Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Review: Baby Soul (feat. Wheesung)–“Stranger”

A relationship on the rocks eventually disintegrates. (Too Confuscian?)

Did you like the song?
From Infinite’s company, Woollim Entertainment, comes the first member of an as-yet-unrevealed girl group. (There’s been some speculation that the actress in the music video is also a trainee in the girl group, but I haven’t yet seen confirmation of that.)

Baby Soul featuring Wheesung Stranger CD cover

Man, this song and its lyrics made me so sad. I actually teared up. She just wants to be close to her man, but he keeps shunning her and won’t get close to her.

But, um, aside from that, I think there’s just something about ballads that Wheesung is involved in. They’re so musically interesting that I…forget they’re ballads. It has elements of rock ballads that I really enjoy (yes, give me more of those epic electric guitar riffs, please) And Baby Soul’s voice is gorgeous.

Baby Soul Stranger members Woollim Entertainment Infinite

To be honest, though, I wasn’t really feeling the give-and-take duet aspect of the song. Clearly Wheesung is an amazing veteran singer, but in this song I don’t feel like his part was better or more interesting than Baby Soul’s, nor did it really add anything.

What was your favorite part of the song?
Probably the part leading up to the chorus starting where the backup vocals kick in. I like that line right after the backup vocals sing.

Does the English make you want to rip your eardrums out?
No English. *tear* At first I thought the backup vocals were saying “ajusshi” (to address an older man) but they were actually saying “aju swibjanha” (“It’s really easy”).

Did you like the video?
It was okay, very typical. The artist singing is tinted in one color (warmer, reddish ones here), the action is tinted in another color (a cool, almost sterile bluish color), and happier times are made a bit fuzzier.

Baby Soul Stranger screencap

There’s nothing new here; I feel like I’ve seen this music video before. But, hey, it’s not bad for a ballad. At least nobody got run over or actually died…hmm, scratch that. Actually, I think she may be dead.

Was there a storyline? If so, did it make sense?
I think the video is supposed to be about a formerly happy couple who have grown apart and end up separating. But what I’m getting from this video is it’s about wife who dies and then stalks her husband from beyond the grave until she accepts the fact that she has died and that he is trying to grieve.

Baby Soul Stranger actress

The main scene that convinces me is this one towards the beginning of the music video. (If you’ve seen The Sixth Sense, you tend to become hyper-aware of things like this.) She’s standing there on a bridge, and he comes up to her, stops, and seems to acknowledge her (maybe), but keeps his hands in his pockets. Also note that he doesn’t appear to say anything during these entire scenes, while she’s talking a mile a minute, it seems.

Baby Soul Stranger screencaps actress actor names

“’Cause I’ve got one hand in my pocket, and the other one’s trying to get this dead girl off me…”

Then they keep walking, she hits somebody and falls over, and he not only keeps walking, he doesn’t even acknowledge her falling. (Granted, the woman who hit her does, but that could be explained by her feeling a sudden blast of cold air or something.)

Baby Soul Stranger actor actress

Happy Birthday to the ground.

Now, his weird behavior could be explained as him just being a cold bastard, but that would make him really cold, like almost sociopathic. Who doesn’t even flinch when their girlfriend or wife falls in a public place? No matter how much you may hate her or feel distant from her, you would still at least look at her, surely? Nope, there’s only one way to explain this: she’s gotta be dead.

The last scene cements it in my mind, too, where they’re both under the umbrella…

Baby Soul Stranger happy couple

…then she disappears.

Baby Soul Stranger actor

It’s the creepiest magic trick in existence!

Was the dance cool and distinctive?
No dance, either.

Do the members look good?
The actress and actor are very cute together, despite their depressing story. But what is with the camera work being constantly blurry during Baby Soul’s scenes? It makes it hell to screencap, but that’s not my main concern. My main problem is actually the same one I had with Infinite’s “Paradise,” and that is: when it’s harder to see the members, it’s harder to get to know them. Maybe they’re deliberately keeping Baby Soul “mysterious,” but then why bother debuting her ahead of her group at all?

Woollim Entertainment Baby Soul Infinite company

This is one of the clearest shots I could get of her. :(

Which member stood out the most?
Since I couldn’t see Baby Soul clearly, I am tempted to give it to the actors’ hands here. They focused on them a lot in the first scenes.

Baby Soul Stranger couple story meaning hands

So pretty-looking.

But in the end, I think I have to give it to the mystery actress whom I think is playing a ghost.

Baby Soul No More Than Strangers Actress

Do you like it enough to buy the song?
I enjoyed the song, just not enough to buy it.

Any ending thoughts?
I’m definitely looking forward to the Woollim girl group. If they’re anything like Infinite…well, I would be very pleased.

Boyfriend’s one-liner:
“Yup, if my girlfriend got pushed to the ground, I’d keep walking and then be ashamed of her to the point where I’d have to leave.” (We still aren’t talking, btw. .____.)

So how’s the holiday shopping going?


  1. I fell in love with this song from the moment I heard it; the music is great, Baby Soul can sing, and the lyrics talk about an aspect of relationships that sometimes gets left out: communication. Also, at first I had a hard time figuring out why Wheesung had a part in here at all (other than to get people's attention), but when I actually looked up the translations of the lyrics, it made more sense: he gave the male reply to Baby Soul's words, and the shortness actually proves how pathetic an excuse it is. I would love to see the two of them do a real duet in the future (you know, when Wheesung comes back from the army). Thanks for another interesting review~! It's always interesting to read yours, because I love ballads a lot while you're not a big fan, so I get a different perspective.

  2. ...he gave the male reply to Baby Soul's words, and the shortness actually proves how pathetic an excuse it is.

    I saw that, too. Although I still don't think it was that interesting musically, which is basically a crime considering how awesome Wheesung's range is, I get that they needed it to convey the meaning. :)

    I also want to see them collaborate again (when he returns. *cries* All my favorites are going off to the army). 

    I'm maybe ever so slowly warming up to ballads...maybe. At least some. :D

  3. Yeah, I know what you mean. Wheesung has a great voice, and they didn't really use it to their advantage here; which is sad, because if they had both been used fully I think this song would have went from awesome to epic in 2.2 seconds flat. 

    (I know right? T___T I swear, if any Big Bang member decides to join the army this year, I'm going to cry.)

    Heh, I listened to A LOT of R&B growing up, so I'm used to them; I love fast songs too, but ballads are what seals the deal on whether an artist can actually sing or not, in my opinion.

  4. i think the girl is alive. 

  5. OMG, I am so behind on comments, sorry. The holidays have been busy. :(

    ...ballads are what seals the deal on whether an artist can actually sing or not, in my opinion.

    That's definitely true. It's so easy to hide behind autotune and weird processing now. Sometimes I wonder why Kpop companies invest so much time and effort (and money!) into finding or training great singers, then just autotuning the hell out of them.

    For that reason alone I'm grateful to ballads for proving that the artists are still great singers, no matter what management may do to their voices.

    I swear, if any Big Bang member decides to join the army this year, I'm going to cry....Me, too. :( I was so scared that the car accident/marijuana thing would force Daesung or G-D into early military service. But they seem to have all pulled through relatively intact. Can't wait for their comeback. 

  6. Ooh, that was very interesting. Thank you for the lyrics translation. That also explains the reason why she's chattering a mile an hour while he's stone-faced and silent.

    Man, that makes the video's meaning rather depressing (well, I suppose her being dead is also depressing). They seem so desperately unhappy that I think it would almost be a kindness for them to get out of this unhealthy relationship. Do you think they did break up in the end, explaining her disappearance?

    So many dysfunctional relationships are explored in ballads.