Notes on World War III, and a “Sleepless Night”: The 9Muses Comeback In An Age of Darkness

Turkish pussies decided to suckerpunch a Russian fighter jet, “moderate” rebels on the ground murdered the surviving pilots, and now someone’s decided to shoot down a Russian rescue helicopter.  Apparently Russia’s started carpet bombing ISIS strongholds, and if they start carpetbombing Muslim Turkey too I won’t blame them– and the EUSSATO better stay the hell out of it.  I’m sick to death of this Jewish conspiracy horshit– damned Talmudic Semites trying to get the whole universe nuked just so they can add a few acres to the Golan Heights.  Screw anti-Christian Israel, and screw the anti-Christian governments of the West.  Go, Putin, go!

So this might be the start of World War III, in which case I will be rooting for Russia against the United States.  But in the meantime, 9Muses went ahead with their third new single of 2015, and that’s a sure thing so let’s stick with that:

Yes, children, hold your breath because this is one of those twice-in-a-blue-moon times when Brave Brothers produces something pretty nice.  And while it’s true that “Sleepless Night” isn’t the most dramatic piece of music post-Don Giovanni (it’s more a dark mid-tempo jam with desperate emotional undertones that impinge upon ballad terrain), it’s very moody in a pleasurably listenable way.

The enigmatic music video goes for fullscale old-fashioned Davichi/Brown Eyed Girls-style Korean melodrama.  Angsty tears, furious destruction of once-treasured mementos, discreet fits of illness, oblique suicide attempts, and even [SPOILER ALERT] a final look-back-at-your-corpse-in-bed post-suicide twist ending.  That, or lesbian lovemaking, which unfortunately is what a lot of stupid listeners are interpreting here.  I don’t think that works, even if it’s two different Muses playing the before-death and -after versions of the singular “character” whose breakdown we witness.  And yes, the five dudes in bed thing is a little bizarre, but par for the course in the world of music videos, surely.  I don’t think we’re meant to infer a narrative whereby she literally bought five male hookers to try and turn herself straight (!!!) before killing herself, as some wiseacre in the comments tries to deduce.

The ghostly white-lit room with the bubblewrapped piano eerily reminds me of Ladies’ Code’s deathly and prescient video for “So Wonderful”– one of three Ladies’ Code videos which seem drenched in deathly imagery.  And while I pray the Heavens prevent any repetition of that horrible tragedy, that surreal sequence, with the Muses vanishing till the last plays alone recalls that boundlessly creepy moment at the end of “So Wonderful” when the late EunB’s mannequin character “comes to life” and, on a stonily lit bare stage, confronts her now-dead creator.

Whether it’s my failing or not, I find the imagery of “Sleepless Night” hard to assimilate into any coherent whole, but I’m prejudiced in favor of the idea that it’s not meant to be understood at a narrative or logical level.  If this is all a suicide’s final dream, starting from the moment she starts unlocking mementos after swallowing her pills, then the multiple characters who may or may not be “her”, or people from her past, or fictive emanations of her dream-state, are all passing through a barely coherent but evocative set of crises and symbolic gestures, all rushing headlong (like the “story” in Mulholland Drive) towards a brutal collision with the truth– she must wake up a ghost.  Which itself may be more a symbolic gesture than anything else, since whatever propelled her to this act does not seem to invite any providential intervention to rescue her soul from its torment.

Perhaps even her final glance at her dead self is only the dying sleeper’s dream-projection of the truth– like one of those uncanny moments (of which I’ve had several) where I seem to have been awoken by a “noise” heard in sleep just before a real-life noise (such as a malfunctioning smoke detector) goes off.  In which case, the “story” hasn’t converged yet with the supernatural, either in the form of divine rescue or judgment or in perpetual existence as a ghost.

Envoking Mulholland Drive might seem an underhanded admission of victory for the lezbo Liebestod interpretation, but I only invoke it because the film so inimitably conveys the glacial metamorphoses possible inside the “reality” of an extended dream.  That the heroine dreaming that dream was a doomed lesbian doesn’t mean that “Sleepless Night” works the same literal territory.  Supposing that it did doesn’t mean the video isn’t an artful piece of work, of course; but it would sour my opinion insofar as I find it unhelpful at best for the K-pop industry to lend itself to the treatment of trendily louche themes already worked to death in Western media.  One could sympathetically read Mulholland Drive as indicative of the obsessive delusions which lesbians likely labor under to a statistically meaningful degree (lesbian domestic abuse is a real-life epidemic), but in today’s climate it’s unlikely that David Lynch could ever admit to such a thing, even if it was on his mind.  But “Sleepless Night” is guilty of no greater provocation than the familiar trope of having all the members enact the same emotions that the singular “speaker” of the lyrics experiences.  This doesn’t imply that the lovelorn emotions are directed at each other– at least not as I can see.  Regardless, it bothers me that gullible teenyboppers the world over are so riled up on Gay Lettuce Bacon Tomato that they would turn what amounts to a darker version of SNSD’s “Time Machine” into a Sapphic melodrama.  Sheesh. Somebody needs to remind these kids that fifty percent of people ARE NOT GAY.

[Ed.:  I thought it was 98.3%, actually?]  –Well, duh.  But we’re in shit so deep, it’d take a Russian nuclear strike to grow people some perspective.  Always remember that all the SWPL “f**king love science!” people are literally worse than witch-burning Flat Earthers.  Global Gay Melting Change and all that.

–Anyway, “Sleepless Night” may not prove a masterpiece, but it’s one of those K-pop chestnuts good enough that I’ll probably be listening to it and watching it quite a bit over these winter months.  And it has just the moody, sheeny, luxurious ambience I particularly enjoy in this– for me, the happiest– time of the year.  I’m not sure if the full minialbum has dropped at this hour, but it looks like 9Muses has held course to release three strong records this year, and I consider that a most worthwhile (and hard-earned) distinction.

[UPDATE]  Wow, I’m really falling into obsession with this. It’s endlessly re-watchable.  The drip-drip-drip of surreal, synchronous cues as we approach the moment of death is so eerie and haunting and profound.  Flushing the watch=you’re out of Time.  Picking out the white dress and too-high heels for the Afterlife, heels which she dodders and falls in before awakening in black in the Beyond.  That final shattering moment in the “dream” when she’s alone at the piano and her eyes shut, and the image rapidly fades to black, before a cold, quick horizontal swipe “awakens” us on the other side.  Keumjo’s repeated, listless applications of lipstick– a totally illogical motif that has its own eerie dream-logic.

I don’t want to shoehorn this into an explicitly Christian reading, but some of these details (the failed attempt to outfit herself in White, in particular) have an amazing and rather horrific poignancy about them that suggests all the while a profound moral view of this tragic scenario.

I think this video has already earned its upgrade into the K-pop masterworks canon.  This is brilliant.

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