OK so Hyuna and Hyunseung–excuse me, JS–collaboration “Troublemaker” has been quite the controversial topic lately in the online K-pop community (like pretty much anything else Hyuna has ever done). So of course I’m going to talk about it here.
I have to hand it to Cube, they sure know how to get people talking. The video’s teaser, followed by a brief dance performance at the MAMAs, generated an explosion of buzz and amusing youtube reaction videos. By Western standards, the sexiness of these two performances is rather tame, but I guess it’s a big deal for K-pop fans. The music video followed in much the same vein, so I have to give it credit for living up to the promise of the teaser. So often, K-pop video teasers are so different than the actual video, and more often than not are even bigger galactic cockteases than Padme Amidala.
I am unsurprised by the controversy, since it seems to follow Hyuna wherever she goes. When her solo song “Bubble Pop” came out earlier this year, the video went viral and everyone was talking about it. Battles raged across the internet between anti-fans and fans, and she emerged as the new poster girl for Internet feminists around the globe.
Personally, I don’t have a problem with Hyuna and her booty toochin’. As for all the ~*controversy*~, I can’t be arsed to get worked up over it either, because really, how many times have we been through this? Hyuna is just the latest in a long line of pop stars who launched a thousand wanks (pun intended)–Madonna, Britney, Gaga, Ke$ha, etc. And while the fact that this is even an issue is indicative of serious problems with the ways western society views female sexuality (I’m speaking only of international K-pop fans, since that’s where my knowledge lies), I also think that it’s a far bigger problem than brouhahas on the Internet can solve. That said, I’m not quite ready to uphold Hyuna as an icon of female sexual liberation, but I’m a lover, not a fighter, and it’s from that perspective that I write this review.
So let’s talk about “Troublemaker.” I’ve pretty much been ignoring Hyunseung (or is he “JS” now? I’m so confused) because his appearance in this video is, quite simply, forgettable. I mean yeah, he sings and dances some but he never seems to command any attention. He’s just kind of there. For those who don’t know, he’s in the boy band B2ST and… well, boy needs to be in a band. He just seems so stilted and awkward throughout this entire performance and I’m not convinced yet that he’s got the goods to carry a solo song yet (or in this case, a duet). Like Hyuna’s all grinding up on him and booty toochin’ and he’s just like “dobedo.” Seriously, dude?
Also, nice heels there, Hyunseung. Chic.
As for Hyuna, I give the girl credit: she committed. Whatever your opinion on the performance, she was really working the concept and gets an A for effort. Some of the wardrobe choices are a hot mess, though.
Like guurrrrl, what even is that dress? Is it a leftover from Project Runway, when they had to design a line from Wal-Mart bath mats? And what’s with the crimped hair? The only salvagable part of this tragedy is the shoes, and probably only because I have a weakness for fringe. And Hyuna does have lovely ankles.
And then we have this leopard-print meets Blossom monstrosity. All she needs is a pair of Docs and a hat with a flower on top and she could be an extra on My So-Called Life.
Some fine mall rat chic up in here. Nice legs though.
’80s Cher returns!
But to be fair, it ain’t all bad. My favorite look in the video is the first one we see her in, with the cream minidress and killer red heels:
I can always appreciate some badass red heels.
As for Hyunseung/JS–fuck it, I’ll just call him Larry–he ain’t off the hook for his wardrobe choices either. Maybe that’s why he looks so stiff (hehe… yes, I am 12) in this video–I mean, it’s hard to be dressed like an ’80s pimp and take yourself seriously.
Or Jersey Shore meets David Tennant’s character in Fright Night:
Or the Sopranos meets Snoop Dogg:
I don’t even know what the fuck this is:
I actually find the burgundy velvet suit least offensive, mostly because it reminds me of David Tennant.
Can we have a sexy time lord concept next, please? Although IU’s kind of already on it.
Moving on to the song itself, it’s pretty solid. Not quite as sexy as the teasers would suggest (I was expecting some R&B bump n’ grind business, or something with a heavy hip-hop beat like Doctor Feelgood) but it’s still a fun song, and the whistling hook is damn catchy. I think the whistling might be my favorite part. The only part I didn’t like was Hyuna’s rap. It pulled me out of the song, because it doesn’t really seem to fit with the whole slick sexy vibe. It was this kind of singsong cutesey aegyo-sounding thing (and I know she’s capable of different styles; her voice didn’t sound like that in “Just Follow”) and sounded like it belonged in an Orange Caramel song instead. Fierce Hyuna would’ve been a better fit, in my opinion.
As for the storyline, it’s gangsta month in K-pop, I guess! Essentially it was a Mr. and Mrs. Smith-esque spy concept. The storyline didn’t really make sense, but then, it’s also a K-pop video, and storylines rarely make sense, and so I wasn’t expecting it to. Still, while it was big on the posing and the sexy, it was light on the action, which I think would’ve made the concept a lot more fun. All the spy scenes took place in hotel rooms and a hallway, which was really confining. We’re left with sexy walking, sexy listening-through-the-wall, sexy-video-watching, sexy meetings-in-hallways, sexy shoosting and pyromania–oh.
I do like concept but it would’ve been better if they took a little further, like Britney’s “Toxic” video. Way to stretch that budget, Cube. However, I appreciate that the video was limited to the running time of the song instead of dragging on and on and on and on. Sometimes brevity really is the soul of wit.
Other bits worth mentioning: the choreo was nothing special, just standard k-pop choreo and a lot of Hyuna’s trademarks, like the booty tooch. Lotsa booty toochin’ up in here.
Now as much as I appreciate a good booty tooch, I was hoping for something a more. Not just from Hyuna, but from the choreo as a whole. It was just kind of all right to me. Maybe if a dance version of this video comes out, I might change my mind. But for the moment I was just sort of meh on it.
Also, k-pop stylists, can we please stop with the scary ass circle lenses? I remember them from T-Ara’s “Cry Cry” dance video too. These closeups look freakier than vamp!Bella in Breaking Dawn.
Now i’m a Trekkie and love me some aliens, but unless you’re doing a space opera concept, please, let these lovely ladies sport a human look.
Now finally I get to my favorite part of the video, which is the cat. I found it to be a very interesting and compelling side character. Although the kitty did not appear for very long, its appearance was quite memorable. I think it had really great chemistry with Hyuna so the scene was highly effective.
I have seen some concern expressed over the fate of the kitty, particularly after Hyuna lit the hotel on fire, but I have faith. Cats are resourceful creatures. We always land on our feet.