8Eight battle extreme writer’s block in their music video “Covering Those Lips.”
Did you like the song?
(This is a slightly older song, but the premise for the video is so great I had to review it.) Like Clover, 8Eight is a co-ed trio of two guys (Lee Hyun and Baek Chan) and a girl (Joo Hee), and it gives them an interesting sound. However, this is an unusual case in which I ended up liking the guys’ parts more than the girl’s part (through no fault of Joo Hee’s voice; it’s just the way the song was written).
I loved this song at the beginning and thought I knew where it was headed (starting from here to about 50 seconds in). It had a cool synthesizer thing going on, somehow reminiscent of SS501’s “Deja Vu.” The song was really building up momentum and getting me excited for the chorus...but then this hit. Man, what a letdown. The cheesy strings kick in, and it basically turns into an upbeat ballad with an interesting rap section. Mind you, it’s still a good song, but I feel like I was teased by something awesome, then it was snatched away and I was given something just good instead. I really feel like they shied away from going to a more interesting, edgier place with this song, and I was disappointed.
(P.S. As a friend pointed out to me, you might recognize Lee Hyun from his collaboration with 2AM’s Changmin in “Men Should Laugh.” Check it out if you haven’t heard of it!)
What was your favorite part of the song?
This cool step-down leading up to the chorus (repeated here). I wish they’d continued the song in this vein.
Does the English make you want to rip your eardrums out?
The only English is just before the rap: “Don’t say, don’t go away. Your love is dead; there’s no way.” The pronunciation is very good, and although it should usually be “don’t say ___,” like “don’t say it” or “don’t say goodbye,” the line works in a nice triple-rhyme, and I could see this in a rap song as an implied meaning.
Did you like the video?
This music video is really fascinating, and at times difficult to watch because it moves so quickly (like, seriously, don’t watch this if you’re prone to seizures), taking you deep into the creative process of a composer who is trying to figure out how to end his piece when he has an endless and dizzying amount of choices. The video literally follows his brain during the process, flashing inspiration and freezing it there as if contemplating it, then discarding it again in scraps of paper or burning it to ashes. But the video is most effective when it takes possible outcomes and then holds them all up to see, as in this scene:
Notice that in the beginning, the composer’s mind (and thus the camera) focuses on his characters’ faces starting at just below the eyes.
I think that this is meant to represent how he is just thinking of his characters as types or placeholders—they aren’t real to him yet; everything’s still hazy. So he tries to go deeper into their world, as evidenced by his pulling off the sheets to see their experiences in more color.
Then he can finally get to the emotional crux of the tale, and he focuses a lot on their eyes, i.e. their humanity.
Was there a storyline? If so, did it make sense?
I can’t read the Hangul in the newspapers, so there may be something I’m missing here, but this is my interpretation. A composer with severe writer’s block (or perhaps some kind of medical issue, like a brain tumor) is finding it impossible to finish his piece (which is about characters from the 1800s?). He takes an absurd amount of medicine, drinks an absurd amount of coffee, and walks around his studio trying to find inspiration. (I think he may have a deadline; there’s a calendar he keeps looking at. Or maybe he’s going to die and that’s how much time he has left?)
In the beginning, he’s decided that he’s writing a tragedy where the lead character kills his lover. But as the composer delves deeper into his characters, I think he begins to associate more with the male lead (as shown by the transition from the composer’s eyes to his character’s, then by the swinging between the male lead holding a gun and the author holding a gun). He starts wondering if it’s a bit cruel for him to make his character kill the love of his life.
He can’t see it; something’s not right. He throws his manuscript into the air in exasperation, looks for his pills, and falls to the floor (at his both literal and metaphorical “lowest point”). But finally, in a really poignant scene, his characters actually start encouraging him. It’s such a sweet moment when No Jihoon hands his creator the pen.
This is something that I believe many authors, composers, and certainly journalists aspire to: that their story will literally write itself, that the actual subject is the muse. But the difficulty with this is something that authors may discover: they begin to love their characters. And when you love something, it’s can be difficult to make that thing forever unhappy. So when he starts seeing his characters’ humanity, he has to give them a happy ending, when before he had been contemplating rather excessive tragedy; this scene is illustrated by an awesome rewinding sequence. In the end, the author becomes so involved in his work that he disappears, and only his characters remain.
A recurring motif I didn’t understand was the falling piano/falling miniature piano and the burning castle of words. Is that supposed to represent the music coming together? Or the girl’s emotions? Or the main couple’s love? Or the author disappearing from the process? Or the author disappearing altogether?
Was the dance cool and distinctive?
There isn’t a dance, but the way the video is filmed gives it a flickering, lilting feel that leaves viewers feeling dizzy from all the spinning.
Do the members look good?
There’s something else interesting here, too. Since I’ve started watching Kpop music videos (and…actually most MVs in general; I can’t think of any exceptions), I don’t think I’ve ever seen a music video that stars an older Korean man, as this one does. I’ve seen some that feature older women, like T-ARA’s long version of “Roly Poly,” but I don’t think I’ve ever seen an older person actually be the protagonist. That’s interesting, isn’t it?
Which member stood out the most?
It’s usually the ladies, but in this instance I think the male lead character, No Jihoon, a trainee from Cube Entertainment, stole the show for me. Just look how happy he is in this scene:
Do you like it enough to buy the song?
Alas, I wish I did, but no.
Any ending thoughts?
The creativity in this video is just astounding. I really hope to see more music videos like this. By the way, if you want to see a fun 8Eight clip, watch them order pizza in the best way possible. It’s really funny, and wow! What powerful voices!
“You know what’s a badass way to kill somebody? An 1800s pistol that couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn from three feet away.”
Thank you for reading! Please share your comments below! :)