The latest A Pink Japanese single is less J-pop than straight-up pure retro K-pop recalling the dulcet musicbox funk of S.E.S. and Baby VOX, and to top off the confectionary sound A Pink has mounted a video that is a veritable orgy of Rococo hues and girlish opulence:
Fans of Kara’s enormously successful Japanese run will no doubt note that A Pink is taking some cues from their girl-pop power ballad videos as well. The story, such as it is, seems to be a slight rehash of the Korean “My My” MV, with the other girls playing makeover artists with Naeun, though here it seems less in view of any potential beau than simply as a way to amuse themselves while strutting around their dollhouse of a hotel!
Well okay, Naeun was teary-eyed just at the start, but that quickly turned so 2016. Her new outfit seems designed to provoke mirth, even if in a chic sort of way. And at the end there is the suggestion she is striking out again on her own, smile as gleaming as her shoes. But the rest of A Pink assembles in this same fantasy environment, so perhaps Naeun is only the first one out the door.
These minimalist hints of dreamland are actually rather interesting in themselves: those sad snippets at the beginning have perhaps just a hint, in their supersaturated colors and movieset unreality, a hint of Dario Argento’s nightmare houses. At some level this video seems to play deliberately with the Pink Panda’s imaginings of what it would be like to hang out with the Idol Fairies, so perhaps Naeun is in a sense “in character” as a fan simply dreaming about how much fun it would be: hence the strangeness of A Pink having a dry cleaner’s shop to themselves in which to play a fashion show. Plus, those curious shots around 1:07 use the mirrors to suggest the presence of additional people besides the members: I actually had to freeze-frame those because I wondered at first if they were indeed letting crew or staff in on the fun. So it is not unlikely there is a touch of subliminal suggestiveness here– that “Bye Bye” is the whirl of giddiness we would all wish to share with A Pink, a timeless Heaven of bonhomie with the loveable superstars.
There is also a notion in my mind that “Bye Bye” could be the unofficial sequel to “Brand New Days”, the secret life of fairies who have trespassed into our own world. After all, something magical must have waited on the other side of that tree trunk, so could this life of chic pop frivolity be the recreation of our puckish adventuresses till they find their way back home?
And finally, the blue gingham handkerchief Naeun is drying her tears with at the intro becomes an accessory which each A Pink member is wearing in the montage that precedes Naeun’s hankie discreetly slipping onto the petal-strewn pavement at 2:57 as though it were a picnic blanket (or rather a picnic napkin). Presumably this means that she is letting go of her pain, but is this because her friends have borne her sorrows away for her? Or was this shared healing all a dream?
But whatever the truth of these intimations, “Bye Bye” is a glorious romp in pure frosty loveliness, with babypowder costumes and lighting to make the jaw drop at A Pink’s still supernal beauty and youthfulness. I pray the Oricon charts will be very kind to them with this, for “Bye Bye” is not just a commercial diversion for a secondary market, but a splendid addition to the A Pink canon, a strangely beautiful and hauntedly retro song with a rapturously lovely video awash in the miracle of young womanhood.
PS: Commenter Kpxp writes: “I’m the only one who thinks this mv is a mix of My My, NoNoNo, Luv and Remember ?”
The connection to “My My” in the story, as well as the external “house” is obvious, and the courtyard’s appearance and the girls posing in the falling petals is clearly reminiscent of the “Luv” MV, with the pink-sprouting stems shining in the soft focus like the frozen branches of that wintry video. But now that I think of it, Eunji’s lipstick writing on the mirror directly recalls the “Remember” MV as well, and at least generically there’s a certain “No No No” vibe to the party atmosphere (maybe I’ll find a specific motif as well, since the lipstick is a subtle but concrete callback to previous work). And as a respondent adds, you could connect some of the dance formations to “Mr Chu”.
And of course I have to highlight Namjoo’s eyes at 0:32! Hwaiting!