It was only a few days ago that I complained about JYP Entertainment becoming the new wasteland for depressing music. But the Wonder Girls‘ new MV for “Like This” has forced me to gladly eat my words. Everything about this music video–the cinematography, the styling, the presentation–is indicative of a fresh new direction for the Wonder Girls and is deserving of earning a spot on an album titled Wonder Party.

“Like This” is set in a shopping square as normal people go about their business shopping, taking photos with family, and spending time with their significant others. The mundane atmosphere is interrupted by the Wonder Girls who skip to the center of the square and lead off a flash mob.

The flash mob concept, while not terribly original, is brilliant. It’s new, trendy, and a much welcome change from the Wonder Girls’ overused retro themes. Because seriously, I don’t know if I would have been able to handle another MV based off of the 50s and 60s. The flash mob also allows the girls to be informal and spontaneous; their execution of the choreography doesn’t have to be perfect, nor do they even have to do all of the choreography. They can make fun faces, shake their hair around all silly-like, and not worry about being perfectly in synch. Lastly, the flash mob theme gives room for the girls to interact with normal people in the square, rather than keeping them confined in a box. Although most of the people in the video are dancers and extras (300 dancers and 500 crew members), there was still the feeling of authenticity and spontaneity. Plus, we all know how much JYP loves flash mobs:

Spontaneity also spilled over into the cinematography. It felt like someone turned on the cameras and hoped for the best. But rather than feeling discombobulated and disorganized, it totally fit the block party aesthetic. The camera caught candid moments of ajhummas making their way into the square, kids shaking their bodies in cute little tutus, and the Wonder Girls themselves laughing and having a blast. Sure, some lighting was too dim or too exposed to the sun, but that’s the trade-off for having an off-the-cuff kind of MV.

“Like This” is ridiculously catchy. Not in the way that’s catchy the first time you hear it–it doesn’t have the melodious leaning of something like “Be My Baby”–but it’s difficult to shake off “Like this yo, like this!” from the brain when you’ve listened to it a few times. On top of that, the lyrics are an encouraging reminder that sometimes a little fun is the best way to get rid of stress:

Working all day, now it’s time to play/Go on tell that stress it’s over/You need a little air so let down your hair/And walk on the wild side now/Once you follow me, you’ll feel the breeze/Blow the drama right off your shoulders

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention how much the song sounds like Beyonce’s “Get Me Bodied” and Eve‘s “Tambourine,” both of which incorporate a sort of hip-hop feel backed by energetic clapping and consistent tambourines. Both songs also utilized staple dances, Beyonce’s in particular instructing dancers which dances to do towards the song’s conclusion. The Wonder Girls also encourage dancers to do it “like this,” offering up funky choreography that anyone can do.

As someone who has never warmed up to either Hyelim or Sohee, this video was able to shine a light on what these two members bring to the group. Both members can be fierce and colorful, something that I’ve missed until now. The group as a whole was styled appropriately for the concept, from Sunye’s polychromatic AC/DC tee-shirt to Hyelim’s two-toned blue and orange hair. It’s quite a divergence from Wonder World‘s black and white concept.

As a song and MV, “Like This” is modern, well-produced, and carefree. And most importantly, it’s fun! Fun is a notion that’s been missing from the JYP brand lately, so “Like This” coupled with JJ Project‘s “Bounce” is worlds of refreshing. Furthermore, the Wonder Girls needed this. They needed to reassert to their fanbase that they can do more than just retro and to remind their critics why they were and are considered one of the top girl groups in the industry.

What did you guys think of the Wonder Girls’ new song and MV? Does it make you look forward to the Wonder Party, or will it take a little more convincing for you to “like this”?

(JYP Entertainment, KBS2)