Younha has made her return with the heartbreaking song “What Does My Heart Become.” Produced by Kim Jong-wan of Nell (and featuring some of his backing vocals), the song is a song of the pain that occurs when the promise to be together forever is broken. The combining of the lyrics and music brings up a lot of emotions and you can feel the pain being depicted.
The MV for “What Does My Heart Become” is a symbolic story of the ending of a relationship to match the lyrical content. There seems to be two different story lines happening within the MV.
First, there’s Younha’s part. She plays the part of someone, essentially, left at the altar. Throughout her scenes, we see her in various states of lonely sadness. The story behind such sadness is revealed in the bridal parts. Younha stands at the end of an aisle strewn with flowers and lined with caged candles. While standing there she takes off an engagement ring, thus ending her relationship. In other scenes with her actually in a wedding dress, the purple flowers turn gray and are destroyed in a violent reaction. A reaction, it can be assumed, to be dumped by her lover.
Second, there are alternative scenes with a man and another woman (or I think it’s another woman, since it doesn’t really appear to be Younha). We see the pair arguing and the man withdrawing from the woman as she weeps. This subplot depicts another way a relationship ends.
I would also venture to guess that Younha actually represents the woman’s damaged heart in the story. Younha is sitting in a room with a photo of the couple, and other than the fight scenes, we never see the other woman actually alone. Therefore, Younha could possibly be showing the pain instead. It would sort of be like the break-up created an alternative personality in order to deal with emotions.
Within these story arcs is symbolism.
First, there are the cages. Particularly in the closing scene, we see Younha against a drawn birdcage backdrop. Additionally peppered throughout the MV are other birdcages. The cages are representative of the confining nature of heartbreak. You can see the outside world, but are unable to escape.
Second, the MV features a prevalent bird motif. From falling feathers to the repetitive appearance of the dove, birds play a big role in the MV. If I had to draw an inference, the birds represent the heart; both caged and freed when in a relationship. As Younha sings of how hurt she is, the bird feathers fall, like the bird has been destroyed (and likewise, her heart).
Finally, there is the use of black and white. The black and white scenes, and pictures, represent the past and the memories of what went wrong. Also showing the destruction of the relationship is the blackness. The purple flower turns black, and as the song climaxes into the bridge, so does Younha’s outfit. As the pain hits hard, the darkness invades.
The MV is quite beautiful, and so is the song.
It is obvious to hear that the track is produced by Nell’s Kim Jong-wan. The sound is so “Nell:” nuanced and soothing, while combining electronic and traditional rock instruments. The use of strings and a haunting electronic background is pretty normal for the band, and it adds an almost haunting aspect to “What Does My Heart Become.”
The steady, consistent music that gradually builds into a dramatic break, then back down until it reaches the climatic bridge is so common in songs by Nell. Even if you didn’t know Jong-wan produced the track, you could recognize the pattern and believe that it’s a Nell track.
Just as Nell’s music is distinct, so is Younha’s voice. This is also why Younha’s voice paired with Nell’s music is smart. Younha has the quality of voice that stands out and is unique, and yet, is also malleable. It can fit with various types of music, which is probably why she’s a go-to for featuring. Since Jong-wan’s vocals are also on the track, you hear how well they blend together. More collaboration between the two should happen.
Younha delivers a beautiful vocal performance about the pain of broken promises. Likewise, the MV portrays the heartbreak of an ended relationship. It’s a great combination, which is expected from Younha.
MV/Song Rating: 4.85/5
(CJENMMusic, YouTube , images via WeAlive)