101 COMMENTS

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.

Korean Cleansing Cream

Cleansing Cream: who knew you were so powerful?

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

Brown Eyed Girls

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.

 

ToFebruary
  1. nabyeongshin .

    So many people seem to be reviewing the video…. which has absolutely no connection to the song lyrics. Hmmmm.

  2. MRS BREEHEEHEE, The wife of Mr BROHOHO. :D:D:D

  3. Simon, i think you and Martina looked really adorable when you were helping her tie the papillon  ^///^

  4. Very necropost, but I was struck by something no one seems to have commented on- this married couple is wearing shoes in their home- what’s up with that?

  5. Baicheng Jiang

    I always thought that the idea was that the blind girl wasn’t actually blind. The wife, after seeing her sister touching her husband, stays up the other night with the light on. And she sees her sister turning away from the door on seeing that the light is on – hence she’s faking her blindness. 

  6. I am i the only one who thought that the little sister is autistic, and in her own way trying to communicate to the older sister and her husband.

  7. wow, what a great song and video go go brown eyed girls.Also another wow to simon for using that brain muscle hehhehe…love you
    btw martina u look good an the pink boy look :D cute

  8. Lorena Abrodos

    WOW you can’t deny you had read a lot! You should take a filmaking degree or something like that… this analysis was amazing. Really… =) and yes, loved the video.

  9. cleansing cream for me, but pray is really meaningful too

  10. Sunnyhill has this showdown in the bag there vid was….kinda disturbing 0__0

  11. what if the girl isn’t there at all.. and when he looks at her hand he’s really looking at his wife in the mirror. what if the girl is just in the wife’s mind, a time when she was blindly and happily in love. when she touched her husband’s face dreamily instead of with awkward disgust. maybe she takes off the girl’s make up wishing she had broken that spell and not married this man in the first place.

    or it’s like you said. whatever, it was great. love b.e.g. 

  12. irritablevowel

    I think everyone is a little bit right.  Watching the video, I find that I agree with those commenters who say that the girl is trying to be like her sister, and it’s the wife who misunderstands, but I also think Simon and Martina are spot on about the mirror thing, the significance of blindness vs. seeing, and why the wife reacts the way she does.  The wife sees, but misunderstands what she sees based on her own emotion, so she is blind as well.  However, through her misunderstanding, through that “blindness” , her hidden anger and disappointment about her marriage is revealed where we can now “see” it.  It never seems to me that the wife was jealous of her sister, just increasingly angry with her for being naive.  However, since it’s the wife’s misunderstanding, and not her sister’s actual intentions, the viewer realizes the wife is really angry with herself for being naive and for hiding her true self to get the attention of someone who couldn’t care less.  When the sister reaches out to touch the husband and he doesn’t respond, that is a reflection of the marriage, hence the significance of the wife seeing that interaction in the mirror.  The sister showing up at the table with the smeared makeup, and the husband barely even reacting to that, again, is a reflection of the marriage (notice how the sister is sitting right across from the wife, like her reflection).  The sister looks both scary and foolish, but the wife really feels that she’s looking at herself, and that is just too much for her.  So her attack on her sister is really an attack on herself (though if I were the sister, I’d be all WTF?!   Make someone else your metaphor!!)
    Seriously, this video has levels.

  13. WOW SIMON!! Ur being soooo wise!!

  14. Awesome video like always XD
    I like your interpretation, but i have another one.
    The blind girl likes her sister a lot,she wants to be like her. You can see it when her sister is sleeping the blind girl touches her rly happy as if she wants 2 memorize how she sleeps, also when she is sitting in the closet the blind girl first goes through the husbands clothes but than finds her sisters clothes and again she has a huge smile on her face and smells it.  
    The blind girl wears make up to be like her sister and wants that she praises her.
    As for the husband. The blind girl is jeaous of him, because the sister loves him more. So the blind girl wants to know how he looks, what makes him so attractive for her sister.
    But the sister misunderstands the blind girl.

  15. Calista Fung

    Your explanation is fanatstic and I completely agree. Here’s just my take on the MV:

    The blind girl is the past self of the woman who wears high heels and makeup. The blind girl’s lack of sight and stumbling around represents her innocence and inexperience. A beautiful shot when she touches the man’s shoe with a bare foot: the meeting of innocence with hard, material, reality. 

