Following “Lip Gloss” and “Watch It”, The Boyz conclude this chapter of their Phantasy trilogy with “Nectar”, a medium-tempo sentimental pop track.

As their first attempt at a three-part series, the title tracks in this trilogy touch on various emotions and occasions. First, “Lip Gloss” depicts what puppy love with a summer fling is like. Then, “Watch It” is daring, groovy, cold, and almost slightly aggressive. Now, “Nectar” expresses their deeper emotions before they enter the real world as young adults, as they pen a bittersweet love letter to their beautiful and dreamy youth.

The word ‘Nectar’ does not come to mind when we hear “growing pains”. But when used as a simile, “So sweet like nectar”, coupled with an exciting and lively chorus, The Boyz draws the similarity between the sweetness of youth and a flower’s nectar. Youth is sweet, addictive, and idyllic. While this may seem far-fetched, they, like a bee collecting nectar, also find themselves working hard in school and burning out, alluding to Korea’s tough education system. 

Unlike the sweet origin of the word ‘Nectar’, the MV is not particularly sweet. Or at least it does not start this way. It begins with a memorial table in a dimly lit room with a book in the centre of candles, as the end-of-day school bell rings, signifying the last school day of their lives and representing their farewell to their youth.

A paper crane appears in the next scene as “a symbol of peace, hope, and healing, often given to someone to wish them well, especially during tough times.” This then changes the context since youth is “sweet like nectar”, the end of youth is quite the opposite. It is stressful, anxiety-inducing, and overwhelming, as Sunwoo cries, two members look dejectedly at their school’s soccer field for the last time, and class president, Sangyeon, with a solemn look, gives his final speech. Coupled with a gloomy grey-blueish filter in most scenes, The Boyz struggle to accept the end of a life chapter. 

To them, they see adulthood as a big looming question mark. As young boys with big imaginations, they liken this to stepping into a dark forest, as the members wield flashlights. In between these shots are quick cuts to pages from their textbook on Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. Adulthood, like the Theory of Relativity, emphasizes how large and confusing the world is. But while it is scary, it is equally intriguing, as life beyond graduation is something to explore.

As imaginative as they are, this anxiety slowly wears off as they reinterpret adulthood as an adventure instead, as Q wears a rabbit mask, playing the classic white rabbit from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, which tells the story of adventuring, imagination, and growing up. At this point, they realise that the world of adulthood can be both frightening and exciting.

The plot takes a turn halfway through as some members take the first step towards fulfilling their childhood dreams. Jacob has a basketball, Juyeon rides a bike with a parachute attached, Sunwoo holds a soccer ball, Eric plays baseball, and Q is surrounded by (toy) animals. Little by little, they begin to lose their imagination and see things for what they are. In other words, while youth, like nectar, is addicting and sweet, they must wake up to a tiring yet promising reality to chase their dreams.

However, not all goes well despite their (initial) acceptance. The pensive shots sandwiched between happy ones show the gap between youth and adulthood, as reality sets in once their vivid imagination slowly wears off. Growing up is neither linear nor easy, and they may still feel lost and bewildered at times, just as they did when they first started. Every attempt to establish familiarity only exacerbates their sense of being lost. Trapped in solitude, they find themselves lapsing into a dreamlike state that reflects a confused and desperate self.

Thankfully, as adaptive as they are, they ultimately turn this uncertainty into acceptance and confidence about their place in society as young adults. And all they can do is look back at this bittersweet period of their life. In the beginning, Sangyeon, with a poignant smile, holds a camera. But at the end, he smiles while recording the members, revealing his acceptance, as they celebrate their graduation.

Whether a coincidence or not, as a spring release, “Nectar” fits perfectly with what this season means. Spring is a time of growth, new beginnings, and renewal, as animals are born and flowers blossom. Tying this in with the context of “Nectar”, it tells the story of The Boyz letting go of their youth and running towards an even sweeter future where they can reach their dreams as young adults. 

Ultimately, youth will only remain as a memory. It is nostalgic, with both the good and bad. No matter how life pans out, The Boyz remind us that our youth was “sweet like nectar”, and that change, while non-linear, is not always a sad thing. And as they end this trilogy with “Nectar”, The Boyz bid farewell to these bittersweet memories with a smile, while heading towards a happier and promising future, encouraging us to do the same.

(Youtube[1]. Crown Affair. Lyrics by Genius [1]. Images via IST Entertainment.)