Fresh off their “Drunk Dazed” comeback, Enhypen surprised with a follow-up MV for “Fever.” Assuming HYBE had to put all that stock footage of them in royal garb to use, “Fever” was definitely the most stand-out b-side to “pair” it with. In so doing, Enhypen have succeeded in giving an extra dose of visuals to fans as well as introducing a stellar b-side that may otherwise have slipped under the radar.
“Fever” is a healthy combination of an excellent track, aesthetics, lyricism, and well-executed choreography. If “Fever” is the sum of all it’s parts, it’s a strong release for the rookie group. At the same time, with each of these individual parts being more than a little suggestive, “Fever” also is an eyebrow raising exhibition for a group with an average age in the teens, leaving some uneasy.
As track, “Fever” has all the elements of a sensual R&B jam: a repetitive bass line that only drops out in the pre-chorus to give some space, crooned vocals, and breathy falsettos to add some dynamics. By forgoing a vocal bridge and standard high-note, the track maintains a steady rhythm, carrying a hypnotic feel throughout its short run-time. It’s the kind of song that can be played on loop without missing a beat which gives it excellent repeat listening potential.
Adding to the hypnotic feel are equally sensual and playful lyrics. In a moment of infatuation, the Enhypen members “burn” for the object of their desire. Whether this is an innocent teenage crush or something more mature is up for interpretation; however, lines like “because of you my heart thirsts” and “I beg you, do something, anything” are pretty telling. The lyrics play with the idea of push and pull, wanting to have something so badly it burns, being unable to grasp it, and experiencing simultaneous pleasure and pain in that kind of longing.
What I gotta do, (my burning hands)
Reach out to you (I cannot have it)
I cannot touch you, never
But I’m drawn to you
The more I hurt the more I want you
Notable in the lyrics is the subtle way it toys with this idea of want and pain. In the echo of the chorus, the members first say “I want to hold you,” but in the second half, it becomes “I want to suffer from you.” In Korean, the verbs for hold (anda, 안다) and suffer (alda, 앓다) sound very similar, but the metaphor is expanded even further with the fact that “to suffer” and “to know” (alda, 알다) are homophones. When listening, the members could be saying both “I want to know you” and “I want to suffer from you,” because to them those two things are one in the same: to know this person is to condemn themselves to the fire that is consuming them, and yet they still want to touch the flame.
After an inexplicable minute and a half intro in a different time period, these themes of suffering and touch finally carry through into the MV. In addition to excessive shots of lounging-while-longing and neck rubbing with intense stares, the MV plays with the motifs of fire and water, touch and distance. In an attempt to alleviate their “fever,” the members sit fully clothed in the shower, or pile on top of another in an empty pool as it slowly fills with water — drowning in their feelings. Dispersed infrared shots show the heat building in their hands as the reach to touch cool glass or within their chest as they sulk in the shower. In the final shots, the members sit beside the now-full pool as sparks fly, bringing the two elements together in a fitting explosion, but without any real resolution.
What particularly stands out in the otherwise plotless MV is the choreography. With a b-side as smooth as this one is, body rolls come standard. However, Enhypen managed to also expand the motif of touch to the choreography, particularly in a small dance duet between Ni-Ki and Sunghoon in which they push and pull one another without ever actually making contact as the words “I cannot touch you, but I’m drawn to you” are sung. The point dance of lolling the head while hands move around the neck also carries the idea of checking for a fever, and is executed particularly well by both Ni-ki and Jungwon in their respective choruses. The choreo (above all the intense stares into the camera) is what carries the MV, and what hopefully will make for good future stages.
For a b-side that won’t be widely promoted, “Fever” is quite a polished release for Enhypen. Though short, all the elements of the release come together well, producing a cohesive, if occasionally cringey, experience that hooks the listener and viewer. All this said, the intentionality of “Fever” is quite clear. The theme of longing, metaphoric but sensual lyrics, and the execution of the MV all point to a pretty mature concept for group whose oldest member was born in 2001. It’s a concept that the Enhypen members executed flawlessly, but also one that feels a bit out of place for such a young group. The group has many strengths, and it’s great to see new sides of them with each comeback; however, it might be best to set aside the more provocative themes for comebacks a couple years down the road.
(YouTube. Images via HYBE.)