Monday, September 26, 2011

Review: Brown Eyed Girls–“Sixth Sense”

Brown Eyed Girls become freedom fighting revolutionaries in their long-awaited music video.

Did you like the song?
I’ll just say right off the bat that I wanted another “Abracadabra” from Brown Eyed Girls (BEG) even though I knew they weren’t going to do that concept again. Even if they’d tried, it’s probably impossible to do something that spectacular twice, so I was bound to be disappointed, and I knew that going in. That said, “Sixth Sense” is fierce and different. It shows off BEG’s powerful vocals in a way that “Abracadabra” really doesn’t, and I did enjoy the song.

What was your favorite part of the song?
This song with its driving beat and intense strings reminded me really strongly of a kind of superhero theme, like this could be the soundtrack for “Catwoman” (complete with “meow~”). The very last chord and the searchlights really cemented my impression of this. It has a kind of “rooftop hijinks” feel to it. All that is to say my favorite part was the relentless beat coupled with the strings. And I think I actually enjoyed the verses more than the chorus, which is rather unusual for me. (Also, I loved Miryo’s rap and wanted it to be longer.)

Brown Eyed Girls Sixth Sense

Clockwise: Jea, Ga-in, Miryo, and Narsha.

Does the English make you want to rip your eardrums out?
Again, lots of English, and the grammar isn’t terrible but the pronunciation throughout is not good. The main riff is “More than emotion / Better than the love motion,” and I wish I knew what that was! Sounds sexy. Also: “meow”? However, Miryo definitely gets points for singing in Spanish (“Gracias” with a nicely rolled rrr).

On the other hand, the English in the propaganda posters is pretty much perfect.
“In a world meant to break our hearts, exhausted, we sang songs, told stories, and laid brick,” “I remember spelling out our own private resistance,” “Resistance: you have a voice,” and “Feel watch plus +Sixth Sense.”

Brown Eyed Girls Sixth Sense resistance posters

Resistance is apparently not useless in this universe.

The only thing I don’t get is where the “sixth sense” comes into it. (“Feel watch plus +sixth sense.”) So…yeah, that means I don’t understand the title of the song, which really sucks. If you have any ideas, please share them! :)

Did you like the video?
I love this video! It’s like watching a last stand in the V for Vendetta universe. Am I wrong to think this song might be BEG’s response to Korean music video censorship (which, incidentally, banned their own “Abracadabra”)? And I wouldn’t be surprised if this MV is banned as well, which might prove their point. But it’s probably more a criticism of the limitations and restrictions of society.

Was there a storyline? If so, did it make sense?
Okay, I’m sure there are lots of ways to analyze this MV, but here’s mine. *deep breath* So, in my interpretation BEG have been living under the dictatorship of this pretty generic masked ruler (whose symbol is unfortunately an outline of the Star of David).

Brown Eyed Girls BEG Sixth Sense evil dictator


It’s not clear precisely what the ruler has done that needs resisting, but it’s hinted that the world has become a kind of 1984 dystopia where Big Brother Is Watching You, and different voices are being silenced. The evil government has made examples of BEG (I’m guessing for speaking out in the past); they have been separated and restrained in different ways:

Brown Eyed Girls Ga-in Sixth Sense

Ga-in is tied to a chair under a huge archway.

Brown Eyed Girls Jea Sixth Sense

Jea is chained to a huge wreath of branches (or something) in a murky pool.

Brown Eyed Girls Miryo Sixth Sense

Miryo is chained outside the capital (?) and is forced to be a spokesperson for the government, I’m guessing.

Brown Eyed Girls Narsha Sixth Sense

Narsha is imprisoned within…a circle of lobster traps? What is this?

(Jea’s punishment seems the scariest to me; Miryo’s seems the most likely to actually happen.)

Anyway, eventually BEG break out of the restraints and determine they’ve had enough of this treatment, so they decide to confront the government army with their music and dancing in a kind of “last stand” with a few well-dressed male friends.

Brown Eyed Girls Sixth Sense last stand

Ga-in, Narsha, Miryo, and Jea.

As the army watches their performance, the soldiers are visibly moved and instead decide to literally turn on the evil tyrant, who tries to fight back by hosing them down but is eventually overrun. The dictator’s mask lies abandoned and soaked on the ground.

