When Jellyfish Entertainment announced a VIXX subunit, there was a sense of excitement, especially when the subunit turned out to be Leo and Ravi as VIXX LR. What exactly would the duo create, given their different styles and personalities? Well, the duo has released “Beautiful Liar'” and it’s a glorious ballad showcasing how wonderful the two really do work together.
“Beautiful Liar” walks the line between a pop and hip hop ballad. Unlike a typical pop ballad, the rap actually carries the verses, which make it seem more hip-hop. However, the music is more along the lines of a pop ballad. Although there’s a prominent beat during Ravi’s parts, a strong piano melody and guitar line are the showcase instrumentation. The guitar line is a bit amusing, in that it sounds more country than pop, but that’s okay, because it still flows well with the orchestral strings and rock edge that occurs in the chorus. If there’s one drawback from the music, it’s the random electronic sound effects put in the second verse: they were unnecessary and don’t really make sense in the grand scheme of the track.
Conceptually, “Beautiful Liar” doesn’t stray from the usual VIXX fare. Dark and trouble is something the group does skillfully, and LR continues the trend. Overall, the MV depicts the difference between one’s mind and heart following a break up.
Leo’s scenes are bleak and monochromatic like his character, while on the other side Ravi’s appear to be a florescent destruction zone. During the piano scenes, their respective pianos also exemplify the characters that will be portrayed: Leo’s is proper and one color, while Ravi’s is chaotic and busted. This idea is further depicted in the sit down with the ex-girlfriend. While the light pendulum swings, you see the background go from white (Leo) to an abstract painting (the woman). These differences are symbolic of the different emotional states of the characters.
Leo and Ravi showcase the struggle between one’s mind and heart, which is representative of the lyrics. Therefore, the MV and lyrics must be talked about simultaneously.
It’s alright if you leave me
I want you to be happy
I’m a beautiful
I’m a beautiful liar
The lyrics express regrettably letting someone go so that the other person can be happy. This isn’t a case of holding on to someone for dear life even though it’s not the right thing. A mask is put up to pretend you’re okay with it, but you aren’t in reality.
Leo appears to have lucked out in his role for the MV: he’s basically playing himself. Leo is known for his detached, quiet manner (unless you are a baby, food, or music). He uses the same persona in “Beautiful Liar.” Despite all the turmoil happening around him – his girlfriend leaving and screaming at him, Ravi in his face – he simply just sits there sullenly, often looking into space.
Given Leo’s track record of portraying truly dark characters very well, it would make sense for him to reprise such a role. However, this time Ravi takes over, depicting Leo’s inner emotions. During Ravi’s interactions with Leo, he yells and fights with Leo. Ravi is demanding to be heard and obeyed, but Leo is having none of it. It’s almost as if Ravi is the devil on Leo’s shoulder; though it’s more likely he’s both devil and angel, since he simply wants Leo to actually be honest about his feelings.
Whether Ravi represents good or bad emotions is the question. Is he selfish, obsessive attachment, or a heart suffering from the loss of love and wishing to stay together? The lyrics may be a clue as to what’s going on.
It’s a beautiful pain
Letting you go
I have to kill myself inside
Swallow my tears
And put on a smiling mask
Therefore, perhaps Ravi represents the latter explanation of a heart aching, instead of possessiveness. Additionally, Leo is a representation of the mask put on to hide his true feelings (i.e Ravi).
The best parts of the MV are the fight scenes. What could have been a classic, drag-out fight turned into an interpretative, modern dance. First, the altercation between Ravi and the ex-girlfriend features the use of a table to serve as a dance apparatus. Although there’s no real contact, you feel Ravi is hunting the woman, but is done so in such a fluid manner, it’s more of a confrontational dance.
Leo and Ravi’s fight features graceful flailing, smooth dragging, and a rather beautiful tension between the two. Additionally, intertwined with this altercation is an actual dance scene on the beach. The dance is more along the lines of the performances you’d see on So You Think You Can Dance, and the pair do it so well. The dance portrays the separation and then rejoining of heart and mind: Leo finally accepts his despair and embraces his emotions, but by “strangling” Ravi, Leo kills himself inside and moves on.
For VIXX’s first attempt at a subunit, LR is pretty stupendous. You have Leo’s impressive vocals and Ravi’s decent rapping (and some decent harmonizing baritone vocals, as well) combined to create wonderful music. The style of music was a great way to introduce the subunit, as each member can shine doing what they are skilled at. “Beautiful Liar” is all around a beautiful package.
MV Rating: 4.5/5
Song Rating: 5/5