Monday, November 14, 2011

Review: TRAX–“Blind”

TRAX should invest in a dehumidifier for Victoria and Kyuhyun in their music video.

Did you like the song?
Despite not knowing much about their music, I’ve been predisposed to like TRAX since I’ve seen them collaborate with my favorite SM artists many times. (For example, Super Junior’s Heechul, who is one of TRAX’s biggest fanboys, was featured in their music video “Let You Go” (along with f(x)’s Victoria), and he also collaborated with guitarist Jungmo in “Close Ur Mouth.” But I think they’ve worked with pretty much every artist in their SM family.)

At first listening to this song and seeing Jungmo playing acoustic guitar, I was worried that maybe TRAX had abandoned their rock genre and done a yawn-worthy ballad, but then about a minute and a half in, the cool chorus kicks in, Jungmo picks up an electric guitar, and it becomes clear I was wrong to have worried.

TRAX members Blind mv

Guitarist Jungmo (“X-Mas”) and vocalist Jay (“Typhoon”).

What was your favorite part of the song?
Jungmo’s guitar solo is amazing. Seriously one of the best moments. I love that he gets to just let loose and rock out. But my favorite part is this escalation in the last chorus. It’s really the high point of the song.

Does the English make you want to rip your eardrums out?
Alas, no English.

Did you like the video?
What is it with TRAX and super-white backgrounds in their MVs (i.e. “Oh, My Goddess,” “Let You Go,” etc.)? I guess it’s their rendition of the plain sets SM is known for. Still, I guess I should be grateful that this music video had a storyline at all, even if it was mainly Kyuhyun and Victoria being distraught (again, in Victoria’s case).

Was there a storyline? If so, did it make sense?
So f(x)’s Victoria and Super Junior’s Kyuhyun are separately stuck in these different rooms. Both rooms could really use fewer antiques as well as a dehumidifier, as they’re draped in mist. Kyuhyun is in one with warmer colors, while Victoria’s room has is tinted a darker blue. Neither looks like a particularly fun place to be.

TRAX Blind Victoria and Kyuhyun

Victoria and Kyuhyun.

Both of them appear to be a very tactile people, as they wander around touching everything…but neither appear to be blind. The events: Victoria lights a candle while Kyuhyun opens an antique box, Victoria collapses onto a…Victorian bed (punny, eh?), Kyuhyun closes the box, Victoria notices the box on her desk, Kyuhyun looks at a picture of them together, and Victoria’s box turns out to be full of jewelry. They both have a picture of them together as a cute couple, and as Kyuhyun watches, Victoria disappears from his picture, and Kyuhyun disappears from Victoria’s picture. Victoria cries, and her teardrop falls into the floor, which causes everything where TRAX is playing to explode in a mess of glass and rose petals. As you can imagine, this does not help the dust situation. Kyuhyun and Victoria look suitably upset. The End.

The oddest thing to me is that Kyuhyun and Victoria open their respective boxes and then disappear from each other’s pictures. It’s like the box is stealing their memories. The rooms they’re in are misty, too, so that suggests either they’re dead or something else.

Victoria and Kyuhyun TRAX Blind mv

Looks like somebody didn’t dust today. Or for the last 20 years.

So…what’s it all mean? Short answer: I have no idea. We can only play a game of Pick Your Interpretation.

Interpretation 1: Kyuhyun is dead and Victoria is alive but super depressed. After enough time, they start to forget each other, but they feel empty and sad. This interpretation can also be reversed.

Interpretation 2: Victoria is dead and Kyuhyun has lost his memory of her in an accident or something. She is sad because they can’t be together, and he is sad because he can’t quite remember her. In the end, they both have to forget each other and find it impossible to move on.

Interpretation 3: They’re both dead and in different parts of heaven/purgatory/one is in heaven and the other is in hell/the generic afterlife. They’re sad because they can’t be together, and after enough time passes they start forgetting each other.

Interpretation 4: SCI-FI! They’re time-travelers, and one of them messed up somewhere and accidentally changed the time stream, erasing their relationship. They’re sad before they forget that they were ever together.

TRAX Blind Victoria Kyuhyun

In this time stream, neither of us were ever actually born!

Interpretation 5: SCI-FI! They’re imprisoned and being experimented upon! The little box is sentient and also an evil memory-stealing menace. It eats happy memories like food.

Evil Box Pandora’s box


Interpretation 6: My personal theory. They’re both actually blind, and this music video is kind of an illustration of the internal thoughts of a person dealing with blindness. So the memories are their internal thoughts, in a way. They open the box, which symbolizes the full onset of blindness. They’re both very tactile, perhaps to compensate for the loss of vision, and they both gradually begin to forget what the other person looked like, though it’s easier for them to remember what they themselves looked like.

But who knows what the video actually means? I’d love to hear other people’s interpretations.

Was the dance cool and distinctive?
No dance, either. Let’s just look at some pictures of Jungmo rockin’ like a boss.

TRAX Jungmo Blind guitar

Do the members look good?
How can you have a rock band with just two people? Answer: you can’t. So TRAX enlisted a drummer and bassist for this music video. I wonder if they will keep on as just two members or if they will eventually add two more to replace the two who left (is it the TVXQ problem?). Regardless, they look cool. I can’t quite decide the color of Jungmo’s hair. Is it blonde, grey, or blue?

TRAX members Blind mv

Jay and Jungmo.

Which member stood out the most?
Jungmo looked amazing by affecting the rock star persona of never looking at the camera, but doing so made it difficult to see his face, whereas Jay was looking at the camera most of the time. So now I feel like I know Jay better, but I’m more impressed by Jungmo. Which is better?

TRAX members Jay Jungmo Blind

Jungmo and Jay.

Do you like it enough to buy the song?
Hmm. Not at the moment, as it’s too slow at the beginning and during some other parts. But I really liked the song, especially that epic crescendo.

Any ending thoughts?
TRAX was originally composed of four members (for which it was nonsensically named—Typhoon of the Rose Attack on X-Mas...), but now it has dwindled to two, which is sad, but at least those two are extremely talented. However, with all their talent and the fact that they are under SM, a company that for all its flaws promotes its artists better than any other company, I don’t understand why they’re not more popular. Is it the genre? Is rock really that much less popular in Korea than in America?

Boyfriend’s one-liner:
“You don’t stop playing because the Titanic’s sinking. You don’t stop playing because your house is exploding.”

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