Summer has shifted into fall, and September was filled with a wide range of releases especially from boy groups, from The Boyz to Stray Kids to SuperM. Though the pandemic rages on, the world of K-pop continues to pump out debuts and comebacks, and we are back to highlight some that you may have missed this month.
September’s Unsung Artists features solo debuts from experienced artists, including Namjoo of A Pink and Wonho, formerly of Monsta X. Most of the MVs feature darker colour palettes than your typical summer release, a true sign that we are well into autumn. However, the common thread tying these releases together is the sense of adventure, whether it be in a dream or even a process of self-discovery.
Ha:tfelt, “La Luna”
Ha:tfelt’s latest release, “La Luna”, is a moody and sensual song describing a fantasy-like night with her lover. The MV follows this sexy mood over the course of a night that Ha:tfelt shares with her man, who is mostly human, save for his rabbit head.
The MV starts with Ha:tfelt in her convertible, where a stuffed rabbit doll is in the passenger seat. The doll soon transforms into a man, though his head is still a rabbit. With this rabbit-man, Ha:tfelt shares a passionate night filled with dancing and passionate embraces and even a food fight. The MV makes use of red throughout to hint at the love and passion she feels when she is with the mysterious rabbit man; the red is evident in the lighting, Ha:tfelt’s outfits and styling, and even the props.
The magic is bound to wear off, and once it does Ha:tfelt is left once again with the stuffed rabbit. Scenes of her by herself, where she is missing her mysterious rabbit-man, are tinged with blue, evoking the loneliness that Ha:tfelt is eventually left with. The MV ends how it started, with Ha:tfelt back in her blue convertible, signalling the end of a magical, passionate adventure.
Namjoo from A Pink made her solo debut in September with single “Bird” that (G)I-dle‘s Soyeon played a role in composing. “Bird” tackles the theme of rebirth, aptly suited for a solo debut. The MV for “Bird” follows Namjoo being reborn, emerging as an even more powerful and confident version of herself than before.
Namjoo undergoes this journey in the MV, as she frees herself from anything and everything that was holding her back from finding her true self. The process of finding herself is indicated through the use of the colour red. She is stuck in a birdcage, wearing red, and she must also free herself a room where she is entangled in red string, an indication that the struggle to find her real self is not an easy one. However, she eventually emerges victorious in her struggle to find herself. She emerges on a podium, crowned and self-assured, a powerful way to kick off her solo debut.
Despite being a September release, “Obliviate”, Lovelyz’s title track for their seventh mini-album Unforgettable, could have also been an acceptable October comeback. In the context of Harry Potter, “Obliviate” is a spell that allows one to control the memory of the person the spell was cast on. In the case of the Lovelyz, they are trying to obliviate their painful memories of a past lover. “Obliviate” is a moody, magical MV, incorporating some obvious influences from Harry Potter.
Each of the members has their own storyline, all taking place within a dark mansion, though they all seem to be seeking something. The members of Lovelyz are in lonely dining halls and empty hallways; they roam rooms full of paintings and statues, all seeking out their own special object. Once these objects are found, they reunite to light them on fire, which eventually spreads to the whole mansion. Magical elements are spotted throughout the MV, including floating books, and the messenger owl is an evident nod to Harry Potter. Though “Obliviate” is a distinct shift away from signature Lovelyz, the change is pulled off gracefully and raises expectations for their next release.
Wonho, “Open Mind”
After his pre-release “Losing You” in August, Wonho made his official solo debut with title track “Open Mind” from his first album Love Synonym just under a year after his departure from Monsta X. “Open Mind” is simple but stylish and sexy, perfect for a song about a one-night stand.
The MV for “Open Mind” begins with Wonho getting ready for the night ahead. He also flips a coin, a consistent action that reappears throughout the MV as it indicates the uncertainty of the night ahead. He tries to convince the unknown girl to keep an open mind and to go with the flow. However, he is certain of the direction the night is headed. Wonho is in a car held under chains, but it breaks free and races into the night; the passion and chemistry between Wonho and the girl is undeniable, and he knows that it cannot be restrained. The confident MV, meant to impress and seduce, is only the first step in Wonho’s bright journey ahead as a solo artist.
Lee Jin-ah, “Dreamy Alarm”
Lee Jin-ah, of K-pop Star fame, also returned in September with mini-album Candy Pianist. The MV for “Dreamy Alarm” is funny but sweet, and it follows a series of dreams that she has. With appearances from musicians Lee Jang-won, Jung Jae-hyung, Yoo Hee-yeol, and even Cha Eunwoo of Astro, “Dream Alarm” is an amusing and memorable MV.
Lee Jin-ah takes us through a sequence of dreams where she meets a different man each time who each appear to be perfect, but only at first. When she first meets them, their real faces are hidden behind an anime-like face, as if they were using the anime face changer on TikTok. However, Jin-ah comes to realize that their real faces are not what she was expecting at all, and promptly wakes up unhappy with the conclusion of her dream. At last, she finally meets someone who is perfect underneath the mask and she is able to conclude her last dream on a cheerful note.
Lyrically, “Dreamy Alarm” is about the process of waking up and getting ready, getting lost in daydreams while she does. As she sings in her signature breathy voice, the MV takes the audience through these dreams filled with pastels and blue skies. Indeed, the MV is a perfect last hurrah to the last warm days of September before autumn really sets in.
(YouTube     , images via Stone Music Entertainment, Plan A Entertainment)