    The experienced woman seems cold and even cruel – she does not interact warmly with the man; assumedly her partner or husband. Later on, the girl attempts to put on makeup. Her blindness does not allow her to do a decent job: this symbolizes her yearning to reach that hard, material, reality but her innocence disallowing her to bridge the rift. 

    At the dinner table, the woman, now learned and experienced (as evidenced by her attire and makeup) sees herself still as that blind girl, inexperienced and stumbling. There is a gruesome but fascinating shot of the girl with makeup smeared down one cheek. 

    In a fit of rage towards what society has done towards her in terms of robbing her innocence and youthful expectations, she drags the memory of her former self to wash off the makeup. This is symbolic of her attempting to wash off the stains of reality from her previous, pure state. Again, another lovely shot in the shower contrasting the blind girl’s naked feet with the woman’s sharp, black heels. 

    As the blind girl lies gasping and sobbing, submerged in a tub of water, a sheet of grey makeup still clinging to one cheek, her white dress completely soaked, the experienced woman huddles at the side of the room, shaken at what she has become and facing the truth that she will never again return to that pure, innocent girl she once was. The man is outside the bathroom, unable to enter, unable to intrude upon this self-awakening

  16. There were a couple of posts on Seoulbeats that had really good explanations of what the MV meant:

    1. The little girl is actually the older woman’s “inner child”; she looks like she has it all together on the outside, but on the inside she’s still naive, curious, and blind to the harsh realities of the real world. And she freaks out in the end because she feels her Innocent Self trying to grow up and attempts to drown It to prevent it from turning into what she is now.

    2. The video is actually about a woman who is getting over her heartbreak and the little girl represents the way she used to feel about her ex and how she used to be excited and happy to be in love. And the older woman attacks her younger self because she’s frustrated that she still loves him.

    I think the second explanation sorta matches up with the song lyrics a little better.

    The MV is confusing. We need Kim Eana to make a statement about the MV like she did with “Sixth Sense”! x__x

    But damn, BEG’s MVs lately are sooooo good. :3

  17. It is a great music video. I always enjoy music videos that have a little story and not only singers doing a choreography (not only kpop vids).

    ***BTW,anyone knows of a trustworthy korean make-up products website that ships worldwide?

  18. BEG – Cleansing Creams wins for me. The beauty of the MV alone deserves to win. Not to mention all the stuff about beauty and what not.

  19. cloiebuggeater

    I’m going to vote BEG, mostly because  SunnyHill’s video creeped the hell out of me so bad, it overran the message.

  20. Is that,,, Flower Boy Ramen Shop? Awesome!

  21. yaye flower boy ramyum shop screen saver!

  22. OMG. When I first watched the video, I thought that the girl was the woman’s daughter. O__O I had no idea where did the idea of the young girl was the woman’s daughter came from.  LoL.

    That aside, for the poll, I vote for Sunny Hill because it’s more towards beauty while Brown Eyed Girls’ one was more emphasized on inner conflict rather than beauty. Beauty in BEG’s song was just a superficial cover of a deeper meaning. Sunny Hill’s song is more on beauty.

