Cross Gene has really set the bar high for dark music videos with their latest from their 2017 album Mirror, “Black or White”.
The music video for “Black or White” is definitely rated 19+ for a reason. It gives you practically no time to adjust before it jumps into the gore. To be honest, it felt like I was watching a SAW movie at times, and there are no complaints about that.
Overall, that the entire music video centers around the concept of good and evil, but not the outer good and evil, the inner battle people struggle with every day. In this case, it’s a bit more extreme than the “should I tell them they have food in their teeth or sit back and laugh” a normal person would likely encounter.
So, who was where? There was so much going on, with each group having their own little world of turmoil and suffering, that I think it needs to be broken down.
Takuya is the first one you see, stumbling around clutching his side. His set is the hospital room. Next, you have Seyoung who’s locked in some sort of run-down studio with a TV set. Then, you have Casper, who’s just been in some sort of car collision and is regaining his senses in the overturned vehicle. Shin, oh dear Shin, is in a gore covered bathroom with a blood filled tub. Followed by Sangmin laying in a coffin, which was probably one of the simplest scenes. Finally, there’s Yongseok running away from something.
Each of the members ends up getting killed in some grotesque way after seeing their alter self in a mirror or reflect. Probably my favorite of them was Shin, followed closely by Casper. Shin’s was simple, it was just drowning, but the scene was really made by the fact that he was drowning in the blood that came out of the faucet and that he alter self had that insane look as he looked in the mirror. Casper’s death was just pure violence – death by baseball bat.
Near the end, the boys are scene in a white room and those seen seem to be the ‘good’ selves. After that, they all wake up and are perfectly fine, though they’re a little shaken.
Overall, “Black or White” has probably one of the most intense music video storylines I’ve ever seen. It’s not that it’s complex in the sense that you’d see in a BTS video, but it’s complex in the ‘who really won’ and ‘holy crap what just happened’ sort of way. Having all of the boys have their own storyline helped with the diversity of the video which made it even more interesting.
The settings for each of the guys were great on their own, but made even better by the filming style. The red glow on the bathroom just emphasized the blood since it turned to a black color. It made the room even more run down looking. The single studio room was probably not as creepy in color as it was bathed in a red glow as well.
The blue-ish/green tint on the hospital room paired with the fact that so many of the things shown looked like something you’d see in an organ harvesting, black market sort of facility gave off an eerie feel. The car scene was well done as well, with broken glass, broken bumpers, and a detached tire strewn about.
There was a lot of thought that went into each of the set items
The costuming was all well done as well. The pieces were nice, for both the good and versions, where you could clearly see the difference between the two. At the same time, it didn’t take away from the actual scenes, just added to it.
The weirdest thing for me about this video was the fact that the song sounded so damn cheerful. I love the song itself, but it was definitely an unexpected pairing, until you actually read the lyrics.
The background music is catchy and definitely a dance piece. The vocals are really well matched to the tempo of each individual section as well.
I also really loved the hooks of “I will never let you go. Black or white” because they were so well executed.