“60 Seconds” of Kim Sung-gyu (and Co.)
Part of being a group is having a collective identity, and Infinite is one with a very strong identity: their music has a distinct sound, the members are relatively close-knit and they are famed for their synchronised dancing. Kim Sung-gyu is part of that collective identity, but his debut solo release has allowed him to show another side of himself. As Fatouma noted in her review of the aptly titled Another Me, this Sung-gyu’s propensity towards rock takes centre stage and shows a glimpse of what a Sung-gyu outside of Infinite is like, creatively and musically.
The music video for title track “60 Seconds” also provides an opportunity for Sung-gyu to show himself differently: there is no dancing here, or plain sets. sets. But, one Infinite-related thing did manage to slip through:
Sung-gyu’s fellow group member and Woollim’s resident visual, L, is the protagonist for this MV’s story, a young man who encounters a past love, while our soloist rocks out with his band in a roomful of ornate clocks. The story is a literal representation of the lyrics, the actions following the words to the letter, such as a close-up of L’s face when Sung-gyu sings about his eyes widening; for someone who does not understand Korean very well, the drama scenes served their purpose in conveying the meaning of the song.
The story portrays the life of a relationship, with the young couple meeting for the first time, being happy together, separating and meeting again. As stated before, the main purpose of this drama (aside from using L’s face to draw in more viewers who may not necessarily be interested in listening to a non-pop song) is to convey the meaning of the song; as such, not every event needs an explicit logical explanation. The break-up scene is one such thing: we do not need to know the reason for their separation, or how it exactly happened–the fact that they broke up is the important fact here, and all that is needed. “60 Seconds” is about moments, and what the drama scenes show(especially in the flashback) are certain moments connected by time.
Time is also played with in this MV. We meet L just as he experiences that fateful post-relationship encounter; we then move between the flashbacks of the relationship to the current day (a fun observations: the girl’s hair is in a ponytail for the duration of the relationship, but worn down before and after it), with L sitting in the cafe at which the girl works. As he is leaving though, the girl (finally) recognises him, and this last meeting is intercut with the couple’s first encounter; the juxtaposition of smiling and crying faces brings the relationship full circle. The acting was not the best, though serviceable; it got the job of accompanying the song done, but better acting would have enhanced the song. The cinematography could be seen the same way: Woollim shoots some very beautiful MVs, but “60 Seconds” is not their very best work, though some sequences like the frozen street and the first meeting do shine.
On the flip side, my favourite aspect of the MV is in the the use of colour and lighting to help set the tone of each scene. Each of the three main threads of the MV–the cafe scene, the flashback and the band scene–has its own distinct look. The cafe scene has the bleakness of an overcast day, the prominent pale yellow mingling with the gold greys and whites to reflect the bitter-sweet nature of this reunion between ex-lovers.The flashbacks of L with the girl take on an orange hue; the sauce on their lips, the carrots they are cutting, the colour of the girl’s hair when the warm sunlight touches it. The entire palette is definitely warmer, with the greyness seeping into their world when the girl decides to end the relationship. And finally, red is the feature colour for Sung-gyu’s scenes, a most intense shade that could be seen as representing the distillation of the song’s emotion into its purest form. There is as much shadow as there is light in these scenes, but this only serves to make the red stand out even more intensely.
“60 Seconds” is a beautiful song, and the MV manages to keep up with and be a capable visual aide for the music, but nothing more, thus earning a solid but unexceptional 3.5 out of 5.