MV of the Month: Verbal Jint's 'If the World was Perfect' (featuring Taeyeon)

Verbal Jint and Taeyeon If the World Was Perfect

November was full of memorable releases - but it was still incredibly hard to pick our MV of the Month! It's as they say, heavy lies the crown. But in the end, there could only have been one winner: Verbal Jint's (and Taeyeon's) "If the World Was Perfect." Here's Zander Stachniak and Timothy Moore, discussing why Verbal Jint gets the MV of the Month for November!

Zander: I'll be honest, Tim, the month of November was harder than usual to choose a winner. I'm not sure if that means there were more good MVs than usual, or just less that I felt passionate about. But Verbal Jint and Taeyeon's "If the World Was Perfect" has to be the standout. I feel like we say this every time, but for me, the music video perfectly matched the moodiness of the song and the heartbreaking lyrics. Now we've got to talk about this giant head.

Tim: That head tho! Kpop loves these giant heads - and when I first saw this, I have to admit, I rolled my eyes a bit! But then I heart. Does that make sense? I mean, my heart was hurt/warmed simultaneously. It took me a bit to realize that the it was always the same guy that was messing with our big headed friend here, and then, if we can skip ahead here, by the end we realize that the big headed character and his antagonist are the same person (at least that's my interpretation!). 

Taeyeon Verbal Jint

In many ways, it's so so appropriate that Taeyeon has collaborated with Verbal Jint here, especially considering that her music video for "I" almost serves as the inverse for this music video. Throughout Taeyeon's video, she pictures her idyllic self and life, away from her (not really that) terrible waitressing job. 

While the character in this music video pictures himself as he believes others perceive him - a big headed, slow-witted buffoon. Both releases are about people's perceptions of themselves - for better and for worse - lying just on the opposite ends of that spectrum. It also helps that Taeyeon and Verbal Jint work so beautifully together that we get this cohesive experience with both of their releases, which I really find so cool! But am I interpreting this music video all wrong, Zander? Am I finding connections that aren't really there? Save me from myself! 

Zander: You're not wrong, Tim! I think there's a definite connection between "If the World Was Perfect" and Taeyeon's "I." While they're on opposite ends of the spectrum, in some ways, it's also entirely possible for both perspectives to be contained within a single individual. There's nothing inherently contradictory about imagining that others see you as a slow-witted buffoon and at the same time daydreaming of your idyllic self. Even though Taeyeon's MV is much lighter in tone, I find both videos to convey an immense sadness. Because make no mistake, Taeyeon's escape in "I" is only cathartic after first suffering.

But back to the video at hand. The realization that the big-headed character acts as both victim and tormenter is probably the most important thing to notice in this video. It's an apt metaphor for mental health issues. And the way in which the video announces this information (a reflection in still water) is spot on too. Much like you, I was quick to dismiss the papier-mâché head as gimmicky at first, but I learned to stop worrying and love the head! I found that because the tone of the video was overwhelmingly serious, the head never opened itself up to ridicule. The only misstep I would point out is the inclusion of the enormous, papier-mâché tear at two various points in the video. That, certainly, felt gimmicky. It was an unnecessary inclusion that attempted to crassly announce sadness in a video that otherwise finds strength in subtlety. And yes, I include the giant head in the category of subtlety (amazingly)! The moment at 0:48, when the character bumps into a car in the shop, is a good example of how the MV creates a subtle complexity.

Verbal Jint If the World Was Perfect

Yes, the obviously large head begs to be noticed, but here we're not being clobbered with obvious symbolism. Instead, we're noticing awkwardness and an inability to fit in, emotions that are much harder to get across in a 4 minute video than "sadness." The more I watch this video, the more impressed I am! But tell me, Tim, do you think this video is too sad to be a major hit?

Tim: Good question! No, dummy! This is Verbal Jint and Taeyeon we're talking about - this song is a hit no matter what! Oh - you mean the music video? That I do think could be effected by the sad content. The first few times that I watched this video (and I wrote about this in This Week in Kpop too), I really thought it was a missed opportunity at showing Verbal Jint and Taeyeon in the actual video - maybe with even cameos or cutting to them singing, since Taeyeon is such a superstar. But I'm sure contractually and schedule-wise would be hard to put them together, and maybe it would have cheapened the music video. 

Verbal Jint Taeyeon Sad

I'm always impressed when idols forgo appearing in their videos in such an image-obsessed, idol "idolatry" culture. It's pretty gutsy and allows for the work to stand by itself. While I think the release would have benefited with Taeyeon and Verbal Jint appearing together, I have a lot of respect for Verbal Jint for releasing a song and music video that touches on such a vulnerable subject, and one that isn't addressed enough in a Korean culture that doesn't like acknowledging mental health issues. Any last thoughts, friend?  

Zander: Only to say hear, hear! Mental health issues might not make for a "sexy" music video, but they do make for an honest and important one. My greatest hope for this video is that it creates a dialogue that is sorely needed.

Tim: Agreed!


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