It’s been a month since we last saw M.I.B., after a tragic dorm fire killed two of their stylists, causing them to postpone promotions of their mini-album and comeback track “Celebrate.” It was a devestating loss, but the boys and Jungle Entertainment managed to pull themselves together and have returned with Illusion, a revamped EP which includes all of the songs of the previous album had, as well as a new title track, “Only Hard For Me,” which they will be promoting in place of “Celebrate,” and its accompanying MV.

At first glance, the lyrics of the song suggest that it is a song about someone complaining over how it seems like they alone are having trouble dealing with life after a break-up. Taking into account the recent events, it can also be interpreted about a song about their deceased stylists, and the tone of the song is a stark contrast to their previous party jams “Celebrate” and “G.D.M.” It would be in bad taste to quickly jump back into another upbeat, dance track, a month after the tragedy, but in light of the tragedy, it’s a blessing that the four members of M.I.B. finally get a chance to showcase their talents as rappers and singers, something that their previous tracks failed to do. Coming from a company famous for its hip hop and R&B legends in Drunken Tiger, Leessang, and Yoon Mi-rae, it was disappointing to see that their first boy group debut with an unimpressive electronica meets hip hop song ala Far East Movement and an MV laden with current hip hop tropes of girls, alcohol, and sunglasses indoors, which shouldn’t come as a big surprise seeing that the song’s title stood for girls, drinks, and money.

Visually, the MV is a treat. Seeing the hints that the MV was shot on location in Los Angeles, it made for a glorious set, with perfect lighting that gave a sense of freedom, especially with shots of the never-ending streets of LA and the sprawling desert landscape. The MV switches between these two locations and has shots that are split into multiple shots before moving between the two locations is a great and simple segway between the two locations. The setting reminded me a lot of the MV for Big Bang’s “Tonight,” especially during the desert landscape shots, but this song is a much better fit for its setting than “Tonight” was, save for the guitar solos, and despite their similiarities, the MV for “Only Hard For Me” takes more advantage of the glorious desert landscape, and streets of L.A., in comparsion to the needless love triangle story arc in the “Tonight” MV, that takes over the MV.

The flow of the song made various wide shots permissable, as well as a lot of basking in the sunset and fooling around in the deserts and streets of L.A. The limited amount of close-up shots helps to take in the scenery and feel the flow and emotions within the song. The boys’ attire was a little out there, but the confidence they exuded made up for it and wasn’t too extravagant to the point of being distracting. All in all, what the MV lacked in plot, it made up for with great singing on Kangnam‘s part, and smooth rapping by 5Zic, Cream, and Sims, accompanied by the gorgeous cinematography , which made for an enjoyable watch, and the closeup shots of the lovely eye candy that is Kangnam and his flowing, brown locks didn’t hurt either.

Despite the hardships these boys faced, and stumbles they had with their previous song and MV choices, this MV is a refreshing turn in the right direction for this quartet. It is much more evident why Jungle Entertainment would invest so much money on these boys during their debut–these boys got skill. The MV was simplistic to the core but the cinematography and the slow, but uplifting feel to the song makes you want to hop into a car, turn up the song, and get away from it all.

Rating: 4.5/5

(CJENMusic)