Now firmly in September, maybe you’re excited for a new school year or a new job or a change in season. Or, maybe you’re burnt out and exhausted from the daily woes of life and from living through a pandemic. If you’re in the latter category, Baek A-yeon’s latest title track, “0%”, is the perfect song for you. “0%” is whimsical and comforting with its reminder to step back and recharge when you need to.
“0%”, as the title suggests, is a song about withdrawing and replenishing your energy before you go out and tackle the world again. Baek A-yeon doesn’t specify exactly what she needs a break from, but she does not need to. Everybody, at some point in their lives, has or will encounter a day when they need to retreat from the world and focus solely on relaxing by themselves.
The song is the title track of Baek A-yeon’s fifth EP, Observe, but it is her first EP since leaving JYP Entertainment and joining Eden Entertainment last year. Though the MV and EP were released earlier this week after being delayed from their original release date this summer, “0%” contains a timeless message relatable to everyone.
For the most part, the MV is a straightforward representation of the lyrics. There is a shot of a cloudless blue sky to match the lyrics, and scenes of Baek A-yeon watching TV as she sings about being comforted by “boring dramas and old movies”.
However, there are some clever moments in the MV. Fittingly, Baek A-yeon is the only one that appears in the MV, though multiple versions of her appear at once as an amusing representation of quality time by herself. The multiple Baek A-yeons aren’t there for decoration though, and with them she ponders what the best course of action would be to get her out of her funk and lethargy:
I don’t even know myself.
So what are you gonna say?
Just leave me alone
Eventually, she reaches the conclusion that rest and relaxation by herself is the solution. She quickly evades the camera since the audience is a part of the problem as we intrude on her rest and relaxation. While some people gain energy by going out and hanging out with friends, for Baek A-yeon being on her own is what she craves.
The aesthetic of the MV sticks to the trends of K-pop. Like many other K-pop MVs right now, “0%” sticks with a retro styling. From old TVs to corded telephones to colourful carpet, “0%” stays committed to its theme and pulls off a more minimal old-school style. Indeed, even the aspect ratio of the MV is a square, much like we are viewing the MV on an old box TV.
While the sets and styling of “0%” are executed well in their quirky fashion, the retro theme also nicely complements the message of the MV. A song all about disconnecting from the rest of the world, what better way to do so than to unplug and turn back to when she isn’t constantly available through the phone or internet? At the very beginning of the MV, Baek A-yeon refuses to answer an incoming call on her cellphone. This action signals her refusal to engage with others (for now), but it also nicely complements the nostalgic tone present throughout the MV.
However, “0%” is not completely old school. Instead, the MV also incorporates elements of the English name of the song. She lounges around in bed, and plugs herself into a power outlet to recharge. Her battery is literally at “0%”, and the battery graphic above her head blinks red to show that she is slowly but surely charging. Even the colours used for her outfits allude to her situation as she wears orange pajamas for her recuperating scenes and a red dress throughout the MV.
While the lyrics of the song could be considered a serious topic, the song and MV make it light-hearted and amusing as an easy, comforting montage of Baek A-yeon getting her well-deserved rest. Perhaps “0%” is more representative of the introverts of the world with its message of retreating and relaxing, but it is still charming in its reminder to replenish yourself however you see fit.