I have noticed that, among ifans, the reaction to “Hyde” has been quite polarized. There are those who
have taste love it, and there are those who don’t. I am among the former, obviously. Now, when it comes to K-Pop, I am not easily impressed (not one word about U-KISS stanning. NOT ONE WORD). But as you can tell, this video impressed the shit out of me. It’s like a checklist of Shit I Love in a K-Pop Boy Band Video.
Shit I Love in a K-Pop Boy Band Video
- The song being any good
- Not looking like it was made on a $20 budget
- And did I mention attractiveness?
This is the kind of thing I would’ve expected out of a veteran boy band from a major company, not some nugus that I hadn’t even bothered with a few months ago (who are named after cold medicine, no less). VIXX have really been bringing it with their past two releases. “On and On” was good, but “Hyde” might be the song and video that vault VIXX out of nugu hell and into the public eye.
The video (and the song’s lyrics) are very dark. Some fans have compared it to the Visual Kei style, and since I know fuck all about Visual Kei, I’m just going to throw that out there for those who do and you can draw your own conclusions. Personally, I’m just a sucker for horror/vampire/zombie/etc. concepts, provided they’re done well (and not some weird halfassed shit). Dark concepts are also a breath of fresh air in a musical genre already overcrowded by aegyo (there is some personal bias here since it is really hard for me to like a cute concept–unless you’re B1A4 or Orange Caramel you’re gonna have to sell the shit out of it) and are the perfect vehicle for the kind of theatricality that I love in pop music (the lack of this kind of theatricality is actually a large part of why I never cared about Western boy bands after the 90s–well, that and the fact that they are extremely facially challenged).
The darkness of this video has garnered some criticism, since it includes violence against women. I seem to recall similar criticisms being leveled at other K-Pop videos including (but not limited to) Tablo’s “Bad.” Personally, I only find the inclusion of such themes problematic if a work of fiction conveys a stated or implicit approval. This is not the case with “Hyde” or with “Bad.” Both videos make it very clear that the violence is, you know, bad (seeing as it’s kind of in the title of one). Contrast that with something like 50 Shades of Grey, which passes off an abusive relationship as part of (an extremely inaccurate portrayal of) the BDSM lifestyle and a “love story.” Don’t believe me? Numerous blogs have dissected these books and can supply the receipts. Here’s two. So yes, there is some violence against the female love interest in “Hyde,” but it’s part of the darkness of the “Hyde” character. The message is not, “Yay! Violence is great y’all! Go out there and try it!” This music video is not reviving stale marriages or introducing lonely housewives to the intoxicating world of inaccurately portrayed BDSM.
Although I would gladly let Leo spank me.
Moving on. What impressed me most about the video is that it used very simple sets, and a very simple premise, to great effect. It really doesn’t look that high-budget; it just makes you think it is. A similar feat was accomplished by U-KISS’s “Standing Still,” which makes it even more embarrassing that major companies *cough*SME*cough* are still releasing four or so minutes of weird rooms and flashing lights and calling it a music video. Is it that hard for them to realize that throwing a bunch of flashing lights and bright colors at the screen is not the only way to make a video visually exciting? But then, big companies are probably pretty confident that they don’t need to do anything more creative to sell music (and they would be right). Smaller companies, however, have no laurels to rest on and no established fan base to exploit, so it stands to reason they have to stretch their modest budgets as far as they can.
We’re off to an appropriately awkward and embarrassing start with a nonsensical English intro by Ravi, who’s styled like a blond Romulan. I think he’s honestly trying to outdo Eli “This is my tragic story” of U-KISS and Thunder “Ay… Time is too slow for me baby” of MBLAQ. Also, the line “We started from the bottom” is so easy I won’t even comment on it except to comment on how easy it is. He has this really weird way of delivering his lines that’s almost as ridiculous-sounding as Mordney. Now, I don’t want to be too mean (who am I kidding; I’ve never had a problem with being mean) but I can tell that he’s going to be that awkward/lulzy one I just love to shade. BUT I DO IT OUT OF LOVE, OK?
Next we have Leo, who looks like fanon!Snape (for those of you unfamiliar with Harry Potter fandom, there is a cross-section of overly invested Snape fans whose perception of him is a bit… embellished). To be honest, though, if fanon!Snape is anything like this, I can understand why Snapefen are so batshit.
Leo delivers his lines with appropriate melodrama while gazing at his hands with consternation. It’s OK, Leo. I feel that way when I take off my acrylic nail tips.
Then there’s N, snarling and working some serious guyliner. Only I would be attracted to a guy who appears to have dipped his head in Kool-Aid.
Next, we see Ken bringing some bowlcut action while Hyuk laments in the middle of a dark forest.
We move into the chorus led by Hongbin and his home perm. Well, shit. Someone must’ve pissed off a coordi noona.
Throughout the video, we cut between shots of the guys ~*emoting*~ and interacting with a female love interest in yet another wholly unsuccessful attempt to establish the not-gays™. Um, K-pop boy band video directors? This never works. Especially when you have choreo like this:
The Jekyll/Hyde inner struggle that is the premise of the song continues throughout, conveyed via quick cuts between each guy’s white-clad “good side” and black-leather-and-Halloween-makeup-clad “dark side” as they interact with the love interest. Both outfits feature strategically placed cutouts for frequent flashes of pretty boy skin. Thanks coordi noonas, it’s appreciated.
There’s also some stock footage of lizards and worms and rotting things scattered in throughout, reminding me a bit of the True Blood credits. It ties in nicely with the gothic-looking interior and the dark forest backdrops.
Ravi gets his big rap solo during the bridge. It’s not as cringeworthy as the intro but he has a tendency to overact and look a bit… well, touched.
The guys complete their Hyde transformations in the final chorus, which involves what I can only describe as wings “feathersploding” out of their backs. This actually doesn’t look as hokey as it sounds. Sure, it’s campy and hammily acted (like most of this video), but the CGI is surprisingly well done. Or maybe it is that hokey but I love it in the same way I love hokey syfy shows. *shrug*
I have to say the one part of the MV I found really groanworthy (and not in a fun way) was when they superimposed Hongbin the Black Swan on the girl’s chest, tumblr graphic-style. I’m not really sure what the point of that was.
So I guess there isn’t much more to say. This is honestly one of the most fun and entertaining music videos I’ve recently watched. Sure, it’s campy, silly, and over-the-top, but this is K-Pop here. I ain’t in it for substance. “Hyde” is K-Pop at its melodramatic and theatrical finest. And if you still need further convincing, I shall leave you with a final visual: