It has been a sad week for Kep1ians (Kep1er’s fans) as news of Yeseo and Mashiro’s decision not to renew their contracts broke last week. As the first project group to (somewhat) successfully extend their contracts, the fandom bids goodbye to Yeseo and Mashiro with “Shooting Star”. 

“Shooting Star” is what Kep1ians have been waiting for from Kep1er, following fan favourites including “Giddy”, “Back to the City”, “Le Voya9e”, and “Goodnight”. The Kep1er style ties back to their original planet motive, following their Girls Planet 999 concept. It is dreamy, spacey, and ethereal, and “Shooting Star” is exactly that. 

“Shooting Star” is straightforward in its lyrics. As Chaehyun shares, “It signifies that Kep1er and Kep1ian are both shining stars, no matter how dark it may be, there is nothing to fear if we are running together as we shine together”. Kep1er compares their aspirations to a shooting star, a symbol of good luck and positive change. Reading “Shooting Star” in the context of Kep1er’s contract extension (sans Yeseo and Mashiro) signals a new beginning for the other seven members as they reflect on their time together. 

Conceptually, “Shooting Star” stands at a very grey area, with many wondering, “Of all times, why are Kep1er only leaning into their planet motive now?”. It seems strange that we’ve come one full circle only on their final title track. Having a track record of abandoning this concept after their debut track, “Wa Da Da”, “Shooting Star” does not feel like a farewell gift, but rather, a harsh reminder of what Kep1er could have become if stuck to their concept. Kep1er should have always been about this space concept that has been drilled in our heads since Girls Planet 999

“Shooting Star” is simply visually unimpressive. “Shooting Star” could have been a satisfying last chapter in Kep1er’s book if not for its half-baked MV. One look and anyone can see that the MV is cheap, rushed, and messy, which feels disrespectful to Kep1er as their final comeback. 

There is no plot, the green screen appears tacky, and the sets and outfits are too plain. The majority of the MV features the members dancing, making one think that our goodwill has been extended long enough. With so many dance scenes, it looks like a performance video rather than an MV. The only time there’s a plot (of some kind) is when the members face white blobs of their former selves, and Yujin reaches out to one as if reconnecting with their past. The blobs turn into shooting stars before shooting around the world and eventually, across Seoul. 

As their final full-team comeback, shouldn’t the MV include more group shots other than the ones in which they’re dancing? Yes, but WakeOne has other (bad) plans. At the MV’s climax, Mashiro and Chaehyun’s solo shots are in an empty set. While some may say that this emphasises the members’ emptiness as they part ways, a part of me believes that surely there are better ways to execute this. “Shooting Star” is a celebration of Kep1er and Kep1ians yet questionable shots like these dampen the mood. 

To add, Youngeun’s green screen moment is so bad it caught many off guard. The backlighting and masking look off, making this scene appear jarring and cheap. The way she fades into the scene and looks as if she’s floating is also head-scratching. And for how unfitting it is, it becomes somewhat comical in an otherwise bittersweet track.

Overall, “Shooting Star” truly pales in comparison given how Kep1er have proved that they can produce fairly well-made MVs like “Up!”, “Galileo”, and “Straight Line”. But with “Shooting Star”, one can even say it looks lazy. Where are the dynamic camera angles, shots, and styling that were featured in previous MVs? It’s not surprising that many are upset with such a sudden decline in quality, especially given that this is their final MV as nine. 

As a temporary group, each comeback is a race against time. While it is unfortunate that it took them long enough to find their sound, it is even worse that this MV does not do their farewell song justice. Kep1er, as nine, could’ve ended with a bang. “Shooting Star” could’ve celebrated Kep1er. Instead, “Shooting Star” is a wasted opportunity as a solid title track with a lacklustre MV. With news that seven members are renewing, here’s hoping that WakeOne takes the hint to pour their hearts into producing better MVs while keeping this sound.

(Youtube: [1]. Lyrics by Genius :[1]. Korea Joongang Daily. Images via WakeOne Entertainment.)