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Brown Eyed Girls – Cleansing Cream: Kpop Music Mondays

November 22, 2011


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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.



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Kpop Music Mondays


Brown Eyed Girls – Cleansing Cream: Kpop Music Mondays


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  1. 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.

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

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

    4 years ago
  4. Today was a day of stressful job related stuff, so it was such a nice respite to sneak away to Eat Your Kimchi and see Cleansing Cream was the chosen one.  It was a long, exhausting day, so I really appreciate and thank you for those 15 minutes of pleasure (wait, does that sound dirty?)

    I love that the Cleansing Cream video has about 50 bajillion interpretations, and they all have merit.  
    This is the first Kpop song and video to challenge me.  Other videos got my partial attention.  They were slick and pretty, but this one demanded I PAY ATTENTION.  It took Cleansing Cream from a good song to a great song.  You know a video is a success when it actually improves the song (Coldplay’s “The Scientist” is a perfect example of this).  I tip my hat to the person who developed the concept and all the people who executed it, because they really made something that rises above the pack.  

    4 years ago
  5. It’s a tough choice… but I think I’m going to have to go with BEG this week. I feel like it conveys the message in a stronger sense than Sunny Hill’s “Pray,” although they’re both two of my favourite MV of the year. It’s nice to see a video that doesn’t have just idols all gussied up and dancing on different sets.

    4 years ago
  6. HAHAHAHA!!!! the fart and JYP part killed me!!!!!

    4 years ago
  7. This maybe one of the BEST Kpop Music Monday EVER~!!!!!
    I’m learning, and enjoying and self-reflecting ALL because of your awesome review…

    and I’m really beginning to appreciate the music that Brown Eyed Girls create, they give strong message to the world out there and their videos are amazing~

    4 years ago
  8. Flower BOy Ramyun on your desktop!!!!

    All them good-looking boys cooking ramyum~ PERFECT DRAMA!!

    4 years ago