Triple H, Cube Entertainment‘s trio featuring Hyuna and Hui and E’Dawn of Pentagon, finally ended their year-long hiatus (dare I say their 365 fresh hiatus) to take us back to the “Retro Future.”
Triple H’s debut single, “365 Fresh”, and its accompanying MV, were definitely fresh. The MV paired sexy, suggestive and at times sickening visuals with a breezy, synth-driven track that made for a jarring viewing experience. The “365 Fresh” MV killed it aesthetically — and I mean that literally since it featured Hyuna accidentally murdering a man.
Given this, my expectations for Triple H’s new single were high, and they (mostly) did not let me down. Musically, “Retro Future” is similar to “365 Fresh.” It is a 90’s-inspired groove track punctuated with synths and bass, which samples Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five’s “The Message,” as well as DJ Casper’s “Cha Cha Slide Part 2“. The song begins with E’Dawn dancing at a boring party and Hyuna complaining about her boring and inattentive partner.
I say I want you back, the you of the past
I don’t like the pretense on your face, wake up darling
Feel me, touch me, and tell me how it feels
Put your phone down my darling
In both the track and the MV, Triple H break out of this boredom by having a sexy party with, as expected, “retro sexy music.” During this party, Hui “saunters like a starving hyena” while Hyuna traps everyone with her “sexy eyes,” and E’Dawn urges partygoers to “groove” and “get it on.” The “Retro Future” MV reflects these mediocre lyrics. The most interesting lyric in the song by far is by E’Dawn, who raps:
Purple apple is a goodness that is without a doubt pretty
Call me a prince with bad habits my dimension is on another level
A “purple apple,” according to Urban Dictionary, is a love-bite on a man’s Adam’s apple. The recipient is usually unwilling and the person leaving thus grabs their nether regions so they stop squirming. It is hard to determine whether that is the meaning E’Dawn is striving for but if he is, then it certainly paints the song in a new light.
Visually, “365 Fresh” pushed the boundaries of sexy. “Retro Future” crosses them and stomps on them multiple times. Triple H’s Retro Future is reminiscent of the 2013 American horror movie, The Purge, if The Purge was directed in bright colours instead of the usual dim-dull lighting of horror movies, and centered around sex rather than violence.
The MV begins with the trio jumping in a blue convertible. This can be interpreted as a continuation from the “365 Fresh,” MV which ended with the members leaping off a bridge. The trio arrive at a posh house, their arms laden with flowers and balloons. They ring the camera-doorbell to announce their arrival to the residents of the house — the boring couple referenced in Hyuna lyrics.
The trio run manically up the stairs and immediately throw the house into disarray upon entering. The couple is floored by the trio’s antics, who begin grinding and gyrating after tossing the flowers they were carrying on the floor. Hyuna sits astride the man, while Hui and E’Dawn take turns swinging the woman around.
The staidness of the couple is symbolized through the drastic difference in the lighting inside and outside the couple’s house. Triple H are bathed in saturated, contrasting neon colours when they are outside. These colours become muted against the vast sea of neutrals inside the couple’s house.
The MV cuts to woman then peering inside one of the rooms to find that the flowers on the floor have bloomed into a garden filled with dancing flower-children. The couple seem confounded at first, but eventually come around and join the sunny, solar-flare filled dance party.
Having convinced the couple to cross over to the dark — or in “Retro Future”‘s case, neon — side, Triple H transform the couple’s house into a dance-filled orgy. The couple, Triple H, and their fellow orgy goers whirl and wiggle on the couple’s bed, dripping with champagne and sex appeal.
Triple H, satisfied with the couple’s transformation from straitlaced to sensual, hop off the bed and into the blue convertible they arrived. The trio ride off into the proverbial sunset, presumably to continue their naughty adventures.
“Retro Future” falls in the middle of Triple H’s three-track new single album, REtro Futurism. The album begins with the upbeat and electro-funk track “Feel,” in which Triple H boast about their carefree attitude. “Feel” kicks off with an electric guitar riff before breaking into a pinging swing-beat punctuated by claps and choruses of “neukkim,” translated to “feel” or “feeling.” The composition of the song as well as the brash delivery of the lyrics makes up for their clichéd nature — I’ve about had it with singers telling me to rock the party.
“Feel” then fades into “Retro Future” before Triple H close their single album with the track “Show Me,” whose swing-beat, synth-pop instrumental is in tune with the retro 90’s vibe Triple H is aiming for. In “Show Me,” Triple H ask their lover to show them all they’ve got as they want to get to know every one of their sides. Hyuna sings her lines in a soft tone, which results in her voice being drowned out by the instrumental. Her tone makes sense given the context of the song, but is off-putting considering the harsh style she rapped in the previous two songs. Not even E’Dawn’s rapping can salvage the dull lyrics and uninteresting composition of “Show Me.”
Overall, REtro Futurism is a cohesive single album that, for the most part, delivers on its name. The album indeed has a retro sound; all the songs feature 90’s-inspired synth and swing-beat instrumentals. However, the “future” part is missing. Triple H could have experimented with interesting and provocative lyrics or layering to bring something new to an old sound, but their songs sound unremarkable after the first listen. The MV somewhat delivers on the future part by featuring provocative and powerful visuals that are rare to see in mainstream K-Pop MVs. Going forward, however, I hope Triple H invests the same energy they do in their visuals into their sound—triple the energy, in fact.