Knee Jerk Reaction: “Drunk-Dazed” by ENHYPEN

I’m honestly so behind with ENHYPEN that it’s not even funny. I didn’t have time to watch I-LAND when it aired last year, so I decided I wouldn’t spend too much time on them until I did. (I like watching survival shows because it helps me get to know a group better.) Per usual, I put it off for way too long… so they’ve just made a comeback and I still have yet to watch a single episode ^^”’ And now I have a problem because I don’t want to know too many details about ENHYPEN because I’m pretending I’ll have enough time to watch I-LAND soon, but I also know they’re rising in popularity and I don’t want to miss out. I debated about whether I should watch “Drunk-Dazed” or wait, and my curiosity eventually got the better of me. So here’s my reaction, but please keep in mind it’s from the perspective of someone who genuinely knows nothing about them.

I’m going to start by talking about the music video for “Drunk-Dazed,” because it comes with a warning: if seeing lots of blood makes you uncomfortable, I would avoid watching it. There’s a scene towards the end that has a member standing in a room where the ceiling and walls start dripping blood; eventually, he and the entire room are covered in it. Personally, I was kind of unsettled by all that. I’m used to fake blood and special effects because I’ve worked on some film sets, but it still made me pretty queasy. I guess I wasn’t expecting something that looks like it could have come out of The Shining. (It’s worth noting there’s another scene with a fountain of gushing blood, but that looks a little more fake/CGI to me.)

The reason there’s so much blood in the music video is because it’s heavily implied that ENHYPEN are vampires or some kind of supernatural creature in that particular universe. They exhibit powers like teleportation, and there’s a shot where two of the members’ shadows look monstrous… almost like wolves. Are they supposed to be hybrids like Klaus Mikaelson The music video also alternates between scenes of a happier time long ago – before the members became vampires or whatever they are – and the bleaker and darker present. Personally, I’m intrigued because I really enjoy supernatural stuff. I was too old for Twilight, but I was an avid watcher of The Vampire Diaries and The Originals for most of my early twenties. And I read a lot of fantasy books, so I’m always down for this kind of concept.

I definitely appreciate the universe building in “Drunk-Dazed,” because that’s not so common in K-pop these days. However, I feel that it’s one of those music videos that sacrifices most of the narrative in favor of aesthetic shots. And while there’s nothing wrong with the “half-story half-visuals” approach, it admittedly isn’t my favorite. I think that if a music video is going to have a plot, the production team should commit to it and make sure it’s properly conveyed. Some people love guessing and making theories, but hinting at things and not following through is a major pet peeve of mine; it’s probably the film school snob in me. I know I’m being super picky, but it’s not just for the sake of it – I just really wanted to see more of this world the music video was teasing!

As a song, “Drunk-Dazed” isn’t quite as horror-themed as its music video. However, it definitely has the right atmosphere to complement such a concept. Based in pop rock (maybe pop punk?), it’s energetic and edgy and at times even eerie. I also JUST realized that there’s no rapping at all, which I think is a super interesting choice. Though I’m especially drawn to the verses – which have an alluring and almost hypnotic melody – so I can see how a song with 100% vocals better maintains that kind of vibe. I’m not sure how much I like the chorus, but I think it expertly evokes sensations of being drunk and dazed just like the song title. And it’s certainly very memorable, as is the choreography. Some of the movements are jerky and unnatural enough to fit the more eccentric parts of the music, but the whole is very polished and sharp. Everything is expertly executed, which is especially impressive for a rookie group.

MY OVERALL INTEREST LEVEL

(NOTE: My options for each category are “Love,” “Like,” “Neutral,” “Not My Style,” or “Dislike.” But I rarely dislike anything, so I’ll mostly be using the other four.)

CategoryMy Opinion
SongLike
DanceLike
Music VideoNeutral

(I really wanted to say I liked the music video, but I just can’t get past that bloody scene… I feel so bad.)

When I look at ENHYPEN, it’s very easy to see why they’re becoming popular so quickly – and I’m not just talking about the HYBE influence. Their music is interesting and appealing, and they’re clearly very talented. They perform like they’re a group that’s been around a year or two, not one that’s just made their very first comeback. I’m sure if they continue on this route, they’ll definitely become one of the popular groups of their generation. While I do think “Drunk-Dazed” is a great release, I’m not sure how much time I’ll spend on it – especially since I’m still adamant about watching I-LAND before I invest a lot of my time and energy into ENHYPEN. But I’m definitely more motivated to see that show now!


(“Knee Jerk Reaction” is a column I created to talk about comebacks or debuts when I don’t have a lot of time to write in-depth reviews. A knee jerk reaction is like an automatic response, so it’s a post about my initial thoughts on the song, the music video, and the performance if it’s available. Compared to my reviews, everything is more stream of consciousness and less analytical. And everything is 100% my own opinion!)

SOURCES: Featured image and music video belong to BE:LIFT LAB. Music video distributed by HYBE Labels.

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