K-pop Star finalist Baek Ah-yeon, who was signed by none other than JYP Entertainment, makes her long awaited debut to the music scene with her first album I’m Baek and promotional track “Sad Song.” Some of JYP’s finest have been avidly name dropping and selca sharing to get the word out; even my ultimate bias lover Jun.K has been actively tweeting about her upcoming release, as per his work on one of her debut album tracks. Finally, with the emotional and hard-hitting title track “Sad Song,” the gorgeous and powerful (and did I mention gorgeous?) Baek Ah-yeon makes her expose, and doesn’t disappoint in the least.
Visually, the aesthetic for this MV is simple and clean. We open to Ah-yeon sitting in the darkness, the scene entirely in greyscale except for her blue dress. This set up creates an emphatic focus on Ah-yeon and her facial expression, and thus most of the emotion of the song comes through her earnest delivery. The flashbacks flicker intermittently to explain the backstory, but again, the focus is on Ah-yeon in the present, apart from the relationship she had left behind so begrudgingly.
We achieve, through the telling backstory and the emotional lyrics, the sense that Ah-yeon has walked away from a romance of her own will. She sings, “I thought about it over and over again and made a decision, but why is it so hard like this?” These are very telling lines, as it explains the facet of love being portrayed in the song. Suddenly this isn’t just a sad breakup number, but a melancholy reflection on one what has to do for herself despite it being difficult. It’s a complicated sentiment, one embroiled with both desire and self-restraint, that is the woodwork of this piece. This inner desperation versus outer reality gives meaning to the music.
Sitting in her white chair in this white-washed room with some objects suspended in air, or perhaps even time, and others bursting or falling into pieces, Baek Ah-yeon cries out “I sing it because I can’t forget you.” Here is where the lyrics contradict the images we see. We hear a girl singing to desperately cling to her memories of love, but we watch as these memories fade, flicker, and fall apart. As the MV progresses, more and more objects physically break, and as a result we see memories being stolen away. From this we get the feeling of an inner conflict, the source of heartbreak: the reality of leaving behind, or even forgetting, what one doesn’t want to neither leave nor forget.
Baek Ah-yeon also should be commended for her remarkable delivery. Her expressions were remorseful and pained while at the same time resolute. Even as her lover’s image breaks apart before her, she makes no move to stop it from happening.
And I give the girl some mad props for her enunciation–it almost feels like a live performance on account of her energy within the delivery. One of biggest pet peeves is when idols don’t articulate their words well in their music videos, but luckily there was none of that here.
As far as originality goes, the MV is not exactly stellar. It is, rather, very beautiful and conveys story well without being overbearingly cliche, but not insightful or deep even. The conflicting emotions play up a more creative angle in presentation, though, so I’ll give some credit where credit is due.
Overall rating: 3.8 out of 5
Well, that’s a wrap for this review–Let’s hear what you have to hear about this sad song! Does Baek Ah-yeon knock your socks off or does she knock your socks off?