When Day6 released Shoot Me: Youth Part 1, they could not make it clearer that there would be a follow up album of sorts. The band might have been busy with their world tour, but they have not neglected their music making responsibilities. In a swift six months, Day6 is back with Remember Us: Youth Part 2. If Shoot Me: Youth Part 1 was an experiment with hard rock sounds, Day6 challenges their own musical abilities by going retro in their newest title track, “Days Gone By.” From album concept and MV aesthetics to the track’s composition, the band takes their audience back to the late 70s and early 80s.

The kick-in at the start of the MV screams synth-pop, making it impossible not to think of iconic tracks like A-ha’s “Take On Me.” However, “Days Gone By” is not just another homage to the heyday of synth-pop. Once Jae’s voice enters in the first verse, Day6’s characteristic melancholic tinge is interwoven into the upbeat synth-pop melody. The result is a uniquely Day6 track that marries retro with a modern funkiness, topped with a sprinkle of nostalgia.

Visually speaking, the MV itself is a feast for the eyes. When the band set their heart on going retro, they really went all the way with the theme. Beyond picking up a new music style, everything from the band’s fashion, the MV’s props, and set, to the cinematographic cuts and filming style is a throwback to the 1970s and 1980s. Neon lights and foggy backdrops make up the MV’s backdrop, and the slightly oversized clothing style is a nice touch to the general vibe. The MV even goes with the simple scene transitions, semi-transparent overlays, and boxy crop collages of an era with poorer technology (not forgetting the intentional poorer video quality).

One of the most satisfying aspect of going all out with following the MV filming styles of the past is how much attention can be paid towards matching visual aesthetics with the music itself. Probably one of the most eye-catching moment in the MV would be the instrumentals after the first chorus, where the edits and transitions go in time with the beat and we even get a dramatic pause before Wonpil hits the keyboards.

The overall vibe of the MV’s aesthetics and the track’s retro sound is conveyed from start to end, but kudos to Day6 for paying attention to even the smallest details in recreating themselves into a synth-pop band. Jae puts on a braid, Sungjin’s buzz cut and eyebrow scratch fit right in with the era’s punkish attitude, and the MV features their dorky retro dance moves in the instrumental break before the bridge. The members’ makeup even follows the style of the 70s and 80s with heavier eyeshadow detectable in each members’ close-up shots.

The MV for “Days Gone By” differs from their older MVs that focused on telling more coherent plots of friendship or romances, but it is obvious that the six of them had a lot of fun with this particular track and are truly engaging with the concept they have chosen to run with. Arguably, it is this very ability to soak in the moment that best embodies the song’s message—to not look at the past with regrets, but to appreciate how much joy past moments had been:

Ah, what happy days
(It was like a dream)
Now though there won’t be more
I’m going to leave them in the past

Retro is a concept that fits well with a band likeDay6, especially with the music scene of the 70s and 80s driving hard with experimental sounds and band music. But there’s more to the concept itself than its novelty for the band. Retro cannot leave behind the element of nostalgia, and it is this aspect that suits “Days Gone By” and even the album, Remember Us: Youth Part 2. Day6 revives a past that we can all look back on fondly, not only in its breakthroughs in music but also the general aesthetics of an era that has come to past. These fashion styles and cinematography might seem hilarious and ridiculous today, but to frame it in such a nostalgic manner demonstrates how forgone days can be appreciated even while embracing them as having come to pass.

“Days Gone By” speaks then not only of looking back at a past relationship but also marks a moment in Day6’s own journey as a band. If they are making this song under the broader theme of “youth,” it certainly shouts out the risk-taking and energetic spirit of being young. Sungjin explains that it is songs like “Days Gone By” that would be worth looking back to after years have passed and realise what youth had been for them as a band.

It is not an easy feat to be so thorough with a concept and still execute it successfully with style. Having gone beyond just a visual aesthetics and to bring retro into their music is probably something only Day6 can achieve, with the band’s ever-adventurous spirit in music making. If they were aiming to refashion themselves into a synth-pop band of the late 70s, they have clearly done so suavely and proven once again their ability to succeed in whatever they set their heart to. Watching the band mature with each new release, “Days Gone By” has broadened their already varied repertoire of tunes. I can only wonder and anticipate what else the band could possibly offer their listeners the next time round—though, of course, they are without a doubt bound to impress.

(Naver, YouTube. Images via JYP Entertainment)