LUNA - Even So
It’s been nearly two years since we’ve heard anything from LUNA, the main vocalist of the four-piece girl group f(x). We could easily get into a lengthy talk about how that group has also been MIA from the scene and the reasons behind that, but instead I think it’s best I just focus on the fact that LUNA is back. Her debut album in 2016 was absolutely fantastic, and a good handful of songs from it remain in many of my playlists even today, so to say that I had high expectations was putting it lightly. Unfortunately I didn’t even get to check out any teaser images for this, so I just went in completely blind.
With a song title like “Even So,” I definitely could have predicted this kind of sound. Whereas a lot of K-pop fails to strike me emotionally, LUNA’s tone of pure detachment in this song is actually the key factor that makes it work. Not only is it the fact that it’s done on purpose because I know full-well that she’s more than capable of heart-wrenching performances, it’s also how it punches with subtlety. The song itself isn’t overly slow and/or sad, but with that almost empty vocal delivery it makes it feel like there’s a chasm of distance between LUNA and the subject matter.
That depth in concept isn’t too hard to grasp, but there have been many times where it just isn’t executed properly. Here, though, it’s rendered to absolute perfection. While the song is soothing and calming on the surface, it’s just mere inches away from being a depressingly suffocating piece. I love that she opted to go less with the blunt approach and more for this style, especially when her voice is so pliable to fit just about any genre she’s slotted herself into. This song isn’t bold or daring, so I don’t really expect it to chart well - but the emotional impact is absolutely undeniable here, and that’s even truer if you’re a longtime fan.
Speaking of emotionally impactful things, this video was a punch right to the gut. Nearly the entire video shows Luna looking expressionless, matching the hollow tone of the song in an eerie way that feels somewhat unsettling. The only time that we see her smiling at all throughout this whole video is towards the end in what appear to be flashback scenes where she’s surrounded by people and enjoying herself.
That leads me to the talking to about the weird retro televisions in this video. At first glance, I thought that they were just following the bizarre trend of just randomly including them. However, after I thought about it for a while, I realized that this might be symbolic of LUNA looking back at how things used to be. When she was in the spotlight with f(x) and she was enjoying herself. Nowadays she’s mostly faded into obscurity as new groups have risen and taken that space. We see that feels empty without the adoration of fans, and that she misses it. The end of the video is just a straight shot of her crying as the song is over and then she literally disappears from the microphone stand. This is because she knows that once the song is done, everybody will go back to letting her fade away.
This video was seriously difficult to watch when I realized just how twisted it was in actuality, but I found that it only made me like the video more in the end. There’s meaning and depth without everything being overt, and I don’t know that I could ask for anything more than what she gave here.
While this may not be the banger or kick that LUNA’s solo career needed to boost her sales, I personally don’t think that she could have released basically anything that would have succeeded in doing that. Instead, I think that viewing this as an artistic direction and step for her career is a much healthier and more helpful way to approach this song. In that regard, I really enjoy the exploration of a less pop-centric idea for LUNA, and I hope that she gets more opportunities to continue down this and other avenues in the future. If you haven’t, give this one a listen and support LUNA if you enjoy it. (Seriously, don’t let what happened with “Free Somebody” happen again if you enjoy her and her music.)