First Impressions: Jaejoong’s “Mine”

Jaejoong’s MINE, guys, get it? Just kidding – I don’t find him that attractive. Part of the reason could be the weird Dark Magician-esque hat (points if you understood the Yu-Gi-Oh reference – loser points) he is wearing for some of the music video, and the other part could be his waifish facsimile of Bane from The Dark Knight Rises.

Of course, Jaejoong’s first mini-album has been looked forward to with much anticipation, given that he is a third of the powerhouse group known as JYJ formerly known as 60% of TVXQ. So that also means Jaejoong is 20% of what was formerly TVXQ but now he’s just 0% of TVXQ and instead is 33.33333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333…% of JYJ. But don’t ask him about it because if he answers, I think that the rules of some kind of contract dispute that may or may not be still ongoing (don’t believe what they say in public!) could dictate that he be thrown into a fiery pit of old TVXQ concert DVD’s. Anyways, has this walking math equation’s single “Mine” lived up to all the hype?

Let’s start with the clothes. Yes, I have a tendency to dwell a little too much on costume choices/styling in music videos, but let’s be honest – Jaejoong WANTED me to talk about his clothing. (Me specifically, because we’re best friends.) Firstly there’s this bondage/S&M Bane get-up which I guess can be kind of hot, if that’s your fancy:

THIS IS MY ADOLESCENCE - I MEAN OPPRESSSIIIOOOON!

THIS IS MY ADOLESCENCE OPPRESSSIIIOOOON!

And then of course we have this diabolical Dark Magician outfit, which I’m still trying to wrap my head around.

IS IT JUST ME? IS IT?

IS IT JUST ME WHO SEES THIS? IS IT?

Much like the video, the song has a clear point of view and is well-produced; Jaejoong expresses himself with a lot of intense feeling in his singing for “Mine” and it contributes to the song overall. Visuals and music play off of each other pretty well. On the other hand, the sound of the song is not exactly current. Indeed, I get a lot of hints of early My Chemical Romance and maybe even Evanescence, groups which have sounds that are reminiscent of the early 2000’s. It’s not exactly late enough for that era to be considered “retro” yet. Another more favorable comparison, however, can be made to Muse. Jaejoong’s voice and the level of emoting he uses in this song are very similar to what I have heard from them, and I would honestly be very surprised if he hasn’t taken a few cues from their catalog.

Contributing to the overall My Chemical Romance vibe of the song is the visual direction that the music video has taken; greys, blacks, and metallic off-whites dominate the color scheme as Jaejoong struggles to rip himself free of the chains of oppression. Or something like that. I have horrendous inference skills, so I won’t begin to try parsing through the actual plotline of this video, if there even is one. There is a lot of imagery, however, such as a slowly flapping crow and a slowly barking dog. The dog seems more fearsome, while the crow just seems sort of ugly, especially when its eye rolls back into the skull so all you see is whiteness.

At one point, Jaejoong is seen running into a flock of ugly crows which are flying right towards him in extreme slow motion. Of course we never see what happens next, but I assume it involves a pile of bloody feathers, squawking, and a crying Jaejoong in a heap on the ground.

Like this, but all in the center.

Like this, but all in the center.

In the beginning of the video, the imagery is certainly striking, but I found that as the video went on, it steadily went further and further into adolescent/gothic angst territory. Black fingernails, black candles being blown out in a darkened castle, and an excessive amount of forlorn looks became a little oppressive after a while. (OR WAS THAT THE WHOLE POINT?) Instead of symbolism, it quickly became dramatic spectacle. The real topper was when Jaejoong took flight in his creepy dungeon castle, landing on top of what I can only figure to be the coffin that he sleeps in at night.

Voldemort?

Voldemort?

Looking back on this song/video as a whole, there’s a very clear vision that has been executed. Whether or not the vision is your cup of tea is a different story altogether. For some people, it could be a fulfillment of their sexual fantasies and for others a troubling reminder of when they used to hate the entire world. (Or a lot of things in between.) Personally, I think it becomes a little overwrought as to extend into a caricature of the image that Jaejoong is trying to project for this promotion. However, it’s also refreshing to hear a prominent pop artist try a sound that isn’t dubstep/electronic-influenced, and for that I commend Jaejoong and hope that his first solo project receives a lot of success.

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