Did you guys like that segue in the title? Yeah, I thought it was pretty good too.
This is just about the one-year anniversary of KPWOP. We know we’ve been bad lately, but never fear – this blog has NOT been abandoned. The K-pop fever is alive and well in our hearts and the world, and we intend to keep sharing it with you all. We’re going to try out a slightly new format, as well. Fresh year, fresh format!
OK – so let’s get started with TOP’s long-awaited solo venture after “Turn it Up”. Interestingly enough, that video was also in black and white. I can’t complain, I find that the man looks beautiful in monochrome and in full color. But let’s be real here – the video is a little creepy, is it not? I’m going to try to parse out some of the imagery and symbolism, intentional or not, with my uncultured brain.
2001: A Space Odyssey – This is a classic scene from the film that is mimicked in the opening shot of “Doom Dada”. In the movie, apes find a black monolith and freak out over it. By finding the monolith, the ape and his tribe gain knowledge and ability to be able to defeat other tribes and fend for themselves (source: Wikipedia). In “Doom Dada”, the monolith is instead a giant microphone that TOP carries with him for the entire music video, perhaps signifying that it is his music that possesses the power of imparting knowledge and power to its listeners.
The symbolism is reinforced by this recreation of the classic “Evolution of Man” image, where TOP himself is displayed as the final evolved being.
Are we all just stupid apes that TOP has to educate? Or is TOP the ape, as implied by some of the final scenes of the music video?
Blair Witch Project – Okay, that was enough analysis for one video, I’d say. I’m not positive it was intentional on the director’s part, but there are definitely some scenes in the video which recall classic shaky, horror-movie camera work.
Is TOP looking into a mirror? Also is there an ape pursuing him and trying to kill him? Horrifying, but compelling.
Through the Looking Glass – The main reason I say this is because that giant pissed off baby TOP keeps hanging out with only reminds me of Tweedle Dee/Dum. The reference is probably lost on me; that, or they just decided a huge angry infant would be an excellent addition to this music video.
Despite the (apparent) symbolism and the strangeness, there are definitely a few trademark YG music video images that we all know and kind of love but not really, chief of them being the artist sitting in a special chair trying to look all cool. Bonus points if there’s some random animal sitting next to them too. (Or a woman acting like an animal…)
I’m not sure how I feel about this at this point, although the deer is kind of adorable. I understand it’s a prime opportunity to showcase the YG “swag” – I know this word is passé, but honestly I’m too old to know what the new synonym is – but they do fun things in almost every other way in their videos. This looks really tired by comparison.
The song itself is fresh and insistent, with a nice beat that TOP can showcase his skills over. The track is ominous yet modern at the same time, paced variably throughout to good effect. TOP does his usual thing, which includes sounding really emphatic and powerful while still maintaining an air of “I don’t really give a shit”. Do I understand any of the words? No, except for the occasional smattering of English throughout the song. However, I definitely heard the world “sommelier” (coinciding with an obligatory shot of wine swirling in a glass, because it’s K-pop). SO. BOUGIE. Especially in combination with a direct reference to a classic black and white film, all this cultural context is blowing my mind right now.
As one of a million YG-related promotions circulating right now, I can’t say that TOP’s “Doom Dada” shines especially bright next to the likes of “Missing You” by 2NE1 or “Ringa Linga” by Taeyang, or G-Dragon’s million-and-one singles. (We can leave Seungri for another discussion.) However, TOP’s unfailing charisma and the song itself more than make up for a somewhat confusing music video. There is definitely something aspirational to the whole thing, but I can’t fault TOP and his director for wanting to make a music video with a little more substance, even if uneducated apes like me understand none of it.