In case you don’t know, girl group Apink recently released their much-anticipated single “Remember.” I’m going to dive in and review both the song and the music video. But first, have a listen for yourself.
The concept is relatively simple, keeping up Apink’s reputation for being a fresh-faced, youthful group. It is a summer concept, with the girls having fun on a sailboat and by the pool.
Overall, the music video was well done. The colors were vivid, and there was a real atmosphere to the video. The director did a great job at capturing the feel of summer. In addition to the video in general, the styling was well done. I thought the outfits were better than their previous single “LUV,” and the girls looked dewy and fresh-faced. I do have to say that I was a little disappointed that Apink didn’t try to move in a more mature direction, but ACUBE clearly knows what works for them–right now, Apink is filling in a niche that most other girl groups on their level aren’t doing, and it has gained them a huge fanbase. I would like to see them go in a different direction like Girls’ Generation did after their cutesy concepts gained them a large fanbase, especially because innocent rookie girl groups are becoming more and more popular. Nevertheless, it was a tasteful, well executed product, and the girls really looked like they were having fun.
While I think the music video was solid, I was a little less excited by the song. It starts with a backed-off intro–Apink’s voices with a music box playing in the background. Then, the instrumental really gets going with a nice and catchy melody played by one of the synthesizers. When Chorong finally starts singing, I felt that her voice was a tad bit drowned out by the instrumental. I assume this is for effect in an effort to not make her voice sound too strong, but it just seemed to meek for my tastes. This seems to be remedied as the verse goes on. Unfortunately, the verses overall seemed a little bland, with not much going on. However, I did enjoy the “hana deul set” part, because the melody did something a little different there. The difference between the pre-chorus and the chorus was not strong enough to make the song raise in intensity level, which was disappointing to me, because usually Apink’s choruses are catchier than that. I remember randomly humming “Mr. Chu” for a week after I heard it. Choruses in pop music are supposed to resolve tensions in the pre-chorus while also being catchy, but this song had neither any tensions in the pre-chorus to resolve nor any catchiness to make up for it. So, they had to resort to a gimmicky key change in the middle of the chorus. I have very mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, it caught me completely off guard, and not in a good way. It left me unsettled rather than relaxed. On the other hand, I was about to turn off the song just before it happened, so it did it’s job. Also, it does happen to coincide nicely with the lyrics. Here’s what the translated lyrics say during the chorus:
“Let’s leave together, in the cool breeze
Let’s forget today and go back to those times
Do you remember? The sun that shone on us
The wide and blue ocean, just like yesterday
As if time has stopped, just like we always wanted
Remember, remember, remember”
The lyrics in the chorus before the key change is describing someone who is pleading someone else to forget what is happening right now and remember the past. As Apink says, “Do you remember?” the key change suddenly happens and it’s like everything is different. The new key represents the rose-colored past while the old key represents the unwanted present. This is reinforced by the song reverting back to the old key after the chorus.
The song pretty much repeats the first verse and chorus, so the next part where it gets interesting is the bridge. The bridge changes keys from the chorus, and then it modulates again in the very next line! The second line of the bridge almost sounds minor, which makes sense because it is a bridge, and it also makes sense lyrically: this is the climax of the song, and the narrator is asking, “Why are you still hesitating to remember and leave everything to be with me?” I thought the bridge was a well done part of the song. The bridge interestingly leads into a stripped down chorus (in the original key) with only the vocals and a simple backing track, and then goes into just an instrumental part. I wasn’t really expecting the song to keep prolonging the original key because usually, if the new key isn’t established with enough time before the song is over, the listener will become confused. I kept waiting for the new key, and then they finally delivered with the last part of the chorus in the new key. I thought this was an original spin on the last chorus, as sometimes doing the same thing three times can get repetitive.
Overall, my feelings are mixed on the song. While it was certainly an inventive take on the lyrics, I’m not sure that completely changed my feelings on the song. The key change in the chorus and the modulations during the bridge did make me pay closer attention to the song, but it also let me down for lackluster verses and pre-choruses. To be honest, I wasn’t that fond of “Mr. Chu” or “LUV” on first listen either. Slowly, I warmed up to those songs, and hopefully I can warm up to this one as well.