SF9 had a great and busy year with their participation in the reality show, Kingdom: Legendary War, showing us their creative side. The members have had a decent and long career as they are inching towards their dreaded seven-year mark. However, all the members have already renewed their contracts this year ensuring a few more years together. SF9 have adopted many concepts throughout their careers, but lately, they have stuck with sleeker and more serious tones. With “Trauma,” they continue their mature vibe with a killer choreography but an otherwise safe concept.
There is nothing terribly unique about this MV as it uses familiar tropes to depict a moody tone. The MV’s theme is centred around contemplation and loneliness. In all the scenes the members are alone with little lighting while showing sad and pensive looks on their faces. Their loneliness is emphasized in some scenes, like one member having dinner at a restaurant alone, and another playing chess by himself. All the scenes do help create a depressing tone but still do not fully encapsulate the complicated concept of trauma.
One of the closest scenes that did touch on the duality of the lyrics shows a member looking through polaroids. Photographs add a deeper element to the MV because they tend to show only happier times. As such, someone looking through them would only think about the positive aspects of their relationship and not the negative. In connection with the song’s lyrics, the voice of the song constantly goes back and forth between their torment and love. This subtle scene offers clarity into how a person may be readjusting memories to only recall the loving times despite having a toxic relationship.
The MV does have a mysterious vibe regarding the use of what seemed like random letters and numbers. At one point, you would think the members are trying to solve a murder case as they struggle to search through books and letters on the walls. However, the conclusion proved to be anti-climatic. When you put everything together, you will find that these are French spellings and numeric symbols representing the numbers one to nine, which is just the number of members in the group.
However, it is not all generic with this MV as the choreography is set to one of the more creative backgrounds. There are floating pieces of furniture displayed in awkward angles creating a dream-like scenery. The light shining behind the members creates shadows and obscures their faces, adding to that mysterious vibe. Going along with this background setting, the dance routine mainly focuses on one artist at the time to draw emphasis to that one member as they sing or dance. With this technique, they let that one member showcase their own dancing abilities. The members eventually all come together for their ending routine. In the climactic dance, they add chairs to the routine creating a more seductive feel to the choreography.
As mentioned previously, the song’s lyrics show the voice’s struggle with a relationship as they yo-yo between toxicity and love. At times the voice seems like they are in love but other times they express their pain. The same back-and-forth is expressed in the chorus which switches from “You become my Trauma inside my mind” to “Cause you ain’t my trauma.” With a concept like trauma, the MV would have expressed more of the complexity as did the lyrics. Trauma is a mix of emotions as well as actions that seem to counter each other. The MV depicted loneliness and doubt, but definitely did not accurately show how trauma can degrade your overall mental health. While the lyrics are incisive and thought-provoking, the MV relies on too many tropes.
Overall, it is a pretty basic MV with some use of symbolism. The highlight of the MV is both the background set for the dance routine along with the choreography itself. However, the rest of the MV does not show tired concepts used in MVs like chess games, polaroids, and dinner tables. The use of the numbers throughout the MV was clever, but did not tie back into any of the themes. While SF9 played it safe with this MV, the song is sure to be a favourite among fans.
(Youtube. Lyrics via Colorcoded Lyrics. Images via FNC Entertainment.)