If you’re afraid of demons, the dark, or marriage, then you should probably scramble for the back button while you still can. Watch too much of Lee Jung Hyun’s “V” and you may find yourself unable to escape. The whole experience is absolutely… maniacal.
Korea’s “Queen Of Techno” returns after a three year break with her latest, not-very-techno single, and a seven minute MV to boot. In the music biz since 1996, Lee is somewhat of an artsy outsider, even though her music was and still is wildly popular in Korea. She’s also known for her playful costumes and ridiculous MVs, a tradition she keeps very alive on “V.”
A riff on horror films, “V” begins with actor Jin Goo — Lee’s co-star in the upcoming Battlefield –Whirlwind Sea — in a tux, car totaled. Wiping blood from his mouth, he limps through the foggy marshland to the only light in sight: a very old, and very obviously haunted mansion. When the stained glass door creaks upon opening, Jin knows he’s a long ways from his condo in Seoul. Once inside, he finds the room vacant. A piano is playing itself. A Jin Goo-esque doll is standing at a miniature altar. When he inspects it, an evil bride doll slides over, and its head spins entirely around. The last thing you’d expect here is a well-choreographed dance.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BUfH53bYp1Q]
Except that’s what happens, sort of. Busting out a quite revealing wedding dress, a possessed Lee prances around with her phantom friends, squealing and hopping like she’s loving the afterlife. Chasing her human husband-to-be around, Lee tries to seduce him in a bed, a bath, even on the graveyard ground. She gets her way, but only after rubbing herself all over him and showing her undergarments more times than the rest of the K-pop world combined. Her legs sprawled atop his, Lee stops her deadly dance, contented with her catch.
Directed and written by renowned Korean filmmaker Park Chan-wook, this oddity is what you would expect when two mad maestros mash brains together. Astute Korean film buffs (not me) got a glimpse of this lunacy in Night Fishing, Park’s 2011 short film of which Lee stars in. Both Night Fishing and “V” have a eerie fatalism about them, albeit with “V” a much more friendly version.
“V” is kind of like an art film and a K-pop MV colliding, with a loose plot structure, dancing, fan service, and a slightly more subtle metaphor mixed in, rather than many acts’ hamfisted ones. There’s a hint that Jin and Lee’s marriage is some kind of unholy, life-ending, soul-sucking union, with Lee a boy-crazy, vain bride, and Jin a concussed bachelor who stumbled into the whole matrimony thing. They aren’t exactly a match made in heaven… she is a succubus, you know.
That slaphappiness is in the song too. On “V” Lee deploys an increasingly popular saxobeat-style slink, sucks up a couple cans of helium, and spends the rest of the song in lyrical self-combat, telling herself to ditch some schmuck she can’t help but lust after. Moaning, squealing, and constantly interjecting the letter “v” at the end of her lines, the song is dripping with sex; look at Lee’s rosy cheeks and salacious bedside manner, or simply view the cover art, and you may not be so puzzled as to what “v” she is talking about. As the MV ends with Lee straddling Jin on a bed, that fatal attraction seems to have rotted what’s left of her inhuman brain.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L2vZm7I9beA]
Or maybe I’m wrong entirely — Lee might have different intentions for the MV, and Park may just be enjoying an innocuous debut into the K-pop MV world — as it wouldn’t be the first time that Lee’s theatrics have stumped someone. Sly storytelling or not, this is the kind of infectious MV that a career trickster like Lee is so skilled at pulling off. For making me continue to watch, listen, and guess, I’ll gift the “Queen Of Techno” a 4/5. Ha-da-da-di-de-di-de.