Brown Eyed Girls – Cleansing Cream: Kpop Music Mondays
Brown Eyed Girls are back with another super awesome video. If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s the second video in our playlist, embedded above.
Now, we had to approach this Kpop Music Monday a lot differently than we usually approach Kpop videos. This is a really deep song and video. It doesn’t rely on the common staples in Kpop videos (cute guys or girls, closeups of people’s faces, interesting fashion and dances, odd Engrish, etc). This is more like a short movie, and a very profound one at that, and so instead of talking about what we find fun or interesting about it we try to approach it from a more scholarly level…and feel like major dorks in the process…so we matched our wardrobe to our inner geeks! YAY!
Anyway, we’ve read that a bunch of people are confused by the video. It’s clear that it’s a very powerful video. A blind girl is trying to put on makeup without understanding how to do so, while who we assume to be her sister gets very upset about this and forcefully washes it off the terrified blind sister (which, really, results in some seriously powerful images. The look of terror on the blind girl’s face is unforgettable). What a lot of people seem to be confused by is why the wife gets so upset about it all.
Now, we have our theory, which we posted in the video: the wife sees a reflection of herself in the sister. Both really want the husband’s attention, both are changing themselves, both are becoming something they’re not, all to try to get his attention, and this – in turn – can be a metaphor for all of us. We see this not only in the plot, but also in the blindfold vs mirror imagery and the warm vs cool colours.
We didn’t talk about the lyrics in our Music Monday review, so we wanted to mention them in our blog post, because the lyrics really compliment the music video. They’re spoken from the perspective of a woman who is begging her unnie (< —which between women can mean your literal older sister or a female friend that is older than you) to go out with her and have a drink while she pours out her heart. She is unable to get over a love interest and is clearly quite depressed about it. Even though she goes through the actions of putting on makeup and dolling herself up to meet another person, she just doesn’t have her heart in it, and she finds herself only thinking about this one guy. The title “Cleansing Cream” comes into play when we get the very powerful description of the girl as she stares into the mirror. She is going through the process of removing her makeup but she only gets half way through, and while she stares at her strange two-faced self (half make up, half cleansed with cleansing cream) she starts to cry.
Now, the video isn’t a faithful rendition of the lyrics, but it’s still highly relevant. The idea we talked about in our review of the wife seeing the blind sister as a mirror comes back into play with the lyrics. In the music video, the wife and husband don’t seem to have a happy relationship, but the wife still goes through the process of putting on makeup and dressing up in beautiful clothing and heels, while watching her blind sister try to get her husband’s attention. The idea of makeup and the unhappiness that it covers, though attacked through two different approaches, is prevalent throughout the video and song.
Also, we’re not of the belief that there’s ONE valid answer to understanding a work of art. Our English profs would always tell us “the author is dead” and, even if Shakespeare could tell you what he was thinking, it wouldn’t matter. So long as you have enough evidence to back up your claim, not even the author’s intentions can trump your explanation. Especially since authors can lie! So none of this “oh this is what the producer of the video said so yer wrong!” nonsense. We’ve read such comments before.
That doesn’t mean we’re not open to other interpretations. WE LOVE INTERPRETATIONS, especially if they’re interesting. We’re just not fond of people saying that one interpretation is wrong because someone else said so. Pish posh to that. The more interesting and wild your interpretation the better! I guess our inner English teacher’s are bursting forth…
Anyhow! That’s it for what we think. We didn’t say much about the song, even though it’s really pretty and is playing EVERYWHERE in Seoul right now. Seriously. We hear it like 5 times a day at different coffee shops and stores.
If you’re a fan of the song, you can pick it up on iTunes, or you can buy the physical album from YesAsia through the link below
And lastly, here are our bloopers for the week. We had a lot of fun with the bed scene (people are raising their eyebrows, HEY GET YOUR MIND OUT OF THE GUTTER) and tried our best to imitate that Vitalic video from a while ago.
It…didn’t work out as expected.