way” is sexy and amazing, and “Don’t you cry cry cry, bye bye bye” are fine.
Did you like the video?
I was really, really digging this music video from the beginning until about 1:41 when it committed the cardinal sin in my eyes of splitting the song. I was getting into the groove, the song was building momentum, and then suddenly we’re back to melodramatic piano notes, and I felt pretty letdown. I’d have been able to handle it with minor fuming if the plot that they interrupted the song for wasn’t so inane—they show a tender moment between Joon and the actress (whose name I can’t seem to find anywhere) and then they show Joon repeatedly cocking a gun and trying out his bullet-curving powers. Surely they could have just incorporated that stuff into the video with the song playing?
Also…Kpop, there’s something we need to talk about. Awhile back, I ranted to you about UV’s offensive use of blackface in their “Tralala,” and today we’re facing a similar issue in MBLAQ’s sampling of human rights activist Malcom X’s “By Any Means Necessary” speech. Malcom X’s views of African American self-determination, which contrasted with Martin Luther King, Jr.’s, were (and continue to be) important and controversial. You can watch Malcom X’s full speech at this link, but the main point that gives the speech its title is this:
We declare our right on this earth to be a man, to be a human being, to be respected as a human being, to be given the rights of a human being in this society, on this earth, in this day, which we intend to bring into existence by any means necessary.And this is the quote MBLAQ uses. Now please don’t get me wrong: I think sampling powerful speeches is an interesting device that can give additional meaning to current works by underscoring the history of topics being discussed. Sampling a speech similar to this one would be very powerful in songs about combating racism or overcoming obstacles or some serious examination of injustice and inequality.
However, to hear this speech in a Kpop idol song about being angry because another guy stole your girl—that’s not okay. I understand that they did it to add weight to the music, but trivializing the words of a major historical figure who means so much to many people is not at all the way to go about doing that, MBLAQ. I’m amazed that I have to keep saying this since it seems so obvious to me, but if you want to appeal internationally, you have to at the very least be aware of how your actions will appear to an international audience. (Also see an excellent explanation of this here.)
Was there a storyline? If so, did it make sense?
You guys, part of the reason this has taken me so long to review is that I was so confused. This music video has so many parts that literally make no sense whatsoever.
As far as I can tell, Joon’s character is an obsessive, abusive, possibly sexist control freak assassin with supernatural powers who lives in a junkyard, where he keeps all his expensive assassination gear (I didn’t know junkyards were so secure!). He’s friends with Thunder, who is normal except that he likes to pick through trash.
One day for some reason Joon is hired to kill a girl. I’m assuming she is the daughter of an important dignitary who screwed over some irate gangsters. Joon has her in his shots, but at the last minute he realizes someone else is about to kill her.
Assassination rules are clear: if you don’t kill the mark, you don’t get paid. And we know how much Joon needs that money. Do you know how much rent costs in a junkyard?!
But instead of just shooting the other (admittedly inept) assassin from his perch, Joon inexplicably goes down to beat the living daylights out of him and then kills him—after the other assassin has shot the girl in the shoulder. Joon then kidnaps the girl and brings her to Thunder to tend to her wounds.
As she heals, Stockholm Syndrome sets in, the girl falls for Thunder, and then Joon goes batshit…for no apparent reason.
He drags the girl out into the junkyard, again without apparent provocation, and then when she makes it clear she wants to stay with Thunder, Joon beats Thunder up and then uses his powers to freakin’ shoot himself.
And then it’s made out to be some kind of noble sacrifice. He probably just wants to take her outside to ransom her. Then he pulls out…what are those, plane tickets? WTF?
And, um, Seungho? What’s going on with the crying here? It’s just weird because nobody else is doing it.
Was the dance cool and distinctive?
MBLAQ just can’t stay off their knees in dance moves, can they? ;D The dance is made up of several interesting moves with lots of space between them, which gives power to the individual moves but doesn’t help much with the flow. Overall, I didn’t find it particularly distinctive, perhaps because we didn’t get to see a ton of it due to the storyline.
But, MBLAQ, was it a bit awkward filming this when one of the moves is Joon getting shot and collapsing, complete with some nasty blood splatter, in front of G.O during the dance? :/
I guess he heals quickly, though, because he’s back on his feet in the next scene.
Do the members look good?
I’m beginning to think that this is something of an analytically pointless question. It’s exceedingly rare that Kpop singers don’t look good. But I’m selfishly keeping it because it keeps the questions at 10 and allows me to fangirl. :D
So I suppose this is an excuse to post a sexy picture of Mir…*shifty eyes* I really have no excuse. I love my maknaes.
The other guys all have appropriately strange (but still masculine) haircuts, with Seungho’s racing stripes (I think that’s what you call them) being the second-most dramatic after Mir, in my opinion.
Which member stood out the most?
I think that this is obviously Joon just because it’s business as usual for MBLAQ so he’s given the most screentime.* He also looks ridiculously angsty and sexy carrying a gun. Kind of reminds me of BEAST’s Junhyung: regardless of their actual off-screen personalities, in music videos they are usually given the “secretly tormented macho guy” roles.
*Edit: You know, the more I think about it, I’m not actually sure that Joon does get more screentime than Thunder. Thunder is onscreen rather a lot.
I could be anal retentive enough to time it out, but I think instead I’ll just say that it seems like Joon has the most screentime because he makes it memorable, makes it his own. Joon has a very much mutual love affair with the camera. To me, Thunder is cute but his parts are a little dull to watch, whereas Joon, melodramatic or not, is always arresting. Sure, a large part of it is just the parts they’ve been given, but I have to attribute some of this to sheer natural charisma.
Do you like it enough to buy the song?
Hmm. Although I like the chorus, I don’t think so. I want fewer strings and more accordion, please, MBLAQ.
Any ending thoughts?
Wouldn’t it be nice if a Kpop music video with assassins had a plotline that actually made sense?
“This video should have a spoiler warning for the movie Wanted.” (I have not yet seen that despite my love for James McAvoy, so I will have to take his word on it.)
Thanks to everybody who requested this MV. I received more requests for this than I have before for any music video! I guess MBLAQ must be gaining in popularity.
Life is still rather crazy, but I will update as often as I can. *hugs*