The Brown Eyed Girls present fans with a case of good ol’ sisterly love and homicidal jealously.
Did you like the song?
“Cleansing Cream” is the follow-up track to “Sixth Sense,” which I previously reviewed. This song and the way BEG sings it really reminded me of the vocalist Jinsil in Tablo’s “Bad.” The breathy lyrics give the song a kind of light, airy feel, but they come at a relatively fast pace to create a powerful and driving rhythm. The overall effect makes the song haunting and unsettling. The image it brought to my mind is something like a beautiful bird fluttering in a panic around its cage. It’s a very interesting song.
What was your favorite part of the song?
I really liked Miryo’s raps, as I usually do, and also this crescendo to the chorus.
Does the English make you want to rip your eardrums out?
I love Miryo’s English! “Have you ever been in love? / Have you ever really loved?” Other than that, there’s the line “Oh my honey, honey, baby,” also fine. Good job, ladies!
Did you like the video?
It seems to be a common trop, not just in music videos but in many forms of storytelling, to begin with the last scene and then flash back for the majority of the time to show the way things got there. It’s a director’s/scriptwriter’s way of assuring the audience that something exciting is coming if they just patiently slog through other material first. Just like any trope, it’s been executed both brilliantly and not so well. In this case, the “exciting” thing is just a girl being pushed into a bathtub, which…yeah, is not that exciting. So maybe they could have chosen a different opening scene.
Anyway, the video matches the tone of the song: there’s a persistent feeling of wrongness about it that makes it deliciously disturbing. I do have to say that even though I thought the main actresses (Lee Som as the main character and Han Bo Bae as her blind sister) did a phenomenal job, I was disappointed that none of the Brown Eyed Girls—who have repeatedly proven themselves to be perfectly competent actresses—were in the video. I guess they were short on time filming “Sixth Sense.”
Was there a storyline? If so, did it make sense?
The literal interpretation:
This woman, played by Lee Som, and her husband live together with the woman’s blind (? I think? Though that doesn’t explain why she puts a tie over her eyes) younger sister, played by Han Bo Bae. (In addition to being blind, the sister might also have some other kind of developmental disability; the music video isn’t quite clear on this.) One day, the blind sister gets bored and starts being awkward, sliding up into bed with the woman and touching her husband’s face while they sleep.The symbolic interpretation—one of many, I’m sure:
I’d be really freaked out by people touching me in my sleep, too.
The woman is understandably alarmed, but I like that she doesn’t immediately yell at her sister. Instead, she kind of watches her and broods.
She amasses evidence in her mind that her sister is trying to, what, usurp her marriage? Flirt with her husband? Take over the woman’s life? The fact that her husband seems to allow the little touches make it worse for the woman. She stays up late at night, and her sister wanders like a ghost outside of their room. Her sister plays in the closet and rubs her face against their clothes. Then her sister gets some makeup and tries to put it on.
The operative word there being “tries.”
And for the woman it’s the last straw. It’s like her sister is flaunting how womanly, how sexy and desirable, she could be, like she’s trying to take over the woman’s place—and the woman just snaps. She drags her struggling sister to the bathroom, locks the door, and shoves her in the shower. And when that’s not enough to get the makeup off, she dumps her in the bathtub (which her husband had previously filled for no apparent reason).
Bath time is so much fun!
To me, it seems like there’s a moment when the woman is seriously considering drowning her sister, but others may not see that. At any rate, her sister puts her hand on her arm, which pulls the woman back to reality, and she collapses back onto the floor, looking shellshocked. The End.
The woman and her husband have recently broken up, but she still feels like she’s living with a memory of him. She can’t get over him and move on, no matter how hard she tries. The “sister” character is a representation of how the woman feels on the inside: blindly trying to deal with her mixed emotions in a childlike way while still cherishing her memories of him (as represented by her inner self still touching him and his things).There are also lots of possible interpretations regarding makeup, like maybe the woman wants to be clean and pure like her inner self, while her inner self wants to grow up and wear makeup, and she has to try to come to terms with these conflicting sides of herself.
She was clearly just on the lookout for a portal to Narnia.
In the end, the two “sides” of herself battle it out but can’t come to any sort of conclusion. I believe the lyrics tend to support this one (the singer is asking her friend why she can’t forget the man with whom she has just gone through a difficult breakup).
Was the dance cool and distinctive?
No dance, alas. BEG was probably too busy with the choreography for “Sixth Sense.”
Do the members look good?
The Brown Eyed Girls are not in this. However, the main couple looks good, and the blind sister looks convincingly childlike. I’d suggest she get a new makeup artist, though.
Which member stood out the most?
I’m going to have to give it to Lee Som, who plays the conflicted main character. I could really feel her confusion/jealousy at her situation.
Do you like it enough to buy the song?
No, unfortunately. If I did, I think that whenever I heard this song, I would think of the music video and be a little creeped out.
Any ending thoughts?
Man, how awesome are the Brown Eyed Girls at putting out two music videos with interesting storylines and so many possible interpretations in such a short timeframe?
“Note to self: putting makeup on incorrectly in Korea is a drowning offense.”
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