What do you get when you mix one of Kpop's brightest stars, a retro trot song, and footage from a 1961 historical drama? One killer music video, that's what. Lizzy's "Not an Easy Girl" is a new take on one of the oldest Korean stories out there. We know some of you out there were pushing for Infinite H's "Pretty," but the nod for best music video of the month of January goes to Lizzy, hands down.
We should admit something. We love historical dramas. But who doesn't, right? They allow us to view classic themes through a new (we mean, old) lens. For years now, many of the most popular Korean dramas have been historical, even sparking a whole sub-genre of dramas that mix past and present. It's hard to understand why we haven't seen more music videos cross over into this incredibly popular genre, but who cares because now we have Lizzy!
We should talk about the song. "Not an Easy Girl" is a trot song and (we had to read this twice) Lizzy's debut as a solo artist. It's easy to forget that she is only 22 years old. But back to the song. The tongue-in-cheek lyrics give the song a playfulness that meshes well with Lizzy's sensuality. And that creates a tension with the more traditional form of both the music and the video. For most artists, a trot song is a kiss of death, anathema to the modern pop world, but not so with Lizzy. She actually prefers it, having tried out for After School with a trot song. That love of trot music shows here, and it gives the song an energy that we love.
We should also give a bit of background. Chunhyangga is a well-known pansori (a Korean form of musical storytelling) about a woman who risks death in the name of loyalty to her love. Although the story is estimated to be about 300 years old, its themes stand the test of time remarkably well. Which is probably why the story has been adapted to film so many times over the years. For the music video, Lizzy is spliced into the 1961 version.
We should address a few complaints. Some have claimed that Lizzy looks "too HD" to be properly incorporated into the grainy, 1961 film. And those sentiments have sparked numerous jokes about Lizzy's good looks. But really, what's the concern here? There's a certain sense in which her displacement needs to be obvious for the parody to be successful. Others have suggested watching the music video in a lower resolution if it bothers you that much, but we're not into that. 1080p is a gift, thank you very much.
We should, finally, say why this is so good. "Not an Easy Girl" is our Music Video of the Month because it's something we've never seen before. Lizzy took a chance by not going with the standard Kpop video, and it paid off. If Kpop has taught us anything, it's that we'll have plenty of chances to watch our favorite idols dance inside a box. What's rare, is to see them in a classic performance of one of the oldest Korean stories on record.