I have to give credit to CUBE Entertainment; they’ve made Shin Ji-hoon stand out as an individual. She has yet to release a poppy track or reveal any dancing at all. Even though she’s young and could easily do a cute concept, they haven’t pushed her in that direction. Instead, they let her voice shine.
Shin’s new song, “Cry Baby” is, like previous releases, an emotional song. While the song is good – she has great, distinct vocals – the MV leaves something to be desired. Understandably, this is a ballad, so the MV doesn’t have to be eventful or active. However, the MV for “Cry Baby” is largely lacking overall.
From the first teaser, there seemed to be some sort of storyline, or at least a bit of activity. Using Mario as a stand-in for Junhyung (who owns quite a few of these figurines, amusingly), you get the feeling that there’s going to be a story about why Shin’s crying in the corner, with Mario there to comfort her. Perhaps there’s a more dramatic version somewhere that matches the teaser, but that’s not what we see in the final version. What we get is Shin sitting in an abandoned amusement park.[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Ciq-2ga_Qs]
For the first two minutes, the MV is shot in black and white. As the song progresses to the second half, the scene changes. The pianos and other props begin to burn, and color is introduced into the scene. We also see the carousel begin to move in the background. It can be construed that in the beginning, Shin is in the state of heartbreak. But as things burn, like memories being destroyed, the color of life returns. She’s moving on and restarting her life, like the carousel.
The music also matches up with the scene change. In the beginning, the music is simple ballad instrumentation: piano, strings and acoustic guitar. Once the fires start, the piano begins picking up, with the bass guitar and drums being introduced. There’s also a hint of an electric guitar near the end. Shin’s voice blends in with the music — it’s soft and airy, and then grows stronger as the song and MV progress (along with an introduction of backing vocals three minutes in).
As the MV moves along, we understand that something is being built up. This is where it changes for the viewer. The buildup winds out to nothing, in a very anticlimactic way. Were there perhaps production limitations? Using the one-shot method doesn’t leave room for much and there are obvious dangers to using fire.
It could also be due to the subtle ending of the song itself, with the simple “wooh oooh ooohs”. Although, the inclusion of the electric guitar makes one think that the song is going to end in a bit of a bang, the song doesn’t. Either way, something seems to be missing and I feel like we’re being let down.
Of course, perhaps this buildup and letdown is a simple correlation to the healing process. We struggle and work toward the goal of dealing with our grief, and in the end, there isn’t some sort of massive event. But rather, we just begin living again without really noticing it.
For a song titled “Cry Baby,” you’d expect crying in the MV. To the contrary, Shin is very stoic, as if she’s exhausted all her outward displays of emotion. While she does exhibit a slightly pained expression, she still seems to be non-emotional. However, looking at the lyrics, this is logical.
Don’t cry, don’t cry, smile now
A sad day has come but don’t cry
“Cry Baby” implores the listener to not cry and to be strong. Or, perhaps the song is a self-reflection and reminder. “Cry Baby” is a song about strength even through heartache. Even though we want to just stop and cry, we need to keep going and hold our heads up. Being alone isn’t always a horrible thing.
Shin is a great singer with a great vocal tone. Although the track is lyrically short, and the MV largely uneventful, it still evokes some emotions. Nothing could be added by Shin herself, but it would’ve been better if more “oomph” had been added to the MV.
Song Rating: 4/5
MV Rating: 2.5/5
(United CUBE, YouTube; images via CUBE Entertainment; lyrics via pop!gasa)