“Numbers” by Jamie, also known as Jimin Park, features Changmo and is her first single after appearing on Good Girls earlier this year. The song is a confident one, telling off those who value others based on factors like money or success. In the MV, Jamie demonstrates the peace of mind that letting go of this toxic mindset can bring, and invites her audience to do the same. The simple MV works well with the song’s message, as it proclaims that money and extravagance are not good measures of an individual’s worth.
In “Numbers”, Jamie (and Changmo), suggest that using numbers to rate people and their achievements is a terrible attitude. Numbers are inescapable for everybody, but the K-pop industry is one that never lets you forget that. How many views does an artist rack up on their latest MV and in how many hours? Have they won number one on a music show? How many of their latest albums were sold? How do their songs fare on music charts not just in South Korea but around the world? Jamie is no doubt acutely aware of the significance of these questions, as she got her start in the industry by placing first in the very first season of K-pop Star.
The first lesson she shares in “Numbers” is that it is best to ignore those who place too much emphasis on these measures of success. From the get-go, she states that she does not care for calculative people who value her based on how much money she makes or how many views she gets, they are not worth her time:
So why you talking bout your numbers
I don’t give a (shh) about your numbers
Your numbers aren’t fun anyway.
So keep it one two three
Don’t put a value on me
The very first scene in the MV is Jamie walking through an alley that is filled with people who recognize her and stare. Though they point at her and ogle her, she confidently strides through them without giving any of them a glance. She will not bother with those who judge her based on achievements that are not indicative of who she is as an individual.
In another scene, Jamie hangs out at her home, comfortable in her room. The sunlight streams in through a large window, and she sits on her couch and dances around the room, carefree and away from judgemental eyes. In her own space, she is free from labels and it is where she is happiest. She is the most relaxed when she does not have to engage with people who value others based on superficial titles and rankings.
Jamie also wants to share this realization with her audience. She has experienced the happiness that accompanies ignoring shallow people, and wants others to feel this experience as well. In the MV, this sentiment is reflected through the transformation of the crowd. The crowd that ogled her earlier now shows up outside her door, banging on it and waiting for someone to open it. Jamie is waiting for them inside, where the house is decorated for a party with posters and balloons. Once the door is opened, they stream inside, frantically looking everywhere for Jamie.
Before they find her, the lights switch off and Jamie has changed outfits. Until now, the MV was set during the day, but now it is night and she is ready to reveal a more personal side of herself as she teaches the crowd a lesson. As she walks through her home, the crowd is again watching her, but this time they are dancing and smiling, and follow Jamie into a different room, where they have fun amongst themselves. They dance, play with balloons and confetti, and by the end of the MV Jamie joins them too, as it ends with a cheerful dance party at home.
The crowd, representing those who used to judge and value Jamie based on titles and appearances, realizes that there is much more to Jamie than what they know about her. Once they break free from this kind of thinking, they are able to let loose and have fun with Jamie. Behind the “Numbers” that they used to define her identity is a real individual who wants to share the freedom and happiness she feels as someone who does not ascribe to hollow measures to judge a person.
The MV for “Numbers” is modest and carefree, fitting for a song that dismisses people who believe success is a good judgement of character. It is a statement from Jamie about how she views the world, and she encourages her audience to do the same.
(YouTube, Images and lyrics via Warner Music Korea)