Summer in K-pop is a season of colourful, bright, and happy songs and MVs. On the flipside, summer also beckons dance tracks perfect for a party or club, which is exactly what Kang Daniel aims for in his pre-release “Waves,” featuring Jamie and Simon Dominic. Ahead of his early August comeback, “Waves” is a catchy summer pre-release that paints a picture of a summer night out.    

At its core, “Waves” is a flirty dance track, and the narrative of the MV generally benefits from the addition of Jamie and Simon Dominic, while still allowing Kang Daniel to shine. As the title would suggest, water is used in the MV to represent the attraction and desire that Kang Daniel and his counterpart, in this case Jamie, are feeling.

Both Jamie and Simon Dominic have a significant amount of verses and they are also given a fair amount of screentime in the MV. There is no doubt that Kang Daniel is the main character; Jamie and Simon Dominic are limited to one set and outfit while Kang Daniel is seen in multiple. Kang Daniel’s story of attraction and desire is the one being told on-screen, while the other two artists act as an extra set of narrators that provide both a female and male perspective. Lighting and dancers are used in Jamie and Simon Dominic’s scenes to match the flow of the MV, especially as it builds up to the climax of the song.

Though the focus is undoubtedly on Kang Daniel and rightfully so, Jamie stands out through her more colourful styling and set that stands out against the darker colour palette used for the men. This effect is also complementary to the back-and-forth between Jamie and the men in the lyrics. In contrast, Simon Dominic’s scenes contribute much less to the narrative of the MV, though his rap verses are a nice contrast to Jamie and Kang Daniel’s voices. The three artists are never on-screen together, but the MV transitions between the three of them smoothly, as CG water droplets are handed off to each other as if the artists are passing the mic on to each other.

Indeed, water is interwoven throughout the MV in various ways, indicating the progression of the night. Waves represent the allure of the girl, in this case Jamie, who is flirting with Kang Daniel. However, the song also continually repeats the word “sonagi,” meaning shower, which signifies Kang Daniel’s own desire.

From the opening scene, Kang Daniel is lying half submerged in water, suggesting that by the end of the night, he has given into his desire. Then, the rewind of a water droplet falling takes the viewer back to the beginning so that we can see the full progression of how the night has unfolded. An animated picture of a stormy ocean hints at the night that is to come.

One of the key uses of water in the MV is to represent the allure of the girl that Kang Daniel finds attractive. The waves that Kang Daniel sings about drowning in is the girl’s, or Jamie’s, charm. The sole set that Jamie appears in is a sand and palm tree filled set, reminiscent of a tropical beach, but without the water. Her verses beckon Kang Daniel and urge him to make a move; like how waves are bound to crash against the shore eventually, the two will inevitably end up together by the end of the night. While he is in various sets and scenes featuring water, Jamie is on dry land because her charm is the wave that he is caught in. A wave, and those caught up in it, will eventually reach the shore. As the MV nears its end, Kang Daniel stands on a rock as CG waves crash against it from behind, suggesting that the attraction he feels for the girl is getting stronger. This feeling is emphasized by Jamie delivering her next verse in the same tropical beach set, but this time with dizzying purple lights as she further tells Kang Daniel to approach her.

Other than the mention and use of waves, water droplets are also frequently used in the MV, signifying Kang Daniel’s own desire. In the beginning, Kang Daniel is in the tropical beach set where he is suddenly surrounded by water droplets, foreshadowing Jamie and the attraction he will feel for her. As the night progresses and his desire for the girl grows stronger, Kang Daniel fidgets with a lighter. However, he hesitates to light a spark because once it is lit it marks the point of no return. He is questioning whether he should give into the unexpected shower of desire that he feels tonight. Once he lights the lighter, he holds it up to a fire sprinkler and sets it off. What follows is a scene where Kang Daniel and his dancers are rained on. At first he does not dance with the others, but by the end he is having fun with them. While the burst of attraction and desire that Daniel felt was sudden, much like being caught in an unexpected shower, he is choosing to embrace it and let loose. Now, the scenes of Kang Daniel submerged in water make sense. They are a culmination of him following the waves to the girl and giving into his own desire as well.

The MV for “Waves” captures the essence of a summer night out. As a pre-release, the collaboration with Jamie and Simon Dominic builds anticipation for Kang Daniel’s upcoming mini-album, while showcasing a flirtier, sexier side of him.

(YouTube. Images via KONNECT Entertainment)