The start of October marks a historic date for Reveluvs around the globe, as their beloved all-rounder Seulgi stands under the solo spotlight. This was a long-awaited milestone for the idol, whose eight years of hard work have finally led to this opportunity. Following fellow member Wendy’s solo, and Joy’s remake production, the third soloist referred to her love for Asian horror films to add a dash of her own creepy magic. This is no coincidence, as Seulgi previously indulged in a dark concept with Irene for their dual work “Monster” – another intense performance that also dabbles in the powerful and creepy.
However, “Monster” proved to only be a taste of what the artist could offer when given her own stage. Just from watching the official album trailer, viewers see glimpses of what could pass as a high-quality cinematic production. From hunting guns to a burning car, deathly stares to a silent dancing ritual, there is unspoken, delicate anxiety lingering in the air. There are no words or sounds omitted from Seulgi throughout the trailer, yet a story of revenge unfolds itself through the escalating chaos. The degree of her crimes keeps rising, as Seulgi’s character seeks to renew her lonely self through a horrific revenge plot.
At least, this is the golden premise her trailer implies. However, the actual MV production has steered away from this promising storyline, in lieu of providing more choreographic and psychological scenes instead. Labeling this choice as a missed opportunity may be a bit much, though fans are arguably led to put her story together through the help of the trailer and behind-the-scenes video.
In order to dissect the MV, let’s begin with the ending shot that wraps the premise up neatly:
Good and evil people are not clearly distinguished.
Good and evil coexist within one person.
Even if one seems good, greed and temptation always exist together inside.
We simply try to resist from being captivated by evil.
Essentially, this excerpt states in words what Seulgi’s visual storytelling implies – how, due to loneliness and a troubled past, her character grows up unable to resist being captivated by the evil growing in her. The background story that leads up to her MV reveals this in greater escalation (trailer and behind-the-scenes). While her actions – such as the hunting gun scene or the burning car excerpt – initially come from fear and uncertainty, they soon harden into a desire for more. In other words, a growing desire to stir up fire and chaos in her monotonous life by viciously claiming control over her surroundings.
The darkness that once consumed her is now her weapon, inflicted through potential murder and death (possibly one of her classmates, as well as her symbolized “past self”). In Seulgi’s case, the temptation manifested itself into a new reality — portrayed via intricate, yet solemn acting, that in which is a significant glimpse into her acting chops. The deadpan eyes contrast deeply with her wistful or angry moments, as viewers witness her take on a new approach to life and death.
Such glimpses from the trailer are somewhat linked with the MV, particularly when Seulgi in a white dress is enchained and at the mercy of a darker Seulgi wielding her lifeline. The latter debates whether to “let her free” or keep her tied, neither of which will bring back any form of livelihood. As white often symbolizes innocence and purity, this moment has captured the essence of her character succumbing to the growing evil within her.
This train of thought could’ve been expanded into a great, cinematic production. And perhaps, a second video could’ve followed up with a dance version of her title track in order that fans may be delighted with both sides of the coin. However, by changing the focus of the MV to performance nearly completely, there is a hazy division of her narrative into two. In other words, the story of “28 Reasons” is also split into somewhat of a love song. The lyrics are vague enough that they can be interpreted as being directed to her own split selves – yet the conclusions are hard to draw with the MV alone.
Moreover, Seulgi is visually struggling between darkness and light, the song itself carries a romantic connotation. The lyrics generally speak of childlike teasing of a love interest that goes too far down the horror route. However, the buildup through the trailer honed in on a thrilling, creepy discovery of evil. In this way, it comes off as two separate stories that haven’t come together just yet. Both paths carry heavy potential, but neither has been fully developed into their best capability.
Even still, the MV is a beautiful production that is ripe with symbolism and charisma. Symbolism is well-incorporated into the story, with fire representing the rebirth of Seulgi’s identity, as well as black vs white showing the opposites of where her character stands in the spectrum of morality. Otherwise, the settings were wide and bleak, devoid of distractions to only focus on the necessary props. Moreover, it was highly significant to utilize a mattress, as it is a place where people normally take rest. While sleeping on a mattress, people dream and put a pause on thinking and consciousness. They are also in their purest state.
So the climax of Seulgi’s mattress burning is reminiscent of a phoenix reborn — but the question is into whom? And what kind of life will she lead from here on out?
What did our readers think of Seulgi’s powerful solo debut? Feel free to let us know in the comments below.
(YouTube; images via SM Entertainment)