Jiyoon, the most talented member of the lamented 4Minute and one of the most striking of K-pop idols, finally makes her solo debut with the surprisingly introspective rock-ballad “I Do”, under the new stage name “Jenyer”–except not quite, since the end of the video expressly identifies her as “Jiyoon”. But never mind that:
It looks like Jiyoon struck out for Jeju Island and revisited some of the sights immortalized earlier this year in Oh My Girl’s brilliant “Windy Day” video: and I can’t fault Jiyoon for that! With the frigid ocean footage and the sweep of the sweetly desolate moors, this scenery brings to mind the chilled imagery of the masque in Shakespeare’s The Tempest. One would hardly have guessed that Jiyoon, the spitfire rapper and all-around badbutt of “Volume Up” and “Muzik” and “Crazy” would’ve steered into such a new direction, but then again, perhaps this is what she was waiting to do all along.
It’s a pleasant thrill to see Jiyoon romping through what looks to be the exact same spot in the woods where Jiho chased a deer back in “Windy Day”. And while I love this kind of coniferific scenery so well I’m almost disappointed that she found signs of springtime vitality there, the video immediately compensates by giving Jiyoon some digitized snow flurries too. Excellent call! Jiyoon in this contemplative musical mode conveys a surprising softness I wouldn’t have expected: everything about this video is such a change from her sleekly androgynous and chicly “fierce” image from before. The softness and receptiveness of her facial expressions in this video are a revelation.
No, the video doesn’t strive for the deliriously creative imagery and invention of a classic Oh My Girl video–it’s content just to place Jiyoon in some beautifully filmed scenery and let her do her thing. I won’t rate it as a new masterpiece– but it is strikingly appealing and beautifully photographed, and it conveys a sense of autumnal majesty which will make it welcome viewing. It also nicely exploits the inherent surrealism of the settings, so that just the image of Jiyoon standing in the middle of the road conveys just a teasing hint of David Lynch (I assume, btw, those particular shots are green screened, but they’re done in such a way that the tone has a positively retro, 50s back projection feel that I find pleasurable). It’s a fine kickoff for Jiyoon’s solo career, and while it’s too soon to predict with confidence the kind of huge success I’ve always wished she could have (it’s no secret I’ve always thought she deserved Hyuna’s place in the antheon of K-pop stardom), I’m delighted to see such a professional-looking and pretty video to start her off. Best of luck, “Jenyer”! Jiyoon hwaiting!