What is the first thing that comes to mind when one mentions VIXX? Common answers are probably on-point choreography, their insane concepts, their scary contact lenses or, well, Leo since he’s a special snowflake. For those diehard Starlights, me included, the answers probably range from borderline narcoleptic Ravi, sexy yet naggy leader N who is currently being the best bellboy ever in Hotel King, or maybe even Hongbin and his unwavering fanboying of fellow Jellyfish Entertainment artist, Park Hyoshin.
One aspect that VIXX don’t get enough attention for is the creativity of their 2013 title tracks. This doesn’t lie in their concepts or in their choreography but rather in their lyrics. For the international K-pop fandom, I believe it’s safe to say that lyrics are somewhat overlooked because most are not native Korean speakers. As the Hallyu Wave continued on, the lyrical quality took a backseat to the visual aspect. The role of lyrics in K-pop has been argued before, so let’s put that aside.
“On and On (Ready to Get Hurt),” “Hyde,” “G.R.8.U,” and “Voodoo Doll” can all be seen as one story arch when pieced together. When looked at each song individually, one may say that there’s nothing special with the songs, they are the usual topics we see in K-pop: the man going after a woman who is the reason for his hurt (“On and On”), a man so crazy in love he’ll ignore anything anyone says (“G.R.8.U”) and a man willing to do anything for a woman (“Voodoo Doll”).
But as established by VIXX themselves promoting “Hyde” and “G.R.8.U” as companion tracks where the latter portrays the Jekyll before the transformation to Hyde, everything takes on a different meaning when looking at the bigger picture. So that begs the question, what is the full story of their 2013 title tracks? Well, buckle up friends as I tell you a story of what I like to call the Cursed Relationship Quartet.
While we could very well start this in the same order of their releases, let’s look into the story of VIXX’s cursed relationship right from the very start of their love story with “G.R.8.U.” As I’ve stated in my initial review of “G.R.8.U,” it’s important to frame the song within the context of “Hyde” but in this case, we can start with the lyrics of this song for a more linear discussion of the cursed relationship VIXX talks so much about in 2013.
You completely disarmed all of me
I think I’m losing control
There’s no way something this sweet can be bad for me
I want to love you
Are you a good person? If not, who cares?
I’ve already fallen for you
As we can see from these lyrics, even if some people may say that this relationship will end badly, the male doesn’t believe it will and instead the male is happy for the prospect of his new love. In fact, he is so overjoyed he states that he doesn’t really care if this love will hurt him and that he will continue loving her no matter what comes – words that will come back to haunt him in “On and On.”
Why are you doing this to me?
Why am I doing this to you?
The end of your words are vague and my tears fall
I’m on my knees and I’m ready to get hurt
In 2013, VIXX hit it big with “On and On” and it’s accompanying noble vampire concept. Concept aside, the song seemed to be the same old news – it was about a female ‘abusing’ the male. She had confused the male with her actions and yet he still came back for her. All aspects of their relationship portrayed in the song pointed to her being the reason for any fights and yet he keeps coming back for more, to the point where he actually steels himself and is “Ready to Get Hurt.” From the seemingly hopeful start of love in “G.R.8.U,” it’s interesting to see this dark turn in their relationship.
I’m a toy that’s made for you, my life line is always in danger
I’m nervous but I’m sure that you will transfer to some other guy
Just play with me for sure today
From my head to my toes, take all of me
Roughly play with me, then throw me away – I’m all done getting ready to get hurt
Here, we see that their relationship unfold. At this point, it is the female taking advantage of the affections of the male who just won’t let go. But with all relationships, you have to wonder just what will happen when the male is tipped past the point of no return.
The particular question is answered with “Hyde” where the male has had enough. He has been pushed and pulled and prodded emotionally by the female and an inner him that he didn’t know is coming out. This inner him is the Hyde to his Jekyll or his former self and is the reason for the break-up. While most of the female’s torment was emotional, the out lash of the male was physical. In the initial review, “Hyde” was seen to mirror the words said after an episode of any sort of abuse – the begging, the stating of his love and how he only sees her.
