For five years, the six member group of Jellyfish Entertainment has risen through their ranks with their creative concepts and how they adopted a new persona with each comeback. Now, VIXX can add another aesthetic under their belt with the release of their new single; “Shangri-La”/”Paradise On Earth”. It is a concept a lot of fans have been anticipating for a long time as it brings an ‘Oriental Fantasy’, adopting yukata-inspired outfits and incorporating traditional Korean instrument, the Gayageum into the track itself.
Jellyfish has explained that the concept will be played out through the entirety of the comeback; inspired by the Eastern utopia known as Shangri-La. First penned by British author James Hilton in his novel “Lost Horizon”, this world is a mystical valley in the western Kunlun Mountains. Over time, the name has been associated as a paradise, locking away the sorrows of the outside world. With the incorporation of East Asian concepts, VIXX seems to pull off this look flawlessly, as expected from being dubbed “Concept Idols”.
At first glance, the music video does appear to be a mere collection of aesthetic to suit each member, but it is done effortlessly. The sense of another world is only emphasized further by incorporating several planets into the scenes. The first of these uses can link back to the song itself when dissecting both at the same time. Lyrically, “Shangri-La” speaks of the unity of lovers and VIXX speaks of her being “reflected in the moon”. The very first scenes are in fact the Moon and the planet Mars, floating together in space. The Moon is already seen as a feminine symbol and represents eternity as time appears frozen to VIXX in the song. Mars could also represent the boys in this sense; as Mars is seen as the masculine plant. However, as it is linked to the astrological sign of Aries, the planet Mars can also represent new beginnings, birth and initiation; in this case, the initiation of love.
The video itself doesn’t bear much of a story line in comparison to VIXX’s trilogy of last year; compiled of “Dynamite”, “Fantasy” and “The Closer”. What makes up for it however is the clever use of its Oriental imagery. While the concept can often be either overused or typical mythology; the video instead plays up on the other-worldly element, without the use of special effects. The director simply trusts in VIXX’s own acting prowess and their ability to mold into any given scenario and make each of it their own. Breaking down some solo scenes, there are some clever elements used that can link back to the members themselves too. Initially, Leo seems in his element, perched on a cliff and isolated as the moon shines down on him. Outside of the Starlight community, Leo already appears dark and mysterious, and the scenes emphasize his natural charisma as if he was a Prince in this world.
Continuing from this imagery, Ravi appears to be a regal figure, dressed in a traditional kimono robe/yukata and wandering through a temple’s exterior. Nothing is shown, but how Ravi naturally acts, he carries himself to be a powerful being or in fact King of VIXX’s own paradise.
Ken’s solo scenes could suggest the use of mythological beings in the world, with his ethereal presence. Already fans have been in meltdown over his sensual exposure in the video, but with his aloof gaze and floral mark on his shoulder, he could be seen as a nymph or a spirit wondering the world. Furthermore, the flower appears to again be the Adonis, the same flower he was pictured with for the Birth Flower teasers. When decoding Birth Flowers, Ken’s translates to eternal happiness, especially when in love and a bond is unbreakable. Diving deeper into mythology, the Adonis flower also links back to the love between the man of the same name and the goddess Venus. With his tragic death, Venus used his blood to bring this flower and many more to bloom which later went forth to represent the short but beautiful life of their love.
Hongbin’s scenes bring forth a different representation of Paradise, however. Of course, the Oriental elements still apply with the emergency of Sakura Blossoms, but it is what lies in midst of these blossoms that bring interest. During the video, Hongbin reaches out for what appears to be a silver apple, which links back to the sense of utopia in only one simple way; the first ever representation of Paradise, the Garden of Eden. In this tale, both Adam and Eve succumb to the forbidden apple. With Hongbin taking the apple and also later collapsing onto the flower bed below, he too has fallen into temptation and become ensnared in paradise for what could be questioned as eternity.
Finally, one scene that particularly caught my interest was Hyuk approaching the deer near the video’s climax. At first glance, the deer may appear to be innocent or just placed for effect without any much use, but once again, Mythology can be put into play very cleverly. In Celtic lore, the deer is already linked to mythical creatures such as faeries but it can also represent riches and status in Chinese tales. The deer appearing along side Hyuk is a female/doe which also has the capacity for infinite generosity. Their heart beats in kindness and love, and if you offer your trust to them, they will reward you by leading you to spiritual healing, ranging from peace, beauty and most importantly, love.
Overall, VIXX has once again knocked it out the park with their concept, bring together a sensual mix of symbolism and elegance to bring justice to this well-known tale of tranquility and happiness. If their performances in the video and their live Fantasia concerts are anything to go by, Starlights will be treated to a powerful comeback unlike any other to celebrate their fifth anniversary together.
Were you enchanted by VIXX’s “Shangri-La”? Let us know in the comments and make sure to check our their full mini-album which is now available on iTunes.