Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Review: Sunny Hill–“The Grasshopper Song”

Sunny Hill re-enact Aesop’s classic fable with a twist.

Did you like the song?
Yup, I’m a Sunny Hill fangirl. I think of Sunny Hill as basically Brown Eyed Girls-quality stuff, but coming out more often. (I thought Sunny Hill’s “Midnight Circus” was the best music video of 2011.) So it’s no surprise that I love “Ling-a-Ling-a-Ling” “The Grasshopper Song.” It sounds vaguely Eastern European with its violin (a tribute to the grasshopper’s way of producing sound?), I love the Spanish/classical guitar sequences, and it’s really catchy. Plus, Janghyun finally gets to sing! What’s not to like?

Sunny Hill The Grasshopper Song

Janghyun, Seungah, Misung, Jubi, and Kota.

What was your favorite part of the song?
The “Ring-a-Ling-a-Ling” part. So catchy, man.

Does the English make you want to rip your eardrums out?
It’s not great. I think the only English is basically the main riff and “come on and wake you up/let me in.” Oops, I forgot the wonderful “Please refill the battery.” (Do you mean recharge? What are you filling the battery with?)

A great version with English subtitles of everything, including the beginning voiceover, is here. On another note, I have to thank U-KISS for letting me know immediately that “bingeul bingeul” meant “spinning” or “round and round” when I heard it in this song. :D

Did you like the video?
Ah, that old “show, don’t tell” battle from writing classes comes back to haunt the Kpop music video industry, by which I mean that artistic work should explain itself or be left up to readers’ interpretations without the creator needing to spell out exactly what’s going on. While I understand why Sunny Hill might have felt it necessary to explain the fable, I think the video is horribly marred by the intro sequence with Janghyun’s voiceover. It’s really superfluous, as even if we don’t know the fable (which, never fear, I’ll explain in the next section), the music video explains it very well with just music and visuals. As far as I’m concerned, then, the music video begins at 1:14, and it would have been so much more powerful without that minute of heavy-handed and frankly dull explanation and set-up.

Sunny Hill The Grasshopper Song Janghyun

But despite that, this is my favorite music video of this year so far. (Haha, I am the queen of backhanded compliments.) It’s bright, colorful, and interesting, and tells us a story about the human condition. Basically, everything we have recently come to expect of Sunny Hill. They are fast becoming one of my favorite groups.

Sunny Hill The Grasshopper Song

Was there a storyline? If so, did it make sense?
At some point in every society’s development, leaders must make a decision about which virtues the society is going to prize and encourage: creativity or hard work. Often this emerges as a struggle of individuality vs. conformity (see Woody Allen’s movie Antz), or even democracy against communism, but it’s not necessarily so clear-cut. I say creativity or hard work, but obviously the ideal is having a mixture of both: creativity to think up innovative ideas and hard work to put them into practice.

When he wrote his fables, though, Aesop wanted to warn children (and adults!) against sloth and laziness and thus decided to write “The Ant and the Grasshopper.” The general story is pretty well known (especially if you’ve seen Pixar’s A Bug’s Life): winter was coming, and the insects knew they had to work to save up food for the winter. The ant worked hard and the grasshopper didn’t, choosing to spend his time singing instead. When winter came the grasshopper starved to death and the ants refused to help him. The moral of the story is that you shouldn’t play around when there is work to be done.

In practice, of course, many of us find that there is always more work to be done, and if you don’t take time to relax, before you know it your life is over and you haven’t had the chance to enjoy it.

Sunny Hill echoes this last idea by inverting Aesop’s moral. They present Janghyun as a boring little worker ant with a boring job and a boring life.

Sunny Hill The Grasshopper Song Janghyun ant meaning


He is motivated to leave his colony and see the outside world by Jubi, an alluring visiting grasshopper minstrel.

Sunny Hill The Grasshopper Song Jubi grasshopper meaning

Jubi on her grasshopper throne.

Janghyun follows her and discovers dirty magazines the wonders and pleasures of the world.

Sunny Hill The Grasshopper Song Janghyun ant hat

Like funny hats.

He is dragged back to his job but eventually decides to leave it for good and run off to a life of…inexplicably playing banjos with no strings.

Sunny Hill The Grasshopper Song Kota names

It sounds great for having no ability to produce noise whatsoever.

Was the dance cool and distinctive?
It seems like lots of fun and has parts that seem inspired by a praying mantis with their hands. Parts of it seemed kind of inspired by IU’s “You and I” dance. I like this part the best:

Sunny Hill dance gif

I’m kind of sad because I wanted Janghyun to dance, though.

Do the members look good?
Yeah, I like their cute ants-in-suits vs. grasshoppers-in-green-cloaks/dresses. And thanks for color-coding your hair, ladies! Aside from this, the sets in this are absolutely gorgeous, aren’t they?

Sunny Hill The Grasshopper Song Misung set names

Misung with her pretty stage made of cardboard boxes—note the creative and artistic use of something that is usually associated with sterile business offices.

And then it falls away to Seungah in a cool sequence.

Sunny Hill The Grasshopper Song Seungah names

Which member stood out the most?
This is pretty hard, and I feel like everyone got lots of screentime (except perhaps Misung, but since she was the star of “Pray,” it’s okay.) Kota reminds me of 2NE1’s CL with her blonde craziness.

Sunny Hill The Grasshopper Song Kota names

And, of course, awesomeness.

Also, Janghyun was really sweet, and Jubi was just the right amount of mysterious. But honestly Seungah was the one who stood out the most and took the sexiness cake for me this time.

Sunny Hill The Grasshopper Song Seungah

Grasshopper Seungah.

Do you like it enough to buy the song?
Yup yup. :D

Any ending thoughts?
More, please, Sunny Hill! And Loen, please do just upload one HD version of the music video, thanks.

By the way, I found a fun nail polish tumblr with some Kpop-themed ones—check out her nail polish inspired by this song.

Boyfriend’s one-liner:
“Not being able to understand a word of this, it seems like ‘Hey, look, every male in this is working his fingers to the grindstone or being a gangster while all the girls are dancing.’” (LOL, I didn’t notice this the first time.)

Please note that the Wikipedia links will not work today, as they are (rightly) protesting the proposed SOPA/PIPA internet censorship acts. If you don’t know what I’m referring to, please educate yourself here or here. (And then entertain yourself with #FactsWithoutWikipedia.)

Thanks for reading!


  1. Ty so much for posting this. I've been trying to figure out who sings this for a while now. :D I'm living in Korea right now and I hear this song everywhere!

  2. No problem, glad to help! I'm jealous that you are living in Korea, to be honest. Thanks for your sweet comment. :)

  3. I love you and your sexy reviews so much

  4. Oooh, I don't think anybody's called a review sexy before! Hee hee, thank you again so much! *hugs*