SECRET is back with a new song, with a totally different feel, after finishing their “Poison” promotions not too long ago. The new song, “Talk That,” was composed by Shinsadong Tiger and taps into Hyosung, Zinger, Sunhwa, and Ji-eun’s deep, emotional sides. While “Poison” had a hard-hitting sexy concept, “Talk That” now brings on the sad and serious, which fits in well with the other comebacks in the last couple of months (sequins and crying excessively are apparently still in style à la B1A4).

Oh SECRET, your English pronunciation, the same thing happened to me the first time I heard the song “Magic,” it took me several listens before I realized that they were actually saying the name of the song in the lyrics. That being said, the title of this song plays an important part in their MV. At first, the name “Talk That” may seem like poor English, but when considered further it is actually similar to the phrase “talk the talk” which implies that the speaker is knowledgeable in the subject they are talking about. In this case, the speaker (the girl’s boyfriend, probably), is an expert at smoothing over a situation with lies. There is also the saying “he’s all talk” which implies that the person says a lot, but never follows through with actions to match. The lyrics of the song express the feeling that the person is in fact lying over and over, and how heartbreaking that is, which is a message that matches up with both instances of “talk”. In that context, the title “Talk That” makes perfect sense for the concept of the song.

The theme of talking is carried over into the MV in the usage of phones throughout the drama scenes. There are multiple instances where a phone is present and the members are seen holding the phone, supposedly listening to someone talking, with upset looks on their faces. The members’ acting skills were able to shine through here, and more so in this than in some of their sexier, provocative performances from before. A nice touch was making all the phones antique, which fit the feel of the drama sets in the MV better than a cellphone would have, for example. It’s hard to pinpoint a specific theme for this MV, because scenes move rapidly and outfits are switched up quickly. Also, despite the differences in lighting, color, time period (or so it seems, from the antique feel of the drama scenes versus the scenes in the city streets), the video came together as a cohesive story.

Of course, we could just go ahead and deem this as yet another duality MV (such as with B1A4’s “Tried to Walk,” and Boyrfriend’s “Janus”), because there are scenes where the girls are happy and then scenes in similar settings where they are depressed, but the story line in this MV has a more defined and forward progression. The girls go from being happy in their new relationship to slowly realizing that things aren’t perfect. This is expressed most clearly through the interaction between the girls and the mirror. One shot has them sitting in front of the mirror putting on make-up, feeling beautiful, and then the next shot has them obscuring their reflection with make-up or water in a fit of tears. The lies they are being told make them feel unattractive and they hate themselves; nothing is more painful than feeling insufficient and unwanted. Due to this, they don’t even want to look at themselves.

There were simply too many outfits in this MV to possibly discuss individually, so let’s just look at a few highlights and themes. Sequins, they are apparently in this season, or maybe they always are in K-pop? The gold sequin dresses and the black sequin dresses were gaudy, but not in a bad way, and actually looked stunning on all the members. Zinger’s long white dress in her solo drama shots was gorgeous. It comes off very Edwardian (think Jane Austen), and looks stunning on her, flattering her image and body frame. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a better look on her! Speaking of Zinger, this MV did her justice overall; she looked great in all of her outfits. She also got to sing instead of rap, and her acting wasn’t half bad! Here’s to hoping that she gains more popularity through this promotion.

One thing SECRET’s stylist managed to do with this MV was keep the outfits sexy even with the tune’s slower, mellower beat. Despite the apparent refinement, there appears to be more cleavage here than I’ve seen in several other girl group concepts. Hyosung’s black dress, in particular, was a tad revealing. This dress was another thing that took me a couple of watches to notice (probably because I was too focused on how short the dress was at first), but then I was watching her sing and suddenly realized that I could see her bra and cleavage. It isn’t super obvious, but the front of the dress is a see-through mesh. It is a subtly sexy touch to the styling that wasn’t expected in a video where the emotional undertones are depression and anger.

In a similar vein, the dances in the MV have a sexy tone to them, although in a more refined way than “Poison.” The inclusion of back-up dancers, and some male backup dancers to boot, added an extra dimension to a dance that could’ve otherwise looked ordinary. If they developed the dance with the back-up dancers enough, say enough to release a dance version of the MV, it could be truly interesting; it could show off a more technical side of SECRET’s dance abilities. It will also, hopefully, be impressive live because of the dance. All that aside, there were still the typical sexy dance moves present in the MV, such as the body wave, chest popping, and an odd move that involved caressing their buttocks. That last one wouldn’t have been nearly so noticeable if it weren’t for the camera zooming in at precisely the moment.

This seems to be the real culprit behind SECRET’s sexualization lately, the camera shots and editing choices. The camera seems to be focused on the sexiest dance moves and the members’ décolletage, as opposed to producing a more holistic view. Obviously, hasn’t been done to the “Poison” extent, but it was still noticeable. So while this dance won’t get banned, it highlights the fact that bosoms will not distract from more important plot lines (as per tear-jerking, crying scenes).

I can’t say that I find this to be my favorite MV or song from SECRET, but it is absolutely acceptable as an up-beat ballad with an emotionally driven MV. Evidently, the refinement here has turned out to be a good choice, especially after the negative feedback from their previous release. Nudging away the sexy for a bit, it’s also showcased the girls’ individual talents. That being said, this MV wasn’t particularly unique. It’s a well-executed relationship MV that will surely appeal to fans of the genre. What interrupted the sincerity of the emotion in this MV was actually the jig in that oddly lit room — a bathtub with someone fully clothed in it (which is K-pop cliche, by the way), demonstrating that ‘sexy’ is still a big part of the concept. Overall rating 3.5/5

What did you think? Did you enjoy this more emotional side of SECRET? Or would you rather have “sexy” back?

(TS Entertainment, TSENT2008 YouTube)