I found out about N.Flying at the start of 2018, when I came across a Twitter post with a picture of a potato stuck on a stick and a caption saying that this was an official lightstick for a group. Out of curiosity and amusement, I searched up the group, watched their MV for “Hot Potato“, and decided that this was definitely a group worth keeping an eye out for. “Hot Potato” was so vibrant and whimsical just like its sister, “The Real“, and I was hooked on N.Flying’s sound and style (I highly recommend you to watch these two MVs, because they are so fun and entertaining).

They are such a colourful band, producing feel-good music for listeners to dance and let loose to, and it was just nice to know that I could go back to their music any time I wanted to feel nothing but exhilaration.

Yet, the comebacks that followed “Hot Potato” were muted — not to say that the songs weren’t good, they just didn’t have the same amount of liveliness and colour like “The Real” and “Hot Potato”. Their bassist left the band after being caught in a controversy in late 2018, and N.Flying proceeded as a four-man group in 2019, earning themselves band of the year at the 2019 Melon Music Awards with “Rooftop”. I love “Rooftop“, but I just wished that they would bring back some of that vibrance that made me fall in love with them.

2020 rolled by, and the band announced that they had recruited a new bassist, Seo Dongsung, and months later, they finally released their first album with their new bassist. “Oh really.” is everything I adore about N.Flying– it’s fun, over-the-top, and it truly emits feel-good energy for its viewers. The MV is not just an MV, it’s also a big advertisement for their new lightstick (so long, hot potato, you’ll be missed but never forgotten), where Jaehyun advertises to viewers that the lightstick will bring only happiness to the owner and those around them. At the end of the MV, all the members are absolutely enamoured by the lightstick that they crowd around the television to watch the advertisement, so get yours today!

The premise of the MV is simple– the members are stuck at home, presumably because of quarantine like everyone else, and Seunghyub turns on the television out of boredom. As he flips through the different channels, we see familiar scenes being played by the members, the most recognisable being Jaehyun reenacting director Bong Joon Ho‘s mannerisms at the Oscars and Dongsung taking on the role of his translator, Sharon Choi. We also see Hwesung, Cha Hun and Dongsung playing as auctioneers for antiques, who become so excited that they accidentally knock the table, causing the expensive urn to fall and shatter.

Out of all the scenes we see, the most out of place scene would be Hweseung’s solo scene, where he reenacts a dramatic phone booth scene that occurs in almost every Korean drama to ever exist. Compared to the other scenes, this one is less dramatic and more serious, and so it felt detached from the others. However, it takes a turn during the bridge, where the rest of the members join Hweseung, and as Hweseung hits the high note, all the members raise their right hands for dramatic effect. The setting and outfits add to the drama as well, as all members were dressed in leather jackets with mist surrounding them. 

Don’t be fooled by the silliness of the MV and the upbeat track, when reading the lyrics, you’ll realise that “Oh really.” is not a happy song at all. There should be a counter that tracks how many times I’ve been fooled by a song’s happy tune because I never seem to learn my lesson

Please don’t go, I’m lonely

Freakin’ hard to say goodbye

Even I can’t understand me

What an embarrassment

Sad lyrics aside, “Oh really.” is a song filled with so many colours that when I first listened to it, my first thought was, “This is N.Flying.” I have always associated N.Flying with fun, free-spirited, and chaotic music, which is why their 2019 releases were disappointing to me. However, even though “Oh really.” is not as wild as “The Real” or “Hot Potato”, you can tell that N.Flying has refined their sound to balance both the wildness in songs like “The Real” and maturity in songs like “Rooftop”. The members have taken what they’ve learnt from their Fly High Project and combined it with the style of music they had from before, creating a sound that is both familiar and new at the same time. Personally, I would love to hear a song that is just as chaotic as “The Real” or “Hot Potato” again, but I can’t deny how much I enjoy “Oh really.”

“Oh really.” is quintessential N.Flying at its finest, maintaining the members’ playful nature while showing a more mature side. Their album “So, 通 (Communication)”, is further proof of that, and I strongly recommend you to give it a listen, and maybe get their new lightstick while you’re at it.

Xiao Qing Gets Fooled by an Upbeat Track Counter: 3

(YouTube [1][2][3][4][5][6], Twitter, Naver, Koreaboo; Images via FNC Entertainment)