It has been over a year since the popular brother-sister duo, Akdong Musician, released “How can I love the heartbreak, you’re the one I love“– a melancholic ballad that enjoyed long term success. This time, they are back with a soft rock ballad, titled “Happening”, which was released as a little snack for fans as they wait for the duo to put out a full album.
“Happening” fits the mood that colder, shorter days seem to have, with its bittersweet message and overall pensive mood. Even the word “happening” alone is a play on the words “happy ending”, as seen on a sign towards the end of the MV. The line “You’re just my happening” indicates a relationship that was fleeting and was never meant to last, instead of one where the couple lives out their fairytale ending. This theme of fleeting moments and loss is apparent throughout the MV, and it adds to the bittersweetness of the song.
The world of the MV seems to have two different dimensions that the siblings constantly drift between, and they are unable to control when they get to go to the other world. For Chanhyuk, the majority of his scenes take place on a train, where he attempts to reach out to someone he has not seen in a long time. The other passengers on the train are represented as skeletons in the second dimension, or the underworld, and the only humans around are Chanhyuk and the girl he is chasing after. The skeletons add to the idea of loss and death, and when Chanhyuk finally reaches the girl, it is revealed that she is a skeleton in the first dimension, implying that she has passed on, and Chanhyuk is unable to let go.
A chase scene on a train is pretty dramatic, especially when we see Chanhyuk weaving his way through and pushing past bodies/skeletons just to chase after someone. Yet it further adds to the bittersweetness of things, especially with the reveal at the end, where viewers understand why Chanhyuk was so desperate in the first place. Ultimately, their relationship did not last– it was a fleeting moment that ended in loss.
We’re too naive
To fall in love with a single glance
Next time we meet,
Just ignore and pass me by, baby
You’re just my happening
For Suhyun, her scenes take place in a small town, and the constant drifting between dimensions disables her from actually doing anything, such as picking up a drink, or taking a bag of popcorn. Most importantly, Suhyun is disconnected from human contact throughout her scenes. Even when there are people around her, they do not realise the shift between dimensions, as well as move at a different speed from her. This pushes the idea of loneliness and isolation, which emphasises the fleeting moments and loss even further.
Song wise, we get to hear more of Chanhyuk during the chorus, and while I usually enjoy Suhyun’s powerful vocals, Chanhyuk’s soft and mellow singing only adds to the bittersweetness of “Happening”. The song has a more upbeat tempo, but also a melancholic tone underneath. It is definitely more subdued as a whole, and this resulted in a “meh” reaction for me. However, upon hearing the version with the live band, the song is more dynamic, and more impactful.
Overall, “Happening” is a track that — even when paired with a bittersweet MV — I personally wouldn’t rate as the strongest AkMu release; however, it is still definitely going on repeat.