Review: Give Love – Akdong Musician (AKMU)

Hey y’all! The review this week is all about siblings, starring the sibling group from YG Entertainment, Akdong Musician. In 2013, they won the second season of K-Pop Star, and got a contract with YG a month later. Throughout their competition, they were praised for their original songs, written by brother Lee Chan-hyuk, 17. Lee Soo-hyun, 15, completes the duo and their album, “Play” was released in April with three singles, the last to be voted on by fans. The third, fan-chosen single is Give Love, which I’l be looking at today.

akdong musician play cover

Here’s the music video with English Subs! (You might have to view in HD because otherwise the subs get a little cut off)

The basic plot of the music video shows Soo-hyun following around a boy and girl who seem to be very close, obviously crushing on the boy the whole time. She assumes the two are dating, and becomes friends with the girl in order to spend time with them both. There’s something very cute and innocent about it, with lots of bright and pastel colors. It’s very much a “spring” song, and the music video reflects that with flowers and lighthearted scenes of what seems like a flirtatious couple.

Don't they make a cute couple?

Don’t they make a cute couple?

From the music video, there doesn’t seem to be much of a dance, and after viewing live performances, that’s definitely the case. With their acoustic, almost Jason Mraz-like vibe, this sibling duo isn’t your typical k-pop group. They don’t do much dancing — it’s all very simple and doesn’t require them to move around too much. It’s mostly cute motions while standing and singing. It’s pretty clear that the focus is on the music, which the siblings made themselves. They represent a very slim population of k-pop artists who write their own music, and seem to be very popular because of it.

The lyrics of Give Love are about a crush who hates the narrator. The narrator is infatuated with this person, despite the mean things that are said to them. The brother and sister both sing from the perspective of the lovesick person, so I can’t really ascribe a gender to the narrator, but the narrator is basically asking their love interest to give them love, to be nicer to them, even though they’ll care for them regardless of how mean it is.

In the MV, the male love interest doesn’t hate Soo-hyun, more like he’s indifferent to her. Or she perceives him as indifferent since he’s already spending so much time with this other girl. So Soo-hyun makes herself the third wheel, and in a way it works. She gets to have fun with the pair, and gets a friend out of it. While spending time with her new female friend, she reads her texts from over her shoulder and – plot twist – she’s the boy’s sister, not girlfriend! Soo-hyun pumps her fist, now free to flirt with her crush.

Text from the brother: Mom says to come home quickly.

Text from the brother: Mom says to come home quickly.

The rest of the MV flashes back to what seemed like flirtatious scenes between the two, and it shows what Soo-hyun didn’t see — when they bickered like siblings. Since she didn’t see the whole picture, it took her this long to realize that she had a chance with the boy all along.

One thing I liked about this music video (and other MVs from this group) is that it doesn’t try to pretend that Soo-hyun and Chan-hyuk aren’t siblings. There are scenes of them goofing around and teasing each other, and it reminds you how young they both are.  It seemed very natural, and like a fun addition to an already adorable MV.

Also at the end, you see Chan-hyuk with the love interest’s sister, following her around like Soo-hyun did with the boy, but being much less subtle about it. It’s a really funny epilogue scene, and a funny twist that both siblings were interested in another pair of siblings. There was also a yellow ribbon shown at the end of the video, which is YG’s way of showing support to the ferry victims of Sewol. The yellow ribbon in Korea has come to represent solidarity with the families and mourning of the victims, and when the hiatus due to the incident was over, many groups wore yellow in their first live performances.

The yellow ribbon.

The yellow ribbon (featuring Chan-hyuk’s awkwardness).

All in all, it was a very enjoyable single that’s still stuck in my head. I like their acoustic sound and the fact that they write their own music, and they seem like a very talented pair. The music video was enjoyable, and I loved the plot (though I had to look up what the texts meant before I really understood it). I also want to give props to YG for supporting the Sewol victims at the end. I know it’s still a very painful subject in South Korea, and I think it’s good that these public figures are paying their respects. As for Akdong Musician, I’ll be downloading their album tonight and keeping an eye on their future work.

Pros:

-Cute, youthful plot that matches the group’s image.

-I love the acoustic style of the music.

-Unique spin on the unrequited love story.

Cons:

-No dance (though understandable).

Rating: 4.5/5

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