If you are looking for a sinister K-pop concept with vampires, blood dripping from the walls, multiple dimensions and horror elements, look no further – Enhypen might be the perfect artist for you. Since their formation through the survival reality show I-Land around a year ago, the seven-member boy group has released two extended plays and one studio album to great success. They swept the male rookie award at all major shows and are seemingly running towards greater success.

One thing cannot be denied – Enhypen make good music. Managed by Belift Lab, a joint venture between Hybe Corporation and CJ E&M, Enhypen albums had some great names penning and producing songs for them. The results have been pretty marvelous so far; especially with “Drunk-Dazed“, the group released one of the best K-pop songs of 2021 and has experimented with a broad spectrum of musical styles. But while there has been a menacing notion in Enhypen’s releases, the lead track to their first studio album Dimension: Dilemma was not only musically, but also visually a surprisingly upbeat and bright affair about breaking free from rules set by society.

Now “Blessed-Cursed”, the repackaged lead track to Dimension: Dilemma, continues this narrative with a rocky and rebellious edge. Strikingly, this is the first Enhypen video that features no outer scenes, a major component of their previous MVs. Falling perfectly in the equilibrium between the sinister “Drunk-Dazed” and the joyous “Tamed-Dashed”, this is a performance-based video with some serious 90’s flair and change between colorful rooms that adds a nice turn to the storyline carefully constructed by their previous releases.

The music video opens with a 90’s anime-esque wide shot of the members looking at a bright skyline. Only their silhouettes can be seen while the skyscrapers are glowing in colorful neon lights as they raise their glasses to a new century; at this exact moment, a building sign jumps from 1999 to 2000. Member Jay, who opens the MV in a subsequent shot, described the MV as having an end-of-century vibe with a retro feel and it clearly shows why. He gazes into the camera and different fonts of the year 2000 flicker across the screen as a guitar riff leads us into the dancing scene.

The choreography is dynamic and sharp with several formation changes. The members highlighted three parts: the fight dance, the prayer dance and the lion dance, which are all movements featured in the chorus of the song. They correspond with lyrics in which the boys reject the conventional reality:

Liar beyond that light

we fade into reality

between these lies, we dive into the real life

The animalistic movements can be traced in the second part of the chorus accentuating their decision to pursue their own way and push ahead:

And i walk like a lion

I am making my own history, I don’t know answers

I just go my own way

Here, Enhypen are making it clear that they are aware of the fake reality they are trapped in, but they are lions, notably considered the king of animals and will resiliently push through. The lack of outer scenes strengthens the impression of being trapped. Striking are the strong color choices in the dance scenes: the members are wearing heavily 90’s inspired outfits with blood-red shirts and wide ankle pants against a contrasting, vibrant blue background.

Additional scenes show each member in their solo shot spotting quite rebellious fits, headbands and painted nails. Here, the camera work is outstanding, featuring super close-up shots of the members even showing the circular camera frame. The members toy with the camera to express their resolution. This notion of freedom is aptly amplified in Jake‘s solo scenes, who can be seen sitting on a red sofa against a wall with crimson wings. Members Jungwon and Niki can also be spotted in fiery red rooms. Red is associated with meanings of strength, courage and willpower, but also anger and rage, a feeling the song conveys.

As we break into the last portion of the song, a huge explosion erupts in a server room, destroying everything. The computers and servers which represented control are completely annihilated and with them are also gone the rules and supervision that held Enhypen back, setting the members completely free. This part clearly visualizes what the septet mentioned during the press conference: they are searching for their own answers and pursuing their own path regardless of what reality and society say.

To recognize the dilemma the members are facing, one doesn’t necessarily have to search for symbolic meanings and answers; the title clearly highlights this hazard. “Blessed-Cursed”, an oxymoron of two contrasting terms, depicts that while it is a good thing that the members grew up in a secure environment tamed by the rules of society, they are now trying to escape reality and break conventions. Recognizing a fake reality might be the first great step, but how to create your own and pursue your own path? Enhypen is looking for this answer too and it will be interesting to see where the group will go from here.

But while “Blessed-Cursed” comes with an unique and eclectic MV, it is not a release completely void of flaws. The hip-hop and rock-infused mixture works well for the group’s vocals creating a dynamic listen, but the lack of a proper bridge and the rather sluggish end prevent something greater from happening. This is unfortunate considering that the group really made this 90’s aesthetic their own and pulled out a great performance. But Enhypen are still an incredibly young group and there is no doubt that they will deliver more great listens and videos in the future.

(YouTube. Lyrics via Genius. Images via Belift Lab)