There is nothing like becoming a vampire for your K-pop debut, yet Enhypen has done this and more in their past two comebacks. The seven members presented the grisly and unsettling “Drunk-Dazed” following the alluring and mysterious “Given-Taken,” where they established their vampire storyline. Most recently, the seven members tease the possibility of multiple dimensions and identities in their sunshine odd-one-out title track, “Tamed-Dashed.”
Featuring a funky bass and an electronic hook, “Tamed-Dashed” is an earworm. Not much can compete with the almost frantic and mind numbing “dazed, dazed, dazed” of “Drunk-Dazed,” but the pre-chorus of the group’s latest finds its way into your head. Enhypen are building a solid sound with their catchy hooks that convince you to listen again.
Although unexpected in the wake of “Given-Taken” and “Drunk-Dazed,” Enhypen’s newest MV allows them to be the young people they are. While their MVs often have dark supernatural twists, “Tamed-Dashed” slides to the other side of the spectrum with a cheerful MV dominated by summer, school, and sports.
Enhypen avoid what could have been a typical school boy concept because of their alternative vampire identities, a storyline arc that is the focus of their three main MVs. Of course, the vampire narrative will naturally create an intriguing watch experience, but it is the contrast between the chilliness of Enhypen’s previous title tracks that makes the sunny “Tamed-Dashed” even more captivating.
The first thing that caught my attention in “Tamed-Dashed” was how bright the MV was, as I am sure others noticed. Although the MV opened with the camera angled inside of Jungwon’s locker, this was one of the few moments of darkness. Even so, these shadows are not hostile nor reeking of danger like “Given-Taken” and “Drunk-Dazed.” In the latter, light never had direct access into a room, and the former built a vampire origin story out of the shadows.
The appearance of strong sunlight pouring into the school gymnasium, reflections on crashing waves, and the members playing ball outside in the middle of the day juxtapose the need for Enhypen to stay in the dark, literally. As vampires, they could not expose their skin to the sun. If they did, the consequence was being burned, which Sunoo experienced in “Tamed-Dashed” while trying to pick up a ball.
The sudden change between MVs makes the sunshine in “Tamed-Dashed” even stronger. Present day Enhypen spends no time in the shadows: they stroll down Decelis Academy’s hallways surrounded by their friends; they play ball on school grounds without caring what time of day it is; and they dance together in the sun-filled gym.
For once, Enhypen experiences life in an “ordinary” setting, for what can get even more “normal” than a school? It is something that is a part of many people’s everyday lives. The choice to focus the “Tamed-Dashed” MV in a school location and its normalcy can be connected to the group’s idol status, especially in the wake of I-Land. The seven no longer have the luxury to be in public places without being recognized, and they sacrificed being a “normal” teenager to be a part of Enhypen.
And while it is hard to believe sometimes, the members are young. At the time this review was coming together (October 14 EST), the eldest Heeseung had not yet turned 20 years old (international age). On the date of Enhypen’s comeback, all seven were still under 20 — the group’s maknae, Ni-ki, still 15 years old (international age) since he has a December birthday.
Yet the “Tamed-Dashed” MV, although a fictional narrative and work for the members, creates memories of bright days of friendship and teamwork that are grounded in reality. Viewers are first introduced to the hallways of Decelis Academy—a typical school complete with blue lockers, posters taped on walls, and vinyl tile flooring. Signage declares a “nightball” event as Jungwon, Jay, and Sunghoon strut through the school, then passing a ball to Ni-ki who is surrounded by Sunoo, Heeseung, and Jake.
Funnily enough, “nightball” does not seem to be played at night, because all viewers see is Enhypen (in both timelines, present day and their vampire existence) playing something akin to rugby during the day. Even a few moments of the choreography appear to refer to American football and/or rugby formations. No screen time is spent inside of the classroom; instead the MV points its lens on Enhypen tossing the ball to one another and running up and down fields together.
Their game carries on while they are at the beach, and each member wears a blue and white striped rugby shirt. The seven run around on the sand, splash in the water, and even lose their ball to the waves. Everything about these moments in “Tamed-Dashed” scream summer; yet, the darker edge of the vampire storyline and the school concept are prime for fall. The sun shines at a point that makes the subjects it touches glow, springing intense reflections back at Enhypen if its rays connect with the water.
In a word, the seven are free. They have no hesitations about stepping into broad daylight, and they get to live out content and ordinary lives. It takes most of the MV for vampire Enhypen to reach a similar point.
The pivotal moment is when Sunoo’s skin starts to burn after attempting to recover a ball sitting in the sun. What is a casual action for present day Enhypen who are constantly playing outdoors becomes a risk of injury for their alternate identities. Something changed in Sunoo following this event, as the camera gave glimpses of him sitting in the dark save his once burned arm highlighted by a stream of light.
What happened exactly is not clear, but perhaps Sunoo was motivated to step outside in broad daylight without protection (like an umbrella) because he was not burning under the streak of light. It was a revelation that freed him from the fear of danger.
The vampires and two timelines/dimensions help Enhypen’s MVs stand out, but at the same time, there are more questions than answers. In “Tamed-Dashed,” did Heeseung (present day version) stop the ball from flying into the school? Or did the ball collide with a weak point between the two dimensions? Are the members human at the end of the MV? What does this mean going forward?
Regardless of all the questions, the “Tamed-Dashed” MV is fun to watch and to listen to, often to the point that you want to rewatch for the friendship moments and relisten for the earworm hook. In addition, the upbeat and sunny track and MV adds another dimension to Enhypen’s discography. However, for all its brightness, “Tamed-Dashed” also makes viewers pause and think about what the members have lost and gained by becoming K-pop idols who are exposed to public opinion.
(YouTube. Images courtesy of Belift Lab.)