Reaching stage four of his colorful discography, Kwon Hyunbin (now going by stage name Viini) has transcended to a solo artist with debut album “DIMENSION” and title track “Genie.” August 19 marked the day Viini achieved another one of his dreams, particularly through his own producing skills.
Viini came a long way since his official industry debut, in which he was a model for YG KPlus since 2015 at 18 years old. Two years later, the greater public witnessed him competing in Produce 101 Season 2 as a model-turned-singer hopeful. Opinions were mixed regarding his participation, particularly since he was still considered a rookie model in the eyes of the public. Nonetheless, he placed 22nd and was able to join project group JBJ. Their brief run went from October 2017 to April 2018, in which he shone with his diverse skillset through a third, new platform.
Finally, Viini launched his solo debut through YGX, another subsidiary label under YG Entertainment, this year. The news closely followed the start of his personal YouTube channel, aptly coined Kwon Hyunbin Begins. Clearly, Viini is a consistent go-getter with showcasing his numerous potentials onscreen. But to the satisfaction of fans old and new, “Genie” is a promising solo debut for an artist returning on a fourth, new platform.
What is most noticeable is how much creativity is embedded in the entire music video. For instance, the MV makes the best possible use of its stage by utilizing color, space, angle, and a wide variety of scenes. Throughout its run, the MV also keeps the eyes entertained with lavish aesthetics that serve to highlight Viini via many lenses. His collaboration with model and actress Lee Haeun (also from YG KPlus) is further filled with artistic purpose, as the two figures are fully utilized with the aim of symbolic storytelling. It’s definitely a wholesome package that delivers Viini and his title track to wrap up the end of summer.
As aforementioned, this MV is a treat for the eyes. Opening up (and wrapping up) with an old-school film filter, a short excerpt of Viini’s opening album song “Cheers” hums over fleeting shots of Viini. In the first episode of Kwon Hyunbin Begins, fans can see Viini and his producers discussing an upgrade to his past single “Cheers.” Explained by Viini himself, the song is meant to touch on the duality of love and sorrow through the notion of drinking sorrows away. Feeling sorrowful towards a lover at least once can equate to drinking enough to shortly “forget” those exact sorrows.
It is this duality that lays the foundation for his MV themes. A majority of the MV includes scenes and shots of Viini with his lover, with a heavy emphasis on their being a pair. Whether they’re circling around under pouring rain or entering his car from either direction, their duality hardly keeps them apart. Even when Lee Haeun is seen leaving near the end, she looks back once more – and this shot precedes the two walking away while “stuck” together anyway.
This balance is further seen through the intricate balance of light versus dark – that in which inspires distinct moods in mere seconds. In Viini’s imaginative genie world, night and day flow on by effortlessly as he and his love interest float through it in a dream-like state. The timeline of their relationship is placed out of order throughout the video, with various filters, colors, and lighting used to hint a certain mood.
Out of many examples, it’s seen in how their lovey-dovey stage is captured in black and white, while a private banquet is cast in a bright yellow room. Yet, most of the MV is cast in darkness when both Viini and Lee Haeun are present, whether through a dreamy or old VHS lens. Storytelling is effectively told through color, aesthetics, and lighting in these ways, as they contribute to enhance a vague love story behind these two figures.
Viewers may have also noticed the borders of the video shifting from cinematic to full, and back. In certain parts of the MV, the focus is inclined towards a cinematic experience, such as whenever Lee Haeun enters or leaves the scene like a plot character. Other parts of Viini’s choreography and MV stills are also captured in this view, while the rest of the MV is viewed with its normal borders.
While experimental, the potential inconsistency behind this move brings to question whether it could’ve been better paced. It may have been more effective if the allocation of cinematic versus full borders was consistently displaced – and in doing so, clearly differentiating between plot/acting scenes and choreographic/solo shots. Nonetheless, it is a subtle change seen in the MV that isn’t too distracting.
Amid all of these artistic ventures is Viini’s choreography. This aspect was also pleasantly surprising for this MV, as most of the MV was prioritized towards delivering an artistic love story for Viini. Though in the midst of actual dance shots, viewers see Viini take easy control of his stage amongst his back dancers. Whatever choreo shots are included in the MV only include him with his dancers, leisurely following through with the song to his own pace. He displays a relaxed stance throughout it all, focusing more so on his concept than keeping up with the original choreography.
This creative control is further seen in how Viini’s songs are written and produced by Viini himself. Consisting of four songs, the tracklist reveals Viini’s name accompanying lyrics and composition for every one of them, as he directly collaborated with producers such as FUTURE BOUNCE and The Proof. The order of his tracklist is also meant to describe the progress of ordinary couples falling in and out of love, telling an altogether relatable story.
“Genie”, in particular, expands on the initial stage of wanting to answer every wish of their lover, via a trapsoul genre that redefines Viini as an emerging hip-hop artist. Each song in the debut album expands on a different part of this progress, distinct yet collaborative simultaneously. Viini has been nothing short of hands-on with his production, as he continues to pave his way as a singer – as well as the Kwon Hyunbin that we all started out with.
Ultimately, what is most admirable is Viini’s consistent pursuit of music, even with his modeling career behind him. Through participating in P101, JBJ, and a solo debut, he has shown how far an artist can truly go to achieve their dreams and showcase their colors. “Genie” marks only the start of this new page in his life, as he now claims the stage for himself. Only time can tell how he’ll balance his modeling and singing schedules, though – as we’ve seen since early on – his perseverance and effort will someday take him even higher.