  23. I think it’s more of the preconception of dreams and the harsh reality of society most of us have to deal with these days and, I believe that they are represented by the young girls as the past innocences when we dreamt of our future, the man as society and the women as ourselves after facing up to the harsh cold reality of society.
    The video started with the last scene starts the video off which leads me to believe that the women is looking back, reflecting. Following that, we see the blind girl fumbling around in a room of opulence and trying to reach out to them while finding her way around. Just like how all of us start with dreams of grandeur while setting foot in to this world and trying to find our place as adults.Following that, we see the blind girl in her room with a stifling atmosphere looking forwards and the scene cutting to where the women is with the man. Then a “gust of wind” enters the bedroom from young girls room. Sort of like the young girl entering through the window dreaming. The young girl tries to place herself in the woman’s place and starts feeling the guys features and imagining.
    The scene now cuts to where the women now look back over her shoulders and start to reflect back as seen at the next shot with all the vanity windows. She then see’s the young girl fumbling around before finding the guy and trying to take a hold of him while he’s being cold and unresponsive to her. Now the scene cuts away to where she’s standing there in anger looking at the man thinking, staring and she then peeps back at how she was fumbling about as a innocent girl. Then another cut away to the innocent girl in her own sheltered world (the cupboard) dreaming of things to be.We are then shown a series of cut aways one, particularly, showing the guy filling up the tub with water, perhaps as a symbol of the building expectations and responsibilities from society.
    Following that, the dinning scene of the women looking down and feeling depressed until the young girl comes in trying to be a grown up, hence the make up. The video then cuts away to the scene where the women is mad at the young girl and drags her into the toilet and “wakes” her up with the spray of the shower then the man at the door trying to stop the tragedy. After which, see the young girl falling into the water (aka expectations and responsibilities) struggling as the women presses her under trying to drowning her (criticizing here self and aggravating the situation) then giving up and sitting on the floor in dispair. 

    I came to this interpretation after reading the lyrics which mostly spoke of regrets of the past and trying to deal with it.
    What do you guys think?

  24. I think it’s more of the preconception of dreams and the nature and harsh reality of society most of us have these days and, I believe that they are represented by the young girls as the past innocences when we dreamt of our future, the man as society and the women as ourselves after facing up to the harsh cold reality of society.
    The video started with the last scene starts the video off which leads me to believe that the women is looking back. Following that, we see the blind girl fumbling around in a room of opulence and trying to reach out to them while finding her way around. Just like how all of us start with dreams of grandeur while setting foot in to this world and trying to find our place as adults.Following that, we see the blind girl in her room with a stifling atmosphere looking forwards and the scene cutting to where the women is with the man. Then a “gust of wind” enters the bedroom from young girls room. Sort of like the young girl entering through the window dreaming. The young girl tries to place herself in the woman’s place and starts feeling the guys features and imagining.
    The scene now cuts to where the women now look back over her shoulders and start to reflect back as seen at the next shot with all the vanity windows. She then see’s the young girl fumbling around before finding the guy and trying to take a hold of him while he’s being cold and unresponsive to her. Now the scene cuts away to where she’s standing there in anger looking at the man thinking, staring and she then peeps back at how she was fumbling about as a innocent girl. Then another cut away to the innocent girl in her own sheltered world (the cupboard) dreaming of things to be.We are then shown a series of cut aways one, particularly, showing the guy filling up the tub with water, perhaps as a symbol of the building expectations and responsibilities from society.
    Following that, the dinning scene of the women looking down and feeling depressed until the young girl comes in trying to be a grown up, hence the make up. The video then cuts away to the scene where the women is mad at the young girl and drags her into the toilet and “wakes” her up with the spray of the shower then the man at the door trying to stop the tragedy. After which, see the young girl falling into the water (aka expectations and responsibilities) struggling as the women presses her under trying to drowning her (criticizing here self and aggravating the situation) then giving up and sitting on the floor in dispair. 

    I came to this interpretation after reading the lyrics which mostly spoke of regrets of the past and trying to deal with it.
    What do you guys think?

  25. I don’t think the blind girl is an actual character in the story, merely a physical symbolization of the woman. After all, she did get her hands all over the husband without him noticing it. The blind girl may signify the inner girl inside a woman that she still holds dearly but wants to rid of forever. The girl is innocent, blind from the evils of the world. While the woman is tough and has things under control. Or so it seems. She tries to drown the girl, removing her from herself, but fails to do so and is left back against the wall crying. In a sense I think she wants to show the man that she can be strong and put together, but inside she just wants to be the innocent girl.

    If you see it from a couple’s relationship, it might represent how one woman wants to show a more delicate and innocent side of her but fails to do so. It might be because the man wants the woman to remain her tough, edgy self or because the woman doesn’t want to show that fragile side of her. The two are becoming further apart and the two wonders, if the woman hadn’t kept her true self from the outside, their relationship might be a little better.

