Short Film Wednesday - K-pop - Sixth Sense
K-pop is perhaps the most interesting and innovative pop music in the world right now, so I will be examining some of the most distinctive and artistically compelling K-pop music videos for April.
It is not unheard of for music videos, K-pop music videos especially, to suggest large worlds within their relatively short running times. Hell, there is even an implication that certain music videos take place within the same “cinematic universe.” But no video has made me more curious about the world it created than “Sixth Sense,” performed by the Brown-Eyed Girls.
We immediately see an Orwellian world where a masked figure has imprisoned the four members of the group in one way or another. His minions are similarly faceless and myriad, deprived of any hint of individuality. There is a lone figure, not a member of the group but dressed in a fashion clearly inspired by them, spray painting a cry for resistance. Though the setting is clearly not in a studio setting, the cinematography heightens it to the point of artificiality, so the whole setting looks like a pop Baroque painting.
Though the four members of the group are clearly prisoners of the regime, their voices have not been suppressed. The lyrics by Kim Eana speak of entrapment and the ability to be freed if someone would make the right gesture. However, in the video, it seems clear that these women are clearly not helpless. Besides Narsha, the one acting and dressed like a cat, the others clearly possess a weaponized sexuality that does not rely so much on how much skin they show, but rather their confidence and fierceness. Their seduction does not stem from weakness but rather from strength, and it is a wild, untamable force that cannot be tempered by chains, physical or otherwise..Even Narsha’s role is more complicated than the simple “sex kitten” role, because she exudes savagery and a lustiness not indicative of weakness.
Lee Minsoo is the composer for this song and compared to his previous work (the iconic Abracadabra), this song is bursting with ambition, with its sweeping orchestral score serving a driving disco beat. It almost comes off as pompous and overbearing, too much for a mere pop song, but the singers (who are among the older performers in the K-pop world, though by older I mean in their early 30s as opposed to their 20s or teens) bring a powerfully feminine, sexy energy that matches the ambition of the music. We see the effect that it has on these faceless men as they are seduced by these women’s power. Even if this song had been produced by committee and is as revolutionary as wearing Levi’s is, there is no doubt that the impact of this song is thrilling and even visceral.