If you have not heard of Ha Sung-Woon, then this year is a good time to get to know him. While his solo career only just started in 2019, he has been active since 2014. Ha Sung-Woon was part of Wanna One and most recently part of the boy group, Hotshot.
Earlier this year, he came out with the comeback, “Get Ready.” He returned this year with another equally funky track, “Forbidden Island” off his fourth mini-album, Mirage. With the use of special effects, tone shifts, and a large dance crew, “Forbidden Island” explains the need to escape from the busy life of a pop star.
At the beginning of the MV, Ha Sung-Woon walks through a doorway and finds himself on a mysterious island. This relates to the lyrics of the song that tell of a forbidden island the voice of the song wishes to escape to. However, even as the song implies running away with a potential lover, the MV focuses more on wanting to get away for the sake of tranquility.
The word “forbidden” in the title seems to also imply that the voice feels this is a desire they need to hide. The settings go back and forth between a beautiful island with the beach in the background and a club booth showing Ha Sung Woon surrounded by people and alcohol. The scenes imply that Ha Sung-Woon’s persona is overwhelmed with the party life and is seeking a little bit of quiet time.
The lighting between the two settings also differs, with natural and bright lighting on the island, and darkness and laser lights in the club scenes that add to the tone difference. Ha Sung-Woon’s persona looks apathetic in the club scenes as he is being fonded over by background characters. However, on the island, he looks more contemplative and peaceful with scenes of nature in the background. Again, this relates back to the song where the voice is eager to find solitude on an island:
A bewitching island
No traces of life on this island
We’ll probably get there
That forbidden island
There are several symbols like water, flowers, and butterflies linking back to the island’s natural setting. The butterfly is especially significant as it plays the part of a guide. The butterflies are first seen in the darker setting, and as one flies away a door is opened showing the path to the island. Ha Sung-Woon’s persona seems to follow the butterfly and finally goes to the other side. Butterflies generally symbolize transformation, however, in this case, they seem to represent a change of scenery for the persona.
One of the other noticeable symbols is an island in a picture frame. It flashes through the scenes, and in one part is even on fire. By showing it in a picture frame, it makes seem like a memory or a place the persona is longing for. Setting it on fire shows that it has finally become a reality instead of memory.
While the MV is full of aesthetics and imagery, the dance routine also takes a central part of the MV. Ha Sung-Woon has some solo parts where he is just vibing with the song. However, his choreographed scenes with his large dance crew show the most impressive dances. Even with many back-dancers, Ha Sung-Woon does not get drowned out. He manages to stand out from the crowd with his unique outfits and by keeping the focal point on him. The dance is sensual and fits into the funky beat of the song.
Ha Sung-Woon’s latest track adds to his credit both as a singer and a song-writer. The moody song manages to stay on trend without sounding overly repetitive. The MV does a decent job of bringing the theme of the song’s lyrics to life by showing the need to sometimes escape and enjoying some alone time. Overall, Ha Sung-Woon is definitely someone to follow as he continues to evolve as an artist.