B1A4, we were all rooting for you.
I had high hopes for their follow-up single to “Baby I’m Sorry.” I thought BIS was a great comeback song, since it showcased a more mature look and sound while still retaining the energy and fun that are characteristic of B1A4. So “Baby Goodnight” feels like a big step backward. At first listen (remember that I am not fluent in Korean), it seems like an OK song, fun and catchy though ultimately forgettable. It sounds like a B-side, in my opinion.
But then I found translations of the lyrics, and oy.
This song reminds me of Teen Top’s “No More Perfume on You,” another deceptively cute-seeming song about a shady topic (cheating). I said this about NMPOY, and I’ll say it about BG, too: I ain’t the type to gasp and clutch my pearls at pop song lyrics, because while the teenage audience they target is young, they weren’t born yesterday. Unless they are really, really sheltered or something, most teens can tell when it’s just a song and not Words to Live By. Nonetheless, it somewhat hampers my enjoyment of a song when I know it’s about a shady topic. Apparently, “Baby Goodnight” was composed by Jinyoung and the lyrics were by Baro, which makes it even worse. Really, guys? Really?
I liked it better when I thought the song was just some fluff piece about a guy whose girlfriend hates line dancing so he sneaks out with his buddies to go line dancing in the moonlight.
Which brings me to the MV. It seems harmless at first—like I said, a bunch of extras line-dancing and dressed as though Sheplers mated with Forever 21 and the offspring threw up all over them. But since it’s K-pop, and K-pop always has to fail at cultural sensitivity somehow, um
To be fair, it’s not like K-Pop is the only arena where cultural appropriation is rampant.
So is K-Pop looking to hipsters for inspiration or what?
Cultural appropriation is a topic of heated debate everywhere, as evidenced by googling the term, and seeing as I am neither inclined nor qualified to discuss this topic further, I’ll leave it to you to look into it if you’re interested. My sole point here is that the cultural appropriation in these K-pop MVs is extremely controversial, and somehow I don’t think that’s what the MV director wanted us to take from it.
So on to the MV. We open with the guys all trying on Western wear and making ridiculous faces that are just asking to have a cock ‘shopped into them. And no, I’m not going to do it, GOD.
There’s some pseudoclassical music playing (what?) and then someone’s phone rings. The song starts. Baro sounds like a straight-up creeper in this intro. I never thought the words “off to bed with you!” from a B1A4 member would cause me to clamp my legs shut tighter than a vise but there’s a first time for everything, I guess.
The remainder of the video consists of various scenes featuring the guys doing dance routines with a bunch of gaudily-dressed extras on what looks like a spaghetti western set meets Disney’s Old West Adventure. What little I could make out of a storyline was not all that cohesive and would not have been apparent had I not known what the song is really about. And since I find that subject matter so unpalatable, I’ve decided instead to make up my own alternative storyline. I find I like the MV much better this way.
We start out with Baro, a boy with a dream of line dancing his way to fortune and fame. His girlfriend is extremely unsupportive, however. She makes it known in no uncertain terms she’s going to dump his ass if he doesn’t give up this cockamamie scheme and become an investment banker like his daddy. So Baro is like “Whatever gurl, just go to bed and leave me alone.” He gets his best guy friends together for a night out line dancing on the town. Granted it’s technically daytime in this video, but let’s not quibble.
Those friends include Jinyoung, a sassy fashionista who is so fly he has stylists to dress him, not like these other shmucks.
There’s CNU, a greasy hipster who fancies himself a jiggy playa and believes dirty jokes make good icebreakers.
Sandeul, his lovable but colorblind buddy whose tragic fashion sense and ladykilling skills are sadly lacking, but still gets the girls thanks to his smooth vocals and thighs that won’t quit.
Finally we have Gongchan, the youngster who tags along in an attempt to draft off CNU and Sandeul’s swag and pick up their leftovers. Whether he succeeds or not is debatable, but he seems to have fun trying.
The guys break out in a spontaneous dance routine in the town square whilst CNU picks up a chick by buying her shit. They find out about the local saloon is the place to go for line dancing fun, so they head over there. We find out in this scene that CNU actually has an identical twin out there covering for him with girl #1 while CNU’s creeping at the saloon.
He totally pulls the robbery on some poor asshole, but it seems to work out because girl #2 is feeling it.
Well, the jilted guy ain’t too happy and gets his gang to challenge B1A4 all to a line-dance rumble on the street. So they all head outside for said rumble, but by then everyone’s too drunk to give a crap anymore and they all have a great time. Turns out Gongchan brought along some bitchin’ peyote, which definitely explains his dancing.
The guys find their way back home when CNU’s girl #1 calls to check in. Apparently his twin brother got so drunk he passed out in horse trough in front of the saloon. She wanted to know if he made it home OK. CNU assures her that he did and hangs up. We cut back to the girl to see—dun dun DUN!—she’s hooked up with the guy CNU pulled the robbery on earlier! I guess he got his revenge after all.
So that’s pretty much it, I guess. I will say that the guys’ voices sound really nice in the song, and someone’s got a lovely falsetto. The live performances are fun, too, if only for CNU’s ever-increasing greasiness and this lovely piece of choreo: