First Impressions: Roh Ji Hoon’s “Punishment”

MV

Do you ever think about the sheer volume of debuts that occur in K-Pop every month? I do. Another thing I think about is the inevitable fact that most groups or solo artists who debut will fail. Fail miserably and, as Callipygia has said, descend into the abyss of crushed dreams, never to be heard from again.

With that note, let’s go on to our first impressions of Roh Ji Hoon’s debut.* Will he never be heard from again? Or is he going to take the Kpop world BY STORM? (Hint: the second one, if I have anything to say about it.)

While I mentioned that I disliked the ‘retro’ style of Lee Hi’s debut single “1.2.3.4”, Roh Ji Hoon’s single is a perfect example of how to meld modern sounds and production with a retro feel. The song feels current but the falsetto “dooooo, doo doooo” and the percussive piano in the background lend themselves to the vibes of another era, and/or Maroon 5. (Thankfully, Roh Ji Hoon’s voice is far smoother and less shrill than Adam Levine’s. No, I’m not a fan, why do you ask?)

Roh Ji Hoon as a package has great potential. He is good-looking, polished, and has the charisma that Baek Seung Heon couldn’t muster with a million horrifying ‘seductive’ smiles. And as I said before, his singing voice is smooth and pleasant. His dancing has a lot of pop as well.

But. The dance. We need to talk about the dance. Who choreographed this masochistic ritual?

Aaaaaaaaaaagh.

Now, I don’t have the same equipment down there that Roh Ji Hoon and his back-up dancers do. But I really cannot help but cringe when I see them YANK the crotches of their pants up so forcefully and so many times. Yikes. YIKES. Roh Ji Hoon, I hope for the sake of your beautiful face and superior genes that you will still be able to procreate one day.

Besides the choreography, the rest of the video is kind of confusing and a bit creepy. Firstly, the visual decision to include lens flares all the time is a stylistic choice reminiscent of the newest iteration of Star Trek (the one with Zoe Saldana), and one that the director received a lot of flack for. Well, director whoever-you-are, I’m gonna give you the same amount of flack. A million lens flares does not a visual style make.

What is going on right now?!?!

Furthermore, it doesn’t hide that this entire video is essentially a stalker video interspersed with masochistic dancing. I mean, basically Roh Ji Hoon just follows this girl around everywhere until they meet in an elevator. Then comes this bizarre sequence where he’s tied up in a chair and blindfolded in some sort of…

sadomasochistic…

ritual….

WOW. I think I just stumbled upon the subtext of this video. The dancing. The blindfold. THE TITLE OF THE SONG… all the S&M themes are coming together. Say no more, director whoever-you-are, I now know what you think about when you lie in bed at night (or when you’re directing music videos).

All epiphanies aside, I actually found this to be a strong debut and quite enjoyed the song. I think Roh Ji Hoon has real staying power, and it seems like the charts agree with my assessment. Let’s hope his next dance video doesn’t include anything that might hinder his future reproductive capabilities.

*Note: This is actually Roh Ji Hoon’s second debut, thereby proving that the Laws of Kpop can be broken for exceptional individuals or circumstances. Careful not to think too hard or your universe may collapse in on itself.

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