When viewed side-by-side with “UN Village,” Baekhyun’s latest release “Candy” is a shift, to say the least. The video for “UN Village” plays with deep contrasts, and Baekhyun always stands alone. On the musical side, the song is sultry and sensual with a darker R&B flavor that highlights the rich tone of Baekhyun’s voice.
While “Candy” connects with his debut solo project in sticking within the R&B vein, the MV showcases another side of Baekhyun’s voice and personality. “Candy” is bright, cheerful, and playful — similar to the artist’s well-known character. Every element of the MV works to strengthen the concept of “Candy” (an appropriately titled subset of his album Delight), especially in its set and choreography which compliment Baekhyun’s voice and the lyrics of the song.
The first thing viewers see is Baekhyun skateboarding to an abandoned warehouse with “B-506,” a reference to Baekhyun’s birthday on May 5, graffitied in bright pink on the wall. A few seconds later, once he is inside, viewers realize that the place is a secret hangout for him and his friends.
Although Baekhyun is bathed in a cold blue light at the entrance of the building, the heart of his place is bursting with fun and warmth. His hideout is an old movie theater full of arcade games (like the impossible grab-the-toy game and basketball hoops), popcorn machines, light graffiti on the walls, and, of course, lots of candy. Once Baekhyun reaches the lobby area of the movie theater, a warm hue takes over the scenes. This warmth derives mostly from the abundance of red props, notably the red carpet, and the neon lights that draw more visual interest and add another layer of texture into the mix. Regardless of the set’s less-than-glamorous appearance, a fun and lighthearted atmosphere exists.
Something that has garnered attention from this MV is the prominence of the T-shirt on the wall that reads “Welcome to Acid House.” It is most likely a reference to the acid house movement, a musical subgenre of house music, and the cartoon that was printed in 1988 as a response to it. In the cartoon, a robed smiley faced character holds tablets (or candy) out to wide-eyed kids who then fall into the doormat that reads “welcome to acid house.”
Baekhyun’s “Candy” MV might have included this prop to refer to the musical subgenre but also to indicate that this place is an underground location. The warehouse/movie theater, from the outside, clearly has not been in use for quite some time. The “Candy” sign on the exterior probably had not been turned on in years, and the “D” is falling off. Baekhyun and his friends have turned this abandoned location into their secret place.
Since the location is their hangout place, it is a bit messy inside, but messy in a way that indicates that it has been lived in. There is stuff on the movie theater type carpet, and streamers hang from the counters, but it does not seem like the mess is bothering anyone who is there to enjoy themselves and have fun with their friends.
Other Easter eggs (literally) include the appearance of the word “Eggs” behind Baekhyun in the homemade skate park. Apparently antis started calling EXO-Ls (fans of Exo) “eggs” as an insult, but EXO-Ls have since embraced that new title — and so did Baekhyun, enough to include it in his new MV. The posters of City Lights, his debut solo album, also make it into some dance scenes, a nod to the first side Baekhyun showed as a solo artist.
“Candy,” sonically, draws listeners in with its staccato synth phrase, as if it were taking quick steps like it was dancing, and this rhythm carries throughout the entire song. With “Candy,” Baekhyun sticks with an R&B influenced track and laid back beat, a similarity that connects his two solo efforts. As one might expect with a song titled “Candy,” there are an abundance of lines related to candy and sweetness. The chorus demonstrates this best and creates the strongest link to the concept:
Girl I’m your candy (candy, candy)
Special chemistry (candy, candy)
Mature cinnamon (sweet)
Dorky mint (sweet)
What else do you want?
(Yeah, yeah, yeah, oh yeah, yeah, yeah)
Got me feeling like pop rocks, strawberry, bubble gum
When my pocket is full of scent
All I want is you my love (yep)
Candy (candy, candy, candy, yeah)
You will feel better
Tell me what you’re waiting for
Although I had watched the MV a couple of times, in the beginning, the only lines that captured my attention and really left a solid image was that of “poprocks, strawberry, bubble gum,” the background vocals singing “candy,” and the “special chemistry” line, probably because Baekhyun’s pronunciation left an impression on me. Since watching “Candy” a few more times, the song has stuck a little more, but these lines still remain the ones that loop in my brain.
When Baekhyun sings the chorus for the second time, one might be struck by how it looks like he is having genuine fun dancing and harmonizing with “pop rocks, strawberry, bubble gum.” In this joyous display, viewers are pulled into the scene and the lighthearted atmosphere that is created in “B-506.”
Baekhyun shows off more of what his voice can do in the space during the bridge. As he sings “nah nah nah,” he slides in and out of his falsetto and then transitions to throwing around ad libs during the last chorus.
The first thing that might strike viewers about the “Candy” MV is that there are other people besides Baekhyun. “UN Village” emphasized that he was starkly alone. The seven others included in the “Candy” MV add to the playful environment that centers around Baekhyun.
The choreography also has a stronger impact with eight people dancing rather than just Baekhyun by himself, especially since it incorporates some popular dance moves such as the shoot dance. Those dances are slipped in so that the audience can recognize them, but they are modified, so it is not the exact same thing. The choreography, then, is another invitation for viewers to join the fun and fresh scene.
Out of the “Candy” choreography came the #candychallenge. Baekhyun posted a video of him dancing the chorus (featuring an enthusiastic woah at the end) with Kasper, a choreographer, on his Instagram which also appeared on Kasper’s TikTok. Baekhyun’s fellow Exo and SuperM member, Kai, created an easy version of the challenge, which also was posted first on Kasper’s TikTok and then Kai’s Instagram. Lucas and Ten of WayV (and also members of SuperM with Baekhyun) joined the fun when they posted a video of themselves doing the #candychallenge together on their separate Instagram accounts.
In the “Candy” MV, viewers get a glimpse into Baekhyun’s hideout and are invited into the scenes of good times, friendship, dancing, and sweetness. Since there is a fair amount of movement in the MV through the choreography and the direction of the camera, “Candy” hooks viewers into watching the MV again and again because, visually, there is always more to see.
This claim remains true of Baekhyun as a solo artist as well: “UN Village” matched well with the sensuality of his voice, while “Candy” is abound with playfulness, reflective of Baekhyun’s personality. Who knows what else he will bring when he, hopefully, releases more solo projects in the future.
(YouTube. Images via 909Originals, SM Entertainment.)