Even after GFriend’s terrific Snowflake album and titanic hit “Rough”, there’s still an argument to be made that Lovelyz will be the great girl group of their “generation”. Thematically akin to A Pink, but iconically linked with classic SNSD, Lovelyz is a group built for hegemonic success and, had it not been for the awful fate visited upon Jisoo at the band’s debut, they might already be in possession of trophy-garnering triumph.
But that was not to be, and perhaps largely on account of that cloud of uncertainty Lovelyz, despite such soaring tunes as “Hi” and “Candy Jelly Love”, didn’t woo the masses so successfully as we might hope. But our Jisoo finally returned to us, and last fall’s “Ah Choo”, though not a megahit, had very long legs on the charts. Winter’s “For You” has been labeled a flop, and perhaps it’s true it was released in the “wrong” season, but I for one adored it. Now, a year and a half has already passed, and Lovelyz, artistically one of the most iconic “innocent concept” girl groups, is pivoting to a slightly different phase: still graceful and pure, still musically and visually incandescent, but with a different, “mature” flavor:
Oh wait, that’s not it lozlzoz. Let’s try again:
I’m loving “Destiny” the song– the combination of Lovelyz’ familiar sound with this melancholy, cinematic J-pop sweep is delightful. “Ah Choo” already had a strange hint of dolefulness compared to the endless sunshine of “Hi”; with “Destiny” our girls take on a new level of romantic uncertainty, but grounded in the fairytale whimsy of their entire discography. It’s like a missing halfway house between A Pink and Kara, a beautiful sonic territory Lovelyz continue to make their own.
But for the video: as we would expect, Digipedi bring a delightful palette to the screen, executed with the faultless technical mastery they (almost) always display. Here again, “Ah Choo” serves as a starting-point, but now the pastels are blurred into a chalky dreaminess, like the spraying tail of a comet– which suits the lyrics’ astronomical theme. It’s worth remembering that the Lovelinus single from December contains a terrific OnePiece ballad entitled “Circle” (which concludes with a lament over a “secret heaven”). Whether this thematic link is deliberate or fortuitous, “Destiny” spins the girls into orbits, charting the heavens by compass and spinning marbles, waiting perhaps for a final interstellar collision of romance that will make them the new center of gravity for their oblivious boy, the “earth” whose gravity has trapped them in an endless sad daydream.
If I have one quibble with the video, it’s the “SM Ent dance in a box” format for the full group choreography. Granted, we’ve seen this stylistic device in previous Lovelyz videos (usually with ceiling fans going instead of dangling light bulbs as here). There’s nothing especially “wrong” about it, but really it’s time to give Lovelyz something more original, something like the great heart-shaped stage SNSD danced upon for “Genie”. The forthcoming stage performances will undoubtedly capture the choreo with power and pizazz: music videos are free to concentrate on more individual and eccentric visual pleasures. That said, I think the choral shots feel a bit perfunctory compared to the dazzling whirl of the girls shot individually or in pairs, with all the whimsical cosmic motifs on show.
So the MV isn’t a flawless masterwork on par with “Ah Choo”, but it’s much more than serviceable, capturing the youthful radiance of Lovelyz with imaginative flair and commenting cleverly on the lyrics of the song. It’s a welcome addition to the Lovelyz canon, and hopefully helps “Destiny” launch itself upon the music shows to deserved greater heights of success for the girls.
[Update:] It’s remiss of me not to give style points individually, so I should come back to that, but for now let me just add that, though Kei’s lips and Yein’s eyes are both staggeringly lovely in their closeups, I give Sujeong the overall trophy for most stunningly alluring closeups. She is, like Jin, a very bright and ambitious girl, usually very focused albeit lighter-hearted; but when she strikes a moody expression, she is capable of being even as glamorous as the angelic Kei. And in “Destiny” Sujeong has perhaps never looked lovelier.