An ARMY who prefers VIXX’s concepts (Part 1 - Cohesiveness)
A lot of these points are things I wouldn’t criticize if they were just another group that puts out a dark, vague music video and moves on. However, Bangtan has milked their storyline long enough for me to analyze it and expect better quality.
For all the emphasis that Bangtan put on a continuing storyline, the lyrics don’t clearly relate to the music videos or the concept.
A prime example is the massive disconnect between I NEED U as a song and I NEED U as a music video. The lyrics point to romantic love and heartbreak, while the video depicts a much less shallow, dark story about youth, friendship, and pain. The same can be said for RUN.
No matter how theorists try to weave the two together, the gap is large enough to be sloppy, and most connections are fan-made and speculative.
In VIXX’s conception trilogy alone, all of the title songs relate strongly to their respective MV and even supplement the storyline. The lyrics offer clarity and consistency.
Take Fantasy, for example. The lyrics relate strongly to not only the imagery in the MV, but also the expressions of VIXX and sometimes even the choreography. At 0:29, Leo sings, “Tired, I lost the place to go,” and his movements reflect that. It’s as though he’s looking around. He is visibly distraught, lost, and alone.
One of my favorite examples of their cohesiveness comes from Voodoo Doll (warning for blood, gore, knives, horror, and disturbing themes). The lyrics and the MV interact flawlessly, but that’s nothing compared to the choreography, the use of a prop, the outfits, the makeup.
In my opinion, every element of Voodoo Doll is intertwined. One thing offsets something else. There’s nothing that could make me think, even for a second, that anything in the concept is unintentional or coincidental or was thrown in just for the hell of it.
This consistent unsureness is something that drives me up the wall with Bangtan’s storyline. That said, I think that they have improved. While I was disappointed by some parts of Spring Day, namely the obvious parallels to their youth concept, I think it’s a step in the right direction. It shows their growth as storytellers.
The lyrics, MV, and choreo of Spring Day interact almost seamlessly, much better than any of the previous concepts in the storyline. Perhaps because it’s a slower song, there’s more of an emphasis on expressive and intuitive choreography, which was severely lacking in the last title songs. In Spring Day, the choreography supplements the story, and tells a tale of its own.
It could be because they are still trying to solidify their spots as popular, mainstream idols, but I think their insistence to have fast-paced and hard-hitting title songs and choreo has harmed their storytelling. It leaves little room to expand outside of their music videos, which wouldn’t be a terrible thing if their music videos didn’t leave so much up in the air.
In closing, I’d like to point out that in the past, even BTS didn’t seem to know what’s going on in their storyline. I’d argue that they still don’t quite know, and it shows. They don’t take their storyline with them on stage (besides Spring Day, where I can see an effort). Their artistry is clumsy. They have a lot to learn.
They’re not concept idols, yet I think they’ve had so much emphasis put on their storyline due to popularity (and, with that, an appreciation and awareness of the emotional impact and connection it gives to fans) that they’ve had to learn. It became bigger than they thought it would be, and they had to work off of what they had.
Bangtan’s concepts, to me, are like a rough draft. There’s greatness within it every rough draft. It deserves to exist. I’m grateful that it was created. But there are plenty of typos and unnecessary scenes and it’s obvious that the writer doesn’t quite know where they’re going with it.