K-pop in summer hails a season of upbeat pop tunes that get you dancing out of your seat. There are more excuses to eat ice cream, go on road trips and hang out with friends under the warm sun. Everything feels ten times more electrifying during those sizzling summer days, so it’s not uncommon for videos to echo this youthful exuberance.
Teen Top started off as peppy adolescents with an electro-pop style and energetic dance moves. They are one of the few groups who we’ve seen smoothly transition into adulthood through their music. It may seem juvenile to continuously sing songs about love gone wrong and one-sided crushes, but it works for this group. With their new album Natural Born, they’ve entered another stage of growth through their title song “Ah Ah.”[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TrOVgqgTRSM?rel=0]
This time we’re treated to a more positive side of Teen Top that isn’t lamenting over a failing relationship. They are celebrating the honeymoon phase of couple-dom when all you want to do is spend as much time as possible together. Some of the lyrics are pretty cute too:
I just called you because I was wondering what you’re doing
I don’t have anything to say, maybe I miss you
I don’t know about you, but I’m thinking of you
I’m sorry, you weren’t sleeping, were you?
Teen Top are so excited over their girlfriends — whom they affectionately call “Baby” throughout the song — that they can’t wait to see them again. They want to go out to eat or get coffee or just talk. The activity doesn’t matter because they’re so content with being together anywhere. Teen Top may be men now, but clearly, they are still boys at heart when it comes to love.
The video sort of deviates from this message, however, because their supposed love interests have no actual interest in them. It begins with Teen Top hanging out at a diner when a group of girls catch their attention. Suddenly, Teen Top is struck with a challenging situation: How are they going to get these cute girls to notice them?
They try various approaches to woo the ladies, from buying them drinks to putting on silly dances. Their tactics are a complete fail since the girls consistently shoo them away, or one of the Teen Top members pulls his group mate away to avoid further embarrassment.
Apparently, all they needed was sharper attire and enough space to show off their slick dance moves. In subsequent scenes, they manage to impress the ladies when they come together as a group to show off their intense choreography. The girls warm up to them, leaning against the guys on cars and joining in the parking lot dance party. In the end, we never get an actual answer as to whether Teen Top succeeded, but let’s be honest here — we all watched this MV for the dancing.
Teen Top has always been known as one of the more energetic groups when it comes to choreography, and this video showed lots of it. Similar to their “Rocking” MV, we see frenetic foot movement interspersed by shots of each member freestyling. The steps are very reminiscent of that era but a bit more controlled than last time. The members hit their moves with a deliberate confidence that isn’t as messy as their “Rocking” choreography. I also appreciated the change up in pacing that matched the tempo for better musicality.
As far as the aesthetics of this video, I must discuss this elephant in the room because when I spotted it, I had to rewind several times to be sure I saw it: a gold Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG, reminiscent of a DeLorean. This unexpected blast from the past was made famous as the time-traveling vehicle in the movie Back to the Future. The combination of this retro throwback with ’50s Americana tells me the director was likely a huge fan of the film. Too bad no one busted moves on a hover board because that would’ve been everything.
The saturated jewel tones seen in the video matches the same motif used in “Missing,” but this time, we’re also given a stark contrast with washed-out tones for the day scenes. It’s not a simple task to mix pastels and jewel tones without it looking like a psychedelic mess, but the director pulled it off well. The color scheme fits the music perfectly, giving off a bright, youthful vibe.
One of my few criticisms of this video would be that awkward scene with Teen Top in a laundromat. I have no idea how that random scene was supposed to work with the theme of the MV. The director probably placed it in there because of how light the bridge was, but it was a disjointed part that took away from the overall premise. Other than that, the dance sequences were edited nicely, and each member got adequate screen time.
“Ah Ah” is a fun bit of nostalgia with a party ambiance. It’s light and carefree, just like Teen Top themselves. I enjoyed the ’80s pop-synth, and the director’s nod to that decade with the use of neon. The song itself isn’t mind-blowing, but it doesn’t need to be. It’s pure fun, and that’s what summer is.
Song rating: 3/5
MV rating: 3.5/5