March, which marks the official arrival of spring in the Northern hemisphere, usually ushers in a brand of K-pop filled with pastel-filled MVs and the sweetness of love. This March, however, looked a little different. It marked a year since the declaration of COVID-19 as a pandemic–a year in which most people have experienced a desire to escape our current reality in one way or another.

Some overlooked releases this March reflected this sentiment. Instead of MVs filled with pink hues and yearnings for love, many releases had MVs that took place in different dimensions that were sometimes fun and sometimes not. This edition of Unsung Artists includes Verivery, Sumin, Sejeong, Weeekly, and Pentagon, whose releases transport us from reality into their worlds, if only for a short three minutes.

Verivery – “Get Away”

Verivery came back in early March with the single album Series ‘O’ round 1: Hall and title track “Get Away”. The release explores the various symbols of “O”, including a sense of connection; Verivery put a dark spin on this as they connect with the darkness within themselves.

At first, the MV seems innocent enough, with the members gathered in a tent in a forest. It seems that “Get Away” simply refers to a literal getaway with friends. However, a mysterious floating sphere sets off a chain of events that includes an outfit change and an extravagant feast that descends into chaos. That premise alone is probably enough for an MV, but there is one last final surprise: they are being watched. In a creepy twist, the members are monitored by none other than themselves, their more sinister counterparts who wish to put an end to their other selves.

Circles can be seen throughout the MV as a nod to a sense of connection. The beds they land on are arranged in a circle, and so are their chairs as the evil Verivery members hold them hostage. In both scenes there is an extra empty bed and chair. Perhaps it is a nod to their member Minchan who is currently on hiatus, but it also hints at yet another mysterious figure who is potentially at work. One of the last shots is a closeup of Kangmin’s eyes being enveloped in black; darkness is taking over and “Get Away” is haunting until the very end. 

Sumin ft Qim Isle – “Love is Strange” [Digging Club Seoul Version]

“Love is Strange” by Sumin, featuring Qim Isle, is definitely one of quirkier inclusions on this list, as Sumin and co dance in what seems to be outer space. The original version was actually released in 2019, but the “Digging Club Seoul” version, along with the original MV, was released in March. The song is a remake of “Love is Strange” by Nami that was originally released in 1987, and the timelessness of the song’s message is emphasized in a peculiar and mesmerizing MV.

The MV for “Love is Strange” combines two topics that have been befuddling humans for centuries: outer space and love. Both can be alluring, strange, and even alienating. However, reasons behind the pursuit of both space and love include a very simple desire for connection with others, and this message is symbolized by the satellite that is set afloat as Sumin and co watch.

Sejeong – “Warning” ft lIlBOI

“Warning” is the title track for Sejeong’s second mini-album I’m. The song is a reminder to take into account warning signs against burn-out; everybody should know when to take a step back to breathe and recharge. The song is a reflection on her career from her Produce 101 days to date, packaged into an adorable MV.

Since this is a personal anecdote, we get a look into her mind that is inhabited by mini Sejeongs, Inside Out style. The Sejeongs are all overwhelmed and on the verge of burning out, and the distressed Sejeongs lounge around a pastel coloured home, trying to relax but clearly not succeeding. It’s only when one Sejeong finally flips the emergency switch that the audience fades out to the real Sejeong sleeping peacefully, taking the rest that she deserves.

Weeekly – “After School”

Weeekly dropped their third EP, We Play, in March, and the title track “After School” offers viewers another glimpse into the bright, fun, colourful teenage universe that they have constructed. Unlike a lot of other girl groups that debuted in the past year or so, Weeekly has pushed a bubbly brand of K-pop that is often a breath of fresh air amidst more serious releases.

As the title of the EP and song indicate, Weeekly are making plans to hang out and have fun. The last bell of the school day rings, and they head off to a colour skate park where they skate, hang out, and most importantly, document their experiences like the Gen Z teenagers they are. It’s hard not to crack a smile at all the colour, smiles, and happy vibes that radiates from “After School”. Everything Weeekly incorporates into their MVs, including that floating blue basketball court, is a colourful and creative reimagining of the teenage experience. Hopefully, they do not outgrow it quite that fast.

Pentagon –  “Do or Do Not”

If “After School” is a version of the teenage girl experience, Pentagon in “Do or Do Not” are the high school senior boys who are trying to play it cool in front of their crush. The title of the song says it all: all that the members of Pentagon want is a definitive answer from their crush; do they or do they not reciprocate their feelings? But, of course, it’s chill either way, though their actions in the MV would say otherwise. In another colourful, goofy MV filled–with melodramatic glances and a gymnasium set that looks like it could be a set for a high school prom in a Hollywood teen movie–Pentagon humbles themselves but entertains the audience with a not-so-suave version of themselves.

(YouTube [1],[2],[3],[4],[5], image via Play M Entertainment, Jellyfish Entertainment)