It’s only been a short while since “Liar Liar” promotions ended, but Oh My Girl is already back. They’ve returned with their first re-release, “Windy Day.” In a vacuum, “Windy Day” is lovely, but in the larger context of Oh My Girl’s music, it’s defining some patterns that are more than a little discomforting.
The first thing that stands out about “Windy Day” is that it sounds like spring. Gentle guitars and soft vocals in a delicate arrangement, the kick of the chorus retaining serene melodies in sweet harmonies; “Windy Day” is April incarnate . . . which is distracting because it’s late May. I know summer comes to different places at different times, but I am 240 miles north of South Korea’s northern border, and today I contemplated crawling inside my fridge to escape the heat. The fact that “Windy Day” is so out of season gives me some serious feelings of uneasiness.
That uneasiness builds as “Windy Day” goes on. On its own, “Windy Day” is lovely, bordering on charming. Airy, dreamy synthpop with an arrangement as delicate as gossamer is matched with Oh My Girls true music ace, their harmonies. The vocals are extremely light, the harmonies relying on emotive performance for their power before the greater drive of the chorus comes in. The lyrics are a bit cleverer than a typical love song, with the crush object of Oh My Girl being as powerful and omnipresent as the wind. The only complaint is the sitar — it’s easily the best and most distinct part of the instrumentation, but it’s so distinct that it doesn’t fit with such an ethereal song.
“Windy Day” sounds like the less competent, less interesting cousin of “Closer.” The entire preceding paragraph, minus the sitar, applies equally to “Closer.” The comparisons are only highlighted by the MV, which really feels like “Closer” with more sun and less skill.
“Windy Day” is heavily style over substance. The soft focus and saturated lighting give “Windy Day” an elegant art-house aesthetic that it does not live up to. The shots are of the various members of Oh My Girl in ethereal close-ups, hiding behind trees and clustering around woodland furniture. The mirror, tea parties and headbands give the implication “Windy Day” swapped fairy tales for Alice In Wonderland. Add in the dance shots, with their pure white dressed and formation driven choreography, it becomes apparent that “Windy Day” is “Closer” with less of a story.
There is no logic in this MV. What’s with the deer? Why is there furniture in these woods? Why electric lights and candles? Is that mirror important? How did Jiho get a gun? Where was she keeping it? Why did she shoot Arin? Why are they in a hedge maze and why is it nighttime during a song called “Windy Day?” Could they not shoot during the day? Who stands in the middle of a highway and doesn’t run when a car comes? The thing is, all of this could be forgiven if there was any reason for any of it other than “it looks pretty,” but there’s not. And frankly, that’s become a serious issue for Oh My Girl.
The bigger issue with “Windy Day” isn’t that it looks and sounds like Oh My Girl is ripping off themselves, though that is a problem. The larger issue is that “Windy Day,” “Liar Liar” and “Closer” have cemented a pattern for Oh My Girl’s MVs of gilded intelligence. All three look artful, with careful shot design, creative photography, and tantalizing hints of symbolism and story that will reveal all if you just watch closely and think hard enough. But like gilded mirrors, an ornate outside hides an ordinary inside. The more you scratch at Oh My Girl, the more you realize there is no more substance here than in a typical box MV, and the box MV doesn’t make you perform mental gymnastics for no reason.
If WM Entertainment wants to give Oh My Girl artful, unique MVs, I have no objections. All I want is for those MVs to be as smart as they look. Make an MV where all the girls like the same boy but don’t want to hurt each other, where the fairy tale heroine searches for love instead of waiting for her prince, or one full of Alice allusions. But the faux intellectualism needs to stop, because it creates MVs with the substance of whipped cream. And while eating the whole can in one go is fun once, it gets old very quickly. “Windy Day” on its own is average, but as the third in Oh My Girl’s faux-symbolic line, it quickly drops to mediocre.
(Images via WM Entertainment, YouTube)