Posted by : Kai Lin March 31, 2013
After dancing cutely with a live-sized bear in It's Over, Lee Hi (otherwise dubbed as the 'monster rookie') is back with the second part of her album, and the title song Rose. Teasers released prior to the music video have already hinted at a more mature and feminine concept that she will be having for the first time, which is a step away from the cute sassy young girl image she adopted for her previous hits 1234 and It's Over.
Unlike her previous hits 1,2,3,4 and It's Over, Lee Hi did away with the glitz, the glamour and the dancing in the music video of Rose. I attribute this difference to the nature of the concept of Rose, which revolves around a dreary, bleak, lifeless concept as compared to her previous upbeat songs. The lack of distracting visuals also allowed viewers to be able to focus on listening to the musical aspect of the song. This was indeed a very wise move because in terms of musicality, this song was unbelievably great (I will go into this later on).
However, there is an offside when it comes to these kind of music videos, and that would be the lack of hook to captivate and sustain the interest of the audience throughout the whole music video. This problem is aggravated by the fact that the music video does not have a storyline, because I wouldn't really consider a few symbolic scenes (specifically (wolves, hunters, a tattoo, rose petals in strong hands) to hold enough content to form a plot. That's right, scene after scene, it is Lee Hi's face. Since there wasn't any fixed choreography for Lee Hi to dance to or a storyline for her to act to, it is extremely fortunate that she has greatly improved in her expressiveness, and was able to express emotions through her lip-syncing and facial expressions. As for her actions, YG must be well aware of how awkward Lee Hi is, for in the MV, she was mostly standing still. That is a smart move - the awkward side of Lee Hi would have destroyed the whole mood of the song. It is also extremely fortunate that the boredom and monotony of the music video was greatly reduced by the variety the music video offered us in terms of Lee Hi's stunning outfits, elaborately designed music video sets and skilled filming + video editing. I personally thought that the video editing was slightly over the top and that the scenes were changing too frequently, but that wasn't a huge issue.
What I didn't like:
It took me a while to get used to that rose headband on her head. The rose headband somewhat looks like an awkward bulky structure taken from a nearby museum and modified as a hair accessory. It does not really complement Lee Hi's small frame well. At least the background had many rose structures, which made the rose headband kind of blend in into the whole 'rose' concept.
What I liked:
I really liked her outfit with the red shirt. It was about the same shade as the many roses in the background, and this allowed a strong contrast between the roses and Lee Hi against the deadly white background.
I also really liked the scene in the dark room, which sadly only showed her silhouette 99% of the time and a quick shot of the side profile of her face. Since in terms of personal growth as a star, this music video was supposed to reflect the feminine side of Lee Hi, I had hoped that YG could have elaborated on this scene. She looks 100 times really mature in long straight flowing hair than in the rose headband, no kidding.
I was greatly impressed by the musical aspect of Rose. Rose in itself is a very powerful and solid song - powerfully written, composed and arranged. The lyrics seem like a warning about a heartless, cold and indifferent attitude towards love which will eventually result in the ending of relationships, heartbreak and hurt. Throughout the song, the red rose is used as a symbol for love, which I thought was rather creative since a red rose is conventionally a symbol of sincere love.
The composition and the arrangement of the song greatly complemented each other. To talk about the arrangement of the song first, the song was arranged such that there wasn't a distinctive repetitive instrumental melody playing in the background; the arrangement only involved simple drum beats, and subtle guitar strumming or piano chords in the background. As such, the song depended heavily on Lee Hi's vocals for the melody to carry through and to fill the emptiness created by the lack of background music. And I think Lee Hi did a great job there. Her deep, strong, wholesome, husky, soulful voice really shone through for the whole song. I would think that the composition of the song also greatly helped Lee Hi in singing out the emotions and the mood of the song.
What I liked:
I really liked how the first half of the chorus didn't have a drum beat, which was only added in for the second half of the chorus. This enabled the first half of the chorus to have a somewhat melancholic feel, before a pulse is added to the song, which adds drive to the song.
Generally, it seems like YG and our monster rookie didn't disappoint. Unarguably. there has been marked improvement in her vocals and appeal as an idol since KPOP Star times to now. If you're looking for quality music for the soul, I would recommend this song and music video immediately.