Pre-release singles are common, but pre-release albums in K-pop? Much less so. Ailee released Lovin’ as a pre-release album last week, with “Make Up Your Mind” as one of the lead singles. Spring releases are often sweet ones about love, and “Make Up Your Mind” very much falls into this category, telling a sweet but layered love story.
The MV is a saturated vlog of a couple that is beginning to realize the extent of their feelings for each other. Shot on iPhones, the video is labelled as a Music V-log on Ailee’s official YouTube channel. There are shots from the perspective of the couple’s phones as they take selfies and pictures of each other. True to its label, it does at times feel more like the audience is watching a YouTube couple on a date, or even a montage in a romantic movie, rather than an MV.
Complex symbolism and intersecting storylines are fun and keep fans hooked in the K-pop industry, but the charm of “Make Up Your Mind” lies in its relatively simple nature. As a single for a pre-release album, there are no big surprises shelled out for the MV. It’s a cheesy but cute story of a couple teetering on the edge of falling in love, and the MV does not offer anything more or anything less than that.
Though the MV is easy enough to understand without knowing the song, it should be watched with the lyrics to glean the full story. In the song, Ailee is asking the person that she has feelings for–played by actor Park Eun-seok in the MV–to be open about their feelings for her. She is into him, but she does not want to waste any more time on someone who does not reciprocate her feelings.
At first, the MV seems to contradict the lyrics. Ailee and Park Eun-seok ride a motorcycle down a seaside highway and take goofy pictures of each other. In fact, most of the MV comprises scenes of the two on dates. They have a more serious conversation at a cafe, and the MV even comes to an end with a romantic beach date. During their scenes together, the two are obviously very much into each other. They steal glances at one another and take pictures together, and there is no room to question whether either one is feeling anything but love.
The final date by the beach, however, sheds some light on their relationship. Subtle cues like their hesitancy in holding hands suggests that despite their mutual attraction, something about their relationship is not quite official. Maybe they don’t want to put labels on anything, or maybe they haven’t known each other long. Either way, Ailee is seeking confirmation that Park Eun-seok does indeed return her feelings. Despite all the time that they have spent together, she is still not 100% convinced that their attraction is mutual.
So, does Ailee ever get an answer? She does, but only because she realizes that the answer was in front of her all along. This is when the two seemingly unconnected scenes of Ailee among flowers plays a role. Indeed, the simplistic MV does not shun symbolism; instead, the flowers found in her solo scenes indicate the feelings of love that are clearly blooming (pardon the pun). Like the flowers that encircle her, Ailee is actually being loved beyond her imagination. The flowers appear in their numerous date scenes. The coffee date opens with a close-up of a rose-filled candle at the edge of their table, and during their beach date yellow tulips can be seen on the right. But Ailee takes no notice of these flowers, just as she cannot see the extent of Park Eun-seok’s feelings for her.
The MV does end with a happily ever after. The final scenes show Ailee holding another tulip; she has found what she was looking for, and it had been by her side all along. The song might be imploring Park Eun-seok to be explicit about his feelings, but the MV adds a small yet surprising layer to this message: Ailee had only been asking because she was missing the overt hints in his actions towards her all along.
“Make Up Your Mind” is sweet and straightforward, but not without its layers. It may not go down in K-pop history, but it’s casual and fun, and showcases an endearing side of Ailee that is not usually on display.
(YouTube, images via Rocket3 Entertainment)