SUNMI - Noir
It’s been almost half of a year to the date that we last heard from SUNMI, but that didn’t help to curb my absolute enthusiasm heading into this review. SUNMI is currently my favorite solo artist, both for females and in total, and I am always so stoked to dive into a new release from her. The audio teasers for the song sounded a bit more on the retro side while the image teasers seemed more like a critique on social media, so I was already really curious about this song. Still, I tried to stay objective and clear my general biases before I jumped into this one.
I think this is less strictly on the retro side of using synths, and instead it falls on the darker tones to simply invoke an atmosphere. That atmosphere is one of almost villainous proportions. Everything feels heavy and serious - it feels sinister and foreboding. And it perfectly sets the framework for the concept of the song. “Noir” does translate to the word “black” from French, but more commonly in English it’s a genre. From dictionary.com: “a genre of crime film or fiction characterized by cynicism, fatalism, and moral ambiguity. “
As per the description, I think that SUNMI likely used it for the latter half. It’s about the degradation and the slow but sure loss of the individual persona in the modern age. It’s a social commentary undoubtedly, but it’s social commentary with an absolutely killer track backing it. I’m so glad that SUNMI’s using her influence to talk about something with actual substance to it. It’s not often we get to hear things like this in the K-pop world, and for a powerful individual like SUNMI to be so brash and bold about it is hopefully a great first step to seeing that change.
As for the song itself - I love it. It actually might be my favorite SUNMI song, but I think it’s too early for me to say if it that is the case for sure. (Mostly because I’m kind of giddy about how amazing the concept is and I don’t want that to cloud my judgement.) It’s catchy while also not being the typical earworm style of pop. Both the vocal and instrumental melodies, as well as their presentations, were divine, and I wholeheartedly love this release. It is easily one of the strongest, if not the strongest song of this year so far in my opinion.
Alright, so the concept behind this video isn’t necessarily anything that hasn’t been said before. People are too addicted to social media and trying to appease the masses in order for more clicks and followers, etc. That’s definitely been said before. The difference is it hasn’t been said in the world of K-pop. Almost no serious issues are ever talked about, and it was really cool of SUNMI to want to bring it to the forefront with this video.
All throughout the video we see SUNMI eating candy hearts - obviously similar to the hearts that we see on the likes of Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and whatever other social media platform that might exist now or in the future. What I found absolutely clever about this is the fact that it’s candy. Think about that for just a second. It’s candy. It isn’t actual food for sustenance, and generally speaking, candy is not good for your health. It’s detrimental, even. Yet people love candy and crave it nonetheless. Sounds just like the subject she’s actually talking about - social media status. People crave the attention and feedback of complete strangers - almost to the point that it seems like they depend on it, much like food. But in the end, it’s not actually filling. It’s not filling to that void, or to their stomachs. It’s absolute genius in how well it fit.
Obviously I loved all of the insane scenes that take place here, too. SUNMI’s quirky on and off happy smiles work incredibly well for this concept in particular - showing that people are completely fake on their social media just to make others think their lives are better than they really are. She showed how some people tag themselves in certain places when in reality they’re not there and are somewhere much simpler. She even goes so far as to show how ridiculous it is that people will literally take pictures of themselves in the hospital, hoping for some kind of attention. Everything about this video was so on-point in terms of the subject matter and I loved that the director used some serious ideas even among all of the more colorful and playful ones.
The last thing we need to talk about is all of the references in this video to SUNMI’s past videos. We got the finger guns, the pretty face pose, and the funny roll out of the pinky finger (she almost actually used the middle finger this time!) from “Gashina,” we got the sneeze from “Siren,” we got some wet hair and wet dress action from “Heroine” as well as “Siren,” and this might have just been me, but the first thing I thought of when she was sitting on the couch with her legs pulled in was her dance from “Full Moon.” Obviously the car we’ve seen in all of her music videos (besides “Full Moon”) as here as well, though this time we set it on fire so this might be the end for that poor thing. All in all, it was a lot of throwbacks and fun stuff to include, and I’m so happy she even pointed at herself for social critique in this video.
The last thing I need to talk about is the editing for this MV. It’s utterly fantastic. The way that some scenes are replayed in quick succession to clearly depict the repetitiveness of the subject matter was great, and the juxtaposing of the imagery going on at certain parts of the song was really good, too. Whoever directed and edited this video will hopefully see more work in the future, and doubly hopefully if it’s more with SUNMI.
If it wasn’t clear by my enthusiasm - I love this video. It’s very SUNMI but it’s also a serious message. It is perfect. (Also, SUNMI is perfect. Just sayin’.)
“Noir” is an absolute masterpiece both visually and musically. SUNMI is no stranger to having a more artistic flair to her music videos, and I think that “Noir” is a culmination of all of her experiences up to this point. It’s clever in how it approaches a very serious subject, and the fact that it doesn’t really hold back on its commentary of the subject is refreshing to see in K-pop. I don’t care who you are - if you haven’t checked out “Noir” already, you’re 100% missing out.
(Don’t even get me started on how genius this entire concept was with how she utilized actual social media to prove her point.)