20140618_seoulbeats_SanE Raina 2Taking a break from rapping about jilted love and his greatness, San E has joined forces with After School‘s Raina to release a song great for this summer: “A Midsummer Night’s Sweetness.” And sweetness it is. With its smooth groove, and the uber catchy “swee-e-e-e-et” chorus, “A Midsummer Night’s Sweetness” hits all the right notes.

While the song seems initially unsure as to whether it’ll be a real duet or more of a solo-with-featured-artist deal, thankfully, it really is a duet. The pair even had screen and line time together, with no one person overshadowing the other. Also, the two actually fit well together. I admit, I was hesitant in thinking the two would meld, considering the usual After School/Orange Caramel fare, but Raina did a great job. Finding her vocals surprising lightly soulful and nuanced, she works well with the song, and really fits the mood needed. (I’m sure fans of After School already knew this about Raina. Sorry guys.)

With the introduction using a scratchy record effect, we first are given the idea that this will be a bit of a retro track. However, instead, we get an R&B track with a more indie feel. Although a different topic, “A Midsummer Night’s Sweetness” is in the same vein as San E’s “Break Up Dinner.” So, if you liked the sound of that song, you’ll like this one.

The instrumentation is relatively classic R&B. The bass line is, of course, the main focus — something expected from this genre. The same goes for the light drum and cymbals. However, what gives the more classic feel is the synthesizer. The muffled synthesized line is reminiscent of Motown — which makes sense, given that Motown popularized what we now think of as R&B: soul plus pop.

Also, you have to love the mosquito effect in the track – and Raina cutely mimicking squishing it in the MV.

“A Midsummer Night’s Sweetness” tells the story of the rekindling of old feelings and the beginning of new ones. While having a sleepless night, a pair of old acquaintances meets up for beers and to hang out. Engaging in awkward conversation, affections rise – whether due to the alcohol or the night, it doesn’t matter. The feelings of the night leave the couple happy and they end on a high note, with thoughts of sweet dreams. Summer love is depicted well with the lyrics.

While the track speaks of a reunion of old friends, the MV is another story. The MV gives the sense of a first date, and does so very cutely. The story follows two people (who appear to be strangers) throughout their day, including their initial meeting and subsequent nighttime date. While San E’s scenes are more comedic in nature, Raina’s are subtle and simple.

20140618_seoulbeats_SanE Raina 1San E is, probably, an overworked employee rushing off to work because he slept late. Meanwhile, Raina wakes up beautifully to start her day. Eventually, their paths cross when the two have a meeting, at San E’s place of work.

Let the utter cuteness and awkwardness of a first date begin!

Now, we aren’t exactly sure if it’s a date or just a friendly get together, but for sake of lyrical correlation, it’s a date. From picking up the tab to amusing conversations, the two show what dates can be like. The true cute moment comes at the end, after the two after separated. How many people have exchanged numerous texts and messages after a nice date? San E and Raina seem like the everyday couple who find themselves liking each other and unwilling to end the night.

Interspersed with the cute story are cuts with San E rapping and Raina singing, in a very familiar looking room. Haven’t we seen it in quite a few recent MVs? Understandably sets get used constantly, but a little less obviousness would be appreciated.

While, generally shying away from cute videos, “A Midsummer Night’s Sweetness” does it in a way that there is not a big layer of saccharine. The pair seems familiar and approachable. This is probably due to their maturity in both age and career. And, really, we wouldn’t expect San E to use aegyo or be sickeningly sweet, would we?

“A Midsummer Night’s Sweetness” capitalizes on the fame San E has been gaining over the past year (since his move to BrandNew Music), and also on the attention a name like Raina would bring to the table. The two join forces in a very sweet way to express summer love. The MV and song are genuinely enjoyable and sweet.

MV/Song Rating: 4/5

(1theK, YouTube [1], images via BrandNew Music)