Ateez has returned with another comeback — making it their third within less than a year of debuting. In their latest mini album for the Treasure trilogy Treasure Ep.3 One to All, the boys continue the hunt for their treasure. Keeping their Ateez style and swagger the boys showcase different sides to their journey through idol life.
Leading up to their return, Ateez found a unique way to tease the new album. On the 12th of May the group began releasing a series of dazzlingly colorful posters teasing their fans of their upcoming comeback. The rookie group have a knack for keeping their fans guessing and interpreting their coded posters and messages, this time the codes are of the same dates and different names. The fans eventually decode the posters to uncover the titles “Illusion” and “Wave”.
Innovatively, Ateez included fans in making a choice on their title track. The choices were based on snippets of the soundtracks, theme posters, and a minute and a half of performances for each song. With a period of two days in between to vote for each, Atinys from around the world were given the chance to take part and vote on Mymusictaste.com for the title track. This, of course, followed by votes of the members themselves.
On the 10th of June, the much-anticipated MVs were released and once again the boys did not disappoint. “Illusion” sets us in a make-believe world where the boys wake up to find themselves on a ship navigating through pink clouds. Singing the words “The bluish sun, the purple star, the flower dancing,” they attempt to figure out their way through the special effects of hazy clouds. Unable to distinguish if they’re awake or dreaming, Hongjoong’s lyrics speak of disbelief of how things have been for he boys.
This is in reference to their success in the last couple of months; the boys are exploring a new world that seems as though a dream. A representation of their sold out tour taking them to places they’ve never been before, meeting people they’ve never met and reaching level of success they didn’t anticipate.
Throughout the vividly animated MV, the boys try to figure out where they are, what is happening, and where they are headed as they land on the pink sand i.e. foreign lands, they remain themselves, dancing and singing and wanting to discover more and more of what this new world is. Continuing the themes of pirates and the search for treasures, the concept of a floating ship discovering things along the way is fitting in portraying the early baby steps in this industry for the rookie group.
“Illusion” is dependent on the trap-esque style of the main rappers, Hongjoong and Mingi, taking us through Ateez’s experiences. The song is not as dramatic as “Say my Name” or “Hala Hala”, but it doesn’t take away from the intended narrative of the track.
The animated visual effects of the MV give it a sweet and innocent setting. The narrative of youth steering through life in search of identity is direct and well executed. This is echoed in the playful and trendy theme of the choreography –plenty of hitting the ‘Woah’ being thrown. Yet as expected of the group, they are in sync and sharp in their execution.
“Illusion” swiftly leads us to the winner and the title song MV for this mini album, ” Wave”. Awakened by reality, the boys are told to open their eyes to a more familiar colour scheme of reality. In an open space by the beach, we see the boys let go of their worries and ‘Hakuna Matata ya!’
In this MV, the boys speak of their worry of what to come, undertaking challenges and pushing through the waves together. Not knowing where they’ll go after the wild treasure hunt they have just experienced, they throw their worries away and invite us to enjoy the moment along with them.
“Wave“ sends us through a sunny and much more relaxed vibe than the previous MV. In scenes where the boys run around in supermarkets and skate parks enjoying each other’s company as friends and as a team, we see a different and less choreographed side to Ateez from previous MVs. In a very Ateez fashion, the choreography is trendy and in synch showcasing the oneness of the boy group, yet with a loose and relaxed flair. The track also gives more room for vocal ranges in comparison to “Illusion”, showing more of the other members of the group.
Set in a lighter rhythm, the song suggests bright road ahead despite being anxious about what the future holds. As well as speaking of their own challenges, Ateez speak out to Atiny to push through their “Wave“of struggles and surge through their trials. A beautiful message of reassurance to youth that it’s indeed all right not to know where you’re headed, but not to stress too much as you’ve reached this far.
The MV ends with a scene of the boys facing the sun setting on a pink sky alluding to a moment of reflection of the crazy ‘dream-like’ couple of months so far. The boys are proud of their achievements, as we are of them, and in awe as they watch the sun setting on their adventurous treasure hunt. Symbolising what could be the end of the Treasure trilogy and into new discoveries to be made.
In an interview with Billboard.com, the boys spoke about how they want to become a representation of teenagers and their experience. Without a doubt, Ateez have done well at keeping their representation of youth struggles and the growth phases towards knowing and becoming who they are. The concept is well used to showcase the growth of the group from a bunch of young men looking to become idols to a unit under the title of Ateez, finding its way through a dense industry.
Their debuting chapter has been an adventure of searching for treasure, into darkness of self-discovery and now into the light and learning how to let go. This comeback may not be as original in theme or standout as much, but it gives us an insight on the variety and flexibility of the boy group.
It’s both amazing and hard to believe that it has not been a whole year since boy group’s debut. They have done well in translating their experiences in the past year of their lives as debuted idols. Leaving us excited and wanting more in the next chapter for Ateez.