Monday, December 5, 2011

Review: Trouble Maker (4minute’s Hyuna and BEAST’s Hyunseung (JS))–“Trouble Maker”

Hyuna and Hyunseung make trouble for fans in their new music video.

Did you like the song?
Just have to say that BEAST and 4minute are two of my favorite Kpop groups, and in them, Hyuna and Hyunseung are my favorite members, so I was pretty excited that they collaborated together. Cube has also promoted this track well—even arranging for the two to kiss during their performance at the MAMAs. Steamy, right?! What emerged from this collaboration was promising, and I look forward to Trouble Maker working together again, if only to give Hyunseung some much-needed attention. (Hyunseung’s apparently going by JS now, which stands for—get this—Jay Stomp. You can’t make this stuff up.)

Trouble Maker Hyuna Hyunseung members

Troublemakers Hyuna and Hyunseung

This song has its issues—the “one, two, three” at the beginning was really awkward, the stuttering “tro-o-o-ou-ble” was dull, the whistling is repeated too much—and it seems more like it should be listed as “Hyunseung (or JS, whatever) feat. Hyuna” than a true partnership. But it’s not bad. It has a kind of laid-back disco style, just stripped of its silliness (and fun). And what’s disco without fun? The chorus was my favorite part; I definitely preferred the song when it was faster. But whenever it seemed to be picking up the pace, it immediately reverted back to that whistling bit. And for more on that topic…

What was your favorite part of the song?
Most people are going to say that the best part of “Trouble Maker” is the whistling. I’d agree that the whistling is certainly the most distinctive part, but that’s largely just a function of whistling, which tends to repeat the same part over and over. Whistling can be very effective when used well and has recently made a comeback in pop music—see Britney Spears’ “I Wanna Go,” Bruno Mars’ “The Lazy Song,” Maroon 5’s “Moves Like Jagger,” OneRepublic’s “Good Life,” Foster the People’s “Don’t Stop (Color On The Walls),” etc. ad nauseum—but this is the first instance of it I’ve heard in Kpop.

I’ll be honest, whistling just doesn’t do it for me. I love all those artists who have recently utilized it, but whenever I hear whistling I always think of two horrifying songs from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: “Just Whistle While You Work,” which Snow White and her animal friends sang while cheerfully cleaning up her male hosts’ nasty shack, and “Heigh Ho,” which the dwarfs sang while happily going to work in the mines.

So happy to be wage slaves! This is what whistling reminds me of.

I don’t know if it’s just me or if there’s something inherent in whistling that makes it this way, but it tends to make songs vaguely unsettling and depressing. Otherwise cheery songs suddenly become disturbing when whistling is added. For me, whistling only works well when the song is intended to be sad—as in, for example, Otis Redding’s “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay.”

That was a long-winded way of saying that I liked the first three lines of the chorus best—especially the one right before the stuttering. I really like how Hyunseung sings “ni ipsureul tto humchigo molli daranaboryo~” (“I’ll steal your lips and run far away”) and how his voice rises there at the end.

Does the English make you want to rip your eardrums out?
The only problem is with the title/group name in both grammar and pronunciation. The word should not have a space—it’s troublemaker, not trouble maker, and the pronunciation is way off. (My boyfriend suggested they change it to “chocolate liquor.”) That wouldn’t be a problem, except they repeat it a million times, so we get the same problem New.F.O had in “Bounce.” But everything else seems fine! Points to Hyuna for actually saying “skin ship” in a song, too.

Did you like the video?
Yup, it was fun. There’s an attempt at a storyline, a dance, and sexy times. But it seems like the they don’t fully commit to any of those concepts. The storyline is deliberately vague and underdeveloped, we don’t get to see much of a full dance, and the sexy times are massive teases for a kiss that never comes (except in onstage live version). Most of the video is just Hyuna doing provocative poses.

Trouble Maker Hyuna sexy tease

It’s pretty sexy, so I can’t really complain, but I feel like they could have done a lot more with this concept.

Was there a storyline? If so, did it make sense?
The plot of this film must have been inspired by the highly entertaining film Mr. & Mrs. Smith, in which a married couple discovers that each is an assassin assigned to kill the other.

Mr. & Mrs. Smith compared with Trouble Maker Hyuna Hyunseung JS

Even the posters are kind of similar.

Hyuna and Hyunseung are in adjacent rooms in a high-class hotel, and each has the other under surveillance, bugging the rooms and adding video cameras. But I don’t know what they’re expecting to see. Really, they should bug and keep video cameras running on their own rooms if they want to know what the other person is doing! When they’re in their own rooms, they spend most of their time sitting in chairs either alone (Hyuna) or surrounded by two dancing girls (Hyunseung). Are the girls prostitutes? Other spies/assassins? Just friends? If I were Hyuna, I’d probably be jealous.

Trouble Maker Hyuna Hyunseung members spies assassins

Under what seems like pointless surveillance.

After dancing around each other (literally and figuratively) for some amount of time, Hyuna finally confronts Hyunseung and pushes him into place in his room. She makes it seem like she’s going to seduce him, but instead she reveals a lighter and traps Hyunseung in his room with a fire line. He pulls out a gun and shoots.