BEG Sixth Sense dictator's mask

Even oppressors enjoy Mardi Gras!

However, and here’s the creepy part: the music video ends with a scene of BEG, dry again in the failing daylight, standing in front of their resistance posters, then being almost overrun by the oncoming barrage of government soldiers. So what does it all mean? I think it unfortunately suggests that everything after Miryo’s rap—i.e. the scene of the soldiers turning and taking out the government—is actually just a fantasy, whereas in reality no one took BEG’s side; the government won. Chilling, right? But I think the point was to put pressure on the viewer to stand up and speak out against tyranny (and perhaps censorship).

BEG Sixth Sense sad truth

The sad truth?

Was the dance cool and distinctive?
I don’t know that we really saw enough of the dance in the music video to judge it fully. It had some cool of body waves and also a section where they hit the floor, and I usually approve of those. Here’s a live version if you’re interested in seeing the full dance.

Do the members look good?
Dear God, BEG really rocks both the short and the long hairstyle, as well as that extreme eye makeup, in those army-esque clothes. (Though, sorry, I’m not a fan of Ga-in’s vampiric wet hair/smeared eyeshadow look.) And what’s with Miryo, like, only barely being in the music video until her part? *unhappy*

BEG Sixth Sense Ga-in

Ga-in’s trying to score a part in Twilight.

Which member stood out the most?
Usually in BEG videos, either Ga-in or Narsha steals the show for me, so this time I was pleasantly surprised that Jea and Miryo really stood out here. Miryo certainly looked the most striking, but I’m going to have to give this to Jea. She gets to show off her voice, she was so lovely tied up in the pool of water, and I liked her pigtails, too!

BEG Sixth Sense Jea

Lookin’ good, Jea.

Do you like it enough to buy the song?
Heck, yes! It’s not as danceable as I had hoped, but I still very much enjoyed it.

Any ending thoughts?
Think this will be the best Kpop music video of the year? There’s still a long way to go, but I think it will definitely be a contender. I admire BEG’s bravery in putting out a music video with a message, as well as something that makes an effort to involve the viewer.

Boyfriend’s one-liner:
“What’s with the Jew-hating? Meowww.”

Thanks for reading! Please subscribe and leave your comments below. Also feel free to request a review. By the way, I made an album for keeping track of group members’ names as I learn them, so check it out if you want to learn with me! We update Monday-Friday. :)

1 comment:

  1. Here's the actual story (from the lyricist Kim Eana):

    "The lyrics and the music video are not just a story that follow a certain sequence; rather, it’s a collection of characters and images that come together to form one illustration. The song itself is a hybrid rhapsody, so the story does not flow according to the music video’s string of events. All scenes that took place within the building represent the characters’ individual histories, and the image they wish to project onto the riot police.”

    Miryo: “Since Miryo is the rapper of the group, she took the role of being the deliverer of the message. When the camera first pans to Miryo, she looks confident and strong. But when the camera zooms out, the view is able to see that she’s actually chained. There are several mics in front of her, as if she’s being forced to say something. The two lions she’s chained to represent power and authority, which she kicks away from her.”

    JeA: "JeA represents the image of sacrifice. [The idea of her being tied to
    tree branches was derived from the sacrificing in most religions.] Although the scene loks beautiful from afar, the viewer is able to see that JeA is being pressed down and chained. In the actual teaser image, JeA represented ‘music’. She is the only character that does not rebel outright. In the MV, she becomes a strong and powerful leader in the scene with the riot police, which stands for music’s desire to rebel."

    Narsha: (Note: Narsha represents the "sixth sense" as well as the animalistic lyrics in the song, like "the tips of my sharp nails become embedded into your skin", which is why she acts so "wildly".) “The lights inside the cage are flashlights, and symbolises
    the idea of constantly being watched and observed. Her character looks afraid of it, but at the same time she also seems to enjoy being observed.”

    Ga-In: “The military jacket that she’s seen wearing over her clothes belongs to
    her dead lover, a man who dreamed of a revolution. Ga-In wore that jacket around, mourning the death of her lover, but didn’t know what the jacket stood for. Ga-In’s character is scared at first but eventually her spirit rises and rebels against of the attackers with smirks."