Was f(X)’s “Red Light” about the Sewol ferry disaster? (with notes on “One of these nights” THE THEORY)

There’s a new Red Velvet single on its way– which already is cause to blog excitement, since after “Russian Roulette” I feared Red Velvet was already due to enter that oh so boring “one new record per year” phase of a K-pop group’s career trajectory (after all, I figured Lovelyz was going to give us the second part of A New Trilogy by Christmas, but nope!).  And even though “Russian Roulette” was my least favorite Red Velvet song and video to date, by no means do I despair of further huge excitement from them.

But in the comments at the mv teaser, somebody brought up the “creepiness” factor in Red Velvet, arguing that all their mvs to date feature some sort of sinister content.  Since I myself was put out by their attempts at murdering each other in “Russian Roulette” I was gratified that someone else was at least calling that what it was, but he also underlined some of the admittedly eerie stuff in “Ice Cream Cake” and even the dolls and leg parts in “Dumb Dumb” (I never took that to be creepy but I have always noted that telekinetic overhead shot that seems clearly inspired by De Palma’s The Fury).

But what grabbed my attention was the terse remark: One of these nights THE THEORY

(Gasp.)  What theory?!?

Well, in short, what do you think?  Ghosts of Sewon, that’s THE THEORY.  Of course I knew I had to go back and watch it again immediately, which I did, suffering a couple of chills (more of sadness than fright, let’s admit).  Parts of this make sense, but then if we are to take it in more than a strictly allusive sense (that is to say, if we acknowledge the members to be playing actual ghosts) then what precisely are the terms of their limbo?  Seulgi seems to be waiting at home, while the rain pours outside.  This would seem to fit better as a representation of a survivor or member of a victim’s family, with Wendy a ghostly apparition appearing outside in the rain (or just a sad dream of their lost loved one).  Obviously with Yeri drifting in the rain-filling boat and seemingly asleep there’s something morbid going on there (indeed, if I’m not mistaken that particular shot had occurred to me in the past perhaps as having something to do with Sewol, but I never applied that notion to the video as a whole).

“One of these nights” is such a great video, I’ve obviously loved it and savored it and rewatched it endlessly without the benefit of THE THEORY but now– though I don’t feel the need to take THE THEORY as definitive–THE THEORY only adds yet another layer of suggestive meaning and resonance to its brilliant, and technically perfect, stream of dreamy, evocative, tender imagery.

But it says here in the title that we’re talking about f(X)’s “Red Light”, and that’s because once I took to examining the comments at Red Velvet’s video looking for further references to THE THEORY, it came up that “Red Light” supposedly (and supposedly acknowledged by somebody at SM Ent) is also about the ferry disaster.

I never particularly liked the song, but I have to say now that, listening to the song while following the subtitles and experiencing it from the perspective of this THE THEORY related paradigm, the song is actually a rather sublime, David Lynchesque paroxysm of fear.

Very interesting.


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