Say hello to The Cheers. If you are going to watch one K-pop video this month, let it be this one. This co-ed duo, produced by U-KISS’s agency NH Media, is certainly something different from the other debuts this year. The Cheers is made up of Robin, the guy, and Myungmi, the gal, neither of whom is new to the world of music. They were students at Howon University, where they studied music with Kiwi Music’s Kim Hyun Suk, and they participated in MBC’s College Music Festival where they took third place. Their debut song, “YA,” is an example of their musical experience as it was composed, arranged, choreographed, etc. entirely by the duo themselves. The MV itself is a colorful explosion of giant words, googly-eyes, and instruments.
The video begins with a tiny googly-eyed creature saying “Hello!” to the viewers. It quickly progresses into quick close-up shots of the two members faces interspersed with gigantic colorful words in Korean and English. If you happen to spend a lot of time watching K-pop MVs, then you will already be feeling that “YA” is a bit different. First of all, the singers are playing instruments, which happens occasionally in K-pop with bands like FT Island, but it’s not the norm. Second, the sound of the song is bordering on pop-rock or pop-punk as opposed to the more pure pop or hip-hop sound of other Korean debut groups.
As far as visuals go, it is impossible to deny that “YA” grabs your attention and keeps it. The set is a large white room — as we so often see — but instead of allowing the plainness of the set to make the MV boring, they simply fill up all the white space with flying, CG words that twice the size of the band. These words are an interesting choice for the MV because although they are eye-catching and fun they can also be a distraction; at times they overshadow Robin and Myungmi and draw attention away from them. The words do emphasize the lyrics which may seem to be a good thing; however the English is somewhat off. Faulty English doesn’t bother me much, but if you are particularly sensitive to this sort of thing — well, then, viewer beware. Some of the more unique phrases included, “what the shocking situation,” and “I’m not girl.” While this can serve as a small distraction, it doesn’t detract from the somewhat silly nature of the song, and may actually add to its whimsicalness.
Another way the video uses the white background is to make the members’ outfits stand out. Myungmi’s theme revolves around shades of pink and Robin wears multiple shades of metallic blue shirts. To me, this comes across as an emphasis being put on the gender-role girl/boy colors because of them being a girl/boy duo. While one could argue that this might hold connotations towards gender stereotyping, I think it works for the theme of the song and the image of the MV. The outfits are unique to say the least — not that odd clothing is anything new in K-pop. From the question mark dress to the skin-tight high waist shorts covered in hearts, there is no doubt Myungmi has a style that screams “look at me!” Robin’s clothes are slightly more subdued in comparison — if you can even call a guy in metallic silver pants and matching tie “subdued” — because although his outfits are brightly colored and shiny, they are also more simple and suited to a more masculine image. All the clothing is tight-fitting, which Myungmi uses to her advantage to show off her S-line.
The MV also used some unique special effects to add to the visuals. The screens/mirrors Myungmi held up in front of herself and Robin that later transitioned into a different video shot were absolutely awesome. This isn’t a commonly used filming technique and adds some originality to the MV. It is cute and funny to have a chunk of the male guitarist suddenly transformed into the female singer, like those old puzzles where you could match up different heads to different torsos. You’ll have to try hard not to giggle when you see Myungmi’s torso with Robin’s legs or Robin’s head on Myungmi’s torso. They also used video editing to create scenes where there were copies of the band members at each instrument. This, too, was fairly original and fun and something that only works when the group is something small like a duo.
Overall, the video comes across as simple, light-hearted, and fun. There isn’t any organized dancing to speak of, unless you count the flapping legs dance they both do, and they aren’t trying to be particularly sexy or aegyo. Complaints people may have are Myungmi’s scream-singing, which can get a bit grating — and the silliness of the whole thing, but if you aren’t into silly, this isn’t the MV for you.
The production quality of the video is high, it’s exciting to watch, and the music doesn’t sound like everything else. My only real complaint is that there is a little too much going on visually at times – and her voice is a still a little grating, I admit.
How about you, Seoulmates? Do you like the more punk/rock sound of The Cheers? Or was it just too shocking for you?