Jung Seunghwan is only 24 but he has been in the music industry since 2014. He first made his appearance in season 4 of SBS’s “K-pop Star”. You may think you have never heard of him but he has made a career out of singing ballads. Specifically, he has done several OSTs for popular K-dramas such as “Another Miss Oh” and “Scarlet Heart: Ryeo.” He is back with another heart-wrenching song with his latest single, “We, From The First.” With the use of facial expressions, the accompanying MV tells a simple story of a boy who is in love with his friend but is hesitant to tell her.
The plotline for this MV is fairly simple: three friends spend the day together doing random activities. On the surface, the MV almost seems like nothing significant happens. They eat ice cream, walk around, chat, and then go hang out at a park. The set is mostly bright with the use of natural sunlight. The clothing and buildings are neutral colors but there are pops of green from various forms of trees and other natural settings. Together, they create a summery atmosphere for the MV. However, a few glances here and there helps the viewer understand the deeper context of the story.
The main male character, played by Jung Seunghwan himself, has feelings for the female lead. The glances are brief but efficient in showcasing his grief. Through his smiles and laughter, he will sometimes turn at look at her with a tortured look. She, and their other friend, are oblivious to his emotions. While she glances at him too, her face tells a different story. In fact, many of the scenes focus on the female lead’s jovial facial expressions suggesting she is perfectly happy in their current state.
If you were just to watch the MV alone, it would almost be impossible to capture the sorrowful tone. The song in combination with the MV helps the audience understand the protagonist’s inner thoughts and struggles:
I think I like you, what should I do?
If I tell you, will things get awkward?
When you text me a joke
It’s not easy for me to think of what to say next
So I’m texting then erasing
I like you
The voice of the song goes back and forth with deciding whether or not to let his friend know about his romantic feelings. It is obviously a constant and possibly a daily battle. It is a bittersweet song with the voice detailing all their romantic feelings while simultaneously realizing nothing will ever come of it. As we see the glances, the lyrics help fill in the blanks. Additionally, Jung Seunghwan manages to capture that emotion through his vocal abilities. He starts the song softly, but his voice becomes louder and more emotional as the song progresses. This creates a contrast with the protagonist who is mostly smiling suggesting he has to constantly fake his emotions.
The climax of the song combined with a simple scene helps bring the story to an end. Again, the scenes are quick but pack a punch. After walking his female friend home, Jung Seunghwan frowns and walks away. The set is also notably darker helping to add to the sad conclusion. His persona seemingly accepts their friendship, but he is still heartbroken. The voice of the song also closes the story by admitting they never found the courage to confess their feelings. Ultimately, it seems like the protagonist makes a decision to never act on their feelings, and never knowing if his friend could ever feel the same way.
Jung Seunghwan delivers another beautiful ballad and manages to convey a simple story through the use of quick but impactful facial expressions. These short scenes, in combination with the lyrics, show the inner struggle of a man in love with his friend. For the voice of the song, it is a constant battle between deciding if it is best, to be honest, or to preserve the friendship as it is. Jung Seunghwan shows why he is the man to go to when you need a love ballad because of his ability to express emotion through song.