Monday, December 19, 2011

Review: BEAST–“Fiction”

BEAST’s Junhyung becomes a time-traveler.

Did you like the song?
Today by request we have BEAST’s “Fiction.” I was a bit iffy on this song at first. For one thing, the official version from iTunes has that stupid pencil-scratchy noise on it, which just drives me up a wall. WRITE MORE QUIETLY, PLEASE. Even typing doesn’t sound that terrible. Secondly, the main riff that’s present basically throughout the entire song, that da-da-dum dum dum dum dum dum bit that Park Bo Young plays on the piano, is irritatingly boring to me, and it doesn’t help that Doojoon’s vocal line at the beginning matches the riff in its stuttering and halting. Melodies should generally flow, not trip over themselves. And although things improved after Junhyung’s rap, it wasn’t enough to make me actually like the song.

But yet again, as in many (if not most) of their songs, BEAST is redeemed for me by Yoseob’s vocal line in the chorus. (I love Hyunseung and his voice, but Yoseob’s is the one that gets me every time.) That “kkeut naji anheun neowa naui iyagi sogeseo~” (“In our never-ending story”) is just so lovely, especially that note he holds onto at the end. And after that I started to appreciate the song much more, especially little touches like Dongwoon’s falsetto during Junhyung’s rap, to the point where I’m convinced it’s one of the best songs to come out this year and had to add it to my collection.

BEAST Fiction and Fact members names

Junhyung, Dongwoon, Yoseob, Kikwang, Doojoon, and Hyunseung.

What was your favorite part of the song?
I love Yoseob’s part from about 2:40-3:10, from the end of the chorus to the buildup right before Junhyung’s rap. I almost get chills, it’s so cool.

Does the English make you want to rip your eardrums out?
Wow, the only English in this song is the line “Fiction in Fiction,” which is seriously repeated a ton. (Okay, I counted. The word “fiction” is repeated 37 times in the song.) And when you’re repeating something that much, it should be…you know, perfect. But the pronunciation is slightly off on the “i” sound. It should be more of a short sound, “ick” instead of “eek.”

Also, I’ve tried to figure out what that Korean is that they’re writing at the end, and it’s apparently something like, “I’m writing such a happy story, but it’s just a wish.” So basically matching the sad lyrics.

BEAST Fiction written Korean meaning

It was only just a dream...

Did you like the video?
There are so many different elements to this video that it took me a really long time to figure out what was going on, to be honest. What I get is that Junhyung and Bo Young have just broken up (or she is dead), and Junhyung is having…coping issues to the point where he decides to make believe that they’re still together. He imagines them having a happy life together, but at the same time he’s still painfully aware that it’s not real.

Although it took me forever to guess what was happening, I appreciate the creativity of the storyline that matches the lyrics and concept precisely. And the selective quick editing on some scenes really gives meaning to the song.

BEAST Fiction and Fact members names

Kikwang, Doojoon, Yoseob, Hyunseung, Junhyung, and Dongwoon.

That said, the anachronistic elements are so out there that large parts of the video are really confusing or just weird, leaving me no option but to draw silly conclusions like the ones in the next section.

Was there a storyline? If so, did it make sense?
Some have mentioned vampires, zombies, alien invasions, to explain this video. But I’m more concerned that it really cannot pick a timeline. So I’m left to conclude that it’s a Kpop version of Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife. Bo Young is from the early-to-mid-1900s, BEAST lives in the far future, and Junhyung is an involuntary time-traveler. Like Henry in The Time Traveler’s Wife, the time-traveling is induced by stress, so Junhyung can be whisked away at any moment. And like Dr. Who and River Song, Junhyung and Bo Young are lovers who don’t happen to live in the same time stream. They met once in Bo Young’s timeline and then continued their romance via correspondence, with their only reliable means of communication a little book in this room in her timeline.

Park Bo Young BEAST Fiction

Bo Young catches up on the news.

Here is my “evidence”:

In the beginning, it looks like although Junhyung himself is from the modern day, all the writing utensils in his room are really old-fashioned, like 1700s-ish with the feather pen and everything.

BEAST Fiction Junhyung writing desk

Maybe that’s why it’s so loud?

Bo Young, on the other hand, could be from an older time with her ruffled white dress. And the picture of her is reallllly old and crumpled, too.

BEAST Fiction actress Park Bo Young picture

Like…1940s old?

Meanwhile the BEAST members are hanging out in a city by the river in what could be the present-day or a far-distant future. So this is one of Junhyung’s gang hangouts. But BEAST also play around in a futuristic pod city…

BEAST Kikwang Fiction

Kikwang in the pod.

