Making Sense of NewJeans’s New Videos
Five aspects of the “Cool With You” and “Get Up” music videos that are worth pondering
Through the “Cool With You” “side A” music video and the “Cool With You” and “Get Up” “side B” music video, NewJeans tell a very ambiguous story. The two-part story, starring Hoyeon Jung, is difficult to succinctly summarize, but here are five aspects through which its meaning can be assessed:
#1: The famous painting
The painting that appears numerous times in the videos is of Cupid and Psyche, characters with a complicated and fascinating story detailed in a previous episode of 17 Carat K-Pop. The specific artwork in NewJeans’s videos is called L'Amour et Psyché, by François-Édouard Picot, and like the tale of Cupid and Psyche, interpretations vary widely.
#2: The characters who make out in the elevator
Hoyeon Jung’s character follows a woman into an office building’s elevator. A man joins, and Hoyeon’s character gets off the elevator as the man and woman suddenly start making out ferociously. Perhaps Hoyeon’s character follows that woman out of a desire to know what it feels like to be “normal,” an “average” woman going to an “average” job where her boyfriend stops by to visit and keep their “average” romance alive. However, Hoyeon’s character does not linger to watch them kiss, so maybe she has been following that woman out of curiosity more than envy…
#3: NewJeans’s role
NewJeans play something comparable to guardian angels, wearing white outfits and staring down at Hoyeon Jung’s character from a balcony level. Occasionally, one of the members cosplays as a “normal” human but keeps her distance. Hoyeon’s character actually seems to pointedly not strike up a conversation with them, choosing to just leave the room during their dance performance for which she is the sole audience member. She might be unable to actually see the members, or she might turn and walk away from them because she is confident enough to not need guardian angels’ verbal reassurance that her future will be a good one.
#4: Hoyeon’s character’s outfit change
Hoyeon’s character starts the “side A” video in long, black fabric and with straight hair. When she goes to visit her love interest, she changes into a floral minidress and has wavy hair. She adds a new final touch to her look: a smile. The days of being treated like a ghost and looking stoic are replaced with scenes of smile-filled dates with her love. But does this happiness stem from changing her appearance, and if so, is she truly more content than she has been when simply shadowing others? Is her newfound joy only skin-deep?
#5: The downpour scene
The scene that concludes the “side A” video and starts the “side B” one shows Hoyeon’s character stripping (off camera but implied by the close-up of clothes falling to the ground), staring up at the dark sky, and beaming as the rain pours down on her. She feels reborn and cleansed, and this “cleansing” scene is a turning point that represents something very different depending on whether viewers watch “side A” or “side B” first. Watching “A” before “B” sends this message: Hoyeon’s character feels invisible, sheds her older self, and emerges as a new person. Changing who she is to please a man works, and many happy dates ensue. Watching “B” before “A,” however, tells this story: Hoyeon changes herself for a man, feels lucky in love, but then realizes a romance isn’t worth it if it requires that sacrifice. Therefore, the “cleansing” is to bring her back to herself, a prolonged process that requires her to move through life feeling invisible and serious until the “a-ha” moment (hence her following a woman in a successful relationship around, dressed as if cosplaying the woman’s shadow).
In sum, “A” to “B” is about someone who washes away her old self and wins romance, while “B” to “A” is about someone who wins romance but decides to wash it away to go back to herself, even if that process leads to feeling lonely.
More aspects of the videos worth thinking about
All the artwork in the love interest’s apartment and what it represents
Who is the strange man who frightens Hoyeon’s character and locks eyes with her from across the street?
Is this a two-part story on its own or two pieces of a larger puzzle? Will future NewJeans videos pick up where this story leaves off?
What to make of the “side B” video’s ending
Stay tuned to 17 Carat K-Pop for more NewJeans story updates, and check out the first NewJeans-dedicated episode below!
Watch the videos for yourself below!
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