Today I’ll be reviewing Winner’s Empty A.K.A. I Spot No Fashion Crimes In A K-Pop MV…Everyone start preparing! The apocalypse is upon us! MV.
Winner have been on my radar for a while. Actually, since that terrible reality show competition, WIN: Who is Next, where they won and I cried over Bobby and B.I. Metaphorically, of course, since crocodiles don’t cry. Then came their AMAZING teaser filled with pink cupcakes and dramatic trailer music and I was hooked. THEN they had a showcase where they walked the runway and presented their New York Fashion Week inspired album. Yeah, I’m in love. Now here they are with Empty, finally. I think these guys had more delays than BioShock Infinite. The lyrics are the conventional verses you’d expect from a breakup song, but because of the drawled singing in the beginning it feels like a drunken confession over the phone (something the director of this MV took advantage of). The boys sing about being left as nothing but shells of their happy selves after the breakup, wondering where their past lover is and turning the ache to mere longing and understanding.
What makes this song is the blending of the female voice (or high-pitched male voice, only the producer knows) humming the melody and the boys echoing verses. It’s really soothing and so catchy. It’s like a sped up lullaby that digs it’s claws into your brain like Beast’s Good Luck.
The MV Plot + Execution
The MV themes are abandonment and loneliness, with an emphasis on the colors blue and white. In the MV, the boys visit all the places they used to go to with their girlfriends, only those places are now derelict and deserted. Of course, this is from the perspective of the members. These places which were once filled with happy memories are now nothing but silent deserts filled with imperfections. Everywhere they try to escape becomes an empty wonderland, as their memories continue to escape them and leave nothing behind but the conventional, mundane reality of each environment. The people around them are invisible because the one person they want to see isn’t there. The places they go to include the movies, a small restaurant, the subway, a laundromat (because the couple that does laundry together, stays together—except in this case), etc. The MV begins with Mino leaving a message on his ex-girlfriend’s phone, after aimlessly wondering the streets all night, most likely drunk. Then we get sucked into the night before, as the emptiness of the room consumes him and he transforms into the other members. For once, I didn’t mind the brick room. Dear god, it is the end of the world. A lot of details gave touches of vulnerability: Mino being barefoot, Taehyun sitting on the floor, and Seunghoon’s hoodie, to name a few. I also really enjoyed the linking of Taehyun’s laundromat scene with Mino’s beach scene. The poster with the man on the beach with the surfboard can mean that Taehyun was inspired by the poster to go to the beach to try and forgot (after which he became Mino). I just thought it was a nice transition.
My favorite scene is where Jinwoo is at the movie theater filled with ripped, dirty seats apparently looking at the saddest or most boring movie in the world (considering his expression). He’s my bias, bless his soul. The biggest “Awww” scene award goes to maknae Taehyun, who caresses the female’s model’s face timidly in close-up mode (and will inspire an endless wave of fanfics and angry letters directed at YG for years to come). But the BEST scene is definitely Seunghoon at the train station called Western Station. Can’t get more Western than that…
What I Wanted In This MV That Isn’t In It
The first teaser for Winner was FANTASTIC. It really, really bothers me that neither of their debut MVs had any of those scenes. So if I could put some in here they would be: the cupcake and it’s subtle sexual innuendo, Mino cuddling with a stuffed tiger (because why not?), and Seungyoon looking at his reflection, which has taken a life of it’s own and is playing the guitar, before going to the bedroom and being overwhelmed by silver balloons. Just saying…
I love you T.O.P, I do, but you’ve started a trend of YG artists barely moving their mouths while singing. First it was Lee Hi, then 2NE1, and now Winner have caught the virus. Your sexy, sexy virus. I mean, I get it guys, you’re dead inside, the love of your life has deserted you and you’ve got nothing left to live for (priorities, guys, priorities). But, you don’t have to say the words, just mouth them. This is going to be dubbed over anyway!
Give this stylist a promotion. Immediately. The fact that this is a YG Entertainment MV and there isn’t a single fashion crime is up there with the resurrection powers of the Holy Ghost for me. There is a casual chicness to everything the Winner boys wear and all the pieces are very everyday practical. I’m guessing the stylists were going for a polished style filled with pricey peaces that seemed effortless and personal, with the extended PR motivation of making them easier to relate to and down to earth. Taehyun’s suspenders style is pretty adorable and I loved Seungyoon’s informal suit combo while sitting in the destroyed car as it snows. I also think it’s hilarious that Mino wears clothes that matches his bedspread. Finally, let me just say that I think this fashion approach is great. I understand that stars are supposed to have a unique look but that doesn’t automatically mean that they need to wear some of the most outrageous outfits. Winner’s thing can be the Boys Next Door cute factor. If I see anyone throw a fur coat on one of them I might buy a ticket to Korea and hunt down those stylists.
MV Rating: 3.5 Stars/5 Stars