…and on an honest=to-God Martian colony next to a spaceship.

BEAST Fiction Mars spaceship

You really can’t make this stuff up.

Junhyung spends a of time walking in extremely different locales: in a city, on a highway in a rural location, in the desert by power lines, in an even more rural location, actually in the middle of a barren wasteland…

BEAST Fiction Junhyung desert

Clearly he plans on meeting up with BIGBANG.

All that walking without hydration has made Junhyung thirsty, dehydrated, and finally delirious enough to see a mirage. He imagines meeting with Bo Young in the desert. But when he reaches out to touch her, the mirage disappears, and then he is so overcome with grief that he involuntarily time-travels away.

BEAST Fiction Junhyung Park Bo Young screenshot

As you can probably tell, The Time Traveler's Wife is one of my favorite novels. :D

They keep writing each other but realize that it’s unlikely that they’ll ever meet in the same time stream again.

Fiction BEAST Junhyung Park Bo Young couple

It’s all very tragic.

Was the dance cool and distinctive?
Call it what you will: the penguin dance, the pocket dance, the “friction,” the pendulum walk, the pseudo-“every day I’m shuffling,” the “I have to go to the bathroom like now, please, or there will be an unfortunate accident in your hallway,” the whatever. It may look like the dorkiest dance in existence, but BEAST will laugh all the way to the awards ceremony because this recently won Best Dance Performance by a Male Group at the Mnet Asian Music Awards.

BEAST B2ST penguin dance gif

Every day I’m doin’ the penguin dance…

You know why? THIS DANCE IS SO HARD. It is just one of those things that looks effortless but is really difficult. Go ahead and try it. I’m patient; I’ll wait. … Not so easy, is it?

I also love that wave thing they do a few times. It looks simple but lovely.

Do the members look good?
Actress Park Bo Young plays the love interest, and she and Junhyung look very good.

BEAST B2ST Fiction actress name Park Bo Young

Actress Park Bo Young.

The rest of the members basically fade into the background with the exceptions of Hyunseung and his carrot-top hair, which I am not digging despite the fact that I really like him, and Yoseob because he’s in the middle a lot.

BEAST Fiction Hyunseung

Not my thing, Hyunseung (or is it JS now?).

Which member stood out the most?
Probably Bo Young, but in terms of BEAST members, I have to give it to Yoseob. Way to get into the emotion of the piece, dude.

BEAST Fiction Yoseob


Do you like it enough to buy the song?
For the longest time I didn’t, as I generally prefer happier songs. But listening to that chorus over and over really convinced me, and now I’m really glad I did! (Also, thanks, Cube, for putting your songs up on iTunes for those of us in the States!)

Any ending thoughts?
Heh, this was lying around my hard drive for…uh…some reason. *shifty eyes* Have some shirtless/topless!BEAST for a photoshoot with Marie Claire. You’re welcome.

BEAST members shirtless topless photoshoot

(Top:) Dongwoon, Doojoon, Yoseob, (bottom:) Junhyung, Kikwang, and Hyunseung.

Boyfriend’s one-liner:
“I prefer more Pulp in my Fiction.” [But he also said that the dance was really different from others he’d seen and had a nice flow to it, which is the first time he’s said that about a Kpop dance.]

By the way, if you haven’t seen Ayominho’s falsely subtitled parody of this song, you are in for a treat (as long as you don’t know Korean fluently, I guess). It is hysterical.

Also: North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il passed away over the weekend, which is huge news for South Korea. Hopefully it means things will change for the better.


  1. Heh, I love that pensil scratching sound (I miss it terribly in the orchestra version!) and the tripping/stuttering Doojoon's line. :) Also, I think the dance is good. I wouldn't put them above Infinite's dances of this year but it's very distinctive and different.

    Beast are my boyband of the year (I posted my end of the year article this week) and Fiction is #2 in the top-10 of the songs. Will you be doing your version of best of the best of the year?

    "Okay, I counted. The word “fiction” is repeated 37 times in the song" --- LOL you are scary! :)

  2. Haha, you're the first one to say you liked the pencil scratching sound! It does make the song instantly recognizable, that's for sure!

    Ohhh, I definitely agree that Infinite's dances were more impressive. At first I was actually very surprised this won an award for the dance. I initially thought it wouldn't be taken seriously. And then I attempted it. (So hard!) But my bf loved the dance right from the start.

    I don't know that I can do a Best of the Best or song countdown for the year since I didn't really pay close attention to Kpop things before April/May of this year, but I'll try to put together something for the end of the year! :D

    LOL you are scary! :)
    Hee hee. :D