After having released earlier hits this year — such as “Bom” and “To My Youth” — rising Indie duo Bolbbalgan4 (Bol4) returned with EP Two Five and MV’s “Workaholic” and “25” on September 10. Recognized as a crowd favorite for bright, youthful music that reflects their theme of adolescence, the singers welcome the fall with a newer take on youth.
This time, “Workaholic” relates with and consoles the public on the ongoing theme of work, having perfectly aligned the date of their release with the busier season of fall. Bol4 expresses the conflicting notion of obligation versus inner desire, and the endless debate of prioritizing one’s own freedom or owning what they do.
This inner conflict is clearly reflected in the MV, through the simple juxtaposition of reality versus fantasy. In the beginning, Ahn Jiyoung tries her best to endure an endless work day, despite being late, reprimanded, and overworked. The signs of accumulated frustration are shown in the little things — crowded commute, stacked workloads, beer cans, and her constant collapse on her bed. Whether a student or full-time worker, most could probably relate with wanting to do nothing but rest in frozen time. Unfortunately, night and morning go by in the blink of an eye, as is mentioned by the lyrics:
Thinking about it now, why did I do that?
I should’ve just quit
Everyone hands up, beer cheers woo
Like youth who don’t have any regrets, face it
All of these situations make me laugh
I open my eyes and it’s already morning
Her unchanging attire symbolizes the monotony of each day, as does the actions of her boss and duo member Woo Jiyoon’s judging face expression. Viewers can further relate with the elevator scene where Ahn thought she’d be alone. Turns out, the elevator would be chock full with weary workers being moved to their shift floor. This kind of disappointment is further reflected in the lyrics — the verses reflect doubt, frustration, and weariness, from feeling overworked to dwelling on quitting.
Meanwhile, the chorus encourages fellow workaholics to face it head-on “like youth who don’t have any regrets.” Or, one can see the phrase as a repetition that the youth is often told from hardened adults. Similarly, beer is mentioned both as a remedy for a hard day and as a drink to shout cheers over. This dichotomy is both open to interpretation and a means to add greater depth to the struggle behind even overworking at all.
Throughout the MV, Ahn also dreams fantasies of overthrowing her mundane office by either swinging a bat or wreaking havoc on the work table — things that probably everyone has done one day or another. Even the studious Woo Jiyoon is seen passively watching the chaos, watching the flying documents go without a fight. And of course, the main boss is also suffering within the chaos. The passion fueling this fantasy reaches its peak with Ahn partying it up in an empty subway train car with club lights and beer. And lastly, both Ahn and Woo dress up in stylish leather and leopard prints while watching a car burn like fireworks.
During the last 20 seconds left of the MV, viewers can assume that Ahn chose her happiness and freedom over the obligation of work. But — like all mornings — the dreaded alarm clock screams its reminder that there is only one reality, and it definitely includes being on time. In doing so, the ending leaves viewers consider which side they’d choose if s/he can be daring enough.
How much does personal satisfaction and freedom have a say in one’s career path? Especially considering financial income, as well as the notion of fulfilling what one thought was their way in life? In this regard, dreams and personal ambition also come into play, all in the name of feeling the fruits of success over disappointment.
Lastly, it is safe to mention that some fans yearned to see more of Woo Jiyoon’s presence in the MV. While it is head knowledge that both members certainly contributed to the making of the EP, the screen time of both members had a stark contrast. One possible reason for this is found in the roles of the two artists in Bol4 – Ahn as the forefront vocalist and Woo as the instrumentalist and rapper. Perhaps Woo is more comfortable working behind-the-scenes while Ahn partakes in the front and center. Nonetheless, the MV for “25” has looked more promising in this regard, as both members consistently act together.
(YouTube. Images via: Shofar Music.)