After two years, Kim Hyun-joong is back with “Unbreakable,” the pre-release MV off of his aptly titled third mini-album, Round Three. This is also the most masculine we’ve seen Kim Hyun-joong who is most famous to casual fans as that pretty boy from Boys Over Flowers. The MV is nothing like his previous lead track, “Lucky Guy,” and is reminiscent of “Break Down.”
The MV opens with two scenes: traditional drums and a horse which later transforms into a car. On first view, this MV is two things: visually confusing and hot. It’s obviously hot because of the performance of Kim Hyun-joong and Jay Park, who appears as a featuring artist. It’s visually confusing due to the array of art forms incorporated. We have a horse, a bull, a hawk, sword dancing, traditional Korean dancing, and someone painting a dragon. All this is inter-woven with scenes of Kim Hyun-joong dancing, Jay Park rapping, and some more scenes of Kim Hyun-joong dancing.
Closer viewing of the MV though makes sense of all these seemingly random and out-of-place elements. This MV makes use of heavy symbolism. The bull transforms into a Lamborghini whose logo features a bull. The horse transforms into a Ferrari whose logo is famous for featuring the horse. The dragon which is being painted has several meanings. It is a mystical animal known for giving good luck, and in Korea, the dragon also stands as a symbol of the king. The goblin, or dokkaebi, is also heavily used. It can be seen in the background, on Kim Hyun-joong’s chest and the person on the white horse also wears a goblin mask. The dokkaebi is a mythical being that appears in many Korean folktales and is associated with mischievousness, but is regarded as harmless creatures.
The MV features a unique mix of traditional Korean culture and new trends. On the traditional side, here is someone doing a tal-chum or mask dance, playing the traditional drums, a traditional painting, and two sword dancers (one of whom is Infinite Dong-woo’s older sister). On the more current side, there is break dancing and cars. There is also a particular scene where break dancing is combined with Korean ribbon hat dancing, or the sangmo.
That all these scenes are interwoven beautifully with the other scenes are a testament to the editing team because this MV is beautifully edited and fits with the color scheme which enhanced the overall feel of the song. It switched between the scenes in such a way that the MV did not become stagnant, so that the viewers would not get bored. But at the same time, each aspect shown was given an amount of time for it to be observed before going back to Kim Hyun-joong and his dancing.
The choreography shown is simple when compared to some other K-pop dances, but it is clean choreography. It enhances the beat and melody of the song, and Kim Hyun-joong executes it all perfectly. In addition, it seems as if the choreography played into the masculine feel that Kim Hyun-joong and his team seemed to be aiming for. Bonus points are given for that hat dance done during the first Jay Park rap break.
Jay Park’s rap breaks seems to be placed strategically as to give a quick change of pace to the song. They have a decent flow and did not overpower Kim Hyun-joong in any way, which is a good thing since he’s just a featured artist and there have been times in K-pop where the featured artist over shines the artist itself.
Fashionwise, it was very simple. There are no avant-garde outfits, no flowery suits, no neckties and stuff like that. It is very basic with tank tops, jackets, hats and a brief appearance of Kim Hyun-joong looking dashing in a white button down. His new hair might have had some people surprised at first, but his hair highlights his masculine features in a way his old hair never could have.
All in all, this is the first time I’ve been impressed with Kim Hyun-joong and I’m excited for the rest of his album and the title track. The only real negative thing I could say is that he wore a little too much clothes, a realization I had when the MV reached the 2:40 mark.
Kim Hyun-joong’s “Unbreakable” lives up to its expectations. Thank to all the K-pop deities that his shirt was not unbreakable.
For a pre-release MV, this was impressive with a 4/5.
(KeyEast Entertainment, YouTube )