Lee Hyori is the leader of first generation girl group, Fin.K.L. The group debuted in 1998 and reached massive popularity with hits such as “Blue Rain” and “To My Boyfriend”. In 2003, Lee Hyori released her first solo album that also proved incredibly popular, and helped to cement her status as a solo artist, especially when Fin.K.L. went on hiatus in 2005, and hasn’t released anything since (with nearly all the members having left their management agency, DSP Media, it’s difficult to see a reunion on the cards anytime soon). Lee Hyori has often taken breaks from the entertainment industry, with her current release being her first release since 2015. During this time, she did not post on social media or appear on any television or radio programs. Coming back after two years of radio silence is always going to be a challenge, so I was interested to see what sort of song she would choose as her lead.
The first thing I noticed about this song is that it doesn’t sound like any other releases this summer. It’s got a country and western style acoustic guitar intro, and this vibe is continued throughout the song. It’s got an almost lazy style to it, that works effortlessly to accentuate the tone and feeling that the lyrics are striving for. Lee Hyori’s voice also works beautifully in this type of song. Her voice is a little low, a little melodic, and just oozes a country appeal in this. It’s got a downbeat feeling throughout, and this is really emphasised in the chorus, as the chorus sounds a little offbeat. The heavy drumbeat does wonders here.
The lyrics of this song are fairly simple. They speak of everything being black and dark. Everything from her hair to her clothes to her voice are black. This was a time when things were not good in her life, and black invaded everything. To counter this, she has tried numerous different things to improve it. She wears contacts, dyes her hair and wears colourful clothes. Whilst this worked in the short term, Lee Hyori sings of how she can’t even recognise herself now, and even though things were bad before, she at least knew how to deal with it. She now finds it hard to change anything at all, and feels stuck,
Both the music and the lyrics work wonderfully together in this song to paint a dreary picture of how change isn’t always a good thing, and how trying to be something you’re not isn’t always that helpful.
The MV looks as if it were shot to be a short film. It takes place in a desert, where there is no water left, and we are shown Lee Hyori remove all the things that aren’t her, a wig, a shiny dress, and get changed into something more comfortable. She goes to find some water in the fridge, only to discover it’s empty. She then heads out into the desert with her car to look for a well. She meets a giant black dog that she takes with her, and then returns home with the water. She gives the dog the last of the water, and her new dog to finds water on her property.
The shots of the desert and her house in this MV all have a yellowish filter over them. It gives the impression of a place that is hot and arid, being even more hot and arid, with a fine layer of grime over the top. It really helps to solidify that this place is hot and there is no water to be had.
The dance routine sections of this video are starkly beautiful. The routine itself has a lot of modern dance elements to it, and Lee Hyori’s styling in these places helps to emphasize the long and elegant moves she makes. There is something almost primal about her movements, and as she is situated on her own in a desolate landscape, as the sun is setting, this feeling is amplified.
A beautiful song that I absolutely adore the message and sound of. I think the lyrics themselves leave a little to be desired as they are a little repetitive in places, but overall it works nicely.
If you would like to hear more of Lee Hyori’s fabulous voice, I would recommend “Miss Korea” and “Hey Mr. Big”.