After what SeoulBeats writers agree was one of 2014’s best debuts, Eddy Kim is kicking off 2015 on the right foot with his new song “Apologize.” This track is being promoted as the ‘pre-release’ track to his mini-album Sing Sing Sing, due for release on the 21st of this month.
This MV is all about dichotomy: contrasting two things that are polar opposites of one another. Throughout the video, we see a divisive balance between black and white, beautifully enhanced by the the monochrome rendering of the entire MV. While this has the added side effect of Eddy Kim looking suave and classy in black and white, it also emphasizes the dichotomy that the video plays with, contrasting solid black with pure white.
A monochrome MV is just visually appealing, from the coloring of Eddy Kim’s white shirt and black suit to the stark contrast between the female lead’s white skin and her black dress. Split images, with white on one side and black on the other, are simply beautiful to look at but the visual contrast has a deeper meaning.
The divide between black and white is one that is deeply ingrained in human consciousness as one of the most basic dichotomies and often expresses the divide between good and evil. White, traditionally representing purity and the forces of good, contrasts with black, symbolic of corruption and the forces of evil. Although black and white have varying contexts across cultures, the divide between the two colors is something that is universal.
This MV is definitely Eddy Kim’s most ambitious in terms of visual imagery, which drives the narrative of the video. Eddy Kim, who first appears on a white background but then flips between a black set and a white set, is corrupted by the female lead, who consistently appears on a black background. The narrative is one of a femme fatale trying to corrupt the male lead, and although the two never appear in the same shot, the meaning of the video is immediately clear. The femme fatale paints everything with black paint and Eddy Kim tries to resist.
This pool of viscous black paint that stains and corrupts white objects in the MV is the dominant image of black. From a tube of lipstick to Eddy’s face itself, the forces of evil corrupt objects that are seen as pure. Interestingly enough, though Eddy himself is eventually corrupted by the female lead, his instruments of a white guitar, white drum kit and a purely white piano (right down to the ‘black keys’ which are white) are never painted black. And so despite being corrupted, Eddy Kim’s music itself remains white and pure.
Indeed, this black and white divide metaphorically represents a battle between good and evil, and ties in seamlessly with Eddy Kim’s notoriously well-written (and self-written!) lyrics. What’s particularly interesting is the parallel he draws between his use of the words 악녀 (ak-nyeo, evil woman) and 악마 (ak-ma, devil or literally “evil spirit”). He calls the woman an ak-nyeo, and says that she’s made him out to be a devil. This reinforces the narrative that the video already establishes: that the woman paints an evil image of him that is untrue. This is at the heart of the symbolism of the black paint, which only covers up and obscures. His true nature is never changed, just as the objects never cease to be white; they are simply painted over with black paint.
As a pre-release track, this MV is everything I hope for in a comeback. Eddy Kim’s established style and voice shines clear through this new song. It’s obvious that he knows his own style and builds his music around that.
At the same time, the concept is different, new, and takes us in a different direction than his MVs of last year which mainly consisted of him just wandering around scenic European vistas strumming his guitar. While beautiful to watch, they didn’t have the same punch that this MV has. As for the song itself, I hold Eddy Kim to such a high standard after listening to his first mini The Manual on repeat for so long. In and of itself, “Apologize” is an excellent song, one that I am already listening to on repeat as I write this review.
Eddy Kim’s last album, especially the eponoymous title track, was just too good to top and I can’t wait to see if Sing Sing Sing will be just as good. Judging from this pre-release track, I definitely have high hopes. Watch out for our review of Sing Sing Sing, and then decide!
Do you think Eddy Kim can top his debut of last year? How excited were you to see Eddy Kim in a classy suit and tie?