My question: just how bad is Hyunseung’s sense of smell? Because in order to have that instantaneous ignition effect, you have to have put down a lot of kerosene—which has a distinctive, powerful odor. (See the music video “Going Crazy” by Secret’s Jieun for more info.) So did he just ignore that smell? Did he expect that she would try to burn him alive?

Was the dance cool and distinctive?
…Two of the best dancers in Cube and they have them gyrating on each other and doing modified versions of disco poses and the Thriller dance?

Trouble Maker Hyunseung dance gif

But at the same time, I can’t deny that having them dance together is ridiculously hot and not something we get to see often in Kpop—I mean a co-ed collaboration where they get to dance together in a romantic and sexy way. My favorite move was the part where Hyunseung moves his lips up Hyuna’s arm…guh.

Trouble Maker Hyuna Hyunseung dance gif kiss

A move straight from tango.

Do the members look good?
So, so hot. Others have discussed this to death, but I guess I’ll add my two cents. Hyuna is really sexy, and the camera loves her. She looks great no matter what she does and has a wonderful way of drawing the viewer in by staring straight at the camera. However, she seems be to increasingly pushing the sexy card, i.e. doing deliberately provocative moves repeatedly, to the point where it’s too much. I feel like she could achieve the same effect by just standing there.

I find Hyunseung to be equally attractive, but when Hyuna’s being so over-the-top, everything Hyunseung does seems remarkably restrained in contrast, and it doesn’t help that Hyunseung’s charisma isn’t as easily on display as hers. Plus the fact that Hyuna’s staring at the camera while Hyunseung stares at her means one of them should probably adjust their line of sight. I think it would be more natural and romantic if they both looked at each other, but then again the voyeur in me kind of wants them both looking at the camera…

Trouble Maker Hyuna Hyunseung members

Hyuna and Hyunseung

Which member stood out the most?
Oh my God, both my biases in a video together and I have to choose…Yeah, let’s give up the pretense because I really don’t think I can. Hyuna looks really hot and sexy, but when Hyunseung looks at the camera or at her, he just communicates a lot in his eyes that she doesn’t as much. So both stood out equally, just in different ways. :)

Trouble Maker Hyuna Hyunseung members

Hyuna and Hyunseung

Do you like it enough to buy the song?
I keep going back and forth on this. I like certain parts of the song but dislike others. At the moment, I don’t think so. But it’s been growing on me.

Any ending thoughts?
One of my friends asked me how spitting mad Hyunseung’s female fans would be that he’s getting up close and personal with another girl. And, yeah, with pretty much any other idol, I could see that being an issue. But honestly, I think most true Hyunseung fans are happy to see him be featured in a music video at all, regardless of what (or whom) he’s doing in it. But feel free to let me know if you have evidence to the contrary!

Also check out the behind-the-scenes video here.

Boyfriend’s one-liner:
“It is always the best policy to sleep with them first, then shoot them and set them on fire.”

I redesigned the main site a bit this weekend, so I hope everybody enjoys it!

Also, this fancam of BIGBANG (minus Taeyang) performing 2NE1’s “I Am the Best” is just…fabulous.

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


  1. Great review! I agree that I love the lips line, both for the words, the way Hyunseung sounds, and for the dance move that goes along with it. I think part of the reason it feels more like it's not a partnership and only featuring Hyuna is because Hyunseung's voice is more powerful than hers; even in the parts where she sings on her own, her voice is restrained. I don't know if that's the company's fault or how she usually sings, but that was the problem for me. I could barely hear her, but I knew she was there. I also saw no problem with their pronunciation of troublemaker; maybe it's just because I knew what they were supposed to be saying and so I heard it right, but it sounded fine to me, outside of the stuttering parts. 

    (by the way, you're boyfriend's one-liners always make me laugh)

  2. Heh, I loved the whistling :)  And am rather dissapointed with the dance too. I mean, honestly, these two could have shown so much in dancing... But I still love the project and the song.

  3. Yeah, after listening to it a few more times, it definitely seems like although Hyuna is singing during a lot of the song, her voice is just really quiet, so it's hard to hear her!

    I didn't particularly like their pronunciation, but I could still understand them. However, my bf didn't know the title before he watched the MV and literally had no idea what they were trying to say, more with "maker" than "trouble."

    Heh, I will tell him you laughed at the one-liner! He occasionally grumbles about doing them because he thinks Kpop is *eye roll* but they really were his idea of something he could do to help me! :)

  4. I think I'm just bringing my bias against whistling into my interpretation of the song, but I can't deny that it's different and distinctive! :)

    I really hope they collaborate again soon with more of a dance than this time. So disappointing for such awesome dancers.

  5. I think the whistling was just your bias. I first heard this song on Pandora, and the whistling is what caught my attention. Also, I didn't have any problem understanding "trouble maker", but I never heard skin ship??? I didn't see it in the subbed videos either.

  6. fantastic i love kpop much