Welcome to Teaser [TS] Tuesday. The shortened version of the name, TST, comes from a scientific theory known as Transition State Theory. This theory is used to understand how chemical reactions take place, and explains the rates of these reactions.
In terms of our subject of teaser trails in Kpop, these theories are very apt. TS trails are created to cause a reaction and we will be looking to explain what the teaser media tells us, what it is that causes these reactions. Hence our TST molecular logo.
This week we’ll be looking at the photo TS trail from SMTown’s hottest young idol group(s), EXO.
The groups, individually and as a collective, were presented in a very simplistic way for the initial group teasers. All dressed in the same oversized, half-button-down shirts, very reminiscent of Dolce & Gabbana’s 3/4 shirt with bell sleeves.
By dressing every member identically for the first TS photos revealed we see the image of a unified team, just as a sports team would, they all wear the same uniform emphasising they work as one.
The members’ individuality is shown through the styling of their hair, and heavy, defining, make up.
If anyone remembers the Super Junior TS trail for Sexy, Free & Single you may remember this defining hair and make up being something SMEnt relied on to create a fusion between traditional and contemporary romantic themes. Ryeowook’s TS photo was one of the strongest examples of this, though the ideas were prevalent throughout the whole run.
When we look at the individual TS images for the EXO members we are able to see more supporting evidence for the fusion of traditional and contemporary.
Within both groups there are at least two members that show the classical idea of man through the white shirts from the group teasers. A number of members also display contemporary images through elaborate, detailed clothing synonymous with youth. However there are a total of three EXO members that combine the simple white styling with more contemporary fashion themes.
This fuses two of two very important elements of the EXO brand. EXO were born of the Tree Of Life, their back story seeped in a rich fictional history. Their image however always brings a modern twist to history, with mvs such as Mama and Wolf displaying modern takes on Neo-Gothic, and Art Deco, architecture through elaborate towers, archways and interior design.
Can these images tell us anything about what to expect from the EXO comeback? It is possible that their comeback mv will incorporate more of their back story, not a far-fetched idea as they often use their elemental powers throughout their concepts. With a number of the teasers we see a reflection of the member, though this reflection is a mirror image of the member one half of the image is always monotone, the other colour. Therefore we may even see the members reflecting on their history, or using their powers to see their futures.
All this is just conjecture however, we are looking at SMTown teasers, and SMTown teasers are never as they seem. After all, Sexy, Free & Single used similar themes throughout their photo trail, yet the mv showed no signs of any of the messages those images portrayed.
What do you think we might see from EXO’s return?