Since the start of 2020, we have been lucky to have seen a few debuts and comebacks from rookie groups despite the global situation. While some took different approaches to make their debuts memorable, the majority have been playing it safe. Unfortunately, Cravity is another debuting group that did not quite match up to the hopes for the new decade.
Cravity is the name of the new nine member boy group created by Starship Entertainment. The rookie group made their debut on 14th April 2020 with album Hideout: Remember Who We Are. Prior to this, they released a short prologue film introducing the members briefly in a different setting. The MV for “Break All The Rules” marks the first official music release and title track for the new group.
Many of the viewers are familiar with a few of the members who participated in Mnet’s Produce X season — aired last year, 2019 — and Stray Kids Survival show. Members Minhee and Hyeonjun went as far as debuting with the group X1, which later disbanded due to controversy.
“Break All The Rules” boasts good vocals and consistent production. The track consists of mid-tempo instrumentals that keep you bopping your head along whilst the members break into aggressive choreography. Although the vocalists are not given huge room to show off what they have, the track is melodic and steady. There is nothing out of the K-pop status quo here, only having the tune broken by the obligatory rap verses halfway through.
Lyrically, “Break All The Rules” is essentially a pep talk to its listeners. It points a finger at those of us who are too comfortable and stagnant. The song pushes for us to seize the moment now to break from the rules holding them back, and to transform into something that could be more and different.
Let’s break all the rules
The look of eyes losing all of its strength is criminal
Criminal, criminal, criminal
Let’s break all the rules
That lethargic voice is criminal
criminal, criminal wake you up”
In contrast, the MV is set in a conventional studio set up with familiar styling. The sets comprise of either minimalist CGI backdrop with the members dancing on top of a stylistic moving rubrics cube or stylized studio sets. They are arranged in a way that each member is shot within a cube-like structure with varying colours, shades, and sometimes props. For example, scenes of Allen with red strings or Serim’s flower-filled shots are featured in the MV.
Central to each shot is the symmetric lines and shapes giving off a clean-cut aesthetic to the MV. One of the highlights of the MV is the moving light angles and shade which creates a dark mood to the production. The subtle transitions between the colour schemes hold the MV from falling down a monotonous loop and adds texture to the production.
From its level of CGI to its camera work, the MV is visually pleasing and well-produced. The issue is how the mood of the MV is set against the message of the track. Although Cravity tells of breaking the rules and breaking free, the MV’s cool aesthetics fails to give off the sense of openness and breaking of conventions.
The use of box and cube shapes could be a play on the phrase thinking outside the box. Thus, this train of thought would explain the numerous variations of the lines in each shot. However, the techniques used in the MV serve to add to the feeling of being boxed up.
K-pop fans have grown accustomed to seeing some common themes for debuts. Common examples would be an MV that reflect the seasons, school themed introductions to young groups, or even a narrative to follow with each member. These conventions can be helpful to set each member apart and allow fans to form an understanding of who is who within a group.
Now, it is not a must to have any of these suggestions for a debut MV or any MV for that matter. Yet, one thing that is noticeable is how Cravity is not given much room for each of the members to shine through. Watching the MV once will not give you a sense of who Cravity is, but rather the MV focuses on the cool factor and the production value of the MV.
This only makes Cravity’s debut blend into the masses of already done MV themes, rendering it almost forgettable. Though it is stylistic and visually pleasing, the MV lacks the required memorable bang or flavour that sets the boys apart from what is already been done.
Cravity as a group is obviously filled with talent, visuals, and masses of potential. We can only hope that this is utilised by Starship Entertainment in order to keep the group relevant in this evolving industry.
(Youtube. Images via Starship Entertainment)