Given the impact solo releases can have on a singer's musical spectrum, there is a fine line between an "impactful" and an "overwhelming" solo. In simpler terms, some work and some don't. A solo release can either strengthen both the group and the member, or it can lead to an irritating juxtaposition that says little about how to find its own conceptual basis. Not to say that a solo is only successful if it emerges from the predefined ideas of its own group – there is infinite potential for how an idol can achieve positive recognition in both positions at the same time. However, there is no single way to achieve this, which makes choosing a concept all the more difficult.
In 2020 there was a fair share of female solo releases with comebacks from Somi to Mummy moss hwasa to Taeyeon spread over the whole year. More solo debuts by Lovelyz & # 39; Ryu Sujeong, Apinks Namjoo, and Mummy moss Moonbyul and Solar reinvigorated the scene for this year as concepts from empowerment to chic were vulnerable. Each solo release brought a new musical color for fans, a distinct opportunity that can only be created through promotions outside of a singer's identifying group.
To the Oh my girl, YooA is the first member to debut with a solo album, and also the first vehicle for fans to experience a distinction from the group. So far, OMG has maintained a high quality fairytale landscape that lends itself to a unique style in their discography, concepts, and even stage outfits. Title tracks like "Closer", "Secret Garden", "The 5th Season" and more have cemented a timeline of dreamy concepts that they have mastered for the fifth year in a row. In view of this conceptual identity, curiosity arose as to how Yooa would balance her group's image as a solo alongside her own potential for young talent.
It's a delicate balance to be struck, but luckily, “Gute Reise” ticks off all the signs required for a perfect debut that still resonates with the colors of OMG. YooA's solo is a beautiful debut that sends its message through such a pure lens. The selected title track and its MV, also known as “Forest Child” in Korean, reveal an impressive, almost touching memory of something we could all have lost during our childhood: think of childhood dreams, endless imaginations and pure freedom that resides in to be found what we already find. Throughout the song and MV, nature is constantly referred to for its beauty, wisdom, and symbolism of youthful freedom. Commentators have further pointed out that the production dates back to Moana, Pocahontas, or even Hayao Miyazaki films – and rightly so, to evoke a natural purity that is not easily prevalent in the K-pop genre.
This direction has resulted in a successful concept for the artist: curating something that only YooA can achieve. It's clear that every part of the set worked to achieve this result: from the production, to the scenery, to the camerawork, to the choreography and styling. This detailed execution, coupled with the story of YooA in a group that shares a similar fantastic thread, has allowed this debut to be unique to them. In particular, I believe the most powerful aspect of this comeback is its storytelling ability. Both visual and acoustic elements correspond to the same message: the beauty and the dreams behind nature and imagination. Each scene is curated with care and even fits some texts – such as having their antlers appear as mentioned or falling pieces of snow to be a reference at Christmas.
In addition, the scenes in which she runs on endless hills, rests in a cave with fairy wings or walks through the dark woods with wolves look like scenes from a fairy tale film. She is the only character in the vast, free space who sees beauty like no other. Everything is full of life, color and movement and shows nature not only as a majestic unit, but also as a spontaneous, uplifting sight.
The contrast between a light, uplifting and a dark, majestic room illustrates the full spectrum of nature and its beauty. Meanwhile, the song consistently mentions the constant search for a dream hidden in the middle of the magical forest. In combination with the texts, this juxtaposition of day and night reveals the potential of dreams to be explored day and night. Regardless of the time or circumstances, YooA is seen pursuing or dwelling in a dream that she wishes to achieve in this mystical space.
I'm trying to find the mysterious dream
A place where we close our eyes
a light green forest
A forest that climbs the highest cliffs and calls me
Far beyond the world
The forest is waiting
It is further indicative that trees as a whole symbolize life, wisdom, growth and even strength. Perhaps these characteristics define YooA's outlook on a dream: the power to pursue and live something that goes beyond what the world can offer here and now. Overall, we as viewers are completely immersed in the history of YooA due to the cohesion of their own world. The combination of MV and Song is a great product of visual and poetic storytelling that gives us a brief escape from the real world.
Not to mention, the vehicle behind this storytelling is of the highest quality, resulting in a beautiful, aesthetic vision. Camerawork plays a huge role in this MV, especially during the song's chorus, where it races through beautiful natural landscapes for a surreal touch. It is not just YooA, the artist, who is captured, but the beauty of her surroundings that inspires her dreams. From strong waves to rolling hills that merge into a sea of sunflowers – the action and perspective in which they are filmed create a different, powerful atmosphere than forward-facing stills. Differences in speed make this MV all the more dynamic. Choreographic shots are taken quickly, but certain profile shots are taken slowly so we can enjoy the mood. Each beautiful background is presented with nearly the same timeframe, with special attention paid to angles, lighting and timing. Another thank you for the seamless processing, with which an undisturbed, balanced result could be achieved despite so many recordings. And although opinions can be divided about the affected CG, I personally think that it was implemented well without the MV being particularly disturbed.
This obviously allows us as an audience to enjoy the entire production freely. Our experience of watching the MV is similar to the character of today's YooA, taken back to remind us of the beauty of nature and fantasy. We are further reminded to take time to think and find ourselves, as her character does by remembering her time in the woods. Numerous clips show that she is free, wild and happy just because she is in beautiful nature – a comparison to her surroundings today with a car, modern clothes and make-up. Not only can dreams define an escape from the real world, but perhaps also represent an escape from the weight of adulthood into an easy, free childhood. Her voice also sounds light and clean, although the distinctive sound that resonates throughout the track is the childlike purity that gives the song its charm.
Overall, YooA found the perfect balance by incorporating the diverse musical color of their group while curating a whole new palette for themselves. Everything from the sound to the concept, the styling to the cinematography is reminiscent of the infamous fairy tale landscape of OMG – yet the entire solo debut is also geared towards making Yooa shine with her own talents. “Bon Voyage” was created entirely to light her up: her singing is melodic and sweet, while the choreography highlights her skills as a dancer. Additionally, the MV production and makeup teams did wonders to turn her into a real fairy or doll (even if she already does it with minimal effort).
Put simply, it was a remarkable gesture to see her agency focus on making YooA shine rather than following the trends. To create a complete package, it all merged into a unique concept and debut that we can be impressed with. "Gute Reise" was therefore a powerful redefinition of the color and potential of OMG that will take them even further. It's exciting to see how Oh My Girl can continue to deliver high quality comebacks and experiment with more members in the future.
What do our readers think of the first solo release by YooA and OMG? Let us know in the comments below!
(YouTube; pictures via WM Entertainment)