VIXX’s “Fantasy” Has Some Flaws, but is Overall Great

Being in the world of Kpop for about five years now, I’ve begun to associate songs with the seasons. At this time of year, many songs are high-energy and bubbly or intense but bright, and slowly creep into darker, more serious and sad territory by the time fall comes around. This makes August a weird month for comebacks, and it shows with VIXX’s new comeback, “Fantasy.”

On its own, it hits a lot of the notes that VIXX has made a career out of – a dramatic, atmospheric instrumental track, a trend towards the sad and serious, and a concept that carries itself out in the music video. At the same time, though, I can’t help but feel that this song would have been better suited as a late fall or winter track.

Now don’t get me wrong – the song does a lot more right than it does wrong. The instrumental starts with a sad piano in the background, while synth snares and claps give the verses a modern flare. Then, when the chorus hits, the piano is abandoned and replaced by violins and other orchestral instruments that the verses build up for. This, along with the lyrics, which consist of longing for a “fantasy,” that will never come true, give the song a cohesive whole that we’ve come to expect from VIXX over the years. However, there are a few qualms with the song that bother me as a listener. The first verse’s claps and snares seem a little off-beat with the piano and Ken’s vocals, which made me feel off-kilter and left me wondering if something happened during the mixing of the track that the producer just never caught. Next, I felt that sometimes VIXX’s vocals got drowned out in the drama of the instrumental, especially during the chorus, where it feels like Leo is struggling to be loud enough to be heard. Then, the track drops off at an abrupt note at the end where I felt there should have been a piano closing it off.

And then there’s a music video, which is the usual VIXX fare. VIXX is known to be concept idols, which is why there is so much attention to the outfits and the atmosphere of the comeback. This time, VIXX is playing the role of Hades, god of the underworld in Greek mythology. The song itself makes a sympathetic case for the ill-received god, and the music video only furthers this concept. In the video we see the members walking through thorny bushes and getting pierced by them, brooding at a dinner table, and even getting tied up at one point (perhaps meant to symbolize the fact they are trapped by a “fantasy” in their heads they can’t break free from). It’s not nearly to the caliber that “Error” and even “Voodoo Doll” had, but it is still a solid video, and the members look awesome in their outfits. What was most striking was the use of thorns, which shows up as hand-pieces, eyepatches, and earrings. It’s like their tortured state is so ingrained in their being that it comes up as normal pieces of clothing.

Overall, I love VIXX’s new comeback, although it feels out of place for the season. There is a reason that I’ve been following VIXX for ages, and they have yet to disappoint me. I can’t wait to see what the last god in their trilogy is going to be. I’m going to take the guess that it’ll be Zeus next time. Hopefully it’ll be a change from the somber quality VIXX tends to release, because it would be awesome to watch them having fun for a change instead of pining over lost love.

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