Following his recent activities with Highlight, member Yong Junhyung released two new solo singles on May 2. “Wonder If” and “Too Much Love Kills Me” mark Junhyung’s first solo comeback since he released his mini-album Flower in 2013.
“Wonder If” follows Junhyung’s conflicting emotions as he denies any lingering feelings over his ex-girlfriend, while still unable to stop himself from asking after her well-being. As Junhyung wanders from place to place in the MV, he is unable to focus on anything but his past lover, wondering almost obsessively if she would be the same if they met again.
Do you still look the same as you did?
Will you still be how I remember you to be?
If I held on, would you still look at me
With those lovely eyes?
Junhyung’s rap in “Wonder If” is a lot more mellow than his previous work in “Flower,” rapping with more of a lilt and sweetness to his tone. “Flower” focused more on the feelings of anxiety and bitterness before and after a breakup, which suited Junhyung’s rougher and colder rapping. But as “Wonder If” focuses more on Junhyung’s more forgiving sentiments after some time has passed, his softer and more emotional voice complements the song nicely. His higher tone also helped to convey the uncertainty and curiosity plaguing him about his ex-girlfriend.
The song has a nice, fast-paced beat with quite a bit of repetition in the chorus. While too much repetition can ruin a song, it was pulled off well in “Wonder If.” The repetition of the chorus helped to play up the feeling of going in circles as Junhyung repeatedly wonders about his ex, unable to break free of her memory. The repetition is almost addictive, getting stuck in your head even as Junhyung’s ex-girlfriend is stuck in his head. The speed of Junhyung’s rapping alternatively slows down and picks up throughout the chorus, matching the spiral Junhyung falls into when reminiscing about his past lover. The instrumentation also helps to support this feeling in the chorus as it fades at first and then increases in intensity, building to a climax at the end before falling again to accompany the next verse.
Heize comes in quite suddenly, featuring in the bridge of the song. Her clear voice cuts up the repetition of Junhyung’s rap and intense layering of vocals and instrumentals. The instrumentals quiet down as she begins to sing from the ex-girlfriend’s point-of-view, mirroring Junhyung’s feelings as she also wonders what has become of Junhyung since they broke up.
How are you doing without me?
Honestly, I hope that you’re different
Since you’re not around me anymore
I hope you’re not still the same
She is also curious if he’s still the same, deciding that she prefers him to be a changed person since she’s no longer with him. She would like to be the person to bring him back to his old self when they meet again, which is interesting as they both seem to miss each other so much and yet do not make up. Perhaps they fear that the other truly has changed since they last met and are not ready to face that possibility.
Heize’s appearance in the song, while highly anticipated, was a delightful surprise as she sang beautifully despite being more well-known for her career as a rapper who has previously participated in Unpretty Rapstar and worked with the likes of Dean and Jessi. Her high and sweet vocals suited the song well, complementing Junhyung’s rap and the melancholy of the song.
The melancholy of “Wonder If” can also be felt in the MV’s visuals. Hazy, dark atmospheres surround Junhyung with an edge of surrealism as visual distortion causes scenes to melt in and out of focus. The push-and-pull feelings caused by the memories of his lover make the past bleed into the present and everything becomes a haze of longing for Junhyung.
Junhyung is shown rapping in front of a motel featuring neon signs and flickering lights. The motel acts as the space inside Junhyung’s head where he’s trapped and surrounded by the thoughts of his ex-girlfriend. Using the motel’s payphone located outside, Junhyung attempts to call someone, presumably his ex, only to have no one pick up. He imagines he sees her face everywhere, from the nighttime fog to the small TV inside his room.
The idea of the motel representing Junhyung’s inner turmoil is enhanced by the entrance of a new woman. While Junhyung initially accepts the woman’s advances, letting her into his motel room, he looks up to see his old lover standing by the door with a look of hurt on her face which makes Junhyung push the woman away. Even as Junhyung tries to move on as he claimed he could, he is still trapped under his ex’s influence and cannot bear the idea of hurting her. No matter how much he might try to claim he doesn’t miss her, there’s no doubt that he does.
The colors red and blue are most prominent in the MV, even appearing in one of the previously released teaser pictures for “Wonder If.” The two contrasting colors highlight the two poles of his emotions – red to signify the denial of any lingering feelings and blue to signify the intense uncertainty and longing. The two colors fight for dominance, bleeding in and out of each other to mimic the push and pull of his conflicting emotions.
Overall, the MV was well done, but there wasn’t an overly complex storyline or unique production which made the video stand out. It suited the song quite well and had visually pleasing aesthetics but there was nothing particularly spectacular or memorable about it. The song is able to stand alone without the video adding any depth to its meaning. The MV ends with Junhyung leaving the room and the camera cutting to the front of the motel, barren of any human presence, leaving the viewer with a feeling of emptiness.
“Wonder If” proved to be an excellent solo for Junhyung, with the song’s intense back-and-forth between indifference and yearning consuming the listener just as it consumes Junhyung.
MV Rating: 3.7/5
(YouTube, Images via Around Us Entertainment)