After offering up teasers depicting its members in quite an array of situations, Block B has finally dropped their first full-length album, Blockbuster, with the title track “Nillili Mambo.” After Welcome to the Block in February, the group has been absent from most promotions due to previous controversy. The title for this full-length album is actually what their group name stands for, showing that the group has returned after serious investment in their music with an album that they’re stamping their full name on. But this is a music video review, so without further ado, take a look at “Nillili Mambo” below.
The music video showcases the life of the pirate crew that we know as Block B. Made up of seven members, the first one introduced is Zico, a crew member that could lose it at any second and can easily switch between being serious and lighting up with joy at new goods. Reclining in a chair, listening to Vietnamese music, and enjoying a massage, he’s clearly in charge of the initial situation, peering at the gems with a mirror — most likely diamonds — that two men leave behind. Wanted posters further establish Zico as a criminal. With joy, he goes to greet Tae-il, who was loitering around, waiting for the deal to finish. The video then cuts to P.O. and B-Bomb. The former is dressed dramatically better than the two already introduced and also seems to be involved in gambling. B-Bomb seems to be the muscle of the two, along for support as the two face off against two other men. Next, of course, we find Jae-hyo with a woman, clearly identifying the womanizer of the crew.
By the time Zico and Tae-il get the case open, they’ve got men hot on their trail. Whether it’s the same men as before, others wanting the gems, or people that want some cash for turning in criminals is unknown. But what is known is that they have got to run. P.O. comes out on top in his gambling endeavors, inciting the anger of the other men. But since fists are more powerful than guns, B-Bomb and P.O. are able to get a head start running. The four run into each other, identify each other’s dangers, and continue running. And then we meet Kyung, sharpening his knife, eying his next meal. He could be hungry, but if we’re going with the pirate theme, he could also be the crew’s cook. P.O. and B-Bomb pass through, passing the case of money they won from gambling off to Kyung drawing the pursuers away from their money.
Next is U-Kwon, who seems to be the crew’s best gunman, practicing some aim, most likely waiting for some type of rendezvous. Zico does the same as the other pair with the goods, passing off the gems to Jae-hyo, interrupting a situation that was about to get steamy. Kyung and Jae-hyo meet up with U-Kwon, all three under the belief that they’re in the clear. Until two men show up with guns. U-Kwon similarly holds them at gunpoint, letting his two mates escape. It looks like a fight is about to happen until a lack of bullets serves to give U-Kwon a beat down. Because once again, fists are more powerful than guns.
Until the end of the song, we’re left with the members running to escape. It’s not until the music ends that we see all seven members gathered together. The briefcase with the gems is opened, only to find no gems, inciting Zico to point a gun at his crew, causing them all to shriek and run away, as the viewer enjoys hearing sped-up conversation and screams in a Chipmunk tone. Where did the diamonds go? Well that’s a mystery.
The lyrics speak of livening up a situation by adding some chaos. The title, “Nillili Mambo,” is a traditional Korean saying that is used in music to bring in some energy and enjoyment, clearly being successful in this song.
Everyone wake up!
Get frantic instead of being calm.
Don’t hold it in but just flare up yeah.
Bring anyone you want and rock n’ roll
And this chaos is exactly what the crew brings in. They’re not quiet in the slightest, causing trouble and situations of emergency.
This plot line was done exceptionally well. My description above was longer than I would have liked, but necessary because of the intricacies, and also done in order to show the flow of the video. The introductions for the members, both music-wise and for the plot, flowed well together, creating a story that was easy to follow. Once a member showed up, they usually sang for a bit while demonstrating their role, making for easy connections. Understanding of the plot could have been difficult especially since there are two sources of money and pursuers: for the gems and for the money from gambling. It could have become complicated, but there was such a clear progression of the items at hand that it made good sense. The music also assisted here, becoming dramatic or quiet at appropriate moments, building excitement for the viewer. The choice to include very minimal choreography–really just the intense shaking of arms and shoulder movements — was a good one: it kept the focus on the plot, eliminating most distractions.
And we can’t move further without talking about the cinematography and choice of venue. The music video was shot in Vietnam, and honestly, this is the way to shoot if you’re leaving the country. There was utilization of a variety of locations; the shoreline, to various city shots to the music played at the very start when Zico was getting his massage; the rooms for the build-up events, running spaces, Kyung’s chicken area, Jae-hyo’s bar, U-Kwon’s nest, Zico’s room, the final area near a fountain, the boat on the water, and the many other features. I’m sure I’ve missed some, but what’s clear is that each scene had a place that was best suited for it, adding to the realistic aspect of this music video. This was evident in the teasers as well, the most memorable one for me being Kyung’s little dance in the streets at night while “Mental Breaker” played.
And let’s talk styling. Zico’s dreads are back, but from their live performances, it seems that they aren’t real. While I appreciate the rugged-pirate look that is present in the music video, it’s a look that I could have done without. His one lens that was a lighter color added to his atypical appearance and was successfully unsettling. Jae-hyo is similarly rugged-looking, with his ruffled hair and nonchalantly open shirt that shows just why he’s the womanizer. U-Kwon, B-Bomb, and Kyung look good, and P.O. rocks a suit and occasionally a uniform, displaying a classier look than the rest. But let’s talk about Tae-il. His teaser had him still in a bowl cut and large glasses, but what a change he is here. His appearance has been asking for a change primarily because his look contrasted so greatly with Block B’s title tracks, particularly “Nanrina.” And here we have his hair up, glasses gone, and a look that fits in with the others much more.
Also of note in this music video is the use of comedy. These pirates have their moments. From the start, Tae-il and Zico have a moment where they encounter difficulties opening the case of gems, resorting to kicking it around. Kyung and his chicken chasing cannot be forgotten. There was also Zico’s approval and appreciation of Jae-hyo’s choice in women as shown by his double-take and brief-clapping while he was supposed to be getting away. And of course, the juxtaposition between U-Kwon’s confidence in his gun skills and the realization that he has no bullets turned the situation from being one that was under his control to the last type of situation he would’ve wanted. And we can’t forget the last scene of the video: the missing diamonds. The use of chipmunk voices helps make the voices agree with the distance of the shot, and it also adds humor; though Zico is brandishing a gun, the audience is laughing because it sounds like they’re all squealing pigs running off.
Unfortunately, there is one downside that was not appreciated in this video: the lack of functional guns and and gun use in the general. The only time a gun is shot is at U-Kwon’s attempt, which was clearly unsuccessful. The situations in which P.O., B-Bomb, and U-Kwon were involved in should have ended badly because the opposition had guns pointed right at their faces. There is no reason for hesitation that would let P.O. punch a guy down, or for men wanting their goods to ineffectively beat up U-Kwon rather than shoot him, especially when U-Kwon is responsible for letting the money and gems away. It’s understandable that this is for the sake of comedy and for the music video to progress, but if those scenes were handled in a different way, it may have been better.
Regardless of that negative aspect, this music video is still exceptionally well done. The pirate theme is most appreciated, and gels well with the plot-line and raw aspect that the group naturally has. The video flows well, and all members have acted their parts better than expected. Most of the styling and location choices suited the occasion and added to the story told. As such, the music video gets a 4.7/5.
Seoulmates, how’d you like Block B’s comeback? What’s your favorite part of the music video? Where did those gems go? Don’t forget to leave a comment with your thoughts!