Just For Fun: A Look Into Heo Young Saeng’s “Art of Seduction”

This is a really bad review I wrote for my first outing as a writer for Seoulbeats…hey, you’ve got to start somewhere, right? I thought it would be interesting to post here, because I don’t really have anything to post right now. Don’t laugh too much at my attempt to over analyze this MV to smithereens. 

The last the Kpop-verse saw of SS501’s lead singer was in his 2nd Solo Mini Album, Solo.  After nearly a year, Heo Young Saeng has departed from the somber hues of “Crying,” and has embraced vivid colors and adorable dimpled smiles in his newest MV, “The Art of Seduction.” But don’t let those warning signs fool you; this isn’t your typical “aegyo”-filled piece.  Notwithstanding the slightly outdated 80’s style, complete with bright lights and orange hair, the MV stays mostly on the darker side.

Saesangs are pretty much infamous in the K-pop scene, and every idol and their mother has clearly stated their opinion on them—i.e. they are crazy. What’s interesting about this attempt at portraying that particular group of “fans” is how comical it looks. Most idols have been either very emotional about the issue, or seemingly in denial; Heo Young Saeng appears to take it rather satirically.

HYS MV Tied Up

Although it may not have been Heo Young Saeng’s intention to be so, dare I say, thoughtful, about his song and MV creation (this is not exactly “Cleansing Cream” or of the like,) this is a great opportunity to take an issue that’s pertinent to Kpop and dissect a representation of it in the medium of Kpop itself—starting right from the lyrics:

“…I’ll sell my soul to the moonlight
And I’ll trap you alone in my crimson heart
So that no one else can touch you
Keep it tightly closed

This is the time, the time, this is the time, the time (crazy, baby)
It’s too early for you, too early for you, that’s the problem, problem (crazy, baby)

How is this oppa? How is this oppa? I only need you
You and me, you and me, we need each other
(Everybody get a little crazy baby)…”

Approaching the lyrics as “tongue and cheek,” song can be viewed as though the artist is singing about the fan perspective and how he, the artist, feels about that.  From that, one can take away the naïveté of the saesang: the belief that idols need, live for, and love only them. The MV complements this by beautifully juxtaposing the saesang’s reality and fantasy.  The colors constantly transition between dark and light, the saesang’s makeup flips between terrifying to innocuous, and the peppy song is perpetually at odds with harsh actuality. Even the expressions Young Saeng makes are a strange combination of “aegyo with a sneer,” where his smiles become rather fabricated and snarky.

The convolution of the various realities of the girl’s dream, the MV she’s viewing, and the trapped Young Saeng further emphasizes the girl’s mixed experience. One moment the girl is given flowers; the next, she tortures Heo Young Saeng.  Even something as “minor” as the dance scenes carry weight because it amplifies our understanding of what this girl is so dearly in love with to the point of obsession. In the girl’s perspective, he’s everywhere; next to her bed, in her kitchen, on her walls, even on her milk carton.  She can’t see anyone but him, even when he isn’t even there.  The best part of the MV is during the mug shot scene where the girl thinks that one of the policemen is Young Saeng and fawns over him, while totally ignoring So Ji Sub.

sojisubHowever, what really makes this MV hit home is how human the “saesang” remains throughout.  Despite clearly knowing that the girl is out of her mind (and a criminal,) you carry a little bit of sympathy for her—you can see how her love has gotten to a point where it’s completely taken her away.  In one scene, she wakes up in the morning, rubs her eyes, and sees Young Saeng right there, waiting for her.  That kind of fixation, where she can’t just rub the vision away, is something truly beyond her, beyond her own mental control.  It’s really quite heartbreaking.  So as we take note of how this over-the-top MV nearly trivializes the entire saesang predicament, take a moment to consider how much of it is actually true—it may be more in tune with reality than you think.

(B2M Entertainment, Lyrics from beautifulsonglyrics.blogspot)

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