Since becoming champion of K-Pop Star Season 5, it took Chai three years before dropping her debut album, and it was anything but disappointing. Her debut title, “Give and Take” is a slow-jam R&B track, and it tells the story of two lovers and their private ways of love. When we hear the phrase “give and take”, one immediately thinks of a balanced relationship, one with equal amounts of push and pull, and that is seen throughout the music video.
Chai participated and won K-Pop Star Season 5 in 2016, impressing both the judges and the audience with her sweet and soulful voice in her performance of “Lay Me Down” by Sam Smith. After winning, she went on to release tracks in English, as well as record original soundtracks for various Korean dramas. However, she had yet to officially debut in Korea, until now.
“Give and Take” accurately portrays Chai’s strengths as an artiste and her uniqueness as an individual. The music video only shows Chai with no other living soul around her, aside from a few shots of a couple walking at night. Rather than creating a lovely atmosphere, it forms a relationship between Chai and the environment around her. Throughout the video, Chai is seen to be interacting with the environment through small gestures. The fluidity of her movements when she is standing amongst the rocky road is representative of the sea, and her multiple outfit changes as she walks down the street indicates how she changes according to various scenarios.
The shots of the video match the beat of the music as well as the lyrics, and this is evident during pH-1‘s rap. Intimate shots of the couple are shown when the beat slows, but the scenery of the city passing by is shown during the beat increases in speed. The couple’s faces are never shown, indicating intimacy and affection between the two which outsiders would never understand.
My body is thrilled
The secret between the two
The contrast between the muted colours and the brilliant orange sunset also adds to the idea of give and take — instead of the colours contrasting each other greatly to the point where it clashes, the two complement each other. This further emphasises the song’s theme, where a couple complement each other well without overshadowing the other. The lack of a consistent light source also creates an intimate atmosphere, for viewers are focused on Chai and nothing else. This further emphasises the idea of a private moment between couples, where they solely focus on each other without caring about what others think.
“Give and Take” prioritises an aspect of love that is not usually talked about. Unlike most songs, where love is portrayed as a wonderful feeling one has towards another, “Give and Take” focuses on the private moments between lovers and the need to make every moment count. It is vulnerable, raw but beautiful, and it emphasises the idea of simply being with one’s lover. The slow track highlights the underlying sensuality in love, drawing attention to the silent passion that does not require a big gesture.
Overall, Chai’s “Give and Take” creates a feeling of warmth and safety, allowing viewers to understand that love is so much more than just the idealised versions from what we see in media. The concept of push-and-pull, as well as complementary aspects, are depicted throughout the music video, with the video, music, and lyrics accompanying each other well to portray a love filled with warmth and passion.
We hope Chai continues to deliver such feelings of tenderness in her future tracks, and to allow young listeners to understand that love is a private affair shared amongst two.