20130816_seoulbeats_nca2New female soloist NC.A recently debuted with new single “My Student Teacher.” The rookie singer made her first appearance in a concert of Yurisangja, a veteran duo in the industry. Her performance definitely impressed many, with her rich and raw voice captivating the audience. Yurisangja’s Park Seung-hwa even composed her debut single, “My Student Teacher,” with the arrangement made by Seo Jeong-jin, a well-known composer in the industry.

The song itself is an uplifting mid-tempo with a very loaded yet straightforward instrumental to accompany it. The instrumental has a lot going on in it as it has a variety of layers rounding its sound. It features a full band sound, and a multitude of instruments can be heard, from the stable paces of the drums, to the embellishments of an electric guitar, to even the light touches of more classical instruments like the violin and piano.

Due to the variety of sounds utilized in the song, the progression of the song features a lot of variety. The verses are a lot more grounded and insecure as the more acoustic instruments take full center, and the song introduces more heavy-hitting instruments as the song builds to its chorus. The song’s sound definitely culminates in said chorus, as all the instruments just soar enticingly. Moreover, the song owes its uplifting and innocent feel to the classical influences of the track, while modern embellishments give the song some edge that match with the times.

The most notable instrument though is NC.A’s own voice. She carries the song with her raw execution. While her voice sounds relatively untrained, her potential is very obvious. The richness in her voice gives her an air of maturity effective in a quieter and more subtle setting, and yet her voice is able to soar to escalating heights along with the arrangement. However, while I did sufficiently enjoy the song, I do wish NC.A took on a more mature song, for it would have fit her voice better.

20130816_seoulbeats_nca6The lyrics of the song tell of a girl who falls for the new, attractive student teacher of the school. Said teacher teaches English, and in an effort to impress the new teacher, the narrator works endlessly to improve her English. The lyric’s tone is very innocent and optimistic, and keeping the story’s overused plot in mind, the song’s story has similar vibes to a shoujo manga or a heavily ideal K-drama. While the lyrics are a bit cliché, it actually adds to the song’s likability, since it matches with the fantasies that come with a crush.

The song’s arrangement actually matches the vibe of the song’s lyrics quite well. The uplifting sound gives the song the innocence and naiveté it needed to sell the song’s message, and the dramatics of the song fits the drama that comes with a high school crush.

Another point I surprisingly liked is the use of actual English in the song. The English is unpolished and slightly insecure in execution. While it could be slightly detracting to another video, the imperfect English actually fits with the song’s storytelling. I mean, if her English was already perfectly executed, why would she need to work so hard to impress her teacher?

I used to hate English but now I like it
At this rate, I might even become an English teacher
Oh my god, I love English teacher

The song comes with two MVs. The first is, supposedly, the normal version. This version is very simple and minimal, featuring nothing but a television screen and male actor Jung Man-shik lip-syncing to NC.A’s song. The experience is definitely interesting and very amusing, for it’s very jarring to see a grown man lip-sync to the very girly lyrics of the song with such conviction.

The second version is the drama version. This music video follows the story told by the lyrics very closely, displaying the crush the song told of and the events surrounding it. Starring Girl’s Day’s Hyeri as the student narrator and Seo Ji-suk as the titular student teacher, the drama version of the MV manages to entertain with its rose-tinted perspective.

The video starts with Hyeri recording herself traveling through her school hallway. Having her attentions elsewhere, she bumps into Seo Ji-suk’s character, her new student teacher, in a traditional meeting in a cute way. She’s immediately smitten and sneaks pictures of him on her phone. However, seeing as she’s too dazed, she struggles when called on by him to answer a question, causing him to send her out. Meanwhile, another student answers his question, leaving Hyeri glaring at her classmate. To leave a better impression on her teacher, Hyeri begins to study harder and trades her glasses for contacts. However, despite her efforts, her teacher still fails to notice her.

20130816_seoulbeats_nca5From this description alone, it’s pretty blatant how familiar and generic the story is. However, as generic the story is, the story is presented very efficiently, offering that little bit of heart that makes the video worth watching. You probably know how the story ends, yet you still wish the heroine to be happy, as the video trades any sense of suspense for comforting familiarity. As common as a crush on a young teacher is in real life, the story doesn’t present itself in a very serious manner. Its tone, much like the song it accompanies, is very ideal and rose-tinted. Consequently, the heroine is very animated, to the point where she looks as if she’s perpetually caught in her own fantasy. Hyeri’s execution makes watching the story much more entertaining, for she makes you really cheer for the heroine as superficial and childish as her motives are.

The video takes a turn when Hyeri, caught sleeping in class, is sent out to receive what is presumably her grades. While her improved grades leave her happy, her brief moment of joy is ruined as her phone — along with the pictures she took of her teacher — is discovered and shared with everyone including said teacher. She runs out mortified, and as she cries to herself, her teacher seemingly comes and comforts her with a hug. However, as the video closes, it’s revealed that the last sequence was only in her imagination. This final twist of realism helped characterize Hyeri’s character, for it not only paints her vivid imagination clearly, but it also suggested growth, that Hyeri gained some maturity out of the entire experience. The video ends with a small sequence, with Hyeri, now years older and a student teacher herself. A student runs into her, causing Hyeri to scold him. But history seems to repeat itself, for the student falls for the aged Hyeri, sneaking pictures of her like she did years ago.

20130816_seoulbeats_nca8The story as a whole, while cliche and nothing new, was cute, animated, and beautifully presented. Little things in the aesthetics really helped enhance the video. The little animations on the chalkboard were cute additions that helped transition the video, and I like how the imaginary confrontation between Hyeri and her teacher was filmed with a sun-kissed lens. It hinted that the scene was only in Hyeri’s imagination, and helped further paint the video with its rose-tinted hue.

Overall a decent effort, NC.A’s debut showed a lot of promise if nothing else. Her voice carries a very likable huskiness and a lot of raw potential, and the song, as generic as its story was, surely helped highlight her voice’s capabilities with its dynamic sound. While I do wish NC.A would take a more mature turn later on in her career, “My Student Teacher” was still a very cute and likable experience, and gets a decent 2.5/5 from me.

(YouTube, popgasa)