Let me pose a simple question, did Chad Future rock your world in “Rock the World?”
My short answer: Hell no.
My somewhat longer answer: Oh, the things I do for you, Kim Wonshik.
Chad Future is a polarizing figure to K-pop fans. Is he part of K-pop at all? For one, he’s an American performing in English. And yet, he is not trying to ease into the American music scene but rather the international K-pop market. Everything he does is K-pop: from his style, the aesthetics of the music video and the awkward lyrics. In fact, “Rock the World” is a perfect example of everything that usually goes wrong in a K-pop music video and as an extension, the song is an example of things gone wrong in K-pop collaborations.
First off, the set designers need to make up their minds. Is this a disco or a street – or in this case, garage/parking lot – party? The strobe lights were much too overwhelming and merit a warning even before the MV begins: “Caution: Strobe Lights Horrifically Abused in this Music Video.”[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8XlAkBvGFyM]
The addition of the female dancers was a waste and it seems like they were there because the K-pop MV checklist includes backup dancing as an essential. They were made to do some quasi-hip-hop influenced hip wriggling, and not much else. If they really wanted these girls in the MV, they could have given them harder choreography that didn’t make them seem like some sort of eye candy or prop.
Aside from the disappointing inclusion of the dancers and the overuse of strobe lights, one also has to ask if the director had only seen B.A.P’s “Warrior” and 2NE1’s “Ugly” and thought that the smashing of the car windows was just a hip thing to do. At least in “Warrior” and “Ugly,” one could assign some symbolic value to the smashing of the windows: – in “Warrior,” it symbolized the smashing of expectations of everybody as to what a K-pop idol is, and in “Ugly,” it was to smash the judgment of anyone who has ever called you, well, ugly. Sure, it’s over reaching but it can be connected. But with “Rock the World,” what were they even trying to gain with the smashing of windows? It wasn’t cool, added nothing to the music video.
Additionally, the scenes where Ravi and Chad Future sing to the camera while their background is this blue lights setup? It was jarring because it was a step away from whatever concept they were aiming for in the garage/parking lot scenes. In addition, it looked out of place from the color scheme already used in the other scenes.
As for the lyrics: where should I start? Maybe with “Shake your damn butt?” Or what about “Donk a donk that’s right?” The lyrics are asinine, ridiculous, senseless, inane, and silly and yes, I am aware all those words mean the same thing. That is how absurd the lyrics are.
While it seems like a 12 year old wrote the song, I checked and it isn’t. It was co-written by Drew Ryan Scott who has worked for K-pop before. His lyrical contributions include SHINee’s “A.mi.go,” Kim Hyun-joong’s “Kiss Kiss,” TVXQ’s “You’re My Melody” and VIXX’s “Don’t Want to be an Idol” which leads me to the conclusion that this is one of his throwaway songs.
But hey, a common complaint with most K-pop songs are how much the lyrics fail to live up to, well, anything. And considering how often people complain about how Western Collaborations tend to be equally lacking, at least “Rock the World” stayed true to its K-pop inspiration.
If they wanted to be smart, the company could have just hired Ravi to do the lyrics of the whole song. While Ravi only has four songs out in the public, he’s proved his ability to write lyrics on varying topics. “Ottokajji” was very light hearted and fun, while “Light Up the Darkness” included some very interesting imagery and even included the word ‘catharsis’ said and used right. While Ravi may get ragged on a lot for “Secret Night,” again, the imagery he conveys through his lyrics was executed quite well and left no room for doubt as to what the song is about without being explicitly racy. Even his solo song “Dirty Player,” which he performed in The Milky Way Finale, was of better quality than “Rock the World.”
And in terms of performance, Ravi shined in this music video, which is something that ought to be avoided when it comes to collaborations. Featuring artists should never outshine the main artist in a music video or song. This is despite the fact that Ravi looked dead-tired througout the whole video — yet his parts from 1:36 to 2:07 were the best parts of the song.
I attribute this to the MV concept being easy for him to do. No, not the smashing-car-windows-cuz-golly-is-it-cool-and-so-hep-hap but rather the overall ‘swag’ feel. If there’s one thing Ravi can do that the other members of VIXX can’t is summon his swag, making us all forget of the boy who wanted to become a bodyguard to protect his little sister and becomes a dork when with his Artwork. Even when he’s so obviously tired like in this MV, he can still pull it from within him and rock it out. In comparison, Chad Future’s facial expressions and body actions come off as staged and feigned which I account to him being more used to his previous releases, which were a good fit for him. Frankly, he looked like a Disney-manufactured pop star who recently discovered the concept of guyliner and this was his attempt to break away from the pop star mold.
There isn’t much more one can say about this MV. It had its positives and I’m certain some fans actually will like this kind of song and MV. For me however, the negatives of “Rock the World” outweighed the positives. However, listening to the song without the MV is a somewhat better experience so give that try as well.
Rating – Song: 2.5/5
Rating – Music Video: 2/5