There’s no way I said those words
There’s no way I said I would leave you
Girl, please believe the me of right now
(There is a crazy person inside of me)
Don’t leave (leave me)
I love you (no I hate you)
I am both Jekyll and Hyde, don’t run away from me
I’m not a bad person, I love you
Don’t give me those scared eyes
There is a different person that’s not me inside of me
There’s a different me that’s not me inside of me
It all culminates with their post-break up status that is sung about in “Voodoo Doll.” At this point, the female has gone away from the male and yet the male is still emotionally attached to her. He wants nothing but to see her happy which leads him to become her ‘voodoo doll.’ In fact, he’s already ready to get hurt just to make her happy. In this context, this hurt has turned to seeing her happy with another man and is different from the hurt first seen in “On and On.”
Trust me and repeat after me, “He will come back to me”
Time is on your side, all you have to do is wait
I’ll make him cry as much as he made you cry
Tick tock tick tock, may it all be fulfilled
If I can’t have you, I will just live for you
If it’s you, I’m ready to get hurt as much as I can
Look carefully at what I’m going to do now
If it’s you, I don’t care about saving my body
Just say the name, whoever it is
I will bring them all here
Tick tock tick tock, may it all be fulfilled
This is where we last hear of their cursed relationship. If VIXX do continue with their songs of cursed relationships, it can be said that a) it is a further look into the cursed relationship of 2013 and b) the boys of VIXX needs a break from their love life.
Outside of this convoluted state of affairs, the lyrics of VIXX are commonplace so it makes lyrical contributions by Ravi stand out even more. In the 24-track discography of VIXX, 28 including collaborations with other Jellyfish Entertainment artists and Okdal, Ravi has contributed to at least 16 songs, most of these his own raps. Of these, the most noteworthy are probably “Light Me Up” from their first mini-album and “Secret Night” from their first full-length album, both of which he wrote himself.
Let’s get this out here: Ravi, no matter what you say, everyone will think dirty because of your “Secret Night” lyrics. Ravi once explained that the lyrics were initially about partying, but then changed it slightly because the party image doesn’t fit VIXX – can you imagine Ken partying it up? I guess you can and it definitely makes for a funny picture. But what’s even funnier is what Ravi says after in attempt to keep whatever remains of his image – because partying doesn’t fit the image of VIXX, the song then became a party for two. Definitely not saving yourself Kim Wonshik.
Yeah a secret romantic veil hides our game
My entire body has hardened
She is cooking with her own recipe
Make it stronger, yes, mezzoforte
You’re Columbus, a love pioneer who presents a new land to me
Girl you’re my beautiful my lady, a red silhouette
Hotly rock n’ roll on this night when everyone is sleeping
Beautiful my lady, I will do a secret dance with you and fall asleep
To be fair though, there’s no real way to put a good spin with these kinds of lyrics, so gold star for your effort anyway Ravi.
Going away from the topics of curses or Ravi and his self-proclaimed “real fantasy” (Anyone get the reference? No one?), there have been moments where VIXX’s writing team has shined in instances that would normally be boring in the context of idol-dom, specifically that of ballads. Such an instance is the b-track of “On and On (Ready to Get Hurt)”, “I Don’t Want To Be An Idol.” Based on the experiences of the members, particularly Ken, this song was written in a way that makes it clear that dating an idol is no walk in the park. From start to finish, it cuts to the chase and right to the feels of every fangirl.
Because of the endless schedule
It’s not easy to see your face
Me inside the TV, you watching me on TV
That’s how we date
Because of all the cameras, because of my manager
I kept pushing back our dates
When my music succeeds, when everything goes well
I will give you all the love I couldn’t give you now
In the whole of VIXX’s discography, “I Don’t Want To Be An Idol” stands on a level on it’s own for it’s sincerity and it’s bluntness. In regards to VIXX’s songs of the cursed relationship, many of their songs can also be fit in to give the relationship a full span of emotions – their first kiss, their first time (“Secret Night” anyone?), their first date and the first time he saw her. To fit them in would take for paragraphs and paragraphs and is better served with a full-on fanfic on it’s side. Until that merry day arrives, we’ll at least have the Cursed Relationship Quartet as a sort of Sparknotes to it all.