Hot Times- SM The Ballad

This has to be the most awkward MV I’ve ever seen~ It was a bad idea from the start, but I’ll get into that later.

Lyrics:  3/5
The message of the song is a little confusing, and the English doesn’t fit with it. You can usually figure out what they were trying to say, but sentences are incomplete or mistranslated… Anyways, the main song is reminiscing over a relationship. They always refer to it in the past tense, but also say they “don’t want to test our love”, so I’m not sure if the relationship is supposed to be over or what… I think it’s just supposed to be in a rocky place. They talk about the more passionate times in the relationship as well as describe themselves as being alone and afraid before meeting the girl.
Hot times/ when I open my eyes to you/ all my life time/ it’s ok if I only have you/ Even if you shake me or test me/ I can’t do anything but endure it/ You’re my only person

As the name suggests, SM The Ballad is a ballad group… AKA- No dancing… That might have helped with this awkwardness though…

Story: NA
The sets are dark and relatively bare rooms where the members are singing, sometimes together, sometimes individually, and sometimes just a couple of them with no sets. In the background a lot is a dancing couple, they are never explained and don’t tell a story or anything.

Other Things

Ok, why they should be called (at least in this MV) “SM The Awkward”: The singers are the sole focus of this MV. Directing 101 tells us that when you have a serious ballad group who doesn’t dance at all you ABSOLUTELY AND POSITIVELY CANNOT make them the focus of your MV. There always has to be a story playing (think of any 2AM MV). The issue here is that the members are always on screen, and they are definitely not comfortable. The hands are what kill me- they don’t know what they’re supposed to do, so they tend to wave them around pointlessly, and just look awkward.

Member Kyuhyun (from Super Junior) is particularly awkward in this, but it’s fun to watch: he doesn’t know what to do when the camera is on him like that, but he doesn’t want to raise his arm, yet at the same time he can’t just leave it there. The result is little flapping motions that do not extend above hip-level. Also, when he is in the background but not singing he’s staring off into space with this bored-as-hell face. Keep an eye on him and you’ll see.

The only person who does well (or at least less awkward) in this MV is Jay (from TRAX). He’s used to being the solo singer. He puts tons of expression in his face to compensate for the awkwardness. The most overdone award goes to Jonghyun (from SHINee) who I think will go postal if they don’t give him choreography soon, he’s EXTREMELY twitchy! He’s another one who is fun to watch. And Jino has that newly-debuted awkwardness that’s kind of adorable, so you just have to smile when he’s on screen ^^

I like how the MV was filmed with very dim colors. It looks cool, and it would be a great look for this group in any other MV. But for a song called “Hot Times” you kind of expect more color… This looks more like “Nap Time”.

Visually this is the most awkward MV I’ve ever seen. Not bad, but cringe-worthy.  The group’s first MV was much better. I hope they learned their lesson about avoiding making ballad singers the sole focus of an MV, especially for a song of this tempo that could support choreography.

And a bonus live performance, which was not awkward since they had microphones, so that means they didn’t have to do any awkward hand-twitches. Keep your eyes open at 1:44 – 1:50 for, what I think, is the BEST expression ever given to a camera during a song. Kyuhyun definitely practiced making faces in the mirror before going on!

  1. #1 by Michelle on June 17, 2012 - 5:52 am

    I completely disagree. A music video doesn’t need to have dancing just to be interesting. Look at a lot of renowned American videos, like Eminem’s “Stan” and “Love the Way You Lie”.. they don’t have dancing but they are compelling in their own way because they tell a story, and frankly, the biggest attraction about kpop stars is their beauty, so whether you take it dancing or not, it really doesn’t matter. What matters is that you see x’s face a lot.

    Also, the comment “The singers are the sole focus of this MV.” is a little weird. I mean, what else would be the focus of the MV?

    One more thing, the hands, those are singer’s gestures and even if they look awkward to you, they are not miscalculated and not because Kyuhyun & co. have no idea how to work a camera.. they’re trained idols, not people who were recently discovered on the street..


    • #2 by pretendthisiswitty on June 18, 2012 - 12:20 am

      I am a film major specializing in music videos, so when I say that “The singers are the sole focus of the MV” it is a notation to a category of music videos. In this category there is only the artist, no other background performers (called a “Performance-Based Music Video, as opposed to a Story-Based music video or a Mixed Music Video such as “Missing You” by SM The Ballad). So that was what I meant by that particular line.

      And yes, they are trained Idols, I know. But the way directing for music videos works (and yes, this is for Korea too, I have many friends in the entertainment industry there who I met while living in the country), the idol comes up with their gestures in solo shots very rarely. Typically a choreographer or director tells them what to do, which direction to look, stuff like that. When a director chooses to go hands-off, as this one seems to have done, the gestures and expressions can become awkward. I did not mean anything offensive or anything by pointing that out, it was merely an observation.

      And finally, I did not mean it was not “Interesting”, just that on the visual level, purely visual, it was bland. The colors are severely muted and mostly along the same scale, and there is little going on overall in the visual department. Compared to other Korean music videos, that is rather (again, visually) flat. Typically ballads have story lines, I have very rarely come across ones that are not visually compelling in some way with varied sets or shots. I was merely making another observation.

      I actually know the songwriter for this piece, I like the song, and I respect the artists for their hard work in recording it.

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