Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Review: UV–“Who Am I”

UV asks, “Who Am I?” with a great tribute to the Beatles.

Did you like the song?
UV (which roughly means “married men,” lol) is a music-making duo with members Yoo Seyoon and Muzie (who is also in High Syde).

UV members

Yoo Seyoon and Muzie

They are famous for “Itaewon Freedom,” a hilarious retro parody of 80s song “Harlem Desire” by the London Boys.

UV Itaewon Freedom

Muzie, Yoo Seyoon, and JYP (who was collaborating with them for this MV)

So UV are clearly masters of parody and crazy wigs, but this music video feels more like a tribute to me (or perhaps it’s a bit of both). For “Who Am I,” they team up with singer/songwriters Jung Jaehyung and You Heeyeol.

This song seems to mimic that of the Beatles’ “Hey Jude” in terms of structure. You start with a strong but simple piano line that keeps the beat, then have a great crescendo where the beat picks up and more instruments are added (and the singer sings “nananana”). It’s not as powerfully executed as “Hey Jude,” though admittedly few songs could be, partially because UV lacks the cohesive vocal harmonies that are a Beatles trademark.

What was your favorite part of the song?
There’s no question, the part starting at the quick piano slide (or glissando~) where the song picks up and starts to rock out more is the best.

Does the English make you want to rip your eardrums out?
There isn’t much English (just the occasional “girlfriend” and “secret lover”) until the end of the song, when we get quite a bit of English, all good except the line “You are girlfriend,” which should probably be “you are my girlfriend.” Still, it’s all pronounced quite well, so no complaints.

If you’re curious, the song is about a guy who feels insecure because he’s his girlfriend’s second lover, while she’s his first lover, so the title suggests the phrase “Who am I to you?” Also, there’s well-pronounced French! (“Je te promets,” or “I promise you.”)

Did you like the video?

UV Who Am I Beatles album covers

But just look at these freakin’ album covers! How amazing are they?

Anyway, this is a very good Beatles tribute, and as a fan of both the Beatles and Kpop, I really appreciate it. Some examples: the iconic synchronized bowing at the end, the hair (including facial hair) styles, the Abbey Road crosswalk…

UV Who Am I Abbey Road

The Beatles vs. crabwalking UV.

The “rooftop concert” concept is based on the Beatles’ last live concert in 1969

UV Who Am I Beatles rooftop concert

The Beatles’ rooftop concert vs. UV’s rooftop concert.

There’s also an intimate embrace mimicking Yoko Ono and John Lennon’s Rolling Stone magazine cover:

UV Who Am I Beatles Rolling Stones cover

I’d usually warn for partial nudity, but because it’s John Lennon I’ll just say this: you’re welcome.

My only complaint about inaccuracies here would be the scene towards the beginning where the guys greet each other by fake kissing twice, because while that may be a French or other European thing to do, it is not that common in England, and it would be even rarer for two men to greet each other in this way (unless something has suddenly changed over there since I visited last). The British are very reserved in their emotions, UV!

Was there a storyline? If so, did it make sense?
Anybody can Photoshop an Abbey Road or Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band cover into amusing parodies and call it a Beatles tribute. But to achieve something like UV’s “Who Am I,” you need to have both an understanding and respect for the subject of the tribute. I think pretty much everything is there, from the hair and the clothes and the mini-Cooper to the film—by which I mean the film or frame rate or filter UV is using makes it look like the footage was actually shot in the 1960s. And their fun antics are shot in a style similar to the Beatles’ A Hard Day’s Night movie (i.e. a comedic mockumentary where much of the film is the boys wandering around being silly instead of having a completely structured and coherent storyline). There’s also a cute personal touch with what I assume are childhood photos and memories of UV themselves, adding another level to the mockumentary style. On top of that, it looks like they may have actually filmed in London with British extras. That is some impressive dedication.

Was the dance cool and distinctive?
What would you say the dance is, crabwalking across Abbey Road or synchronized jumping into the air?

UV Who Am I jumping into the air

Jumping, jumping, jumping now...(thanks, KARA)

Do the members look good?
They look like 60s hippies, which is to say, they look authentic (and certainly good if you’re into that sort of thing).

UV Who Am I

I think this is Jung Jaehyung and You Heeyeol playing Paul McCartney and George Harrison, leaving Muzie to be Ringo Starr, though I’m not sure.

There’s a little nod to the Beatles’ psychedelic era in the music video, too, though honestly I was expecting more psychedelic vibes in this music video.

UV Who Am I psychedelic

Groovy, baby.

Which member stood out the most?
There’s no question about this one, either: Yoo Seyoon is the star of the music video and seems to also be the most prominent member of UV, for that matter. It also doesn’t hurt that he’s playing the role of John Lennon in the MV; Lennon is arguably the most distinctive Beatles member.

UV Who Am I Yoo Seyoon John Lennon comparison

John Lennon vs. Yoo Seyoon

Do you like it enough to buy the song?
I’m still deciding on this one. The song is different and very pleasant, but it takes a long time to get going. I’ll give it a tentative no, but I may change my mind.

Any ending thoughts?
I find these kinds of tribute music videos very interesting. Some other ones I can think of are Secret’s “Madonna” and all those Michael Jackson tributes they did after he died, but please let me know if you can think of any more!

If you want to learn more about UV, check out their mockumentary “UV Syndrome,” which tries to discover the origins of UV in a comedic way. And if you want to learn more about the Beatles, it’s sad to say, but this Rockband commercial is a good place to start.

Boyfriend’s one-liner:
“Is this the beginning of UV-mania?”

UV Who Am I girl sticking tongue out

Because I just can’t resist.

Thanks for reading! Please share your comments below. :)


  1. Wow, very informative post!!! I just saw this video and loved it!!! I'm from the UK and have been trying to track down where it was all filmed :P

  2. Hi! Nice to meet you (I followed you on Tumblr)! Wow, I love the UK. My dad's from there, too (Brighton), so that's how I got into the Beatles.

    Good luck on your quest to find where everything was filmed! Are there lots of Kpop fans in Britain?

  3. Aww thank you :D There is quite a lot of Kpop fans in the UK, we had a Shinee concert here recently that crashed servers and we have a cube concert coming up!!! :D So the hallyu wave is slowly but surely hitting our shores! Wish it would hurry up a bit though :P

  4. Thanks so much for letting me know! It's always interesting to hear about Kpop in other countries. That's really exciting that you guys have a Cube concert coming up! I love BEAST and 4minute. :D