OK so you guys know I’ve got mad love for U-KISS by now. Probably more than is healthy. So I have to recap their latest video “TickTack.” It’s actually a J-pop song, and not a K-pop one, but whatever, it’s still U-KISS. And it is glorious.
U-KISS has been through a lot of ups and down since their inception back in ’08. I like to pretend their work prior to “Man Man Ha Ni” does not exist. Let’s just say Kiseop dodged more bullets than Neo. Now if you’ve watched “Man Man Ha Ni” and marveled at the idea that it is generally considered one of their less secondhand embarrassment-inducing MVs, welcome to U-KISS! Now you know why I love them so much. And I ain’t talking about “ironic” hipster love that has done more to ruin that word than Alanis has. Like actual love. Like bleeding guyliner and mullets and pompadours love. And pompamullets. Long live Xander’s pompamullet!
And then we have “Shut Up,” which is quite possibly one of the most homoerotic music videos ever made. Or at least that I know of. It is amazing. In fact it might be one of my favorite things ever, along with white chocolate Toblerone and America’s Next Top Model. It truly must be experienced to be believed. Let’s see, hot girl in there to establish the not-gays™ (term credited to Harry S. Plinkett in his Star Trek XI review), choreography full of boy-touching and face-molesting, gratuitous partial nudity in scenes without the girl… yeaahhh. You guys keep on keeping on.
So then NH Media decided to boot two members and replace them with a couple other shmucks. Then they released “0330,” an angsty piano-heavy ballad-with-a-beat that was supposed to show their softer side. Again, girl in the vid to establish the not-gays™, but still somehow full of boy touching and fangirl bait. How nice of them to throw us a bone. And no, there was no pun intended there. God, get your minds out of the gutter.
At that point I honestly started to worry that the U-KISS I know and love unironically was gone for good, along with Kibum’s stankface and Xander’s pompamullets. But then Neverland came out, and my hopes were restored. Badass video, badass lives, badass choreo full of homoeroticism. They didn’t even bother with a girl in the vid for the not-gays™. A++, guys. This trend continues with “Tick Tack,” and I can honestly say there isn’t a thing about this video I don’t love.
“Tick Tack” seems to be capitalizing on the latest K-pop trend: steampunk. Don’t you know? Guns and gangsters are so last season. Now we’ve got IU the time lord (time lady?) and now we’ve got U-KISS… well, I’m not sure what exactly. Dancing in a deserted old clock tower. Sitting and brooding in a weird deserted room. U-KISS seems to like weird deserted rooms. And like most of their vids, excepting “0330,” this one doesn’t really have a storyline. But that’s OK, because that’s not really the point here. The point is to create a mood, which it does very effectively. All of the sets on this video are dark and shadowy, lit only by sunlight seeping in through windows or holes in the wall (except during those dance sequences and closeups. Then the lighting gets super nice). Since the song is about lies, I guess it makes sense (other than the English bits, I obviously don’t understand the lyrics, since I don’t speak Japanese. But Kevin told us so I believe him).
I have to say I was quite impressed with the dance in this vid. These guys know how to move. I mean we got Kevin front and center here flailing those long limbs like a really attractive spider monkey, and they’re hitting those moves with near-Infinite (the band or the word, take your pick) levels of synchronization. Minus a section of the chorus that seems to be a modified version of the side kicks in SNSD’s “Genie” video, I think the choreo is actually pretty cool, especially the body rolls and those really aggressive shoulder thrusts (never thought I’d use those words in that combo). Oh yeah, boys, you roll those bodies.
As for costumes, the look for this vid is low-key, at least by K-pop standards, and suits the dark and moody tone of the song. It’s like the opposite of Troublemaker. No tacky-ass leopard print, red velour, or Jersey Shore-meets-Fright Night looks. OK, so maybe Kiseop does channel a bit of Jersey Shore with his Snooki ‘do:
Or maybe it’s his tribute to fallen comrade Xander’s pompamullet.
But for the most part the looks here are really attractive. We’re still swimming in guyliner and AJ’s huge head is contoured within an inch of its life, but hey, it’s a K-Pop vid. During the verses, the guys sport simple trousers and button-down shirts in colorblocked combos of black, white, and red. I am not really sure what the random red accents mean, if there is any kind of symbolic meaning to them at all. This section of the video does have a sort of Frank Miller aesthetic to it, so maybe that’s what they were going for? If so, they need more hookers. Although if Frank Miller were inclined to write male hookers, they’d probably be U-KISS.
Anyway, everyone looks really attractive here and I dig the minimalist thing they have going. You can lie to me all night, boys. Except Hoon, at least until he learns to smize properly. Seriously, that boy’s got eyes deader than my brain activity after reading a chapter of Modelland. Tyra would not be pleased, Hoon. You are not Tookie.
Then we have the gray suits, which are pretty hard to complain about, minus the silver lamé accents. Or the pantlegs tucked into boots. Considering the looser cut of the leg, that look doesn’t really work. Don’t these costume designers know? Skinnies only if you’re going to tuck them in. As for the silver lamé, again, it is K-pop. It ain’t K-pop unless something tacky is involved. There’s also those white Hot Topic-looking fingerless gloves that appear in the closeups but are absent in the dance sequences. Not sure what’s up with that, although knowing the typical K-pop MV budget, they probably only had one pair that all the guys had to share.
The third outfit consists of these sleeveless black suit jackets over white shirts, and that pants-tucked-into-boots thing again. Sigh. At least from the waist up it works. Or even the knees up. Them’s some quality thighs right there.
And what would a U-KISS MV be without drama? Going into the final chorus, Dongho parts those bitches like the Red Sea. Seriously, they all jump and fall and Dongho’s in the middle like “Move, bitches!” He’s in fine form in this video, growling and grimacing and noona-baiting like a boss, but unfortunately, it’s all kind of undermined by his Ringo-esque bowl cut that makes it hard to take any of it seriously (well, even more so than the very nature of K-pop makes it hard to take seriously).
Hoon and Soohyun serenading each other in a deserted room:
Soohyun serenading Hoon while Hoon does… well, I don’t even know what he’s doing here.
Hoon leaving Soohyun to wail alone in a room full of random sparkly confetti:
Also, I see a bed frame with no mattress. But it doesn’t matter. U-KISS doesn’t need no stinkin’ mattresses.
And finally, the Engrish highlight of the video: “I shall be turning on the broken light.” I’d love to know how you do that, Kev. If you mean the light in the weird deserted room, it seems to be working just fine, as evidenced in the scenes above. Just ask Soohyun. Or maybe there’s another broken light I don’t know about? And just how does he turn it on, anyway? Fuck the laws of physics, man. Kevin doesn’t need no stinkin’ laws of physics. If we’d only let him, he could power the world on his fabulosity alone.
And for those of you also missing Xander and his pompamullets, don’t worry. The self-described Virgin King will be back soon with a solo song for me to
perv on mock recap. Ladies, hold on to your panties. Or not, since I guess they’re not in any danger from him.