Review: Erase – Hyolyn X Jooyoung (feat. Iron)

Hey y’all! Today, I’ll be looking at a duet song with two of the nicest singers in k-pop. Sub-units and collaborations are huge in k-pop right now, and Hyolyn (sometimes romanized as Hyorin) and Jooyoung have recently come out with a beautiful ballad. This will probably be my last review before Christmas-style songs start getting released, so without further ado, let’s take a look at Erase!

hyolyn x jooyoung erase cover

 

The music video with English subs (CC):

I’ve been a fan of Hyolyn for a while now. Her voice is beautiful whether it’s with Sistar, Sistar 19, or solo. Jooyoung, I hadn’t heard of before this song, but he more than holds his own. When they started singing, I was really struck by how beautiful both their voices are and how well they go together. K-pop singers can be hit or miss, with some better than others, but this pair is definitely on the “better” end of the spectrum.

This song is a break-up ballad, described as “jazz r&b” by the company hosting the video. It’s about a couple in an unhealthy relationship, trying to move on. For whatever reason, they’re both still holding on, so they have to erase their feelings, erase the person’s number from their phone and so on. There’s an element of mistreatment in this relationship, but it seems to be on both sides so it isn’t clear who’s to blame, if anyone even is to blame.

The video itself somewhat follows the lyrics, but elaborates slightly. It shows Hyolyn in two relationships: one with Jooyoung, and one with a handsome bartender, played by Takuya of Cross Gene. It isn’t clear if these relationships are happening independently of each other, or if Hyolyn is cheating on one with the other. In fact, a lot of the plot isn’t clear. All that’s clear is that there’s some sort of love triangle plot going on.

And the bartender is now in her bedroom.

And the bartender is now in her bedroom.

There are a few key scenes. The first is in the bar, where Hyolyn smiles and flirts with the bartender, with Jooyoung at the other end of the bar. The next is in a bedroom, with Hyolyn and the bartender. The last two are with Hyolyn and Jooyoung: in a car, and outside with sparklers.

The relationship with Hyolyn and the bartender seems totally positive. They’re happy, rolling around in bed together, painting each other’s toenails, even. He’s not who the song is about. Hyolyn and Jooyoung are another matter altogether. There’s an uncomfortable atmosphere in the car scene, as if they’re fighting, and in the bar scene, with uncomfortable glances. The sparkler scene is the anomaly, portraying the two as a happy couple. Perhaps an older memory?

Hyolyn and Jooyoung getting along for once.

Hyolyn and Jooyoung getting along for once.

Interspersed through these confusing story lines are dance cuts, which I really enjoyed. The dance is slightly sexy, matching the tone of the song, but not being sexy for the sake of it. There’s one move where Jooyoung grabs Hyolyn around her neck, representing the way he can’t let her go emotionally. The pair dances together and apart, mirroring the push-and-pull nature of their relationship. The back-up dancers add a nice dynamic as well, the three other pairs making it look like a k-pop group onstage, rather than a duo.

Towards the end of the song, there’s a rap done by Iron, who I know nothing about except the fact that he was on a show called “Show Me the Money 3.” It’s not unusual for rappers to feature on other songs before their debut, and I imagine he’ll make a debut of his own before long. The rap sounds nice, not out of place in the song, and it’s a good way of showcasing this newcomer in the k-pop scene.

I just wish this video was more clear. The worst part is the end, where Hyolyn walks into the bar… where Hyolyn is already sitting. There’s one sitting next to Jooyoung, and another sitting near the bartender. There’s nothing in the video to indicate what this means. Is one of the Hyolyns a memory? Is this some sort of visual metaphor of her cheating? I’m not sure what the conclusion is supposed to be, and I probably never will, no matter how many times I rewatch the video.

hyolyn x jooyoung erase seeing double

Why are there two of her? What could it mean?

All and all, this was a very enjoyable song and a mostly enjoyable video. I wish the plot elements were less confusing, but both singers’ beautiful voices pretty much make up for it. For someone who doesn’t usually like slow songs, I really liked this one. I hope this pair collaborates more in the future!

Pros:

-Gorgeous voices.

-A slow song I actually liked!

-Fitting choreography.

Cons:

-Very confusing video.

Rating: 4/5

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