Hey y’all! This week, I’ll be looking at the other side of k-pop around this time of year. Company-wide Christmas songs are fun and all, but sometimes there are too many people to keep track of! And they aren’t the only seasonal music that gets released. Individual groups make Christmas (or winter) songs as well. From what I’ve seen, there seems to be a lot of correlation between themes of loss and nostalgia this time of year, and BTOB’s Winter’s Tale is a perfect example of that. Let’s take a look!
Here’s the video with English subs:
Winter’s Tale is about a couple that’s broken up. Their anniversary was in winter, so winter reminds the boy of her. The girl has moved onto another relationship, but rather than pine over her and vow to get her back, the boy’s greatest wish is for her to be happy. He can’t help but remember and be sad, but he will try his best to get over her.
I have to say, the story in the lyrics was very refreshing. With all the unhealthy relationships portrayed in pop (and k-pop) music, it’s nice to see one that seems to be following a more healthy path. When someone breaks up with you, the best response is to want the best for them, to want them to be happy. For such a young group to have such a mature perspective in a song is really great. For once, there’s a song about the end of a relationship and the lyrics don’t make me want to pull my hair out.
That being said, I’m not a fan of the flower boy concept. I know that’s a cultural thing, and that it’s huge in Korea, but I don’t go gaga for the cutesy, pretty-boy image. Sometimes, it’s done well and it’s a new side of a group that I hadn’t seen before. For this song, I’m just not sure that it fits. The concept of the song and the concept of the video seem to be rather different.
In the video, BTOB are inside a snow globe. Don’t ask me why, or how they got in there. The snow globe belongs to a girl, possibly the girl referred to in the lyrics. However, she’s only shown completely alone. There are no flashbacks to the relationship that ended, and no shots of her with the new boyfriend. Just the girl, alone on her couch, looking at a snow globe.
There is only one flashback, which seems to be of the girl in her childhood. She’s still alone. That is, until BTOB finds a magical door from their snow globe back to the girl’s room in the past. They dress up as cartoon characters, acting cutesy and dancing around with the girl. Then, they take her back with them to the snow globe.
Is this the story of a Christmas miracle, giving a lonely girl love and companionship for at least a little while? Is it a metaphor for the girl’s inner child, and how BTOB gave it the life it needed? Or is it a dream, as suggested in the video when the girl wakes up with a snow globe in her hands? It’s up to interpretation, and not in the “totally confusing, I have no idea what’s going on” way that some k-pop videos have. There are a few different interpretations that make sense and can be supported by the video.
The video is silly, and kind of random when you compare it to the song, but if you’re a big BTOB fan (I’m not, unfortunately), it might be nice to see them in this light. The song has a nice, lighthearted sound to it, that keeps it from being a depressing ballad about lost love. The upbeat tempo gives it a hopeful feeling, like the speaker will be successful in getting over the girl and implying that there are no hard feelings between the two. Rather than winter representing the death of things, it represents a new beginning.
All in all, I think this song was a wonderful contribution to the Christmas/winter-themed songs of k-pop. The song itself was enjoyable to listen to, the lyrics tell a nice story, and the video is amusing, and the plot of it makes sense. This song will definitely be going on my Christmas k-pop playlist!
-Surprisingly hopeful song.
-Flower boy aesthetic isn’t really my thing.
-Would have liked the plot of the video to match the lyrics.