For any group with lore, there is a challenge to creating a music video: staying committed to the storyline while remaining accessible to viewers unfamiliar with it. Ateez has so far been adept at achieving that balance, while also showcasing the group’s wild performance energy. The video for “Crazy Form,” the Afrobeats-infused title track from their album The World Ep.Fin: Will, is no exception. 

Narratively, “Crazy Form” continues the dystopian storyline from “Guerrilla” and “Halazia,” while maintaining some of the playfulness of “The Real” or “Bouncy”. The storyline of Ateez’s The World series revolves around the members’ efforts to defeat the emotion-suppressing regime (called Strictland in the lore) by invoking others to feel. Unlike the impassioned call to arms of “Guerrilla,” the new song is instead a revelry in the success Ateez has had with their rebellion. 

Musically, “Crazy Form” reflects this emphasis, as it is less anthemic and theatrical than many other Ateez title tracks. Driven by a dancehall beat and relatively simple instrumentation, the track grooves along for most of its runtime (until ramping up the drama in the bridge). In contrast to the pre-chorus that features Jongho’s trademark soaring notes, the anti-drop chorus is relatively subdued. The effect is initially underwhelming, as the chorus repeats the song’s opening rather than ascending as one might expect. While it may lack a strong melodic hook, the chorus does convey the swagger and confidence of the lyrics:

Ah, yeah, yeah, yeah, just dance
My ego’s in this show
Put ’em up, put ’em up, make ’em run
Now, that’s crazy form

The laid-back vibe of the music combined with boastful lyrics portray individuals who take such pride in themselves that they do not have to do too much. No matter what, they still have “crazy form,” and they encourage us to join them.

They, however, also possess the confidence not to take themselves too seriously. The most memorable dance moves are also cheeky, either centrally framed or shot in close-up, such as when the camera pans from San shimmying to Seonghwa biting his lip and thrusting his hips. Following the line “shake your body, body,” Wooyoung stands on one leg and shakes his butt for the camera, which is positioned from below. In another scene, San raises his index and middle fingers, wearing a glove recalling one he wore in real life that made him look like he was flipping off the camera. 

As they do in “Bouncy,” Ateez employ pastiche, intercutting among individual members or pairs fighting back against Strictland’s system. By alluding to various forms of pop culture, “Crazy Form” feels less earnest and more fun and tongue-in-cheek. In one scene set to his rap, Hongjoong eludes the authorities in an alley (while spray-painting Yeosang, who is himself spraying messages like “Be Free”). An ensuing chase includes freeze frames that resemble the opening scene of Trainspotting, while also presented in comic book-style animation. In another scene out of a spy film, Jongho plays cards with some officers, recalling a scene from Inglorious Basterds. Pulling a card with the anarchy symbol, Jongho takes out a gun. In one moment, Mingi simply throws up his hands and shrugs as Jongho shoots. 

Throughout their work, Ateez consistently intertwines themes of dreams and ambition with their lore, which provides a more interesting (or at least grander) take on the typical hype song. As Jongho declares at the start of the bridge, “Rain is pouring down, ambition in my veins,” he gives a satisfied smirk to the camera. Yunho and Wooyoung, meanwhile, complete the pirate ship hologram signal that illuminates the sky, once Hongjoong plants a device that can project it. 

Their success in this endeavor corresponds with the climax of the song, when the bridge transitions to a refrain over hard-thumping percussion: “Ay oh ay, we’re changing the game.” This section, along with the outro chanting “We go up,” provides the highest point of excitement of the song. The heightened energy at the end of the song, combined with the imagery of a successful rebellion and a dance sequence with uniform-clad dancers, make for a powerful finish.

Of course, there is still lore for those who seek to follow it. The video contains a coda with images from their lore, such as an hourglass-shaped object called the Cromer, which allows Ateez to travel to another dimension. It is now broken and a blue bird (also seen in “Halazia”) seems to carry a piece off towards a pink full moon–ending the World series with mystery about what comes next.

Ateez simultaneously portray their own passion and self-confidence as musical artists alongside a story of freedom from repression. The dual focus gives an epic feeling to their pursuit of dreams and self-expression. Yet, due to their ample use of pastiche and irreverent humor, Ateez’s approach feels sincere but not self-serious. “Crazy Form” may not prove to be the best or most memorable Ateez title track, but its music video does encapsulate the aspects that make the group unique among their 4th generation counterparts.

(YouTube. Lyrics via YouTube. Images via KQ Entertainment).