20150910_seoulbeats_day6Continuing the number trend, JYP Entertainment debuted their newest idol group — or rather, band — Day6 through their sublabel Studio J. Day6 was originally supposed to be 5Live but with the addition of drummer Do-woon earlier this year, became Day6. The rest of Day6 consists of keyboardist Jun-hyeok, guitarists Jae (Park Jae-hyung from K-pop Star Season 1) and Sungjin, bassist Young K and Won-pil on the synthesizer.

Although the group has no plans to appear on music shows, they’ve gotten plenty of experience through promotional events around Seoul. The decision not to appear on music shows may confuse some fans but it seems to be because the band is not aiming to be a K-pop group but rather a band without any qualifiers.

This isn’t to say that only K-pop groups appear on music shows, but rather that the promotion and marketing of Day6 seems to be going in a direction more like that of G. Soul than that of Got7. Another reason may be because Day6 would not be able to actually perform live on music shows and would instead have to hand sync their instruments. Whatever the reason, fans can only hope that Studio J will properly promote this talented group.

“Congratulations” hooked me from the very beginning with the drum intro, soft guitar entrance and Jae’s smooth vocals. The gradual build up to the chorus is handled deftly and the chorus is sung with just enough edge that the pain behind the lyrics is audible.

The MV opens up in an empty subway car where a man played by JYP actor Choi Woo-shik sits, reminiscing about his ex girlfriend (Jang Hee-ryung). Of course, said girlfriend comes in with her new boyfriend (Kang Yoon-je) and the flashbacks take a more painful turn for Woo-shik. The moment the two lock eyes is startling for both and the awkwardness is highlighted as they are the only three people in the car.

20150910_seoulbeats_day6_choiwooshikThe juxtaposition of the past and present through flashbacks is nothing new but the skillful way in which this is presented is what elevates this MV a step above the rest. The flashbacks are shot with a warm, grainy filter emphasizing the age of the memories. In contrast, the present is shot with cool, muted colors that highlight the somber mood of the present.

What stands out to me about the flashbacks is the realistic nature of Woo-shik and Hee-ryung’s relationship. Though the scenes of having fun and enjoying each other’s company are not novel to K-pop music videos, they still comes off as genuine. Perhaps this is because of all the kissing — something we don’t normally see in K-pop MVs. In addition, when Woo-shik flashes back to sobbing over the phone about the breakup, the pure rawness of his emotions on display is unsettling because of how realistically it is portrayed.

The video also incorporates the bitter nature of the lyrics. Usually, when one says “congratulations,” it is to wish someone well. The song takes a mocking tone by congratulating the lover for breaking their heart.

Congratulations, you’re unbelievable
Congratulations, how could you do that
Like nothing happened
You broke my heart

The music video integrates this mocking tone by dropping confetti — usually reserved for happy events — during the second chorus as well as Woo-shik’s sardonic smile directed towards the new couple.

However, while I have no complaints about the music video, there are two sections of the song that take some getting used to. The second verse with the piano focus and Jae’s singing was unexpected but with the later inclusion of the drums and guitar, it blended artfully back into the chorus. The truly jarring part of “Congratulations,” though, was Young K’s rap. I don’t know why a rock song needs a rap because it did not mesh at all. And it’s not like Young K can’t sing; his vocals during the choruses perfectly demonstrated the sharp edge of the lyrics with his pleasant voice.

Overall, however, “Congratulations” was a strong debut song and an even better music video for JYP’s newest boy group. In fact, it seems a little disingenuous to call them a group when we really should be calling them a band, as evidence by their fantastic live performances. Day6 displays a lot of talent in “Congratulations” and, in my opinion, have had one of the strongest debuts of the year.

MV Score: 5/5
Song Score: 4/5

Like their debut? Who’s your favorite member?

(JYP Entertainment, Studio J, YouTube)