South Korean idol group VIXX returns for a gorgeous Spring comeback just in time for their five-year anniversary on May 24. The six-member group—comprised of leader N and fellow members Leo, Ken, Ravi, Hongbin, and Hyuk—debuted back in 2012 and is the first (and only) boy group under Jellyfish Entertainment. Now a seasoned group in the industry, VIXX is known for their wide range of in-depth, stylized concepts for their music. Some of their past concepts include vampires, Jekyll and Hyde, voodoo dolls, cyborgs, love slaves, and Greek Gods—the last of which being a year-long 2016 Conception comprised of a trilogy of albums. Such variety and adaptability has earned the group nicknames such as “concept-dols” and “concept kings.”
VIXX’s latest concept draws inspiration from East Asian mythology—specifically a portrayal of the fantasy paradise Mureung Doweon—in a seamless blend of East-meets-West music and visual styles. The 4th mini-album, titled Shangri-La, was released last week along with a music video for the title track of the same name. Both the title track and “Black Out”—the third track of the album, comprised of a groovy, sensual-yet-sophisticated feel and heavy bass-line—were debuted at VIXX’s recent VIXX Live Fantasia Daydream concert earlier this month in celebration of their 5th anniversary. “Shangri-La” was produced by Divine Channel, the team of music producers who worked on VIXX’s “Fantasy” and “The Closer” as well as with internationally-known artists Ariana Grande and B.O.B, and well-known Korean artists EXO, Girls’ Generation, and Twice.
The R&B style song is, as said, a mix between Eastern and Western music elements—particularly exemplified in the use of a traditional Korean instrument called a gayageum in the distinctive introduction and throughout the song. Partly written by VIXX member and rapper Ravi, the lyrics, contrary to modern K-Pop practice, contain no English hook or phrases and are written in a flowing, poetic form. The music video incorporates several other elements that contribute to the traditional feel of the song, including choreography with Korean folding fans, modernized traditional Korean outfits, and an overall floral, mystical, bold-colored atmosphere.
In a press conference at Seoul’s Jamsil Arena, VIXX members expressed their thoughts on the Shangri-La comeback. Youngest member Hyuk explained, “Since we want to give off more of an Eastern feel on our stage, it gives us a sense of pride as Koreans and Korean idols.” And they should feel a good amount of pride, considering the fact that YouTube views of their music video surpassed 1 million in less than a day, then 2 million in two days, and 3 million in less than a week—all personal records for VIXX and for STARLIGHTs (the group’s official fanbase). VIXX has been catching the attention of many this comeback, including Billboard and Dazed, who claim that there is a complex beauty to the album and title track that need several (well-deserved) listens to fully unpack and appreciate it—(a sentiment with which I happen to agree and have followed through).
The multitalented group—having recently been busy with solo debuts, musicals, TV acting roles, etc.—has begun promoting Shangri-La with live performances on music shows and are set to further celebrate their 5th anniversary this week.
You can find more information and see the fantastical “Shangri-La” music video through the links below!