Lately, melancholic songs seem to bring me relief, as masochistic as that sounds. Upsetting songs are so cathartic, tapping into that hollowness and pulling out whatever’s left of me. It lets me drown in its wave of sadness, without asking redundant and annoying questions like “Why do you feel this way?”, “Why do you want to feel like this?” or “Why don’t you get help?”. Something about a sad song’s melancholy and desolation swats away all this judgment and displeasure towards depression, and Bandage‘s debut, “Invisibles”, does exactly that.
“Invisibles” really feeds into that empty and lonely feeling through the MV and song. With individual shots of each member in their respective rooms, and the feeling of each member being in their own world even whilst performing with each other, the idea of isolation becomes more prominent. Heck, even the furniture and the whole band disappear at the end of the song, leaving the viewer completely alone to process their own thoughts and emotions. However, this emptiness that Bandage manages to create is not bad: while some songs may leave you feeling even lonelier than before, “Invisibles” helps to ease that feeling, and reminds us that we can always come back to this song.
There is a mixture of longing, sadness, and hurt that can be heard in main vocalist and leader Lee Chansol‘s voice, amplifying the sorrowfulness found in the lyrics. His baritone voice perfectly captures the feeling of being hollowed out after a series of heartbreaking events, and the grittiness of his voice further pushes the feeling of hurt and betrayal. This is prominent in the bridge, where the phrase “Forever I, Forever You” is repeated over and over again.
The slow repetition of the phrase and melody starts to feel more overwhelming as the song progresses, building up to a cathartic release when Chansol finally belts out the phrase above, with his members singing along in perfect harmony. The release from the same monotonous phrase is perfectly timed: it allows the listener to feel the build-up in emotions, and does not drag it out long enough for the listener to lose their momentum.
As mentioned earlier, the MV shows furniture and other various objects slowly fading out of existence, with the members disappearing at the end. When I first watched the MV, I was left in awe, but also flustered at the fact that the song and MV ended so abruptly. Yet, unlike other songs about loneliness, I did not feel any more isolated than I already was, but I still wanted more. This feeling of wanting more led me to replay the MV over and over again, in hopes that one of my many replays will eventually help me feel whole again. This isn’t to say that “Invisibles” is bad; rather, the aftereffect was so strong that it left me pining for more.
That aside, I was very impressed with Bandage’s debut. The members met on JTBC‘s new program, Superband, where each member showed their versatility as musicians. When Superband ended, Play M Entertainment signed an exclusive contract with them, thus forming Bandage. At first, I was a bit skeptical of the band’s sound due to the 12-year age gap between the oldest (Chansol, born in 1989) and the youngest (Shin Hyunbin and Im Hyeongbin, born in 2001) members of the group. Considering the fact that all the members were at different points in their lives (their drummer, Kyoungyoon, was born in 1997), I was worried that there would be a weird clash of ideas and concepts that could potentially cause the band to lose its sound.
Yet “Invisibles” proves us wrong, as the track highlights each member’s musical colour while still coming together to form one cohesive whole. In their debut single, Square One, the band takes on a more melancholic, but otherwise mature, sound. “Heaven”, with an introduction that reminds me of Christina Perri‘s “A Thousand Years”, is absolutely beautiful, both melodically and lyrically. It encourages listeners gently to follow their dreams, while remembering that there is always a safe and happy place for them to return to.
To fill the dark sky is to walk between clouds
If you have a dream, follow this street
The album’s last track, “For You From Me”, takes on a heavier rock sound, and this is where we really get to hear that grittiness in Chansol’s voice. Vocals aside, “For You From Me” also highlights the rest of the members’ musical colours. The track ends with a minute and a half long instrumental, where listeners can fully appreciate the instruments instead of having to switch their focus between the vocals and the instruments. “For You From Me” gives me hope that Bandage will not only focus on rock ballads like they did with the other tracks in Square One, but also branch out to different styles of rock music.
Overall, Bandage have proven themselves to be a remarkable force, and I look forward to their next release. It will definitely be interesting to see how the members weave together their different stories to form a cohesive sound that will touch the hearts of listeners of all ages.