Despite having spent more than 10 years in the industry, Apink still have much more to offer to the K-pop scene, as shown with the group’s first official subunit ChoBom which includes members Chorong and Bomi. ChoBom is not only a play-on-words on the duo’s names, but can also mean ‘early spring’ in Korean. And like the budding and revitalizing ambience of the spring season, ChoBom show new sides of themselves with their refreshing debut title track “Copycat.”

Just looking at the visuals showcased in the teaser images and music video, one would expect a bizarre and kitschy concept in a similar vein to groups like Orange Caramel, Crayon Pop, and WJSN Chocome. However, instead of portraying lively, childlike fun, ChoBom take a softer approach with “Copycat” as the melody is relatively simple and minimalist. This groovy retro song is mature while still containing a touch of bubblegum sweetness that Apink have long been known for.

The MV for “Copycat” embodies the concept in an imaginative way with the duo acting as twin dolls trapped in a video game.

At the beginning of the MV, a person, who looks to be a nurse or designer, is pushing a cart with a vintage television that blinks on to show Chorong and Bomi confined inside as they wear matching dresses, makeup, and hairstyles. Apart from their colored tights, they are quite literally copycats of each other.

The duo are soon taken to a fashion studio of some sort and are brought out of the television to be placed amongst the numerous mannequins in the room. As soon as they are left alone, Bomi immediately grabs Chorong to run off and explore the fascinating world that surrounds them. It isn’t exactly clear what kind of establishment the two are in, but the slight desaturation causes the structure to bear a faint resemblance to the many mental asylum sets featured in horror films, giving a dark undertone to the otherwise vibrant and high-spirited atmosphere.

As they enthusiastically hammer a coin box, discover the key to other rooms, and have a pool party without a drop of water in the area, the twin dolls are undeniably having the time of their lives, however strange they may seem. In these scenes as well as the close-up shots of them singing, Chorong’s and Bomi’s ensembles are notably more distinct and colorful, making it easier to distinguish the two while also showing their own individual character the more they explore.

Lyrically, the two sing about wanting to copy the person they love:

I’m your copy, copycat

Let me do what I want

As much as I like you

Perfectly similar collaboration

If we consider the meaning of ‘copycat’ in a literal sense, the word refers to the way kittens mimic the actions and behavior of its mother which lines up with the various cat references throughout the verses and choreography.

This cat theme is also reflected in the choreography which is best shown in a particular scene featuring the two back in the fashion studio, before they started wandering around the place. Here, Chorong and Bomi are essentially mirror images of one another. They look nearly identical as they don incredibly similar outfits and even move just as if they were looking into a mirror. With only a spotlight really accentuating them, the duo’s copy dance is enchanting and mesmerizing. It is a striking depiction of the copycat concept and lends a hand to a more nuanced take on the lyrics.

While many are likely to be offended with someone copying them, the connotation here is more positive with it being flattering to the one being imitated. The lyrics also allude to the phenomenon known as emotional contagion where people experience similar emotions and naturally imitate the habits of their loved ones after spending a prolonged period of time with them. For Chorong and Bomi who have spent over a decade together as Apink members and frequently heard that they look like twins since their trainee days, this occurrence is perfect in expressing the concept of ChoBom and “Copycat.”

In this sense, even though the members grow to be more distinctive in the MV, copycats and imitating others are not necessarily portrayed in a negative light, but instead represent a natural display of affection.

During the latter half of the MV, Chorong and Bomi continue their way through the establishment underneath the indoor pool where they are confronted with multiple security cameras. But the twins are not dismayed in the slightest as they duo face the cameras with playful and teasing gestures. There is also a shot that makes use of an infrared camera with Bomi poking fun at the device. It only appears for a few seconds, but it is a nice addition to the uncanny tinges in the MV.

Their eventual breakout, though, is rather pitiful as the duo’s elation is cut short when Chorong mistakenly steps on a trap that sends them back to where they started in the television.

Soon after, we see a “Game Over” screen pop up as well as a guest appearance by Jonathan Yiombi as he is revealed to be the one playing the video game. As he throws the controller in frustration, the television flickers back on and shows the twins frantically trying to get Jonathan to look behind him and when he does so, the same cart from the start of the MV returns, indicating that the same woman who brought Chorong and Bomi into the game is also present. Combining that with the suspenseful audio effect, it implies that he will be the next victim to become trapped in the game.

Interestingly, Jonathan does not look frightened or alarmed at all. But rather, his aloof expression along with his calm sigh suggests that this isn’t his first meeting with the mysterious person. The woman arriving to take Jonathan seems to be a recurring event as he quickly accepts and comes to terms with his fate. So just as he was playing the video game and watching Chorong and Bomi on the television screen, the viewers of the MV are the new players who will ultimately watch Jonathan and his escape attempt on their own device screens. This sinister twist is a bit unexpected for a relaxing song, but it’s a creative and engrossing end to what is mostly a fun, cheerful video.

All in all, “Copycat” is certainly an intriguing release especially since we get to see the two Apink members in a concept that they haven’t expressed before. Though some might be disappointed that the duo opted out of a quirky sound for something more dreamy and whimsical, “Copycat” is nevertheless a pleasant tune that is great for unwinding after a long summer day. The calming melody together with the eccentric MV creates a compelling contrast that further amplifies the subtle horror aesthetic. If this captivating debut is anything to go by, ChoBom’s next release will hopefully be just as unique and refreshing as “Copycat.”

(YouTube. Vanity Teen. Current Directions in Psychological ScienceEmotional Contagion” by Hatfield, Cacioppo, et al. GQ Korea. Lyrics via Genius. Images via IST Entertainment.)