A single sentence holds a plethora of meanings. “I love you”, for example, can be a romantic declaration, a statement of fact, an utterance of admiration, a mark of friendship, a reassurance, a write-off, a cry of anguish, or a sarcastic lie, depending on how it’s said. The ability of words to shift with their delivery forms the punch behind Somi’s new single “What You Waiting For”. She grapples with wondering why her crush has yet to make a move, but the meat of the song lies not in his answer, but in why Somi is asking the question.
The MV, much like her previous single “Birthday“, is visually packed to the gills, with multiple sets, sequences, and Somis spilling all over each other. However, this works because the MV takes place almost entirely in Somi’s head. The crazy goings-on and multiple ostentatious outfits are her method of processing heartbreak.
“What You Waiting For” opens with Somi lying in bed, her room filled with the detritus of a week-long pity extravaganza. She is depressed, greasy, and wondering why she’s in this situation at all. Somi has gotten herself stuck in that sour spot of heartbreak formed when you are angry at being overlooked by your crush object, but still have feelings for them and thus are attempting to figure out what’s wrong with you. Here, her question of “what are you waiting for?” is desperate. She likes him, he knows she likes him, so what obstacle has been thrown up to keep them from getting together?
It is now that we meet the first alternate Somi– a bedazzled, fierce version who is quite clearly done with Somi’s wallowing. Fierce Somi is the embodiment of Somi’s drive to take care of herself. Her forcing Somi into a suite to be made up and served a buffet is simply a glammed-up, more exciting version of the inner voice saying “take a shower and eat something; you’ll feel better” that most people have after extended moping.
The next persona shown is Past Somi, the one who got her heart broken. Her blue dress and flashy jewelry speak of a night out gone badly, one where she expected her crush to progress their relationship and make things official, only to be let down. She fluctuates between venting her anger at being passed over, at one point adjusting the camera for a better angle–and dwelling on the night in question. Somi is trapped in that moment, unable to move on until she knows why her crush failed to take the next step.
Thankfully, Fierce Somi returns to literally break Somi out of her haze and force her to move past that night. Now, her question of “What you waiting for?” is angry. She is no longer asking what is keeping them apart, but why he has not made a move and is instead content to string her along.
Other versions of Somi appear, though less impactful than the main three. There’s a version who has sailed a yacht alone in the middle of the ocean– the embodiment of a desire to run away from everything. There’s also an idealized version, dressed up and confident, who has successfully put the pain behind her, or is capable of faking it.
And last of all is Green Dress Somi, seen with a wall of screens, watching the events of all her other selves. She is the one trying to piece herself back together. This is the Somi who has to reconcile the pain, the bitterness, the false ego, the need to run, and the need to move on. And while Ideal Somi ends the song by proclaiming herself to be the only thing her man has going for him and if he fails to lock her down; well, that is his loss, Green Dress Somi . . . leaves.
She is not attempting to flee from her problems as Yacht Somi was. Instead, her choice to leave the others behind reads more as an act of closure, ending this chapter of her life and moving forward into the next one. She loved, she lost, it was messy, but now she’s gotten her head on and is ready to see what comes next; literally going to a completely new environment.
“What You Waiting For” is grief made visual. The myriad of impulses, the conflicting emotions; this is how people feel after a heartbreak, especially one that fell apart rather than having a clean ending. Somi’s imaginings are certainly more exciting than the typical person’s, but it works. By separating each strand out, “What You Waiting For” validates each aspect of the healing process. It also provides a subtle reassurance that processing the “right” way is less important than processing in a healthy way. It is more than a little extra that Somi finds taking care of herself easier after imagining a pep talk and makeover given by an alpha female version of herself, but the important thing is that she listens and takes the steps needed to start moving on.
Musically, “What You Waiting For” is fine. An EDM track that is well suited to Somi’s vocal range and allows her enough room to convey the shift from heartbreak to anger to egotistic bragging, it certainly is not bad. But it is a bit generic, depending on Somi and the MV to provide it with a distinct identity. The result is a song that is good to vibe to and makes for enjoyable background noise, but is not particularly engaging on its own.
“What You Waiting For” is a huge step forward for Somi as a solo act. It helps firmly establish her as someone who, underneath the glitz and celebrity, is still human, with all the chaos and mess that comes with it. She has managed to walk the tightrope between glamour and girl next door in a way few others can, giving her a solid identity to build her image on moving forward.
(Images via The Black Label, YouTube)