    Or if you take it a little further, you can trace it (in some shape or form) to feminism, which continues the theme of Sixth Sense. A woman wants to look independent, but that can only bring her so far. She tries to hide this dependent girl from the man in order for him to see her as this strong woman.

    Your interpretations are also very interesting. And I agree, the colors and cinematography is one of the best this year. This song, and the music video, is definitely meant for multiple interpretations. And I’m so glad for it! Finally, a music video that sees its viewers as people with functioning brains.

  26. Anonymous

    Cleansing Cream by BEG

  27. I think the music video focusses on the idea of misconception, innocence and the importance of perspective.

    The blind sister’s blindness signifies the fact that she has not experienced life and she has not seen the cruel nature of society. Our innocence often erodes from us as we experience more in life but her blindness represents having a different perspective of life.

    We can see that the blind sister is very pure, innocent and she embodies a child-like nature. We can see this through her simple, white clothing and her lack of make-up. She yearns to be like her sister so she copies her sleeping position and she enjoys her clothing which she easily recognises as her sister’s when she’s in the closet. She yearns for all those grown up things like a husband and her feeling of the carpet shows that she wants to have those things that she has. In the end she puts on make up which is similar to her sister’s but it is just a messier version. But this is similar to what a child would do, like a daughter looking up to her mother.

    The wife is more grown up and mature. She can see and so she has seen how hard life can be and the tainted nature of humans. She has experienced life so she has lost that childhood innocence. In life, we know to expect the worse in things because we understand that life is like that and we can see the wife has taken this view to expect the worse. This has caused her to form the false assumption that her sister is trying to steal her husband.

    She has a narrow perspective of life. So when she sees her sister touching her husband, she’s misinterprets this as her sister trying to steal her husband. It also shows her narrow perspective of life and lack of understanding. The fact that she only sees her sister doing certain things makes her susceptible to misterpreting the information as she only pieces together the evidence as she sees it. She does not see the full picture of what is really going on. As we are made to see the sister and the husband through her perspective we can see how she reaches her assumption but we know that it is wrong because we as the audience see the full picture of what is really going on. We can all essentially become as guilty as the sister because we are manipulated in the music video to also think that the blind sister is trying to steal her husband. From this we are made to see the importance of perspective in helping us to gain a better understanding of the world.

    And that is my interpretation =)

  28. junelizondo

    Simon is so smart! Martina is so cute not nerdy, Spudgy is so CUTE AND FLUFY!!!!

  29. Simon’s Words of Wisdom FTW!

  30. As expected from ex-English teachers, hey. You’re reminding me of my high school English assignments…*shudder*

  31. Anonymous

    You guys did a bang up job with this review. I often find when I hear others go into symbolism its total balogna. Your guises’ explanation makes total sense, however, and I enjoyed the Teacher Simon break, simple but rather profound. More true than I’m sure a lot of people would like (myself included).
    Two thumbs up.

    Oh and the bloopers with your guises’ feet was ridiculously married-couple-adorable.

  32. The blind girl looks scary with that ridiculous make-up

  33. If I did this music video as a study for english I would get top marks because of you guys =D

  34. I’m so happy you guys did this song! It’s become one of my favorites of the year thanks to its literary video. Here’s a link to a very interesting interpretation of the video and song. It’s not mine, but I found it a good read! http://seoulbeats.com/2011/11/cleansing-cream-revealing-your-true-face/

  35. I think the moustache song is the most meaningful and powerful of them all.

  36. I started checking out BEG because you guys reviewed “Sixth Sense”…I’m a diehard YG fan,VIP and Blackjack..I thought that YGE was the only entertainment company that had some sense in its approach to music & video-making… I’m glad I got to know BEG… Like YG, they write their own songs and the content is not just senseless aegyo empty fluff… They’re freaking gorgeous & I think they represent the more mature feminist style that 2NE1 still hasn’t shown..2NE1 rocks,of course…they’re the epitome of in-your-face awesomeness…Brown Eyed Girls is Sexy in-ur-face awesomeness..

    Btw,i really like your interpretation of the vid…XD

    Thanks for the review!!!^_^

  37. Bluesh Fai

    it’s really difficult to pick >.<
    ah, i choose cleansing cream for music video,,, though pray is also really beautiful

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